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From Ho-Hum to Ho-Ho-Ho

From Ho-Hum to Ho-Ho-Ho

(ARA)- Stumped? Perplexed? Puzzled? A million things to do and now it's time to pick just the right present for the perennially hard-to-gift. You know the ones. Sweet Aunt Betty who always remembers your birthday. The piano teacher with the patience of a saint who claps like crazy every time your young child plays "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." And, of course, don't forget dear old Mr. Whitney, your faithful mail carrier.
We all have special people in our lives who make the world a better place to be. We want to choose something special, something that will put a smile on his or her face. But where to start? The answer may be at the tip of your finger - or at the other end of the telephone. John Baumann, president of The Swiss Colony, hears stories every year from people who are trying to find "just the right gift" for those hard-to-gift people in their lives.
"It's wonderful to be able to surprise someone with a seasonal treat," says Baumann. "Holidays provide the perfect opportunity to express our appreciation to those special friends and loved ones." And he should know. For 80 years, The Swiss Colony has been helping to bring families and friends together by delivering their holiday greetings through food gifts by mail.
So make it easy on yourself this holiday season. Pull up a comfortable chair. Get out your list. Gather up your catalogs - or hop online - and start browsing. Delight someone with a special gift by mail and leave the shipping to somebody else. Some catalog companies offer extras like gift packaging, personalized holiday greetings and "your time" delivery, so you can shop early and designate delivery at a later date. Some even send you a reminder, to help you get started, of what you sent and to whom the year before.
(BOLD)Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
* Consider giving something to eat, such as a special holiday food. Everyone loves food. It's also easy to share and doesn't add to the clutter. Look for specialty items that can't be found at the local supermarket or corner store. Most people love to receive rich sweets like truffles, tortes, butter toffee or petits fours at this time of year. Fortunately, many catalogs now offer a good selection of sugar-free versions as well.
* Start a tradition. Baumann says nearly half of his customers choose the same holiday treat for those special someones year after year. One mother writes that every Christmas she sends a Dobosh Torte to each of her grown children, because it brings back memories of her grandmother who used to do the same. She hopes the tradition will carry on to her own grandchildren when they are grown.
* On the other hand, if you prefer to give something that somebody has never before seen, let alone received, choose from items marked "new." Tempting new delicacies available in catalogs for the first time this year range from cute little Penguin Melties, suitable for kids of all ages, to Jelly Belly Bark, Ladybug Truffles and Chocolate Fruitcake.
* Still in a quandary over what to give the babysitter, Uncle Hank or your child's first-grade teacher? Look for a company that offers an online "gift guide." The best will offer suggestions for everybody from family and friends to the mail carrier and neighbors. Some may also provide personal shopping assistance by telephone, when you call to place an order.
* Remember, whatever you choose, it's the thought that counts. From the very moment your special treat arrives, your friend or loved one will know you really care.
The art of gift giving lies in the hearts of those who love to bring joy to others. Chances are there is a friend, relative, handy helper or other hard-to-gift person on your list who could use a smile. Happiness is its own reward.
For more ideas and tips for the hard-to-gift on your list, call (800) 804-5188 or visit

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