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To Advertise Call 231-9822 Editor Camey Maldonado

Eric Muehlhausen Senior Advertising Executive City Magazine is published by Blend Media. Reproduction of any material in this issue is forbidden without written consent. Anyone may pick up City Magazine at any designated drop location. Removal of copies for any other reason other than personal reading is subject to prosecution. TO ADVERTISE Call 806-231-9822 for advertising rates, information and closing dates. E-mail us at camey@mycitymag.com MYCITYMAG.COM For more resources, articles and information online at www.mycitymag.com TO SUBSCRIBE No subscription is necessary. City Magazine is a free publication that is distributed to over 200 locations. Anyone may pick up City Magazine at any designated drop location. We also reach thousands of readers via mycitymag.com ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS You may submit any unsolicited writing, articles or news information to our compliance department. We reserve the right to reject any material or advertisement without comment. Please include your name and phone number for any questions we may have regarding any information you may have submitted for print. E-MAIL camey@mycitymag.com FEEDBACK Your input is important to us. E-mail camey@mycitymag.com

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CITY MAGAZINE December 2011

Contents

Letter from Editor

The holidays are here and what a wonderful time! Here is a list of things I plan to do over the Christmas holidays.

Start a Christmas-theme jigsaw puzzle on December 1st. Try to have it finished by Christmas Eve.

06 Holiday Parties

I think you should join me!!

Tie jingle bells on my son's shoelaces.

09 Local Flavor

Be the first to wish everyone I meet a Merry Christmas.

Never write the word Christmas as Xmas.

10 Stay Slim while Shopping

Don't count calories from December 15th through January 2nd.

12 Hoopla Dec 2011

Take a basket of goodies to a notoriously grumpy neighbor.

14 10 Holiday Apps

Be nice to sales personnel.

18 Holiday Stress

Make an effort to attend every Christmas party I am invited to, even if I can only stay a few minutes.

20 Last Minute Parties

Adopt a needy family for the holidays. Hang a favorite Christmas ornament from my car's rearview mirror.

Enjoy a couple of meals illuminated only by the Christmas tree. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Call a nursing home and get the names of five people who don't often receive mail. Send each one a Christmas card and sign it "from Santa". Wear outrageous Christmas socks. Drink hot chocolate from a Christmas coffee mug. Cut off the fronts of attractive Christmas cards to use as gift tags.

Sprinkle confetti in my Christmas card envelopes.

And last but not least‌Make snow angels.

Purchase a special Christmas sweater and wear it often.

Happy Holidays from our home to yours!!!

Try at least one new Christmas recipe and one new decorating idea.

Camey

To advertise with us please call us at 806-231-9822 www.mycitymag.com


Holiday parties should be all fun and figgy pudding, but the slew of tricky social scenarios that comes with every gathering, including the office party and a big dinner with family, can render them anything but. From awkward encounters with the boss to butting heads with your domineering great-aunt, uncomfortable situations abound during the holiday season. How do you make it through to New Year’s without a generous serving of spiked eggnog? Follow our tips and you will make it!! What Gift to Choose for an Office Secret Santa If ever there was a time for re-gifting, the office party is it. There are often price limitations, so oddball gifts are usually met with good humor. Just don’t give anything that’s chipped, stained, torn or obviously used. If you’d rather opt for something people will want, a gift card to a popular nearby chain, like Starbucks, or a Visa gift card that can be used anywhere. How to Strike Up a Conversation with a Stranger Start by introducing yourself and saying how you know the party’s host. Then ask how the other person knows the host. From there, the conversation should flow naturally. For instance, if she went to college with the host, ask about their alma mater. Ask open-ended questions (“What did you do after college?”) and follow up with questions based on the answers (“Living in New York City sounds like an adventure! What was it like there?”). If the conversation feels stilted, let the other person know it was a pleasure meeting her, then excuse yourself. (“I need to run to the ladies’ room.”) How to Exit an Event Early Without Causing a Scene or Offending the Hostess Let the hostess know when you arrive that you might need to leave early. Compensate by getting there on time, bringing a nice bottle of wine and spending time with her and her guests. If you walk in, stand in a corner with your date, then bail 30 minutes later, she gets the message that you didn’t want to stop by in the first place. When it’s time to leave, say a proper goodbye and

