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Gift Guide All you need to wrap up your shopping list!


2 — Holiday Gift Guide  |  November 2017

Make holiday shopping excursions special



s they fulfill the social obligations of the holiday season, many people find themselves spending less time at home. Consumer Reports notes that individuals spend a great deal of time shopping for gifts come the holiday season. Americans engage in 15 hours of shopping on average, with women spending twice as long as their male counterparts (20 hours versus 10). In addition, the average person devotes 10 or more hours to wrapping and returning gifts. Holiday shopping can monopolize people’s time away from home during the months of November and December, and some shoppers wonder how they become so discon-

nected from other activities, including family time, that they cherish throughout the rest of the year. One way to tackle holiday shopping without sacrificing time with family and friends is to make holiday shopping a social event.

Invite friends or family along. Recreate the days

of your youth when it was fun to meet friends and scour the shops. Plan a meeting location and have an itinerary in place. Divide shopping lists so that everyone shares the task of shopping and fatigue doesn’t set in prematurely.

Make lunch or dinner part of the day. Incorporate refueling into your shopping plans. Failure to eat or drink can lead

to hunger pangs and test shoppers’ patience, two factors that are seldom conducive to successful shopping. Having an end goal to meet friends or family at a nearby restaurant can inspire intrepid shoppers to get their work done promptly. Reward yourself for a job well done over a tasty meal and maybe a cocktail. Just be sure to indulge responsibly.

Break up the day with a movie. Plan your shopping

around the movie schedule so you can take a two-hour break to rest and relax in the theater. Chances are you’ll come out of the film relaxed, refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your shopping list.

Make it a date night. The

thought of shopping may not conjure up ideas of romance, but if time is short, couples can use shopping excursions as an opportunity to spend time

together. Visit a coffee shop or a bar for a nightcap afterward and enjoy some one-on-one time. Parents can enlist the help of a babysitter to keep children entertained while they

enjoy some uninterrupted time with each other. Shopping fills the days leading to the holidays. Make the most of such excursions by inviting friends and family along.

Set and stick to your holiday budget



he chance to give gifts and spend time with loved ones makes the holiday season a special time of year. But for many people, the holiday season often leads to overspending. A 2016 survey from

the American Research Group found that American shoppers anticipated spending an average of $930 on gifts that holiday season. Data from T. Rowe Price confirms that parents are spending between $400 and $500 per child each year. Although these numbers can reflect an overwhelming sense of generosity, many times excessive spending is based on a desire to outdo gifting from the year prior

— sometimes at the risk of personal finances. Some people are taking drastic measures to make holidays over-the-top, with some delving into emergency savings while others withdraw prematurely from retirement accounts. Budgeting for the holiday season can help shoppers keep their finances in check.

Determine spending patterns. An examination of receipts and spending habits from previous holiday seasons can help individuals establish budgets for the current year. Make a list of all expenses — even the ones that extend beyond holiday giving. These

may include expenses such as gym service fees, homeowner’s insurance, traveling expenses, gift exchanges at work, and more. Extra costs can add up and should be factored into holiday budgets. Try to recall if your spending last year felt comfortable or if you were paying off credit cards long after the holiday season had ended. If it’s the latter, resolve to make adjustments.

Establish a budget that fits. There is no such

thing as a one-size-fits-all budget. Figure out if there is extra money this season or if times are tight. This will help you plan accordingly and avoid

overspending. Shifting priorities can help free up some cash. If children are interested in this year’s hot (and likely expensive) gift, cut back on holiday travel or entertaining. Instead of buying gifts for coworkers, buy a drink during a night out.

Use the holidays as an opportunity to sell.

Collectibles, gently used toys, video games, action figures — all of these items may be collecting dust at your home, but they might be coveted by other shoppers. Rely on the season for spending to make some extra income that can be cashed in for your own holiday purchases.


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Set up an account and track spending. Establish

a separate account strictly for holiday spending. This can include a credit card only used for gifts and entertaining or a savings account at a bank or credit union. You won’t know what is going out of your account unless you keep careful tabs on it. Tracking spending is the biggest key to sticking with a budget, according to the financial advice group The Balance. Holiday budgeting can be challenging. But with some effort, it is possible to avoid debt and still enjoy a happy holiday season.

November 2017  |  Holiday Gift Guide — 3


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4 — Holiday Gift Guide | November 2017



he holidays are filled with temptations and opportunities to overindulge, and if you’re managing your health and weight, the season can feel anything but merry. Depriving yourself of your favorite holiday treats isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also unnecessary. Many experts recommend that instead, you focus on building a healthier lifestyle through a well-balanced, long-term eating plan. For exam-

ple, try a balanced approach with foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, as well as good fats and proteins, while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars. When preparing your holiday menu, look for recipes that contain adequate protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbohydrates, and you’ll be able to enjoy the flavors of the season without guilt.

Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin Prep time: 15 minutes • Total time: 1 hour • Servings: 4

1 pound boneless pork loin olive oil cooking spray 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 350˚ F. In small skillet over medium heat, cook pork loin, fatty-side down, 4-5 minutes to brown top and render some fat. Coat 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place pork loin in dish. In small bowl, combine mustard, garlic and rosemary; stir well. Spoon mixture over pork. Transfer to oven and bake 45 minutes-1 hour, until loin is cooked through but still slightly pink in center. When pork is cooked, let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Sweet PotatoPumpkin Puree Prep time: 20 minutes • Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

3 5

large egg whites tablespoons sugar substitute, divided 1/2 cup half pecans 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled 1/4 cup unsalted butter stick 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 15 ounces pumpkin (without salt, drained, cooked and boiled)

Heat oven to 250˚ F. Lightly butter baking sheet. In medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer at high speed

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites



Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes Servings: 18

1/2 1/3 2 6 1/3 1 1 1/8 1/4

cup heavy cream cup plain protein powder tablespoons stevia ounces cream cheese, at room temperature cup chopped almonds or macadamia nuts tablespoon sugar-free caramel syrup teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon xanthan gum (optional) teaspoon sea salt or sea salt flakes

In large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream with protein powder and stevia. Whisk until smooth. Add cream cheese, almonds or macadamia nuts, caramel syrup and vanilla extract; blend until smooth. If cream cheese clumps slightly, mix with rubber spatula, breaking up bits of cream cheese against side of bowl. Sprinkle mixture with xanthan gum,

until foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar substitute and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and spread with spatula to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake 35 minutes. Turn oven off; let meringue stand in oven 45 minutes. Crush meringue and place in bowl. Add pecans and toss gently to combine. Set aside. While meringue is resting, place sweet potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain. Return saucepan to medium-high heat. Add potatoes, butter, cream, remaining sugar substitute, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Heat through, about 1 minute. Transfer potato mixture to serving dish and cover with meringue topping.

if desired, and mix about 30 seconds. Mixture will thicken slightly. Cover tray that will fit into freezer with sheet of wax paper. Using soup spoon, scoop mixture onto tray, making 18 mounds. Alternatively, use two silicone candy molds or empty ice cube tray coated with olive oil spray and press cheesecake mixture into 18 molds. Sprinkle with sea salt. Freeze at least one hour before serving. Note: Can be stored in freezer up to 1 month. Tip: Switch up flavors by using sugar-free hazelnut syrup in place of caramel and hazelnuts or walnuts instead of almonds.


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November 2017  |  Holiday Gift Guide — 5

Eat smart and avoid holiday-related weight gain adult obesity. Consider these tips to avoid extra pounds during the holidays.

Eat before shopping.



he holiday season is a busy time of year for social engagements, which makes it challenging to eat healthy – especially since so many holiday parties include desserts and highcalorie foods. Holiday weight gain is common, though you may not be gaining as much as you think. The New England Journal of Medicine found that while perceived

holiday weight gain hovers between zero and 6.7 pounds, in reality most people gain just under 1 pound during the holidays. That may not seem like a lot, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, but many people never lose the weight they gain. This adds up each year, making holiday weight gain a significant contributor to

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Shopping hungry may tempt you to make impulse purchases. However, eating a snack before you leave will alleviate hunger and you can control the foods that go into your body.

Be selective with sweets.

Don't fill up your plate with a little “bite” of each dessert – select a favorite and have a small portion.

Limit sampling while cooking. Cut down on

tasting while preparing meals. Those calories can add up fast, and soon you’ve eaten an entire portion before the food has been served.

whenever possible.

Increase your level of physical activity. Find

ways to remain physically active during the holiday season. Park further from entrances so you can walk a greater distance and burn more calories. Opt for stairs

instead of the elevator or escalator. If you’re at a party, get on the dance floor. Holiday weight gain may seem inevitable. With some forward thinking and smart choices, you can prevent weight gain this holiday season.


Pack healthy snacks. Bring Make smarter food choices. While in a holiday a favorite treat with you buffet line, think about the foods you choose. Look for low-calorie items that will fill you up. Proteins, complex carbohydrates and vegetables are good choices. Avoid creamy dips and dressings, and if you want to try something fried or cheese-laden, do so only sparingly.

while shopping or visiting. This helps you control portion size and can keep you from overeating.

Mind your drinks, too.

Many beverages, including alcoholic beverages, are high in calories. A single serving of wine can range from 100 to 300 calories. Opt for low-calorie drinks or water

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6 — Holiday Gift Guide  |  November 2017

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17 Holiday Gift Guide