Adulting: do you need an emergency gift stash?

by Jo Walker
Photo Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Adulting: do you need an emergency gift stash?

Who among us hasn't forgotten Auntie Sue's birthday brunch till the very last minute? Or blanked on the number of parties your kids seem to be attending every Saturday afternoon?

We've all grabbed a slightly sad card at the servo, together with a chocolate bar that might have been sitting there too long, then tried to avoid eye contact when handing them over to our gift recipient. "Thanks, you really shouldn't," they might say. And we have to agree.

Here's the thing: organised people don't need to plan as far ahead as everyone else. They've already set a reminder in their iCal to order Auntie Sue's favourite flowers for pick-up just before the big event, and they probably remembered to buy a card as well. The rest of us need more help looking thoughtful. Basically, we need to cheat.

This is where the emergency gift stash comes in. If you have a particular kind of mother, you might remember something similar from your childhood: a selection of random cards, leftover gift wrap and trinkets that could be deployed for last-minute presents on the way to a kid's party or Christmas drinks.

Well, Mum was onto something. Emergency gift stashes are sanity-saving wonders and, if used correctly, they'll make you look like the most organised and generous person around.

Choose a drawer, storage box or designated space in the cupboard and start assembling festive stuff for the next time you're about to rush out the door empty-handed. We guarantee that your future self will thank you.

Before that big moment comes, here are some things to add to your stash:

  • Cards of all sorts belong in the emergency gift stash. Choose blank cards for adults - that way they can be used for birthdays, engagements, or any other celebrations that come up. Children's cards should be roughly age-appropriate for the kids in your life (whether that's dinosaurs, unicorns or super heroes). Keep an eye out for discount packs, especially after the holidays - you can always use them next year!
  • Wrapping paper and gift bags are also good investments. Try to keep some nice generic paper on hand - something like a metallic stripe will please most occasions and age groups. If you have kids in the family, stock up on bright patterns and fun designs. Same goes for gift bags (especially useful for hard-to-wrap items). Don't forget to keep all your offcuts - they can go back in the stash for next time - and save paper and bags from your own parties for upcycling. If you have kids, you could even keep some of their artwork for gift-wrap use - grandparents in particular will love this personal touch.
  • Sticky tape, scissors, ribbons and twine are key gift stash additions. Because there's nothing worse than already being five minutes late and hearing this cry: "Where the heck are the flipping scissors?!" Avoid the panicked search by tucking extras away ahead of time.
  • Little gifts and treats are worth stashing away if you can make the investment: check out sale tables and even op shops and craft stalls when you happen to see them. Items like scented candles, fancy hand creams, cute mugs, hand knits and small toys will find grateful recipients over time. And you know your friends and family best. If you have pals who are into vintage wares, then stock up on retro crockery. If your kids' mates are all obsessed with slime, then invest in a few extra tubs.

If all else fails, there's still that box of chocolates from the servo - except this time you can wrap it lovingly with your stashed gift paper and pair it with a thoughtfully selected card. No one's going to be disappointed with that.

Photo shows: American Crafts Dear Lizzy Boxed Cards, Vivaldi Favours Love Gift Tag Kit, Artwrap Large Geometric Brush Print Bag Multicoloured, Artwrap Krystal Tissue Paper 5 Pack in hot pink, Five Star Paper Circles Confetti in Wildberry and Semco Tape Dispenser. For similar items, see in-store or online.




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