Shut the Box!

Looking for something devilishly fun to accompany a wine gift? Check out our Antique Replica Pub Game with Merlot. This game is a total blast to play! Our version comes in a handsome solid wood box that can be engraved for that extra touch of class. And don’t overlook the included bottle of BV Century Cellars Merlot, which also adds a note of distinction. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The game is classically known as “Shut the Box,” and is one of the oldest dice games around. The premise is easy: players use two dice and a wooden playing tray with sliders numbered 1 through 9. A player begins by rolling the dice. The sum of the dice becomes the target value for that particular round. For example, if a 5 and a 4 were rolled, the player must close, or put down, the sliders that add up to that sum (ie., 9, 1+8, 2+7, 3+6, etc.). Each player rolls and closes the sliders accordingly. If every numbered slider higher than 6 is closed, players can start using one die per turn. The game ends when a player successfully closes the last slider and exclaims “shut the box!” OR when a player is unable to cover his or her roll with the remaining sliders, in which case the remaining sum of the sliders is a penalty score. Great for friendly betting or to challenge the wits, Shut the Box is an entertaining way to share a bottle of wine. We hope you enjoy it as much as we...

What’s New, What’s Hot

I recently returned from the Fancy Food Show in San Diego and the International Gift Fair in New York. What’s new and what’s hot? Going green and organics are red hot right now. Tea is going to run right over coffee in popularity. High contrast colors of orange, teal and brown are prominent on silhouettes as well as the combo of green, plum and silver. Designer chocolates are big, Big, BIG. Minimalist elegance, easy living comfort and nature inspired designs...

Does Hallmark Have a Card for That?

Somebody with too much time on their hands must have looked at March and decided to create a few extra holidays. Some of my favorite odd holidays include: March 3rd – What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day March 4th – International Scrap Booking Day March 9th – Panic Day March 18th – Awkward Moments Day. It is also Forgive Mom and Dad Day. (It seems a little redundant. Most of my awkward moments are typically generated by my parents.) March 26th – Make Up your Own Holiday Day Now that you are aware of these holidays, I have you covered if you need any gifts to help the celebration process. Check out GiftTree’s pet gifts. If Cats and Dogs Has Opposable Thumbs, they would be able to get into the adorable Cat and Dog Treat Jars. For the scrap bookers, the Digital Photo Album is a must. If you ever panic because you have forgotten to send someone a gift, look into GiftTree’s Last Minute Gifts. There’s quite a selection. I personally like the Bear Hug. Everything on the site is tailor made to make gift giving easy and fun. Go ahead, make up your own holiday. GiftTree has a gift for...

Stop Assuming Somebody Else Has It Covered

I’ve discovered something about diaper bags. Everybody (with a baby) needs one, but hardly anyone gives them as a gift. It’s sort of like the pretty girl never getting asked out on a date because it is assumed that somebody else has already asked her out. Everybody thinks somebody else has already given the mother-to-be a diaper bag. It’s also a little weird to me that people think there is a limit to how many diaper bags a new mom can use. Are you kidding me? It’s pretty much going to be her purse for the next two years. She needs more than one! GiftTree has a really great diaper bag. The Elegant Baby Diaper Bag is deep chocolate brown with white trim. It even comes with a baby on the go kit consisting of numerous lidded dishes, a striped changing mat and cute little bib (gotta catch the drool). I love it. It almost makes me wish I had a baby on the...

Popcorn + Chocolate = Heaven on Earth

Get a load of this. Popcorn dunked in layer upon layer of chocolate. That’s another description of Heaven for my family. I brought home the Popfections gift thinking it would be a good snack to share. Apparently it was a little too good for sharing. It took two days before my family was begging for more. Four different popcorn and chocolate concoctions are in a slick looking boxed set. The toffee is made with real butter. The truffles are huge. The Popsters are my favorite. They remind me of Milk Duds only they are individual pieces of popcorn dunked in chocolate. What’s really cute about them is the old fashioned milk can tin used as the packaging. The Popclusters are sort of sweet and sort of salty, but definitely delish. (They have dried sweet cherries inside so they are crunch and...

Signature Scent

I have a friend who lives for bubble baths. I think she was hooked from her first bottle of Mr. Bubble as a kid. Luckily, GiftTree has a more age appropriate version. The Luxury Bath Foam is a kit that permit the user to create her very own signature scent bath foam. The packaging is gorgous. I love the bowl and mother-of-pearl spoon. I’m thinking it is going to be at the top of my gift...

