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Gift A Feast

Vinegar Valentines
By Gypsy Achong

Vinegar ValentinesValentine's Day hasn't always been about love, chocolate, and flowers, In fact, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, some people sent "Vinegar Valentines" to people they didn't approve of. Often sent anonymously, they provided a socially acceptable outlet to criticize, reject, and insult others.

Vinegar Valentines were the analog version of internet trolling, often employed in an attempt to enforce gender roles, fat-shame friends and strangers, poke at pretentious artists, and judge others for their "inappropriate" behavior.

Elaborately illustrated in full color, these hate-notes carried rude, hurtful messages such as,

To my Valentine:

'Tis a lemon that I hand you

And bid you now "skidoo,"

Because I love another --

There is no chance for you!



You claim you're good at anything!

So, come on, show some proof

And let me see how good you are

At jumping off the roof!

If you want to read more about Vinegar Valentines and see lots of examples, check out this Slate article from Feb. 13, 2013, and this longer article in Collectors Weekly from the same month. If you want to send a sweet Valentine, check out our blog on recommendations for Valentine's Day gifts and our Valentine Day Feast, only available for Valentine's Day.

Holiday gift ideas for foodies
By Gypsy Achong

Holiday gift ideas for foodiesMost of us have at least one foodie on our holiday gift list, if not more. If you're wondering what to give them that they don't already have, we've compiled a list of great gift ideas for foodies that won't break the bank.

Foodie friends who like to read will enjoy Barb Stuckey's fascinating book, The Science of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good. A seasoned food developer, Stuckey explains the science behind why we love some foods, and not others. The writing style is inviting and compelling, so don't worry if your foodie isn't a scientist.

Not all foodies love to cook, but those who do love learning new techniques, recipes, and cooking tips. For those friends, consider a gift certificate for an upcoming cooking class in their area. Here in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Cooking School offers Hands-On Cooking Classes covering everything from knife skills to sauce fundamentals to holiday confections.

If you'll be stuffing a foodie's stocking, these gadgets are sure to please:

Zoodle Slicer - If you haven't yet had zucchini noodles, it's only a matter of time before they'll turn up at a potluck or a dinner party. They are simply zucchini cut into long, spaghetti-shaped strips and served as a pasta replacement. They are also simply delicious in a pasta salad, tossed with pesto, topped with parmesan cheese, or served with alfredo sauce. The Zoodle Slicer is a spiral slicing tool that makes quick work of transforming plain old zucchini (and other vegetables) into vegetable noodles.

Milk frother - All it takes to turn a boring cup of coffee into a decadent latte is a little bit of frothed milk. And you don't need a fancy machine to froth your own milk. All you need is some warm milk (hello, microwave!) and this handheld, battery-powered milk frothing wand. This is by far my favorite gadget: so much so that I have been known to pack it in my luggage for weekend trips.

Rabbit Wine Stoppers - Most of your foodie friends have an open bottle of wine or two in the refrigerator, and they'd definitely appreciate these festive rubber bottle stoppers. In addition to providing an air-tight seal, they fit all bottle types (ie - beer and champagne bottles) and are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

It may seem like a no-brainer that foodies love good food gifts, but what constitutes "good?" For this reason, non-foodies often feel intimidated by the thought of picking out a food gift for a foodie. If you just thought, "Yup. That's me," you're in the right place. No matter which Gift A Feast gourmet food gift box you choose, it will surprise and delight every one of your favorite foodies. We promise. But if you want a specific recommendation, the "Spices for a Quick Feast" gourmet gift box is our current obsession.

Happy Shopping!

Holiday gift ideas for people who have everything
By Gypsy Achong

Holiday gift ideas for people with everythingAdmit it. There's someone on your holiday gift list who already has everything. There's no need for another knick-knack, no space for another book, and no gadget they don't already have two of. So each year, you rack your brain, wondering what to buy this person, before breaking down and buying them yet another bottle of wine, or another tin of mixed nuts.

We feel your pain, and we've decided to do something about it. We've created a list of good gift ideas for people who already have everything. You're welcome.

Make a charitable donation on someone's behalf

Does your favorite cousin have a passion for animals, literacy, or entrepreneurialism? Make a donation to her local Humane Society, Room to Read, or Kiva. If Uncle Larry loves bird hunting, consider a donation to Ducks Unlimited. There truly is a cause for every passion, and that cause can always use more support.

Buy tickets to an event

When a Chicago Cubs fan friend turned 60 this year, we gave him a pair of tickets to a Cubs game in San Francisco against the Giants. The fact that the game was a few months in the future meant that we were able to get good seats for a reasonable price, and he was able to plan far enough in advance to incorporate the game into a weekend get-away for him and his wife. (Currently, SF Giants tickets for next season start at $9 each.)  Besides sporting events, other ticket options include concerts, plays, comedy shows, and museums.

