Gifts For New Parents That They’ll Actually Enjoy

Close friends of ours just had a baby! A shout out to beautiful cupid-cheeked baby Uma! Like most new parents these days, our friends signed up for a baby registry which made it easy for us to give them a newborn baby gift that we knew they wanted.But don’t hesitate to send a baby gift not on the registry, especially if it’s an item that you may have discovered by trial and error as a parent yourself: share that one toy that would infallibly sooth your cranky newborn, or that one mobile that magically mesmerized her. “Welcome New Baby” gifting solved. But what about the parents? New parents are desperate for sleep, nutritious food and adult conversation. But mostly they are short on time: time to take care of anything that isn’t directly related to their new baby. Here are 8 great gift ideas for new parents that will really be appreciated.

#1. Food
Eating becomes a “catch it as you catch can” endeavor when you have a new baby at home. One of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts for new parents is a good meal. Bring over some healthy home-made dishes that are divided into meals and can be frozen and defrosted as needed. Replenish! Or if you aren’t into cooking yourself, consider signing the new parents up for a food delivery service. Some services send fully prepared meals that only require heating; others send a simple recipe with all the ingredients to make the meal, which at least saves shopping for groceries.

#2. Gift Baskets – For Moms, New Parents, & The Baby
If you don’t live close enough to bring homemade food to the new parents, and you don’t want to commit to a subscription meal service, then a food gift basket for the new parents is just the ticket! Finding time to sleep can be hard enough, let alone finding time to cook. How about a breakfast hamper such as our Early Bird Breakfast Basket with artisanal bread, jam, granola, and Clementine juice, or our hearty Bagel Brunch Baskets with delectable smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, capers and organic blood orange juice? These gifts are sure to please new parents who likely eat breakfast any time of the day or night!
 

A gift basket designed just for new or expecting moms, filled with all of the essential vitamins.

Nutrition is critically important for new mothers, especially if they are breast-feeding. It’s hard to make sure to get enough healthy food when you don’t have the time to put into shopping and food preparation. We have designed the Mother’s Nature collection, a line of healthy gift baskets specifically to address the nutritional needs of pregnant and nursing women. In three different sizes, we include fresh and dried fruit that contain many of the most essential vitamins and minerals necessary for good maternal nutrition, and a variety of healthy, easy to eat snacks filled with protein for energy.

You can also add a little present for the new baby to a gift basket for new parents! Our customers tend to include baby booties, and/or baby blankets in pink, blue or a neutral shade, or a soft and cuddly teddy bear to acknowledge the new arrival.

#3. Laundry Service
The diaper service has been engaged, but what about the rest of the family laundry? Find a laundry service that will pick up dirty clothes, sheets and towels, and deliver them back all cleaned, folded and pressed, and you have a good gift idea for new parents!

#4. Doula or Housekeeper
Doulas are breast-feeding specialists, but their expertise can extend into other areas of newborn child care and maternal health and well-being. Doulas are companions as well as mentors. They also typically will do light grocery shopping, prepare simple meals, and tidy up. Sometimes Grandma or Grandpa can fill this role, but often grandparents don’t live near-by or new parents don’t want the complications of a relative taking on these responsibilities. Doulas can live-in or visit daily for as long as needed. For more heavy lifting in maintaining a clean and tidy household, think about engaging a housekeeper for the new parents. Scrubbing a bathroom or scouring a stove top aren’t high priorities for parents of a new baby.

#5. Run Some Errands
Any chore that involves leaving the house can be a challenge for a brand new parent. Offer to do grocery store or pharmacy shopping, drop off dry cleaning, pick up older kids from day care/school, or walk the dog. If you want to visit the home, offer to do some chores, such as ironing or washing dishes, while you are there.

