Your Online Business

Most businesses are shifting to an online business model. It seems like brick and mortar storefronts are on the decline more and more in every town. People enjoy searching for a product at home, filtering through thousands of options, reading reviews, and then making a final decision all while they are sitting on their couch at home. This means marketing has also started to shift. More and more advertisements for online stores are popping up all over social media. Influencers are even being sponsored by these online businesses to show off their products.

One thing that most of these influencers have hit on is the packaging of their products they are receiving. Plain, cardboard boxes seem to be a thing of the past when it comes to these popular millennial and Gen Z websites. Almost any box is colorful or has a cute little logo from the company. It may just seem like novelty, but it really seems to get the attention of buyers.

Aesthetic has really seemed to be the word of the decade. Everyone is focused on how something looks and if it matches their personality or their style. Cardboard boxes are just another way companies can appeal to consumers. If there are cute ads of a model holding their beautifully decorated box, then more people are likely to check out that website. Amazon uses this with their “smile” packages. Everyone associates these boxes with Amazon, which is just a marketing scheme for them. Some companies even change up their design depending on the season or the holiday. So the boxes then become sort of a collectors item, and people are more inclined to buy at certain times of the year.

Even the size of the box is something companies have to consider. Are they just going to have one medium size box that every item(s) gets shipped in. Or will they have multiple sizes with multiple different designs? These are things to think about when thinking of marketing or branding.

Next, companies need to decide how these are going to get stuffed. They could look into fun, colored shredded paper. Or they could choose packing peanuts or maybe even inflatable fillers. Maybe each item could be wrapped in pretty tissue paper. The same amount of thought that goes into the outside of the package should go on the inside. Companies should always consider adding extra inside the boxes. A little friend referral of 10% off your next purchase really keeps the customer coming back to their site.


Holiday Decoration

As spring is upon us there are a lot of people starting to prepare for Easter. Easter is nice because it is another big holiday that is seperate from Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving and Christms can be stressful because they are back-to-back. Easter is a few months later and a much more relaxed time for families to get together. The best part about Easter? Not having to scramble to find gifts for every family member! Families can really just get together to enjoy the food and the company.

My family has also had this tradition of making beautiful foods to display for the arrangement. Like I said previously, Thanksgiving and Christmas just seem to be rushed. We put together great food, but don’t think much about presentation. The pretty pastels are our favorite thing to highlight. The placemats, napkins, plates, and all of the decor are a light pink, purple, blue, or yellow. It is all a part of the art of the feast. LIttle candy eggs and candles throughout the spread.

One of our favorite decorations we have thought of over the years are candy boxes. This centerpiece has been such again for multiple reasons. First, we have the children decorate their candy boxes with all sorts of pastel paint. They always choose to draw such happy pictures to display. Then, the boxes are filled with candy and displayed on the tables and counters for guests to eat at will! It is so nice to grab little treats while waiting for the main course.

The best part about candy boxes is they are perfect for little to-go containers. The thing about large family gatherings is that everyone brings so much food! My family in particular loves to bring sweets, pastries, cakes, and cookies. These type of boxes are perfect to put leftover treats in. All of the treats are separate and will stay intact. Just remember to pop the whole box in the fridge when you get home! It’ll keep for a few days. I always love to enjoy my leftovers for at least a few days. Reward myself for having to prepare for the Easter celebration!

If you haven’t before, think about going outside the box for your decorations. These boxes are durable and will cost you next to nothing. They are fun, interactive little pieces and you can use them even after the celebration is over!

Does Anyone Truly Like Wrapping Gifts?

Wrapping gifts is one of those tasks that everyone sort of knows how to do, yet only a few truly enjoy the process. I mean, even if you went around and asked everyone you knew if they enjoyed wrapping gifts, the majority may say they like it, but their answer is always tied to liking it because they like giving gifts. Conflating the two usually means they wouldn’t just go out of their way to wrap gifts for fun unless there was a gift inside, meaning that enjoying the process is typically dependent on giving the gift.

And trust me, I’m one of those people who will flat out tell you that I’m not a fan of wrapping gifts. In fact, my partner and I decided this year for the holidays that we would just go out on a mini shopping adventure together and get things we thought the home needed. And I put emphasis on the word need here, because we’re trying to cut back on our expenses of gifts and things that are considered extra.

Still, I understand that I’ll still be wrapping some gifts that we got for my parents and her parents this year. And so, the dreaded process still looms.