send a sincere thank-you note within a day or two. Which Appetizers to Eat If You’re Dieting Since party spreads are often virtually the same, try to plan what you’ll eat and what you’ll skip ahead of time. Stick to one or two cocktails (wine is a good low-calorie option) and steer clear of cheese platters. Instead, reach for vegetables and shrimp cocktail. At the dessert buffet, chocolate-covered strawberries are a tasty option that won’t derail your diet. How to Choose Safe Topics of Conversation for Your Husband’s Colleagues Remember, above all, that a party with your husband’s business associates is more “business” and less “party.” If you start a conversation, steer clear of controversial topics (politics, personal finance, race issues or religion). If a discussion becomes heated, resist the urge to chime in. Never make jokes at your husband’s expense or share personal information. Instead, discuss your favorite local restaurants or noncontroversial current events, like sports.


How to Keep Your Kids Entertained If there will be other children there that are around their age, chances are they’ll figure out how to amuse themselves. If not, bring easy-to-pack, quiet toys and games. If you’d like to pack a video or two, call ahead and ask the hostess if she has an out-of-the-way room where your kids can set up camp. Leave toys with small parts (which are likely to get left behind) and art supplies (which could wind up on the walls) at home.

adds Gordon. Instead, grab some of your coworkers and ask them to join in. If no one else wants to get down, chances are you shouldn’t, either.

What to Say to the Coworker You’d Like to Get to Know Better A good rule of thumb: Don’t say or do anything at a company party that you wouldn’t want printed on a company memo. Ask if he’d like to join you for a drink at the bar, and then strike up a conversation about work. If things What to Say If You Get Stuck Talking to Your Company’s are going smoothly, broach non-work topics: “Do you know who plays this song?” can lead to a conversation Head Honcho Consider this scenario beforehand, and think of a few safe about music, for example. As the party winds down, ask if topics of conversation. Keep in mind that a boss often feels he’d like to grab coffee later that week. You can decide then (away from prying eyes) whether the attraction is alienated at company gatherings, so don’t be shy about chatting with him. Remember, a party is a social occasion, so don’t just talk shop, especially if he’s standing with his spouse. If you know they golf, mention a recent PGA tournament. Or if you have children who are close in age, mention your daughter’s dance recital and ask what their kids like to do after school. Deciding Whether or Not to Dance at Your Office Party If the party is being held at a club or reception room where there's a dance floor and your boss has hired a DJ, chances are he wants you to dance. Just keep it under control. Avoid being the first (or only!) one on the dance floor,

Corner


Bread Pudding Custardy-rich bread pudding is a classic dessert that has many variations. It can contain nuts, fruit or liquor and is often served with a caramel or rum sauce. When served for dessert after a Christmas meal, bread pudding is a sweet ending that really warms the holiday spirit. Day old bread One of the staples of bread pudding is the bread, which is typically “day old� or slightly stale. Though hardened to start, it will become a succulent custard instead of the mushy mess a fresh soft bread will make. Good options are thickly cut Italian or French bread. Custard The custard mixture that the bread is soaked in prior to baking will moisten the bread as well as contain the main flavor components. For example, you can use flavored extracts, fruit juices, and/or liquor, such as brandy, bourbon or whiskey. Adding dried or fresh fruit and nuts also adds texture and flavor. Sauce A sauce is not necessary for bread pudding, but it does add an extra dimension of moistness. Match complementary flavors in the sauce to the custard flavors. For example, if there are apples and cinnamon in the bread pudding, use calvados and cinnamon in the sauce. The bread pudding sauce is fairly rich and somewhat thin in order for it to soak into the warm baked bread. Classic Bread Pudding Makes 8 to 10 servings Ingredients: 3 cups granulated sugar, divided 6 lightly beaten eggs, divided 2 cups whole milk 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided 3 cups cubed Italian or French bread, hardened overnight 1 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1/4 cup whiskey Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a square baking dish. 2. Combine 2 cups sugar with 5 eggs, milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Place bread in a bowl and pour egg mixture over bread and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar with softened butter and walnuts, using your fingers to crumble together. 4. Spoon bread mixture into pan and top with brown sugar mixture. Bake pudding for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through. 5. When ready to serve, combine 1 cup sugar with melted butter, egg, and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Mix in whiskey and cook for another minute. 6. Spoon warm sauce over warm pudding to serve.


