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2012 Last Minute Holiday

Gift Guide Great ideas for those last minute gifts!

Sparkle this Season

Holiday Beauty Prep Tips Page 5

Holiday Travel Tips

Travel smarter this year Page 15

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Last Minute Gift Guide 2012

Give the Gift of Creativity

Fun tech gifts that bring out the creativity in any child Looking for some creative gift ideas for the kids on your holiday list? Why not give them gifts that encourage creativity? “Creativity in kids isn’t about being accomplished artists,” said Michelle Atkinson, Vice President, North America Marketing for Energizer. “It’s about expressing themselves in unique ways. It’s important to give them the power to create - and the holidays are the perfect opportunity to do just that.” Here are some great ideas for high tech gifts that will give your kids plenty of fun as they explore new ways to create.

Digital Drawing

-With the Crayola Digital Light Designer, kids make drawings from light (ages 6 to 15 years). They use a stylus to draw on the dome - and watch

their images magically light up on a three-dimensional surface. They can add cool effects and animations, and personalize drawings and messages to display later. It also has a game and activity mode, which makes for hours of creative fun. Runs on four D alkaline batteries. Consider Energizer(r) Max(r) batteries with Power Seal Technology, which hold their power for up to 10 years on shelf - and that give kids confidence they’ll have the power to create whenever they want. -Look for art games for their favorite gaming system. “Let’s Draw!” and “Art Academy” for Nintendo DS, or “uDraw” for Wii or Xbox 360 are fun choices, and they are rated E for Everyone.

Photography Fun

-The Kid-Tough See Yourself Camera from Fisher-Price (ages 3 to 7 years). There’s a rotating lens which swivels from front to back, making it easy for even the little ones to see what they’re shooting. It has big buttons, child-friendly controls, and stores up to 1,000 photos. It connects to your computer via USB port. Runs on four AA batteries. -For older kids, try the Discovery Night Vision Camcorder, from The Discovery Channel (ages 6 and up). A three megapixel video recorder and digital camera uses infrared technology to light up the night. It has a night vision sensor, LCD display, four photo resolutions, built-in microphone, AV output, and USB and AV connection cable.. Runs on four

AA batteries.

Music Makers

-The Learning Tunes Karaoke from VTech lets kids sing to 15 fun songs (ages 3 to 6 years). It has letter songs, number songs and fun songs, a microphone, a voice changer with 5 different effects, and an LCD screen with a variety of facial expressions and animations that change as kids sing along. Runs on three AA batteries. -The Little Tikes Pop Tunes Guitar makes them feel like a rock star (ages 2 to 6 years). With preset tunes, a light-up pickguard and speaker cover, and a whammy bar that triggers three different sound effects, the jam session has endless possibilities for fun. Runs on three AA batteries.



Last Minute Gift Guide 2012


Sparkle This Holiday Season Holiday Beauty Prep Tips While looking your best and feeling confident are important throughout the year, it’s especially crucial during the holiday season, as you gather with loved ones and pose for that annual family photo. Look your best this season using these beauty tips.

Keep it fresh.

While you may go for bright colors and sparkles in terms of your attire, make sure to keep your makeup fresh-faced. If you choose to wear a bright lip color, keep the rest of your makeup neutral. If you go for a neutral lip, feel free to play up the eyes or cheeks. But remember to highlight just one with a bold color - eyes, lips or cheeks - rather than all three.

Ensure your makeup stays in place all night by using a primer before applying your liquid or powder foundation and eye shadow.

Go for a classic ‘do.

Sleek, shiny hair swept back or pulled to one side work well for holiday parties. Deep-condition your hair in advance of the holidays and be sure to schedule a haircut so your locks are easy to manage, no matter how you decide to wear your hair.

Keep ‘em fresh and clean.

