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Gift Guide 2019

How to be a frugal holiday shopper The holiday season is a joyous but often expensive time of year. The average American will spend $700

mean it will be better received. Many

particularly helpful arrangement for big

on holiday gifts and other trimmings

humorous, whimsical, practical, or even families.

this year, totaling more than $465 billion

glamourous gifts can be had for $30 or less.

says the National Retail Federation. In a 2017 survey for CIBC, Canadians said they were planning to spend an average

· Shop all sales. Utilize sales to your · Combine financial resources. If there's

best advantage to score deals on various

a splurge in mind for a particular person on items. Those who plan ahead can shop off-

$643 on gifts and another $300 on decor a list, find out if someone else is willing to

season to help stretch a budget over the

and entertaining. Such spending can serve as a co-gifter. For example, siblings

course of the year rather than over one or

compromise household budgets, making can chip in for a gift for Mom or Dad if

two months.

the post-holiday hangover that much more they have their sights set on something difficult.


· Include some homemade gifts. People with a talent for knitting or crocheting can






· Consider a grab bag or secret gift create blankets or other gifts. Bakers can

emphasize being frugal this holiday

exchange. Families or groups of friends whip up tasty, edible treats. The holidays

season. Here are some strategies to follow.

can opt for a grab bag this year. In such

are a prime time to put your unique talents

arrangements, each person brings a gift to use and turn them into beloved gifts. · Establish a firm limit on gift amounts. worth no more than a previously agreed The more the merrier is a popular a on amount of money, and individuals take

The holidays certainly can be expensive,

sentiment during the holiday season, but

turns pulling gifts out of the bag. This is a but people can rein in spending by acting

spending more on a gift doesn't necessarily

great way to stay within budget and is a frugally when gifting.

Eco-friendly gift options The saying "the more the merrier"

to make the holidays more eco-friendly. In reduce clutter in the recipient's house and GET CRAFTY

certainly applies during the holiday season. fact, there are various eco-friendly gifts that

conserve the resources otherwise used to

But during a season of big gifts, extra food can make great presents and benefit the

manufacture alternative items that would

and travel, "more" can exact a heavy toll on

environment at the same time.

the giver can be crafted from sustainable have been purchased. Experiential gifts that materials. They also show how you care by also tap into environmental pursuits, such taking the time to customize a gift for the


as touring with an animal rescue group, or

the environment. According




Gifts from the kitchen or ones made by

When making holiday shopping lists,


accommodations at a carbon-neutral hotel

Americans generate 25 percent more trash

think of gifts that offer experiences rather can be an added bonus.

between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve

than material goods. Gifts that involve

than during the rest of the year. While no one

experiences, such as going to a sporting OPT FOR LOCALLY MADE GIFTS

wants to take anything away from the spirit

event or attending a play or musical, decrease

of holiday season, everyone can take steps

reliance on wrapping paper. Such gifts also companies that operate domestically. This


Select gifts made by local artisans or cuts down on the carbon emissions from having to ship products from long distances or even overseas.

Select gifts only with utility in mind. Skip purchases that are made only to beef-up the look of presents under the tree or to make it appear that gifting was more generous. Items that a person cannot or will not use will ultimately be relegated to the trash, which is wasteful.



STUFFERS Companies like Cool Effect offer gifts for

Fancy wrapping paper certainly looks

those looking to offset carbon emissions

nice, but choose other materials that can

through clever funding. People can buy be reused. Look for decorative tins, boxes, and offer gifts that correlate to packages fancy gift bags, and other items that can be like Costa Rican wind power or the "poo reused for years to come. package," which funds biogas digesters for Sustainability is possible during a

family farms in India that capture methane


emissions from cattle dung.

season of excess when gift givers shop and wrap gifts with the environment in mind.

reasons to use cash

to pay for holiday purchases

Cash has fallen out of favor among consumers who find it easier to reach for a card in

their wallets. Some shoppers may even wonder if people still carry cash when credit cards and debit cards have become so convenient and widely accepted? Actually, they do. According to a recent study by LendEDU, 32 percent of 875 people surveyed preferred to use cash over cards for everyday purchases. Cash can be a smart choice for many purchases, including holiday spending. Here are six reasons why cash can be king once more. 1. Limits spending in a tangible way: A key benefit of

