Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: HomeGoods

I love searching for gifts. Between teachers and family and friends - and my babysitting co-op - there is always the need for a gift here or there, especially this time of year. I actually haven't counted up the number of gifts I need this year, as it's a little daunting. Fortunately, I figured out what I'm doing for most people this year - homemade truffles.

That said, I still have some hunting to do. BlogHer challenged me to go shopping for gifts with a $25 HomeGoods gift certificate. That's the kind of challenge I love. I only wish I'd had more time to wander through the store, as I only had the time to fully peruse about a third of the store. The rest of it I had to quickly flit down the aisles before running to get Mister Man for his therapy session.

Part of the reason it took me so long is that I kept finding things. I started out looking for something for my babysitting co-op's Christmas white elephant gift that needed to be under $10. My goal is to have a gift that people trade for during the process. I was hoping I could find something at HomeGoods that would fit the bill.

I didn't.

I found too many things. I literally would pick up something and put it in my cart then find something else I wanted for the co-op. Then I'd decide that the previous thing would make a great gift for a therapist or school teacher. It's possible I ended up spending a little more than my $25 gift card, but check out everything I got.

These four reindeer mugs are adorable, aren't they? They were one of the first things I put in my cart. For $7.99 (compared to $25 elsewhere per the tag), they were going to be my co-op gift. They are now going to be divided into single mugs, filled with my truffles and given to bus drivers, gymnastics coaches, etc.

I also found these awesome vases in a ton of different colors and patterns. I can't believe that they were only $7.99 for a handmade heavy glass vase (compared to $15 elsewhere per the tag). It took me awhile to decide on the pattern. And once I saw something else, I decide on this vase to go in my new bathroom. I think. It would be perfect to hold bath salts on my new little niche.

Next up was the three piece prep bowl set. They nest and came in different colors, and the detail around the top edge of the bowls is a great accent. This was going to be the co-op gift for $6.99 (compared to $15 elsewhere per tag), but once again I found something else. Instead, this is also going to be broken into three separate gifts filled with truffles for the music teacher, Spanish teacher, and art teacher.

In the end, I found an absolutely gorgeous much larger vase, again hand made and with such gorgeous colors and details. You can't see it, but the blue swirls around the vase are textured, as well. This one was mysteriously in the clearance area for $5 (originally $14.99, compared to $28 elsewhere per the tag). I know this will make a positive impression, and I'm going to donate an additional $5 towards our charity endeavor instead.

All told, those gifts were $25.97. Can you say "Score!" with me?

I didn't stop there though. As I kept looking around, I found more things that were perfect for ... more people. It's possible that I was included in this for more than that gorgeous vase for my bath salts.

I found the perfect Christmas gift for my sister, who is notoriously hard for me to shop for. She is currently in vet school, and she has collected snow globes and music boxes for years. I found something that combines all three. This adorable snowglobe with five dogs decorating a doghouse with lights plays Jingle Bells. At $12.99 ($24 elsewhere per the tag), I think I'm doing pretty good with a gift for her that she'll love.

And for me? I love to entertain and have people over. I do a lot of appetizer and dessert type get togethers, and I never have enough serving dishes. My "casual" servingware is white squared off and fairly simple. In fact, for my birthday, I even got the start of a new set of everyday dishes in the same format (my dishes are from 15 years ago and are slowly - or not so slowly - being broken). I found a bunch of serving dishes that would fit beautifully in my collection. With all the different shapes and sizes, it was hard to narrow down what I was going to purchase, but I finally decided on two trays in sizes and shapes very different from what I owned. Those trays were $3.99 ($8 elsewhere per the tag) and $5.99 ($15 elsewhere per the tag).

I walked out of there spending a total of $50.94, with my most expensive purchase being the $12.99 snow globe. I was beyond thrilled, and you can bet I'm heading back there the next time I'm looking for something special - no matter who it's for!

Oh, and before I forget, BlogHer is also giving away one $100 gift card and 20 $25 gift cards to HomeGoods here. Go, try to win one for yourself!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a $25 gift card to HomeGoods for review purposes from BlogHer. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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