Tag Archives: gift baskets

Summer Camp Gifts

I never went to summer camp. So I’m living vicariously through my 10-year-old niece. Today she embarks on a week of hiking and horseback riding, campfires and canoeing, and s’mores and swimming. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about the summer heat, mosquito bites, pouring rain, poison ivy, cabin chores and creaky bunk beds. But I imagine she might feel homesick, so she will receive a summer camp care package from her Uncle Gift Giving Guy and Savvy Auntie (tm). I browsed several sites for summer camp gifts and chose Beyond Bookmarks, which offers the “funner size” of the Camp Life care package for Teens and Tweens. This summer camp gift package includes:

  • Chucknuka Uglydoll in purple
  • Hangman travel game by Magnetic Poetry
  • Waterproof playing cards
  • Carabiner (clip-on) pen
  • 16-ounce water bottle
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Clip flashlight (with batteries included)
  • Mosquito repellent wrist band
  • Glow necklace
  • Water squirting frog toy
  • Beach Safe waterproof storage tube on a lanyard
  • Green bandanna (which doubles as wrapping instead of tissue paper)
  • Fill-in-the-blank thank you note

You can customize your care package with add-on items like an autograph pillowcase with black fabric marker, friendship bracelet kits, binoculars, glow sticks and seek-a-word puzzle books. If you want to treat your camper’s cabin mates, add in a small gift for them when you order the care package. Before you order from Beyond Bookmarks, make sure you have the shipping address and the phone number for the summer camp. If the camp only uses a post office box, select U.S. Postage Service for shipping. (UPS cannot ship to a P.O. box.) If camp is a few weeks away, you can schedule delivery for a future date. Don’t forget to add a personal gift tag message. From your shopping cart, click the red  “Add Gift Tag Message” button. Type in the “to” and “from” names. You have a 100-character limit on your gift message.

I can’t wait for the letter from camp from our niece.

Oprah’s Favorite Things

Oprah Winfrey loves to give. She graciously signed off today after 25 years of daytime television and nearly a decade of her audience-swooning Favorite Things. The blog Jezebel estimates Oprah gave $23,809,050 worth of products since 2002. Not every gift stood the test of time — like Dell’s Pocket DJ MP3 player and J.Lo’s velour sweatsuit — but most have. Let Oprah be your guide for your next gift.


Beauty and Body Care


Books and Magazines

Charitable Gifts

Clothing and Accessories


Food Favorites


Home and Office Furnishings


Kitchen and Appliances

Movies and Television



Build Your Own Trader Joe’s Gift Bag

I love Trader’s Joes. For the uninitiated, this grocery store chain offers its own private-label products with high quality, low prices and great service. The store is practically a tourist destination. My wife’s uncle and aunt drive almost 100 miles into another state to reach the nearest Trader Joe’s.

If you know another Trader Joe’s fan, assemble a TJ’s gift bag. (See if a store is near you.) Start with the colorful, reusable Trader Joe’s tote bag (ranging from 99 cents to $4). Then fill the bag with your TJ favorites. Or try choosing products based on themes like breakfast time, just snacks, taste of Italy, south of the border, Asian favorites, or chocolate lover.

My Trader Joe’s dream gift bag would overflow with my favorite non-perishable products:

  • Spicy and Tangy Almonds
  • A bottle of Charles Shaw Chardonnay (a.k.a. “Two Buck Chuck”)
  • Pita Bite Crackers
  • Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
  • Truffle Brownie Mix
  • Olive Tapenade Spread
  • Triple Ginger Snaps
  • Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies

As a bonus gift bag item, visit Amazon.com and buy Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati.

Give Thanks with a Gift Basket from igourmet.com

Tomorrow my wife and I are hosting a surprise birthday party with 20 guests attending. Unfortunately, the seating math didn’t add up. Our patio set seats six. Add in a small table with four chairs, and we would have half our guests standing. Fortunately, our next-door neighbors balanced the seating equation, lending two of their patio table sets. To thank them, we are sending a gift basket from igourmet.com.