#6. Pet Care
Taking care of pets that need special attention, such as an elderly dog, a young dog that needs lots of outdoor running, or a cat that needs twice daily glucose injections, for example, can be an extra burden when all the focus is on the new baby. Offering to take a pet for a few weeks may be a great gift for new parents. Even if a pet doesn’t require additional care, they may suffer a bit from their owner’s distraction. You can also benefit from all the good energy a pet can bring to your own household!

#7 Short Story Books
Reading a book is almost impossible when you can only get through one or two pages at a single sitting. Short story books can be the perfect solution for new parents who love to read. There are lots of classic selections such as the short story collections of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, or Mark Twain, or you can chose the current year’s “The Best American Short Stories” which are consistently excellent. Another great option is the “Letters of Note” volumes, which print correspondence written in the near and distant past from famous people and average citizens, and in ordinary or extraordinary circumstances. Each letter is about a page and fascinating enough to hold your attention, at least for the time you have to devote to it!

#8. Parent Pampering
One of the best gift ideas for new parents is some pampering. The very last thing new parents are thinking about (even lower on the list than laundry) is taking care of themselves. Give a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near-by home and take care of the baby so the new parents have the chance to freshen up and share a few hours together out as a couple. It’s easy to forget the importance of your relationship with your partner when you become a family. Another good gift for new parents is a spa treatment! Send them a gift card to the local nail salon. And don’t worry: manicures and pedicures aren’t just for women any more. Men are going to nail salons in increasing numbers these days for care of their feet and hands. Facials or massages are also good options.

The point is to give a gift that reminds the new parents of what they used to enjoy before baby came into the picture. The needs and wants of the new parents are often forgotten in the flurry of attention that the new baby draws. Giving a gift specifically for new parents will be a delightful surprise and greatly appreciated. If you can, don’t just offer one homemade meal, one week of laundry or housekeeping service, or one day of errands or pet care. A personalized gift that keeps on giving over 3 to 6 months is the best gift you can give new parents.

7 Reasons to Send a Gift Basket to Your Favorite Clients

When you work with clients, there is always one that you enjoy working with the most. For example, they may be the friendliest to interact with, the easiest to make decisions with, the biggest account, or the most loyal to you and your company. Whatever the reason, you are grateful to them, value their business, and want to communicate your appreciation. Large office gift basket Here are seven reasons to send a corporate gift basket to your favorite client that will make him or her feel special.

#1. Anniversary of your first business transaction or renewal of your contract
The anniversary of the beginning of your relationship is a perfect time to recognize your favorite clients with a gourmet gift basket that says “Thank You.” Typically, this anniversary will mark a year, although with some contracts it may be a longer or shorter period. Either way, this date can serve as a cue for you to take this opportunity to tell your best customers how much you value their business.

#2. Expanding their work with you and/or your company
A client has just given you and your company a new project or has expanded your work on an ongoing assignment. That is a tangible vote of confidence! What a perfect time to let him or her know how grateful you are. Send a large corporate gift basket for the firm to enjoy with a card addressed to your client that says, “We appreciate your confidence in us. We look forward to our continued work together.”

#3. Referral to another potential client
Small Office Gift Basket_Roxbury Every business person knows how significant it is when a customer refers new business to you. When they refer a new potential client to you, they are showing their trust and support. No wonder they are your favorite client! There’s no better time to communicate your thankfulness with a delicious gift basket filled with treats is the perfect gift.

#4. A good customer review
Writing a review takes time and thought, so it is not to be taken for granted when a client (especially the ones that have been happy with your work) goes the extra mile. When they do, it is an occasion worthy of a gift basket to show your gratitude. Online reviews can make or break a company, so don’t miss the opportunity to let your client know just how much their positive review means to you and your company.

#5. End of the quarter/end of the season/holidays
Natural transitions that mark time are a good excuse to show your appreciation to your favorite clients. End of the quarter numbers look good largely because of your best customer? Let him or her know. End of the season marks the end of a project? A perfect time to send a business gift basket filled with fruit that represents the best tastes of the season. Winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are traditional gift giving events. Many companies send all of their clients gifts at this time of year. If your company does, make sure to send something extra special to your favorite client – something that distinguishes him or her from the rest. If your company does not typically send gifts at holiday time, be sure to find a way to justify the expense of a gift to your favorite customer!

