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Fundraising is the Name of the Game

One of the most popular fundraising methods for not-for-profit organizations are auctions or silent auctions. There are typically an abundance of donated gifts from the community and although every contributor has the best of intentions, packaging often goes by the wayside. And as we all know, packaging can make or break the “sale.” GiftTree recently had the privilege of teaming up with Portland CampFire to help package donated items for the upcoming auction at their Blue Jeans and BBQ event. The packaging makes the auction items more appealing to bidders and helps bring in more funds. And of course, with fundraising, that literally is the name of the game. GiftTree feels fortunate to partner with our friends in the community and to have the opportunity to put our packaging expertise to work for such a good cause. Now we want to hear from you. We’ll use The Gift Exchange as a platform to share fundraising ideas, information about our charitable partners and opportunities for getting involved. We invite you to post a comment to introduce your not-for-profit organization or let us know about your upcoming fundraiser. Come on, this is your opportunity to give a shout out for your favorite...

Simple Changes Can Make All the Difference

I just returned from the International Home and Housewares Show. Not surprisingly, going green was a big part of the show. I was glad to see many of the suppliers putting forth the effort to support consumers in their attempts to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. One small change can make a huge difference. There was a huge section at the show that concerned everyday goods and I had the chance to check it out. One of the smartest ideas I saw involved an ordinary trash can. Let me know if you do the exact same thing I’ve been doing… I live in Portland, Oregon and we are pretty progressive when it comes to Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling. My family and I recycle, but I must admit that we could be better at it. We are very good at recycling items from the kitchen and office areas of the house. The bathrooms?–not so much. It is primarily because we only have one small trash can in our bathrooms. When it comes time to empty them, I don’t generally sort through them and separate the contents. What I spotted at the show was a trash can (made of recycled plastic by the way) that had two compartments. One was for trash, one was for the recycled items. Viola! Problem solved. I’m going to keep an eye out in the stores for the trash can and then purchase one for each of our bathrooms. Until then, simply putting an additional trash can (one for true trash and the other for recyclable materials) will reduce the amount of goods we send to the...

Taking it Personal

I love the fact that I can send a gift for almost any occasion, and I can personalize it too! Whether I want a name, a date, an initial or a sentiment, adding a personal touch to the actual gift in my opinion makes it a touch more special. This year for example, my husband and I are sending his daughter the Amazing Grace Engravable Wind Chimes. The wind chimes play the first six notes heard in Amazing Grace (which happens to be a favorite hymn of hers), and we’ll have her name & birth date engraved on the wooden wind catcher. It’s very nice to have the option of personalizing a gift like...

Balcony Gardens

There’s no reason why someone living in a condo or apartment can’t have a great little sanctuary of his or her own. Below are some ideas to help get you started. If your balcony is narrow, think up! Hang gorgeous baskets from the ceiling above you. Integrate a small trellis into your design so that plants can climb up and provide a lush screen. This will give you a wonderful secret garden and some privacy too. Use a fountain that is normally for interior tabletops and place on an overturned pot. The relaxing sound will let your chi flow and drown out your neighbors! If you have room, place at least a small chair in the corner for you to enjoy your space. Limited on room? Purchase a natural fiber exterior grade hallway runner for a narrow exterior rug that can be used as extra seats. Remember your home is castle, and no castle is complete without a wonderful garden! Be creative and think in three dimensions. Do you have some tips or tricks? We’d love to hear from...

How Much is Your Nose Worth?

I attend wine tastings on occasion as part of my job. My nose isn’t sensitive enough to pick up all the nuances necessary to declare myself a leading authority in the industry, but I still manage to select some great wines for our customers. I rely more on my taste buds (and wine reviews by leading authorities). I found an interesting tidbit in today’s local newspaper. According to the Oregonian newspaper, a Lloyd’s of London syndicate said it has insured the nose of winemaker Ilja Gort for a cool $8 million. The Dutch winemaker and taster took out the policy after learning of a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident. Gort, 47, said his nose is essential for him to produce top quality wines at his Chateau de la Garde vineyard in the Bordeaux region of France. The custom insurance policy covers the wine maker for the loss of either his nose or his sense of smell. There are a few stipulations, however. Gort may not ride a motorcycle or work as a knife thrower’s assistant. Fire breathing is out too. He isn’t allowed to box either. (I’m sure Mike Tyson is much relieved upon hearing such news.) If anyone else knows of interesting insurance policies, I would love to hear about them.  I seem to recall Fred Astaire’s legs being insured at one point. I’m certain Betty Grable insured her legs for $1 million and Marlene Dietrich insured her voice. The story about Jennifer Lopez insuring various body parts is...

The Golden Years

Traditionally in most western cultures gifts made out of specific materials are given to couples depending on how many years they have been married. In the first it is paper, the eighth year is bronze, 25th silver, and in the 50th gold. I think the As Good as Gold gourmet food basket is a great gift for all 50th anniversaries and your loved ones will too.  Let’s face it not all parents or grandparents want silly gold nick knacks to grace their mantles! They probably stuff them under the sofa once you leave...