Following that warm mug of hot cocoa, make sure your breath stays fresh. Carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste might not be convenient, but you can stash a Colgate Wisp

mini-brush in your purse or pocket. Available in four flavors MaxFresh Peppermint, MaxFresh Spearmint, Optic White Coolmint and Icy Bubble - this convenient single-use mini-brush is a better alternative than gum or mints, which only temporarily mask bad breath. The liquid-filled bead offers a burst of freshness, with no water or rinsing required, so just brush and go anytime, anywhere. Learn more at

Add some sparkle.

The holidays present the perfect occasion for pulling out your fun accessories. Play with color combinations and sparkling

jewelry. Start with a bold dress black will work as well - and play up the accessories by introducing complimentary colors and glittering jewelry. If you wear your hair up, opt for sparkling earrings and a bracelet. If you wear your hair down, pick a statement necklace with a dress and cardigan.

Get a manicure.

Just as you coordinate your hair, makeup and wardrobe, consider your manicure as well. For bold outfits, opt for a simple manicure with clear nail polish. If instead you wear black or neutral colors, pick out a festive bright red or berry polish.


Last Minute Gift Guide 2012

Deck the Halls

Holiday Party DÈcor Tips When it comes to decking the halls in advance of a holiday party, there’s nothing quite as festive as creating homemade decorations with the family.

DÈcor Ideas

From handmade ornaments to shimmering trees, your party guests will catch that holiday spirit when they see the special dÈcor created just for the event.

Create a winter wonderland Teach the kids how to create paper snowflakes, then string them up throughout the house using fishing wire.

To help get you started, the inspiration experts at the Jo-Ann Stores have shared the following holiday craft ideas.

From the dining room chandelier, to the windows, fireplace and staircase, you can create a flurry of snowflakes around the house in minutes.

These simple step-by-step projects are great for crafters at every level, and the best part is you can get the whole family involved.

Small touches can make a big impact on your guests. Use these ideas to add small details to your party decorations:

Design a sparkling centerpiece To get started, gather pinecones on a walk around the neighborhood.

In a well-ventilated area, use glitter or metallic spray paint to completely coat the pine cones in silver and gold. Then simply stack in a glass bowl and place at the center of the table surrounded by sprigs of fresh greenery and holly branches. Take your holiday dÈcor above and beyond with these holiday craft project instructions for a Champagne Shimmer Tree and Glitter Glass Ball ornaments. Your guests will love walking into the winter wonderland you create just for the occasion. For more holiday dÈcor

inspiration and craft projects, visit

Champagne Shimmer Tree

Skill Level 1: No experience necessary Approximate Crafting Time: 1 to 2 hours Read all directions before starting and use the photo as a guide. Note: Make sure to read the directions on the spray paint can before using. Use spray paint in a well-ventilated area. Supplies and Tools: • 2 cans champagne metallic spray paint

• 1 4-foot white Christmas tree • 1 drop cloth • 1 sturdy cardboard box Working outside, place cardboard box on drop cloth. Open up tree and fluff branches to give it a natural look. Place tree on box to give it some height. Spray around every branch, so paint coats all of the tree’s needles. Allow to dry for a few minutes and spray a second coat. Allow to dry overnight in a wellventilated area before decorating.

Glitter Glass Ball Ornaments Skill Level 1: No experience necessary

Approximate Crafting Time: 1 to 2 hours

Supplies and Tools: • Glitter • Double-sided tape • Ready-to-finish glass ball ornaments • Wide plastic cups • Tacky glue and paintbrush (optional) Wrap a piece of double-sided tape evenly around glass ornament. Place glitter in plastic cup or other container. Remove the tape backing, and dip the glass ball into glitter, making sure to cover tape completely in glitter. Hang on tree. Optional: Use the paintbrush and tacky glue to paint designs on the ornaments, then sprinkle with glitter. Allow to dry before hanging on tree.



Last Minute Gift Guide 2012


Five Tips for a Happy Holiday Gathering Bring joy to everyone around you The holiday season is all about gathering family and friends together. But hosting any kind of holiday gathering means stacking a lot of items on your plate during an already busy season, taking the fun out of the festivities. With a little planning and the right attitude, you can pull off a fantastic event and enjoy being the holiday host or hostess. Author and television host Katie Brown understands that when it comes to hosting a gathering especially a holiday event - success is in the details. Here she shares her top five tips to help you entertain with less stress and more holiday spirit.

