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Christmas Gift Guide Christmas is the happiness that lights our children’s eyes. Christmas is a song of bells ringing through the skies. Christmas is a time of peace, of contentment deep within, A time of love and silent hope that years will never dim. (“CHRISTMAS IS...”) — SHERRILL THOMPSON

An annual supplement to

Tri-County Shopper Wednesday, November 23, 2011

&

THE DAILY DISPATCH Thursday, November 24, 2011


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CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

TRI-COUNTY SHOPPER • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011

THE DAILY DISPATCH • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011

Sensible planning makes for smart holiday shopping The holiday season is among the most stressful times of year. With long lists of things to do, meals to prepare, family and friends to entertain, and gifts to buy, many people embark on the holiday season with more fear than cheer. And with so many people trying to spend less these days, preparing for the holidays has become that much more challenging. But by planning in advance and establishing a holiday shopping game plan, men and women can save money and maintain their peace of mind. Start at the bottom line. The best way to avoid overspending during the holidays is to establish a budget — and then stick to it. Before making any holiday purchases, determine a holiday spending limit that is acceptable to you and your spouse or partner. The figure should include not only the cost of gifts, but expected expenditures for holiday entertainment and entertaining, decorations, travel, and items such as clothing and home improvements. Know as you go. Know what portion of a holiday budget is for gifts and keep a running total of expenditures as you shop. This way, you will have a sense of where you stand at any given point in the shopping season and can adjust accordingly. Be an informed shopper. There are deals galore in the run-up to the holidays and it pays to compare prices and offers before making any purchases. Check newspaper and online ads as well as retailers’ Web sites to determine both where and when you can get the best deal. Make a list and check it twice. Plan your purchases ahead of time to avoid impulse buying. By having a gift in mind for each person on your list, you will save time, money and headaches. Consider family gifts. If there are a number of families on your gift list, consider giving a single gift — or gift basket — that everyone can enjoy. A waffle iron or ice cream maker, for example, is a gift that foodie families will savor for years to come. Give the gift of your time. Some of the most cherished gifts have no price tag attached. Homemade gift certificates for things like car washing, dishwashing, babysitting, lawn mowing, and closet cleaning are always wonderful and welcome. As the giver, just make sure to make good on your promise.

A word about imported holiday gifts People shopping for toys and presents this holiday season who are also trying to be conscientious of buying American or Canadian may want to pay more attention to the items they are getting. According to research by the U.S. Census Bureau, for the 2010 holiday season, $5.1 billion in toy imports originated in China. China was the leading country of origin for stuffed toys coming into North American ports, as well as for a number of other popular holiday gifts. These include roller skates ($37 million), sports footwear ($218 million) and basketballs ($32 million). China also is the leading supplier of ice skates, with Thailand and Canada ranking second and third for manufacture. Artificial Christmas trees and decoration are also big business for China. The U.S. imported $488.5 million worth of Christmas tree ornaments from the country last year and $28.2 million worth of artificial trees. There are some locally made toys, however. The U.S. has over 700 locations that make everything from games to dolls to children’s vehicles. California leads the nation with the most domestic toy/game production locations.

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Gift cards are convenient, but millions of dollars worth of them go unused every year.

Gift cards not always the best option As people gear up to do their holiday shopping this year, gift cards figure to remain a popular choice for gifting. But the hidden pitfalls of gift cards may make giving cash or a check a better bet. Eight out of 10 people include gift cards in their holiday purchases, offers information from Statistics Canada. About $65 billion is spent in the U.S. annually on gift card purchases, many around the holiday season. Convenience and ease of use is what lures many shoppers to the gift card rack. Just about every major retailer out there has its own gift card for sale, which can make it even more enticing to pick one up. Furthermore, many supermarkets and big box retailers sell gift cards for other merchants right at the check-out line. So if you’re shopping for supper you can also get a gift card to a restaurant or home improvement store. Despite the conve-

nience of gift cards and their presumed utility, financial experts estimate that about $7 million in gift cards go unused each year. The Wall Street Journal has reported that states are supposed to track down gift card purchasers and try to get them their money back on unclaimed cards. But many cannot be found because they paid in cash and that money just goes to the state as unclaimed funds/abandoned property, which sets in after two years of non use. New York collected $9.6 million in unused gift cards in 2008. Another thing to note about gift cards is that some retailers impose fees on the cards if they are not used in a timely manner. Penalties are placed on the card that reduce the value for a time period they are not used. Expiration dates on the gift cards can render them useless if they are not used by a particular time as well. Another lesser-known problem is gift cards activated by third-party retailers, such as those restaurant cards purchased at the supermarket. In some instances, the

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uncashed, there’s little chance you spent your money for naught, as it simply won’t be deducted from your account and you can cancel or write-off that check number. Individuals who are crafty can make their own cash or check holders so that the monetary gift is presented in a creative way. Checks are safer than cash if mailing the gift because cash can’t be cancelled if it’s lost in the mail. Although the lure of gift cards can be very enticing, they do have some disadvantages, including expiration dates, fees for failing to use the card promptly and even lost or buried cards that are never used. Cold hard cash never goes out of style and is seldom overlooked.

