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SECOND EDITION 2019

SOUTHERN LAKES NEWSPAPERS

Holiday


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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

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A GUIDE TO SMART

Holiday Gift Giving 7 BUDGET FRIENDLY TIPS TO KEEP COSTS DOWN The holiday season is full of celebration, social activities and spreading good cheer by exchanging gifts. The problem is gift giving can get expensive if you’re not making a plan and monitoring your spending. A happy holiday doesn’t have to mean stressing about finances or going into debt. You can enjoy the holidays and save money with some smart strategies for gift giving on a budget.

Create a gift list

Are you feeling pressure to get gifts for everyone? Thoughtfully consider who’s on your list this year. While a gift may be appropriate for some people, others might simply prefer to spend some time together rather than exchanging gifts. Perhaps invite someone over for lunch or plan a cookie exchange with friends.

then a specific budget to target for each person on your list. Then, with your gift list in hand and budget in mind, you can shop for appropriate and affordable gifts. What’s more, by starting early, you can take advantage of sales and other promotions that can help you save even more.

Stop worrying

Worried about finding the ideal gift? Coinstar’s recent holiday survey found about one-third of people don’t recall what gift

they received last year, so stop feeling pressure to get the perfect present. Ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. Whether it’s a card or small, reasonably priced gift, the recipient will be glad you took the time to show you care.

Stretch your budget

You probably don’t think much about coins, but the holiday survey found that people believe they have about $71 in spare change in and around their home! Collect and cash in that spare change at a

Make a budget early

Deciding on budget limits for your holiday gifts will help guide your spending. You might have an overall holiday budget and

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO Page 3


supermarket Coinstar kiosk to boost your holiday budget. This can also be a fun activity for kids who can gather coins or dip into the family coin jar for spending money and then buy gifts for family members. Visit www. coinstar.com/findakiosk to find a location near you.

Create a group gift exchange

If you have a large, extended family or a group of friends that you typically buy for, consider a gift exchange. It’s fun and budget friendly because you’re not buying a separate gift for each person. Smart tip: Set a price limit per gift to keep everyone in the same ballpark for presents and prevent any competition of one person outdoing another.

Opt for services as gifts

Rather than giving a physical present, is there something you could do that the recipient would appreciate? Consider an act of kindness like cleaning a family member’s home or watching their children. If you have a particular talent, consider how that can be incorporated into your gift. Know how to play the piano? Offer to give children lessons. Do you have a snowblower? Offer to help clear a neighbor’s driveway after a snowstorm.

Consider charitable donations

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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

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Giving to charity on behalf of someone else can be a nice holiday gesture. Whether it’s animal welfare, disaster relief, a children’s charity or something else, think about what the person is passionate about and select an appropriate charity. The Coinstar holiday survey revealed that if there were no obligations or expectations around gift giving, about 10% of people would give to charity. Keep in mind, Coinstar kiosks in supermarkets allow you to donate your change to certain charities, making it easy to put your change to good use and give a meaningful gift. No matter what you choose, gift giving can be meaningful and affordable. Let these ideas inspire you to stay on budget and shop wisely this holiday season. (BPT)


How to choose smart video games for your kids When it comes to putting a smile on kids’ faces during the holiday season, video games are a pretty safe bet. So, how do you make buying decisions that make both kids and parents happy? And how do you choose video games that are fun for kids, but also safe and educational too? Here is what to look for:

Portability and durability When it comes to hand-held gaming devices, they should be designed for little hands, while offering features that will help kids take good care of their gift, like wrist straps that prevent fumbles and protective bumpers when the inevitable occurs. Devices that don’t require Wi-Fi means kids can play on-the-go – and offer parents the peace of mind of knowing exactly what their kids have access to. Fun and unique The best kind of games are those that are so fun, kids don’t even realize they’re learning while playing. For example, the new RockIt Twist from LeapFrog, a rotatable game system for ages 4 to 8, offers a unique gaming experience. Games help kids build literacy, math, problem-solving, science, creativity and social-emotional skills through three levels of age-appropriate curriculum. With four sides of colorful, light-up controls that include buttons, dials, a spinner, slider, switch and D-pad, the device comes with 12 preloaded games. Additional game packs, sold separately, are easy to download and offer more fun learning

opportunities. To learn more, visit leapfrog.com.

