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Gift Guide


Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

| Last Minute Gift Guide

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★★ Great gifts for both men and The holidays are synonymous with many things, including get-togethers with family and friends, shopping and, at the tail end of the season, resolutions. One of the more common New Year’s resolutions is a commitment to getting healthier. This year, holiday shoppers can combine the tradition of gift-giving with the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions by giving a loved one who wants to improve personal health a gift that can make keeping that resolution that much easier. When holiday shopping this season, consider the following gift ideas for that health-conscious friend or family member who’s looking to turn over a new leaf in the new year by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Subsidizing a loved one’s gym membership is a great way to help him or her realize a resolution of living healthier in the year ahead.

Gym membership: Fitness centers tend to see a spike in enrollment at the dawn of a new year, as men and women who want to get healthier take the first step by signing up for a gym membership. The holiday season can be a great time to sign up for a membership, as many fitness centers waive their initiation fees in an effort to attract more customers. When trying to help a friend or family member get back on a healthy track, offer to pay a portion of their membership fees or, if their preferred club is charg-

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ing an initiation fee, offer to pay that instead. Recipients might feel more obligated to go to the gym if they know a loved one helped pay for it. Cardiovascular machine: Many people cite a lack of time as the primary reason they don’t exercise enough. Getting to and from the gym takes time, but having a cardiovascular machine, whether it’s an elliptical machine, an exercise bike or a treadmill, at home removes this hurdle, increasing the chances that people will exercise more often. And the potential benefits of routine cardiovascular exercise are considerable. According to the American Heart Association, as little as 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise each day can significantly reduce an individual’s risk for heart disease.

exercise. In fact, eating healthier is just as important as exercising more. A common misconception about eating healthy is that healthy foods don’t boast the flavor of those irresistible, yet ultimately unhealthy, foods we can’t get enough of. However, a healthy diet can be flavorful, so help health-conscious men and women get started with a cookbook filled with healthy and delicious recipes. Before buying a cookbook, find out if the book’s eventual recipient has any specific dietary restrictions, including if he or she needs to eat gluten-free or has been told to avoid red meat. Then find a cookbook that suits them but does so in a way that allows them to embrace healthy eating.

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• Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bicycle: Few activities are more enjoyable and simultaneously beneficial as riding a bicycle. Many people still enjoy riding a bike just like they did when they were children, when they might not have known just how healthy riding a bicycle was. Cycling improves cardiovascular fitness, lowering a person’s risk for heart disease while helping to build and tone muscles. In addition, men and women with preexisting joint conditions often find riding a bicycle is a great low-impact exercise that encourages them to get off the couch in a way that doesn’t aggravate their conditions. Many adults received a bicycle as a holiday gift when they were children, and those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle might be just as excited to receive a bicycle once again.

Last Minute Gift Guide | Shaw Media

women hoping to get healthier ★★

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Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

| Last Minute Gift Guide

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Although food and presents may be on the minds of holiday hosts and hostesses, they may want to give some consideration to beverages as well. To be accommodating to the most number of guests, include sugar-free beverages when celebrating the season.

When hosting guests for the holidays it is important to make available a wide variety of beverages. Water is always the healthiest beverage, so make that available to all guests. Put filtered water in a pitcher with some cucumber or apple slices for a refreshing flavor. For those serving soft drinks, have diet varieties on hand for people who are counting calories. All-natural fruit juices may be a wise choice for parties with children in attendance.

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• Thursday, December 13, 2012

According to a study by Tala Fakhouri, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diet drinks are overtaking sugary beverages among many health-conscious men and women. Research found diet drink consumption has increased over the past decade, reinforcing other the belief that regular soda drinking has decreased. Diet drinks include calorie-free and lowcalorie sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, carbonated waters, and sports beverages.

Sugar consumption in sodas has dropped from around 150 calories a day in 2000 to 91 calories in 2008, indicated study findings. Men are more likely to consume sugary drinks, while 21 percent of diet drinks are consumed by women. Sugary beverages have been under fire for years, particularly because of their suspected link to rising obesity levels. At roughly 150 calories per serving, one sugary soft drink per day can add roughly 1,000 calories to the average person’s diet per week.

Last Minute Gift Guide | Shaw Media

Think diet drinks for holiday entertaining

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Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

| Last Minute Gift Guide

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Out-of-the-box themes for your holiday party Parties are an integral part of the holiday season, when friends and family gather to celebrate and give thanks. For holiday hosts, parties are a great opportunity to make the season even more festive with an event that guests won’t soon forget. The following are just a few themes to make your holiday party as memorable as it is merry.

Christmas sweater party

Christmas sweater parties have grown in popularity over the last decade, when revelers have tried to outdo one another with the most outrageous holiday-themed sweater. Give prizes for the most outlandish sweater and let guests know early on so they can begin their hunt for a holiday sweater that’s so ugly or outrageous you can’t help but love it.

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Christmas costume party

Costume parties aren’t just for Halloween. This holiday season, consider making your holiday bash a costume party, encouraging guests to dress up as their favorite characters from holiday tales like “Frosty the Snowman,â€? “A Christmas Carolâ€? or any of the host of beloved holiday legends. • See PARTY on page 7

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• PARTY continued from page 6

The weather come the holiday season may be the one thing to put a damper on the festivities. To combat blue feelings from potentially inclement weather, consider a Caribbean theme for your holiday party this season. Rather than wearing sweaters and long pants, wear beach attire and give the party a touch of the Caribbean. Outfit your home in beach decor and serve food and drinks reminiscent of the Caribbean instead of more traditional holiday fare like eggnog and gingerbrea cookies.