#6. Personal occasions
Business Gift Basket_Pippin Chances are that if a client is your favorite, you will know a few personal facts about him or her. Perhaps you know their birthday, that they are an expectant parent, that they have the flu or are a veteran. All of these occasions are great reasons to single out your best customer for a gift basket to say “Happy Birthday!”, “Congratulations!”, “Get Well”, or “Sending my appreciation for your service on this Veteran’s Day.” It is a very personal way to reach out and communicate how special they are to you and your business.

#7. Just because
Finally, it may be a real treat for your favorite client to receive a gift from you “just because.” You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to express your appreciation. A surprise gift basket with a simple note that says “I really enjoy working with you!” is going to make him or her feel special. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

The bottom line is: don’t miss an opportunity to send a gift basket to your favorite corporate client. It is the perfect gift to send and it will make your client feel good (as well as yourself) and is great for business too!

Father’s Day Activity Ideas: How This Dad Likes to Celebrate

As a Dad, I’m a real fan of Father’s Day! While Father’s Day doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention as Mother’s Day, as a parent, I feel just as important on my special day. And I know other Dads do too. There are so many ways to celebrate Father’s Day and lots of blogs give advice on Father’s Day gift ideas. Today, I thought I would make it personal by looking back over the last 26 years I’ve been a father and sharing with you some of my favorite ways to celebrate Father’s Day.

#1. Doing What I Want
Coffee & NewspaperFather’s Day is a holiday, and to me, that means no chores, no errands, no work, no alarm clocks, no time constraints, no rushing, and whenever possible, no subway! I like to sleep in, have a big breakfast and read the paper at my leisure. If the weather is at all decent, I’ll go for an epic bike ride and have a plan to stop off at my daughter’s apartment on the way home. She’ll take me out for a beer and chicharron (fried pork) at my favorite friendly hole-in-the-wall restaurant in her neighborhood. This will inevitably lead to an afternoon nap.

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to bring you closer to your own parents. When my father was alive, we would often arrange to spend the weekend with my parents, thereby making it a double father’s celebration day. This was always a special Father’s Day weekend as my daughter was able to celebrate with both her dad and grandpa. And my daughter could acknowledge her Grandpa too.

#3. Hanging Out with My Daughter
When my daughter was younger, nothing made me happier than spending time with her doing the things we liked to do together: namely to play some type of sport. We would grab a big sports bag and fill it with a basketball, lacrosse sticks, Frisbee, etc. and off we would go to the park. We would roam from basketball court to field and we’d come back home tired, sweaty and dirty. These days, we may meet in the park for a run. We still share a love of being physically active.

#4. Sharing Music
One of the simplest and longest lasting Father’s Day gifts is the gift of music, even if it’s just a playlist of current music that my daughter loves. I look to her to keep me up-to-date with new artists, or old artists that she’s discovered. Sharing music is very personal and brings us closer together. What you’re listening to can tell you a lot about a person. Once in awhile, I get to introduce her to someone she doesn’t know about!

#5. Receiving a Father’s Day Gift 

Custom Father's Day Gift

My daughter surprised me with this amazing custom bike jersey – one of my favorite Father’s Day gifts!

Gifts are always fun to get. I hardly ever buy anything for myself (I hate to shop) so I really appreciate it when someone else buys something for me! In the past, my wife has taken me jean shopping, and although I didn’t like the process, I was really happy to get some jeans that actually fit me well. My daughter has a real talent for researching and finding just the right Father’s Day gifts for me. One year she surprised me with a new bike jersey that she designed herself: it was customized around the theme of our French Bulldogs, Massimo and Lily. I cherish it.

