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Parties, Dining & Gift Guide

A Blank Slate Media / Litmor Publications Special Section • December 2, 2016


38 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

Tips for less stressful holiday travel R

oadways, railways and skies tend to get busy come the holiday season, when millions of people across the globe travel to visit family and friends. Wherever travelers are headed, be it across the country or across the world, they should realize that many other people are traveling as well. That can lead to traffic, long lines and other side effects associated with large crowds. But before travelers let the idea of challenging travel conditions deter them, they can consider certain ways to make the process of getting from point A to point B a bit more manageable.

Travel by car Those traveling by automobile will have a few extra steps to take to ensure their trips go off with minimal disturbances. One of the more important steps is to ensure the vehicle is properly maintained prior to departing. Have the car checked by a

mechanic and take care of any service appointments, such as oil changes or tire rotations.

Traveling by plane

Map out the route in advance and have an alternative plan if the route chosen proves to be too congested. One idea is to choose a scenic drive that may be a little longer but has less traffic. In addition, account for rest stops or points of interest that can break up the trip. Apps such as GasBuddy can help drivers find the cheapest gas or the cleanest bathrooms along their routes.

One of the key things air travelers can do to make holiday traveling easier is to avoid peak travel dates. Whenever possible, avoid traveling the day right before the holiday, which tends be the busiest and most expensive. Remember, weekends tend to be more harried and expensive as well, particularly when the holidays fall in close proximity to a weekend.

Bring along plenty of snacks so you can eat healthy and aren’t forced to rely on foods you otherwise would not eat. This is particularly helpful with keeping kids satiated. Plan for a few treats along the way so that everyone traveling has an end goal, such as an ice cream or a souvenir.

Weather is a gamble in many regions of the world during the holiday season. Develop a contingency plan just in case foul weather delays or cancels flights. It’s much less stressful to put plan B into motion than it can be to rush around trying to make new, last-minute plans.

Always shop around for the best rates, but also the best atmosphere. It may be wiser to fly out of a smaller airport where crowds will be thinner and delays less frequent, or you may prefer a larger airport that’s closer to home and offers more amenities. Another way to avoid delays is to pack minimally. Ship gifts and even travel essentials ahead to your destination, and only bring carry-on bags aboard the plane. This helps travelers sail through security checks and avoid the crowds at the luggage carousels. Holiday travel requires planning, patience and having alternative plans in place so that everyone can make it home for the holidays.

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News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

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40 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

How to handle holiday hosting

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way to encourage participation. When everyone brings something along and helps, it frees up time to spend together rather than worrying about what needs cooking in the kitchen or whether a last-minute trip to the store is in order.

Downsize Festive feelings may inspire you to expand your guest list. Social people understandably want to invite all of their circles of friends, but an overwhelming guest list can make hosting more difficult. If you have trouble paring down the guest list, consider hosting separate parties, designating one for family and another for friends. You can even downsize your offerings to lessen some your load. Rather than spending days in the kitchen making unique apps, stock up on chips, snacks and premade appetizers so you have enough food. If you want to make one or two appetizers from scratch, stick to a handful of tried-and-true recipes and convenience items so you’re not worrying about kitchen-testing new things.

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oliday revelers tend to be busy with social engagements — from corporate parties to cocktails with close friends — between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Chances are, many people will be attending a party and/or hosting their own this holiday season. While attending a party requires little of celebrants other than a willingness to have a good time, hosting a holiday get-together can be hard work. But hosts can heed a few time-tested strategies to ensure they and their guests make the most of their time together this holiday season.

Hire professionals If you’re simply too busy to handle hosting but still want to invite loved ones, hire some professional help. Hire wait staff to tend to guests during the party, and book a cleaning service to clean your home in the days before the party. Don’t hesitate to have the party catered if you prefer your gathering not be potluck. Holiday hosting can be a big time commitment, but there are ways to make hosting easier regardless of how busy you are.

Forget perfection Television, movies and advertisements paint an unrealistic picture of what the holidays should be. Don’t get down if a holiday party that would make Norman Rockwell proud is beyond your capabilities. Rather than trying to plan a picture-perfect holiday party, channel your energy into what you do best. Cook up a holiday feast if you love being in the kitchen, or decorate till you drop if you love to deck the halls. The point of the party is to gather with family and friends, so no need to worry about throwing a perfect party.

Enlist helpers Ask others to contribute to the party so all of the work is not on your shoulders. A potluck party is a great

Hiring a bartender or wait staff for a holiday party frees up more time to socialize with your friends and family members.