Make it Easy on Yourself

You don’t need to create an over-the-top, gourmet feast that keeps you slaving in the kitchen. Choose dishes that you can make several days in advance, and then pace yourself. Soups, casseroles, marinated salads and some desserts taste even better when they’ve had time for their flavors to fully blend.

Don’t Worry about Stains

When people are having a good time spills are bound to happen. But it doesn’t have to ruin your holiday

cheer. If an accident happens, you can help prevent stains from setting in by using a stain remover product like OxiClean(r) Versatile Stain Remover, which is chlorine free and color safe.

Add Simple Drama to Your DÈcor

You don’t need a total room makeover to create a holiday masterpiece. Just think color, pattern and texture. For example, fill vases or bowls with cranberries and sprigs of evergreen, or fill baskets with red apples, or jars with candy canes - the more sizes and shapes the better.

Create an Elegant Tabletop

Decorating is all about editing what you already have. For a chic holiday centerpiece, look for trays, ribbons, books and ornaments, and even leaves and branches from the yard-- they can all be used to help set a lovely table. Also important is to make sure your dishes are sparkling clean. According to a recent survey from the makers of OxiClean(r), 88 percent of respondents admit they are embarrassed to serve food on dishes that are cloudy or have spots. To ensure dishes are sparkling

clean, use a booster such as OxiClean(r) Dishwashing Booster in your dishwasher, so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing spots or film that detergent alone can leave behind. For more ways to keep the sparkle in your holidays, visit

Get the Kids Involved

Give your younger guests a handmade souvenir. Set up a cookie station with sugar cookies, frosting, colorful sprinkles and toppings so they can decorate their own dessert. You can also set up a small craft table and let them make ornaments to take home and hang on their trees. Make the most of your holiday entertaining by keeping things simple.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Last Minute Gift Guide 2012

Trending Gifts this Season New Tech Twists on Classic Toys Holiday gift trends are always evolving and this year, what’s old is new again, but now with a modern, tech twist. Every kid wants to have the coolest gift to show off to their friends at school. So get a head start on holiday gift buying before the most popular toys fly off the shelves. Here are some surefire hot sellers this holiday season:


Traditional ABC blocks have been around since the 1600s, so an upgrade is long overdue. The VTech Alphabet Activity Cube builds on this classic learning toy by adding an electronic learning component that’s super easy to use. The blocks can be

stacked on the top of the cube or they can be inserted into the side slot so kids can learn more about each letter. The toy also features five piano keys, a number keypad, and telephone. It’s a great way to make learning the alphabet fun! Learn more at http://

an LCD screen for customizable animations. In dinosaur mode, action buttons play interesting facts about each dinosaur, so they can learn while they play.

2-in-1 Fun

Board Games

For generations, children have simply loved toy cars and toy dinosaurs. This hasn’t changed, as one of the hottest gifts this holiday season is VTech’s Switch & Go Dinos, an interactive 2-in-1 play experience that brings together dinosaurs and vehicles. Switch & Go Dinos easily transform between a dinosaur and a vehicle in a few simple steps, coming equipped with

For more information, visit http://

Classic board games such as Monopoly and Risk have entertained families for decades. Why not introduce these classics to your children this year? New updates to these games are adding to the appeal for kids today. Monopoly Revolution has added sounds and music to accompany your real estate journey, while Risk Halo Wars incorporates armies from the popular video game

Photo courtesy of

franchise. This holiday season, your old favorites are in style once again, with a new flavor. You’ll be sure to see these gifts at the top of many wish lists.



Last Minute Gift Guide 2012

What better time of year to adopt from your local animal shelter? Look at these adorable faces still waiting for their forever home!

The animals featured are from the following shelters... For more information, please visit these websites!