Using Amethyst to Celebrate February Birthdays

Amethyst is the birthstone for February and an easy characteristic to play upon when looking for birthday gifts. GiftTree offers several amethyst, or purple-colored, products that are especially clever and suitable for this theme. For starters, you can’t go wrong with Purple Passion, a large flower arrangement with every shade of purple you can imagine. Presented in an adorable amethyst-colored basket, this gift is both festive and sweet. Though wine is not considered to be a shade of amethyst, some darker varieties of wine, like merlot, do have a purplish-red hue to them. GiftTree offers two fun merlots that are already packaged in wood crates: Niebaun Coppola Merlot and Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Red Merlot. Looking for something a little more playful? Check out these fun Yoga Chocolates. Not only are they inspirational and unique, but they come in a purple box! Any combination of these gifts will not only send a message of distinction, but will show that you put thought and effort into finding custom gifts for their February...

Table for Four

I find one of the biggest challenges of hosting a dinner party is setting a table. After spending most of my time preparing the meal, I usually have five minutes left before my guests arrive and I still have yet to set the table and go get the spaghetti sauce out of my hair. Not to mention I can never remember which side the salad fork goes on. I happened to do a search one day on the web and I found this great interactive site that shows a typical setting but then allows you to move them around to see what you like the best. The website is: http://www.free2explore.com/recipes/tab_dinner.htm. It also has a link to napkin folding ideas. To save time, I fold my napkins in advance so I can just grab them out of the cupboard when I’m ready for them. If I don’t, I end up with a dunce hat instead of a cardinals...

Hard to Impress In-Laws?

If you’ve ever had your in-laws come for a weekend visit, you know what training is like for the Olympics! You leave no detail unnoticed and every dust bunny exterminated. What better way to impress your in-laws than by setting the Bath & Body Invigoration gift basket in their guest room. It has a vast array of items including: a small hairbrush, comb, exfoliating soap, lip balm, hand creme, shower soap, facial cleanser and more. SO maybe instead of telling you how to raise your kids, they’ll be so relaxed and rejuvinated that they’ll compliment you on how clean your house is compared to your sister in-laws. Well, you can’t change the world with one Bath & Body Invigoration basket, or can...

Bon Voyage – Destination Weddings

More and more people are opting for more intimate destination weddings. There are many advantages to having a destination wedding such as having a themed backdrop and weeding out any crazy distant relatives who only come for the open bar. My husband and I rented a four-bedroom lodge in a national forest and invited thirty of our closest friends and family. We had a barbeque to go with our lodge theme and had a dragonfly motif throughout. It was wonderful because I knew everyone who came really wanted to be apart of our big day (since they had to drive at least three hours to get there). I think it gave our friends and family an excuse to take a vacation...

Just Add Water

I have an aunt who has a beautiful garden and loves working in her yard, but doesn’t like to receive fresh cut flowers because she says they always die (imagine that). So when I saw the Seeds of Life Oak Tree Kit, I immediately thought of her. I think she would love the idea of receiving a gift that she can plant and watch grow. I think this would be a great gift for any...

A Grandmother Approved Bachelorette Gift

There’s nothing more embarrassing than opening a bachelorette gift in front of your grandmother and pulling out a raunchy pair of underwear! This happened to a good friend of mine when she decided to have a combined bachelorette/wedding shower party instead of hosting multiple. She turned several shades of red as she frantically tried to shove the underwear under the couch cushion! If her friend had bought her the sophisticated and romantic Kama Sutra Bedside Box it would have been much less uncomfortable for the bride and...

February Birthdays: Leaplings

This February 29th will mark another leap year. Some trivia about this date: it occurs every four years and only in years divisible by 4, such as 1988, 1996, 2008, and 2016. Most people born on February 29th, fondly called “leaplings,” celebrate their birthdays either on either February 28th or March 1st. This year they will have the distinct pleasure of celebrating their actual birth date, which must be thrilling and certainly requires an extra special gift. Watch out for leaplings claiming only to be a quarter of their age: they are basing this age on counting their leap-year...

