TREND WHISPERER – A blog by Sherri Scheck-Merrill
The 2013 gift-giving trend appears like this:
The average holiday shopper will spend $737.95; slightly less than the $752.24 spent last year, according to the National Retail Federation. But reaching an all-time high is the amount that will be spent in the U.S. on the always-trending-very-high, trustworthy staple: the gift card!
This season, eight in every 10 shoppers will add a gift card to their cart or basket, spending an average of $163.16 on the popular plastic cards. Last year’s average amount spent on cards was $156.86. The total spend of $29.8 billion US dollars makes it easy to predict the 2013 top gift-giving trend will be the very-practical, easy-to-purchase and much-appreciated gift card.
But although extremely convenient, there are times when the trend of giving a gift card just isn’t the right fit. Curating holiday gift ideas for those on your list is a stressful time for many, especially if the list includes “The Boss”. We have all hemmed and hawed over finding ”that perfect gift” and frankly, although it’s a wonderful feeling when you do hit the bull’s-eye, getting there can be a challenge.
So, in the spirit of gifting one of the most difficult to buy for recipients, a.k.a., “The Boss,” following is a list of outside-the-box ideas I’ve identified to make a lasting impression with your superior as well as generate a great-chuckle and perhaps an Instagram opp at the office party.
FOR THE TECHIE
A light bulb controlled by your gift recipient’s smartphone is a winner! Show how green and efficient you really are by explaining the bulbs are built to last 30x longer and to use 5x less power than a standard bulb. The boss will be impressed with your sensitivity to energy savings while getting a kick over controlling the LED light bulb by an iOS device such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod… if they are from the 5th generation!
PLAYIN’ IT SAFE AND SIMPLE
Being an executive of a company is hard work and often requires difficult decisions which you can validate by gifting “a decision maker” to assist in making the hard—and not so hard choices. When the “decision maker” is sitting idle, it becomes dual purpose as a great paperweight as well as ice-breaker for unexpected visitors.
STYLE AND PROTECTION FOR THE SPORTSMAN HUNTER
Imagine the response you’ll receive when compliments are made about the classic denim jacket you have just gifted the boss and you demonstrate the innovative feature of the jacket; a concealed and lightweight liner which doubles as a bulletproof vest. Another conversation piece for The Boss.
SOPHISTICATION AT IT’S BEST
Gifting a bottle of whiskey, scotch or cognac is always appreciated but what if you were to take it a step further by wrapping a gift of “locked spirits”. Not only are the decanters breathtaking, the lock ability assist’s with the recipient’s bar keeping.
THE WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT
If it’s good enough for Beyonce, it’s good enough for your fave CEO. Here’s a white-elephant gift they’ll remember you by forever. Fashionable and stylish black toilet paper is guaranteed to generate laughter from all during the office gift-exchange and is perfect for the dapper Executive who needs to be stylish no matter what the task is.
MIND OVER MATTER
If the traditional chessboard is too much of a been there/done that type of gift, consider a three-player version. The boss will never feel at a loss for a sufficiently complicated strategy game again. An added benefit: it will look great on the desk.
PAYING IT FORWARD
A great option for those who simply “have everything” is to source a gift-that-gives. A feel-good for both the giver and receiver, one of my personal pay-it-forward gifts are cell phone covers where each purchase assists the charity to employ someone looking to transition out of homelessness. This is a feel-good dual-benefit gift token that will share your compassionate side.
Now it’s your turn to chime in about some of your own gift-giving traditions for “The Boss.” Have you or will you be gifting him or her? If so, please share in a comment below.
Until then, all the best with your holiday-sourcing!
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Sherri Scheck-Merrill is a hospitality industry professional with a passion for excellent hotels and resorts. She is passionate about hotels, interior design, fashion, and beauty. As Vice President of Amenity Services Inc., she focuses on hotel business development and guestroom product design. She distinguishes herself by researching, teaching and reporting U.S. trends for her own fashion and export business.
She is a three-time nominee for Businesswoman of the Year by California’s Orange County Business Journal. A UNLV student-athlete/Harvard Executive Education Consumer Marketing graduate, she licenses popular retail brands for hotel guestrooms.
After spending several years on a tennis court, followed by the role of head buyer at the largest West Coast-based sporting goods and fashion apparel export company, her knack for predicting trends landed her a columnist position at Orange Coast Magazine. She is also the author of the biannual trend-forecasting report for a major retailer in Osaka, Japan, and writes a popular blog about trends for Hotels – the magazine of the worldwide hotel industry.