holiday gift guide
Proper Etiquette FOR GIFT GIVING
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Save when shopping THIS HOLIDAY SEASON Tips when buying a NATURAL CHRISTMAS TREE
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Publisher Jack Osteen firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Manager Waverly Williams email@example.com Layout and Design Cary Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Manon Zamora-Barwick email@example.com Erin Duffie firstname.lastname@example.org The Item Osteen Publishing Co. 20 N. Magnolia Street Sumter, SC 29150 www.theitem.com
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Great Gifts...................................... 4 that won’t break the bank
Gifts................................................. 8 no sports fan should go without
Help college students................... 9 this holiday season
Proper Etiquette........................... 10 for gift giving
Easy ways to be........................... 11 ‘green’ for the holidays
Has gift wrapping........................ 12 become a lost art?
Gifts for your holiday................... 13 host or hostess
Save when shopping.................. 16 this holiday season
Make your own............................ 17 holiday ornaments
Christmas tree sap....................... 18 clean up
Tips when buying a..................... 18 natural Christmas tree
History of Christmas..................... 18 Do you remember ...................... 19 the snow of 1973?
Holiday craft fair.......................... 20 how-to
Things to consider........................ 21 when buying big ticket items
How to establish a holiday......... 22 shopping budget
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Great Gifts that won’t break the bank
Giving is synonymous with the holiday season. But in a holiday season where people are still dealing with a sagging and unpredictable economy, giving in a way that won’t break the bank is imperative for many thoughtful holiday shoppers. In response to the economy, many families have set limits on how much family members can spend on holiday gifts. Such budgets are a great idea and can even make holiday shopping more fun as shoppers hunt down the perfect gift without having to worry about how they’re going to pay for it. Low-cost holiday gifts come in many shapes and sizes, and the following are a few ideas to help you get started.
Food and Beverage
If you need to find an inexpensive gift for the family foodie, then you’re in luck. Plenty of culinary gifts can be had for less than $25. Early risers might appreciate some gourmet coffee beans accompanied by a new coffee mug, while those who prefer tea instead of coffee would no doubt appreciate a variety pack of herbal teas and a new teacup or teapot. Men and women who embrace mealtime as an opportunity to experience various styles of cuisine would likely love a cookbook filled with recipes from all over the world or a particular country whose cuisine inspires them. Another great gift for foodies is a membership to a club such as“Pastry of the Month” or “Coffee of the Month.” Such gifts cost a little more than thrifty shoppers would care to spend, but there are some deals to be had on such memberships come the holiday season. Movie buffs are passionate about their favorite films, and feeding that passion can be easy and inexpensive. Many film fans have a favorite director or actor,so why not gift a collection of that director or actor’s work? Perhaps thanks to the growing popularity of streaming movies online, DVDs are now more affordable than ever. Many film fanatics are also interested in the history of the film industry, so a book detailing that history might appeal to your loved ones. Of course, all film fans generally appreciate a gift certificate to their local multiplex.
Pet parents are enamored with their furry friends, so a petoriented gift is sure to make their holiday season even more special. A new bowl, a flashy new collar or some additional attire aimed at helping their beloved pooch or cat stay warm through the winter months won’t cost much, but it’s certainly something most pet owners and their pets need. For the pet parent who seemingly has everything, remember that pets can never have enough toys. Pets tend to play rough, so their toys aren’t known for their longevity. Some new pet toys can be had on the cheap, and pet parents will appreciate the gesture.
The dawn of the digital age has made photography more popular than ever before.Amateur photographers can now take photos with a digital camera or even their cellular phones and post their pictures to the Internet in a matter of seconds. Though online photo albums are popular, a traditional photo album is a thoughtful and inexpensive gift for a loved one who can’t take enough pictures. New parents might also consider giving their youngster’s grandparents a photo album filled with photos of the family’s newest addition.
Rest & Relaxation
Arguably one of the best holiday gifts is one that won’t cost shoppers a penny. Offer to babysit a loved one’s kids so the adults can enjoy a worry-free night on the town or simply relax at home without the kids. Another R&R gift is to book a spa trip for you and a loved one. While this won’t necessarily qualify as an inexpensive holiday gift, you can often get great deals on spa treatments and other luxurious services when you book for two. And booking such a trip is also a way to reward yourself for surviving another holiday season.
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The first Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was erected in 1931, two years before the opening of Rockefeller Plaza, where the tree now draws thousands of tourists each year. The tradition began when construction workers hard at work on building Rockefeller Center decorated a roughly 20-foot tall balsam fir tree on Christmas Eve in 1931. Strings of cranberries and tin cans were among the items used to decorate the tree. While there was no tree in 1932, the first official tree was unveiled in 1933 in Rockefeller Plaza, and the lighting ceremony was broadcast over NBC Radio. The 1933 tree, at 50 feet tall, dwarfed the 1931 tree. However, the 1933 tree paled in comparison to the 10-ton Norway Spruce erected in 1999, which measured 100-feet tall and remains the tallest tree ever erected at Rockefeller Center. The tradition of the Rockefeller Center tree continues to evolve to this day, but the evergreen it is no longer lit with incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs that consume a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs are the bulbs of choice now. In addition, in 2007 Rockefeller Center partnered with Habitat for Humanity, who used the tree after it was taken down to furnish lumber for home construction.
