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Supplement to the Crow River Life


Page 2 Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday shopping can be both fun and hectic. While it’s fun to scour stores looking for can’t-miss gifts for your loved ones, shopping amongst the crowds also can prove hectic. While online shopping has made department stores somewhat less crowded come the holiday season, the National Retail Federation notes that online shopping during the 2014 holiday season accounted for just one-sixth of all holiday shopping. The opportunity to see and feel potential gifts in person compels many people to do the majority of their holiday shopping in-store, and there are ways for such shoppers to avoid the holiday shopping rush as they begin their quests for the perfect gifts. • Shop during off-peak hours. Weekends and weeknight evenings tend to be the

busiest times to go holiday shopping. Professionals who have weekends off may put off their shopping during the week, choosing to do so on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when they have extra time to browse and comparison shop. Shopping off-peak hours, such as during weekday mornings or even early mornings on weekends, is a great way to avoid crowds. Parents of young children might want to take a morning or even a full day off of work to get their holiday shopping done so they can avoid shopping with their kids in tow. You can probably move around more quickly if you choose to shop while the kids are in school, and this also affords you time to find gifts for the kids. • Make a list. Knowing what you want to buy online can de-

crease the amount of time you spend wandering around malls and stores. The longer you linger without an idea of what to buy, the greater the chance you will be joined by fellow shoppers. If possible, call stores before you leave the house to confirm if they have certain items in stock, or buy items online from retailers who offer an instore pickup option. Checkout lines for in-store pickup items are often separated from more traditional checkout lines, further reducing your risk of waiting in long lines. • Shop local businesses. Small local businesses may not boast the inventory of larger retailers you’re liable to encounter at the mall, but local small businesses tend to deal with thinner crowds than national stores during the holiday season. Items in such businesses may be

more unique than items sold at nationwide retailers, and when you shop at smaller businesses, you likely won’t be forced to hunt for parking spots or wait on long checkout lines. • Start shopping early. Crowds only grow bigger and more impatient between Black Friday and the final days before Christmas, so shoppers who can find the time to shop before the height of the shopping season might find parking lots and checkout lines more to their liking. In addition, shopping early affords shoppers more time to find the best deals. The holiday shopping rush hits full swing in the weeks before Christmas Day, but there are many ways shoppers can get their shopping done and avoid the crowds at the same time.


While it’s fun to scour stores looking for can’t-miss gifts for your loved ones, shopping amongst the crowds also can prove hectic.







Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015 Page 3


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Page 4 Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015

How to approach your holiday spending The holiday season can be both exciting and expensive. The excitement stems from chances to see family and friends, while the expenses often stem from holiday shopping for those very same loved ones. Many shoppers run into financial trouble come the holiday season, when the temptation to overspend on holiday gifts can be tough to resist. But the following are a handful of ways shoppers can stretch their budgets and avoid going broke this holiday season. • Agree to spending limits. Come the holiday season, many people overspend on gifts for their immediate family members. Before shopping season begins, speak with members of your immediate family to discuss spending limits on gifts, agreeing that you each won’t spend more than an agreed

Savvy shoppers can take steps to avoid overspending this holiday season. upon amount of dollars on gifts for any one person. Come to a

consensus on a reasonable limit and urge family members not to exceed that limit no matter what. • Determine how much you can spend. Many people find themselves overextended financially come the holiday season because they never bother to sit down before the season begins to determine how much they can afford to spend. Set some time aside before your first holiday shopping excursion to examine your finances. Such an examination should give you a ballpark figure of how much you can spend. Keep a tally of all of your purchases with you whenever you go shopping, updating the list with each new purchase you make. Tracking spending can help you stay within your budget. • Go shopping with a plan. Visiting the mall or a town

it all on plastic. Credit and debit cards are more convenient than cash, especially now that you can buy everything from cups of coffee to big-ticket items with the swipe of a card. But cash can be your friend when holiday shopping, especially if you have a history of overspending during the holiday season. Leave cards at home when holiday shopping, spending only the cash you have in your pocket. While this may be a less convenient way to shop than you’ve grown accustomed to, it will save you the grief of large credit card bills come January.

shopping center without any idea of what you’re looking for is a recipe for overspending. Put some thought and research into your holiday shopping so you aren’t spending time wandering around and buying on impulse, which can increase your chance of overspending. The more thought you put into your shopping, the more you can comparison shop and find the best price for each gift. • Start early. If your holiday shopping list is long or if you know money will be tight come the holiday season, begin your holiday shopping early. Doing so allows you to stretch your spending out over several months as opposed to several weeks. Shopping early also gives you more time to comparison shop and find the best price. • Resist the temptation to put

Holiday shopping can easily get out of hand. But shoppers who commit to spending only what they can afford before their first shopping trip can make it through the season with their finances intact.


