This post originally ran in 2010.
Once upon a time I worked in retail. In fact, I worked in retail for quite some time. This was always (obviously) the busiest time of the year. Large shipments would come in. We were always stocking, ringing up customers, or running to the bank. ‘Tis the season for hectic shopping, after all, and that busyness and stress are on both sides of the counter.
The grocery world is slightly different, though this is also a busy time of year. People always need to eat, though the holidays bring out the lavish dishes. There’s another thing that grocery stores are good for right around Christmas that most people don’t think about – they’re a great place for last minute gifts.
Now, I’ve worked in grocery for a long time too, so I must admit that I’m in my element when I gaze about for potential holiday gifts, but element or no, it’s actually pretty easy to shop. Sometimes it may be crowded, but it never has that crazed buzz that occurs in malls this time of the year.
The best course of action is to make a list of people for whom you still need to buy gifts. Then when you come to the store, stop when you get to the display just inside the doors. There are a lot of fun ideas there, including dump trucks and tea sets made from recycled milk bottles. When I saw those, a little part of me wished my nephew was still young enough to enjoy a cool little truck. All around the display are fun items like that, plus yummy, local toffee, Christmas cactus, etc. In between the doors are more plants, wreaths, and helpful things for the gardener in your life. Over in the corner, just past the front display, is one of my favorite things to give – wine. It’s classy. The wine connoisseurs in your life will appreciate it, and you can get an incredibly good bottle of wine for twenty bucks. (Which is actually a pretty inexpensive present.)
Then there’s the opportunity a grocery store gives for creating awesome and unique gift baskets. I outlined an Italian themed basket in the newsletter, but there are so many other options. There are cute, little bottles of honey on the end cap of aisle one right now. Imagine one or two with some pink lady apples, a honey drizzler from aisle six, some fancy cookies, a dessert wine, and some of the truffles from the bakery shelf by the checkstands – there’s a pretty decadent gift! Or you could create a traditional fruit basket or one with coffee, mugs, biscotti, and different sugars placed in pretty jars or one with assorted Indian spices, simmer sauces, and naan or… the possibilities are endless.
Hopefully, this list will help with any last minute gift ideas, and while you’re here, you can pick up dinner too. Now that’s smart shopping!