The city of Amarillo has so many wonderful places to eat. We have everything from tasty BBQ to spicy Mexican food to fresh sushi. With so many choices how can one decide? Are you one of Amarillo's best restaurants or Amarillo’s best-kept secret? Let us help advertise your restaurant here. Give us a call at 806-231-0562.

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Stay Slim, Trim & Sane While Holiday Shopping The holidays are back and we're shopping like crazy again! Shopping is one of those time-consuming activities that we do for both pleasure and business, but add in the "holiday factor" and you’ve got more stress -- especially when shopping starts hindering your workout efforts and you're faced with the dreaded holiday weight gain. Here's a fun and efficient way to get your shopping done while staying fit. Make your list, check it twice, then get out there and do the ultimate holiday shopper's workout. It's true: Shopping is a necessity during the holiday season, but it sure gets in the way of your fitness goals -- shopping requires time, and often it encroaches on the time you set aside to sweat. So should your workouts suffer because you have to shop? Absolutely not! You can do both and have more time to yourself. Here’s how you can make the best of shopping while burning some calories! Eat before you shop Never shop on an empty stomach. Eating a fat-burning, balanced meal before shopping will give you the energy and clarity you need to make wise purchases. It will also help prevent you from eating junk food while you shop, which many of us tend to do. Park farther away from the store We often look for parking spaces that are close to the mall so we don’t have to walk too far. This year I want you to look for that parking space that is farthest from the mall -- then briskly walk or jog to the front entrance of the mall. Even better, circle the perimeter a couple of times before you go in and don’t be surprised when you find a parking space quickly.


Take the stairs If the mall has more than one level, go for the stairs rather than using the escalator. It will serve as an additional cardiovascular exercise. Do squats Instead of bending over to reach for items on a lower shelf, sit back into a squat as you reach for these items and repeat several times as you decide among the items you want to buy. This will strengthen and tone your legs and glutes. Reaching for items on higher shelves Do some calf raises when reaching for items. Raise your heels high off the floor and bring them down again repeatedly at least 10 times. You’ll work your shoulders and strengthen your calves.

Make use of the weight you carry To strengthen and sculpt beautiful arms, make your heavy purse and those shopping bags work for you. Whether you’re browsing the aisles or waiting in line, perform a few arm curls with the shopping bags in your hands. If you don’t have bags, use bottles from a shelf. Waiting for purchase When waiting to check out, try standing on one leg. Your knee should be slightly bent, with abs pulled in and shoulders pulled back. This will strengthen and stabilize feet and ankles, and help improve your balance. As you can see, by making just a few alterations in the way you shop, you can sneak in a workout and burn some extra calories. These easy steps will keep your head in the game so you don’t miss a beat. The big takeaway: You’ll be so proud that you didn’t neglect yourself while shopping for everyone else!


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December 2011 SATURDAY DECEMBER 3 8:00AM-5:00PM WORLD OF WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM 10:00AM-11:30AM CHRISTMAS WORKSHOP AMARILLO MUSEUM OF ART $20.00 PER PERSON AGES 4-10 2:00PM-6:00PM CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE PANHANDLE PLAINS MUSEUM FREE TO ATTEND 6:00PM-10:00PM CHRISTMAS IN THE GARDENS HOLIDAY LIGHTING BOTANICAL GARDENS FREE TO ATTEND 7:00PM-8:30PM AISD ALL REGION ORCHESTRA CONCERT GLOBE NEWS CENTER 8:00PM THE 39 STEPS AMARILLO LITTLE THEATRE MAINSTAGE $19.00 PER PERSON

SUNDAY DECEMBER 4 8:00AM-5:00PM WORLD OF WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM

POINSETTIA LUNCHEON AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER GRAND PLAZA $30.00 PER PERSON

7:00PM-8:30PM 3:00PM-8:00PM RANDALL CLUSTER OUR LADY OF GUADA- WINTER BAND CONLUPE CHURCH SERVICE CERT AMARILLO CIVIC GLOBE NEWS CENTER CENTER HERITAGE ROOM 8:00PM THE 39 STEPS MONDAY DECEMBER 5 AMARILLO LITTLE 6:00PM-10:00PM THEATRE CHRISTMAS IN THE MAINSTAGE GARDENS $17.00 PER PERSON HOLIDAY LIGHTING BOTANICAL GARDENS FRIDAY DECEMBER 9 FREE TO ATTEND 6:00PM-10:00PM CHRISTMAS IN THE TUESDAY GARDENS DECEMBER 6 HOLIDAY LIGHTING 6:00PM-9:30PM BOTANICAL GARDENS TASCOSA POPS CONFREE TO ATTEND CERT AMARILLO CIVIC 8:00PM CENTER LONE STAR BALLET HERITAGE ROOM “THE NUTCRACKER” AMARILLO CIVIC WEDNESDAY CENTER DECEMBER 7 AUDITORIUM 6:00PM-10:00PM $13.00-$48.00 PER CHRISTMAS IN THE PERSON GARDENS HOLIDAY LIGHTING 8:00PM BOTANICAL GARDENS THE 39 STEPS FREE TO ATTEND AMARILLO LITTLE THEATRE THURSDAY MAINSTAGE DECEMBER 8 $19.00 PER PERSON 11:45AM-1:00PM

SATURDAY DECEMBER 10 8:00AM SOUTHWEST COWBOY POETS BREAKFAST THE COUNTRY BARN $7.00 PER PERSON 9:00AM-5:00PM TEXAS KNIFE & GUN SHOW AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER S. EXHIBIT HALL 9:00AM-5:00PM SPANISH CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER N. EXHIBIT HALL 3:00PM-8:00PM LONE STAR BALLET “THE NUTCRACKER” AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER AUDITORIUM $13.00-$48.00 PER PERSON 6:00PM-10:00PM CHRISTMAS IN THE GARDENS HOLIDAY LIGHTING BOTANICAL GARDENS FREE TO ATTEND 8:00PM THE 39 STEPS AMARILLO LITTLE THEATRE MAINSTAGE $19.00 PER PERSON


www.mycitymag.com SUNDAY DECEMBER 11 9:00AM-4:00PM SPANISH CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER N. EXHIBIT HALL 10:00AM-4:00PM TEXAS KNIFE & GUN SHOW AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER S. EXHIBIT HALL

2:30PM THE 39 STEPS AMARILLO LITTLE THEATRE MAINSTAGE $17.00 PER PERSON

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AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM $8.00-$14.00 PER PERSON

7:00PM-10:00PM AMARILLO BULLS VS ODESSA AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM $8.00-$14.00 PER PERSON

FRIDAY DECEMBER 30 7:00PM-10:00PM AMARILLO BULLS VS NEW MEXICO AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM $8.00-$14.00 PER PERSON

SATURDAY DECEMBER 17 8:00AM-5:00PM SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER REGENCY ROOM

2:00PM & 6:00PM LONE STAR BALLET “THE NUTCRACKER” AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER AUDITORIUM $13.00-$48.00 PER PERSON

FRIDAY DECEMBER 16 10:00AM-8:00PM

SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER REGENCY ROOM

SUNDAY DECEMBER 18 7:00PM-9:00PM AMARILLO YOUTH CHOIR “SONGS OF THE SEASON” GLOBE NEWS CENTER

SATURDAY DECEMBER 31 7:00PM-10:00PM AMARILLO BULLS VS WICHITA FALLS AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER COLISEUM $8.00-$14.00 PER PERSON

THURSDAY JANUARY 5 7:30PM-10:00PM AMARILLO CIVIC CENTER WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 28 AUDITORIUM 7:00PM-10:00PM AMARILLO BULLS VS WICHITA $39.00-$64.00 PER PERSON FALLS

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5 Life-Changing Holiday Helper Apps During this crazy, chaotic time we call the holiday season, technology can be your most trustworthy friend. Don’t believe us? Check out these nifty apps that’ll make your holidays much, much jollier.

Why we love it: Need to send a holiday card? This surely beats paying for stamps -- and it lets you send four pictures at a time (perfect for those who just can’t choose a favorite).

FastMall What it is: This app details a mall’s layout -- including restrooms, elevators, escalators, restaurants and specific stores. Just choose your local mall, and it’ll download all the details (great for when you don’t have terrific service once you’re inside).

Also check out: Cards, Apple’s new app that lets users create a customized card from their photos -- with Apple taking care of printing, mailing and postage. It sends the card directly to the recipient (Season’s Greetings, Grandma!) and notifies the sender when it’s delivered. And the $2.99 price tag ain’t bad.

