Celebrations: Stylish Last Minute Grocery Store Gifts

December 14, 2012

By Gabrielle.

I made another video for my Celebrations Series! Would you like to see it? It features a collection of 9 cool products you can pick up at any grocery store as last-minute hostess gifts. Stylish items that make great gifts and won’t look last-minute at all. (You can read more about why I picked each item in my Babble slideshow notes.) Let me know what you think. And tell me what you’d add to my list!

In the mood for something beyond my 9 suggestions? Here are my tips for Grocery Store Gift Buying:

1) If you really want to be a pro at last-minute gifts, you’ll need to keep 4 specific items in your glovebox: cellophane bags, a spool of ribbon, gift tags and a small pair of scissors. Those 4 things will transform the most ordinary items into Fabulous Gifts.

2) Avoid anything that’s actually intended to be a gift. No cheese and pepperoni sets. No boxed chocolates with a bow printed across the front.

3) Avoid anything holiday-ish. No red and green candy. No christmas tree shaped packages. These tend to feel generic and last-minute. And once January comes around they feel expired.

4) Avoid anything that’s considered a luxury item. No perfumes or lotions or candles. The options at a grocery store never feel very luxurious.

Happy Holidays! Here’s to being stylish — even at the last-minute.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KellliO December 14, 2012 at 9:06 am

LOVE the roadside premise! What a beautiful video!


2 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thank you! We love any excuse to feature our little Renault. : )


3 Amy3 December 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

This is awesome and so timely as I have a party to go to tomorrow evening. Since we’re heading out tonight to get mini-cupcake tins, I bet I can find something at the kitchen store that will serve as a wonderful hostess gift!


4 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yay! So glad I could help. I’m sure you’ll find something fabulous.


5 Danielle dtotheB December 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

such a cute video! the ideas were great!


6 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thank you, Danielle! I had fun making it.


7 Barchbo December 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

This whole post is proof that you are a genius.


8 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hah! Your comments always make me smile, Barchbo.


9 alexis_gentry December 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

Excellent music! Well done. :)

And…For kid-friendly gifts on the go I love to grab a whole bunch of colorful packs of gum. Your little cellophane sacks and ribbon would present it nicely. The parents may not love it, (gum does end up in the strangest places wouldn’t you agree?) but the kids do!


10 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

So true on the gum! Kids adore it, parents not as much. : ) For Olive’s Birthday, we made a Candy Poster but we only used gum because she loves it so much!


11 Brandy December 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

So cute. Those were all fabulous ideas, and I love the music. One of our go to, last minute gifts is the local goods section of the grocery. They carry chocolates and coffees and things produced locally and beautifully packaged. That way, we get the bonus of supporting and recommending small businesses!


12 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

What a great idea, Brandy! My favorite local goods here in Normandy are honey and apple juice. Mmmmm.


13 Nora December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

My friend and her family of 5 were staying for Christmas in an Italian villa in Tuscany (I guess someone has to!) and didn’t have time to get gifts. It was all last minute serendipity, so, they found themselves shopping Christmas Eve in a small general store in a small town. She said it was the most fun shopping ever! They chose silly items and grabbed dusty jars of jams etc from the top shelf. A new cork screw, a chopping board, weird Italian candies, all sorts of unknown gadgets. She said it was so crazy (and hectic) that it just didn’t matter – but then some of their gifts ended up being the most memorable they’ve ever given or received.


14 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

Oh! I love that story, Nora. What a trip that must of been!


15 susan December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

Clever girl! Plus you certainly are getting much use out of your car on videos and pictures:)


16 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

I can’t help myself. The car just steals the show!


17 mom in mendon December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am



18 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

Thanks, Mom!


19 Fiona December 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

Looking at the chocolate bar idea – I always remember my favourite present ever as a child was a multi-bar packet of my favourite chocolate bar, I mist have been around 10 and I couldn’t believe I was given “so many” (3!) chocolates all at once . To this day I would be thrilled to receive it.


20 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I feel the same way about boxes of movie candy — oversize boxes of Junior Mints and Hot Tamales. Just seem like such a treat!