3. Prevent second-guess impulse buys: Parting with

5. Losing cash doesn't affect credit. Although many

using cash is that it presents a visual cue that spending hard-earned cash directly can be a great motivator to keep

people say carrying cash is riskier than sticking to credit,

should cease. If a shopper has set a $200 limit for holiday

that $20 in your pocket instead of using it for a scratch-

the financial expert Dave Ramsey says differently. While

gifts, when that $200 in cash is gone, it's a surefire reminder

off lotto ticket or mall food court snack. Watching cash parting with lost cash can be a blow, the risk of identity

that it is time to step away from the register and leave the

supplies dwindle may prevent shoppers from making

store. It can be hard to view spending in real time when unwise purchases.

theft, and sorting through canceling credit and debit cards when they go missing, can be an even bigger threat.

using credit or debit. 4. Cash facilitates tipping. Cash is often best for tipping 2. Bills are accepted everywhere. Unlike some credit

cards, merchants will not turn away cash. This is especially a credit card guru at NerdWallet, a popular financial advice helpful when shopping at small businesses or pop-up

waive fees for cash purchases.

site, recipients of tips prefer cash because they get it

markets that are popular during the holidays. Local artisans immediately. A tip on a card may only be parceled out at or other niche vendors may only take cash as well.

6. Cash may score deals. Paying in cash can be a great

servers and delivery personnel. According to Kim Palmer, bargaining chip at retailers who may offer discounts or

the end of the week.

There's something to be said about paying in cash, especially during the holidays when sticking to budgets can be challenging.

Gift Guide 2019



How to avoid shipping costs on holiday gifts Many shoppers conduct their holiday free shipping windows and order the bulk of shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar their items then. stores as well as online retailers. Both have their share of advantages, including the


ability to ship items directly home if there is stores and online retailers will offer free shipping once shoppers reach a certain

a deal to be had.

Shipping can be quite the convenience, spending threshold. For example, Chewy. particularly for heavy items or if an item is

com offers free shipping on purchases $50

currently out of stock in a store. The retailer and over. By spending a little more, shoppers can have it sent over from another location may actually end up saving money. or their main warehouse. Shipping can save shoppers time and reduce their stress. · SHOP WHERE SHIPPING IS ALWAYS However, as convenient as shipping gifts can FREE. In order to attract business, certain be, the hefty cost of shipping gifts can eat

online retailers, including Zappos, offer free

away at holiday budgets.

shipping, while others offer free shipping in

A 2018 article from U.S. News and

exchange for nominal membership fees.

World Report found some shipping fees can range between $5 and $10 per package.


shipping deals often extend only to items

year when thousands of online stores offer

Fortunately, in many cases, consumers can

on both online and in-store shopping,

shipped standard. Expedited or overnight

free shipping with delivery before Christmas.

avoid shipping costs if they shop smart.

retailers will frequently offer free in-store shipping will still incur a fee. Therefore, shop pickup of items purchased online. Ship- early if your goal is cut shipping costs or





SUSPENDED to-store has become popular at stores like

SHIPPING COSTS. Many retailers will

avoid them entirely.

In 2019, Free Shipping Day is Saturday, December 14.

Target, Old Navy and Walmart. Saving money on shipping is easy when

temporarily freeze shipping costs during


certain periods. Shoppers can note these · SHOP AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Free

DAY. Free Shipping Day takes place each consumers learn the ropes.

How to be comfortable when holiday shopping Shopping can be time-consuming come the holiday season. According to a Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, during the holiday season, the average American spends roughly 42 hours buying, wrapping and returning gifts. Holiday shopping can be both physically and mentally tiring. But there’s no reason why holiday shopping excursions cannot be comfortable. · Keep weather in mind. The weather can

comfortable and look good at the same time.

affect where shoppers do their shopping. Choose footwear that will not rub and cause Select indoor malls or outlets and other blisters while offering ample arch support to retailers with overhead coverage to protect

prevent tired feet.

against the elements. · Arrive well-fed. It's difficult to make · Choose easy-flow stores. Stores that are shopping decisions on an empty stomach. easy to navigate and offer ample room for

establishing rapport and solving problems for customers.

items at home so as not to be burdened down

Heading to stores satiated can improve

multiple people to shop simultaneously can productivity and help avoid fatigue or impulse

· Shop unencumbered. Leave unnecessary by coats, bags and other accessories. Utilize

· Take breaks along the way. Recharge by lockers at malls or coat checks. Skip bulky

feel more comfortable, even during the busy food stops.

resting from the shopping experience. Take a purses in lieu of small, easily toted options.

holiday season.

break by sitting down or periodically engage · Consider shopping small. Many small

· Wear comfortable clothing. The rise in luxury loungewear means shoppers can be

in activities that do not involve shopping or

With these shopping comfort strategies

business owners go out of their way to thinking about the holidays.

in mind, holiday excursions can be that much

provide a comfortable shopping experience,

more enjoyable.