Why we love it: How often have you gone around in circles trying to find that store? This app plans the route for you, saving you precious time. Bonus: You can record reminders, such as where you parked the car (G16!).

Better Christmas List What it is: This awesome app lets you decide what you’re getting your loved ones, create a budget and check the gift off of your list. Plus, it will alert you when you’ve -- gulp -- blown your budget.

Also check out: Getting your shopping done in a day? Use ShopSavvy to scan the barcodes of those items you’re thinking of purchasing. It’ll bring up other stores in your area, their stock and pricing -- ensuring you’re getting the best deal.

Why we love it: It’ll keep you on track and let you create “groups” of people to buy gifts for. Bonus? It tells you exactly where you stand on fulfillment (4/7 gifts complete!) per group.

Photogram What it is: This postcard app lets users send photos snapped on their smartphones -- on their background of choice, plus a message -- to others via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Also check out: QuickWish, which lets you create a wish list for yourself (and your little ones!) to send to family members. It pulls photos, retailers and price points that you can share via Facebook, Twitter or email. And it sure beats those “hints” you leave for your hubby (that he can never figure out).


TripIt What it is: This app is an organizing genius. Simply send all of your travel confirmations to plans@tripit.com, and the app will organize your trip for you -- sending you reminders and helpful advice. It Why we love it: That whole “calories don’t count” myth even includes maps, directions and links to hotels and we tell ourselves during the holidays is all well and restaurants. good -- until you start your new year with 10 new pounds. Keeping a diary (an accurate one) during the Why we love it: Because traveling is stressful enough. holidays will help you to stop yourself from grabbing that extra cookie. Or pie slice. Or cake slice. See where Also check out: If you’re driving, GasBuddy can save we’re going here? you money by showing the cheapest places to gas up during the drive, plus real-time pricing. Also check out: Headed to the in-laws or a friend’s home for dinner? Consider Hello Vino your saving grace. This wine app is like your personal sommelier, giving wine recommendations based on particular foods, tastes, regions and -- you guessed it -- holidays. And we’re not talking a generic “Cabernet Sauvignon” recommendation: This app breaks down specific wine brands and vintages based on things like reviews and price. MyFitnessPal What it is: An app that gives you the calorie count of all those holiday foods -- and what you’ll have to do to work ’em off.


rate b e l e C Eve s r a e New Y Us! With


How To Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone. With travel, family and social engagements, house guests, shopping and a million other to-dos, the holidays can be overwhelming for many. But for seniors, the holidays can bring additional stress from multiple travel plans, an uprooted routine and even seasonal depression. Try these five helpful tips to help keep holiday stress to a minimum for your senior loved one. Set realistic goals We know visiting family and friends is always on the to-do list during the holiday season, but traveling and meeting with people all day can be physically and mentally exhausting. Make sure to schedule ample rest time throughout and allow for plenty of transportation time in between visits so that there's no rushing around to see last-minute guests.

Keep expenses to a minimum Many seniors are on fixed incomes, so keeping costs low can help ease any financial stress associated with the holidays. Travel, gifts and food can all start to take their toll on the checkbook, so make sure to create a realistic budget and stick to it. Plan appropriate activities A six-hour shopping trip may not be the best idea for a senior who has difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time. If these types of activities are unavoidable, make sure that a walker or wheelchair is available to make activities easier and more comfortable.

Keep friends or family around Along with the fun and happy aspects of holidays comes sadness for many seniors - especially those who've lost loved ones. Be sure to not isolate yourself or your elderly companion. There are always churches and other civic Keep set schedules organizations that offer holiday parties and gatherings, or If your senior parent or friend is used to waking up at a certain time, eating at a certain time and going to bed at a volunteering at a local organization to stay social during the holidays. certain time, make sure to respect those schedules. Staying up later to accommodate family visits or having to eat later in the evening because of a difference in meal times can be difficult and stressful for a senior to acclimate to, so make sure you know beforehand what their schedule is like.


