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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Last Minute Gift Guide

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

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Dos … and don’ts of holiday shopping

hanks to sales featuring heavily discounted items, millions of people wait to start their holiday shopping until the season hits full swing. But in spite of such bargains, overextending budgets during the holiday season is too tempting for many shoppers to resist. However, shoppers need not risk financial peril if they shop smartly and heed some dos and don’ts of holiday shopping. ■ Do set a budget. Establish what you can afford to spend on

gifts and other seasonal trimmings early on. The National Retail Federation estimates that the average consumer will spend around $700 come the holiday season. But not every person needs to be a big spender. The “buy now, pay later” mentality that credit cards offer lands many shoppers in trouble, a sticky situation many only notice once the first bill comes due. If you cannot afford to pay your entire credit card balance off once the bill arrives, you face steep interest charges that can quickly add up. Instead, pick a set spending limit and keep to it no matter how tempting it may seem to overspend with a credit card. ■ Don’t be fooled by false sales. Retailers understand that a good advertised deal lures shoppers into their stores. As a result, some retailers mark up the cost of certain items in order to slash the prices for holiday sales. Even if you are saving the assumed 50 to 60 percent, the final cost of the item

still may be higher than normal. Comparison shop and do your research so you don’t fall victim to clever pricing. ■ Do schedule time for shopping. Hectic schedules

sometimes result in last-minute shopping that leads to impulse purchases. Schedule some distraction-free time for your holiday shopping so you’re less likely to rush into purchases before thinking them through. ■ Don’t double buy. Some shoppers use the holidays as an

excuse to buy more for themselves than the people on their lists. While it’s tempting to treat yourself come the holiday season, this is a great and quick way to deplete your budget. If you plan on using holiday deals to supplement your own wardrobe or household needs, reduce your spending the rest of the year and save money for year-end purchases. ■ Do collect coupons and look for purchasing incentives.

Comparison shopping not only helps you get the best price, but also it can shed light on coupons, shipping discounts and other incentives that lower the overall cost of products. Search online for Websites that publish coupons and codes for online discounts, including free shipping. Join a store’s marketing list and receive emails with deals sent directly to your inbox. ■ Don’t be afraid to delay some purchases if need be. If hosting a post-holiday gathering where gifts will be exchanged, it’s perfectly acceptable to delay buying those gifts until after Christmas or Chanukah, when many items can be found at even lower prices. Many stores reduce prices on merchandise come December 26, so you can wait until after the holidays to shop for items that will be exchanged with distant friends and relatives. This enables you to save more money and use any received gift cards toward shopping. ■ Do keep a level head. Some people forget the true meaning

of the season is spending time with loved ones. Getting swept away by shopping and worrying about deadlines can make the season less enjoyable. Don’t allow the stress of holiday shopping to compromise an otherwise joyous time of year.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Are cash gifts tacky or ideal? MC

W

hen faced with a gift list a mile long and no idea what to get certain individuals on that list, many holiday shoppers opt to give cash as a present. Cash gifts are easy, one-size-fits all and no one will request a receipt to return a cash gift. Still, some people are not quite sure if it is socially acceptable to give a gift of cash. There are many pros and cons to giving cash as a gift. Once a person weighs the advantages and the disadvantages to giving cold hard cash as a gift, then he or she can decide if cash is an ideal present or one that’s best avoided.

Advantages One of the advantages to giving cash is it eliminates waste. Unlike gifts that will never be used and simply take up space, cash will be used sooner or later. How often have you received a sweater you won’t wear or a trinket you won’t use? Sometimes people return these gifts, but very often they get relegated to a pile of belongings that will end up in the garbage or stashed in the back of a closet. Cash eliminates this waste by giving a person the opportunity to buy exactly what he or she wants. Cash gifts may be ideal for older people to give because they have limited mobility and cannot get out to the store to shop for presents. And grandparents unaware of the latest trends can give cash in a card and instruct grandchildren to purchase something they like.

Some people overextend themselves during the holiday season, and a cash gift can soften the blow of holiday spending. Cash is very portable, which can make it easier for those who travel for the holidays to avoid shipping costs or extra baggage fees to take gifts on airlines. People are inundated with a lot of stuff already, and a cash gift might be just what the doctor ordered.

Disadvantages Cash gifts may be considered impersonal and lacking in creativity. It does not take much effort to stash a dollar amount inside of an envelope and present it, so gift recipients may question their relationships with gift givers who give cash. For many people, the excitement of the holidays has a lot to do with seeing a giant pile of gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Gifting cash removes that excitement of presents under the tree. Although items can be purchased later on, the immediate gratification of tearing through boxes and bags simply is not there. Some people find it awkward to receive cash because the value of the gift is right there in black and white. It puts both people on the spot and may create some uncomfortable moments if the value of a cash gift does not match up to what the cash recipient spent on the cash giver. When gifting standard gifts, many people are unaware of what the other spent and if the item was purchased on a discount. If you gift with cash, there is no hiding the value.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide Another disadvantage is if a person gives cash and receives cash in return. Do the two gifts cancel each other out? What if the amounts are different? Dealing in cash alone can be awkward. There are ways to make giving cash a little more acceptable. If you get creative when handing over the money, this may take away from the fact that cash does not make a very dramatic gift. • Try pairing the cash with a wallet or purse to make the presentation a little more interesting. • Send the recipient on a scavenger hunt for the money, writing clues and hiding them around the house. • Create a money tree or wreath that displays the cash in an interesting way. • Fold bills into bows or tape together to make wrapping paper for a small token gift. • For children, roll up bills and put it into a crayon box or pencil case. • Fill up a large box with a lot of ďŹ ller and hide the cash inside of a smaller box tucked inside.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

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reasons to visit Downtown Spokane this season

Downtown Spokane sure is hopping during the holidays. There’s shopping, sightseeing and general fun all around, whether you’re a regular visitor or drop by now and then. Here are some reasons why you should come by this season.

