The global, economic downturn has given us a different set of choices and reminded us of what is really important. With all of our technology, conveniences and instant access, our lives are more frenzied than ever. What usually suffers is the casual and spontaneous time with family and friends. Now, when planning our budget dollars, we may elect to have friends over for dinner rather than meeting at a restaurant and find that it is a more intimate, memorable experience. When cutting out the extras and the non-essentials, we rediscover the things that sustained us 50 years ago – the simple, wholesome things like books, board games and outdoor activities.
The popularity of gift cards made it possible for us to know nothing more about our friends and family then where they liked to shop or eat. When most of us picture the holiday celebrations from our childhood, it is filled with anticipation for that wished-for gift, followed by an expression of delight. Whether you were young or old, the thoughtful gift from the heart meant more than the cost of the item. Tightening of the purse strings also forces us to be more resourceful and creative.
Does the trend toward nostalgic and retro packaging reflect a longing for simpler times? This year, there has been a resurgence of interest in packaging for food gifts. Many major brands have gone the nostalgic, retro or commemorative route with their packaging. A specialty food gift in a collectible tin can be given for a family to share or as a corporate thank-you gift. The bakers, confectioners and the poppers have more mixes, flavors and colors than can be imagined. The supplier as well as the shopper has become more creative – in search of that “expression of delight.”