Christmas karaoke

For those who love to belt out their favorite holiday tunes, consider throwing a Christmas karaoke party that allows guests to perform their own renditions of their favorite Christmas carols. Purchase a home karaoke set and ask guests in advance of the party if there are any particular songs they’d like to perform.

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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• Thursday, December 13, 2012

Film festival

Holiday movies are another tradition of the season, so why not invite friends and family over for a holiday film marathon? Include classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” and encourage guests to submit their own favorites for consideration.

Did you know?

Last Minute Gift Guide | Shaw Media

Caribbean Christmas

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| Last Minute Gift Guide

Gift ideas for the food fanatic

Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift the foodie on your holiday shopping list with something that encourages their love of cuisine.

Some people are a cinch to shop for come the holiday season, while others can be more of an enigma. When it comes to the latter, shoppers should determine what tickles their mysterious friend or family member’s fancy, such as a favorite hobby or even something to do with his or her profession. Food is a passion for many people and provides holiday shoppers with a great opportunity to make a loved one’s holiday season even more special. Perhaps thanks to the increase in cable networks focusing on food, foodies, those people with an appreciation and passion for cuisine, have grown in number in recent years, and holiday shoppers with foodies on their lists have a host of potential gift options at their disposal.

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Cooking class

Many foodies don’t just like eating food but cooking their favorite cuisine as well. For those who like to get their hands dirty before filling their bellies, consider paying for a cooking class. Many communities have cooking classics for various types of cuisine, so consult your friend or family member, asking them which cuisine they’d like to learn and when they’re available. Or let them find their own class and then pay for the class. This can be a great way for foodies to learn something new and meet fellow food afficionados along the way. • See FOOD FANATIC on page 9

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• FOOD FANATIC continued from page 8

Last Minute Gift Guide | Shaw Media

Specialty spices

Spices can make the difference between an ordinary meal that’s void of flavor and a meal that’s so flavorful it won’t soon be forgotten. When spicing things up for a foodie this holiday season, don’t just buy regular spices at the grocery store. For example, instead of standard cinnamon, buy a specialty spice like Mexican or Vietnamese cinnamon. Such specialty spices can add extra flavor to a meal while becoming the go-to spice for the home chef among your friends and family members.

Pressure cooker

• Thursday, December 13, 2012

Many foodies are fawning over pressure cooking, which can cut down on cooking times without sacrificing nutrition. Some recipes may take half the time to prepare with a pressure cooker as they might with a more traditional cooking method, an important time saving element that’s attractive to foodies who want to enjoy their favorite foods but feel pressed for time on weeknights. And while pressure cookers employ steam to cook foods quickly, that steam also traps flavor, whereas boiling can wash flavor out. Many foodies also laud pressure cookers for their nutritional benefits. Steaming certain foods can intensify their flavor, which allows cooks to rely less on potentially unhealthy additions like salt or butter to ensure a meal is flavorful.

Serving dishes:

Of course, many foodies want to share the fruits of their labors with friends and family. For the person who loves throwing dinner parties, consider some serving dishes this holiday season. Serving dishes can range from casual (for the foodie who can’t wait to fire up the grill) to formal (for the gourmet foodie), so get a feel of your friend or family member’s preferences before purchasing a set of serving dishes.

Cookbook

The ideal fallback item for holiday shoppers who can’t seem to find anything for their favorite foodies, cookbooks filled with recipes for dishes from their favorite type of cuisine (i.e., Italian, Thai, Cajun, etc.) are sure to please. When gifting with a cookbook, peruse a few of its recipes to determine if there are any special ingredients that appear throughout. If there are, purchase these ingredients and gift them as well.

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Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

| Last Minute Gift Guide

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Boost holiday spirits with holiday ‘spirits’ The holiday season is a festive time of year when opportunities to entertain abound. The search may be on for the ideal food and beverage recipes to tie into the holiday season.

cinnamon until everything is heated. Add the liqueur and stir. Garnish with more cinnamon. Serve warm.

Although just about any drink can be given a holiday spin with the right name (think Merry Martinis), you may want to come up with a theme drink that fits with your particular party. Explore these ideas for delicious and festive alcoholic and nonalcoholic options.

The Candy Cane

White Christmas Hot Chocolate 3 3/4 1 1

cups light cream or half-and-half cup vanilla candy melts, chopped teaspoon vanilla Pinch of ground cinnamon ounce Irish cream liqueur

1 1 1/2

ounce vodka ounce peppermint schnapps ounce heavy cream Dash of grenadine for color

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a candy cane.

Sweet Santa Shots 1 1/2

ounce Midori liqueur ounce grenadine syrup

Carefully layer the grenadine syrup and the Midori liqueur in a shot glass to have red and green layers.

Holiday Sparkle 2 1

ounces apple cider ounce club soda Cinnamon stick

Mix cider with club soda and serve in a tall glass with a cinnamon stick garnish. A refreshing and nonalcoholic drink option.

Combine 1 cup of the cream with the candy in a saucepan. Melt over low heat, being careful not to burn. Add the remaining cream, vanilla and

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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.

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

• Thursday, December 13, 2012

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.

Last Minute Gift Guide | Shaw Media

Gifts no sports fan should go without

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Shaw Media • Thursday, December 13, 2012

| Last Minute Gift Guide

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