Black Friday shopping tips People of a certain age might remember the often hectic Black Friday of old, when shoppers would line up outside stores in the wee hours of the morning hoping to land the best deals on gifts for their loved ones. While many shoppers still make such early morning pilgrimages to their favorite stores, the internet has helped to thin the deal-crazed herds on Black Friday. Though stampeding crowds might not be as common as they once were on Black Friday, shoppers may still face some stiff competition as they try to land great deals before the shelves empty. The following are a handful of tips to help shoppers make the most of the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season. · DON'T GO SHOPPING EMPTYHANDED. Shopping on Black Friday without a list can lead to excess spending

· COMPARISON SHOP. Comparison shopping can make Black Friday even more deal-friendly. If you're stuck on a long checkout line, use the time spent waiting for the next cashier to look for the same item online. You might find it's less expensive somewhere else, and you can then present that price to the cashier at checkout. Many retailers are willing to match lower prices from other retailers, but you won't know unless you ask. · START EARLY. The proverbial saying "the early bird catches the worm" is especially true on Black Friday. If you want to find the best deals, you should probably avoid sleeping in on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday has changed, but many of the strategies that worked in the pre-internet era can still help shoppers land the best deals today.

on items you or your loved ones may not even need or want. Creating a shopping list in advance gives shoppers time to research the best deals and where to find them. That organized approach can increase the likelihood that

New ls a Arriv

they land the best deals on a day that the National Retail Federation reported brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone in 2018. That's stiff competition for deals that typically have limited supplies, which only highlights the importance of shopping with a list in hand. · SHOP LOCAL. Shoppers who want to venture out on Black Friday but still avoid crowds should skip shopping malls and big box stores in favor of local retailers. Shopping local is a great way to keep money in your community, and local shops tend to have more unique offerings than chain stores. One-of-a-kind gifts can be a great way to show loved ones how much you appreciate them. And local shopping districts likely won't draw the massive crowds or produce the long checkout lines that consumers are likely to encounter at malls.

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Gift Guide 2019

Keep safety in mind when gifting toys · Always read labels to see if the toy is

· Avoid toys that have parts that fly off,

right for a child's age. Don't buy a toy that as they can injure the eyes or other parts of is too mature for a child even if you think it would be a big hit. ·



· Look for nontoxic labels on toys, a



recipient's including crayons, markers and other art



purchasing a toy. While one child may be mature enough to handle a toy, another of the same age may not be ready for it. Few people garner as much delight from opening holiday gifts as young children. The holiday season is a wonder to behold, culminating with brightly wrapped presents just waiting to be revealed. For parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, nothing is more memorable

· Recognize choking hazards in toys, which may include marbles, small balls and uninflated balloons. Button batteries, which

than watching the pure joy on a child’s face when he or she opens a holiday gift. As a

come in many electronics, can be a choking

result, well-meaning gift-givers sometimes forget to consider safety when seeking out

hazard and cause damage to intestines if

toys and games for kids. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there were more than 250,000 toy-related injuries treated in American hospital emergency departments in 2017. Most

the body.

swallowed. · Toys with strings and straps can

supplies. · Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame-resistant or flame-retardant. · Painted toys must use lead-free paint. · Look for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) label, which signifies that the toy has passed the group's safety inspection standards. · Monitor toy usage during play, and frequently examine toys to see if wear and

of these injuries were attributed to nonmotorized scooters, toy balls and toy vehicles.

strangle young children and should be tear has made them into hazards.

However, any toy that is not age-appropriate has the potential to cause harm. That is


why the organization Prevent Blindness America, which spearheaded the campaign to make December Safe Toys and Gifts Month, advises caution when gifting youngsters. The following are some guidelines when gifting young kids, courtesy of PBA, the CPSC and Kids Health® by Nemours.

The holiday season is an exciting time

· Inspect all toys for sharp edges or

for children eager to play with new toys and

points. Even stuffed animals with internal

games. Ensuring those gifts are safe can

wires can stab, cut or shock.

make for a healthy giving season.