By NICOLE SKINNER Marketing Correspondent

1. Shopping: Whether you’re looking for items for loved one’s gift lists or something lovely for yourself, you’ll find plenty of choices around the downtown area. Start with River Park Square with three levels of elegant stores, including Macy’s and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. There are some other unique merchants nearby, such as clothing retailer Cues; Bruttles, a great candy creator; and Auntie’s, one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. A few blocks east you’ll find another shopping district with a lot of character, including Main Market, Finder’s Keepers, and Kizuri. From the latest fashion trends to books, toys to games to sparkly bling, downtown is the perfect holiday shopping destination. 2. Visit Santa: Santa will be at River Park Square until Dec. 24, and if you purchase a photo with him, you’ll also get $1 off RPS parking. Pet owners can even bring their furry friends for a special Paw and Claus photo session. Visit riverparksquare.com for Santa’s hours and details. 3. Ice Skating: Want to stay active with the family? Then check out the Ice Palace. Burn off those holiday treats by lacing up ice skates and making lots of fun memories. Maybe you’ll discover that one

of your little ones is the next Wayne Gretzky or Michelle Kwan. Visit spokaneriverfrontpark.com for hours and prices. 4. Santa Express: Grown-ups shouldn’t be the only ones enjoying holiday shopping. Bring your kids to the Santa Express store before Dec. 23 for the experience of giving while supporting the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. Children from ages 4-12 can find and wrap affordable gifts for everyone on their list with the help of volunteer elves. Santa Express is on the skywalk level of the Crescent Building, 707 W. Main Avenue. Visit vanessabehan.org or call (509) 220-5907 for details and hours. 5. Carriage Rides: Take a load off with free horse and carriage rides sponsored by STCU. Rides run through Christmas Eve. They’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis Fridays from 3-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays noon-5 p.m. Christmas Eve rides are from noon to 3 p.m. The carriage picks riders up at the corner of Wall and Main, and each ride runs about 15-20 minutes. Each coach seats around eight riders and children receive a candy cane. 6. New Numerica: Whether or not you’re a Numerica member, you’re invited to check out the credit union’s first downtown branch at the corner of Riverside and Stevens. It’s the first branch featuring the new brand and was designed with a welcoming, open look. You won’t find traditional ‘bank-like’ elements like big desks or giant counters, but you will find a tech bar with phone charging stations, an electronic brochure kiosk, plus a coffee/snack bar and other


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

interactive features. The branch opened early for Black Friday and plans to be involved in community activities for the holidays and in 2014. 5. First Night: Celebrate the end of 2013 and the start of a new year with the biggest family-friendly party around. For a $15 admission (free for 10 and under), you get access to fireworks; a chance to enjoy fantastic musicians, dancers and visuals artists; create your own crafts; watch submissions for the 48-Hour Film Festival; run in the 5K Resolution Run and enjoy the company of a whole lot of new and old friends. Visit firstnightspokane. org for info on purchasing admission buttons or to volunteer for the street party.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Did you know?

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hristmas Day has become a big day in the movie business. Many studios now release big-budget films on December 25th, and audiences have flocked to the theaters to see some of their favorite stars in films that opened on Christmas Day or shortly before. According to Box Office Mojo, an online movie publication and box office reporting service, no film has fared better on Christmas Day than “Sherlock Holmes,” which premiered on December 25, 2009, earning just under $25 million in its initial day onscreen. “Avatar,” the 2009 James Cameron film that would go on to gross $760 million in domestic receipts alone, holds the distinction of earning the second most money on Christmas Day, when it earned a little more than $23 million despite having already been out in

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the theaters one full week. The 2004 Ben Stiller film “Meet the Fockers” opened three days before Christmas but still managed to earn $19.5 million on Christmas Day. A pair of 2012 films, the latest big screen adaptation of “Les Miserables” ($18 million) and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” ($15 million), round out the top five highest grossing films on Christmas Day. Numerous films are slated to open on December 25, 2013, including Stiller’s “The he Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “Jack Ryan: yan: Shadow Recruit,” starring Chris Pine and Kevin Costner.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Stress-free

holiday hosting MC

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atherings with friends and family are a big part of the holiday season. Many people travel during the holidays to spend time with relatives, but those same people often want to gather with loved ones who live nearby as well. An abundance of gatherings come in December, when office parties, dinners with family and festivities with friends have a way of dominating the last five weeks of the year. All of those gatherings translate to a lot of holiday hosting, and hosts can easily feel overwhelmed as they try to juggle hosting duties with everything else that comes along during this time of year. The following are a few steps holiday hosts can take to make hosting a lot less hectic and a lot more fun. ■ Enlist help. Just because a holiday party is at your home does not mean others can’t pitch in. If you plan to decorate for the party, invite a friend over to assist. When hosting a holiday dinner party, ask guests to bring certain items to save you some work. Ask one guest to bring dessert, saving you the time it takes to visit the bakery or bake your own, and ask others to provide side dishes. This drastically reduces the time it will take you to shop for groceries and cook the meal, leaving you more time to spend with friends and family, both during the party and in the days leading up to the festivities.

