(This post was last updated on: 12/18/20.)
Have you ever been in that situation where someone unexpectedly gave you a holiday gift and you had nothing to give them in return? Or you forgot a co-worker’s birthday and had to run out at lunch to quick buy something? Well what about getting invited to an event and you were the only one that showed up empty handed. Yeah, me too and it sucks! Well no more; I thought, I can do better than that. I put together a list of gifts to keep on hand for last minute emergencies.
I came up with the idea to make a little stock pile of generic gifts that I can pull from whenever one of those awkward situations comes up. So I started by getting a plastic tote and filling it with a few things in my home that I could re-gift. It really wasn’t that hard. I keep a box in the house that is set aside for donations to Goodwill. Anytime someone gives me something that I don’t really like or that I know I won’t use, I toss it in my donation box. These are brand new items, sometimes with the price tag still on. I also have a stack of gift cards in my kitchen junk drawer, so I picked out the ones that I know we aren’t likely to use. Gift cards make good gifts for men and women.
From there I started picking up something here and there when I was out shopping. If I see something on sale that I know would make a great gift for a close friend or family member, I’ll go ahead and get it. For example, one of my BFF’s loves roosters, so when I saw this handmade wire rooster at a merchant market, I snatched it up. I will save it for her birthday or an upcoming holiday. When I see a great sale on something like candles, then I will pick one up for myself and 1 or 2 extras for my gift box.
What Type of Gifts You Should Keep on Hand:
Let’s talk about some examples of items that make good gifts that you can easily keep on hand. The first item is candles which are always an appreciated gift. I like to keep a variety of styles, scents and sizes. You don’t always have to give an extra large sized candle, sometimes a small one will do.
The next category of items is easy to find at bargain stores like Home Goods, Ross or TJ Maxx. Small servingware or home decor items make cute gifts for all kinds of people (neighbors, co-workers, church friends, etc.). It’s also a good gift for that work Secret Santa Party that has a low budget set by your boss. Once I brought a set of cute stemless wine glasses from TJ Maxx to a white elephant party at work and everyone fought over my gift.
ALCOHOL. Yes, just about everyone loves a good cocktail. It’s useful and it’s an item that can be re-gifted if the person wants to do that. We keep several bottles of wine on hand. But I also take it a step further by keeping some bottles of local wine on hand too. These are great gifts when you are going to a dinner with people not from the area or as a gift for family that lives out of state. North Carolina has tons of small family owned vineyards and their wine is pretty affordable. I also stock up on general use wine gift bags at the dollar store.
More Affordable Gift Ideas to Stock Up On:
- Coffee Mugs- can be filled with cocoa packets or k-cups
- Scarf and Gloves
- Lotion and Bath Products
- Inspirational Books
- Tote Bags
- Photo Frames
- Throw Blankets
- Notebooks/ Stationary
Homemade Gifts That You Can Store:
- Mason jars of stovetop potpourri can be stored in your fridge. Check out our previous post on how to make this gift.
- Store homemade cookies in freezer bags in your freezer.
- Canned jam, fruit, veggies, pasta sauce, etc.
- Body scrub & bath bombs
Tell us your ideas on gifts to keep on hand for last minute emergencies in a comment below! Do you also stock up on wrapping paper and gift bags? Where is your favorite place to shop for these gifts? I love to read your recommendations and comments!