Enjoying Gourmet Mustards

An often overlooked but classical epicurean item is mustard. Mustard is noteworthy because, like any other fine cheese or wine, there are many varieties that afford a wide spectrum of tastes. Two of my favorite gourmet mustards that we use in our GiftTree baskets are the Willamette Valley Mustards’ Sweet ‘n Hot Stone Ground Mustard and the Robert Rothschild Farm’s Raspberry Wasabi Dipping Mustard. The “WVM” mustard is a classical, German-styled mixture of stone ground seeds, spices, and honey. It has a flush savory quality to it, and is excellent with pork, sausages, and full-bodied cheeses. We use it in our Grand Indulgence basket, where it pairs nicely with Camembert cheese, smoked salmon, caviar, and pretzels. Also not to be forgotten is the Rothschild Raspberry Wasabi mustard. Like many successful marriages of sweet and spicy ingredients, this mustard delivers a piquant rush of flavor that stimulates the palate. We use the sweet and spicy qualities of the mustard to enhance the crisp and dry qualities of champagne in our Champagne Wishes basket. We know that our customers possess attuned palettes, and we strive to heighten their epicurean pleasures by offering the finest gourmet items in interesting pairings. Next week: the art of Phoenician...

Ha-Ha, April Fools!

Get’ em good. April Fools’ Day is the one day a year everyone plays practical jokes and gets away with it. Here are some of my favorites. Family Fun: 1. If you have a faucet with a sprayer, put a rubber band around the handle when nobody is looking. The nnext person to use the sink will get drenched. 2. An oldie but goodie – superglue a coin to a busy sidewalk. Make sure to use a dime or a quarter. Hardly anybody picks up pennies anymore. Watch people get creative trying to pry up the coins with no success. For even more fun, rip a piece of cloth when the person bends down to pick up the coin. They’ll think they need a sewing kit to repair their pants. It’s a classic! For the Office: 1. Make a batch of cupcakes and frost them with toothpaste. Ask your office mates to “help themselves”. 2. Get in early or stay late the night before and cover the bottom of everyone’s mouse with a piece of tape. You will be surprised how long it takes people to figure out the problem. If you want to send a gift that is a practical joke in itself, GiftTree has a couple of great options. The Chain Wine Bottle Holder creates the optical illusion of a heavy duty chain suspending a bottle above the table. Olivina Chocolate Covered Hazelnut Nougats are a sweet surprise. They look just like olives, but they are actually a great tasting confection. My favorite is Don’t Break the Bottle! It’s a puzzle placed on a wine bottle. The...

Getting Creative with Wine Gifts

If you have a wine enthusiast in your life, chances are they already have a wine cellar or an ample private stock, and this can make decisions difficult when purchasing a bottle of wine for a special occasion. So why not give them something unique that will last longer than any single bottle of wine? GiftTree’s Reed Diffuser for the Wine Lover is the perfect answer. Cleverly packaged in what appears to be a two-bottle wine crate, this set uses all of the familiar shapes and formalities of the wine world. The vineyard label of “Chateau Agnes” is reminiscent of French wine country, and, inside the box, wine lovers will immediately recognize the distinctive decanter and mini wine bottles. Appropriately, the two scented oils are named Cabernet & Oak and Pinot Grigio & Chardonnay. To use, simply pour the “wine” into the decanter and fill with reeds. The rich and effervescent aroma of their favorite vintage will waft across the room. A great way to enhance drinking wine, fine dining, or to create a lavish...

Egg Hunts and Chocolate Bunnies

Easter in my family was always one of the most exciting holidays. Perhaps it was because I believed in the Easter Bunny well beyond the normal age of 6 years old. (I think I was 10 before I finally had to admit it was my mother hiding the basket behind the chair on Easter morning.) Maybe it was just all the chocolate I could eat that made me love the holiday. Whatever it was, I was sold on it. Easter is really early this year (March 23rd). GiftTree is offering some really great chocolates specifically suited for Easter celebrations. My favorite is the Edible Chocolate Box. It is a box made entirely of white and dark chocolate and then filled with 18 truffles. Another one is the Chocolate Easter Basket. It is a really simple, eco-friendly paper mache basket filled with egg shaped truffles. The truffles in the gift are a little more cutting edge than most (try the peanut butter and jelly – it’s...

Keeping the Looking Good, Looking Good!

Undoubtedly one of the most popular products asked for by our corporate clients is a product called The Corporate Clincher. As if the name doesn’t say it all, I had a corporate customer this past year who ordered over 100 of them to be sent to his business associates. When I jokingly said, “Wow, are you sure that’s enough?” he replied, “I wish it was, but I’m sure there’ll be a few more to add later. This is by far the best gift I’ve found to give my clients, and it keeps my looking good, looking good...
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