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no sports fan should go without
Few things make holiday shoppers happier than giving a gift that instantly lights up a loved one’s eyes. All the work that goes into finding and securing the perfect gift becomes worth it and then some when the recipient’s smile stretches from ear to ear. A great holiday gift often involves someone’s favorite hobby.When gifting the family sports fan, the options are endless. Sports fans tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they’re liable to be just as vocal with appreciation if any of these gifts are waiting under the tree for them this holiday season. MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: Many sports fans feel they can never get enough information on their favorite teams and sports.A magazine subscription to Sports Illustrated or another periodical focusing on a particular sport can provide insider access for a year or longer. Magazine subscriptions are typically inexpensive, but they provide lots of bang for your gifting buck, especially weekly publications. In addition, many magazines now give print subscribers access to exclusive content online, playing to your favorite sports fan’s ever-growing desire for more knowledge. SPORTS APPAREL: According to IBISWorld, a California-based market research firm, online sporting apparel sales were expected to approach $5 billion in 2012. Driving those sales are sports fans who can’t wait to don the gear of their favorite teams.Apparel makes a great holiday gift, whether it’s an authentic player jersey, a team logo hoodie or a personalized T-shirt that directly connects fans to their teams.
MEMORABILIA: Sports memorabilia can be costly, but shoppers can still find great deals on everything from autographed items to relics of a franchise’s fledgling days.When shopping for memorabilia, be wary of auctions, where “shill bidding” can drive up the price of coveted items. Shill bidding occurs when owners bid on their own items at auction in an attempt to drive up the sale price. And authentication can be an issue with regard to sports memorabilia.The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been cracking down on fraudulent memorabilia. Shoppers without knowledge of the memorabilia industry might want to focus on less expensive items that will be a hit under the tree but won’t be a hit to their bank accounts. VIDEO GAMES: Many sports fans indulge in their love of a favorite sport by playing video games. Like most technology, video games are consistently reinvented, so last year’s game might already be outdated, making video games an ideal holiday gift. Those who want to go the extra mile can include a new gaming console along with the latest video game. TICKETS: Of course, sports fans might like nothing more than tickets to see their favorite teams play. Buying directly from a sports team is a safe bet, but it can also be expensive. Savvy shoppers can explore the legal secondary market, which includes online retailers like StubHub.com or even league-affiliated programs like NFL Ticket Exchange, where they might find more affordable tickets.When gifting tickets, do so far enough in advance of the game so fans have time to plan their trip and, if need be, take a day off from work.
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Help college students this holiday season
College is a time when many students form friendships and make memories that last a lifetime. College is also a time when students learn to stretch a dollar, and the right gift come the holiday season can have a big impact on a college student’s life. The following are a few gift ideas that may help make your favorite student’s second semester a success. • Books and supplies: Textbooks and supplies remain one of the biggest expenses for today’s college students. According to the College Board, a not-for-profit organization aimed at helping college students be successful, the average cost for books and supplies during the 2011-2012 school year was roughly $1,200. Such an expense can be daunting for college students, and relatives can help them out come the holidays by paying for a portion or all of their second semester textbooks and supplies. Such a gesture might not make the most sentimental holiday gift, but it’s a practical present that will go a long way toward helping a financially struggling student pay his or her bills. • Travel: College students who want to study abroad or travel for spring break must bankroll those travels themselves. In addition, some students struggle to pay for their travel back home during the holiday season or during other breaks from class. Adults who want to lend a college student a helping hand this holiday season can offer to help pay those travel costs. Men and women who travel a lot for work might be able to use their airline miles to secure a free or low-cost ticket for the college student in their life.
• Computer accessories and programs: Of course, not all gifts need to be financially oriented. Practical gifts like computer accessories can also make a great gift for college students. Nowadays, many colleges and universities require incoming students to have their own desktop or laptop computers. Students with their own laptops might appreciate new laptop bags that make it easier to transport their computers to and from classes and the library. In addition, some majors, such as graphic design, require that students use ever-evolving and expensive computer software.These programs are often installed on computers in the university’s labs, but students may perform better in school if they install such programs on their own computers. Upgrading students’ computer software can save them money and help them do better in school. • Gaming consoles: Another great gift for college students is the latest video gaming console.Though such a gift might not be as virtuous as new textbooks or computer programs, a gaming console can help students unwind from the stresses of schoolwork.Today’s college students grew up with gaming consoles and many are avid gamers, so a new gaming console can also be a great way for them to make new friends who share similar interests.
