Friday, December 21, 2012
Last minute shopping for the holidays It’s December 22 and you’ve just barely made it through half of your holiday shopping list. The panic may have set in that you just don’t have enough time to get everything done. This is a common scenario around the holidays. Shoppers have the best intentions to get their gifts early, but whether because of work obligations or social events, the task seems to get pushed further and further into December. Soon many are staring down the calendar experiencing sweaty palms. Many others may be putting off holiday shopping simply because of the current state of the economy and affordability. According to a Steelhouse Marketing Consultants poll of 1,000 consumers, 62 percent predict they will spend less money on the 2011 holiday season. Plus, 56 percent of families predict they will comparison shop more than they have in the past. These factors may contribute to just how long shoppers put off actually getting into stores or going online to shop. For the scores of shoppers who consciously or subconsciously wait until the last possible minute to shop, there are ways to survive and surprise friends and family with great gifts. • Gift cards: They may not have sentimental meaning behind them, but gift cards are fast and easy. Chances are you can run into a store and be out with a handful of gift cards in less than 15 minutes, depending on lines at the checkout counter. Also, many supermarkets, bookstores and other retailers offer gift card kiosks enabling you to shop for different gift cards all in one place. • Food and beverages: While everyone is heading to the mall in droves, you can be stepping inside of a gourmet food or spirits store. Splurge on fine cheeses or that trendy bottle of liquor that a Continued on Page 28
Friday, December 21, 2012
Last minute shopping for the holidays Continued from Page 27 gift recipient has mentioned but not yet purchased for him- or herself. • Magazine subscription: A magazine subscription is an easy fix as a last-minute gift. Purchase one copy of the magazine at the newsstand and wrap it up nicely. Put a note that a year’s worth of this periodical is on the way. No one will suspect that the gift was a last-minute thought.
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• E-certificates: Retailers like music or book sellers will e-mail a gift certificate code to the person of your choice on a selected date. For those who are never without an e-reader or MP3 player, digital gifts could fit the bill.
Many online retailers guarantee in-time-for-Christmas shipping even on gifts ordered as late as December 23. However, overnight shipping charges will cost more. But it’s all worth it to get the item in time. Waiting until the last minute for shopping can induce some anxiety. But knowing about easy gifts for procrastinators can take the stress out of this type of shopping.
• Gas card: It may sound funny and tacky, but a gas card from a brand-name station is a universally acceptable gift for anyone who drives regularly. With fluctuating gas prices, filling up the tank can be an expensive venture. Having a pre-paid gift card can help. to
Online retailers are also there help last-minute shoppers.
Happy Holidays s! From our family to yours!
Front row: Irina Kogan, Casey Stevenson, co-owner, Lena Kupka, Chantelle Lamay, and Barbara Ann Fischer. Back row: Amy Kelly, Melissa Giroux, and Linda Tarbox, co-owner
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Christmas traditions Many Christmas traditions are older than some celebrants might think. The tradition of lighting up a Christmas tree, for example, dates back to the days before Christmas lights. Before electricpowered twinkle lights were invented and even before electricity was discovered, people used actual candles to adorn the Christmas tree. As one can imagine, having an open flame next to a dried-out tree made for some fast fires. That’s why it was customary to keep a bucket of water next to the tree as well. As if fire wasn’t enough, the tinsel used to decorate trees was made from strips of silver and even lead – something that is now known to be a health hazard to adults and children alike. Although we’ve come a long way from candles and lead, trees that are overly dry paired with lights that have frayed wires can just as easily lead to fires. Plus, plastic tinsel can be a choking hazard for children and pets. One Christmas staple that has lost its status as a safety hazard is the poinsettia plant. Poinsettias are a tropical plant that have become a fixture during the Christmas season. It has long been thought that poinsettias are poisonous to people and animals. While there is some toxicity to the plant, it would require the ingestion of hundreds of leaves to get a toxic dose of a plant’s poison. Ingestion may simply cause a case of vomiting or diarrhea instead. But poinsettia leaves are said to have an unpleasant taste, so one bite and most children and animals will probably turn away. Perhaps one of the biggest hazards come Christmas – both then and now – is not having enough turkey or eggnog to go around for holiday guests!
Friday, December 21, 2012
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