Curriculum-based Look for games that can supplement classroom learning. Not only will this type of

content help kids excel academically, it may help them discover that school is fun. This holiday season, make sure gaming gifts for kids are fun, entertaining, educational and secure. (STATEPOINT)

How to save big on tech this holiday season

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To that end, look for retailers with a vigorous inspection process, such as MyWiT (My Wireless Technology), where all pre-owned devices for sale undergo a 65+ point inspection of cosmetics, functionality and connectivity to ensure optimal performance. Tests verify that every function of the device is in 100 percent working order and connectivity tests ensure wireless devices deliver a consistent quality of connection and don’t drop available signals. Offering a variety of high-quality new and preowned devices, including smartphones, tablets, headphones, smart watches and accessories, and featuring major brands like Apple, Samsung and more, all MyWiT products come with free shipping within the US and a 90-day money back promise. To learn more, visit MyWiT.com. “While you may think the savviest consumers are the folks standing in line every time the latest models are dropped, the truth is that they’re actually the people capitalizing on the influx of like-new devices that those folks have traded in,” (STATEPOINT) says Conti.

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

If smartphones, tablets, smart watches and other gadgets are on your loved one’s holiday wish-lists, you may be preparing to pay through the nose to make their dreams come true this season. Experts say that you don’t have to go broke on tech if you shop wisely. “You can make more room in your budget for non-negotiable holiday expenditures by not paying the price for brand-new models of devices,” says David Conti, senior director of eCommerce at MyWiT. “Affordable, high-quality refurbished phones and other devices are pretty easy to come by if you know where to look.” Unfortunately, many consumers are not yet hip to the fact that many mobile phones, tablets and accessories that come from trade-in and upgrade programs were perfectly good devices that owners traded in for newer models. Experts stress that the idea that all refurbished devices are lemons is a misconception. However, buyers should be careful to stick with reputable sources where you can trust the device to be in fully functional condition.


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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

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GIVE THE GIFT OF 4 ways to add joy to the holidays The holiday season is the perfect time of year to bring the gift of music into others’ lives. Here are four thoughtful ways to do so:

c i s u m

Holiday caroling Spread cheer and musical joy by caroling in your community. Some caroling groups perform at nursing homes and shelters, while others pound the pavement with the purpose of raising money for a good cause. Consider forming your own charity caroling group and donating the proceeds to the coffers of a local music education program.

Gift an instrument Give a loved one the tools needed to create music at home. Whether you’re shopping for a novice or a professional, today’s portable digital pianos are equipped with smart features that will suit your recipient’s needs. With a sleek glossy panel and unibody chassis, the PX-S1000 from Casio, for example, evokes a high-end acoustic grand in a slender design that’s not much larger than the keys themselves. A fully weighted Smart Scaled Hammer Action keyboard provides an uncompromising piano touch with a proprietary key scaling system that reproduces the characteristics of each of the 88 notes.

Gift a performance Check local listings for upcoming concerts and performances and give your favorite music enthusiasts tickets to a show. Many venues offer gift certificates, which will give recipients the opportunity to select their own gifts.

Host a movie marathon When it comes to most holiday movies, it’s

all about the soundtrack, and some of the most pivotal scenes hinge on song and dance. For your holiday party this year, considering hosting a movie marathon. Invite all your friends and family to enjoy the sounds of the season. You can even bill it as a sing-along. While music powerfully enriches lives every day of the year, the holiday season presents some special opportunities for making and enjoying it. (STATEPOINT)

Ways to protect yourself from ID theft

passwords: Use a different username and password for each 1.on oneVary shopping account. That way, if someone steals your information account, they won’t be able to go on a shopping spree at other sites, too.

that can give thieves access to your personal information. Always visit a retailer’s website directly to make a purchase.