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Proper Etiquette for Gift Giving
The rules of etiquette have loosened a bit from centuries past. No longer are people held accountable for the slightest misstep, and sometimes the rule-breakers are revered. However, when it comes to holiday gifting, erring on the side of caution and following proper etiquette can make exchanging gifts go more smoothly. Being considerate when gifting helps make the holidays enjoyable and as stress-free as possible. Some may find it unfortunate that so much pressure is placed on giving gifts this time of year.When exchanging, heed these suggestions. • Gift-giving is about the recipient and not you as the giver.The idea is to create that warm and fuzzy feeling for the person on the receiving end of the gift.Think about the person’s interests and find a gift that pertains to these interests. It may not be the easiest to find a rare book or those collectible golf clubs, but putting forth the effort will mean more to the person getting the gift. • Don’t up the ante.When exchanging gifts with a person, do not try to anticipate what he or she will spend and then go above that price.This may come off as petty and make the other person feel uncomfortable. Instead, choose a price that you can readily afford and find the nicest thing within that range. If a person with whom you hadn’t anticipated exchanging gifts gives you something, simply offer thanks and don’t feel uncomfortable that you do not have something to offer in return. • Gift receipts are very thoughtful. Including a gift receipt with your gift tells the recipient that you tried to find something that he or she will enjoy, but that you’re comfortable with them returning the gift if it’s not just right. Again, this conveys your feelings for the recipient. Do not, however, use
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gift receipts as a “get out of jail free” pass.That means, don’t simply grab anything off the rack, attach a gift receipt and attempt to pass it off as a meaningful gift. • Do not e-mail thank you notes. If you are not able to thank a person in person for a gift, it is in better taste to send a hand-written note than to fire off a quick e-mail.While writing letters has become a lost art, a handwritten thank you note stands out and shows how much you appreciate the gift. • It’s unnecessary to give your boss a gift. Gifting your boss may come across like you are trying to win favor. It also may create a competition within the office. Stick to gifting colleagues, but leave the boss out of the holiday pool. • Gift cards do not break etiquette rules. Although gift cards may seem like the easy way out of gifting, they’ve become more acceptable and popular. If you want to personalize a gift card, try using a photo or special memory that correlates to the gift card. Otherwise, package the gift card with a few inexpensive items to create a gift basket. • When in doubt, stick with non-intimate gifts. Perfume, cologne, intimate apparel and similar items say that you know a person on a deeper level and are extremely personal. For friends and acquaintances, stick with safer gifts that do not give off intimate undertones. • Don’t regift.Whenever possible, graciously accept gifts and do not try to pass them off as your own to other people. If caught, you will be more embarrassed than if you had not given a gift at all. Following a few guidelines on gift-giving etiquette can help to make the holidays even happier.
Easy ways to be for the holidays Get a live Christmas tree. Christmas trees are planted expressly for the purpose of being cut down and turned into holiday decor. Responsible tree farms will plant many more trees than is needed for the purpose of Christmas trees. Be a good steward for the environment and recycle your tree once the holidays are over. Some recycling centers will pick them up free or for a small fee. Consider giving food as a gift. Food is consumable and doesn’t take up space, and locally grown food does not require shipping or wasteful packaging. It’s an ideal gift for those who already have everything. Cut back on holiday décor. Most people love showcasing their Christmas spirit with decorations. However, many decorative products are produced overseas and shipped to North America on large vessels that require a lot of fuel. Think about reducing your decorations or replacing plastic and metal decorations for all-natural options. Branches of holly or twigs tied with ribbon to form a natural wreath are just as decorative as store-bought plastic decorations. Don’t leave lights on for extended periods of time. Homes and businesses
bedecked in holiday lights are staples of the season. However, extra lights, inflatable lawn Santas and other accessories consume substantial amounts of energy. Instead of leaving lights and other decorative items running for hours each night, turn them off after a little while to save energy. Donate money in lieu of gifts. Choose environmentally responsible charities and donate funds to their efforts in the name of people who do not need another package of pajamas. Use decomposable shipping peanuts. Shipping peanuts are environmentally friendly packing products that are made from cornstarch. When they come in contact with water, they dissolve, making for easy clean-up and less trash. Donate unused gifts. Nearly everyone gets an unwanted gift come the holiday season. Instead of putting items in the trash or taking them back to the store, donate gifts you’ll never use to a charity or a thrift shop. Wrap gifts with wrapping paper alternatives. Wrapping paper is a luxury item that tends to be wasteful. There are many items around the house that can be recycled into decorative gift wrap. Sew scraps of fabric together for a patchwork bag or use glossy photos from a fashion magazine to papier mâché a box. When you think creatively, you’re bound to come up with some very usable and ecofriendly ideas. Although many people tend to go overboard for the holidays, getting into the holiday spirit does not have to be unfriendly to the environment.
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Has gift wrapping become a lost art?
Have we become a society that is too busy for gift wrap? When a birthday arrives or the holidays come around in full force, where do most people turn? To the ultra-convenient gift bag, that’s where. Gift bags have largely taken over the party aisles at most stores, where rows and rows of gift bags in all shapes and sizes are not uncommon. If you’re trying to find a roll of wrapping paper, good luck. For birthdays, anniversaries and even baby showers, paper designs have essentially become obsolete. It’s true that wrapping paper seems to make a rebound come the holiday season, when stores begin to devote aisles of space to holiday supplies. But even when shiny foils and smiling Santas beckon customers from the tightly packed rolls, many people still choose gift bags. Gift bags do have many advantages.They are easily portable, generally inexpensive and come in some very clever designs.They’re also touted as a “green” product because they can be reused. But there are plenty of people who feel that the elimination of intricately wrapped presents takes some of the magic out of the holidays. Carefully wrapped gifts show that a person put in time and effort to present a gift in a way that is sentimental and personal. Although it may take mere minutes to pry away the paper and find a treasure inside, there’s something to be said for paperwrapped gifts. It means the giftgiver sat down, pondered the paper design and carefully chose the bow or ribbon with the recipient in mind.
