Yes, that time of year is coming up again. If you’re a son or a daughter, you’ll be thinking about how you can make your mom feel appreciated, whether by looking through online gift shops for a thoughtful gift or planning a trip to be taken together. If you’re a mom yourself, you might be dropping not-so-subtle hints to your family in the hope that they’ll pick up on something. And if you’re a father, you may well be struggling to organise your kids whilst also trying to think of how you can show their mother that you appreciate her.
As retailers of unusual gifts, we take a special interest in these occasions. In an effort to save you a little bit of trouble, we’ve written down our thoughts on the best Mother’s Day ideas.
This one is especially great for daughters. It may be that what you mom really wants is to spend a little quality time together without you staring at your phone the whole time, and what better Mother’s Day activity is there than shopping? Hit the streets or the mall and feel free to try on whatever you want. Offer to pick up an item or two for your mom as a gift, and pay for a nice cup of coffee. If you won’t be involved in the shopping (relieved fathers and sons - we’re looking at you), you can still contribute with a gift card for the special lady’s favorite store. Bonus points from us if you present it in one of our gift card holders.
Spa trips are some of the most common Mother’s Day outings, but don’t be put off by this. They’re popular because they’re a good idea. What better way to recognise all the hard work your mom had put into raising you than by giving her a day of pure pampering? Spas know that they’ll be full all day, so they’ll put prices up. Try and book through an online gift site to save some cash.
If there’s anybody who’s bound to appreciate the effort you put into a handmade gift, it’s your mom. Unusual gifts are always better because they’re something that can be prized and kept as a memory, unlike a consumable item, which might be useful and thoughtful but just won’t last very long. Give her something that she can treasure and she’ll be the happiest woman on earth.
Sometimes, all a mother wants is to spend time with her family, preferably without the distractions of technology. It’s easy to set up these unique gifts. What does your mom enjoy doing? If she has any specific interests, try to fit the day around a relevant activity. For example, budding chefs would probably love to attend a special family cookery class. You can then share in her favorite activity. More general ideas could include trips to the movies, an aquarium, the zoo, a local sports event, or just a picnic.
We hope you all had fun at whatever Cinco de Mayo celebration you attended. If you’re like us and you just love a big public party, you’ll be pleased that you haven’t had to wait long for the next occasion to come around. Armed Forces Day on held on the third Saturday of each May, which this year falls on the 18th. The celebration originated in 1949, when all five of the military branches were combined into the Department of Defense. Since then, parades, air shows and other events have been attended by thousands of Americans every year.
This will be a time of remembrance foremost, but is also an opportunity to join together and thank current and former members of our Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard for their hard work. These ordinary men and women take great risks and make extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of their country. How will you be spending Armed Forces Day this year?
As anyone with family or friends serving abroad will be able to tell you, the facilities in Afghanistan aren’t exactly ideal! One of the best ways to honor the armed forces is to send a thoughtful package to a service member abroad. There are a variety of online gift websites which specialize in this area, or otherwise you could put your own parcel together. Discounted rates mean that you can post a very heavy package for a low price. If you happen to know anybody currently deployed with a birthday coming up, American candy and toiletries make great birthday gift ideas for serving troops who may not have access to many of the items we take for granted.
We guarantee that, wherever you live, there will be a public celebration nearby on the 18th. These can be great fun and take the form of marches, BBQs, concerts, sporting events, or almost any other form of party you can imagine. Expect the sounds of the Star Spangled Banner and many, many bottles of beer to flow from every bar. Show your appreciation just by showing up and making noise, or by surprising a uniformed service member at random with a bunch of flowers and a gift card.
So, whether you’re planning on sending an online gift or doing something for somebody a little closer to home, make sure you’re ready for Armed Forces Day.
Citi Pond, which is located in Bryant Park in New York City, has been a popular attraction ever since it first opened 8 years ago. The reason for this is simple - it’s the first and only skating rink in Manhattan which is free to enter and use. During the winter of 2012/13, in an effort to make the Pond even more popular with visitors, a public relations firm was enlisted. Their job was to find something which would give New Yorkers a very special experience, boosting Citi Pond’s reputation and ensuring that people would return time and again. What could the company turn to? What are the cutest, most beautiful and memorable parts of the winter season? You guessed it: snow globes.
The team hired a production company to install a huge inflatable plastic balloon, designed to resemble one of the iconic globes. This was easily visible from across the park, helping to draw visitors to the Pond. But the team didn’t stop there - they wanted people to be able to create lasting memories within the snow globe, so they came up with a great idea. The production company fitted the bubble with an array of iPod cameras, programmed to capture an image at exactly the same time from all angles. The result is a short video where participants appear to be frozen in time inside their own personal snow globes. This is then sent to visitors’ email addresses for them to share with others.
For Citi Pond, the snow globe is a great attraction which will hopefully draw more visitors to their facility. For visitors, it’s a great way to capture the festive spirit and share with friends and family. Stills would make great images for the front of home made Christmas greeting cards, or the videos themselves could be given as added unusual gifts to relatives. And for the creative head at the production firm, the project had personal relevance. Like us, he loves collecting snow globes, so we’re sure he was amongst the first to have his image taken.
Now that the snowy season is behind us, the globe could be adapted for use at weddings and other summer celebrations. We’re sure it would go down very well at state fairs, provided the production team is able to transform the theme into something which feels much sunnier. We really hope, though, that the big bubble makes its return to Citi Pond for the festive season at the end of the year. You can never have too many snow globes!
As the weather picks up and it starts to get seriously warm in our office, it’s time for us to admit the truth. The cold weather seems to be getting further and further away, and despite our love for the cute gift card holders on our desks, we have to say that the scenes within our snow globes aren’t too relevant right now. Of course, that just means we can look forward to the first big celebration of the summer. The month of May might technically be a springtime one, but we think that Cinco de Mayo is the first example of a summer celebration because it tends to be full of sunshine, warmth, and daytime partying. So where does this celebration come from?
In 1861, the French decided to invade Mexico. Their aim was to destroy the United States by funnelling arms and other aid to the Confederacy, knowing that President Lincoln did not have the resources to fight the French as well as the South. The Mexican government was starved of money following a series of wars from which it was still recovering, and so the French forces had little trouble storming through the nation. On May 5th 1862, a ragtag and poorly equipped force of 4,000 Mexicans battled 8,000 invading troops at Puebla. They won a stunning victory, despite the fact that France was considered to be the most skilled and powerful military force in the world at that time.
Firstly, it’s a source of national pride that the underpowered defenders were able to beat the invasion force so badly, but that’s not the only reason that the date is significant. Whilst the Mexican forces could not prevent France from eventually taking over the country, they did slow them down, forcing French generals to request reinforcements from overseas. This gave the Union enough time to win the Civil War. With US efforts no longer consumed by an internal war, help could be given to the Mexican resistance, which toppled the short-lived French regime after just a couple of years. If the invaders had won the Battle of Puebla, the US might look very different today.
Although Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated by those of Mexican descent, it really is a national celebration. All over the country you will find good-natured parties, BBQs, dances, marches, and fun times to be had. Our favorite part has to be the food - if you can get your hands on some home-cooked Mexican cuisine, why would you pass up the chance? Now that we come to think of it, we barely miss the scenes from our snow globes at all!
Thanks to the more general celebration of Mexican culture on this day, it’s a great time to give or create some unusual gifts. It’s not just food and drink on offer; you should be able to find some cute jewellery or trinkets. A walk around a Cinco de Mayo fair ought to give you some great birthday gift ideas. Enjoy!
With the sunny season approaching, wedding venues are getting ready for the onslaught. Most couples choose to marry in the summer, and it’s obvious why. Good weather means that you and your guests can mingle on the grass, or even conduct the whole ceremony outdoors. This opens up a whole load of venues and changes the tone of the event. Plus, everyone’s a little happier in the sun, and who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
Of course, it isn’t just the happy couple who has to prepare for the nuptials. Legions of family and friends will also be racking their brains to think of a suitable gift that will make sure the newlyweds settle comfortably into their new era. If you’re one of the people who’s struggling to come up with ideas, keep on reading for some inspiration.
No, this isn’t the most original of gifts, but we’re suggesting it because many will have overlooked the usefulness of cash as a wedding gift. Some people might believe that a monetary gift is unwanted, tacky, or just plain uninventive, but in reality it’s a great choice. Couples may want nothing more than cash on their big day, whether it’s to finance the decoration of their new home or to provide spending money on their honeymoon, but it’s considered socially unacceptable for them to ask for it. If you want to give something more personal too, it’s easy to combine cash with a small gift such as a photo frame or something from the registry. You could also choose a gift card from their favorite store to add a personal touch.
Surprise the couple by making their post-wedding trip even more memorable. There are a number of ways you could do this. Right from the start, you could make a difference by upgrading their plane tickets to first class. This is an expense that most couples will avoid themselves, preferring to spend their funds on the wedding and the honeymoon itself, but is a luxury that will add to the overall experience. Similarly, you could liaise with their hotel manager and pay for a bigger suite.
If you’ve already visited their destination, you could surprise the couple with a personalised guide book. Put together your suggestions and recommendations on local sights and eateries. This is another place where you can make use of a gift card - in this case, from one of the nice restaurants in the area. You could even append a makeshift photo album, where the newlyweds can store their pictures after they return.
Perhaps the best pointer we could give you is to think about unusual gifts. This is something you’ll have to do yourself, using your knowledge of the couple. Think wacky ideas. Do they enjoy hosting parties? Buy them a cocktail-making lesson at a swanky bar or a cookery class with a great chef. Are they movie fans? Arrange a private, romantic movie viewing in an independent theatre or in a green space, just for the two of them and playing their favorite film. If you want to give an item rather than an experience, there are a range of online gift shops that will be able to accommodate your needs. The beauty of unique gifts is that they will be remembered for years to come.
It won’t be long now until the weather starts picking up nationwide and people begin to think about where they want to spend their summer vacation. For many families and groups of friends, the answer will be: ‘somewhere near a beach’. Why is it that we love the beach so much? Is it the water? The sunshine? The sense that a trip there is associated with fun? It certainly isn’t the sand. Perhaps we just enjoy going somewhere sunny before we have to start thinking about Christmas gift ideas.
Whatever the reason, we love the beach just as much as anyone else, despite our affection for snow globes. We’ve scoured the net for a few fun games that your group can play during your trip. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we will!
How long has it been since you played this classic? Twister is great because it’s suitable for virtually all ages and tastes. For some reason, it’s just really fun to see your friends struggle to arrange themselves into the necessary shape. You don’t need to get the old, indoor version out of the back of that closet, as there is a special beach version available. The colored mat is replaced by a beach towel and the spinner by two giant, waterproof dice. It’s the perfect, fun way to dry off in the sun after a swim, and these kits make great birthday gift ideas.
This sport is commonly associated with college life, but there’s nothing stopping others picking it up. It’s a simple game. The objective is to get the disc into the opposite team’s end zone. Players can’t run with the frisbee, and must rely on passing to move it around the pitch. Possession switches to the other team if a pass is intercepted or the disc drops to the ground. That’s it.
The game can be played with as few as 4 people, but as you can imagine, really comes into its own with larger groups. Over the course of a game, you’ll work up rivalries and stimulate an appetite for that beach barbeque you’re planning on having.
The game requires nothing except a couple of marbles and the sand you’ll be standing on. Split into teams and set a time limit. Whichever team has built the longest course for their marble when the time expires wins the game. You’ll need to make sure that the course is smooth enough to allow the marble to pass over without stopping, and study enough to prevent it breaking through the sides. This is a great game for kids as it requires little supervision and you can easily adapt the difficulty to different age groups.
This isn’t a game as such, but a fun toy that you can use to make your own games. It’s also one of the more unusual gifts that you might buy for a friend if the alternative of a gift card doesn’t appeal to you. Waboba is short for ‘water bouncing ball’. The patented product is the only ball which floats, but which also bounces off the water. A waboba behaves on water as a rubber ball behaves on land. We’re sure you can find a fun use for it!