■ Plan well in advance. The earlier you begin planning the party, the less stress you you’re re likely to feel as a host. Certain items for the party, y, like decorations and certain ertain snacks and beverages, ges, have no expiration dates, so buy such h items in advance. This leads to one less task to tackle in the weeks and days leading up to the party. Planning g early affords you ample time to

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide coordinate with guests and decide who will be responsible for certain tasks. Planning a party at the last minute can be stressful, so if you know you will be handling hosting duties this holiday season, start preparing for the party as soon as possible.

compilation of holiday songs for a sing-along. Such themes set a tone for the party right away and often make it easier for guests to unwind immediately. Seek suggestions for a theme from your guests to make the party even more fun.

■ Hire a cleaning service. One of the more difficult parts of holiday hosting is cleaning the house before guests arrive. A thorough house cleaning can take up a substantial amount of time, which tends to be hard to come by during the holiday season. To avoid a late night cleaning session or the need to spend a valuable weekend afternoon hard at work around the house, hire a cleaning service to come and clean your house in the days before the party. Such services can clean your home in a fraction of the time it might take you to do so on your own, and this removes one of the more time-consuming tasks from your to-do list.

■ Pass the buck. Hosting a holiday dinner party? Consider passing the hosting duties on to a local restaurant, especially if your friends and family members are on board with the idea. Move the party from your home to a local restaurant, where the staff can worry about accommodating your guests and you can simply relax and have a good time with your loved ones. When choosing a restaurant, look for one with a menu that features something for everyone. Entree selections should include a pasta dish, a beef dish, a seafood dish, a poultry dish, and vegetarian fare.

■ Have a theme for the party. Holiday hosts may worry about

how to entertain their guests throughout the party. A theme party makes it easier to entertain guests, who can show up decked out in holiday pajamas or sweaters or bring along a favorite unique

Holiday hosting is meant to be fun, but hosts often find themselves scrambling to prepare for the party as it draws closer. Planning early, seeking help and input from your guests and delegating certain tasks can help ensure hosts have as festive a time as their friends and family.

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Gifting those who help us throughout the year MC

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oliday gift-giving etiquette can be confusing, especially when it comes to gifting those men and women who arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessarily friends or family members, but still help us out in a variety of ways. Deciding how to thank the people who intersect our lives by delivering mail or cleaning the pool can take a little ingenuity. Gifting preferences often vary from region to region. What might be acceptable in a certain area of the country may be frowned upon elsewhere. For example, in urban areas cash gifts are usually appreciated, whereas rural, close-knit communities tend to give homemade gifts. The rule to remember, above all, is that if a gift is given with good intentions, it should be happily received. That being said, here are some general guidelines for gifting those men and women who help us throughout the year.

y Determine your list. Think about the people with whom you interact regularly. The sanitation workers who pick up the trash twice a week and your mail carrier may take priority over the hairstylist you visit once every month or two. y Establish a budget. The holiday season can be costly, so set a ďŹ rm limit on what you plan to give, perhaps between $10 and $20 each, and stick to that budget for each recipient. y Recognize that not everyone is allowed to accept gifts. Some service providers are not allowed to accept cash gifts or presents. Government employees, for example, may be prohibited from accepting cash gifts or gifts that exceed a predetermined amount. With this in mind, gloves or a gift basket may be your best option.

Trying to shop for that family member who has everything?

y Gift a little more to personal care professionals. Your hairstylists, masseuse or anyone who performs more personal tasks for you may warrant a larger gift. Etiquette suggests giving a gift equal to the price of one session of service, even if that gift is cash. Therefore if your hair cut costs $35, gift $35. y Health and child care employees warrant special treatment. A private nurse, nanny or nursing home worker should be gifted for the holidays. Avoid cash gifts with health service providers, opting for a more personal gift that is a token of your affection and appreciation. If gifts are not allowed, consider making a charitable donation in the personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide MC

Gifts no outdoor enthusiast can resist

T

he great outdoors is even greater when you’re prepared for all of the things Mother Nature can throw your way. Holiday shoppers with a person who enjoys the outdoors on their shopping list can turn this holiday season into a truly joyous occasion with the following gifts tailor-made for tackling the great outdoors.

many hot dogs have been lost to the fire thanks to traditional campfire forks that don’t provide adequate hold as hot dogs cook over an open flame. Curly hot dog roasters wrap around the hot dogs, snuggly holding them in place as the franks cook.

■ Folding kayak: Kayaking is a great way to take in the great outdoors, but not everyone has the room at home to store kayaks when they aren’t being used to traverse nearby waterways. Those who live in apartments, condominiums or smaller homes with limited storage may appreciate a folding kayak, which can be stored in a closet or beneath a bed and put together in a matter of minutes. Folding kayaks that can be stored in vehicle trunks and quickly assembled once you arrive at your kayaking destination also can save kayakers money on roof racks for their vehicles. ■ Waterproof backpack: A good outdoor person knows never to leave home without a waterproof parka, but what about his or her backpack? A waterproof backpack protects valuables, including cell phones, cameras and tools, from the elements. Look for backpacks with waterproof zipper systems to ensure your loved one’s valuables are fully protected on rainy treks through the forest.

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apps to get us from point A to point B. While such apps may do the job when we are near cell phone towers, phone signals are often less reliable in more remote locations, such as forests and national parks. A reliable compass is all one may need to make his or her way through the wilderness.

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■ Compass: Many of us have grown to rely on our smartphone

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may seem like a genuinely adventurous thing to do, but it’s genuinely dangerous as well. A hiker’s water filter greatly reduces his or her risk of suffering illness after drinking water tainted with bacteria such as E.coli. Even the most serene streams or isolated rivers can contain harmful bacteria, so a portable water filter is a necessity.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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gs n i r p Hot Srt Reso

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Did you know?