Many people have turned their backs on wrapped gifts in favor of gift bags. However, there’s something to be said for intricately wrapped presents under the tree.
Before you eschew wrapping paper for a gift bag this holiday season, think about all of the advantages to spending some time and reacquainting yourself with the art of gift wrapping. Here are some reasons to save the gift bag for another time. • Wrapping can be green, too. Wrapping paper can be reused if it is carefully removed from a gift.You also can create your own wrapping paper by decorating brown postal paper with a rubber stamp or having children color their own special murals. Don’t overlook newsprint as wrapping as well. • Paper is more cost-effective. You are bound to get more bang for your wrapping buck by choosing wrapping paper. Although there are scores of discount stores that sell low-priced gift bags, often the quality isn’t the same, and the handles could tear after one or two uses.Wrapping paper per inch is definitely more affordable than gift bags, particularly when purchased on sale. • Wrapping paper lets you be creative. Cover a box with a patchwork of different paper scraps, choose to stagger colors of paper with boxes towered one on top of another or tie on the biggest bow you can find. • Paper is traditional. Look back to the classic stories of yuletide and you are bound to find images of Santa Claus pulling wrapped boxes out of his enormous gift sack. Also think about how department stores used to (and some still do) offer complimentary gift wrapping. • Wrapped gifts travel better. When carrying your bounty of gifts to friends and family, carefully wrapped boxes tend to stand up to travel better than gift bags. No one wants to receive a gift bag that has been wrinkled and crushed into some amorphous shape. Plus, wilted tissue paper can be off-putting. • There’s something magical about wrapping paper. The anticipation, the drama, the build-up to peeling aside wrapping paper and revealing the gift has brought smiles to children’s (and adults’) faces for generations. It is hard to improve on something that has been successful for years and years. Although the public may be swept up in rushing from here to there, there are traditionalists who appreciate sitting down and spending time creating holiday magic by way of beautifully wrapped gifts.
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2825 Carter Road | Sumter, SC 29150 | 803-469-7007 | toll free 1-888-297-1212 | www.covenantplace.org 14 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER
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Gifts for your holiday
host or hostess etiquette suggests that hosts and hostesses are not obligated to serve the beverages or foods guests bring and should not feel ashamed to reserve them for their own private use. So guests may want to think outside the box when gifting holiday hosts this season. Here are some ideas to consider.
Entertaining is part of the holiday season, when hosts and hostesses open their homes to many friends and family to celebrate a time of giving and togetherness. Gifts for the host and/or hostess can show appreciation to the men and women who go above and beyond. A hostess gift can be as simple or as extravagant as your budget allows. Many people tend to gravitate toward food-related gifts because of their simplicity and the idea that they can be served at the gathering of friends and family. But conventional
FLAVORED DIPPING OILS: Herb-infused oils
lend a different taste to prepared foods and also can be used as a bread garnish in lieu of butter. Pair a flavored oil with a loaf of gourmet bread and include a decorative, shallow bowl that can be used for the oil. WINE CADDY: The number of restaurants that enable you to bring your own beverages has multiplied. This means that diners can benefit from practical ways to transport their favorite vintage from home to the table. Wine caddies and holders come in many different designs, from some that resemble a woman’s clutch to suitcase-inspired designs. AFTER-DINNER TREAT: Put
together a basket of foods that can be served after dinner. A citrusy palate cleanser, like lemoninfused butter cookies, fresh fruit and a sparkling beverage may fit the bill perfectly. Specialty stores often sell gift “towers” this time of year that package together delicious treats. SCENTED SUGARS: Oil isn’t the only condiment that can be infused with aroma and additional flavor. Purchase canning jars and fill them with your favorite brand of granulated sugar. Add flavorings, such as cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, mint leaves, or hazelnuts, to give foods a subtle essence of flavor. Tie a bow around the jar and present it as a thoughtful gift.
GARDEN GIFT BASKET:
Although the cold weather is here, a garden gift basket can still make a welcome gift. Include flower seeds, fertilizer sticks, a garden trowel, a pair of gardening gloves and any other essentials you can think of.
SPA GIFT CERTIFICATE:
Entertaining is hard work and a hostess may enjoy some time to recuperate once the holidays have come and gone. A gift
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certificate for a facial or massage will provide at least an hour of pampering. HOMEMADE TREATS: Much in the way a hand-written thank-you note can convey how much you appreciate a gift, a handmade gift can tell a host that you were thankful to be invited to an event. If you prepare a signature dish, whip it up and bring it along. It’s also easy to create some simple garnishes and package them in a decorative tin or jar. Think homemade salsa or a homemade chocolate ganache sauce. BREAKFAST IN BED: Enable the host and hostess to sleep in the next day by having breakfast all ready to go. Put together a basket or tray with individual bottles of juice, packets of tea or instant coffee and some gourmet muffins or scones. Add a jar of jam and some small spreading knives so breakfast can be served with minimal hassle. There are many gifts that can treat a host or hostess to something special as a token of appreciation for opening up his or her home during the holiday season.
