April Harris Jackson

Have questions?

Book your free initial call!

It’s Beginning to Look Like Return Season

For the past year and a half, I have done almost all of my holiday gift shopping online. Which is great- until I need to return something. For those of you who read the blog and our newsletter, you know I love to share my life hacks, so I wanted to introduce you to my favorite new local business, noted.  Thanks to entrepreneur Alexis Jones, I’ve been able to return items on a tight deadline and clear out items I’ve had in a donation pile for far too long, without even leaving my house!  

With the holiday gift giving season upon us, no doubt there will be a flurry of returns soon. Noted, returns with heart stands by its name and agreed to share some ideas that your gift recipients won’t want to return.  But in case you do need to make a return, say goodbye to those post-holiday return lines, misplaced gift receipts, and lack of time. Create a way to make this holiday season a success for you and all those around you by scheduling your return with noted


It’s Beginning to Look Like Return Season – A Holiday Gift Giving Guide for 2021

Contributed by Lauren Bogardus from noted returns

Christmas shopping is right around the corner, and that is just another way of saying “yikes!” Just kidding! I’m not saying that Christmas shopping is exactly bad. We all know Black Friday is its own fun experience. What I’m bashing is gift receipts, return policies, and disappointed looks from family and friends. 

When I was in elementary school, there was a holiday gift shop at school with gifts ranging from $1 to $5, and I WISH we could bring that back. However, that is not an option. 

With the holiday season approaching, everyone works to find that oh-so-perfect gift for the people around them and sometimes we’ll come up a little short. I figured now’s the time to enlighten y’all on some alternative ways to shop for others without the stress! Not to mention avoiding those crazy Black Friday hours AND lines.

Close up of a Christmas tree with red quilted stockings. Holiday gift giving doesn't have to be wrapped up under a tree!
This the season for gift giving and giving back to the community.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Holiday Gift Card Galore

You see the word gift card and immediately want to shut me down. Give me a chance to explain. Please. No, gift cards are not a cop-out. Over the years, it has become a thing that if you give a monetary card, that one barely knows them or is playing it safe. Hello? If you pick the store that you KNOW an individual loves most, how is that something to be upset about? 

For the last 6-7 years, my grandma has given us a can of pringles (family tradition for 15+years) then hand selects a gift card tailored to each grandkids taste. This can range from Target to Fandango, and even car washes! 

Just as much thought and effort go into this as hand picking a wrapped present. This is a gift that genuinely can make anyone around you feel loved and understood, as long as effort still goes into it. Do not just gift everyone a Walmart one and call it a day. Take a bit of time to think it through. Not to mention, you can purchase gift cards online and eliminate in-person shopping altogether. Plus, the pressure to go out to busy stores and drive through the snow hunting for weeks straight is eliminated. 

A gift card almost guarantees that the person gifted the card will be able to find the perfect thing they want. Expect a joyful thank you note following the holidays sharing with you what they purchased. You know the expression. Think smarter, not harder.

Gift a Dinner Date this Holiday Season

A personal favorite of mine during the holidays is giving the gift of a meal. To be honest with y’all, I enjoy gifting more than receiving because the awkward “oh thank you” after receiving an underwhelming gift is really hard for me to fake. I cannot imagine how hard it is for others when you miss the nail. 

That is why I started to treat those in my life to a meal out. No one is ever going to turn down a meal. To make sure the meal happens, I usually include a card and a couple restaurant options. This is not just a short-term present but an experience. You can share the season with someone who means something to you. The whole shebang. Pick up the person you gifted. Dress for the occasion and make sure they understand money is no option. (If you are the one being gifted this, maybe don’t order lobster). Encourage them to order a cocktail or a glass of wine, and especially dessert! 

Okay, so return season, right? This is a gift that is IMPOSSIBLE to give back. Sure, I suppose the gift receiver could not follow through so YOU need to be intentional about this meal. A flawless way to avoid the uncomfortable gift received vibe, do not overlook a nice meal, and a way to steer clear of return season.

Close up of two champagne glasses filled with rosé on a Christmas evening. Holiday gift giving can be an experience.
Support a family owned restaurant and gift a relaxing evening to someone you love!
Photo by Zoe on Unsplash

Full Family Fun

Gift cards and dinner dates work great for those one-on-one scenarios, but what about a couple options for the whole family. My parents often gifted us one gift from Santa that we would share. One year it was the Wii, and another year a BB gun. This year, my mom called me and asked what I would be doing in the afternoon on December 26th. She did not give me any details, but she planned something for my whole family to go out and do. It is an experience!

Nashville has so many activities in the area that are not only family geared, but also an affordable price for a family gift. A few that come to mind include, a tour of the Grand Ole Opry, Music City Hall of Fame, and The Nashville Zoo, which I made an effort to see when I came to town last May.

Find a day over the kid’s holiday break, to pull everyone away from their electronics, toys, and the television. Load them into the van and keep it all a surprise! Spend the morning or afternoon exploring a new part of town or a store they love. End the outing with a family favorite ice cream shop! If it’s still cold out, hit up a place with the best hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate sauce on top.

Not every gift has to be unwrapped, so this is a great way to show the family the memories are priceless. There is excitement in unwrapping gifts, so if you want to let the kids know in advance the trip they are going on, here’s a tip. Print a picture of where you are taking them or a receipt. Fold it up into tiny pieces and place it in a box. Wrap the box up with holiday paper after that! Repeat the process until you are convinced it will take them long enough to open it up. Yeah, this is a bit silly, but it keeps the present unwrapping fun intact.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is like no other. Birthdays are one thing but gifting in December is on a whole other level. The pressure of giving correctly is never-ending. The possibilities of a gift card, dinner dates, and an experience are simple ways to clean up that fear. None of these are things anyone would ever want to return!