A

ccording to the American Automobile Association 2012/13 Year-End Holidays Travel Forecast, holiday travel has experienced a steady increase in volume over the last half-decade. Despite the sluggish economy, travel during the 2012/2013 end-of-year holiday season, defined as the period from Saturday, December 22, 2012 to Tuesday, January 1, 2013, was expected to be its highest since the 2006/2007 endof-year holiday season, when 93.7 million travelers ventured at least 50 miles from home. Despite the cost of travel, travel volumes have traditionally remained very stable, with only one yearly volume change of 5 percent or greater, which was a 5 percent decline in the 2007/2008 season from a year earlier. One possible reason behind the steady nature of the end-of-year holiday travel season is the season’s length. It remains the longest holiday season of the year, affording travelers more chances to visit friends and family members and/or go on vacations.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Most popular Christmas songs MC

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ecorations and shopping are integral parts of the holiday season, but very often it is the music being played over the airwaves that sets the tone for the festivities to come. Christmas music has been enjoyed for decades and certain compositions are widely loved and played year after year. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, who compiles lists of the most popular

songs, lists “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and “Winter Wonderland,” both of which were written in 1934, as the oldest and most popular tunes. The newest popular song is “Wonderful Christmastime,” composed in 1979. Though personal preference often determines a holiday playlist, the following tunes are of the more popular Christmas songs: ❅ “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” - Mel Torme, Robert Wells ❅ “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” - Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie ❅ “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” - Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin ❅ “Winter Wonderland” - Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith ❅ “White Christmas” - Irving Berlin ❅ “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” - Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne ❅ “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” - Johnny Marks ❅ “Jingle Bell Rock” - Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe ❅ “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” - Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram ❅ “Little Drummer Boy” - Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone ❅ “Sleigh Ride” - Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish ❅ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” - Edward Pola, George Wyle ❅ “Silver Bells” - Jay Livingston, Ray Evans ❅ “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” - Johnny Marks ❅ “Feliz Navidad” - Jose Feliciano ❅ “Blue Christmas” - Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson ❅ “Frosty the Snowman” - Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins ❅ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” - Johnny Marks ❅ “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” - Tommie Connor ❅ “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” - Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman ❅ “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” - Meredith Willson ❅ “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” - Bob Allen, Al Stillman ❅ “Carol of the Bells” - Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich ❅ “Santa Baby” - Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer ❅ “Wonderful Christmastime” - Paul McCartney

“White Christmas” is the most covered Christmas song of all time. There are more than 500 versions in several different languages.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

The basics of

poinsettia

MC

plant care

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lthough poinsettias are most often associated with the holiday season, they are actually tropical plants. In spite of their origins, poinsettias can thrive during the holiday season and even last long after the holidays have come and gone. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America. Aztecs called the plant cuetlaxochitl. The flowering plant was first introduced to the United States by Joel Poinsett, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, and was subsequently renamed the poinsettia. The flowers of the poinsettia are actually the yellow blooms at the middle of the bright red or white bracts that form on the plant. Perhaps due to the bright red of the bracts, the plant quickly became a popular Christmas plant. It’s important to note that poinsettias grow in a warm climate and therefore must be kept in tropical conditions to ensure the plant’s health. Furthermore, poinsettias bloom in response to shortening daylight hours. That means they will need ample darkness each night in order to simulate the dark nights of short, winter days. To achieve this, you may need to put the plant into a dark closet for 12 to 14 hours each night. During the day, the plant should be in a sunny window where it will have access to bright light. The more light the better. Keep the soil evenly moist. Misting the plant will help it to retain some humidity. Also, fill the overflow saucer on your flower pot with gravel to allow water seeping through the pot

to evaporate from the gravel. Hot temperatures indoors combined with high humidity will help the plant to thrive. Even one day without adequate moisture can cause the leaves to drop. Furthermore, decreasing temperatures can cause leaves to fall off. The goal is to keep the indoor temperature consistent. While many poinsettia plants are discarded after the holiday season, these plants can actually be cut back and saved for next season. Trimming back any remaining leaves and continuing to care for the plant by keeping it moist can help. To force the blooms next season, start reducing the plant’s exposure to sunlight in mid-September to October. Again, this will mean removing the plant to an area that is shrouded in complete darkness. Even streetlights or indoor lighting can affect blooming. If the plant does not begin to turn color before the holiday season, you may need to purchase a new plant and try again next year.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Keeping the magic of Santa alive MC

He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. - “A Visit From St. Nicholas”

C

hristmas just wouldn’t be the same without Santa Claus. Santa will forever be ingrained in the holiday season, serving as an endearing symbol of the season regardless of your religious affiliation. Parents typically go to great lengths to ensure their children enjoy the holiday season. By keeping the magic of Santa alive, parents can add a special touch to the holiday season for their youngsters. Children may become more skeptical of Santa around the time they turn 10, but there are plenty of ways to encourage this spirit to live on year after year. ❄ Read an uplifting story. The holidays are ripe with stories that tug at the heartstrings. Parents can take their children to the library and rent a Christmas tale or take home a book of holiday stories, reading a different one before bed each night. Encourage children to

write their own positive stories of what the holidays mean to them and read them aloud to family and friends. The book “101 Ways to Keep the Spirit of Santa Alive: For “Kids” From 1 to 92” by John Hagerman is a great way to get everyone in the house enthusiastic about Santa. ❄ Keep the magic flowing. Children who believe in Santa for an extra year or two often come from families that keep the magic of Santa alive. In addition to the standard traditions of leaving cookies and milk out for the jolly old man, come up with new ways to evoke the essence of Santa. Spray peppermint air freshener around the tree and other places Santa is sure to visit. Use a large boot to make a footprint in a plush rug. Find a way to trigger noise on the roof to give kids the impression that Mr. Claus himself has arrived. Extra measures to keep Santa alive can help everyone enjoy the holiday that much more. ❄ Take advantage of opportunities to spend time with Santa. Parents and children alike have many opportunities to spend time with Santa during the holiday season, including photo opportunities at the mall and personalized videos sent directly to youngsters’ email accounts. Elf dolls and breakfast with Santa at a nearby restaurant are other opportunities to