Crafty experiences for holiday gifts One of the challenges each finished products and decorate or "Smith Family, Est. 2019," it's holiday season is coming up with

them with swirls, patterns and never been easier to create custom

novel gifts for loved ones. For those who seemingly have it all and might

colors. Check with local glass- pieces in just a few hours. blowing artisans (many are located

not need another Santa sweater

in tourist centers and seaside

or fruit basket, an experience gift

towns) to find out if they offer

can now be found as stand-

might be the perfect fit.

experience gifts.

alone buildings or as franchised





fulfilling for gifters and show

· Paint and sip: Paint and sip

recipients that the gift was given businesses are thriving, as scores of novice artists produce impressive

ample thought. There are no shortages of

artwork while sipping a glass of

experiences to offer. However,

vino. A friend or a family member

people who enjoy arts and crafts

who aspires to be the next Bob Ross

may enjoy being on the receiving will likely enjoy a paint and sip gift. end of a crafty experience this year. · Farmhouse style crafts:




blowing is an art form that turns





establishments in area shopping malls. Recipients can choose among various projects and walk away with a painted and fired treasure that can be displayed for years. · Brewing: With the rise of craft breweries, apprentice shops have turned up across the country. A

Businesses that teach individuals craft beer experience gift may be how to create farmhouse crafts just what a budding brewer needs

molten glass into colorful and eye- take them through the step-by-

to start creating his or her own

catching pieces. Blown glass can step process of turning raw wood


be transformed into everything boards and shelves into stained from wine goblets to ornaments. and stenciled farmhouse-inspired

Craft-inspired experience gifts

Instructors can teach gift recipients pieces. With clever sayings like

can be customized for people with

how to form glass into desired

"Home is where our story begins" a wide range of interests.



One way to save time during the Create a separate email account strictly holiday season is to decide in advance for retailer promotions and loyalty clubs. where to shop for holiday gifts. Some This way all sale information and coupon people are firm believers in shopping in codes are sent to a single email address. one department store, while others hop between retailers to find the best deals. Others strictly stick to online shopping or go the gift card route. Choosing a strategy

SHIP DIRECTLY Instead of having items shipped to

in advance and sticking to it can make your home and then repackaging them shopping less time-consuming. CREATE A WISH LIST Even if you do not plan to shop online, use popular online retail sites like Amazon

Save time while holiday shopping The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are exciting, joyous and memorable. With so much to do during that period, holiday shoppers may feel pressed for time. However, savvy celebrants know there’s plenty of time to spread holiday cheer and still find the perfect gift.

to browse for popular items and save

for out-of-town relatives and friends, have them shipped directly to their final destination. Weigh the costs of having the merchant wrap the presents if you feel it's necessary.

them to a wish list. Then, with list in hand (either digitally or on paper), purchase items at local brick-and-mortar stores.

THINK ABOUT BULK GIFTS Figure out one or two gifts that would be fitting for many people on your list and

COMPARE PRICES AND GET ALERTS With sites like PriceGrabber, Google Shopping, Shopzilla, and PricePinx, its easier than ever to compare prices at various retailers without having to make

then buy them in bulk. Assembling gift baskets of bulk items can save time, as putting the baskets together will become second nature after one or two baskets.

the trek to each and every one. Price alerts can let you know when an item goes on sale so you can grab it quickly.

Save time and money with some smart holiday shopping strategies.

Gift Guide 2019



Gifting those with special needs

The holiday season is an exciting time of getting around. Certain products can make year. Charitable efforts and the exchange

bathing or showering easier, and help people

of gifts with friends, family members and retain some measure of independence. colleagues add to the warmth of the holiday season, when many people make extra

Motion-activated lights or digital devices

efforts to show their loved ones just how can help manage functions around the much they're appreciated.

This year's hot holiday gifts

house. For example, the Ring doorbell provides a video and audio feed so a person

The holiday season is synonymous with many things, including

can see if it's necessary to make it to the

exchanging gifts with friends and loved ones. Each year, certain items

says nearly 54 million Americans have door, and alert the person on the other side

prove more trendy than others. Get the scoop on the gear and gadgets

physical, sensory or intellectual disabilities.

of the door if it may take some time for the

The Canadian Survey on Disability indicates

resident to make it there.

that are bound to be on the top of wish lists this year.

The National Organization on Disability

13.7 percent of Canadians lived with a disability at the time of polling. Millions


of people may need assistance, but that

Children and adults who have autism,

doesn't mean they enjoy the holidays any sensory





less. In fact, this merry time of year is an conditions with a sensory component may ideal time to bring even brighter smiles to need specialized gifts. Stim and fidget the people who may benefit from some

jewelry, for example, can help channel

extra love and affection.

energy into something that will not be overly distracting. Putty, slime and doughs can be good for helping busy hands.

