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GIFTS OF GRATITUDE – with Brenda from homewares.

by Hamish Thomas 12 Dec 2023

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

We know! The season is almost upon us. It’s time to give thanks and celebr… 

Sigh. C’mon, let’s get real! Christmas can be a seriously stressful time for many. Along with everything else, the obligatory Christmas shopping is pretty hectic Not least because of strained budgets and time, we can often forget what Christmas is all about: a time for rest and to show gratitude for the people we love. 

Gifting doesn’t have to be expensive and stressful; a thoughtful present can be a way to just show someone special in our lives how much we care about them – a recognition of their importance to us.

Our homewares guru, Brenda is all about the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’ we give. We all have reasons to be grateful at the end of a particularly turbulent year. And sometimes, even the smallest talisman given in right the direction can be healing and meaningful for the people in our community and household.

So, forget the flash, just make it a smash – hit, that is, with the people you care about. Over to Brenda…

Hey Brenda, how’s it going – so you work in homewares?

Yes, I do. And I love it. Absolutely living the dream! This is my passion. I love helping the customers put their looks together, and whether it be your high-end dollar value or your mid- to entry-level, just there's something here for everyone. I mean, my passion is interior design – and I really love problem solving and helping coordinate the function and aesthetic of our customer’s world. 

That's fantastic. Well, working for Thomas's is quite unique. It's not like your regular department store, is it?

Yes indeed. We are a fourth generation owned and operated store, and the boys [Hamish and Tim] are always on the floor, which is fantastic to see. Michael, the third generation is often in store, working upstairs in the men's department. But really, it’s great, you can go to the boys and ask them questions. They just know the customers. It's got a really nice vibe.

So, are people Christmas shopping already?

Are you kidding me?! We've been wrapping presents for the last three to four weeks. At least two or three a day. I think most people come into Thomas’s because they are looking for something special and are really appreciative of the help we offer. I always ask them: who the gift is for? How that person is special to them? What they like and don’t like, and we are always able to help direct them to a range of gifts. 

Are presents really that important at Christmas? We know they are, but doesn’t that take away from the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. 

The true meaning of Christmas is people. A gift is a way to show gratitude for the people you love. It doesn’t have to be an obligation or overly expensive, just meaningful and a symbol of caring.

 I find that people come into the shop looking for something special – a reason to show that gratitude and appreciation for someone in their life. ... I have not come across anyone who's come in here and said, "I need to buy a present, because I just have to." No. I find that there's always a lot of thought process involved. Maybe someone has been looking after someone in your family all year, walked your dog, mowed your lawn, been there when you needed them. Gifts really are a great way to show your gratitude for someone who has been a significant presence in your life for the past year. 

Also, we get people that will come in and it's their first time, and they'll go, "Oh, it looks really expensive." And then they start looking around and they'll go, "This is actually affordable.” We’ve got everything from something simple and all the way up to super fancy. 

Thanks. You’ve compiled a list of presents in that range, walk us through them…

Okay. We'll start with this product here: Dock & Bay Dry Towel. It's a hundred percent recycled, quick dry towel, and there’s a number of other accessories you can match with this.  People absolutely love these, because it's sand resistant, so it's fantastic and once you’ve used it you can hang it, and it dries very, very quickly. These are great stocking stuffers or a standalone present. And they are so affordable. 

Onto our next one is this new range we've got in the store. It's called Aery There's several, well flavors, so to speak. Beautiful. It's made in the UK. A lot of the English customers come in and go, "Oh my goodness, you've got this range back." So, it's fantastic. So, hand wash, body wash, hand lotion, and candles. Oh, and the smell. The smell is divine. Absolutely divine. And, it also has your bath salts as well.

All right next: we've got the Amanda Alexander candles. Now, the reason we picked these, is they're New Zealand made and they're hand poured by Amanda Alexander, just out of Auckland. Very simple packaging, but her product is divine. And the candles are all natural with burning times ranging from 60 hours through to 150 hours.

This is our Picnic Set. Now, it comes in a beautiful bag, as you can see, it's a setting of four. Fabulous. And then, you can start adding on, like a wee little cushion seat for that. So, that's been a really good mover so far. And especially with the Marlborough Home and Garden coming up, this sort of range will go-... for us.

Now, coming through also to our Champagne Buckets. Aren’t they gorgeous? So, it comes in the silver and the burnish gold. I've actually got this at home myself, and I actually just have it sitting on my table in the center. It looks fabulous. And, I believe from a person who's bought it, they put about 12 bottles in. 

Right. And then going through to our mugs and cups, as you can see, we have a huge selection. So, we've got your traditional cups. We've got Mr. Fox, and whole other range of funky designs. We love these and they are a super easy affordable present for anyone. 

And then, the Carbonators. Okay. This has been a huge success for us. It's a take on your soda stream, but it's a bit more upmarket. It's a hundred percent stainless steel. And the people who designed this designed it because they were sick and tired of throwing out their soda streams. Because they would keep breaking. So, this comes with a two-year warranty. A hundred percent stainless steel. And you just buy your gas cylinder, put it in and away you go. Also, you can adjust your bubbles by the lever.

And last but not least, what we have also curated is the barbecue range for the men or woman who loved to do their barbecue. So, we bought this range in for Father's Day and it sold out so quickly. So, we brought it back again! The centerpiece are these reusable lighters, The Flint. Now, when I first took this home, my man says, "Are we too posh to use matches?" But look, this is rechargeable with your phone charger and just a beautiful look too.

And then, last but not least is our free gift wrapping service. With Christmas coming up, we'll wrap your presents for you as well. Actually, this service has always been free at Thomas’s. It really has. We have got beautiful wrapping, black and gold. And then, we've got the bows to go on top of that as well.
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