Get identify theft insurance: Some insurance companies offer 4. coverage to make the process of undoing the damage from identity theft easier and less costly. For example, Erie Insurance has

Identity Theft Recovery Coverage, an affordable option that can easily be added to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. “When someone uses information about you without your permission, it takes time and money to straighten things out,” said Robert Buckel, vice president of product management at Erie Insurance. “This coverage offers peace of mind to help you restore your credit and make the process – and your life – a little easier.” Protecting your identity may not be top-of-mind during the holiday shopping season, but with just a few safeguards in place, your online security can be greatly enhanced. (STATEPOINT)

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Track transactions: Check your statements for any suspicious 2. activity. If you don’t recognize a transaction, contact your credit card company or bank right away.

Beware of scams: Watch out for phishing scams in which fraudsters 3. send emails that look like they’re from a reputable company, but aren’t. Avoid clicking on links in emails as they may download malware

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. When making purchases online, be sure to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft – it’s more common than you may think. With just a few pieces of personal information, thieves can open new credit lines, drain bank accounts and file fraudulent tax returns. The Federal Trade Commission says credit card fraud was the number one type of identity theft reported in 2018, with 167,000 people saying their information was misused on an existing account or used to open a new credit card account. No matter what form it takes, identity theft can cost thousands of dollars and take years to correct. Here are four tips to help prevent identity theft:


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Let’s face it, most people have a tendency to procrastinate around the holiday season, especially when it comes to scoring the perfect presents for those who are hard to shop for. To help stumped shoppers, here are some last-minute gift ideas to consider for “the man who has everything:” Surprise your favorite grill master with an

Whether you’re shopping for a movie buff, gaming fanatic or sports enthusiast, you can step-up his home theater game with a great projector. Those in the Slim line-up from Casio combine laser and LED technology for long life and high brightness, making it possible to have a great viewing experience in any room of the house.

Do it yourself

From roasting one’s own coffee to brewing one’s own beer, consider the gift of a cool new hands-on hobby. These days, kits make it easy to give great gifts to intrepid DIY-ers.

Keyboards

Aspiring musicians and experts alike will appreciate the gift of a high-quality instrument. One especially cool choice is the CT-S200 portable keyboard, which is available in black, white or red. Ultra-compact and battery-operated, it features a carrying handle and a button which quickly recalls your favorite settings to make portability and set-up a cinch. A good choice for those in traveling bands, it’s also well-suited for beginners,

For those guys who value organization, a label printer is just the tool for enhancing any area, from workshops, garages and sheds to closets, media collections and home offices. Check out those from Casio, which offer QWERTY keyboards to make creating labels simple and fast.

Knowledge

Online education platforms are delivering world-class tutorials and lectures in a range of subjects, satisfying curious minds from the comfort of their own homes. Many of these services work on a subscription basis, so consider signing your recipient up, so he is free to enjoy it as often as he likes for the duration of his membership.

Outdoor tech

Hikers, cyclists, runners and other outdoor enthusiasts will benefit from a smartwatch designed for durability and the outdoors. Among the many features of the WSDF21HR, for example, are heart rate and VO2 max data, as well as GPS and color map display, which athletes can use to stay oriented while enhancing their training. With a little creativity, gifts purchased lastminute don’t need to feel last-minute. (STATEPOINT)

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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

Last minute holiday gift ideas for the man who has everything

unusual grill accessory. Think outdoor popcorn poppers or a monogrammed iron brand to personalize his steaks.


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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

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g n i Giv THE JOY OF

6 WAYS TO GIFT AND GIVE BACK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The holiday season is here – it’s time to break out the decorations, turn up the festive tunes and of course, find the perfect gifts for everyone on your shopping list. From the pressure to pick the most thoughtful present to the stress of going over budget, it’s easy to lose sight of the holiday spirit. In fact, according to a 2018 study by CompareCards.com, two-thirds of Americans think that shopping is the most stressful part of the holiday season. But checking off your shopping list doesn’t have to be a hassle. From holiday gift guides to easy ways to give back, Amazon has everything you need to make holiday shopping a breeze. Consider these tips to save your time and sanity this season.

