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Throughout the year we all find ourselves, at one point or another, scrounging for a small present to give for someone’s birthday. In my superior social circle, we tend to gather together and enjoy a nice dinner, maybe a round or 6 of cocktails. Or both. The company of good friends is always much more enjoyable than presents.

However, who are we kidding? Bringing a small birthday token, especially when it’s unexpected, to let your friends know that you thought of them is always appreciated. Plus, think of how much better you look showing up with some loot! I always have a stock of small presents for just this reason. My favorite gift to give is clearance jewelry. Large bangles or sparkly earrings – fun and fancy is the rule – decoratively packaged in a nice box is a wonderful small surprise. (Note: usually the box ends up being more money than the jewels themselves.)

Where do you get these fabulous jewels? Well, large department stores are always making way for new stock – and a silver bangle NEVER goes out of style. Every time I am in Macy’s I look at the jewelry on sale and pick up a piece or six. Target too – they always have a nice clearance selection (be sure to take off the paper tag attached to sale jewelry indicating where you got it from). Remember: a silver bangle that was originally $40.00 marked down to $7.99 clearance is not cheap. It’s superior shopping skills put into action, you shopping ninja you!

When I am ready to bestow upon others my good taste, I pull out a fancy gift box from Paper-Source, throw in a little tissue paper and am good to go. You’ll never be left without a gift for any occasion.

Bon Mots: “Do you love it? I found that at a little boutique when I was driving through Napa last fall and immediately thought of you and set it aside for your birthday!”