This year, she gave me an early gift of a cordless electric drill! It replaces an ancient drill that required an extension cord and had a chuck key (really old school). My new one is lightweight and even has a light on it. She gave it to me early so that I could use it to help her put up her blinds, mount her TV, and hang shelves in her new apartment. Yeah, she’s smart.

Pistachio Gift Box

Who doesn’t love pistachios? (This dad is a big fan).

This year I would also especially love the Father’s Day gift from Manhattan Fruitier! I created it so, of course, I want it. I designed Pistachio Blitz because I’m such a pistachio lover. The gift features three flavors of pistachios in the shell, pistachio caramel corn and pistachio butter. I’m willing to share, but first someone (hint) needs to send it to me.



#6. Spending Time with My Family
No matter how I may spend Father’s Day, it almost always ends with my wife and daughter and I getting together to share wine and a meal. Speaking of wine, we recently discovered a medium-fruited and lively red wine, Langhe Nebbiolo, made from grapes from the same general area as Barolo and Barbaresco in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and in Lombardy. Delicious!

In my heart, Father’s Day is about more than gifts. It’s about opening myself up to receiving thanks for being a Dad and making memories with my family.

7 Delicious & Heart Healthy Food Gifts

We should all be concerned about the health of our hearts — and I guess I can say that both figuratively and literally! Both happiness and the state of our coronary arteries are crucial to a long and healthy life. Many of us, myself included, have heart disease that runs in our families. It’s impossible to escape the genetic-predisposition that makes us vulnerable to the build-up of plaque that clogs the arteries feeding our heart and leads to heart attack and stroke.

But there are many things we can do to mitigate our susceptibility. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is an important component to a heart healthy lifestyle and longevity. But exercise alone is not enough. We also need a diet rich in heart healthy foods.

Luckily, heart healthy foods can also be delicious! Look for foods that are low sodium, cholesterol free, and high in omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids (antioxidants), potassium, fiber and protein. Here are seven delectable heart healthy gift ideas that will be sure to please.

Fresh and Dried Fruit

A gift basket of fresh and dried seasonal fruits is always a nutritious choice and a great heart healthy gift idea. The best fruits for heart health are the ones with high fiber content, Vitamins such as A, C and E, minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and flavonoids.

Some of the best choices are apples, apricots, berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi and peaches. Avocados are also especially heart healthy because of the fatty acids.

Nuts

I was so happy when I learned that nuts were one of the best heart healthy foods you can eat! I love nuts and eat a large handful every day either in my morning yogurt or oatmeal, or as a pre-dinner snack with a glass of red wine. Although caloric, nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein.

Any nuts are fine, roasted or raw, except that they should not be salted, if you want to create a heart healthy food gift. I make my own nut mix and will often bring it to friends as a gift. I’ll put them in a glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck. My favorite nuts are raw cashews, roasted almonds, pistachios, and walnuts and I like to include some raisins for the chewy consistency.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is heart healthy because it contains flavonoids, which can reduce arterial inflammation, as well as protein and fiber. Dark chocolate is also more nutritious than milk or white chocolate because it contains less sugar. Look for chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa and is low sodium or sodium-free. A selection of dark chocolate bars wrapped in tissue and placed into a gift bag makes a lovely heart healthy gift that anyone would be happy to receive.

Oatmeal

I know that oatmeal isn’t the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a gift, but oatmeal is simply one of the best concentrated sources of fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins and one of the most highly recommended foods for heart health. What if you could find a gift constructed around a unique artisanal oatmeal? We have just that!

Heart Healthy Gift BasketOur Heart Healthy Beat #2 gift, shown in the photo, contains fresh and dried fruits, nuts, dark chocolate and oatmeal. This oatmeal is made from organic non-GMO whole grains and oats milled in Chappaqua, NY by Farm to Table. A variety of grains bring a complexity of tastes and diversity of textures to intrigue the palate. This oatmeal is one of my favorite cold weather breakfasts and I also like to eat it as a power boosting snack before a bike ride… with a handful of nuts, of course!