Make a plan

Let’s face it, holiday shopping is overwhelming; but you can alleviate some of that stress by planning ahead. Start your planning with Alexa by asking her to add items to your shopping list. Be sure to keep an eye on big holiday deal days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get the lowest prices. Check out the “Watch a Deal” function on the free Amazon App to receive notifications when deals are about to go live – that way, you’ll never miss a deal! Alexa makes it easy to find the top deals every day. Simply ask, “Alexa, what are my deals?”

Start with gift guides

Shop from anywhere

There’s no time like the holiday season to give back to a cause that’s close to your heart. Amazon is making it easy for customers to join its commitment to deliver smiles all year. AmazonSmile is a simple way to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same Amazon experience – low prices, vast selection, fast and free delivery options and more, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible purchases to a charity of your choice. AmazonSmile’s Charity Lists offer yet another way to give back. AmazonSmile Charity Lists give charitable organizations an easy way to create wish lists of products needed, while providing customers a convenient way to donate directly to these causes with the reassurance the list is managed directly by the charity. Shop thousands of AmazonSmile Charity Lists by visiting smile.amazon.com/charitylists, with new charities joining all the time. If you’re interested in making a monetary donation, it’s

Save the surprise

Shopping for a member of your household and don’t want to spoil the surprise? Try Amazon Day for your holiday purchases. Rather than receiving each order individually, you can have all your orders arrive together on the day of your choice, making it easy to save gifting surprises for friends, family and roommates. Amazon Day not only makes receiving orders more predictable, it groups multiple purchases together in fewer boxes whenever possible. Amazon Day is free to Prime members and available on most items that are eligible for Prime delivery and shipped by Amazon. Learn more at amazon.com/amazonday and select your personalized delivery day at checkout. When in doubt, give a gift card. Still can’t find that perfect gift for a loved one?

Don’t sweat it

with a gift card, your friends or family members can select exactly what they want. Visit amazon.com/giftcards and audible. com/giftcenter for a wide variety of delightful designs, including boxes, tins and greeting cards with free one-day shipping (where available). Need it right now? Choose from options you can print at home, send by email or even text. (BPT)

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Make holiday preparation a breeze by shopping from your mobile device. In fact, more and more consumers are making the jump to mobile shopping. According to a

Shop with purpose

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2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

Finding great gifts for everyone on your list without breaking the bank can be tricky. Luckily, Amazon’s holiday gift guides offer something for everyone. This year, Amazon released curated gift guides across Toys, Electronics, Luxury Beauty and more. Each gift guide is chock full of bestselling products and the latest trends. You can even filter by price point as you search, making it easy to stay within budget. When you figure out the perfect gift, ask Alexa for the item you need. She’ll add it to your cart and you can review and checkout on mobile when you’re free. You can even ask her to remember who the item is for.

February 2019 survey by digital marketing firm AdLucent, 64% of shoppers said they placed online orders on a smartphone during the previous holiday season. Spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying the holidays!


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

Keep weather in mind

The weather can affect where shoppers do their shopping. Select indoor malls or outlets and other retailers with overhead coverage to protect against the elements.

Wear comfortable clothing

The rise in luxury loungewear means shoppers can be comfortable and look good at the same time. Choose footwear that will not rub and cause blisters while offering ample arch support to prevent tired feet.

Arrive well fed

It’s difficult to make shopping decisions on an empty stomach. Heading to stores satiated can improve productivity and help avoid fatigue or impulse food stops.

Shop unencumbered

Leave unnecessary items at home so as not to be burdened down by coats, bags and other accessories. Utilize lockers at malls or coat checks. Skip bulky purses in lieu of small, easily toted options.

