With this column, I am doing something a bit different. The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it is that time of year when we express our appreciation to our customers. Sure you can just send a holiday card or box of candy, or you can do something different this year. There are many blogs whose sole purpose is to help you choose that perfect gift. Here I review an assortment of these blogs, all of which can help you discover a special and appropriate gift. Happy shopping.
Fairytale Brownies Blog (http://blog.brownies.com)
While we are on the subject of delicious treats, let's talk about the Mrs. Fields Cookie blog. The tagline for the blog is "Baking & gifting tips & advice from the world's smartest cookie." The blog posts all feature Mrs. Fields as the author, although I have no idea whether or not she actually writes for the blog. The blog often features promotions for mrsfields.com as well as giveaways and contests that happen right on the blog. There is also the occasional "secret" recipe typically for seasonal treats. If you just want to focus on gifts, they have a gifting tips category that will provide you with a large number of gift ideas (all available from Mrs. Fields).
The Blog Basket (http://www.gourmetgiftbaskets.com/blog/)
The humble gift basket has been a staple of corporate gift giving for decades. One of the leading online companies in this space is gourmetgiftbaskets.com, and the Blog Basket is their official blog. The main writers are two former journalists, so the content is well written and professional. Surprisingly the blog is not very self-promotional, with most posts relating the authors' personal experiences loosely tied to a gift basket item such as wine, apples and flowers. It is actually an interesting and readable blog, not at all what I expected when I discovered it.
GustiBlog is the official blog of Gustiamo Inc., an Italian gourmet food store in New York City. Gustiamo (which means "we taste" in Italian) features imported food products from Italy. For the serious foodie, Gustiamo claims it is "America's most discriminating purveyor of Italian artisan food." And it is not cheap. For example, you can choose extra virgin olive oil from different regions, such as Vicopisano from Tuscany for $43 for a 16.9 oz. bottle. Now a word about the blog. Mostly it features some of the many wonderful products they sell, discussing how to cook with them and what to eat with them. It also discusses different restaurants around the US that use Gustiamo's products. This time of year it features some of their holiday gift baskets, which would no doubt make a great gift for any serious foodie on your gift list.
Gift Rap (http://blog.gifts.com/giftrap/)
The Gift Rap is the official blog of gifts.com, which is likely the most visited gift site online. It is authored by four "gift gurus," one of whom introduces a new gift idea every day. The site has been going since early 2007, so they have close to 1,000 gifts reviewed since then. I like the way the blog is organized. You can view gift reviews by category, by occasion or by recipient. For business, the Thank You Gifts occasion may be the most useful. As the season gets going, most gift reviews will center around appropriate gifts for the holidays. A couple of points to note: Each gift review links to a page on the gifts.com site, which in turn links to the site of the online retailer. Gifts.com does not actually sell anything; it just gathers all the gifts from online retailers in one place and then points you to other sites.
Peter Renton is the founder and former co-owner of Lightning Labels, an all-digital label printer in Denver, CO, USA. He is currently doing some blog consulting while attempting to take a career sabbatical after the sale of Lightning Labels.