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Page 6 Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday shopping season has hit full swing, and shoppers everywhere are searching far and wide for the perfect gifts for their family and friends. Veteran holiday shoppers know that no two people on their shopping lists are the same, which can complicate their quests for the perfect presents. But a careful consideration of your loved one’s personality and passions can help you find a gift that’s sure to elicit a smile this holiday season.

available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon

THE FOODIE Rice cookers make a great holiday gift for the foodie on your holiday shopping list. Tiger’s Rice cookers ( feature exclusive Synchro-cooking function so that two different dishes, be it rice with chicken and vegetables or chili and cornbread, can be cooked at the same time. Tiger Rice cookers are

JOE COOL For the cool, calm and collected type on your shopping list, Californiabased sunglass brand Kaenon Polarized ( introduces a new Limited Edition Frost collection available this holiday season. The limited-run collection features performance and active lifestyle designs for both men and women, treated with a unique frosted-crystal frame finish to offer an icy-cool winter look. At the heart of every Kaenon Polarized sunglass is its proprietary SR-91Ž lens material, which is the industry’s first and only uncompromising lens to offer shatter resistance from high mass impact, extreme lightweight and unparalleled visual clarity and detail definition.

Shoppers everywhere are searching far and wide for the perfect gifts for their family and friends.

THE GO-GETTER The always on-the-run relative or friend on your holiday shopping list will no doubt appreciate the Thompson TeeŽ ( - a specialized undershirt developed by the William Thompson Co., LLC, to protect shirts from sweat marks. The innovatively designed sweat-proof undershirt expertly blends the company’s proprietary Hydro-ShieldŽ sweat-proof technology and 100 percent ultra-soft premium lightweight cotton to produce a clinical-grade sweat-proof material that guarantees


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Veteran holiday shoppers know that no two people on their shopping lists are the same, which can complicate their quests for the perfect presents.

unparalleled underarm protection in a comfortable and inconspicuous way. THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR Know a friend or family member who is always misplacing his or her eyeglasses? The Lens Friend is a unique, powerful one-piece magnetic clip made of a soft silicone, designed to secure eyewear to any article of clothing or bag. Available in multiple colors, the Lens Friend ( is enjoyed by men, women and children, making it an ideal stocking stuffer this holiday season. THE FASHION FORWARD Based in Southern California, the Jorg Gray brand ( offers a range of unique watches that

reflect an effortless American style and sophistication tailor-made for your fashionable friends and family members. In response to overwhelming demand, Jorg Gray has recently expanded into a global brand and is the timepiece of choice for the U.S. Secret Service and the President of the United States, as well as a variety of high profile celebrities and athletes. Chic consumers across the globe continue to respond to the Jorg Gray hallmark of exceptional artistry and outstanding value. Finding the perfect present for friends and family members come the holiday season is not always so easy. But a careful consideration of loved ones’ passions and personalities can help holiday shoppers find a gift that’s sure to make this holiday season even more special.

Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015 Page 7

Cost-saving measures when gifting a large family Exchanging gifts with loved ones is one of the joys of the holiday season. But it can be challenging to reign in holiday spending when your shopping list is especially lengthy. Fortunately, there are many ways for holiday shoppers to cut costs this season. • Create a limited gift exchange. Speak with other family members who also may be feeling the pinch of holiday spending to establish a gift exchange system. Rather than purchasing a gift for everyone in the family, split the list accordingly. Maybe everyone will only be expected to purchase gifts for the children, instead of buying for kids and adults. Propose that you only exchange gifts

To save money this holiday season, decide in advance that gifts should not exceed a certain price. with immediate family members and not your extended family, such as your cousins, aunts and

uncles. Develop a system that works for everyone so no one feels like they need to break the bank

this holiday season. • Host a holiday grab bag. Grab bags are great ways to exchange gifts

without going broke. In a traditional grab bag, everyone brings a gift that does not exceed a predetermined value and puts it in the bag. Each family member then pulls a gift out of the bag. Allow everyone the option to swap with one another if one gift is more fitting for a particular person. • Set a price limit. Decide in advance that gifts should not exceed a certain price. This way if you are budgeting for the holidays you will have a better understanding of what you can expect to spend if every gift should be around $30. • Pool your resources. Rather than giving many little gifts, pool your resources with some relatives and give a single big-



ticket gift. Each person can contribute the same amount, or family members can contribute as much as they can afford. • Give an experience. Sometimes the gift of an experience, such as tickets to a sporting event or a night at the theater, can make a thoughtful and impressive gift. Again, other family members can contribute, and collectively you can enjoy a night on the town or another adventure. Having a large family can be expensive come the holiday season. However, there are ways to curtail your spending without taking any joy out of the holidays.

Page 8 Holiday Gift Guide • Friday, December 4, 2015



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