TECHNOLOGY Advancements



have People who cannot cope with loud

with disabilities. Audio books can help

noises or crowded situations can benefit

people with conditions of the eye or fading from noise-cancelling headphones. A small vision further explore their love of reading. tent or playhouse is ideal for a child who Home assistants, such as Amazon Echo and needs a safe place for a retreat to recharge. Google Home, can simplify life for people A soothing sound and light machine can with mobility issues. With a vocal prompt, help adults relax. lights can be turned on, products ordered, streamed,




or loved one is practicing


This is the latest incarnation

for a night out at karaoke or

detection will set off an

of the Echo Show at a more

enjoys getting pumped up

alert on a person's phone

affordable price point than

in the morning with upbeat

or tablet in real time.



tunes, a waterproof shower

screen is a smart display

speaker is a hot gift. It can

· Tile Trackers: Handy Tile

and enables users to make

stream music or bluetooth

gadgets connect to keys,

video calls, play games,

over calls from a phone.

bags and other belongings


watch videos, check the control

· Fitbit fitness tracker: A

smart home devices. A

Fitbit product is certain

new privacy feature allows

to be a winner for fitness

users to turn off the camera


and microphone when the


device isn't in use.

Activity Wristband is an


opened up entire new worlds for people


· Amazon Echo Show 5:







affordable option capable case:

of tracking workouts. It also

There's no need to waste

can sync with a phone and

time sitting by the phone

is water-resistant.






that frequently go missing. Simply connect to the app and the device will ring, identifying The





covers 200 feet and has a louder volume. · iRobot Braava Robot Mop: This powerful robot will mop and sweep tile


charger waiting for popular

be programmed for medication reminders, appropriate and appreciated. Gift cards to

iPhones to revive their

· Blink XT Home Security


favorite restaurants or supermarkets, for

batteries with a battery


example, may compel people who prefer

pack case. A charging case

security on their minds,



routines to step outside of their comfort

provides extra talk time or

including those who want


In their desire to gift someone with

zones. Subscriptions to streaming services

video streaming and fits

to keep tabs on their homes

without lifting a finger.

special needs, individuals can speak with

or monthly clubs can keep gifts arriving all


while they're at work or

appointments reviewed. Such devices can








guardians or therapists to find out which year long as well. products or services may be most useful. Perhaps someone who is wheelchair-bound

The right gifts can help individuals with

can benefit from ramps and grab bars for disabilities fully enjoy the holidays.

Great Holiday Gift & Decorating Ideas At Towel Town of Rocky Mount

7 Watt Light Bulbs

2 For

White Wooden




Electric Window



$ 29

Dusk Till Dawn

Window Candles...


$ 99


with the traditional iRobot and can

an be

entire cleaned

on vacation, may cherish

These are just a handful


of the items that will


· VicTsing Wireless Shower



Speaker: Whether a friend


camera. version and

is has

be coveted this holiday season.



For Him

For Her

Bird Feeders Sale


$ 49 $



and hardwood floors. Pair it




J&M Foods Cheese Straws 99 99 $ 99 $ And

Large Assorted

Christmas Flags





99 20And Up

Large $


24 - 39

6 , 13 & $2199

Aspen Mulling



$ 99 Sugar & Sugarfree


Lamps, Repairs, Shades, & More

3022 Sunset Ave. • Rocky Mount


Mon.-Fri. 9:30-5:00 | Saturday: 9:30-4:00

Monday-Friday, 10-6, Saturdays 10-5 Shoppes at Brentwood • Wilson • 252-243-7003



Gift Guide 2019

Outdoor-inspired ideas for holiday gifting

Sports experiences top many fans' holiday wish lists Game day is a big day for sports fans. While the anticipation in the days before a big game can be exciting, nothing can match the game itself. When shopping for the sports fan on their list this holiday season, shoppers may want to go the extra mile and gift a sportsbased experience. Experiential gifts are rising in popularity. According to a 2017 survey from The NPD Group, a leading global information company, 39 percent of holiday shoppers in the United States intended to purchase experiential gifts for






revealed that the outdoor recreation industry


their loved ones that year. Sports fans may

The right gear can make a hike even more

contributed $412 billion to the U.S. Gross enjoyable. A durable hiking pack, compass Domestic Product in 2016. The industry or GPS tracker, comfortable hiking shoes, also employed around 4.55 million people, polarizing sunglasses, collapsible hammock, highlighting just how popular outdoor and/or hiking food packs make great gifts for recreation has become. seasoned or even novice hikers. Tickets for Millennials are helping drive the growing transportation to Appalachian Trail trailheads, interest in the great outdoors, as this or other notable trails across the country, also demographic now accounts for 38 percent can be fitting gifts. of the 75 million active camper households in the United States, according to an

love a new jersey, but they would no doubt really love a gift that makes them feel like they're part of the action. Shoppers who want to give a sports experience to their favorite fanatic this holiday season can

one has someone to make memories with. Compare tickets sold directly through the team to those available through reputable secondary market sellers like StubHubTM and SeatGeek. LESSONS Some fans not only want to watch their favorite sports, but also play them. For example, fans who follow professional surfing might be able to take their own abilities to the next level after taking some

consider these ideas.

