It's the most wonderful time of the year, and for you shop-a-holics out there, that means finding and scoring the best deals for everyone on your list. Oh, the list. Ever growing and ever evolving, it's sort of like the guest list at a wedding--(hopefully) sans the drama.
Last year we surveyed some household employees (babysitters, teachers, housekeepers, cooks, etc) and found out what gifts mean the most to them and what they would prefer over other, less practical items. This year we're bringing you a selection of gifts a little more comprehensive for your beloved team and a little more savvy for your wallet.
For your weekly/bi-weekly housekeeper or occasional sitter:
If this person has been loyal to you for at least a year, a cash bonus and a little something---don't sweat it, we're talking under $50---is appropriate.
Vera Bradley Wristlet- ($29.99): A lovely printed wristlet like this keeps all their cards, cash, and personal items in one place. Thoughtful and organized, just like your employee.
Nine West Watch ($35.99): Practical and chic, they'll always be on time for every appointment--and they'll keep you on schedule, too.
Loft Scarf ($35): Keep them stylish and cozy with this colorful printed scarf from Ann Taylor Loft. We love the bright color for a snowy or breezy beach day.
For your doorman or mailperson, child's teacher, favorite barista or neighbor who always shovels your driveway:
These people play active parts in your life, but from a different point of view. Your contact with them is varied and not always personal, yet they provide that extra gallon of gas to take you to the last mile. The only exception here is doormen who rely on their holiday bonuses as about 10% of their yearly income, so a cash gift is common here. Everyone else, though, would be extremely pleased with any of these smart gifts:
Amazon Gift Card ($0.15-$2000): With an abundant way to give this gift (print it, email it, facebook it, or mail it) and with any amount you'd like to spend ($15-$50 depending on the recipient) this is practical for anyone since you can get basically any item under the sun.
Campo Marzio Pen ($50): These lovely vintage-style pens are perfect for a man or a woman and add a sense of unexpected classic sophistication to your gift-list.
Fire and Ice Tea Pitcher ($29.99): Give them a tasty treat with this ingenious tea pitcher by Tea Forte. The proportions of hot water, tea and ice are perfectly balanced to produce a fresh 24 oz. pitcher of iced tea with each infuser.
For your daily wingmen ie, your nanny, chef, personal assistant:
Since this is someone who is in your constant contact circle, someone you trust and depend on, and whom plays a vital component in how you manage your life, a cash bonus (as we learned in our first edition of this gift guide, a week and a half salary is standard) and some kind of personal gift is appropriate.
Erin Condren personalized planners ($50): Not only are these adorable, they let your employee keep track of their life as well as the important moments of yours. You can customize these as much as you want--any little detail, a phrase or a picture, will be appreciated.
iPad2 (starting at $499): We know it's a little bit of a splurge, but this is an item on EVERYBODY'S wishlist...and trust us, it's on ours, too. Show them how much they are appreciated with a free engraving.
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