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activation does not work correctly and the issued gift card does not have the paid value when the gift recipient goes to use it to dine out. Third-party sellers are often not responsible for issuing a refund on malfunctioning gift cards, even if you have the receipt; you must call the service line on the back of the card. As an alternative to gift cards, plain old cash or check might be a more viable option. Gift recipients are less likely to be lax in cashing a check or spending cash — and it can be put to use for the same purchases as a gift card. Cash is also a greener option, as it doesn’t require the production and use of a plastic gift card. Should a check go

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TRI-COUNTY SHOPPER • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

THE DAILY DISPATCH • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011

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Practice ATM safety this season Those who use ATMs should understand that practicing safety when around the machine is essential any time of the year. However, it becomes even more important when the holiday season arrives. While it’s difficult to determine just how many ATM thefts occur each year, news reports indicate that thievery is growing — even of the machines themselves. Enterprising individuals hook up devices to the machines to steal PIN codes and other pertinent information or simply wrap a chain around the ATM machine at convenience stores and make off in a pick-up truck with machine in tow. Traditional methods of robbing individuals at ATM machines are also commonplace. With large funds withdrawn around the holidays, thieves know ATM machines are prime

targets for easy money. According to Chris McGoey, a security consultant, 60 percent of ATM crimes occur between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m., with the majority of those occurring before midnight. Most ATM robbers are under the age of 25 and male, working alone. They stand away from the ATM machine and often catch the person withdrawing money (typically a woman) off-guard. Many people who are the subject of theft never saw the robber coming. Fifty percent of thefts occur after the money has been withdrawn. Oftentimes a weapon or threat of a concealed weapon is used. During the holiday season thieves may be more brash in their robbery attempts. Therefore, it isn’t unlikely to think a robbery could take place in the daytime hours or in crowded malls.

For the millions of shoppers who will be using ATMs this holiday season and throughout the new year, consider these safety tips. • Always be aware of surroundings when using an ATM. If anyone is standing too close or looks suspicious, cancel the transaction and find another machine. • Choose ATMs that are in well-lit, public areas, free of obstructions that can impair visibility, such as trees, shrubbery or the corners of buildings. • Many times a bank ATM is the safest option, provided that there is a card-activated lock on the door. • Cancel the transaction if the ATM doesn’t look “normal” or asks questions that are atypical from other ATM machines. It could be a dummy machine.

• Never write your PIN on the back of the ATM card. Memorize it. • Minimize time spent at the machine, which means preparing deposit slips or other transactions in advance. • If the machine “eats” your card, do not re-enter your PIN. Contact the bank or establishment where the ATM is located. • Closely monitor bank statements and report any anomalies. • Promptly pocket withdrawn money; do not count it or flash the money in the vicinity of the ATM machine. • If someone does approach you with a weapon and demands money, comply and alert the police. Safety is more important than money. • Be wary of anyone attempting to “help” you with the ATM transaction.

Promptly pocket withdrawn money; do not count it or flash the money in the vicinity of the ATM machine.

Credit crunch: managing credit cards during the holidays The holiday season is synonymous with many things. Among those things is holiday shopping. Some people revel in holiday shopping, while others would just as soon never see a mall again the rest of their lives. An essential element to a successful shopping season is managing money wisely. For most consumers, that means using credit cards in a way that won’t leave them with a mountain of bills come January. Consider the following suggestions to ensure your holiday shopping doesn’t come back to haunt

you when all those bills are due after the New Year. • Devise a repayment plan. Particularly during the holidays, consumers tend to spend first and worry about payments later. However, this is a dangerous approach. Before spending a dime, have a plan to pay bills already in place. This helps shoppers avoid going over budget and finding themselves in a nightmare come January when the bills are due. When devising a plan, be as specific as possible, such as setting a Feb. 1 deadline to pay off all credit cards. The more specific you can

be, the more likely the plan is going to be successful. • Beware of retailer credit cards. Retailer credit cards entice customers during the holiday season, typically offering 10 percent back on the first purchase after applying and receiving the card. While this entices many consumers to sign on the dotted line, shoppers should know retail credit cards often come with high interest rates. For shoppers who plan to carry a balance, these interest rates can add up, negating the benefit of that 10 percent discount at the register.

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If a retail credit card offers a reasonable interest rate or something like 18 months with no interest on more expensive purchases, then it might be worth considering. But for the most part consumers are better off simply paying full price. • Be careful when using multiple cards. Using several cards tends to give consumers a false sense of security. Consumers who use multiple credit cards during the holidays often feel this keeps them from piling up a massive balance on one card. However, the best strategy is to simply use the card that

boasts the best interest rate. • Know your balance and where you stand. A holiday shopping spree can quickly grow out of control, but shoppers must know their balances at all times. Exceeding the balance typically results in hefty penalties and those penalties are something most shoppers simply can’t afford during the often costly holiday season. If one card is maxed out, shoppers might want to cease their holiday spending altogether. A financial situation in which a person is carrying a maxed-out credit card is

never ideal, and shoppers should not dig themselves a deeper hole by spending more on top of that. Instead, they can work toward paying down the balance and spending less on holiday gifts. • Use credit cards when buying gifts online. One positive way to use credit cards when holiday shopping is to use them when buying gifts online. Credit cards offer consumers more protection against fraudulent purchases than debit cards, so consumers should always use credit cards when shopping online.

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Tri-County Shopper • Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Gift Guide

The Daily Dispatch • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hot holiday gift ideas to match every cook’s style (MS) — For the cooking enthusiasts on your gift list, hone in on each person’s style of cooking and entertaining to find the perfect match from today’s ever-widening array of culinary tools and equipment. To help streamline your shopping this season, here are some new and recently launched products that are sure to get lots of smiles and good use in the kitchen.