lessons from a local instructor. Many community




provide affordable lessons for sports such as cross country skiing, fishing and cycling

independent 2017 North American Camping



Cycling can be a recreational pursuit, a

that can provide great value to shoppers and gift recipients alike.

When shopping for the outdoor enthusiast means of commuting or a great way to shed on their list this holiday season, shoppers a few pounds. Research from Breakaway can consider these gifts that cater to avid

Research Group for People for Bikes found


campers, hikers and explorers.

that 100 million Americans bike each year.

Golf fans who can't get enough of the

Statistics Canada indicates that around 41

PGA Tour® may dream of playing a course

percent of Canadians ages 12 and older People who can't resist sleeping under the cycle each year. Gifts focusing on cycling can stars will appreciate gifts that make camping appeal to cyclists of all ages. Gifts can include excursions even more special. Kampgrounds cleaning and lube kits, a mini tire inflater, of America offers gift cards that are accepted portable repair tools, a bike phone mount, at any of their many campsites, which helps a wearable bicycle cable lock, and a bicycle cover the fees for the site and camp store storage rack. purchases.

once graced by their favorite professional


Any new gear, whether it be sleeping

players. The PGA Tour® holds events at clubs across the globe, and many of these clubs allow non-members to play rounds TICKETS

for a fee. That fee can be high, but avid

Perhaps no sports experience is more

golfers will be sharing stories about a round

enjoyable to a true fan than tickets to

at a favorite course for the rest of their lives.


the big game. Tickets to see a favorite

people. Shoppers have numerous options at

team play make for a great gift that fans

Experiential gifts are tailor-made for

for campers. A high-quality cast-iron skillet or their disposal when looking for gifts for the

may remember for the rest of their lives.

sports fans, making them ideal options

Dutch oven is a gift that can last for years.

Purchase at least two tickets so your loved come the holiday season.

bags/pads, water filtration devices, tents, fuel, or cooking supplies also make great gifts





outdoor enthusiasts on their shopping lists.

Live theater can be a memorable gift experience · Make it a road trip. If your mantra is "go big or go home," then you can purchase tickets for a show having a run on Broadway. Just be sure to include the travel arrangements and accommodations into the gift to make it worry-free for the recipient. Many Broadway tickets get discounted post-Christmas as a way to boost tourism during winter months. Consider this as a cost-saving measure. · Throw in a bonus. Ensure lasting memories of live theater by including an original cast recording soundtrack, script, book on which the show was based, posters, or another memento of the show. close to a college campus or regional theater company, you can probably find great, The experience of live theater is unlike any

Participation in these clubs can offset the

other. Watching actors perform live on stage cost of tickets. can be a wonder to behold, and many people even vividly recall the first play or musical they attended.

· Tap into a person's interests. Theater shows run the gamut from serious dramas to

According to a survey conducted by lighthearted musicals. Find a show that you Nielsen Scarborough in spring of 2016, more

think fits the recipient. Many new musicals

than 47 million Americans had attended a

are based on pop culture and can entertain

live theatre event within the past month. No just about anyone. For example, "The Cher matter if one is a lover of the arts or simply Show," "Jersey Boys," "Beautiful," and "Rock enjoys a night out on the town, live theater of Ages" have tapped into popular music can make for the perfect holiday gift. Here's

as the crux of the storyline and can appeal

how to make the gift of live theater happen

to anyone who grew up listening to certain

this season.


· Enroll in a discount ticket program.

· Look close to home. While London's

Explore the possibilities of discounted tickets West End and Broadway in New York City are through employers, schools or professional

the most renowned places for live theater,



you don't have to stray far from home to

enrollment in entertainment plans that are

find quality performances. Many shows go




affiliated with theaters across the country. on tours and visit various big cities. If you live

budget-friendly performances nearby.

Live theater is a holiday gift that keeps on giving long after the curtain has come down.