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide spread the magic. Make the most of these opportunities over the course of the holiday season. â?&#x201E; Spread some Christmas cheer. Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job is to bring presents to the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s children. Channel the notion that giving is better than receiving and spend time giving back to others as a family. Schedule a day when you can distribute gifts at a senior center or arrange to bring gifts to a foster child. Bake cookies and deliver cellophane-wrapped dishes to all of your neighbors. These activities put the emphasis on giving. Keeping the tradition of Santa Claus alive can help adults and children alike enjoy a more festive holiday season.

Did you know? MC

According to the American Bankers Association, many merchants view debit card purchases in the same light that they do purchases made with cash or personal checks. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an important distinction for holiday shoppers to consider before making purchases, as any items bought on their debit cards may only be worthy of store credit instead of a full refund should such items need to be returned. Shoppers buying gifts for friends and family members should understand that, even if they remember to include gift receipts when wrapping gifts, those items may only be eligible for store credit if purchased with a debit card. When buying items with credit cards, consumers can withhold payment if they are not satisďŹ ed with the product. No such option exists when using debit cards. In addition to more restrictive return policies, shoppers who use debit cards may incur debit transaction fees, This means they are charged each time they use their debit cards, or such fees may be triggered when users use their card too often. Debit card users can check the agreement signed when they opened their accounts to determine if they will be subjected to debit transaction fees. Holidays shoppers whose purchases are subject to such fees may want to avoid using their debit cards during the holiday season.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

C O L O R P A G E


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Visit Santa MC

without all the tears

T

patience starts to wear thin. The combination of antsy he holiday season means it’s time once again for children and aggravated adults could set off a chain reaction parents to take their youngsters to visit Santa Claus. that culminates in tear-stained cheeks and a sullied holiday Pictures with little boys and girls lining up in their dress memory. Pictures with Santa can go much more smoothly clothes with Santa are a holiday tradition, and youngsters are when you employ the following tips. often anxious for their chances to share their Christmas gift ❆ Prep children. While kids may love the idea of Santa, wishes with the jolly man in red. youngsters face to face with a man in a red suit and a big, But as integral as such photo sessions are to the holiday white beard may be nervous. Begin talking up Santa a few months before Christmas, mentioning how nice and friendly season, parents know they are one crying fit or meltdown away from having this tradition turn into trouble. After waiting he is. Gauge how kids act around costumed performers in long lines to see Santa, it’s understandable when everyone’s at fairs, circuses and birthday parties and help them grow accustomed to people in costumes. If costumes elicit screams of horror, wait another year before seeing Santa. ❆ Visit during off-peak hours. Weekends and evenings are the busiest times to visit Santa. This means long lines and longer wait times. Instead of dealing with the masses, try to get to the mall when the doors first open. Otherwise, let the children skip a day of school and visit during the week when the lines are shorter. ❆ Consider another venue. Many different places of business host events where kids can meet Santa. Families may be able to share a meal with Santa at a restaurant or visit him at a nursery while selecting Christmas trees. A different environment may be less intimidating to children and take the pressure off waiting in line in a busy mall. ❆ Go well-fed. There’s little worse than waiting in line and doing so hungry. Hunger pangs can turn even the most placid child into a menace. Pack snacks to enjoy while waiting. Opt for items that will not stain lips and teeth or drip onto clothing. ❆ Make it a family photo. Sometimes the only way to entice a little one to take a picture with Santa is to provide some added security. Dress your best and be prepared to have to step in and cozy up to Santa to ensure your child is all smiles.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

21

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Finding time during

the holiday season

P

family to buy a Christmas tree or organizing a holiday dinner with friends, the more you can plan ahead of the holiday season the less time you will waste once the season hits full swing. For example, when choosing a weekend to go Christmas tree shopping, inform others a few weeks in advance and let them know you want to go early to avoid crowds. The same principle of planning can be applied to other aspects of the holiday season. Planning a meal early allows you to gradually stock up on menu items, saving you the hassle of rushing to the store at the last minute or planning a menu in the days before the party when you will already have enough on your plate.

erhaps no time of year is as busy as the holiday season, when social engagements and holiday shopping combine to dominate so much of what is normally our free time. Additionally, holiday travel and late nights to make up for lost time cut into our free time, leaving many people in search of ways to ❆ Don’t shy away from shortcuts when hosting holiday add more hours to the day. Though there’s no way to make a day dinners. Hosting a holiday dinner is a big undertaking, one last longer, there are ways to save some time this holiday season. that often finds hosts spending a significant amount of time in ❆ Go it alone. Holiday shopping can be very time consuming, the kitchen. But hosts can save time by taking some shortcuts but shoppers who decide to shop alone may find themselves regarding the menu. For instance, when hosting an especially more productive and focused on the task at hand. Rather large meal, don’t be afraid to buy some premade side dishes than going from store to store and checking items off multiple from a local grocery store or buy a bakery cake rather than shopping lists, shoppers who shop singularly can devote all of whipping up your own homemade dessert. Guests will their attention to their own lists. understand if you cut some corners in an effort to save some ❆ Shop online. Another way to save time when shopping for time, and the food will likely be just as delicious. the holidays is to shop online. This saves you the time it takes to ❆ Stay home. Travel is a big commitment come the holiday drive to and from the mall and walk around multiple stores, all the season, but what about staying home this season? If the time while saving you from the often frustrating and time-consuming commitment of traveling is something you truly want to avoid this experience of finding a parking space. In addition, you can shop year, invite some friends and family over to your home instead. online at any time of day. So rather than just eating lunch at your You might be more busy on the day of the holiday, but you will desk on your lunch hour or spending the last hour before you go save yourself the travel days you usually build into the holiday to bed for the night idling away on the couch, you can make more season. Parents of young children might prefer to stay home so efficient use of that time by doing some holiday shopping. they can create their own unique holiday memories, while those ❆ Plan ahead. Whether shopping for holiday gifts, taking the without children might just appreciate some peace and quiet during this hectic time of year.

