Saturday, December 13, 2008

Making My List and Checking it Twice (for Double Points!)

Last year I coordinated a class gift for my son's pre-school teachers. The product was a book of wishes from the students - each kiddo wrote what they wished for each teacher on a page and included a photo of themselves. One of the other moms is a graphic designer so she created beautiful covers for the books and we "bound" them with silver ribbon. Families also pitched in to get the teachers gift certificates from Barnes & Noble and Fred Meyer (for those of you who are unfamiliar with Fred Meyer, it is a store in the Kroger family of grocery stores, but expands to be more like a Target). I was really pleased with how it all came together and the priceless quality of the books - when they were all done, I selfishly wished I could keep a copy for myself!

This year I brainstormed for about two weeks to come up with a class gift idea, but everything sounded ridiculously lame compared to last year's idea. Then my son got sick and my father-in-law visited for a day and before I knew it, this week was over and I hadn't come up with anything. But . . . nobody seemed to even notice! So, I decided that there was no real reason for me to stress over a class gift, especially since it was just a nice gesture and not a true responsibility. Talk about a stress-relieving decision - whew!

Now I'm free to consider what to get the teachers from our family without worrying about everyone else. The decision is really a no-brainer, too: BOOKS!

The lead teacher is an avid knitter and quilter and all-around amazing craftswoman. I don't know how she finds the time to do it all and take care of a barn full of horses and a classroom full of kids, but she does. She truly has the patience of a saint to manage so many tedious things! Yet somehow this remarkable woman hasn't read The Quiltmaker's Gift by the talented combo of author Jeff Brumbeau and illustrator Gail de Marcken. The assistant teacher is a delightfully cheery woman. I don't know her as well since this is her first year with the class, but I know that there is a wonderful book that will call out to me for her as I wander the aisles.

So, here's my plan:

I'm going to get some Barnes & Noble gift cards from Safeway to use for my book purchases for the teachers (and a few other folks on my list that I haven't already found the perfect goodies for). I'll use the cards like cash for my shopping AND I'll get a few more cents discount at the Safeway gas station - not a bad deal! We have three Safeway gas stations near us, so we're sure to put the discounts to use before the Rewards expire at the end of the year.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Well . . .

Safeway has a special promotion going right now - PowerPump Rewards. According to the Safeway site: Now thru 12/25/08 you can earn Double PowerPump Rewards (through regular grocery purchases). Earn an additional Reward for every $100 you spend on Gift Cards. Safeway offers over 300 different Gift Cards from which to choose. The list is BROAD. It includes restaurants like Panera (my son's favorite); electronic/toy stores like Best Buy and Toys R Us; clothing stores like LL Bean and Belk; airlines like Southwest and Jet Blue; entertainment companies like AMC Theaters and Barnes & Noble. . . and MANY MORE! Check out the PowerPump Locator to find a Safeway near you and to see the selection of Gift Cards for yourself.*

I'm not much of a Gift Card giver, since I like to make gifts or pick something meaningful (like SPECIFIC books) for people (hence our mad scramble to finish our Christmas projects mentioned here - photos to be posted next week!). BUT, I think that purchasing Gift Cards to use for our own shopping is an easy way to make the "not-so-mighty" dollar stretch a bit further as we do our best to contribute to our local economy. I also appreciate that you can get Gift Cards for experiences (movie theatres, air travel, hotels, etc.), since I think those are the next best things to books and a good run.

And now that I've refreshed my own memory on the Gift Card selection, we might just have to get a few Southwest cards now to use when we fly down to CA to meet our new nephew!

How about YOU? What Gift Card could you purchase to use for your holiday shopping? Any Gift Cards you would use as gifts?
*Please don't hold me to any details, just check the site for yourself!
Oh, and please know that I checked two local bookstores for The Quiltmaker's Gift first - independent bookstores are gems and I do my best to support them first . . . sort of like ordering books direct from authors/independent publishers when possible!


sarah said...

Brianna- That Book Woman (by Heather Hendon; illustrated by David Small) is another great teacher gift suggestion. It is new to the market and features those "pack horse" librarian ladies who rode horses and carried books to children and families in the Appallachian mountains. Beautiful book!

Brianna said...

Ooooh! Great idea - I'll be sure to check it out.