Legumes

Legumes are a class of vegetables in which the dried fruit of the plant is contained within a shell or a pod. Legumes are heart healthy because they are a great source of non-animal protein, are packed with the minerals and vitamins important to heart health, and are high in fiber. But how do you make a heart healthy food gift out of legumes?

Heart Healthy Beat Gift 3Try our fabulous Falafel Chips by Flamous that we include in our largest Heart Healthy gift (Heart Healthy Beat #3, shown right). Made from black beans, chick peas, fava beans and pinto beans, these chips are just as addicting as tortilla or potato chips but without all the salt and fat. You won’t feel like you’re missing out with this healthy alternative. And they’re organic too!

Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids are thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease. These fats are called “essential fats” because our bodies can’t produce them from other sources so we need to ingest them from our foods. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. So we developed a heart healthy gift idea that is centered around tuna belly and trout. Now how can that be appealing?

Heart Healthy Panty - Mediterranean DietWell, we start with delicate and delicious, lightly salted canned trout and tuna from the Cole Company. The Cole Company is known to care about sustainable resources and catches the fish using fishing poles (how old fashioned!). These fish make a fantastic dinner in a salad or on a cracker. I always have some on hand in the kitchen cupboard.

The rest of the gift includes other items perfect for storage in the pantry and all part of a heart healthy Mediterranean diet, such as couscous, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, almonds, and dried apricots.

Red Wine

Probably the very best news is that red wine can be part of a heart healthy diet so it makes the perfect heart healthy gift idea! Consider adding red wine to a food gift such as those in our Heart Healthy Gift collection for the ultimate heart healthy gift.

Heart healthy living and heart healthy gifting doesn’t have to be hard!

The Best Gift Ideas for Organic Lovers

Thankfully, as the demand for organic products has increased, so have the number of options for organic gift ideas! Not only have new companies sprung up that sell only organic, many well-established companies have devoted space to a line of organic products.

It’s easier than ever to find great gifts for organic lovers. Whether you are looking for the best organic food gifts, or other gift ideas, you will be able to find a wide selection to choose from. The important factor is to match the preferences of your gift recipient. Here are some of our favorite gift ideas for organic lovers!

Organic Fruit
An organic fruit basket is, not surprisingly, one of our top gifts for organic food lovers. It looks beautiful and tastes good! And your gift recipient will appreciate the extra care you took to send an organic fruit basket. Organic fruit is more expensive than conventionally grown fruit, but when it’s better for the environment, healthier to eat, and tastes better too, it’s worth it!

Organic Chocolate
Organic food lovers don’t have to say “no” to chocolates! There is a myriad of organic chocolate makers in the market now. Just look at the chocolate displays in your local natural food store and you will be overwhelmed by all of the choices.

Organic Chocolate Bar

This luscious organic chocolate bar is 72% cacao and a very healthy choice!

A lovely organic food gift idea is to collect an assortment of organic chocolate bars: milk chocolate; dark chocolate with a range of percentages of cacao (i.e. 35% to 85% which, by the way, tells you the relative amount of cacao to sugar – the higher the cacao content, the healthier it is to eat); chocolates that are single source; chocolates that have unusual ingredients added such as lavender, chili pepper, ginger, and nuts and berries for example.

It’s fun to try new chocolates, because you never know when you might just find the next best thing! We love the organic chocolate bars made by Caco Prieto in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The cool designs on the wrappers make the bars look particularly gifty.

Organic Coffee & Tea
For the coffee and tea lover, think about giving a gift of organic coffees or teas.

Bellocq Organic Tea

Bellocq’s packaging is reminiscent of that used by an old-time apothecary.

Similar to the situation with organic chocolates, there are so many choices nowadays. There are companies that sell only organic coffee and tea, and others that sell both conventionally grown and organically grown products. At specialty tea ateliers you can find exotic blends of organic teas and botanicals from around the world like this organic High Mountain Oolong Green Tea from Bellocq.