Back to basics cooks The “back to basics” cook is always on the search for no-nonsense equipment that will help get meals on the table faster with minimal fuss and fanfare. The elegant, utilitarian design of the new Anolon Wood Tools ($7-$13 retail) will please the cook who craves simplicity and convenience. These natural beechwood tools will not scratch delicate cooking surfaces, and the modern, light-colored wood tone pairs well in both contemporary and traditional style kitchens. Another winning gift for the no-nonsense baker is the new gourmet-quality BonJour Bakeware, which includes 8 basic pieces, as well as 3 specialty items ($10-$25 retail). Designed for years of rigorous use, BonJour Bakeware is constructed of professionalweight aluminized steel with wire-reinforced rims for additional strength. The interior nonstick surface is the best quality available to home cooks, and the lighter exterior nonstick prevents overbrowning and makes clean up super fast and easy. Best of all, each piece includes an imprint of its exact measurements and dimensions for fool-proof results. If you’re looking for a gift that will add sparkle to someone’s everyday cooking, consider the new vibrant red hue offered in the popular Rachael Ray™ Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware ($160 for the 10-piece set). Grippy silicone handles in matching red are comfortable and oven safe to 400 F while tempered glass lids allow for monitoring of foods without lifting the lid. Slow oven roasting, a hallmark of “back to basic” cooking, is one of the easiest ways to prepare affordable cuts of meat, as well as tease out sweet and robust flavors of winter vegetables, such as pumpkin and acorn squash, sweet potatoes and parsnips. The retro-style KitchenAid 13x15 Covered Dome Roaster with Flat Rack ($70 retail) features a bright red porcelain enamel over stainless steel exterior, and can be used

with or without the rack and lid for all types of oven roasting.

Locavore cooks and entertainers Sophisticated foodies are becoming increasingly keen on using seasonal, locally grown and produced ingredients, whether purchased from the supermarket, farmer’s market or picked from their own backyard. Encourage their dedication to preparing fresh and delicious meals from scratch by shopping for holiday gifts that are top-notch in quality and performance, and built to last. For example, Anolon Ultra Clad Cookware ($400 retail for the 10-piece set) provides all the benefits of professional-style clad metal cookware with added convenience features. It’s made with three permanently bonded layers of metals for optimum cooking performance, including a thick core of aluminum for fast and even heating and a stainless steel cooking surface that won’t react with acidic foods. A portion of the exterior layer of stainless steel that is stripped away and covered with a handsome black band to keep the cookware from getting too heavy and difficult to lift. It’s also dishwashersafe and compatible with all cooktops, including energy-efficient induction burners. For cooks who are partial to using traditional culinary tools, there’s the new BonJour Mezzaluna and Cutting Board ($40 retail). A staple in European home kitchens for centuries, the mezzaluna has two extra sharp blades for dicing and mincing fresh herbs, nuts and other ingredients with precision and speed. The updated and contemporary beechwood cutting board includes a concave basin to corral ingredients for chopping, and the reverse, flat side can be used to slice bread. For safe storage, the mezzaluna slips over the handle of the board and remains securely in place with magnets. Heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil is a favorite ingredient of Food Network star Rachael Ray, who coined the phrase “EVOO.” Her new Rachael Ray™ EVOO & Vinegar Set ($25 retail) adds a dash of fun and color to kitchen countertops, while keeping this prized

(From top left) Rachael Ray™ EVOO & Vinegar Set, KitchenAid Covered Dome Roaster with Flat Rack, Bonjour Triomphe French Press, Paula Deen Stoneware Baker, Circulon 25th Anniversary Bakeware Cookie Pan with Cooking Rack, and Rachael Ray™ Stoneware Loaf Pan ingredient within handy reach. Available in red, orange, blue and yellow, the artistically sculpted and opaque ceramic bottles feature a tight fitting, stainless steel pouring spigot to keep delicate oils from spoiling. The set also comes with a funnel for easy filling.

Healthy foods first With First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” initiative to fight back against the rising tide of obesity among children, more families are adopting a healthier cooking style. Asian style stir-fry dishes are among the fastest and most flavorful ways to sneak in lots of healthy vegetables into the dinner menu. Make it easy for anyone to enjoy this healthy cooking method with a gift of the new and generously sized Circulon Elite Platinum 14-inch Open Stir Fry ($50 retail). The heavy-gauge, hard-anodized pan has a durable nonstick cooking surface that prevents foods from sticking, even when little oil is used — a bonus when trying to trim calories. The elegant platinum hued nonstick exterior keeps the cookware from staining and is pretty to look at, especially when displayed on a hanging rack. Bakeware is not just for desserts. Cookie pans and jelly roll pans can be pressed to do double duty for healthy, oven-

baked “fries,” oven-roasted chicken breasts, meatballs, salmon steaks, and more. The new Circulon 25th Anniversary Bakeware Set ($25 retail) combines two 10x15-inch cookie pans with a cooling rack that can also serve as an oven roasting rack to elevate foods and allow fats from beef and other ingredients to drip down into the pan. Constructed from heavy gauge carbon steel, the cookie pans will not bend or warp. A high-quality silver-colored nonstick surface, coupled with Circulon’s signature Total® Nonstick System with Hi-Low wave technology, releases food easily — even those prepared with little or no fat — and makes clean up a snap. Circulon celebrates its 25th anniversary this year as the first made-to-last, gourmet brand of hard-anodized nonstick cookware. Being healthier today is also about avoiding materials that may be detrimental, such as the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) commonly found in plastic food containers, linings of canned goods, and more. The new BonJour Ami Matin BPA-Free French Press (3-cup size $15 retail, and 8-cup size $25) features an unbreakable, heat-resistant carafe crafted from Tritan®, an innovative new BPA-free material favored for its durability, lightness and shatterproof properties. This French Press is ideal for coffee lovers who enjoy brewing rich, smooth-

tasting coffee without any worries of BPA, or breaking a delicate carafe. Tea delivers healthy antioxidants, many flavor options and a soothing respite. The perfect stocking stuffer for tea lovers, the new stainless steel Bon Jour Single Cup Tea Infuser ($13) is compact and simple to use. Just fill the infuser chamber with loose tea leaves and immerse into a cup of hot water for brewing. The matching stand provides an elegant place to hold the infuser without messy drips.

