E2â€”The Weston Democrat, Christmas Gift Guide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Please Car Lovers
What To Buy Athletes The quest for the perfect gift is a familiar journey for many holiday shoppers. As any veteran shopper knows, some people are easy to shop for, while others baffle even the savviest of shoppers. Recognizing loved ones passions and finding gifts that suit those interests
can make shoppersâ€™ quests for the perfect gifts that much easier. Every person is unique, and the things that drive one person may be foreign to another. But nearly every family or group of friends has an athlete in their midst, and gifting the family athlete can be
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both fun and easy. The following are a few gift ideas, broken down by sport, for shoppers looking to please their favorite athletes this holiday season. Weightlifting is now embraced by people of all shapes and sizes. This activity is often recommended as an integral part of a successful exercise regimen, so shoppers can help their favorite fitness fanatics make the most of their weightlifting routines with a few gifts designed to do just that. Weightlifting belts can help prevent injury by supporting liftersâ€™ backs as they workout. For lifters who donâ€™t tip the scales, a dip belt makes an ideal gift. Such belts allow men and women to add weight to their body when performing exercises like dips, pull-ups and chin-ups. That extra weight helps athletes challenge themselves and build strength and muscle. Workout gloves also make great gifts for weightlifters, helping to protect their hands from developing potentially painful and unsightly calluses that often result from weightlifting. A new gym bag is another potential gift for the family weightlifter. Such bags make it more convenient for athletes to carry their accessories, such as belts, gloves, athletic shoes, or even tablets to use while on the treadmill or elliptical machines. Whether shoppersâ€™ favorite ballplayers are still taking cuts at fastballs or have moved on to slow-pitch softball, these players will appreciate gifts they can put to good use on the diamond. Softball bats can be quite expensive, but the right bat can make a big difference in the batters box. Additional equipment shoppers can consider is a new mitt, a sleek pair of sunglasses to make watching for fly-balls that much easier or batting gloves to lessen the bit of chilly air many hitters are aware of come early spring when the last of the winter weather just wonâ€™t go away. Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Thanks in large part to its increasingly strong presence on television, mixed martial arts has inspired athletes across the globe to embrace various forms of mar-
Many athletes feel yoga is a great way to improve their flexibility and strength. Holiday shoppers looking for the right gift for the athletes on their lists may want to consider giving a new yoga mat or a few sessions at their loved onesâ€™ nearby yoga studio. tial arts training, and gift options abound for such athletes. Belts, mats and striking pads can help athletes hone their skills both in the gym and at home, while instructional DVDs can help novice martial arts enthusiasts practice before finding martial arts facilities in their neighborhoods. Though its status as a sport is open to debate, yoga can be just as strenuous and physically demanding as more traditional physical activities. Yoga serves many purposes, and more and more athletes have begun to embrace yoga to improve their flexibility, balance and strength. While yoga does not require much in the way of supplies, yoga enthusiasts do need yoga mats and clothing that allows them to perform the various poses a typical yoga session demands. Holiday shoppers may even want to buy the athletes on their lists a few sessions at their nearby yoga studios in an effort to supplement their existing workouts. Many who try yoga often find it has a positive effect on their normal workout routines, so even if your favorite athlete has never tried yoga, he or she might find itâ€™s just the thing to take his or her workout to the next level. Subscribe to The Weston Democrat For all the local news, sports, advertising Call 304-269-1600 We accept Master Card & Visa
Auto lovers tend to consider their cars their most prized possessions. While it may not be possible to buy the auto lover on your holiday shopping list a new car, there are many gifts that are sure to please those people who canâ€™t get enough time behind the wheel or in the garage. * Global positioning system: Often referred to as a GPS, a global positioning system is a satellitebased navigation system providing location information no matter where drivers find themselves on their next road trips. If a GPS is within range of a GPS satellite, drivers will never again find themselves pulling over on the sides of roadways in an effort to find out just where they are. Though many new vehicles come with GPS, vehicle manufacturers tend to offer them as accessories and not standard features. So if your favorite driver is driving an older vehicle or did not splurge on a GPS when purchasing his latest ride, this gift is sure to please. * