Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods. Thanks for supporting the companies that support Just Like The Number!
I am a terrible gift-giver. I know this about myself, and I’m always trying to improve, but I am also keenly aware that at the ripe old age of 40, it may be my lot in life: great hugger, mediocre gift-giver. It surprises me, given how much I like to receive gifts. I appreciate even the smallest of gestures.
For example, we spent nearly all of the past Memorial Day Weekend working feverishly in our backyard. In just a few days, we basically transformed a jungle into a tidy, lovely garden. I still have dirt under my fingernails and mulch in places I didn’t know had crevices. On our third and final day, our backyard neighbor walked over and offered me a Diet Coke. “You’ve been working so hard,” she said. “I’ve been sitting here, watching you, and thought the least I could do was offer you a drink.” I was so touched, and that may have been the most refreshing Diet Coke I’ve ever tasted. At the same time, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I ever think to do lovely things like that?” It’s true. I’m deficient in whatever gene prompts people to easily bestow gifts and random acts of kindness.
I’m always on the hunt for ideas and gifts I can stash away for when gifting opportunities present themselves. I’m afflicted year-round, but I find that this time of year, second only to Christmas, the most stressful time of year for my gifting-challenged self. May and June present themselves with a myriad of gift-giving opportunities: Mother’s Day, our wedding anniversary, graduations, teacher appreciation, Mike and Elena’s birthdays, and Father’s Day. Is it getting hot in here? Are your palms sweaty? No? Just me?
A few years ago, a catalog arrived around Christmas from UncommonGoods. I do love catalogs, but I’m not a hoarder. Ninety-eight percent of the time I flip through them and then toss them in the recycle bin. The UncommonGoods catalog was different, though. It was a one-percenter: dog-eared, perused several times, and placed in the magazine basket for future reference. I didn’t order anything from it then, but six months later I returned to the catalog in search of a Father’s Day gift for Mike.
I spied the Ticket Stub Diary, and knew without hesitation that it would be the perfect gift for him. He loves saving ticket stubs from everything – movies, concerts, sporting events. Early in our marriage I made the mistake of tossing my movie ticket stub into the trash. He looked at me like I had casually tossed my wedding ring in the garbage. His method of storing these precious mementos was pretty sad, though. They sat haphazardly jumbled in a shoe box in our office closet. I ordered the Ticket Stub Diary, and over a few days the kids and I secretly sorted through his ticket collection. That, in and of itself was a gift: sitting on the floor with Elena and Eli and sharing stories of the things Dad and I had seen and done over the course of dating and marriage. He was thrilled with the gift, and to this day it sits prominently displayed in our home office.
I still receive the UncommonGoods catalog, and it continues to provides me with a treasure trove of ideas for gift-giving. Whenever I start to panic or feel like I couldn’t possibly think of something as unique and special to give as the recipient of the gift is to me, I remind myself to check out UncommonGoods.
I was invited to check out the curated list of gifts for men and choose something I thought a guy in my life might enjoy. After browsing through the Father’s Day gift guide, I found the perfect thing (again) for Mike: a handcrafted horse racing game. The game was delivered with perfect timing, and we spent the hour before the Kentucky Derby playing with a neighbor.
The game is a reinvention of an old classic, which is the calling card of the husband and wife team from St. Louis who makes the game. Ryan and Kim McDaniel, of Across the Board, have several other unique offerings on UncommonGoods as well. It’s one of the things I love about UncommonGoods: their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers. Half of the items they sell are made by hand. Through their business practices and social commitments, UncommonGoods supports and meets a rigorous standard when it comes to issues such as wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community.
What that means is, I might not always feel great about my struggle to be a better gift-giver. But when I purchase and gift items from UncommonGoods, I can feel good about the choice I made and be pretty darn confident that the recipient will love it and feel every bit as special as the gift itself.
See more of what UncommonGoods as to offer, such as one-of-a-kind personalized gifts and the super cool Voting Tool, which helps buyers decide which products will become the next UncommonGoods, by visitings UncommonGoods.com.