The entertainers Culinary enthusiasts who like to entertain enjoy collecting well-designed serveware and accessories that make their hosting talents look impeccably smooth and effortless. One of the best tricks to entertaining with ease is to use oven-totable stoneware that goes straight from the oven to the kitchen or dining table. For beautifully presented casseroles, tarts and quiches, new BonJour Stoneware ($20-$50 retail) is available in two exterior color glazes, Rouge and Chocolate. Practical and hard working, the collection is oven safe to 450 F, and can be placed in the microwave, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher. For the entertainer with a knack for baking, a gift of Paula Deen Signature Stoneware ($13-$35 retail) in new Robin’s Egg Blue will inspire countless invitations to casual coffee and dessert gettogethers. Featuring a unique swirl pattern and a reactive glaze finish, each versatile and durable piece in the collection — which includes a stunning Sunflower Fluted Mold for a very grand bundt cake — will get everyone’s attention at the table. For a fun twist to southern tradition, the Paula Deen Signature Cast Iron Cornbread Mold ($20 retail) features an embossed corn ear design. The cleverly shaped mold

is crafted of heavy-duty cast iron and makes eight individual pieces of golden cornbread. Finally, for party hosts who enjoy playing “home barista,” there’s the new and sleek BonJour Triomphe French Press ($70 retail). Crafted of polished stainless steel, the double-wall insulated, 8-cup carafe keeps coffee piping hot longer. For easy tableside pouring, a hollowed stainless steel handle keeps it cool to the touch. Triomphe includes BonJour’s signature “Flavor Lock” shut-off filter to eliminate bitter-tasting coffee, and a patented stainless steel filtering screen to keep sediments away from the cup. For more information on these holiday gift ideas, visit the following Web sites: www.anolon.com, www.circulon.com, www. kitchenaidproducts.com, www.bonjourproducts.com and www.potsandpans. com.

Comfort food connoisseurs Classic American dishes, such as hearty casseroles, meatloaf and “mac and cheese” are the most satisfying and appealing to “comfort food connoisseurs.” In the dessert category, quick breads like cranberry orange nut bread and sour cream coffee cake are perennial favorites. This season, bake a loaf of your best recipe as a gift for that special neighbor, tied with a printed recipe card, and present it in the new Rachael Ray™ Stoneware 9x5 Loaf Pan in red ($15 retail). Dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezersafe, the loaf pan features a high-gloss, festive red exterior that’s perfect for the holiday table. Mixing up a batch of holiday cookies — the ultimate comfort food for kids — is one of the easiest ways for little ones to learn basic baking skills and share in all the fun that can be had in the kitchen during holidays. The new Paula Deen Signature Kid’s Seasonal Cookie Mold Pan ($17 retail) makes a great gift idea for families or budding young chefs. The easy clean non-stick, carbon steel pans feature seasonal Snowflake, Tree and Gingerbread Man designs that imprint onto the baked cookies.


CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

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Stuff their stockings with solutions for their sleighs (MS) — Whether the person on your gift list loves anything with wheels, has a new car under the tree or just needs a few holiday tips to make their “lump of coal” car shine like a holiday ornament, here are some easy ideas for stuffing their stockings. While some might say St. Paul, Minn., where 3M is headquartered, closely resembles the North Pole, the elves in the research labs there have been developing creative new solutions to help car owners maintain and improve their vehicles, just in time for winter weather and holiday giving. This year, the 3M automotive elves recommend: • Paint Restoration System from 3M: Winter salt and sludge can leave your car’s finish as dull as a burned out holiday bulb. You can restore that show-

room shine with the Paint Restoration System from 3M, a three-step process that removes swirl marks, minor scratches and oxidized paint. Add a buffer/ polisher to the gift list, and it’s the perfect present for your paint. • Lens Renewal Kit from 3M: Dashing through the snow on a winter’s night isn’t smart with headlights that aren’t bright. But with the Lens Renewal Kit from 3M, car owners can make their headlights shine brighter than Rudolph’s nose and improve their safety on their holiday travels. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. • Scratch Removal System from 3M: Hauling all those holiday packages out of the sleigh can leave scratches on the rear bumper. No need to worry. The Scratch Removal System from 3M provides an

easy step by step solution for removing these small scratches faster than holiday wrapping paper, and leave the car looking like brand new. Custom Image Kit from 3M: Give your vehicle its very own present this holiday season by personalizing it with a custom matte image. The Custom Image Kit from 3M utilizes abrasive and film technology to apply your desired “decal” by hand. Plus, you can remove the graphic if desired and restore the finish. For other holiday gift ideas for the automotive enthusiast on your shopping list, visit 3M Car Care on Facebook or www.3MCarCare.com for a full offering of 3M automotive solutions. This product line can be found at leading automotive aftermarket retailers and online at www. Shop3M.com.

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Christmas Gift Guide

Tri-County Shopper • Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Daily Dispatch • Thursday, November 24, 2011

Secure your identity when shopping online

There is no denying that shopping online is the quickest and easiest way to zip through a holiday shopping list. With a few clicks and keystrokes, it’s possible to have all of your Christmas shopping done in no time. But as many people have found out — the hard way — purchasing via the Internet can be risky business, especially during the holiday season when shoppers are pressed for time and make hasty decisions. While identity theft and fraud can occur at any time of the year, the holiday shopping season leaves consumers particularly vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego-based nonprofit, there are several important steps that consumers should take to ensure that their online transactions are conducted both safely and securely. First and foremost, the ITRC recommends that

consumers shop only on sites that use technology that encrypts — or encodes — both your personal and financial information before sending it for payment processing. Encrypting sensitive information makes it inaccessible to anyone outside the system, and all of the Web’s major retailers secure customer data in this manner. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to ensure that a shopping site is secure, particularly if you have not made purchases there in the past. Any page on a site that asks for personal or financial information will have a URL or Web address beginning with https:// as opposed to the usual http://. Shopping only on the sites of merchants you know and trust is another critical means of ensuring your online safety. However, if you decide to order from a Web site you have never patronized before, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes investigating the site.