The Gourmet Thank You Gift Basket features many epicurean goodies:

  • Asiago Pressato Cheese
  • Black Kassel Sliced Salami
  • Mini Toasts for the cheese and salami
  • Beemster Gouda Cheese with Mustard Seeds
  • Grab an “O” Olives
  • Dolmas (Greek stuffed grape leaves)
  • Trouvillais by Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye (French shortbread cookies)
  • A Dancing Deer Brownie

Favorite Gift Retailers Who Use Twitter (And When They Started Tweeting)

Yesterday I posted to Twitter about shipping my old iPhone to gadget reseller Gazelle. Within 12 minutes, the folks at Gazelle noticed my tweet message, followed my Twitter feed and sent a nice reply.

That’s a great customer follow-up use of social media. Gazelle’s prompt response made me think about other sites I frequent. How many of my favorite retailers are using Twitter? And when did they start posting tweets? I compiled the table below using Twitter’s “Find People” search and MyTweet16, which lists a Twitter user’s first 16 tweets.

Retailers Using Twitter

Retailer Web Site Twitter Use
#1 online retailer in the U.S.
since Feb. 14, 2009
Barnes & Noble
since Apr. 22, 2009
Best Buy
Consumer electronics
since Jan. 28, 2009
since Feb. 24, 2009
Online retailer of custom goods
since Apr. 24, 2008
Online retailer for cooks and chefs
since June 19, 2009
Crate & Barrel
Housewares, furniture and decor
since Apr. 25, 2008
Dean & DeLuca
Fine food, wine and kitchenware
since Mar. 23, 2009
Essentials for college dorms
since July 28, 2008
Edible Arrangements
Fruit arranged like flowers for delivery
since Oct. 24, 2008
Handmade crafts
since Jan. 14, 2008
Buys used gadgets
since Sept. 19, 2008
Godiva Chocolatier
Premium chocolates
since Feb. 6, 2009
Choose from 1.5 million charities for gifts
since Jan. 16, 2009
Microlending for needy entrepreneurs
since July 25, 2008
Department store
since Apr. 27, 2009
Lands’ End
Clothing retailer with iron-clad guarantee
since Sept. 27, 2008
Gifts for reading and writing
since Jan. 16, 2009
Upscale department store
since Sept. 5, 2008
Omaha Steaks
Premium meats and seafood
since June 17, 2009
Sells one share of stock as a framed gift
since Feb. 4, 2009
Online retailer selling surplus goods
since Nov. 20, 2008
Pajamas sent in a hat box
since May 14, 2009
Floral delivery
since May 5, 2009
Largest coffeehouse chain in the world
since Aug. 12, 2008
Sur La Table
Gourmet cooking utensils and appliances
since June 11, 2009
Floral delivery
since Mar. 6, 2009
The Fruit Company
Fruit basket delivery
since Apr. 29, 2009
Online retailer for nerd stuff
since Jan. 26, 2008
Concert, show and sports tickets
since Apr. 14, 2009
Trader Joe’s
Great groceries and inexpensive wine
since Aug. 28, 2008
Travel and lodging
since Feb. 10, 2009
Toy retailer
since Nov. 15, 2008
Uncommon Goods
Unusual home accessories and gifts
since Jan. 24, 2009
Urban Outfitters
Clothing and footwear retailer
since July 21, 2008
Vera Bradley
Seller of brightly patterned bags
since June 4, 2008
Z Gallerie
Home decor, furniture and dinnerware
since June 14, 2009
CEO of the online shoe retailer
since Mar. 8, 2008
Online retailer for custom merchandise
since Oct. 24, 2008

Of the 40 retailers above, grocery chain Trader Joe’s use of Twitter impressed me the most. Nearly all of Trader Joe’s posts are simply retweets of customer talking about TJ’s food and beverages on Twitter. (Jargon alert: Retweets repeat someone else’s message on Twitter — crediting the author — to help spread the message to others. Often abbreviated as RT, it’s word of mouth, Twitter-style.)

Finally, as I’m writing this post, Gazelle sent me another Twitter reply. This time, Gazelle thanked me for my tweet and offered me a 5% bump in value on my next Gazelle gadget trade-in.