Romeoville Humane Society Humane Haven in Bolingbrook West Suburban Humane Society Help Save Pets in Plainfield 4 Paws 4 U 4 Ever Cache Creek Animal Rescue

: : : : : :

*Please note some of these pets may have found their forever home already, but there are always many, many more to choose from today and every day.


Billy Joe (8 yrs)

Jazz (2.5 yrs)

Louise (11 mo)

Zipper (4 mo)

Romeoville Humane

Romeoville Humane

4 Pets 4 U 4 Ever

4 Pets 4 U 4 Ever

Spot (2 yrs)

Tillie (3 yrs)

Kane (2 yrs)

Jax (2.5 yrs)

West Suburban

West Suburban

Humane Haven

Humane Haven

Jeepers (2 yrs)

Eunice (1 yr)

Coco (6 yrs)

Ricky (8 yrs)

Cache Creek

Cache Creek

Help Save Pets

Help Save Pets



Last Minute Gift Guide 2012


Hassle-Free Holiday Travel Tips Travel smarter this year with these tips For the millions of Americans traveling over the holidays, the details of planning and pulling off a trip can make the season anything but jolly. Fortunately, you can take some of the hassle out of holiday travel by planning — and shipping — ahead.

Ship Gifts Ahead

Instead of lugging gifts on an airplane or having gifts take up space in the car, consider shipping them to your destination ahead of time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before sending your gifts on their way: —Use the proper materials: a new cardboard box designed for shipping, professional-grade packaging tape, and packaging material such as foam packaging peanuts or bubble cushioning (at least two inches all around). —Put a label inside of the package, including both the destination and return addresses. —Use a shipping option that provides a package tracking number. —Take batteries out of toys, electronics, etc., before shipping, and wrap them separately inside the package. —Seal home-made holiday treats in an airtight container or plastic bag before packing them in a shipping box. Use an expedited air service, such as UPS Next Day Air. If you don’t have the time or proper packaging supplies, or just need some help preparing gifts for shipment, you can take them to certified packing experts at The UPS Store and take advantage of their Pack & Ship Guarantee. You can avoid long lines at the post office — The UPS Store has extended hours during the holidays and also offers USPS services.

Key Dates for Holiday Shipping

—Mondays are typically the busiest shipping days. —The busiest week of the 2012 season is expected to be December 17 to 21. —Most UPS Ground packages require five days or less to reach their destination, but if you’re shipping coast-to-coast, it may take longer. —If you are shipping internationally, contact The UPS Store location nearest you to determine the best date to ensure on-time delivery. —The U.S. Postal Service says packages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan should be mailed by Dec. 1 in order to arrive in time for Christmas; mail going to other military overseas APO/FPO locations needs to be sent by Dec. 16. Last-Minute Shipping Dates (for delivery on Monday, Dec. 24) —Wednesday, Dec. 19 — Ship UPS 3 Day Select —Thursday, Dec. 20 — Ship UPS 2nd Day Air —Friday, Dec. 21 — Ship UPS Next Day Air

Ship Luggage Ahead

To cut down on baggage fees and time in line at the airport, you may want to think about shipping your luggage. There are several ways you can do this: shipping a suitcase as-is; packing and shipping a suitcase in a box; or purchasing a luggage box instead of using a suitcase. By putting luggage in a box, you can protect your luggage and provide a good surface for a shipping label. Here are some helpful tips for packing and shipping your luggage: —Be sure to notify the place you will be staying that you are expecting a package. That way, they will sign for the package even if it arrives before you do. —Make sure you have the correct destination address. Some hotels