Even Santa needs to ensure the websites he uses for Christmas shopping are secure. For starters, reliable Internet retailers always include a business address and contact telephone number on their sites, as well as information about site security, their return and refund policies, shipping practices and privacy policy. This information should be

easily located on the Web site, often along the bottom of the company’s home page. If you can’t find this information or suspect that the business might not be legitimate, contact the Better Business Bureau or your state’s Attorney General’s

office to determine if there are outstanding complaints against the company. Another critical step in securing your personal and financial data is to provide only the information necessary to complete the transaction — and no more. Social Security numbers

are not required to complete an online purchase and consumers should never provide this information. Being asked to reveal sensitive information, such as a Social Security number, on a retail Web site is an automatic red flag indicating that something is not right. Your best bet? Close your browser window and search for another, reputable source for the item you want. Finally, whenever you shop online, it’s best to pay with credit cards, which are protected by the federal Fair Credit Billing Act — a law that entitles cardholders to dispute charges made to their accounts. Unfortunately, there is no other form of payment that provides this type or level of protection. The good news? Once you are assured that a site is secure and the retailer is reputable, shop away. Chances are good that you’ll not only save time, but money and energy as well.

Is ‘that doggy in the window’ a good idea for a gift? To the millions of pet owners across the globe, pets are more than just furry friends around the house. Pets put many people in a good mood and can also make for a valuable addition to families with children, instilling a sense of responsibility in kids they might otherwise never learn. But pets are also a very personal choice. Such a reality makes giving a pet as a present during the holiday season a difficult proposition — one that requires careful consideration of the pros and cons before making a final decision.

The pros • Companionship: Pets make fine companions, and many people think giving a pet as a present during the holiday season is a great way to put a smile on a lonely friend or relative’s face. However, when giving a pet in the hopes it will

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provide companionship, be sure to find a pet that’s known for liking attention, such as a golden retriever, and not a pet that doesn’t require much care or appreciate the attention. • The surprise element: Oftentimes, when a family pet dies it takes awhile before the family is ready to get a new pet. However, if sufficient time has elapsed, the surprise element of a new pet at the holidays can make it one of the more memorable holidays ever. The same can be said when giving a child their first pet. For moms and dads who have decided the kids are ready for their first pet, the holidays make a great time to surprise them with a Fido or Morris of their own. • Cost: Particularly in the current economy, not all families can afford to adopt or buy a new pet. While they might be able to afford to feed and care for a pet, the initial costs (some adoptions can cost several hundred dollars)

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The cons • Personal choice: Pets don’t take long to become a member of the family. And that’s often because pets are a deeply personal choice made by the pet owner and his or her family. Giving a pet as a gift might be a nice gesture, but many people would prefer to pick their own pets. • Timing: Not all families are ready for a pet. Even parents who want to add a pet to their home should consider if the timing is right. Are kids ready for the responsibility of a pet? Is the family ready to add another member? Timing should also be a consideration for those thinking of giving a pet

to someone they don’t live with. It might be a nice gesture to give newlywed friends a pet, but they might also be trying to have a baby and might not have the time to care for a pet. • Allergies and additional health considerations: Not everyone can have a pet in their home. Many people are allergic to animals. It could prove a disaster to give a kitten to someone who is highly allergic to cats. Shoppers who are unsure if a friend or loved one has a pet allergy should avoid giving a pet as a present. In addition to pet allergies, another medical concern is some people might not be physically capable of caring for a pet. Dogs, for instance, need to be taken on daily walks or, at the very least, taken outside to relieve themselves. What’s more, training a puppy is no small task. If a friend or family member does not appear capable of caring for a pet, consider a different gift.

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Henderson Square • 492-0870

• hunting & fishing licenses • law enforcement & • security supplies • gun holsters • targets • hi tec & proline boots • royal robbins 5.11 tactical pant • ammo • ammo boxes • archery • muzzle loaders supplies •lock on tree stands • deer lures & game calls • camoflage clothing (all sizes) • ruddy duck & wall’s clothing

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TRI-COUNTY SHOPPER • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

THE DAILY DISPATCH • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011

7

Gift ideas for the household handyman (MS) — Many homeowners have taken cues from the recession and are choosing to stay in their homes a little longer rather than sell in a buyers’ market. Those who want to make their current abodes more livable or attractive to future buyers may choose home improvements that raise the value and/or add more space. These options present great opportunities for gift givers wondering what to buy for the household handyman. For many, home improvement renovations have become do-it-yourself projects out of necessity, as DIY is often more cost-effective than hiring a contractor. However, projects can go awry and cost more money in the long run unless the right tools and techniques are used. Gift givers should select tools that will offer the most bang for their buck and help homeowners sail through many projects. Woodcraft offers these ideas for successful holiday gifting.

Shaping and drilling Whether crafting furniture or sizing and shaping wood for various home repairs, quality routers, planers and jigs are needed for the fine-tuned precision these projects require.

To polish off edges, add grooves or dadoes, or create a personalized design, choose the Porter-Cable Compact Router. DIYers can create an ultra-smooth surface with the Delta 13” Portable Thickness Planer. Its three-knife cutterhead offers a blade life three times longer than competitive three-knife planers. Select a Porter-Cable Quik Jig to substantially reduce the time required to drill the pocket holes used for joinery in some projects.

The art of woodturning For centuries, woodworkers have enjoyed the feel of virgin wood in their hands and the pleasure derived by turning that piece of wood into an amazing piece of artwork. Check out the Easy Wood Tools Detailers in mini, mid-sized and fullsized models that are ideal for adding detail to projects such as bowls or chair stiles. Pair these detailers with other gouges, scrapers and lathe accessories for the hobbyist or professional woodturner on your gift list.