We Put the “Custom” in Customer Service

As part of the Corporate Sales Team here at GiftTree, part of my job is to help business owners find the best gift for each occasion. And the part that makes my job so fun and easy is that I never feel like there is an occasion we don’t have a gift for! That doesn’t mean that everything is stamped out in cookie cutter fashion either, with one gift for everyone. (I’ve seen a lot of companies “re-purpose” the same gift over & over and it gets pretty boring after awhile.) With everything from beautiful flower arrangements, healthy fruit baskets, robust wines and sinfully delicious goodies, to personalized, engraved or custom orders, I cannot find another company that offers what we do. We truly put the “custom” in customer service. Give me a call and let’s see how I can make a customer out of...

What to Get Our Hairdresser

So me and another gal that works here at GiftTree share the same hairdresser. Our hairdresser is beyond pregnant and about to go on maternity leave. We want to get her something but are not sure what to send her. We are not sure if her employer limits the dollar amount of gifts she can accept from clients so we do want to send something too extravagant. But we still want something nice. Please help us choose. Any...

The Rise of Oregon Pinots

Oregon’s wine country has received a lot of attention recently. This year an Erath Pinot Noir made Wine Spectator’s Top 100 and a Domaine Serene is now the fourth most popular Pinot Noir in American restaurants, as noted by Wine & Spirits magazine. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the 10 years between 1995 and 2005 sales of Oregon wine doubled to nearly 1.6 million cases annually. Vineyard land doubled to more than 14,000 acres, and the number of vineyards more than tripled to 300-plus.We have assembled an outstanding trio of Oregon Pinots for those who already know and love these fine wines, or for those who are simply curious what all of the hubbub is about. Featuring three impressive Pinot Noirs from Erath, Eyrie, and Maysara, this large crate of Oregon wine will please even the most discriminating connoisseur and will delight any Oregon wine newbies....

Brunch Anyone?

Easter is almost here. Planning a brunch? Mimosas or Morning Glories are a must. For a Mimosa, simply pour champagne and orange juice into a tall flute. If you prefer something a little smoother, add a little bit of Grand Marinier and you will have created a Morning Glory. If you are flush with cash, I heard that Perrier  Jouet just released a champagne for only 50,000 euros. That’s only $6300 per bottle. The price also includes a one-on-one chat with cellar master Herve Deschamps and the opportunity to stay at Perrier–Jouet’s Belle-Epoque mansion. (Celebs are snapping up the boxed sets) If you think $6300 per bottle is too much, contemplate this…The most expensive bottle of champagne to date was sold at auction in 2005 for $17,625. That should make a might fine...

What Does “Gourmet” Mean?

The word “gourmet” is thrown around a lot these days. It is used to describe food, coffee, restaurants, cookware, and even pet food. The funny thing is that “gourmet” is not technically an adjective: it is a noun! By definition, a gourmet is a person with a sensitive and discriminating palate, and who is knowledgeable in the appreciation of haute cuisine. A gourmand is someone who simply enjoys foods in large quantities while an epicure is similar to a gourmet in refinement, but tends to indulge to the point of excess. Recently the term foodie has been introduced into our vernacular, and it is intended to be a conversational synonym for gourmet. The word “gourmet” has French roots and originally meant “a wine merchant’s assistant,” implying that such a person would have a refined palate for delicious things that were not eaten primarily for nourishment. For much of history, however, the word has carried a negative connotation, especially one of a gluttonous nature. Even in present day discussions, some camps feel that “gourmet” is a haughty, expensive enterprise while others use the word to indicate fine foods of high quality and excellent preparation. So what does this all mean? Obviously we use the word “gourmet” frequently when describing our different foods and gift baskets. I tend to use it when wanting to convey quality of ingredients, refinement in taste, and distinction in appearance and preparation. “Gourmet” is simply one of those words that is undergoing its own evolution in our language and whose usage is still largely a matter of personal...

Top 10 Silly Holidays

There are numerous holidays that aren’t necessarily big gifting holidays. Sometimes these holidays are so silly, the thought of having the day as a holiday is a gift in itself. So to help spread the holiday cheer and perhaps my juvenile enjoyment of the obscure, here is a list of my top 10 favorite odd holidays: January 14th – Clean Off Your Desk Day. I use this holiday as an excuse not to have to clean off my desk the remaining 364 days of the year. January 27th – Chocolate Day. I admit that this holiday should never be classified as “silly.” To the contrary, I cannot be serious enough about chocolate. This is a day to indulge! February 20th – Love Your Pet Day. This holiday is like Christmas for my dog. She gets treats all the time, but she gets showered with gifts on this fun holiday. March 1st – Share a Smile Day. I typically smile quite a bit, but I think people thought I was flirting with them at the grocery store this year. I might have to re-think my strategy for celebrating this holiday. June 16th – National Fudge Day. Again, serious business. Need I say more? July 27th – Parent’s Day. My son thinks this holiday is unfair since we also have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I say, it’s a perfect day for presents so bring it on! August 5th – Sister’s Day. I don’t think this holiday is silly. I’m just using it to give a shout out to my two sisters, Cheryl and Shannon. Hayyy girls! September 28th – Good...