Throw a Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Party Still trying to come up with a great New Year’s Eve plan? It’s a safe bet that many of your friends are too. So spare yourselves and your crowd the hassle of squeezing into a packed club or the expense of a six-course meal at a restaurant and throw a party at your place. Although doing something worthy of this supposed-to-be momentous (but notoriously anticlimactic) holiday might seem intimidating, it’s easier than you’d think. We rounded up expert advice on creating a stylish, fun affair that will have your guests begging for a repeat next year.

your party at 9, or 8:30 at the earliest. If you start at 7, it can feel a bit like a five-hour drudge waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Also, a later start time takes the pressure off of you to provide a lot of food. People will have had dinner and only expect hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

The Festive Factor You need to do a little something extra to keep New Year’s Eve at your place from feeling like just another Saturday night drinks-fest. But that doesn’t have to mean live entertainment or casino tables. People love The Right Party People the traditional New Year’s party items like noisemakers, The first step in pulling together a rocking NYE bash is hats, feather boas, and horns. Put them in a big bowl or getting a great group of people to attend. Although it’s platter and let guests grab the ones they wish. It’s a ideal to send out invitations in early December, don’t be cheap and easy recipe for creating a silly, festive vibe. afraid to start planning just a few weeks or even a few days before the big night many people put off making But to make your bash truly memorable, you also New Year’s plans until the last minute, hoping that should to do whatever it takes to make people dance. they’ll be invited to a party… like yours Move the cumbersome furniture to the sides of the room and put on tunes that are guaranteed to get them As for whom to invite, more is more on New Year’s moving. How to know exactly what will get your crowd Eve. Even if your pad winds up a little too crowded for up out of their seats? Ask your guests to list their three total comfort, the energy created by all of those people favorite dance songs when they RSVP. Create a playlist will fuel the festivities. And do mix crowds of friends so of them and hit “shuffle” once the party starts. (You can that nobody in the room knows everybody. One mistake also burn custom CDs of the favorites to pass out as to avoid: Starting things too party favors.) Or, if you feel the need to pick one genre early in the and stick to it, go with disco. Disco brings out the evening. moves in all of us and can be a real energizer. This is Begin one night a year when people who don’t usually dance will live it up like it’s the reopening of Studio 54. To build anticipation as midnight approaches, place clocks (ideally digital ones and all set to the same, correct time) around the room. Refill the Champagne glasses and turn on your favorite radio station for the midnight countdown (leave the TV off to keep your guests’ attention on each other). As the evening winds down, pass out cellophane bags of black-eyed peas, a good luck token for the New Year. Before guests leave, provide “morning after” care packages of Ibuprofen, Vitamin C powder, and stomach-soothing ginger tea bags. They'll thank you later!


Ship

and

Can't visit all your loved ones? Send presents instead the fastest, cheapest way. Here's how. Pack Your Presents Like a Pro Pick the right-size box. The more a piece can move, the more likely it is to break. And don't overstuff; if you do, the contents are likely to bust out before reaching their destination. Check the box's bottom flap for the maker's certificate, which tells you the maximum weight the container can bear.

Send

a package back on your doorstep (weeks later), so check accuracy with the US Postal Service's Zip Code Lookup tool. Stick an extra mailing label inside the box in case the exterior one becomes illegible. (Yes, according to UPS, workers will open the box to look for this backup label.)

Be Dot Calm Click on carriers' sites to schedule pickups. UPS and FedEx charge for the perk, the post office doesn't. To When you're mailing multiple items, Bubble-Wrap each weigh a package at home: Stand on your scale with the separately, then tape them together. That way, they box, then without, and subtract to get the difference. won't clank against each other. Worried about weight? The US Postal Service has Before sealing a package, give it a gentle shake. If you flat-rate boxes that you can fill with your heaviest hear anything moving, add padding, newspaper or items, then send to any state all for one fixed price. The shredded documents do the trick. boxes are free though shipping. To make sure your box is fully reinforced, use the "H" method: Tape along all the seams, it will look like there's an H on both the top and bottom of your box. And always use real packing tape; the other stuff won't hold up in transit. Smart Gift-Shipping Tips Reusing a box? Strip off old labels, especially the bar codes, so the package doesn't get misrouted by the carrier. Remove batteries from toys and electronics, if possible. All the jostling can turn them on in transit, and they may burn out before arrival. To make a package waterproof, line it with a garbage bag. The wrong zip code can land

Compare postage online at shippingsidekick.com and redroller.com. Simply enter the weight of your package and its destination, and the sites will give you the rates for all the major carriers, including UPS, DHL and FedEx.


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City Magazine December 2011