Expanding the workshop What DIY woodworking hobbyist couldn’t use a little more space in his

or her workshop? While it’s not always possible to move up or out, keeping tools neat and portable can make maximizing space much easier. Moving large machinery around the shop can be a challenge, but a four-pack of WoodRiver Plate Mounted, Machine Leveling Casters can solve the problem by helping handymen to move, level and reduce the vibration of various shop machines. Likewise, the WoodRiver Adjustable Mobile Base moves and levels tools, enabling shop owners to get the most out of their existing space.

Workshop essentials Every DIY woodworker needs to equip the workshop with some basic tools. To remove errant nails from wood, DIYers can use the Nail Jack Nail Puller or Nail Jack Nail Hunter. Projects can be kept secure by using the WoodRiver Universal Vise, and an 8” Pinnacle Arkansas Combo Stone is the ideal gift for keeping blades sharp to avoid injuries and kickback on machines. To learn more about these products and others, contact the Woodcraft store nearest you, visit www. woodcraft.com, or call (800) 535-4482.

The American Woodshop host Scott Phillips makes quick work of drilling pocket holes for joinery with a handy jig.

Gifts: from bad to ‘the all-time worst’ Great gifts are great for a multitude of reasons, but bad gifts tend to have a lot in common. The worst gifts are not only a poor fit with the recipient’s personality, lifestyle or interests, but also send a negative or critical message. Just plain bad gifts tend to fall into three categories: The useless, the thoughtless and the tasteless. And while the lists of awful items for men and women may be different, they nevertheless fall into one of these diagnostic categories. If you’re considering purchasing gifts in any of the following four catego-

ries for the man or men in your life, think again. Clothing: While this sounds innocent enough, when the clothes don’t match a man’s style, it can be construed as a suggestion that you don’t like what he wears or want him to up his fashion game. If you don’t have a clue about what the men in your life actually like and will wear, make another choice. Sentimental items: What a woman might call “sweet,” a man might want to store in the trash can. If you’re tempted to get your husband or boyfriend that cute teddy bear that reminds you of him, or

Great Stocking Stuffers

flannel pajamas printed with those same teddy bears, forget it. And forget the book of syrupy love poetry, romantic movies or T-shirts with sappy sayings. He’ll be glad you did. Household bric-abrac or decorative elements: Items in this category include everything from a new dish rack to artsy decor items. Such items might send a negative message similar to new clothes, and many men are territorial about their homes and resist outside (i.e., female) advice on decorating. So unless you know exactly what he wants or needs, go back to

the drawing board. Psychology or selfhelp materials in any form or format: This is perhaps the biggest no-no of them all and sends the biggest “You’re not okay” message. So if you’re tempted to buy your guy a book about improving communication skills, finding a better job or making better use of time, don’t. Enough said. When selecting gifts for women, men should also avoid certain gifts. Appliances: For most women, household appliances fall under the heading of “need” rather than “want,” unless it is a specialty item that you’re

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Ammo Pocket Knives Skinning Knives Decals Mace Wallets Money Clips BKMK Necklaces

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324 S. Garnett St. Downtown Henderson • 492-2311 Monday - Friday 9 - 6 • Saturday 9 - 5

earth during your holiday season, move on. Jewelry: Here again, unless you know exactly what the woman in your life wants, skip it. Not only is jewelry something that women prefer to choose for themselves, it can send a message (i.e., overly romantic or not romantic enough) that men don’t realize they’re sending. Gym membership/ fitness equipment: The big no-no. Under no circumstances is it wise to present the woman in your life with a gift whose underlying message is “lose weight” or “shape up.” The all-time worst gift for women? A bathroom scale.

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Earrings Bracelets Dog Tags Game Calls Binoculars Monoculars Cleaning Kits & Oils Targets Hats T-Shirts Flashlights Key Chain Lights much much more....

certain she has been yearning for. Lingerie: The principle here is similar to why clothes are a bad idea for guys, but can lead to far more disastrous outcomes. Many men don’t realize that a gift of lingerie is often accompanied by an unintended message. If it’s too small, she needs to lose weight. If it’s too big, you think she’s fat. If it’s too racy, you don’t think she’s sexy. And if it’s too plain, you don’t think she’s sexy. Simply stated, unless you know the exact size and type of lingerie she favors or want to ruin any chances of peace on

The aRTs & cRafTs shop Handcrafts: Knitted Items, Jewelry, Etc.

The BakeRy shop Cakes, Pies, Rolls, Etc.

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Chili, Lasagna, Etc.

The GifT shop

Monograms, Prewrapped Teacher’s Gifts, Etc.

The GReen house Poinsettias, Etc.

Raffle Country Ham, Turkey, TV, Wreath & More - Raffle Tickets $1 each or 6 for $5 The BiscuiT cafÉ & The Tea Room

(Open 9 - 10:30 a.m.) Biscuits freshly baked in Church Oven Coffee

(Open 10:30-1pm) Sandwiches, Chips Sweets, Beverages -Eat-In or Take-Out

Choosing a gift for the Horse Owner can be difficult but... we’ll make it easy! Come in and choose from a full line of equipment for that horse owner. Also, Justin Boots, Wrangler Jeans. Easy layaway plan. Gift certificates available


Holiday Gift Guide

Crossroads Hwy. 39 N. and I-85, Henderson

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Licensed Service Technicians for Gas Appliances, Heating, Air Conditioners, Pools, Generators, Bulk Barns

2011 Crossroads Shopping Center Henderson • 252-492-7483 Granville Corners Oxford • 919-603-1875 202 NC Hwy 54 W Suite106 Durham • 919-484-0089 Hours: Mon - Sat 9:00am-7:00pm

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KARTS COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION SERVING FRANKLIN, GRANVILLE, VANCE, AND WARREN COUNTIES

Providing Transportation For Over 25 Years

Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central North Carolina 943 W. Andrews Ave., Suite O, Henderson, NC 27536

Great Futures Start Here Begins 2012 Campaign!