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Advertising Supplement to Sâ&#x2C6;&#x2019;R Media/The Spokesmanâ&#x2C6;&#x2019;Review â&#x20AC;˘ Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Consider local shops

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for your last-minute gifts By Maggie Wolcott Marketing Correspondent

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o matter how carefully we plan and prepare for our shopping, time creeps up on us and we still have a few unpurchased gifts left on our lists.

While last-minute shopping can often be stressful and sometimes turn into easy pickings like lottery tickets, in the interest of time, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to. There are several unique locally-owned gift shops who have friendly employees always willing to help shoppers, no matter how frantic. For anyone on your list who tries to go greener, stop by Sun People Dry Goods (32 W. Second, Spokane), which stocks sustainable home goods in nearly every category, from kitchenware to garden supplies, from baby items and linens. The store also offers a wide range of workshops and classes.

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The Kitchen Engine, located in the Spokaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Flour Mill, stocks gourmet kitchen items and also cooking classes. A useful kitchen tool paired with a gift certiďŹ cate for a class could be perfect for the cook on your list. Try a pasta maker paired with registration for an Italian cooking class, or an ice cream maker can expand his or her repertoire and you might reap the beneďŹ ts as well. For unique home goods or dĂŠcor items, check out Those Girls (616 E. Third Street, Spokane). The store, which is a co-op of local artists, features up-cycled and handmade items such as soaps, candy, antiques, and custom painted furniture, among other goods.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide Pottery Place Plus (402 W. Main, Spokane), located in the Liberty building with Auntie’s Bookstore and Uncle’s Games, is another artist co-op featuring all things ceramic. Whether you’re looking for a functional gift or an ornament, you’ll find a wide range of products. Stop in at Auntie’s and Uncle’s for gift ideas or to contribute to Auntie’s giving tree to provide extra cheer for someone who may not be on anyone else’s list.

and Casino or The Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort could be just right for some one who needs a little adventure. Finally, when all else has failed, drop by Boo Radley’s (232 N. Howard, Spokane) for some of the wackiest gift items around, whether your recipient loves Dr. Who, Star Trek, or just needs more silly in their lives. The ice cube molds alone are worth a trip into the store.

Shopping for girlfriends? Check out Cues (108 N. Washington, Suite 104), now in a new location, for clothing you won’t find elsewhere. Cues specializes in contemporary, designer denim. Artemis (1021 W. First, Spokane) also stocks a good selection of unique clothing as well as gifts and vintage home goods. If you love vintage, consider the antique stores lining Monroe Street—they’re all decked out for the holidays and fresh items are always being added. Two Women Vintage Goods (112 S. Cedar Street, Spokane) is another great stop for all things vintage and reclaimed. If someone on your list enjoys flowers, visit aNeMonE (301 W. 2nd, Spokane). Their paper floral arrangements are stunning, and they sell individual stems as well as full bouquets and accessories. ANeMonE also offers classes; think about setting up a class for a group of friends to enjoy when the season slows down. In need of stocking stuffers? Think about a travel mug and gift certificate to the recipients’ favorite local coffee shop. The Rocket Bakery stocks mugs regularly and gift cards can be used at any of their locations. A gift card for Northern Quest Resort

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Advertising Supplement to Sâ&#x2C6;&#x2019;R Media/The Spokesmanâ&#x2C6;&#x2019;Review â&#x20AC;˘ Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday menu planning for ďŹ rst-time hosts MC

N

ovice holiday hosts often have a lot on their plates. Whether hosting family or friends or a combination of both, ďŹ rst-time hosts typically want to impress their guests while ensuring they get enough to eat and have an enjoyable evening. Since dinner is such a big part of holiday gatherings, hosts often place extra emphasis on what to serve, and that can be tricky when this is the ďŹ rst time they are hosting. When planning the menu for your holiday soiree, consider the following tips.

â&#x2013;  Get a head count. Though other factors will inďŹ&#x201A;uence what to serve, the size of your guest list may ultimately dictate what to serve. For example, a small gathering of four to ďŹ ve people will likely rule out turkey, as even a small turkey will prove too much effort and produce too much extra food. On the same note, a