this holiday season The holiday season is filled with tradition. Many families have their own unique customs, and those traditions create lasting memories for adults and children alike. One such holiday tradition is shopping for gifts for family and friends. Many people enjoy holiday shopping, anxiously anticipating the look on their loved ones’ faces when they open their presents. But holiday shopping is even more enjoyable for shoppers who can save a little extra money. The following are a few tips for shoppers who still want to give the perfect gifts but don’t want to break the bank. • Stop paying for shipping. Many people now do their holiday shopping online. Online shopping can be more convenient and give consumers more options. But some shoppers still shy away from online retailers for fear of high shipping costs. However, some retailers offer free shipping to consumers who spend a certain amount of money. In addition, savvy shoppers can scour the Internet for free shipping codes they can use at checkout. Some retailers even offer free shipping during the holiday season (last minute purchases might not be eligible) to entice customers. • Empty your wallet of gift cards. Gift cards are popular gifts come the holidays, but many gift card recipients fail to use their cards prior to their expiration dates. Many cards expire 12 months after their initial purchase date. If your wallet is filled with gift cards you received last holiday season, use them to buy gifts for friends and family now before they expire. • Make a list. Santa Claus is renowned for making a list come the holiday season, and holiday shoppers should follow his lead. Prior to your first holiday shopping trip, make
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a list that includes the names of friends and family to buy for and what you want to buy for each one of them. Doing so decreases the chances you’ll forget someone and be forced to drive back to the mall. Reducing the number of shopping trips you have to make will conserve fuel and save you a substantial amount of money and time. • Pay in cash. If you’re not a fan of online shopping, then use only cash when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Paying with cash eliminates the risk of overspending with credit cards, which will come back to haunt you in January when the bills are due.Take a predetermined amount of cash with you when shopping, and once that money is gone, then it’s time to go home. • Don’t be tempted by retailer credit cards. Retailer credit cards can be very tempting, especially when the cashier offers an immediate 20 percent discount if you sign up for the card at the register. But that discount comes at a steep price down the road. Not only will you be receiving a bill after the holiday season, but that retailer credit card will most definitely feature a high interest rate that can negate the initial discount at the register — unless you pay off the balance in full. • Create spending parameters with your immediate family. The economy has yet to fully recover from the downturn that began nearly half a decade ago. As a result, many people still approach the holiday shopping season with a degree of trepidation. Get together with your immediate family and establish spending parameters so no person feels like he or she has to spend too much money on holiday shopping. Agree that no gift should cost more than $25. Everyone will still enjoy the holiday season and one another’s company, and they won’t be forced to deal with the stress of overspending.
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Holiday decorating is a big part of the holiday season. Bins are taken out of the attic or garage, and decorations are once again given their opportunity to shine for several weeks before being packed away again. Among the many decorations families use to deck the halls are ornaments that were made by hand. This year creating homemade ornaments can be a crafty project that helps families make new holiday memories. Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and often tell the stories of holiday traditions. There are several different ways to create personalized, do-it-yourself ornaments and leave the cheap, easily broken ornaments from the dollar stores behind.
Fun photo ornaments showcase how a family has changed and grown over the years. Experiment with different ways to create these ornaments.You can glue a photo to a ceramic ornament and cover it with decoupage glaze to set it permanently. Try purchasing clear, glass ornaments, then remove the top of the ornament, which is usually springloaded, before slipping a photo inside and replacing the top.You also can laminate a photo, punch a hole in the top and affix a ribbon.
The popularity of paint-it-yourself pottery has led to an increase in ceramic and crafts shops across the country. During the holiday season such shops offer many holiday items that can be painted. Often the store will then fire the pieces after they are painted so that they are shiny and hardened for display. Those who want to do their painting at home can visit their local craft or hobby shop, where typically there are unfinished ceramic ornaments that can be painted with acrylic paints found right in the next aisle. A finishing coat of clear glaze will help protect the ornaments from year to year.
Many of today’s craft centers have expanded to include sections devoted to unfinished wood items. Everything from letters to animal cutouts to boxes and rocking horses can be purchased and finished. Turn keepsake boxes into painted and ribbon-adorned gift boxes. Stain a treasure chest that can be used to store reindeer snacks for Santa’s crew. Turn small decorative pieces into ornaments for the tree. Paint and affix wood initials onto stocking holders to identify to whom each stocking belongs. Crafty individuals also can turn plain wood plaques into signs with clever sayings, such as “Park your sleigh here.”
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Young children can use any medium for making ornaments. Garlands made of macaroni or popcorn are traditional. Fabric scraps can be sewn and stuffed with potpourri for homemade scent satchels. Hand-drawn pictures can be made and laminated and hung on the tree. The only obstacle with regard to DIY ornaments is a limited imagination. Homemade items can add whimsy and a personal touch to the holiday season.
