Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How I Relieve End of The Gift Shopping Blues

Preparing for your Christmas list can turn you into a crazed manic shopper scurrying around at the last minute and turning a time of “peace for all mankind” into an opportunity for tranquilsers for all family-kind.

I have found that there are some deliciously unfair advantages of being a corporate gift specialist.

On Sunday we celebrated my stepson’s 26th birthday. He is currently working with an art gallery but has also been studying to be a tour guide operator. He has a great love for wild life and has a very enchanting way of telling a story, which is a great advantage in this industry.

Taking into account his passions an opportunity presented itself in July. A client ordered a consignment of binoculars for the end of the year function. I have to tell you that this is easily my most organized client, as I have met no one else that ordered their gifts four months ahead of the function. If I ever expanded to a level that I needed my own internal event coordinator, I would definitely seek her out.
But back to my tale. When I received the order, I thought, “This is great” and ordered a set for both of my stepsons. One as a birthday gift for the 26 year old in September and one as a Christmas gift for my soon-to-be 13 year old step son.

In December my 13 year old stepson comes to visit us for the Christmas holidays. He is a wonderful addition to my life, but I have to admit that travel time with a demanding 5 year old and an irritated older step brother drives me to distraction.
So opportunity presented itself again. I have just received an order for 1000 USBs. It just so happens that the importer for the USBs also has some stock of great MP4 players. Bonus, get two MP4 players, one as a birthday gift for my stepson (his birthday is early in December) and one for my daughter. Then we have two occupied children instead of two terrorists saying “mommy, Mathew won’t give me any space.” Or, “No Margaret, move up”.

My stepdaughter and her fiancé recent bought a house and regularly have guests over on weekends for a braai, so I am thinking of getting them some of those outdoor camping chairs. In fact my dad just may like one of those as well, so that knocks him off the list.

This may seem a lot like cheating to you, but every job has its stressors and its perks. I consider this to be a perk. I have happy family members, who get gifts that they actually like and I save the time and fuel costs of rushing around buying gifts at what is arguably the busiest time of the year for a corporate gift specialist.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Everyday Family outdoor events and gifts

As I write this I have a lot of physical tenderness We spent yesterday at a horse and game farm.

The last time that we went horse riding was in December last year. But yesterday was the first time that my daughter went riding with us. Her experience of horse riding has been a 5 minute guided pony ride.

We went out for a 1 hour ride, which was perfect for the heat of the day. Long enough for relaxation, and short enough without giving us heat exhaustion.

During the day I used several corporate gifts that I have acquired during my career. The joy of being a corporate gift specialist is that if there is something that I like, I order extra unit for us to use as a family.

We had a braai at the farm and so we packed our cooler bags, plastic plates, plastic glasses and knives and forks. I even have a great set of braai tongs which were also from my corporate gift stock. We were a group of ten, but the rest of the group had not planned properly for the event and so we were the only ones with the correct gear. A team was sent out of a type of foraging expedition to get paper plates, but in the end we had to use one of our plates for the braai meat and my family and I had to use our plates in relay to have lunch. This made me realize that when you have a large extended family, extra outdoor gifts are always a blessing.

We packed the picnic blanket and the umbrella for my grandson. Yes, I am probably South Africa’s youngest grandmother. My grandchild is from my husband’s daughter from his first marriage.

We packed our caps and my daughter took her water bottle. Accidentally my husband took one of my manufacturing samples of my caps out with us and in the dust (because the area was quite dry), it became stained. We have so many caps at home and so I wondered how many caps a person can actually have, but the more time we spend outdoors, the more I come to realize that a cap is always a useful gift.

The day was a leisurely day in the morning as we braaied, had some refreshments and I added a few centimeters on by binging on jelly babies.

At about 15H30 we went out on our ride. There was some game on the farm and we were able to see zebras, waterbuck and gemsbok. I realized that I had left the binoculars and home. We pack the binoculars away because my 5 year old daughter tends to think that they are her personal toy binoculars, so it slipped my mid to consider taking them and for that I was sorry because she could not get a decent view of the game that was further away. I would have loved to have had the digital camera binoculars with us, because that way we could have captured the event for Margaret.

My daughter had insisted on riding the white horse, but when we got on the owners said that we needed to choose another horse as we needed something slower because of Margaret.

So I swapped with my husband Colin. Well this horse was so fast that it just stopped. My husband had to get off and had to start walking the horse. The irony of it was that just on the way to the ride he mentioned that we should go hiking more often. So we went for a ride and Colin went for a hike because he walked more than 50% of the way.

So last night when we returned home, we were all sore and tired, but of course Colin was exhausted.

As the weather begins to improve of the next few weeks and we welcome spring, we are looking forward to a lot more outdoor experiences. So this may be a good time for you to begin thinking about outdoor gifts for your corporate gifts for your clients.

Enjoy Spring.