and resorts have a separate luggage receiving address. —Put an additional address label inside the luggage or box in case the outside label is damaged or lost. —Cut down on your hassle by having your shipment professionally packed at a local pack-and-ship retailer, such as The UPS Store. Expert packing is especially recommended for fragile items and odd or oversized items. —By using a shipping option such as UPS, you can track your luggage all the way to its destination, even via cell phone or other web-enabled wireless devices. —If you are shipping your belongings ahead to your destination, you’ll probably need to send items back home as well. One option is to pack a flattened box and a roll of packaging tape for sending home gifts, souvenirs, or even dirty laundry. —Because of the duties and taxes associated with international shipments, it is not recommended that luggage is shipped internationally. The average weight of an empty suitcase is 10 pounds. To reduce weight — and shipping costs — skip the suitcase, and pack your clothes and other items directly in a sturdy box. Select The UPS Store locations now offer two sizes of luggage boxes that can replace a suitcase. A large luggage box weighs about 4 pounds and a small box about 3 pounds. Both boxes meet airline baggage restrictions, so you could take them on your flight instead of suitcases, if you wish. The small box can be carried on, and the large box can be checked in without assessing an additional oversize charge. With a little forethought and a bit of planning, a few proactive steps can help ensure your holiday travel goes smoothly. To learn more about rates and your best holiday shipping options, use the online cost calculator

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

at HYPERLINK “http://www.”

Be Prepared

Minimize travel hassles by doing some prep work before you leave town. —If you’re checking baggage, don’t pack items you can’t do without. If your luggage gets lost or delayed, you’ll miss those essential items. Pack them in your carry-on bag. —Whether you’re driving or flying, make the time go faster with plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Load up mobile devices with games, songs, ebooks and movies. Give each child their own entertainment backpack with age-appropriate toys and activities. —Make sure your vehicle is roadready. Have it looked at by your local auto shop to be sure everything is in good working condition. Make sure tires are inflated properly. And pack a winter safety kit, just in case.


Last Minute Gift Guide 2012


What Every Holiday Cook Needs to Know How to save time and money this season There’s one simple step every home chef needs to take this season to save time, money, stay safe and make the task of cooking holiday meals more enjoyable. Sharpen those knives! With roasts and turkeys to carve, and all the chopping, slicing and dicing of holiday entertaining, now isn’t the time to let knives go dull and make time in the kitchen more trying.

Save Time

“No matter how high-quality your knives are, they must be sharpened periodically to maintain and restore their edges,” says Sam Weiner, president of Chef`s Choice, a cutlery and knife sharpener manufacturer. “Before you start carving the turkey or ham, you need to be sure you’re using sharp knives that will do the job properly.”

Gearing up your kitchen is advisable before the mad rush of holiday cooking begins. If you’re thinking of giving yourself an early present of a new set of knives, think again. You can save money over the long run with a high-quality sharpener that can help you maintain the knives you already own. Don’t fret. Knife sharpening doesn’t have to be a formidable task.

Ever heard the old adage “work smarter, not harder?” The task of carving your turkeys, ham and roasts should not require brute force. With a properly sharpened edge, you can eliminate the frustrations you may have learned to live with as your knives have dulled over time.

Save Money

Select a sharpener with these features for best results: 100 percent diamond abrasives because they will sharpen any metal alloy; precision angle guides to insure easy, uniform sharpening and angle control; and multi-stages because the strongest knife edges are arch-shaped and provide more metal support to the cutting edge. For example, the Chef’sChoice Edge Select 120 is fast, precise and of professional quality, but easy and safe to use at home. It works with any type of knife, including serrated and is designed to precisely hold your blade securely against the angle guidelines, eliminating guesswork on your part.

Stay Safe

According to the American Society

for Surgery of the Hand, emergency room visits due to kitchen injuries are commonplace on holidays. Don’t put a damper on your celebration with an avoidable cut. Dull edges can force you to apply excessive pressure on the knife while you’re cutting, increasing the chance of knife slippage causing serious injury. When holiday carving or prepping food, make sure you use sharp knives.

Have Fun

Cooking for friends and family should be a pleasure, but can be stressful during the holidays for even the most talented chefs. Make sure to use well-maintained equipment to make your life easier. This will speed up tasks and make it more enjoyable.


Last Minute Gift Guide 2012



Last Minute Gift Guide 2012

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide December 2012  
Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide December 2012  

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide December 2012