Tag Archives: lists

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



12 “Of the Month” Gifts

Clark Griswold expected a four-figure Christmas bonus. Instead, he got a membership in the Jelly of the Month Club [YouTube video].

While National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation pokes fun at “of the month” clubs, I think Cousin Eddie had it right: “That’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the entire year.”

Consider giving from these 12 “of the month” clubs.

Omaha Steaks Gourmet Entree of the Month
Give 12 months of mouth-watering meat, from top sirloins in January to prime rib in December.
Jigsaw Java Puzzle of the Month
Choose how many puzzle pieces and how many months (six or 12 months) for a puzzle fan.
ProFlowers Flowers of the Month Club
Send fresh, seasonal flowers to your love every month with ProFlowers.
The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club
Surprise the beer lover on your gift list with 12 months of 12-pack microbrews.
Stone Creek Coffee of the Month
My favorite coffee addiction, sent in two-pound monthly doses for a year.
12 Months of Netflix
Give a 12-month gift subscription to more than 100,000 movies and TV shows.
Threadless 12 Club
Cool in cotton form. Your giftee receives a dozen creative t-shirts, voted on by the online public.
Tie of the Month Club
The Tie Bar will deliver a dozen ties to your guy over the next year. Choose from traditional, trendy or “trenditional.”
Giftlit Monthly Books
Give 12 month’s worth of the best books for children, teens, men and women as selected by librarians, educators, authors and literary editors.
Popping Through the Months Club
Send a different flavor of popcorn — like chocolate drizzle caramel corn — each month.
Fishing Lure of the Month
Thrill your fishing enthusiast with 12 months of freshwater or saltwater lures.
Forbidden Foods Club
No one can handle a whole year of Zingerman’s forbidden foods. Select three months or six months of dangerous gluttony.

Seven Songs About Giving

What if gift giving had a soundtrack? After all, I have an iTunes playlist for the treadmill, so why not giving? After spending a few hours at the iTunes Store, here are seven songs about giving. Links below go to the song download on Apple’s iTunes Store.

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You — Bryan Adams
“Take me as I am – take my life
I would give it all – I would sacrifice”

Give A Little Bit — Supertramp (or the Goo Goo Dolls cover)
“I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care”

Give To Live — Sammy Hagar
“Ohhh, you’ve got to give
You’ve got to give
You’ve got to give… to live”

Hush Li’l Baby — Jim Brickman with Carly Simon
“Hush my li’l baby, don’t say a word
Mamma’s gonna buy you a mocking bird
And if that mocking bird don’t sing
Mamma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring”

Shower The People — James Taylor
“Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way you feel
Things are gonna be much better if you only will”

The Gift — Jim Brickman
“You gave your love away
I can’t find the words to say
That I’m thankful every day
For the gift”

Your Song — Elton John
“If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one’s for you”

Top Ten Companies for Customer Service

MSN Money has released its 2009 Customer Service Hall of Fame this month. I’ve listed the top ten below with excerpts from the retailer profiles. Try one of these service standouts for your next gift purchase.

#10. Southwest Airlines
“Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines attributes its customer-service success to personality… and free peanuts.” Consider a Southwest gift card.

#9. Costco
“The company’s prices have also won Costco fans. Costco stocks its stores with bulk items that consumers can buy at discounts. It keeps its margins low in order to keep prices down and makes up the difference in sales volume.” Shop at Costco.com.

#8. Apple
“If they can’t fix it, and it’s new enough, they’ll often hand you a replacement device free, on the spot.” Visit the Apple Store.

#7. Whole Foods Market
“[Whole Foods] has created a loyal following by committing to sell high-quality food that’s free of many additives and antibiotics that concern health-conscious customers.” Order a Whole Foods gift card.

#6. Publix Super Market
“[Spokeswoman Maria] Brous also attributes Publix’s success to discount programs intended to help struggling families afford the basics.” Purchase a Publix gift card.

#5. Nordstrom Department Store
“The company gives many of its salespeople the latitude to deal with customer complaints without running them up the management chain.” Shop at Nordstrom.com.

#4. Amazon.com
“Amazon considers its free shipping a form of advertising. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Amazon said it had saved customers more than $800 million in shipping costs in 2008.” Shop at Amazon.com.

#3. NetFlix
“Netflix has 58 distribution centers across the country, enabling 97% of members to receive new DVDs the day after Netflix gets their returns, says Steve Swasey, the company’s director of corporate communications. The company ships more than 2.2 million DVDs each day to a network of 10.3 million subscribers, he says.” Give a NetFlix gift subscription.

#2. Trader Joe’s
“Trader Joe’s owes its customer ratings to its cheese, chocolate cake… and the rest of its product selection, says satisfied shopper Lisa Hsu.” See TraderJoes.com for the closest grocery store location. TJ’s does not sell its products (not even their gift cards) online.

#1. USAA
“USAA certainly isn’t your average insurance company or financial institution. Its 7 million members are all in the military, former servicemen or family members of military personnel. Members are stakeholders. They pay premiums and are paid back a portion of the insurer’s profits each year.” If you qualify for USAA services, visit USAA.com to learn more about buying a U.S. savings bond as a kid’s gift. Albeit practical, savings bonds help children understand the power of growing interest.


MSN Money based its top ten on a survey of 3,015 respondents, rating the customer service of 145 companies in 15 industries. Zogby International conducted the survey and also asked which aspect of service was most important. The results (rounded up) are as follows:

  • Knowledgeable staff – 44%
  • Friendly staff – 18%
  • Readily available staff – 15%
  • Flexible policies for return/exchange of merchandise – 9%
  • Service after the sale – 9%
  • None — product is all that matters – 1%
  • Not sure – 1%
  • Other – %1

13 Father’s Day Gift Guides

Father’s Day 2009 is Sunday, June 21, 2009 in the U.S. — 25 days away. Check out these 13 gift guides to find a great gift for Dad.