With Easter now in the past, it’s time for us to look forward to the next national celebration. And we don’t have long to wait - Earth Day is coming! Unfortunately, this date is still underappreciated in our country, perhaps due to its youth. It took the United Nations until 2009 to declare that the 22nd of April would henceforth be known as International Mother Earth Day. Then again, it was actually the USA that created Earth Day back in 1970, when Senator Gaylord Nelson organised an environmental ‘teach-in’. Maybe we don’t have much of an excuse after all.
With any luck, the increased focus on green issues over the past few years, and the fact that they are now firmly in the mainstream of public discussion, will mean that 2013’s Earth Day is the best one yet. We still need to draw more attention to this area. If serious global warming takes effect, snow globes like ours will be a reference to the weather of the past, and where will people get their gift card holders then? It’ll be even more difficult to think of good birthday gift ideas. So what will you be doing this April 22nd?
In 2013, the Earth Day Network has chosen a ‘Face Of Climate Change’ theme. The aim is to personalize citizens’ demands for green policies, thus making environmental issues more pressing for our leaders. As things stand, climate change can seem like a distant problem which can be passed off to the next person in charge, and the Earth Day Network wants to fight this.
You can participate in a couple of ways. To start with, the organisation is appealing for people all over the world to contribute to a photo mosaic which it is creating. All you have to do is take a photo of yourself holding a sign which reads ‘I am the face of climate change’. Your image will then join those of thousands worldwide, stimulating awareness and discussion. If you’d rather not do this, simply using your Twitter account to help #faceofclimate to trend would be a help. Think of it as an online gift to the planet.
The Earth Day Network offers a fun interactive quiz on its website which you can use to check the size of your ecological footprint. This is the amount of resources that your lifestyle requires. Question topics include your diet, shopping habits, love or hatred of gadgets, and transport methods. It’s quick and easy, taking around 2 or 3 minutes to complete.
Once you’ve answered all the questions in the quiz, you will be told how many Earths would be required if everybody lived like you - consuming the same amount of food and power and causing the same amount of carbon emissions. We’ve just taken the test together, trying to take an average of our lifestyles. It turns out that if everybody lived as we do, the human race would need 4 Earths. This made us feel bad - until we read that the average American’s score is 5 Earths! It certainly says something about the West’s way of living.
Ok, it’s a bit early to start thinking about Christmas presents, but Earth Day is a great opportunity to spread the green message with a gift ‘just because’. Quick and easy ideas include home-made craft items, which can be created from recycled goods, and a gift card for an outdoor goods store.
The snow globe has long been an item that many people have given as a birthday or Christmas gift, yet some feel that when given alone the globe might not be enough. Even with this in mind, it is still one of the most popular small gifts, but why?
Ask yourself, what is the main reason you give a gift? Apart from social convention, people give gifts to people because you care about that person enough that you want to make them happy. A snow globe is one of the few unique gifts that can actually put a smile on people’s faces instantly, and age is not an issue. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that research has shown that the older generation often sees the snow globe as a link to their childhood, and that is certainly one of the reasons why they are popular. Of course, to younger people, the snow globes are ‘cool’ keepsakes. The fact that they can be given to just about anybody of any age is why they remain one of the most popular small Christmas presents.
There are few items that have as much meaning to as many people as snow globes. Thousands of people collect snow globes that they consider perfect keepsakes, but why is this the case, and why do snow globes remain popular today?
Well, the answer to this question is simple. Snow globes are small items that are easy to display in your home. Think of some of the other ‘main’ keepsakes that are available like key rings and coins. Both are too small to display in your home. In fact, many of the other ‘main’ keepsakes are often the wrong size, but snow globes are small enough so that they can be displayed somewhere but large enough so that people notice them.
Another benefit of the snow globe is that every single one of them is unique. Therefore, if you are giving them as a gift to somebody the chance that they have the one you are buying for them is limited.
If you are looking for the perfect birthday or Christmas gift idea, and you are worried that a snow globe alone may not be enough, but you think that the concept is perfect, the Snomee is the answer.
The Snomee may still be considered an unusual gift, but it is quickly becoming a popular one. These adorable snow globes are unique because in the base they have a hidden ‘compartment’ where you can hide a gift card of your choice and even write a message, which will make your snow globe more personal.
With 11 different designs on offer from Snomee, there is bound to be something to suit the person you are buying for, and this is why you should consider Snomee next time you are thinking about a gift.