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Give Warmth

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small dish like lasagna might not be doable for a larger crowd, as it will force you to prepare multiple entrees, which means more time in the kitchen juggling the various cooking duties and less time with your guests. Once you have confirmed just how many guests you will be hosting, you can then choose a main course that suits the size of your guest list. ■ Decide which type of party you want to host. The type of party you want to host also will influence what you serve. A formal gathering should include an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, including both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees. A less formal gathering gives hosts more leeway. For example, whereas a formal gathering may include soup as an appetizer, hosting a less formal gathering allows hosts to put out some snacks or bread for guests to whet their appetites before everyone sits down for the meal. The more formal the gathering, the more formal the menu. Hosts of less formal gatherings may even want to host a holiday potluck buffet, inviting guests to bring a favorite dish or side dish while the hosts take care of the main course. ■ Ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions. Upon being invited to a holiday dinner, some invitees may let hosts know if they have any food allergies or medical conditions that restrict which foods they can eat. Solicit such information from all of your guests, and do your best to cater to each of your guests’ needs. Some guests might be on a gluten-free diet while others may need to limit their sodium intake. You might not be able to meet everyone’s demands. Let guests know if they should bring an appropriate snack if you cannot provide one for them. ■ Include traditional holiday fare. People have grown to

expect certain things from holiday meals, be it sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, brisket for Chanukah or holiday cookies or

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• w w w.s unny buns .co m even eggnog at Christmas parties. When planning the menu, be sure to include at least one of these traditional items, even asking guests for suggestions. Such fare will give the party a genuine holiday feel, and guests will appreciate seeing some items on your dinner table they have enjoyed at their own holiday celebrations over the years. ■ Don’t overdo it. First-time hosts want to ensure everyone gets enough to eat, so it’s easy to overdo things and prepare too much food. This can be expensive, and guests may feel obligated to overeat so hosts don’t have to discard any of the food they worked so hard to prepare. Though it might once have been a holiday tradition to overeat, many men and women now prefer moderation, and hosts should keep that in mind when preparing their holiday meals.

Hosting a holiday dinner for the first time can be nerve-wracking. But there are a variety of steps first-timers can take when preparing their menus to come off looking like old pros.


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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

2

Holiday Breakfasts

MC

Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Strata Serves 6

1-pound loaf rustic bread 1⁄2 pound breakfast sausage 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 1⁄2 orange bell pepper, chopped 1⁄2 green bell pepper, chopped 5–7 eggs 2 tablespoons milk Kosher salt and pepper 1⁄2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 ounce cream cheese, cut into small pieces 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Use a sharp knife to carve out the top of the loaf of bread,

Photo by Lucy Lean

leaving a 1⁄2-inch edge around the top perimeter of the loaf. Pull off the top crust of the bread, and use your fingers to hollow out the center. Save the center of the bread for another use. Place hollowed-out loaf on a parchment paper–lined cookie sheet. 3. In a large skillet set over medium heat, cook the sausage until it starts to brown. Add onions, and continue to cook until the onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add peppers, and continue to cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes more. 4. Beat eggs with milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. 5. Spread sausage mixture into the bottom of the hollowed-out bread and top with cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top, and dot with cream cheese. 6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then slice with a serrated knife and serve. Adapted “Celebrate Every Day” by Jaime Richardson, skirt! 2013 Photo by Lucy Lean


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide Crème Brûlée French Toast Serves 4 2 Tahitian vanilla beans, scraped clean 4 large eggs 1⁄2 cup whole milk 1⁄2 cup heavy cream 6 slices of 1-inch-thick stale brioche left uncovered for one day with crusts removed 1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for browning bread Pure Vermont maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar for topping

1. In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla, eggs, milk, and cream. Lay the bread slices out in a shallow dish and pour the mixture over them. Refrigerate until cold. 2. Remove the bread from the mixture and set aside. 3. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat until it caramelizes and forms a soft ball, 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Turn off the heat and add the 8 tablespoons of butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until you have a nice caramel. Pour into the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish and, while still warm, place the slices of soaked bread onto the caramel. Cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight. 4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the slices of bread to the pan, caramel side down. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer the toast to a sheet pan, caramel side down, and bake in the oven until it puffs up like a soufflé, is warm in the center, and golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. 6. Slice each piece of bread in half and arrange 3 half slices on four plates, caramel side up. Serve with seasonal fruit and warm maple syrup, and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Adapted from “Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food,” Welcome Books, 2011

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Local activities

Spokane

Looking for a fun holiday activity or an enjoyable family outing that could even turn into a Christmastime tradition? Or are you planning ahead for 2014? Take a peek at various festivals, performances or events taking place in the next month. Also check out www.spokane7.com for more info on these and other events.

huckleberrysnaturalmarket.com.

“A Christmas Schooner,” through December 22 Spokane Civic Theater Holiday music follows a Christmas tree’s exciting journey into American homes and traditions. spokanecivictheatre.com. “Million Dollar Quartet,” December 12-15 INB Performing Arts Center This delightful musical chronicles the memorable moment in 1956 when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins got together to record beautiful music. “Huckleberry’s Anniversary” December 14 Everyone’s favorite natural market at 926 S. Monroe celebrates its anniversary with one-day sales in every area of the store.

Edition Events ages 17 & under

“This is what Christmas sounds like” December 17-18 St. John’s Cathedral Annual holiday performance by Clarion Brass. figarotunes.com SuperPops3: Holiday Pops Celebration December 21-22 Martin Woldson Theater The Spokane Symphony is joined by the Spokane Symphony Chorale and Spokane area youth choirs. Special holiday treats and gifts available. (509) 624-1200 or spokanesymphony.org

of five, age 21 and older. The store also offers 25 percent discount on all items in the Natural Living department. huckleberrysnaturalmarket.com.

Hundreds of RVs of all sizes and styles will be on display at this 26th annual event, spanning 170,000 square feet of space. spokanervshow.com

“Celebrate the New Year with Beethoven’s Ninth” December 31 Martin Woldson Theater The Spokane Symphony and Chorale combine forces for one of Beethoven’s most recognizable symphonies. ticketswest.com

“Hello Dolly!” January 30-February 2 INB Performing Arts Center Sally Struthers will headline this touring version of the classic show-biz musical.