All Hands on Deck

Working at GiftTree means you are a team player. During the holidays especially, all departments jump in where needed. The owners are taking customer calls, and the IT department is making gift baskets. It truly is a time for camaraderie and holiday spirit. I was able to spend a Saturday in December working in our warehouse putting together The City Block Snack Tower. I folded the boxes, put the snack items in the corresponding box, tied the bow (only briefly), and got it ready for shipping. I was able to spend time with co-workers that I don’t get to see often. In fact, I got to know our accountant Liz better because she was there helping as well. I am not used to standing all day, so my back kind of hurt after 8 hours, but all in all it gave me an appreciation for our production team. They work hard at making sure each basket leaves our warehouse looking perfect. There are no machines or robots doing the work. It’s all done by hand by people that really care about our customers and how well the gift is received. I did learn that you have to have a unique gift to tie bows…which is probably why I was not put on bow...

Adolescent Dog Desires to Learn New Tricks

Okay, let’s be honest, the only things my dog really desires are tennis balls and never ending fields to chase them in. My dog defines his breed better than any other retriever I’ve ever met! He eats, sleeps and breathes retrieving; he literally moves his legs like he’s running when he’s asleep! So, I don’t think he’s really interested in learning any new tricks but I would love it. My dog has a great personality, good temperament, he’s mellow (unless there’s a tennis ball around) and he’s pretty well trained in most areas and there’s the hitch. I can’t walk my dog on a leash. This of course is my own fault for not investing the time to train him. He would rather eat the leash than be led around by it and I would rather have him running free by my side than be restraining him on a leash. Normally this works out well for us. We live on a quiet dead end street with a cul de sac. Outings for us consist of open fields, mountain tops and wooded groves. He’s not a city dog by any means. The problem is, I’m moving to the city. All be it the very small “city” of downtown Vancouver, Wa, but it’s still full of traffic. So, now I find myself needing to train him to walk nicely on a leash and it seems nearly impossible! I’ve read all the books and done all the research but he’s just not having it! I will continue with my struggle; there’s no quitting on this one but if anyone out there has...

Brandy – My Favorite Gift

Brandy Brown, Customer Service Representative There are many gifts that I love at Gift Tree. One that I think is really cool is the Around the World Wine Chest. I’m kind of into that nautical look and I adore things like this. The trunk has that old world map print on it that can be displayed long after the goodies are gone. And believe me, the goodies will not last long. I have tasted many of the goodies in this basket and they are delicious! One other gift that I really like is the Engraveable Ice Cream Holder. My Dad loves his ice cream. He has a bowl of ice cream every night, occasionally sharing with his dogs. So, when the Ice Cream Holder came to Gift Tree, I thought what the perfect gift! So, for his birthday, he will be getting his own ice cream holder with his name engraved on the front. The designers at Gift Tree are always coming up with new gifts and designs, so if you ask me next week what my favorite gift is, I’m sure it will...

Harley

I recently lost a very good friend in my life. He was always there to greet me at the door with big hugs and kisses. He listened to every word I had to say and never judged me. If I needed to take a walk, he was always a willing partner. He was a Black Lab named Harley. He was about 12 years old when we lost him and it was a great loss to our family. I think about him everyday and I miss seeing him. I have so many pictures of him stuck in photo albums but I realized just the other day that I don’t have any pictures of him displayed in frames. I decided that needed to change! One of the new gifts that we have at Gift Tree is a Pet Loss Frame. Alongside the picture of your pet, there’s a poem that is guaranteed to make you tear up. You can also have your pets name engraved below the picture! It’s such a neat idea that I just had to get one. It’s now sitting on my mantle so I can see Harley every day. What a great way to commemorate your best...

Good Looking Green Thumbs

If you or someone you love want to have a figurative green thumb but not an actual one the Burt’s Bees Gardener’s Kit is the perfect solution. It combines wonderful tools to make your flower and nail beds radiate with beauty. This gift comes with a handy canvas carrying case for your pruner, floral snips, spade, cultivator, and trowel. The Burt’s Bees hand salve, cuticle crème, cotton gloves for overnight care, and various hand crème’s revitalize hard working hands. This is a great gift for gardeners of all...

Corporate Panache

The moment I laid eyes on the Double Wine Tote with Wines & Accessories, I knew it was going to be a big hit with our corporate gifts customers. The leather tote is reminiscent of old world society, evoking images of dashing gentleman’s clubs and elite societies. Upon opening the tote, you are presented with the full spectrum of the contents all at once, and believe me when I say that “WOW” is the first word that will come to mind. Two very tasteful wines and all of the accoutrements to enjoy the wine tasting experience are provided of course, but more importantly the overall quality of the gift will speak volumes to the receiver of their importance in your eyes. This is truly a superb...
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