540 BULTMAN DRIVE • SUMTER • 803-418-0620 A SUPPLEMENT TO THE ITEM
Tips when buying a natural
Christmas tree sap
Decorating is one of the many traditions associated with the holiday season. The family Christmas tree is arguably the most prominent decoration. Having a live tree inside the home can be awe-inspiring, but it can also be quite messy. The idea of bringing a formerly live tree inside a home as a decoration may seem odd, especially when individuals are faced with the aftermath, which is often a trail of pine needles and very sticky sap. A freshly cut pine tree will ooze sap, which tends to be quite sticky and messy and notoriously difficult to remove. Even a Christmas tree that is average in stature can generate a fair amount of sap, and it takes just a few drops of sap to make a mess. If sap has you stuck for clean-up ideas, consider these home remedies.
carefully pick out the hardened pieces. • Try vodka as an adhesive remover on the sap stain. •R ubbing alcohol also may be able to break up sap in carpet fibers.
•U se rubbing alcohol on the sap stain. Allow the alcohol to sit on the stain for 30 minutes and then wash as usual. •M ake a paste of laundry detergent and water and apply it to the stain. • Ammonia also may remove a sap stain. Just test an inconspicuous part of the clothing to determine if applying ammonia changes its color.
• Any greasy, oil-based product can work, such as olive oil or even vegetable shortening. Rub on the skin, and the sap should come right off. • A lubricant like WD-40 has also been known to remove sap. •H and sanitizer, which is comprised mainly of alcohol, can help dissolve sap so it can be rinsed off. •M ake a paste of mineral oil (baby oil) and baking soda. This should help dissolve the sap and make your hands soft in the process. • S ap can be notoriously difficult to get out of human hair or animal fur. Try coating the sap in natural peanut butter or mayonnaise, both of which have a high oil content. Allow to sit for a while and then comb out the sap with a fine-toothed comb. • I f tree sap cannot be removed, cutting it out may be the only option.
•F reeze the sap with ice cubes and then
Many people harbor strong opinions with regard to which type of Christmas tree they want to purchase. Some cannot live without a natural, freshly-cut Christmas tree, while others prefer the convenience of artificial trees. Those who insist on a natural tree might want to consider the following tips when buying what’s likely their biggest decorative item of the holiday season. Ask when the tree was cut down. Precut trees may be cut down weeks before they’re sold. So if you’re buying a precut tree, chances are the tree was cut down much earlier than you think. This doesn’t mean the tree won’t make it through the holiday season, but a tree that was cut several weeks ago should have some of its bottom trunk removed before it’s placed in the stand. This will make it easier for the tree to consume water. This step likely isn’t necessary if the tree was cut down the same day you bring it home. Have the tree shaken before taking it home. A tree should be shaken in a shaker before you put it in your car and bring it home. A shaker removes any debris or dead needles from the tree, which can save you the trouble of cleaning up all of those dead needles from your living room floor later on. Have the tree wrapped before taking it home. A tree should also be wrapped in twine before taking it home. The twine should be tight enough to keep the tree’s branches from blowing in the wind when you attach the tree to the top of your vehicle.
History of Christmas Christmas trees have a storied history. In the ancient times before Christianity, many people celebrated the wonders in nature. The seasons were believed to be controlled by gods, and when it was winter, the sun god was said to be sick and weak enabling the cold season to arrive. The winter solstice, or the shortest day of sunlight was actually celebrated because it meant that the days would be getting longer — that the sun god was on the mend. Trees and other plants that could remain green throughout
the harsh winter were thought of as special. Individuals often considered these plants to have magical powers and boughs of evergreens were hung over windows and doors in homes to ward off bad spirits and also to remind them that the beneficial summer season — when all things were green and full of life — would soon be back. Other ancient people celebrated the majesty of evergreen trees and branches, such as Romans and Celts. Druids decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as A SUPPLEMENT TO THE ITEM
a symbol of everlasting life. Originally the concept of a Christmas tree, which is thought to have been established in 16th century Germany, was shunned by the religious because of its ties to pagan rituals. But as with many Christian celebrations, some of the customs evolved from pagan rites of the past. According to “Christmas Tree Traditions,” by Diane Relf, (Virginia Cooperative Extension), erecting Christmas trees was a German practice. The trees were called “Paradeisbaum” (paradise trees) and were brought
If possible, keep the tree wrapped in twine as you place it in the stand. This makes the tree easier to control. Choose the right location. When looking for the right place to set up your natural tree, it’s best to choose a spot that’s cool and free of drafts. The tree should not be placed near heat sources, including appliances, fireplaces or vents, because such heat sources create a safety hazard and can make it difficult for the tree to retain moisture. There should also be ample space between the top of the tree and the ceiling. Place some covering on the ground beneath the tree. Even a freshly cut natural tree will shed needles over the course of the holiday season. Before placing the stand in the location you’ve chosen, put some type of covering, such as a tree bag, beneath the stand so it’s easier to gather all those needles once the holiday season has ended. Remember that natural trees are thirsty. Men and women who have never had a natural Christmas tree in the past might be surprised at just how thirsty natural trees get. The stand’s reservoir should have lots of water, which should never dip below the stump. If the water dips below the stump, you might be forced to cut a little more off the bottom of the trunk to ensure the tree will make it through the holiday season. That can be a hassle once the tree has been decorated, so be sure to check the water in the reservoir at least once per day to maintain adequate water levels.
into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24. They were first brought to America by German immigrants about 1700. Christmas trees became popular among the general U.S. population about 1850. Today Christmas trees have been accepted by most Christians and they are often a symbol of rebirth and hope for the new year by people of other religions as well.