Espresso bars aren’t just serving coffee anymore, they are blending and brewing the coffee beans they carefully source with the precision of science and the magic of art. If your local espresso bar doesn’t offer an organic option, there are plenty of companies you can find online that are happy to ship. A lovely organic gift idea for coffee aficionados.

Organic Cheeses
There are several mass market organic cheese brands that are readily recognizable in your supermarket cheese case, but finding certified organic cheeses made by small farmsteads are harder to come by. Small batch cheese-makers pride themselves on producing the tastiest cheeses while adhering to the strict criteria required to be labeled organic.

Organic Cheese Basket

This organic cheese basket is the complete organic food lovers gift with one of our favorites, Tarentaise.

It is an expensive, time-consuming process that takes at least three years and is difficult to maintain, and many small farms simply don’t have the resources to get through the process.

One of our favorite organic cheeses is the grassy, nutty-flavored Tarentaise from Thistle Hill Farm in Vermont. We pair it with organic fruit and other assorted organic treats for a totally organic experience!

Organic Wines
While not as ubiquitous as organic fruits, or organic coffee and teas, organic and biodynamic wines are becoming easier to find and this makes a thoughtful organic food gift for the oenophile who wants to drink pesticide-free. Have you noticed that more and more restaurants are adding a few organic selections to their wine lists?

That’s because more and more people are requesting it. Organic wine produced in the United States does not contain added sulfites typically used in the winemaking process, and taste may be sacrificed as a result. Some wines labeled as organic and produced outside of the United States do contain sulfites. They may taste better, but the additives may not meet the definition of “organic”.

Think about pairing a farmstead organic cheese gift with an organic wine for the best organic food gift imaginable!

Organic Make-Up, Skin, & Hair Products
Not all of our best gift ideas for organic lovers are food-related. If you are giving a gift to someone who likes living organic, consider organic products for skin, hair, and make-up. Just stroll down the Beauty, Bath, & Body aisle of your neighborhood health food store or natural apothecary and you will see that there are so many products that we use every day that can now be found in organic versions.

Think soaps, shampoos and conditioners, facial cleansers, massage oils, bath gels and bubbles, moisturizers, lipsticks and mascaras just to name a few. Organic lovers usually like putting organic food into their bodies and organic products onto their bodies!

Organic Clothing
Certified organic cotton is made from cotton plants that grow with no pesticides, herbicides or non-natural fertilizers for at least three years and use no chemical dyes or fabric “finishings” that may negatively affect the environment or irritate your skin.

Organic cotton bathrobes and tee shirts are easy to fit a variety of body types and are always welcomed gifts. An especially thoughtful gift for organic lovers who are new parents are baby clothes and soft toys made from organic cotton. You aren’t limited to cotton in your organic clothing gift choices. You can also find clothing in organic silk, knits, wool and cashmere.

Organic Sheets, Towels, & Decorative Pillows
If your gift recipient loves organic food and organic fabric, then they will love receiving a set of organic fabric sheets and/or towels – even accent cushions for the bed or sofa. Consider environmentally friendly organic bamboo or luxurious organic silk. Organic fabrics cost more, but your gift will show that you acknowledge their preferences. Make sure the labels say Certified Organic.

Sustainably Sourced Wood Products
It’s quite heartening to see that there are companies making beautifully hand-crafted wooden products for the home using reclaimed wood or wood from trees grown and harvested in sustainable forests. Wooden cutting boards, bowls, serving spoons, salad sets, and even photo frames (if anyone actually prints out photographs anymore — I think I’m one of the last hold-outs!) are great gifts for anyone who loves organic products.

Products come with tags that fully detail the source of the wood used. Organic lovers will definitely appreciate that.

There is an organic movement going on! To learn more about the organic certification process and other topics interesting to the organic lover, check out www.organic.org.