News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

Just a sampling of our vendors: Lalique Christofle Bernadaud Baccarat Michael Aram Vera Wang L’Objet Juliska Annie Glass Kate Spade Nambe Nest Swarovski

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42 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

PersonaltrainingStudio 10th ANNUAL HOLIDAY EXPRESS WEEKEND December 10th & 11th, Noon-4PM FEATURING # Free rides on the Holiday Express Trackless Train # Complimentary cookies, candy canes, hot cider # Fabulous raffle prizes # Operating O gauge holiday themed train layout # Saturday, the 10th, features the annual community Holiday Market and Tree Lighting from 3-6 PM # A visit from Santa on Sunday, the 11th, from 1-3 PM

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News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

OPEN FOR LUNCH THURSDAY & FRIDAY

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44 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

Smart ways to finance holiday purchases

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C

onsumerism reaches a fevered pitch during the last quarter of the year, when the holidays fuel increased spending on everything from dining and entertainment to gadgets to toys. It can be easy to get swept along during the season of spending and fail to pay attention to budgets when the urge to splurge on loved ones sets in. However, failure to take inventory of where money is going can leave individuals facing some unwanted financial repercussions come the new year. Spending beyond their means is something many holiday shoppers fall victim to. Perhaps they didn’t accurately budget for the year, or surprise purchases crop up, pulling resources away from holiday allowances. That’s when credit cards can become so attractive, and potentially dangerous. A 2014 survey from Accenture, a leading global professional services company, found that most people make a budget for holiday gift buying, but nearly half exceed their budgets anyway. Buying with credit cards makes overspending easy. Consumers who want to avoid holiday debt can take a proactive approach and explore some other financing options this holiday season.

Layaway Various retailers have reinstituted layaway policies to make it easier for shoppers to buy holiday gifts. With layaway, instead of paying for an item all at once and leaving with it the same day, shoppers pay a percentage of the cost of the item. In the meantime, it is held in layaway. Once an item has been paid for in full, the merchandise is free to leave the store. Spacing out payments can help shoppers avoid

overspending, and many stores do not charge interest fees on layaway purchases.

Holiday clubs Financial institutions may offer savings clubs that can help people save for holiday spending over several months. The “club” is simply a special short-term savings account set up to encourage holiday saving. Many such accounts can be opened with a nominal deposit. At the end of the term, the money can be withdrawn and used for holiday purchases. Shoppers likely won’t miss the small amount of money being set aside each paycheck, but are surprised to see just how quickly savings can add up. While some banks still offer Christmas club accounts, which reached the height of their popularity in the 1970s, today they are most commonly offered by credit unions. According to the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA, nearly 72 percent of credit unions run Christmas clubs, and consumer interest in these clubs is holding steady.

Credit card perks Smarter credit card usage during the year can be handy come the holidays. Choose cards that will yield cash back or other perks, such as discounts at certain retailers. Also, be sure to pay the balances off in full when the bills arrive, so as not to rack up high interest charges throughout the year. Use the cash-back rewards you accumulate during the year as a holiday spending allowance. Holiday shoppers can implement a few saving and spending strategies to avoid going into debt this holiday season.


News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

Give the perfect gift for any occasion. Gift Cards now available to all Maspeth Federal Savings customers.

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46 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

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News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

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48 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

’Tis the season for beauty.

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How to ship smart T

he holiday season can be hectic, and thanks to that sometimes frenetic pace, it can be easy to put things on the back burner. While it’s OK to put off some things until the holiday season has come and gone, shipping gifts to loved ones does not fall into that category. Shipping can be expensive, especially for last-minute shoppers who want to ensure their gifts arrive in time for the holidays. But the following are a handful of ways to ship smart and save both time and money. Ship directly to the recipient. Lastminute shoppers who are buying online can save money by shipping gifts directly to the recipient. While shipping directly to the recipient may seem less personal than sending a gift you wrapped yourself, many online retailers allow shoppers to send gift-wrapped items directly to another person. Just be sure to have the recipient’s correct address when choosing this option. Ship early. Waiting to ship all gifts at the same time may be more convenient, but it can prove more costly as well. If you typically finish your holiday shopping just a few days before Christmas, then waiting to ship

everything will cost more money than shipping gifts as you buy them. The longer you wait to ship gifts, the more you can expect to pay if you expect those gifts to arrive on time. Shipping gifts as you buy them, especially if you get much of your shopping done early, can save you short-term or overnight shipping fees, which can be significant. Comparison shop. Much like you can save money by comparison shopping for holiday gifts, you can save by comparing shipping costs as well. Pack-and-ship companies compete for consumers’ business during the height of the holiday shipping season, so compare the costs between the various pack-and-ship companies, including the postal service, to see which offers the best deal. Insure the items you ship. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the pack-and-ship industry. While the industry is often remarkably effective at delivering gifts intact and on time, items are sometimes lost or damaged. By insuring your packages, you’re ensuring you won’t be out of luck should your package be lost, damaged or stolen before it reaches its destination.


