Last-Minute Gifts from Goodwill of Orange County


In the 1995 Martin Scorsese movie, Casino, Robert DeNiro’s character – Las Vegas casino manager/mob liaison “Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein” – does some truly amazing gift giving for his new wife, “Ginger.”

Specifically: a new house, a fur coat and a box full of jewelry. But it’s not just the scale of the gifts which is notable – it’s his method of gift-giving that’s really special.

First, he presents the house. He and Ginger go from room to room, ooh-ing and aww-ing over the decor, view of the pool, etc.

Then, when they get to the master bedroom closet, he presents the coat. I don’t do fur, but even I can appreciate this moment when he slips the coat over her arms and hugs her in it. It’s a very sweet gesture.

Finally, once she puts on the coat, he presents a giant box of gold jewelry. That’s when I squeal with delight – I mean Ginger squeals with delight – because, what amazingly thoughtful gifts and what a heckuva presentation, right?

What Ace knew about giving gifts was that presentation matters.

The two main secrets behind spectacular style of gifting is to 1.) know your recipient and 2.) find interesting ways to package these gifts. For example, Ace knew that Ginger loved luxury – so he gave her jewelry and a coat packaged in an enormous closet, packaged in a beautiful house.

But, the lesson here is that you don’t have to be a made guy to give gifts that leave a lasting impression – you just have to be generous and creative.

To be clear, generous and creative gifts don’t happen in a frantic trip to the mall – capische? So, on a recent trip to a Goodwill of Orange County location, I found several ideas for creatively-packaged gifts. Check it out:

Who doesn’t love extra coasters?! Find a small, round basket to hold them for storage.


Speaking of baskets, they can also make a great vessel for household items – like this grouping of stainless steel kitchen tools I found: a flour sifter, a cheese grater and salt ‘n’ pepper shakers.


Often the vessel in which the gift is delivered is just as useful or valuable as the actual gift. Know someone who likes to throw dinner parties? Give the host or hostess an entertaining book enclosed in a fancy, upholstered gift box.


But thoughtful gifts don’t always need to be specially-packaged. Giving a grouping of items is a good way to say, “I know you like these – so I got you extras!”

Below (clockwise from top left): trinket trays for a lady’s vanity, a set of mugs, an entire set of stoneware for someone who maybe just got a new place and a collection of serving vessels for a host or hostess.


You can even give single gifts if you’re lucky enough to find something brand new with tags still on it. How fancy is this BCBG satin evening jacket?!


But, my favorite, you can even create your own jewelry box – just like Casino.


Need a last-minute gift, but want it to be thoughtful and memorable (and inexpensive)? All it takes is a quick trip to a Goodwill of Orange County location and a bit of creative thinking. Remember, it’s truly the thought that counts, so find something you know your special gift recipient will appreciate. Plus, you earn brownie points with Santa by supporting an organization which creates jobs for people in your community who face barriers to employment.

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