I don’t know if it has been scientifically proven, but I see a positive correlation between unique gifts and the gift-giver being a city resident or frequent visitor. And every family has at least one relative who fits that description. I can always count on my aunts for being that person for my girls — my mom’s sister used to work in NYC and still has her favorite salon, and my dad’s sister lives in Chelsea and is a professor at Parsons School of Design. In fact, is was my mom’s sister who introduced me to the whole mismatched socks concept a few years ago when she gifted my eldest Fancy Girl with them at Christmas. And then for her birthday, she introduced me to the idea of funky, unique children’s clothing. Speaking of birthdays, we’re coming up on my 3rd born’s 1st birthday and I am currently plotting her assortment of gifts. In addition to her birthday, we also have my step-sister’s daughter’s 1st birthday (she’s 2 weeks younger than mine), our teenaged niece, and my husband’s sister to all shop for. In terms of gift type, I like gifting something they don’t have or have never seen before. Something they need, but never realized it. And something so cool that I will become the family member who gives unique gifts. Since I don’t live in the city, the place I usually turn to for that is Uncommon Goods.
The Brooklyn-based company is exactly what is special about shopping from a local, boutique/business: they “feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.” Most of their products are Made in the USA, and about 1/3 of the entire collection contains recycled or upcycled materials. And you know what else is cool? They hold design challenges so you can share your own creative genius with them (more info). Their jewelry challenges are ongoing, and there is the potential that your design will end up in their collection. Crowdsourcing at its best! The Uncommon Goods warehouse is located at the historic Brooklyn terminal, but thankfully you can shop to your delight online.
On a personal note, I prefer giving my business to companies that I know are giving back to the community and doing their part to make a difference in the world. Since Uncommon Goods is an independent company, they have the freedom to support causes that are important to them. Through their Better to Give program, they will donate $1 to a non-profit of your choice. In 12 years since starting the project, they have donated over $300,000 to charities around the world! The non-profits they support, and that you choose from, are: RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, American Forests, protects and restores forests worldwide, Women for Women International, provides women survivors of war with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, and Reach Out and Read‘s, where thousands of doctors and nurses promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states. You often see the message from organizations that support independent retailers to “give thoughtfully” during the holidays. That should be the case year-round, and when you shop from a company that is doing their part to make a difference, I think your recipient will appreciate that even more.
Let’s get shopping shall we? Since the birthday recipients for January vary in age, I’ve curated two sets of gift picks. Just visit UncommonGoods to shop the entire birthday collection, with gifts for babies, kids, women and men. You might just find yourself saying, “oh that’s so clever” while you browse. I do all the time! If you want even more inspiration, shop from my Pinterest board full of even more gift ideas.
Gifts for the 1st birthday: At this age, you’re still kind of shopping for the parents more the baby. It’s nice to receive necessities (you can NEVER have too many fancy socks for babies since they take them off and throw them everywhere), but I also like unique keepsakes that she can look at fondly and quirky gifts (like the blocks, gummy bear light, and face plate) to have fun with right away.
1. Personalized Storybook Pillow, $120; Birth Announcement Pillow, $100 | 2. 2014 Birth Year Box, $48 | 3. Personalized Journals: Letters to My Niece, $39.95 | 4. Ms. Food Face Plate, $12 | 5. Periodic Table Building Blocks, $31 | 6. Lucy’s Socks, $26 | 7. Gummy Bear Lights, $27.99
Gifts for Her: This collection features gifts that she probably would never ask for, but since you know her so well, you know she would like them. I personally love mixed metals and artisan jewelry, and will use special gift-giving occasions to introduce her to the that type of jewelry. I also love food and drink gifts that are not just a bottle of wine you picked up from the liquor store on the way to the party (though that’s not bad at all!) and will not get relegated to the utensil drawer.
1. Mixed Metals Hinged Cuff, $115 | 2. Links of Love Necklace, $52 | 3. Wine Pairing Towel Set, $28 | 4. Fern Frond Earrings, $68 | 5. Health, Wealth & Love Wishbone, $26 | 6. Micro-Green Kits, $48 | 7. Flavors of America Salt Collection, $60 | 8. Stainless Steel Martini Glass, $23
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods, but the opinions are my own. AFancyGirlMust partners with brands that share common philosophies and goals for the fancy girls in our lives.