“Winter Ales to Celebrate Winter Solstice” December 21 Huckleberry’s Natural Market Sample a variety of beers perfect for the winter holiday of your choice. $5 for a flight • 12/13 Twisp Cafe in Liberty Lake 6pm • 12/16 Vintage Vines Valley 6pm • 12/18 Marketplace Winery 6pm • 12/20 Luxe Coffee House 1st Ave 6:30pm • 12/22 Nectar Tasting Downtown 1pm

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First Night December 31 Downtown is the place to be to ring in 2014, with music, art, children’s activities and plenty of fun. Inland Northwest RV Show and Sale January 23-26 Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds

Spokane Golf Show February 15-16 Spokane Convention Center Get excited for hitting the links once the snow melts at this show that attracts golf vendors from around the region. Your admission also includes free rounds at local courses. spokanegolfshow.com The Ten Tenors February 15 INB Performing Arts Center Some of Australia’s top tenors will perform a selection of Broadway tunes. Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show and Sale March 14-16 Spokane Fair and Expo Center The region’s largest motorcycle show includes bikes from all over the word plus customs, accessories and entertainment. spokanemotorcycleshow.com.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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2013 Last Minute Gift Guide North Idaho “The Santaland Diaries” December 6-22 The Lake City Playhouse, Coeur d’Alene Audiences of all ages will enjoy this cheerful holiday production. (208) 667-1323 or http://lakecityplayhouse.org “A Christmas Cabaret” Thursday-Saturdays December 12-14, and 19-21 Sunday matinee December 15 The Coeur d’Alene Resort, Coeur d’Alene Annual holiday show is designed “for people who

enjoy music, laughter and stories.” Produced by Ellen Travolta and stars Mark Cotter plus special guest Jack Bannon. (208) 765-4000 ext. 21. “This is What Christmas Sounds Like,” December 16 Salvation Army Kroc Center, Coeur d’Alene Performance by Clarion Brass, Group rates available. kroccda.org/clarion. html

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Christmas at Sixth Street December 13-15 Sixth Street Melodrama Wallace, Idaho The local melodrama will present a special Christmas program for the season. sixthstreetmelodrama. com or (208) 752-8871. “Abbey and Friends” December 18 Lake City Playhouse, Coeur d’Alene Holiday cabaret. Tickets $10. (208) 667-1323 or lakecityplayhouse.org “Traditions of Christmas,” December 19-23

Salvation Army Kroc Center, Coeur d’Alene A musical journey of favorite song and traditions around the world. Show features more than 80 performances, 400 costumes and a Living Nativity scene. traditionsofchristmasnw.com.

Montana Whitefish Winter Carnival February 7-9 Whitefish, Montana The ski community celebrates winter every year with fun activities, parades and yetis. whitefishwintercarnival.com

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Last-minute shopping ideas for the holidays MC

I

t’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. 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 a gourmet food or spirits store. Splurge on fine cheeses or that trendy bottle of liquor that a 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. ❊ 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.

Phone 509-459-5373 or 509-459-5322 for additional information. Visit us at http://shop.spokesman.com to see our amazing selection and to place your order.

Online retailers are also there to help last-minute shoppers. 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. 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.


Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Last Minute Gift Guide

Fun New Year’s Eve activities for adults and children alike MC

N

ew Year’s Eve is one of the most festive nights of the year, when friends and families gather to count down the waning moments of the year as they anticipate the fun times ahead in the year to come. While adults tend to look forward to New Year’s Eve festivities more than children, there are ways parents can ring in the New Year with their kids. ❇ Invite kids into the kitchen. New Year’s Eve festivities often include food, so why not invite youngsters into the kitchen to cook alongside you? Kids may not be interested in preparing the main course, but let youngsters get involved when baking the night’s more delectable treats, like cookies and cakes. Little ones can choose their favorite treats and then help Mom and Dad prepare those treats for guests coming over to join in the festivities. Decorate cakes and cookies with a New Year’s Eve theme.

❇ Pick funny resolutions out of a hat. New Year’s resolutions are a big part of the holiday, and families who want to add some fun to this tradition can sit down and write their own funny resolutions. Keep the resolutions you write down to yourself, place each person’s ideas in a hat and then pick them out before the kids go to bed or right after the clock strikes midnight, whichever happens to come first.

❇ Make a New Year’s pinata. Many people love to watch the ball drop from Time’s Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve. Celebrants can bring a taste of this beloved tradition into their own homes come New Year’s Eve by creating a pinata that looks exactly like the ball in Time’s Square. Fill the ball with treats and games for youngsters, who can take chances trying to break the pinata once the clock strikes midnight or earlier if they aren’t likely to still be awake by the time the new year begins. ❇ Make predictions for the year to come. Another fun and wholesome New Year’s Eve activity parents can enjoy with their children is making predictions for the year to come. Ask young sports fans to predict which teams will win championships in their respective leagues while encouraging other youngsters to share their predictions on awards shows or other popular social events for the coming year. Younger kids might not be able to make such specific predictions, so ask them to write down what they hope to see happen in the new year. ❇ Ring in the new year under the stars. Families might want to forgo television countdowns in favor of spending the final hours of the year under the stars. A New Year’s Eve camping trip is a great way for families to bond and spend time together at the end of what is often a hectic time of year. Instead of hoisting champagne or sparkling cider at the stroke of midnight, share some s’mores and hot chocolate around the campfire as everyone gazes up at the stars.

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Advertising Supplement to S−R Media/The Spokesman−Review • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Last minute gift guide, december 11, 2013