21 Ann December 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I loved this! What great ideas! Loved that beautiful ribbon! But you guys in that car is the best gift ever to be parked in front of someone’s home!


22 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

You are too sweet, Ann! I have to read your comment to Ben Blair.


23 Deidra December 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

After reading your post (oh so many years ago) on giving pineapples at your Christmas recital, both have become traditions at our house. Every year I love wrapping pineapples in red burlap with white pom-pom yarn. They look so festive. And I love giving consumable gifts that aren’t another plate of goodies. They make the perfect neighbor and co-worker gifts (especially when they are on sale for $1.00 each. Perfect in our grad student budget). We love hosting our Christmas recital and enjoying our friends many talents!


24 Design Mom December 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I can’t tell you how happy your comment made me, Deidra! I love hearing that people host Christmas Recitals. And I love thinking of you giving out burlap wrapped pineapples! The was one of my favor party favors ever.


25 Barb Perez December 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Gabby!

Loved the video – you and Ben Blair are too cute in that car! Great ideas – When I pick up pineapples and oversized boxes of candy in the grocery store, I will absolutely think of you – thanks for the festive ideas! Depending on the grocery store, I have purchased a nice artisan bread and a gourmet jam to accompany it as a hostess gift before and it’s been a huge hit. I couldn’t agree more about avoiding the ‘holiday-ish’ items as they feel dated once January comes. Best wishes to you and your family for a lovely Christmas and joyous and healthy 2013! Thanks for all you do to bring such a wonderful community of people together!


26 Design Mom December 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

Oh. Bread and jam! You can come to a party at my house any time. : )


27 Cobalt December 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Twine, really?

But I’ll overlook that one because this really is the cutest tip video I’ve seen in a while.


28 Design Mom December 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

Not feeling twine? Hah! It’s my favorite one. : )


29 sarah December 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Oh, dear me, this is yet another reason why you are you and I am me.
But you are so charming and talented and seem so lovely that I am not even the slightest bit envious!
The music was darling and these are terrific ideas! (I am going to buy my priest a little gift this weekend, and this inspires me!) Thank you for your talented posts and always making my day a wee bit brighter. :)
- sarah


30 Design Mom December 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

I’m sure you’ll find something wonderful for your priest! He’ll be so appreciative.


31 sarah December 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Thank you for taking the time to comment!
I bought my priest a barley pancake mix and homemade syrup from the farmers’ market, and homemade perogies for the visiting priest – so not from your list.
But I did attend a party at a friend’s home, and she was utterly thrilled with the beribboned pineapple. Score!


32 Design Mom December 18, 2012 at 4:38 am

So glad to read your report! Both gifts sounds lovely.


33 Lisa Taylor Whitley December 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Loved the video…and the music was great! Thanks for the suggestions


34 Design Mom December 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

Thanks for the kind words, Lisa!


35 Lucy Mitchell December 15, 2012 at 6:42 am

I never realised how treaty a pile of oversized chocolate bars looks, or a pineapple in a ribbon. Great ideas. I remember sliding around in the back seat of a Renault 4 as a child, and watching my mum change gears with that high-up gear stick and pulling back the windows, thanks so much for reminding me!


36 Design Mom December 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

I love that you have childhood memories of a Renault 4L. It’s such an iconic car here.


37 Becky December 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

Loved seeing this! Great ideas and you and Ben are just adorable.


38 Design Mom December 18, 2012 at 4:38 am

Thanks, Becky! We sure miss you guys.


39 Kimberly December 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You are the cutest! And I mean that in the very best, most admiring way! Great ideas, super cute video. Love it!


40 Tere December 23, 2012 at 4:47 am

Oh, it’s all in the package an the memories all those little things evoque!! Loved this video!
Merry, merry Christmas to all the Blair family, Gaby!! Big hugs!!


41 heidi garner January 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I know this is an old post…but i was thinking if you were the type of person who would have the insight to stash ribbon, bags and other such implements in your glove box you not be the type of person who needs to stop and pick up a gift at a grocery store. You would probably have all sorts of last minute gifts and wrapping stored in a closet some place! I would need to buy the wrapping implements and scissors and tape and all of that stuff along with my gift on the way to the party.


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