Gift Guide 2019


Holiday gifts for

four-legged family members Holiday shoppers who are busy making lists and checking them twice should make sure they don't overlook the family pet. Christmas has gone to the cats and dogs, as a greater number of people include their companion animals when selecting gifts each year. A study by OnePoll conducted by Rover.com, the nation's largest network of dog sitters and walkers, found that 95 percent of pet owners have bought holiday gifts for their pets. Gifts can range from everyday needs, like food and treats, to more lavish extravagances like spa treatments. Pet owners who plan to get their pets gifts this year may want to consider some of the emerging pet trends as they browse wares and services. The Balance, a business, career and industry information site, says pet industry trends point toward these segments seeing growth. Natural pet products Just as people are interested in protecting the health of the planet and their own personal health, so, too, are they extending this concern to companion animals. Natural pet products, which can include natural flea and tick remedies, holistic foods, organic items, and all-natural grooming products, can make great gifts.

Pet training

Beyond these growing trends, pet owners have a bevy of other ideas from which to choose. Here are just a few

Gifting pet owners may be as simple as choosing

different suggestions:

presents that help care for companion animals. New

· tests to detect pets' DNA and trace breed and ancestry,

puppy owners often find that the first several months

· interactive puzzles to keep pets engaged and banish

to a year of having the pooch can be a whirlwind. Training is an effective way to raise a healthy, safe and

boredom, Specialty pet services The American Pet Products Association says the demand for high-end pet grooming and other services is substantial. In addition, personalized training, behavioral consulting, portrait photography, dog sitting, and upscale spa treatments like pet Reiki and massage are booming. Mobile pet grooming

happy pet, but there are bound to be some trials and

· stylish storage baskets for pet toys,

tribulations along the way. New dog owners may not

· hidden cat litter or dog crate items that camouflage

know where to start in their training. A gift of puppy

commonly used pet items,

kindergarten classes at a nearby pet store or training

· heated pet bed for cozy nights and mornings, and

center can help puppy parents learn the basics.

· signature vests, coats and sweaters to look good and

Another idea is to offer a present of personalized

remain comfortable.

training with a one-on-one instructor. Many trainers

Mobile pet grooming has become the norm in many areas. Mobile pet grooming can reduce the potential stress on animals, and tends to be very convenient for customers, particularly seniors and others who have mobility issues.

Give a sightseeing treat

make house calls to work with puppies on important skills, such as sitting, staying, house training, and

Pet gifts are popular this time of year, ensuring all

walking on a leash.

members of the family have a treat to open.

Did you know? Giving the gift of an experience is a rising trend, particularly among millennials. Harris research has determined that millennials (defined as people born between 1980 and 1996) highly value experiences, and they are increasingly spending time and money on them. Types of experiences include athletic pursuits, cultural visits, concerts, social events, and various travel. The research goes on to say that more than three out of four millennials choose to spend money on a desirable experience instead of buying a product. And it’s not just millennials. Overall, consumer spending has shifted in the last 10 to 15 years. HSBC bank chief economist Kevin Logan has said consumer spending on recreation, travel and eating out has been trending upward for more than a decade, while purchases of clothing and shoes as a share of discretionary spending has dropped. These trends can help drive purchases during holiday gift-giving. Gifts that

The search is on for thoughtful holiday gifts. While

are more experience-oriented may be more appreciated

items under the tree may evoke memories of holidays past,

by their recipients.

experience gifts are unique and thoughtful ways to show loved ones and friends they are appreciated. The number of experiences that can be offered are only limited by one's imagination. And great experiences can be

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had right in one's own backyard. In fact, many people may

Estate Goods

take local history and offerings for granted. Experiences that showcase history or local character can make for great gifts.


Treat gift recipients to activities they may not think to do in their own cities. For example, a Manhattanite may have never climbed to the top of the Empire State Building or visited Ellis Island. These are experiences not reserved for tourists. Chicagoans can tour the sites of Navy Pier and residents of Phoenix may get a kick out of the Musical


C U L BR E T H &

Instrument Museum. Gift-givers can investigate top attractions and little-known haunts and offer sightseeing


and tours as gifts. THE





While walking and trolly tours can be great ways to

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experience a city on the ground, sightseeing experiences can be taken to an entirely different level as well. Helicopter tours are popular in cities or landscapes offering impressive views. Imagine seeing the Space Needle from the skies of Seattle or soaring over Toronto or Niagara Falls? Duck boat tours, riverboat cruises and sailing excursions can make for unique on the water experiences. Tours and sightseeing adventures can be great gifts for shoppers looking for clever ways to show loved ones how much they're appreciated this holiday season.

