Start a Gift Closet Now


I have a closet in my studio where I keep a stash of gifts.  Some years I’m better at keeping it stocked than others, but my guidelines are always the same.

• I try to stock gender-neutral gifts.
• No trash. Always the good stuff.
• And most importantly, buy them at their lowest price.

Sometimes I find a few nice things after Christmas, but let’s face it, by then most of the merchandise is pretty picked over. In the last few years I found some great bargains through Amazon’s Lightning Deals. These only last a few hours, so if I spot a good price, I jump on it.

I also like to shop BEFORE Thanksgiving, and the middle of summer. Retailers often drop prices around then, perhaps to make room for new stock.

I shop for friends throughout the year. If I see something I know they want or love, and find it at a good price, I’ll buy it and give it to them. You don’t need a birthday or holiday to give gifts.

Between you and me I prefer to give gifts for no particular reason. This way, they don’t feel obligated to reciprocate.

A gift closet is a lifesaver when you simply couldn’t get away to shop, or you have unexpected guests drop in. And don’t just think Christmas. The gift closet is for any time of the year: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and just because I love you days.

Some of the things I stock:

• Christmas music (CDs)
• Wine accessories
• Board games
• Crystal
• Sofa Throws
• Dog toys (Yes, I always remember my dog friends!)
• Cookie tins (which I fill up with freshly baked cookies)
• Leather bound journal
• Tool kits
• Car kits
• Books (either my own or from a relatively famous author)
• Stuffed toys

I try not to buy anything with electronics in case it needs returning. Anything perishable, including makeup and perfumes aren’t good choices either.

Having a gift closet has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

Do you have any suggestions on what to keep in a gift closet?


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  1. That is a great idea about the gift closet! I don’t have many to shop for at this point in my life and we don’t exchange gifts at birthdays, etc., so for me it wouldn’t be too practical to have one, but I can see for a large family or for those that have many to shop for, it would come in handy!


    • Betty: I think it’s because I don’t have many people to buy for that I used to be so bad at gift giving with drop ins.

      I lose track of days too and then I’m caught freaking out when I didn’t get a birthday gift in time. Christmas always reminds me to think ahead for the rest of the year.

  2. I have a gift book closet 🙂 with extra copies of books by other authors that I love. The one I give out most often is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Everyone falls in love with it, so I have to buy at least a dozen new copies every year.

    Decent flashlights are a great gift for guys or anyone with a car; I watch for sales on those little pocket MagLights.

    I keep the baskets I get over the year and recycle them as cookies and muffins gift baskets or movie night gift baskets (just add a DVD, popcorn, some cookies or chips and hot cocoa mix packets or a liter of soda.)

    • Lynn: I am always scouring garage sales for beautiful or unique baskets and trays. They’re great for dressing up home baked goodies.

      re: books
      I keep a few books too as gifts, but I have to keep tabs of who likes what kind of books. There’s nothing worse than giving a fantasy buff, a contemporary read. Or vice versa.

  3. I don’t keep a gift closet. Our family mostly spends time with each other for celebrations. What I do start before Thanksgiving is buying gift cards that we’ll pass out at Christmas. It doesn’t hurt so much if I buy them a few at a time.

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