Thursday, July 2, 2015

How To Create Hospitality Gift Baskets: LoftTalk @ Contributor {CHARLI - June 2015}

Hospitality Gift Baskets:  By Charli
Have you ever wondered from time to time, when you needed to give a gift to someone and no matter how much you tried to come up with something that was different or something that someone did not already have, you just couldn't think of anything? I have been in that situation so many times and "Charli", an "awesome woman of God" and our contributor of this submission, hit home with me when she decided to share her story!  I absolutely, without a doubt, almost always give theme gift baskets to family and friends for birthdays, during the holidays or just because!  Gift baskets are the ultimate element of surprise! They are personable and are created specifically for the recipient, so you can never go wrong in your gift giving.  Charli shares an encouraging take on giving "hospitality gift baskets" and she also provides suggestions that you can consider, the next time you want to express your kindness and appreciation, in a heartwarming way!  "Thanks so much Charli for sharing on LoftTalk this month.  I appreciate you and I know your heart, so this story had your name all over it ;-).  What a wonderful way to minister & welcome others, into your home."   
 *This submission will ARCHIVE to Corner Loft101 Page in 30 days for future reviews 
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Hospitality Gift Baskets
By:  Charli

In My Ministry.... 
 I believe hospitality is a gift and an expression of love, gratitude and generosity.  In my former church, I served on the Pastoral Care Ministry and I learned the value of knowing each person's particularities.  For example, knowing each pastor's likes and dislikes such as teas, fruits and desserts that he or she enjoyed, was delightful but sometimes challenged my skills, when preparing their meals ;-). The ministry of giving allowed me to transfer all that I had learned and experienced, into my own personal space.  I realized in that moment, that I had taken on a new spirit of giving!

In My Home...
My new spirit of giving changed the way I served in my personal life.  I took on a new spirit of giving that filled my heart with joy!  When I invite people to my home, I want them to feel special and appreciated, so with that in mind, I started creating each guest, a special hospitality gift basket.   I enjoyed doing this so much, that during their stay, I also prepared their favorite meals ;-)!!  Many times, guests will bring their own toiletries, so I provide a little added comfort by preparing a small basket filled with their favorite fruit, munchies, body wash, fragrant soaps, chocolates, bottled water and a small journal. I always pay attention to what people like or dislike.  Sometimes I would add my own personal touch, such as fresh flowers, homemade cookies or print pictures and place them in a beautiful picture frame!

In My Giving...
The true "take away" from this gift giving experience is the joy you feel from making someone else feel special.  The smiles on the faces of your guests are also surprising, especially when they realize that the basket was prepared for them!  Sometimes it's the little things we do for someone, that creates the biggest expression of joy, in their hearts.  We all like to feel special because we are special.  For in God's eyes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Shopping & Suggestions...
Your gift baskets do not have to be elaborate or expensive. I am a firm believer in keeping things simple, affordable and adorable! Also, you do not have to always give the basket containers away to your guests. They can take everything out of the basket and put them in a small gift bag.  You can purchase small gift bags from the Dollar Store.  This way, you can reuse your basket, for the next guests that visit!  The Dollar Store also has wonderful gift baskets and inexpensive items to fill your baskets with. 

You can also purchase gifts in bulk via online clearance sales.  If you are a bargain shopper like me, you can find items in Bath and Body Works, during their semi-annual sales events (January & June).  Their products are usually 50 to 75% off the original price.  There are always bargains and sales you can find, throughout the year.   

Popular items, such as bath oils, candles, picture frames, body washes, scented soaps etc; can be purchased during clearance sales and at the start and end of certain holidays.  However, please pay close attention to the shelf life and expiration dates, especially for perishables.