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Gift Guide 2019

Shop small businesses

to improve the holiday experience

Great gifts

for people who help you year-round The holiday season is a time to connect

carriers' uniforms to keep them warm and

with loved ones. Families gather during the

dry on cold days. Shoe inserts, a basket of

holiday season, and friends reconnect.

sunscreen and some healthy snacks that

thicken with sales circulars and holiday

The Small Business Administration says

Tradition reigns supreme for many can be eaten on-the-go are other great

advertisements. Consumers looking to beat

that, since 1995, small businesses have






gifts for mail carriers.

Exchanging gifts is one tradition that transcends






It's the time of year when newspapers with them.

the hustle and bustle and steer clear of the generated 66 percent of all new jobs in crowds this year may want to pay attention the United States. There are a number of to local businesses in lieu of trekking to big reasons to shop small. One can start nearby shopping malls.

subscribe to various faiths exchange gifts

Hairdressers go to great lengths to

with their loved ones during the holiday

make people look good throughout the



year, and those efforts should not be

around the holidays and then continue all Every time consumers visit local coffee year long. shops to grab a latte, pick up a dress at a

shopping lists, shoppers should make sure

forgotten during the holiday season.

nearby boutique or patronize a farmer's




they don't forget the various people who Many hairdressers use supplies, such as help them throughout the year. Small

scissors, they purchase on their own. A gift

tokens of appreciation during the holiday certificate to a salon supply wholesaler can

· Shopping small businesses helps give market down the street, they are supporting back to the community directly. According a small business. The Friday and Saturday to Civic Economics, a strategic planning after Thanksgiving are some of the busiest

season can help mailmen, teachers, make for a welcome gift. For those who

shopping days of the season, and they also

hairdressers, and others know they're want to pamper the people who pamper

can be some of the friendliest to small

appreciated. The following are some gift them, a gift certificate to a local spa can


ideas that can help the people who help us make for a wonderful gift for hairdressers throughout the year.

this holiday season.

Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland. It may have been born in the Golden State, but the movement soon



spread across the country. Plaid Friday

Educators and caregivers, which includes

is an alternative to big box stores' Black

even when the weather outside is frightful. teachers, babysitters and daycare staff,

Friday bonanzas. It is designed to promote

Mailmen spend much of their workdays

do a lot for children. Their efforts should

both local and independently-owned

outdoors braving the elements, so a gift be recognized during the holiday season.

businesses during the holiday season. The

that helps make their time outdoors more

School systems and daycare facilities may

name Plaid Friday was used to help people

comfortable makes sense. But before

have rules in place governing which items

visualize the various threads of small

gifting their mailmen, shoppers should

staff can accept, so inquire about such

businesses coming together to create a

know that there are rules governing the

policies in advance of the holiday season.

strong community fabric that was diverse

Mail finds its way into the mailbox

gifts that the mailman can and cannot When gifting babysitters, make sure gifts accept. According to the United States are age-appropriate. If a babysitter is a Postal Service®, mailmen can accept gifts

minor, cash may make for the best gift.

worth $20 or less from a customer per For teachers and daycare workers, consider occasion. However, carriers are forbidden a gift certificate to a well-regarded local from accepting cash and cash equivalents. eatery or a school supplies store, as many In addition, mailmen cannot accept more teachers purchase classroom supplies with than $50 worth of gifts in a calendar their own money. year. Moisture wicking shirts can help

and creativity. Shoppers can continue their small business patronage with Small Business

business, on average 48 percent of each purchase made at independent businesses is recirculated locally through tax money and other support. · Small business owners often strive to provide personalized, hands-on customer service. Repeat business is key to their survival, so they want to ensure shoppers are happy. · Small businesses, since they are not beholden to corporate oversight in terms of what they sell, have greater flexibility. That allows them to offer a diverse product selection. · Small business owners often live

Saturday. This, too, is a counterpart to nearby, and they're the people you see Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The first in town, schools and elsewhere in the event was created by American Express local community. Many consumers are in conjunction with the nonprofit National comforted to know they're supporting their Trust for Historic Preservation. Since its neighbors, especially during the holiday inception, many small business groups, season.

mail carriers stay warm on cold days, and

Come the holiday season, shoppers

merchants and politicians have touted the

they're designed to quickly move moisture

should make sure they gift the people who

event and the Shop Small® mantra. The

Supporting local businesses is easy. And

away from the body to the outer layer of help them and their families throughout

idea is that when small businesses thrive, shoppers who like what they see can share

the shirt. Such shirts can be worn beneath the year.

communities and individuals thrive along

the good news with others on social media.

Profile for APG-ENC


Gift Guide


Gift Guide