I have noticed, though, that wrapping things is so much easier when you’ve got quality packaging supplies. If you choose to skimp on the materials, however, you’ll be met with a poor attempt at wrapping simply because the tape doesn’t stick well or your scissors weren’t sharp enough to make a straight cut.

So, if I had any advice to impart on you about wrapping gifts, it’s to go out and get some top notch packaging supplies. It may seem like a decent amount of money spent only on wrapping, which can be discouraging, but if you think about how you’ll get years of use out of your supplies, the expenses almost seem negligible.

Make sure to get things you know you’ll use, though. If you end up picking out different colored sharpies and fancy scissors that cut a certain pattern, reevaluate if you’ll actually use them. There’s no point in having much else outside of strong, adhesive packaging tape, a solid black magic marker, sharp and reliable scissors, and the best boxes around. (Of course, the boxes can be grabbed up for free depending on where you look. Just be sure to say no to weak, old boxes that look like they’re falling apart.)

Halloween Handout Alternatives

As society moves forward, we’re beginning to learn more and more about different diets, food allergies, and other dietary restrictions in kids, adults, and seniors. This means that restaurants have a heightened awareness of food labels and labeling their own menus, and it also means taking specific orders very seriously and to the exact point. Any single mess up could mean the business is sued or worse: a patron could become severely ill or even die from mishandled food.

A lot of people have taken up arms in this new era, considering some of these dietary restrictions as needless or extra, and they’re quick to point the finger at political correctness. Whatever it is, being PC has caused scores of people to get offended by having to be more careful about what they say and how they say it. I’m guessing it’s because everyone seems to hate change, and having to change up the way they speak for the sake of others (oh the horror!) has caused them some sort of distress.

Nonetheless, back to dietary restrictions. With Halloween here, I told my partner that it would be great to offer some sort of alternative to handouts given on Halloween night. Since so many different candy boxes are full of too much sugar or have dairy products or even tree nuts in them, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hand out little crafts or stickers instead. Since nonfood items can still be enjoyed, there’s no worrying about what kids may have certain allergies to certain foods.

So, instead of handing out jawbreakers and milk chocolate bars and an assortment of candy boxes, I think we’re going to be content buying a hodge podge of little stickers online off Etsy, and we may even knit our own little spooky ghost figures or bats. I know a lot of kids look forward to the sweets they get on October 31st, but considering they’ll get plenty of candy from other neighbors, I feel better knowing I didn’t cause some unwanted food reaction while also handing out something memorable to the kids.

See, being aware of food allergens and dietary restrictions isn’t hard at all. All it takes is some thoughtfulness and willingness to switch up the norms to accommodate others. I don’t see why this is such a big deal to so many people, but I have a sneaking suspicion it all rides on having to go out of your way to help out another person. And that, for some reason, is too hard to do.

Gift Giving is a Weird Concept

At some point in the past few years, I started to realize how full of fluff and fake niceties a lot of social events (especially those “celebrating” something) really are. Perhaps I’m a pessimist when it comes to talking about such things, but I’ve either grown jaded to things like birthdays, or I’m just starting to see such events for what they really are.

Don’t get me wrong. Holding birthdays for family members or kids serves its purpose quite well. The problem is that people still expect to be coddled on their birthday into their late 20s, and I just don’t jive with that mentality by any means. At some point or another, you’ve got to realize that a birthday is merely a day we’ve been conditioned to view as super special. And the whole idea of gift giving? That’s a bit extra.

Now, let me take a step back to talk about why I feel so strongly about these things. Honestly, I feel it all starts with the idea that we “owe” someone else a gift on their special day. This is where I have a huge problem, simply because this implies that we shouldn’t treat this person well the other 364 days in the year.

“Oh but I do treat my friends nice throughout the rest of the year!” Do you? If you honestly do, that’s great and how things should be. By all means, still get them a nice gift this year since you guys have a great relationship.

But for those of you who feel like you’re obligated to get a friend a gift or that getting them something will show you care about them… I have news for you: that’s not caring for a friend, and they don’t want your gift if you feel obligated to spend on them.

I mean, really, I just find the whole idea of spending money on certain items and wrapping them up in cardboard boxes to be kind of weird. It’s not something we do in our everyday lives, but if it were, well, then a birthday gift wouldn’t be so special. It would be just another gift. This is pretty much the embodiment of the whole “live everyday like it was your last” mindset. The more we place some special importance on a single day in the year, the less likely we are to treat every day as amazing and special.

So there you have it. I don’t “hate” birthdays. I just find the idea of shelling out money for gifts only to put them in cardboard boxes with a nametag to be overall pretty petty. Why not do this every month for those you love?