944 West Andrews Ave. Henderson, NC 27536

• Providing transportation service to all citizens Monday thru Friday • Affordable fares • Service to all area hospitals including Duke, UNC, Rex, Wake Medical Center, and Durham Regional

KARTS 252-438-2573 or Toll Free 1-800-682-4329

Community contributions provide quality after school and summer programs that have a measurable impact on local youth and families. Our staff, board members and volunteers strive to inspire and enable our youth, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. We need your support in donations and as volunteers.

Please call the office at 252-430-1871

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*Certain restrictions and limitations apply. See your authorized retailer for complete details.

Happy Holidays

From Your Favorite Local Businesses


TRI-COUNTY SHOPPER • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE

THE DAILY DISPATCH • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011

9

Gift ideas for when you’re pressed for time The Christmas countdown has begun, and the days will no doubt fly off the calendar like they do every year. Before you know, it’s only a few days until the holiday is here. Those who haven’t yet started shopping may feel pressed for time and worry that they will not be able to find gifts for everyone on their lists — at least gifts that don’t look like they were afterthoughts. But good gifts can be found in the eleventh hour.

for making ice cream sundaes. • Pick a gift that embraces the holiday spirit. Holiday music, ornaments or table decorations can be used this year or next.

Children

Adults

Christmas is right around the corner. If you have to purchase last-minute gifts, be sure they don’t look like an afterthought.

• Visit the local liquor store for a bottle of wine in the price range desired. Wrap it in a wine bag or leave it as is with a nice bow.

• Pick up passes to a local attraction, such as an amusement park or a museum. Put together tickets for a play paired

Shipping gifts is more than just timing When shipping holiday gifts, much of the focus is on getting those gifts in the mail on time. While it’s important to avoid procrastinating when shipping holiday gifts, there’s more to shipping gifts than just getting them sent out promptly. When shipping holiday gifts this season, consider the following tips. • Ship through an online retailer. Billing address and the shipping address are two different categories when buying from an online retailer, and holiday shoppers should take advantage of a retailer’s willingness to package and ship gifts for you. Many online retailers will even gift-wrap items for you and include a personal note as well. • Protect the gift. For those who won’t be using an online retailer, be sure to protect the gift, especially if it’s fragile. Use bubble cushioning and packing peanuts when sending fragile items through the mail. If sending multiple items, wrap each item tightly in bubble cushioning but leave some space between the items for peanuts. • Carefully pack

perishables. When sending perishable items, always send them via next-day delivery and never ship them near the end of the week, such as a Friday or Saturday. Items shipped on Friday and Saturday should be able to withstand a few days of being in transit. But when sending cheeses, fruits or any other perishable items, it’s best to do so early in the week and choose nextday delivery. • Insure more expensive gifts. Don’t skimp on insurance when sending expensive gifts such as jewelry through the mail. Shipping companies typically only insure items up to a certain amount, so insure more expensive items through your own insurance company so their full value is covered. • Comparison shop when shipping. Comparison shopping not only applies to holiday gifts, but shipping as well. Shipping companies, including the post office, compete for business come the holidays, and you can likely find a good deal to reduce the cost of shipping holiday gifts, costs that can add up if shipping several gifts.

with a soundtrack of the production. • Food is often appreciated. A box of fine chocolates or one of those edible

fruit arrangements will be a tasteful, and tasty, gift. • Fill a large bowl with a scooper, sprinkles, cherries, and other toppings

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Teenagers

• Teenagers can be finicky, so a monetary gift will be one-size-fits-all. • Teenage girls may appreciate a gift basket of delicious scented lotions. • Passes for movies can make date night less expensive. • Consider a gift card or e-gift coupon for digital music downloads. • Give a subscription to a teen magazine so that everyone can keep abreast of their favorite celebrities.

A quick guide to gift-giving etiquette Deciding on and paying for holiday gifts can be a challenge under the best circumstances. But then there are the inevitable “sticky situations” that can leave even the most experienced gift-givers scratching their heads. In the hopes of dodging major gift gaffes this holiday season, here are eight tips for gracious giving and receiving. • Review your gift list each year to determine if any relationships have changed and require a shift in your gift-giving plan. • Don’t ask non-family members on your gift list what they would like. This not only spoils the surprise, but puts pressure on recipients to gauge how much you want to spend and requires them to get you something in return. • For workplace gifts, adhere to the company’s policies and make sure that gifts are given out of appreciation, not expectation. • Don’t feel obligated to match what others spend. Buying gifts based on what others spend is both unnecessary and can lead

Regifting is now considered a (mostly) acceptable practice, as long as it’s done thoughtfully, tastefully and within certain guidelines. to excessive expenditures. • Including a gift receipt is a good idea and avoids potentially awkward situations when an item doesn’t fit or doesn’t work. • If someone surprises you with a gift, the best bet is to respond honestly. Let the giver know that you are surprised, touched and appreciative as well as a bit embarrassed that you don’t have a gift in return. Then let it go and add his/her name to your

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• Pop into a toy store or a department store and pick up a cuddly stuffed animal. • Buy an art set for older children, full of paints and markers. If a complete set can’t be found, make an art package with a bunch of supplies packed into a gift bag. • Choose an educational gift that is still fun, like alphabet flash cards or puzzles. A subscription to a children’s magazine would also work, seeing as

children love getting mail. • Few kids will turn down a DVD of their favorite television characters. The DVDs should feature an age-appropriateness rating to make choosing one even easier.