Take breaks along the way

Recharge by resting from the shopping experience. Take a break by sitting down or periodically engage in activities that do not involve shopping or thinking about the holidays. With these shopping comfort strategies in mind, holiday excursions can be that much (METRO CREATIVE) more enjoyable.

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO Page 12

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Tips for an eco friendly holiday season

Waste not

Give gifts that give back

When you make a donation this holiday season, consider giving gifts that help protect nature, such as those found on WWF’s online gift center, For animal lovers, WWF’s wildlifethemed gifts are a good choice. Symbolic species adoptions, are educational and fun. There are more than 100 species available, ranging from favorites like sloths, elephants, tigers, pandas and polar bears, to new offerings like the ladybug, gentoo penguin and hawksbill turtle bale. All symbolic adoption donations made through the gift catalog come with an adoption certificate, as well as a color photo and description card of the adopted species. Adoptions of $55 or more come with a soft

animal plush of the adopter’s choosing. Other gift selections include unique socks, featuring flamingoes, tigers, wolves, hedgehogs and more, T-shirts and sweatshirts, elephant slippers, animal puppets and panda bobbleheads. For more information, call 1-800-CALLWWF or visit worldwildlife.gifts.

Fundraise

Throwing a holiday bash? Deck the halls with purpose by combining your entertaining efforts with a fundraiser dedicated to protecting the environment. For example, with WWF’s Panda Nation campaign, you can turn any special occasion into an opportunity to protect threatened species and wild places around the world, while raising awareness about important issues. By making small changes to your favorite holiday traditions, a joyful and rewarding holiday season can go hand-in-hand with helping wildlife and nature thrive. (STATEPOINT)

Page 13

Wasted food represents about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and is a main contributor to deforestation and the depletion of global water sources. Shopping for foods grown and raised sustainably can reduce the footprint of your holiday menu. You can green your holidays further by reducing your plastic consumption. It’s projected that by 2050, the total amount of

plastic waste in the oceans will weigh more than all fish, and 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastics. Shop with reusable tote bags and opt for giftwrap and décor made only from sustainable materials.

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

On average, there has been an astonishing 60 percent decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to the most recent World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report, and the top threat to species is human activity. Adjusting holiday traditions to be friendlier toward the planet – as well as the people and animals who rely on a healthy environment to survive – can be a meaningful way to spread goodwill during the season. Here are three ideas for doing so:


TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL OFFICE

Secret Santa exchanges The holiday season provides plenty of opportunities to socialize. Holiday celebrations are sometimes akin to family reunions, but friends also tend to celebrate together in December. Such celebrations sometimes include different groups of friends, and that may require hosts to do a little extra to break the ice so everyone relaxes and has a good time. Secret Santa gift exchanges can make for a great ice breaker, even if guests are buying gifts for people they don’t know. If you plan to make Secret Santa part of your holiday party this year, consider these tips to ensure it goes off smoothly.

Start planning early

Hosts likely know everyone coming to their party, so they should take the lead and organize the Secret Santa exchange. Let guests know as early as possible, even including the information in the party invitations, so they have time to shop.

participate ask them to indicate if they will or won’t when they RSVP.

Set a reasonable gift limit

Figure out a budget that works for everyone. There are plenty of gifts to be had for $20 and under. Gag gifts or “dollar store” gift themes can ensure no one goes overboard in terms of dollar value.

Consider a wish list

Asking participants to fill out wish lists ensures that their Secret Santa buddy will have an idea where to start shopping.

Enlist a digital helper

Technology can make organizing Secret Santa exchanges even easier. Elfster is an online gift exchange app that can help hosts effectively organize their Secret Santa parties. Fun is key to Secret Santa exchanges, so make sure to keep things lighthearted when planning the party and exchanging gifts.

