Handling Unexpected Gifts

Don't get caught empty-handed when you're on the receiving end of unexpected gifts this holiday season. Check out our favorite go-to gifts to have on hand.

The first time it happened it was our sweet neighbors across the street.

We were new to the neighborhood and the unexpected knock on our door startled us. You can imagine the surprise when we found them standing there, holiday gift in hand (hand carved book ends made of Sandalwood).

It happened a few days later when I picked our daughter, then an infant, up from school. That’s when I learned the mother of one of her classmates had baked holiday goodies for us. So there I was, twice in the same week, caught flat-footed on the receiving end of a gift with nothing to give back to the gift-giver.

I know, I know, the holidays aren’t about gift-giving and just because someone gives you something doesn’t mean they expect something in return. But let’s just be real here—it’s very thoughtful and horribly embarrassing when someone gives you a gift and you have absolutely nothing to reciprocate the gesture.

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Enter my WMAG Holiday Hack: personalized bottles of wine. For the last two years I’ve ordered a case of wine from Windsor Vineyards and taken advantage of their option to personalize the wine labels. You choose from a variety of designs and can even upload a family photo to your label. These are perfect for those moments you’re surprised with a gift, or to give to a holiday party host, or add to an existing gift. I give them to my employees along with a gift card and feel like it makes the gift card feel a little less impersonal.

Another similar option would be to buy a case of wine and print your own labels. You can get cute free printable labels here and here or you can go with something like these hang tags. One benefit of printing your own is that you can hand out different wines based on what the recipient likes. You can also purchase wine at different price points to have more variety (you know, the expensive one for your boss, the cheap wine for your annoying cousin).

Looking for a gift to go with the personalized bottle of wine? These cute monogrammed stemless tumblers are a favorite in our house – and they’re acrylic so you don’t have to worry about little fingers and broken glass. And these wine sippy cups have lids, making them a great add-on gift for folks who love boating, camping, or tailgating. I also try to purchase nice candles throughout the year when they’re on sale. That way, when I need a gift, I can grab a personalized bottle of wine and a candle or some wine tumblers, slap on a few bows, and avoid having to make extra trips out to buy unexpected gifts.

The best part about giving personalized bottles of wine when you receive unexpected gifts? If I don’t give them all out there’s a little bit of holiday delight left over for me. Cheers to a happy holiday season—and to not being caught gift-less this year.

Holiday Hacks for Working MomsThis article is part of our Holiday Hacks for Working Moms series. See the full #holidayhacks list for more ways to hack your holidays, so you can enjoy the season instead of letting it drag you down.

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7 thoughts on “Handling Unexpected Gifts

  1. I love this idea! And hey, if you don’t end up needing to give the wine, there’s always regifting—to yourself 🙂

    1. Stephanie Tsales says:

      It’s the gift that keeps giving!

  2. We love to have wine tastings at our Girls Night In – we prefer that over GNO because we can wear our PJ’s. 🙂

  3. Such a good idea to have wine around the house. Although I don’t usually give a gift just because they gave me one because it seems so obvious lol. Instead I’ll just remember for next year 🙂

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