News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 • HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

49

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OPEN BAR

THROUGHOUT ENTIRE AFFAIR 3/$7('',11(5,1&/8'(6 $SSHWL]HU6DODG&KRLFH2I(QWUHHV ,FH&UHDP%DUZLWK$VVRUWHG7RSSLQJV &RIIHH7HD'HFDI

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50 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

How to find great gifts for the family handyman F

or those people who don’t know a box cutter from a box saw, shopping for men and women who like to get their hands dirty

around the house can be a difficult task. Home improvement projects are complex undertakings that often involve the use of complex tools, and novices may be lost in the proverbial woods as they look for gifts for their loved ones who can’t wait to swing hammers around the house. Though there’s always an element of risk when shopping for gifts for loved ones, the following hints might help shoppers with no knowledge of home improvement projects find gifts that will please their favorite handyman. Take inventory of his or her existing tools. When shopping for the DIY enthusiast in your family, try to take inventory of his or her tool chest before beginning your search. Make note of any tools that look new, checking those off your shopping list, and any that look like they need replacing. Use your phone to photograph any unfamiliar tools that you might want to replace so you know what to look for when visiting the hardware store.

Think of what your relative likes to do most. The family handyman may have a particular area of home improvement expertise or something he or she is especially passionate about. Does your loved one prefer to work in the garden? Is he into woodworking and making decorative items for the house? Think of what he or she likes to do most and then look for something that will make that hobby more enjoyable. While multipurpose tools might make for welcome gifts, something more specific to his or her particular passion may make an even better gift. Think outside the (tool)box. While new tools might make a handyman’s day, they are not the only items that make great DIY gifts. Consider enrolling your loved one in an advanced class so he or she can learn more about a favorite hobby. Or gift a magazine subscription so he or she can stay abreast of the latest DIY trends and topics. Such gifts are great options for shoppers hesitant

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at the Bar Only

with side of sauce

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to purchase potentially costly tools that may or may not be hits with their relatives. Speak with a professional. If you can’t access your loved one’s workshop or simply don’t know what he or she might want, ask a local contractor for gift recommendations. For example, a carpenter might know just what will elicit a smile from woodworking enthusiasts, while landscapers might be able to suggest items for gardening or lawn care enthusiasts. Advancements are always being made in the home improvement industry, and those people who make their living in that industry might be great resources as you try to find the go-to gift for your loved one. Finding a gift for the family handyman might be difficult for shoppers with no DIY experience of their own. But a little forethought and perhaps some professional assistance can be just what shoppers need to find gifts their loved ones will cherish for years to come.

at the Bar Only (Toppings not included)

CATERING MENU 18” SALAD SELECTIONS

APPETIZER SELECTIONS ANTIPASTO

$70

Homemade mozzarella, oven roasted sweet red peppers, genoa salami, sicilian olives

ASSORTED BAKED PINWHEELS

$60

Variety of spinach, pepperoni, buffalo chicken and sausage and bacon rolls, served with a side of sauce

BRUSCHETTA

$60

Seasoned chopped tomatoes, topped with a parmesan dusting served on crustini bread

TOMATO MOZZARELLA

$70

Large slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella with a basil pesto drizzle over a bed of greens

VEGETABLE PLATTER

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Assorted vegetables served with a blue cheese dip

18” DESSERT PLATTER Combination of Jr. Cheese Cake, Cannoli, Chocolate Decadence and Rice Pudding $60 Grimaldi’s Cannoli Platters (15 cannolis) $45

House $70 Caesar $60 Chopped $70 Portobello $70 Mediterranean $70 Add Fresh Mozzarella $10 Add Grilled Chicken $12 Add Salami $10

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News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE

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52 HOLIDAY PARTIES, DINING & GIFT GUIDE • News Times Newspapers, Friday, December 2, 2016

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