Give Good Food

Food gifts are always a good option for friends who have everything, because we all have to eat. But no one really wants another giant tin of popcorn, a Pepperidge Farm sausage log, or a Claxton fruitcake. In fact, last year's fruitcake is still in the freezer. If you're going to send food, make sure it's something they'll truly enjoy, such as a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant. Of course, all our gourmet food gift boxes - both savory and sweet - are guaranteed to please even the most finicky foodies.

Share your knowledge

If you have hard-to-buy-for friends who live nearby, or who will be visiting in the coming year, consider creating a customized city guide of your favorite local places, including bars, restaurants, parks and tourist attractions. It's a lot easier than you think, thanks to Telescope Cards, whose tagline is, "You choose the places, we print the guide."

Christmas ornament

No matter how many ornaments someone has, there's always room for one more on the tree. A friend told me once that her favorite uncle - who lived several states away - sent each of his nieces and nephews a different, hand-blown glass Christmas ornament to place on the tree. Each year, as she and her sisters placed their ornaments on the tree, they would fondly remember Christmases past.

Name a star

Whether or not grandpa is an astronomy buff, he'll be thrilled to know you have named a star after him. For $20, you can dedicate a star in honor of granddad, and print an instant, customized certificate, which he can hang on the wall. This is also a great gift for parents of newborns, or for kids who love all things outer space.

Happy holiday shopping!

Tis’ the season….client gifts!
By Gypsy Achong

Holiday client giftsIt is time to complete the task “choose client gifts,” on the to-do list. Delivering the perfect client gift takes planning and time.  The earlier you give in the holiday season, the more your token of appreciation will stand out against the background of cookie swaps, holiday parties and ski-trip vacations. And might even give that treasured client time to get you a gift in return!

Spend some time this week brainstorming what kinds of gifts your favorite clients would really love. Personalize your gift around a hobby or story your client shared with you this year. Forbes Magazine suggests subscription based gifts, razor of the month club, seasonal fruit deliveries or quarterly chocolates and sweets that keep you on your client’s radar. Each time your gift arrives throughout the year your company or service comes to the top of their mind. Our Corporate Gifts program offers free shipping and takes the work off your plate.

Special clients deserve special presents. Treat your favorite colleagues and contacts with “A Breakfast Feast,” a welcome basket that makes them shine on Christmas morning. With orange cranberry scones, plum jam, rustic granola and fruity chocolate truffles, whoever receives this basket will know they are special!

The “Feast of Spicy Chocolate” shares sweet and spicy tastes from Coco Tutti, Socola Chocolates and Neo Cocoa. Spice and heat come from from ancho, chipotle, siracha and ginger. Delicious! This is a gift that will really stand out this holiday season!

Do something different. #GivingTuesday is a world-wide day of giving back powered by social media. The 4th annual event invites individuals to plug-in to global philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving via Facebook, Twitter and websites. Many companies match employee gifts to increase impact on a charity of choice. For instance, the American Cancer Society’s website reads:

We all know someone touched by cancer. Change your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to show your support and inspire others. Let them know why you’ll give to the American Cancer Society. You can help us by spreading the word and donating to the American Cancer Society on December 1st.

The effort is being tracked and supported with the hashtag #Give2AmericanCancer. The American Cancer Society website offers assistance creating a new profile picture and making a personalized pledge

Does your company have a favorite project or charity? You could give on behalf of your employees and list your corporate clients as contributors. This is a feel good gift that benefits everyone.

Halloween corporate gift ideas
By Gypsy Achong

Happy Halloween!Halloween isn't a traditional gift-giving holiday, but for some businesses, it presents the perfect opportunity to treat your clients. If you work in one of these three professions, you might find that a Halloween gift is just the trick for keeping your best clients.

1) Public Relations Professionals: If you work in the communications business long enough, you'll end up doing a lot of ghost writing. Whether you're writing blog posts, social media status updates, press release quotes, or speeches, you're constantly putting words in someone else's mouth. Remind your best clients how smart you make them sound by sending a gift with a hand-written note that says, "Happy Halloween! Looking forward to scaring up more business with you. - Your Favorite Ghost Writer"

2) Security Professionals: Whether you're offering home security or cyber security, this is a good time to remind your clients that you're keeping them safe. Your hand-written note might say, "This Halloween, there's nothing to fear. We've got your back."

3) Financial Advisors:  Much like security professionals, financial advisors might want to remind clients they don't need to fear the inevitable fluctuations in financial markets, because you're keeping an eye on their assets, making sure they're balanced, and managing risk on their behalf. Your note might say, "We're sending these treats to remind you that financial markets are nothing to fear when you know the "tricks" of the trade. Thank you for trusting us to keep your assets safe."

If you want help choosing just the right Halloween gift, check out our corporate gift options.

Happy Halloween!


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