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Holiday craft fair how-to Craft fairs and flea markets are a staple of the holiday season. Not only are they ideal places to find one-of-a-kind gifts for anyone on your holiday shopping list, but they also are great opportunities for small business owners to broaden their client base while making a relatively small investment. Each year schools, churches, senior clubs, and other organizations open their doors to holiday fairs in an effort to raise money for their respective organizations. In some towns, fairs have expanded into temporary shopping markets where shoppers can go from booth to booth to find the perfect gift. Being a part of one of these events can be as simple as paying the entrance fee and setting up a table. Individuals who have never sold wares at events such as these could find that they do quite well with such a captive audience.You do not have to be a professional sales person or event organizer to get involved. Research opportunities Community resource pages or Web sites are often good sources of information about events the city or town will host. Church bulletins and notices sent home from school may also list such announcements. Make a list of the events that are being held and see where they are located, what the cost is for being a part of the event and how much of a crowd the event figures to draw. These deciding factors will help you to gear your efforts toward the fairs that stand to be the most beneficial to you. It is adviseable to begin your search early so that you will have ample time to prepare for the fair, including conforming to the fair’s requirements. Know the rules and regulations Each fair asks different things of its vendors. Some events will have booths or tables provided for you, but many will require you to bring all the essentials and simply allot you a space. Fairs
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that are held outdoors could necessitate the use of a pop-up tent, particularly if inclement weather is on the horizon. Electricity may be provided with some events, or you may be allowed to bring a generator. The event organizer also may have specific rules about table sizes, configuration, use of tablecloths to hide storage boxes or materials, decorating options and more. Carefully read over the guidelines for the event before you send in your registration fee. This way you know what you’re getting involved with and won’t risk losing your deposit for cancellation. Set the scene Although shoppers will be there to select among products, and those products should be able to sell themselves, the atmosphere surrounding your booth should be designed to attract customers. Sometimes a little window dressing makes a person more inclined to make a purchase. Keep this in mind as you design your booth. If you are selling crocheted blankets for babies, set up a rocking chair or bassinet with a doll and display the blanket as it would be used. Those selling body lotions or other toiletries may want to create a spa atmosphere at their boot, complete with some aromatherapy candles and a cushioned seat in which shoppers can sit down and try some free samples. In addition, decorate with a holiday theme that fits the season. Be mindful of budget Your goal is to make money when attending this event. So spend minimally and invest in display items that can be used again or customized for other uses.You do not want to break the bank decorating your booth or table, only to find that your sales are minimal. When setting up the display, be conservative with how much stock you set out.You want your display to look like you have enough offerings, but you don’t want to be left with too many extras at the end of the day. Offer options to shop online or for custom-ordered items so that you do not have to have 200 Christmas tree ornaments made for that day. This allows you to spread out your costs. Offer a freebie Who can pass up a free item? A bowl with candy or samples of your product may be all that’s needed to draw customers into your booth. Another idea is to have potential customers fill out an entry form that will be drawn for a prize. Not only are you encouraging people to come to the table, but you also are collecting valuable marketing information that can be used at a later date to follow-up with customers and help you make future sales. Participate with a pal Many fairs stretch on for hours, so it is adviseable to do it with a friend or family member so you will have someone to talk to and also to man the booth while you step away for a bathroom or snack break. The hours will pass by much more quickly when you have some conversation going. Be friendly and smile A warm smile can entice people to stop by. Talk up your products but don’t be too pushy. If you are enthusiastic about what you are selling, there’s a good chance others will be enthusiastic, too.
Things to consider when buying
big ticket items
The holiday season is a popular time for consumers to purchase big-ticket items such as televisions and home appliances.Year-end sales and holiday discounts have made November and December a buyer’s market. But just because a consumer can find great deals during the holiday season does not mean he or she should jump at the first deal that comes his or her way. In fact, consumers should consider a host of factors before buying a big-ticket item during the holiday season. • Rebates: Rebates can turn a good deal into a great deal, and many electronics manufacturers offer rebates even if the merchants are unaware. Inexpensive items are not often associated with rebates, but costly items like televisions, computers and cameras may be eligible for manufacturer rebates. If you find an item on sale but the merchant knows nothing about potential rebates, contact the manufacturer prior to purchase. You might save money by purchasing a slightly more expensive item that offers a rebate instead of a heavily discounted item that does not come with a rebate. • Returns: Merchants compete for business during the holiday season, and such competition benefits the consumer. Before purchasing a bigticket item, talk to a merchant about the company’s return policy. Some merchants will offer a full refund if an item is returned within a certain time period, while others may only offer a partial refund. But some merchants might be willing to work with you if you purchase an item only to find it is being sold for less money by another retailer. Some will match the lower price and refund you the difference. • Warranties: When purchasing a big-ticket item, a store representative will likely try to sell you an extended warranty for the item. On the surface, such a precaution seems like a worthy investment because, in theory, it’s offering added protection for an item that’s costing you a lot of money. However, most electronics and appliances already come with a
standard manufacturer warranty, and the extended warranty, which can cost several hundred dollars, might just be duplicating coverage you already have. If you’re leaning toward purchasing an extended warranty, know exactly what it does and does not cover before buying it. Many of today’s appliances are built to last years, and the extended warranty might not cover problems that result from normal wear and tear. Research the product, including consumer reviews, so you know what problems to expect from it. If the problems are minor, then the extended warranty is probably not worth the investment. • Price: The price of an item is the determining factor for many buyers. If the price is right, consumers will buy an item. If not, they’re likely to move on. But even if the in-store price for a big-ticket item seems like a great deal, it’s still in a consumer’s best interest to shop around. Many retailers offer better deals online than they do inside their brick-and-mortar stores, and you might even be able to pick the item up just as you would if you bought it instore. In-store pickup can save you the cost of shipping, which can amount to considerable savings. Don’t be too quick to purchase a big-ticket item no matter how deep the discount. Be patient and comparison shop. Doing so might save you hundreds of dollars. • Reputation: A good deal is only a good deal if you’re getting an item that’s worth buying. Do your homework before buying a big-ticket item, researching its pros and cons. Consumer reviews can be an especially valuable resource, as consumers like you have no incentive to embellish or mislead others about a product.The product’s reputation among industry professionals and fellow consumers should bear considerable weight in your decision-making process. A heavily discounted piece of junk is still a piece of junk. The holiday season is a great time to find bargains on big-ticket items. Educated consumers can come away with a great deal and a great product.