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Decorate with a nose toward inviting holiday aromas Holiday decor is as much about the sights and sounds as it is about the scents of the season. Few things evoke the holiday spirit as much as the aroma of fresh evergreen or spicy cinnamon and cloves. Incorporating inviting aromas into holiday decor can make homes feel even more special. Filling a home with fragrant decor takes a little ingenuity and planning. Here are some ideas to incorporate the scents of the holiday season into your decor. USE A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE An easy way to create a pine-like scent indoors is to select a real Christmas tree. Ask the tree farm which varieties are the most fragrant. If a fresh tree is not possible, fill a decorative basket with pine cones and evergreen boughs for that woodsy appeal. CREATE A SCENTED SIMMER Take to the stove to make a homemade air infusion from ingredients in and around the house. Simmer pine branches, citrus peels, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whatever else can be placed in a pot or slow cooker with water. MAKE HOLIDAY SACHETS Some of the same ingredients for the holiday simmer can be dried and sewn into sachets. Add ribbon and hang on real or artificial trees. Or tuck the pouches into various areas around the house. EXPERIMENT WITH CANDLES Scented candles can be found at various stores during the holiday season. Select among popular holiday aromas like pine, cinnamon, apples, and Christmas cookie varieties.

CRAFT SOME “GINGERBREAD” ORNAMENTS A mixture of cinnamon, applesauce and glue can be used to make ornaments or gift tags that resemble gingerbread cookies, and these ornaments have more staying power than actual cookies.

MAKE SLEEPING SPACES AS PRIVATE AS POSSIBLE Not everyone has a separate guest room for overnight stays, but try to make sleeping areas as private as you can when visitors spend the night. Use privacy screens or set guests up in a family room that’s away from the center of activity. Hosts may want to give up their own rooms for the comfort of guests. OFFER STORAGE SPACE One way to make guests feel comfortable is to give them their own storage space. This can include space in a closet, a couple of drawers to stow their belongings, or hangers in the entryway for coats and other winter attire. Not only will this keep things more organized, it can provide guests with comfort.

CATER TO SPECIFIC DIETARY NEEDS One of the ways to treat guests kindly is by being aware of any special dietary needs they may have when it comes to preparing holiday meals or other foods during their visits. Some guests may require low-sodium diets, while others may be monitoring their blood-sugar levels and must dine accordingly. Vegetarians and vegans limit the foods they eat, while others may avoid foods based on religious preferences. Offer a variety of foods and try to cater to guests’ needs as much as possible. When in doubt, consult with the guest so he or she feels welcome and does not go hungry. INCLUDE GUESTS WHEN ENTERTAINING Many guests like to feel involved, and by including them in meal preparation, decorating or shopping, you can help them feel included and appreciated. KEEP SNACKS ACCESSIBLE Guests may feel sheepish scavenging through cabinets or drawers looking for items. Make things easy to find by leaving items out on counters or indicating where items can be found. For example, if you know a guest enjoys an evening cup of tea and some cookies, leave out the cookies, tea bags and kettle so that he or she can indulge when the urge comes. Guests are a large part of the holiday season. Help them feel comfortable whenever they visit your home. (METRO CREATIVE)

Page 15

DESIGN A PRETTY POMANDER Stud an orange with cloves. Cut off the top of the orange and hollow out a place for a small tea light. The warmth of the flame will produce more scent. (METRO CREATIVE)

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day marks one of the busiest periods of the year for long-distance travel. The United States Department of Transportation says that come Thanksgiving, the number of long-distance trips (50+ miles away) increases by 54 percent, and around Christmas that number rises by 23 percent over the remainder of the year. Those travelers ultimately need a place to rest their heads, and many stay with family and friends. Entertaining during the holiday season involves accounting for guests’ comfort, and that often means hosts must put their visitors’ needs over their own. Although some sacrifices need to be made, there is a way to find a happy compromise that can help the holidays go smoothly and happily. Consider these ways to help guests feel welcome whether they stay for a few hours or a few days.

2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • EDITION TWO

UTILIZE ESSENTIAL OILS Natural food stores and other retailers may sell essential oils, which can be diluted and sprayed on surfaces or into the air. Exercise caution around upholstery, or test for staining before use.

Ways to make holiday guests comfortable


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Holiday Gift Guide #2 for 2019  

Holiday Gift Guide #2 for 2019