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gift list for the following year. • Give holiday tips to those individuals whose service you count on throughout the year, such as hairstylists, babysitters, dog walkers, etc. An easy rule of thumb for holiday season tips is to double the usual tip. For household employees, give one week’s pay. • Don’t arrive at holiday gatherings empty-handed. A small gift, bottle of wine or contribution to the eve-

ning’s edibles is the right way to thank your hosts for their invitation. • Acknowledging gift givers is a must, but formal, written thank you cards are optional. While handwritten notes are always preferable and greatly appreciated, e-mails are increasingly acceptable — especially for young people. Regifting is now considered a (mostly) acceptable practice, as long as it’s done thoughtfully, tastefully and within the following guidelines: • The regifted item should not be homemade or made especially for you. • The item should be new, unused and in its original packaging, along with instructions. • Be sure to remove all previous wrapping and gift tags. • Don’t regift to friends or family members who have a reputation for returning things they don’t like. You don’t want to be asked for a gift receipt. • Make certain that the original giver and the new recipient will never cross paths.

Happy Holidays from

Bamboo Garden Best Chinese Food in Town! Buffet, Menu Orders and Take Out Available Gift Certificates Available!

Lucky Bamboo, Just Arrived! 1520 Dabney Dr. Henderson (252) 438-8080 Buy 4 Adult Dinner Buffets Get 1 Buffet Free

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Butterfly Kissed Floral Designs

Flowers & Gifts for all Occasions

Angela Wade Connie Wade Owners

Holiday Wreaths, Bows, Garland, Tree Ornaments, Tree Skirts much much more...... 505 Dabney Drive Henderson NC 27536

Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm • Saturday 9 am - 2 pm

Phone: 252.433.0075

“Specializing in making you happy”

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1543 Dabney Drive (Next to Sears)

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Give the Most Pampering Gift of Them ALL! Gift Certificates Available 10% OFF Retail Products through 12.31.11

946 V. West Andrews Ave. (Crossroads Shopping Center)

252-438-3131


Henderson The Screen Master Serving Henderson 34 Years!

• Screen Printing • Embroidery • UPS Shipping • Team Uniforms

• Trophies • Gift Items • T-Shirts • Sweats

Eugene Watkins • Lorraine Watkins Fax 252-492-5358 email:screenmaster@embarqmail.com 100 S. Garnett St., Henderson, NC 27536 252-492-8407 • 800-441-5382 www.screenmasterofhenderson.com

Vance Furniture Established 1941

Christmas and Holiday Season Parade

Happy Holidays! D. Randall Cloninger R. Brian Cloninger

ATTORNEYS AT LAW

will be held Sunday, December 4th at 2:30 pm

Combining efforts of area bands, businesses and civic/religious groups, the parade displays a large variety of music and colorful floats, plus a visit from Santa Claus. The parade route goes from Dabney Drive Extension to Garnett Street and ends at Rose Avenue.

Free Consultation By appointment

accident & injury Workers Compensation traffic, DWi, & Criminal Defense Wills & estates Come Visit Us At Our New Location.

CLONINGER LAW OFFICES, PLLC

215 N. Garnett Street, Henderson, NC 27536 Phone: 252-492-6553

INTERIORS & GIFTS TOO

LA-Z-BOY® Recliners

Your LA-Z-BOY® Headquarters “Quality Furniture At Discount Prices” 325 S. Garnett St.

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THOMAS’ APPLIANCE SALES AND SERVICE “SERVICE...That’s Our Commitment To Our Customers And That’s What We Do Best.”

101 S. Garnett St., Henderson, NC 252-492-3023

Will be held • Ornaments & Decorations • Jewelry & Accessories Tuesday, November 29th at 6:00 pm • Stationery • Collegiate Gifts • Stuffed Animals • Collectibles • Games in front of 1st Methodist Church. • Books • Candles • Candies & Cookies • potpourri • Household Items The large Christmas tree near Something For Everyone On Your List! the RR bridge will be lit with 9,000 bulbs. Three Church Choirs will perform, and hot chocolate will be served. Save 40 - 60% oFF! cHRiStmaS count down A true welcoming of the Holiday Season. 97 $

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available for $1.00 each at the HVDDC office in the Old H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library building, Interiors and Gifts Too and Abagayle’s Books. These ornaments are a great gift for everyone on your list.

bibles

George’s Restaurant & Staff Come Try Our Daily Specials! Two Locations to Serve You 210 N. Garnett St. 104 E. Industrial Dr.

Downtown Henderson

Oxford, NC

(252) 492-0090 (919) 603-3760

Residential & Commercial Rentals 128 S. Chestnut St. Henderson, NC 27536

Free Name Imprinted While You Wait Gift Wrap Available

King James Version and All Modern Translations

BETTY B’s

203 S. Garnett St. • Downtown Henderson

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252-436-0037

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reclining & leather gallery

252-762-0503

down 2 earth herbs

We Are Thankful And Grateful To Have Served You For 13 Years discounts every day

Baldwin - Hardware and Ornaments Aladdin Mantle Lamps

Serving Henderson for 33 years

The Brass shoppe 240 W. MontgoMery Street

Williamsburg Brass Candles • Flags

Children can drop off letters to Santa in the mailbox inside the store, and Santa will write a letter back!

414 South Garnett Street P.O. Box 1302 Henderson, NC 27536 (252) 438-8414

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OVER 100 RECLINERS IN STOCK LarGeSt SeLeCtIon oF reCLInerS In tHIS area!

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Light the Night

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robert teiSer, ProPrietor Gas Logs • Stove Parts Lamp Shades, Parts and Repairs

Henderson-Vance Downtown Development Commission “Building Our Future From Our Past” (252) 430-5734 134 Rose Avenue • Henderson, NC 27536


The Daily Dispatch - Christmas Gift Guide - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011