How do you intend to celebrate the life and achievements of your grandparents on National Grandparents’ Day (NGD)? If you weren’t going to do anything, you might have a pretty good excuse. Far too many people have no idea that this holiday even exists, and so can hardly be blamed for ignoring it. But it does exist - and it’s not a marketing and sales gimmick which has been concocted by greeting cards manufacturers. In fact, the event is an official public holiday, taking place annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day, which was put forward by the United States Senate and signed off by President Carter. So why do so many people lack all knowledge of it?
The truth is that, as with many issues that concern seniors in our society, NGD has largely been marginalized. We already widely celebrate both Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day - do we really need a separate date for our grandparents? The holiday’s original creators and supporters thought so, and here at Snomee, we agree. The fact of the matter is that senior citizens have often contributed a great deal to our society, but due to age and infirmity, they can become isolated through no fault of their own. Christmas greeting cards can sometimes be the only interaction they have with family members.
Not everybody will be able to celebrate NGD with their own grandparents, for obvious reasons. However, those whose own relatives have passed away can still make a real difference in the lives of older people. Marian McQuade, widely recognized as the original founder of the event, urged young people to “adopt” a senior member of their community as a grandparent. This should be a relationship which extends past the singular celebration, and lasts all year round, which is why we’re writing on this subject so early in the year. You never know what you might learn - after all, you’ll be spending time with somebody who has a lot of life experience that you lack. It could end up being one of the most important relationships of your life.
If you’d like to pick something up for your grandparents, you might be finding it hard to think of unique gifts. After all, they’ve had their whole life to accumulate possessions, and they’ve probably received a few unusual gifts along the way. A safe option is a gift card for their favorite restaurant, as this is something that nearly everybody will enjoy. You can then spice this up by putting it into an appropriate gift card holder. Those who’d rather choose something different would be well advised to use the web, as the huge numberof online gift shops will have plenty of items to select from.
The greatest gift of all could simply be the time your grandparents spend with you. Take the day and ask them what they’d like to do to pass the time. It could be that you have a fantastic day and wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner!
At 150 years old, it is a surprise that the tradition of Christmas greeting cards has managed to last this long. However, the days of record sales have disappeared. In fact, research is suggesting that the sale of Christmas greeting cards has declined substantially over recent years*. The drop has been alarming to say the least with figures down roughly 12% from 2005 to 2010. Surprisingly, it is believed that a lot of the people surveyed have not stopped sending out greeting cards because of the price of the cards or delivery, but simply because the market is going through a transitional period.
The number of customizable Christmas cards (purchased online), is at the highest it has ever been, but this figure is starting to level out. As well as the ability to customize just about everything on the card, these Christmas greeting cards are simple, which is why they remain popular. However, this change to the market, while entertaining for a while, is not enough as people are still looking for an alternative option.
The main reason why this whole market needs re-evaluating is simple; Christmas cards are getting more predictable and boring. Every year, millions spend a small fortune on cards, the large majority of which end up in the recycling bin. How long can this market last as a tradition when this is the case? The novelty of the Christmas card disappeared for many a long time ago, and while there will always be traditionalists, recent developments like the personalized card and e-card are proof that we are looking for something different.
Now, you may ask, if the Christmas card is declining is there anything that is going to take its place? Well, last year the introduction of the Snomee took the American market by storm. The Snomee is one of the most unusual gifts currently on the market. The traditional Christmas card has developed substantially over the years from the standard card to e-cards and personalized cards, and while the greeting card might be running out of ideas, the market is not.
The Snomee offers the perfect Christmas gift idea to replace the traditional Christmas card. This online gift is not only a fine snow globe, but is also a gift card holder that you can write your own personal message on. This makes it the ideal replacement for the ‘outdated’ Christmas card. Of course, buying hundreds of Snomee’s is not feasible, but buying them for the most important people in your life shows that you care.
While the Snomee is more expensive than a greeting card, it offers much better value for money in the long run. Not only will the person you give this to be reminded of what you have done, but it will be much more appreciated.
The Snomee is fun, exciting and most importantly unique. All these qualities mean that it has the potential to make even more of a dent in the greeting card market in the long-term.