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How to establish a holiday
In 2010, holiday spending forecasts were bleak. Groups like that National Retail Federation were predicting that 2011 holiday spending would increase only by roughly 2.5 percent from the previous year. Such a forecast unnecessarily worried retailers, who ultimately had prosperous sales that exceeded expectations significantly — increasing somewhere between 5 and 6 percent. Many of the shoppers who ventured out that holiday year may have overspent despite poor economic predictions simply because they didn’t want to do without during the holidays. A 2011 study from Cardhub.com found that consumers accumulated $16.8 billion in credit card debt in the third quarter alone. Holiday debt is a condition that can be prevented. In order to avoid joining the growing number of people accumulating massive amounts of credit card debt, holiday shoppers must establish a shopping budget. A budget helps shoppers control their spending, and the following are a few tips shoppers can employ to establish a budget that ensures this holiday season is as debt-free as it is festive. • Remember the Alamo. While the Battle of the Alamo may have nothing to do with holiday spending, shoppers who have found themselves with a mountain of post-holiday debt in the past should learn from their history so they aren’t doomed to repeat it. Look back on the previous year’s spending habits to determine where you could have saved money. Keep this year’s receipts so they can be examined next year. Gaining an understanding of your spending habits is a great way to discover which of those habits are unhealthy and which you can build on to become a more responsible shopper. • Take shopping year by year. Just because you spent thousands of dollars last year doesn’t mean you should it do so again this year. Let the past year
dictate how much you can spend on holiday shopping this year. Shoppers who purchased a new home since last year, for instance, should not feel obligated to spend as much as they did last year, and neither should men and women who lost their jobs or took a pay cut since last year’s holiday season.When establishing your budget, take all of the events of the last year into consideration. If you’ve had an especially successful year financially, perhaps this year you can spend more than last year. Just remember a holiday shopping budget should always be fluid and you should not feel pressured to exceed or equal the spending of previous years. • Don’t set a spending minimum. Many shoppers feel guilty if they don’t spend X amount of money each year on gifts for friends and family members. But shoppers should not feel guilty if they come in well under budget, nor should they keep spending if they have purchased gifts for everyone on their list and spent less than they anticipated. Do not enter the holiday shopping season feeling you have to spend a minimum amount of money to show your loved ones how much you value them. • Do set a spending maximum. Shoppers should, however, establish a maximum amount of money they can spend during the holiday season. A host of factors should be considered when determining how much you can safely spend.Those factors include your current financial situation and your job security. If you presently have a substantial amount of debt, eradicating that debt should take priority over holiday shopping. And if your working part-time or on contract or have reason to believe your job is in jeopardy, then you should, as much as possible, avoid holiday spending entirely. Once you have established a maximum amount you can spend for the holidays, do not exceed that limit and do your best to come in under budget.
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GRILLS HAVE ARRIVED! Come in and let us show you why Weber is consistently ranked #1!!
• Includes lid, rack, lift hook and thermometer
One of the Areas largest selections
22999 $ Q300 GAS99 349
Marinades, Shakes, Rubs, Mixes and Sauces! SPIRIT E210 GAS
Choose from over 50 marinades, rubs and sauces
SPIRIT E310 GAS
GENESIS E310 GAS
GENESIS EP330 GAS
GENESIS S310 GAS
Remember we keep a full line of Weber parts and accessories. Also, come by and let us help you get your FREE app for your iphone - contains product info, recipes and lots of instructions for upping your game at the grill!
SALE MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19 THRU SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2012 NOT ALL ITEMS AVAILABLE AT ALL LOCATIONS
40 W. Wesmark Blvd. • 320 W. Liberty St. 350 Pinewood Rd. • 3 W. Rigby, Manning
A SUPPLEMENT TO THE ITEM
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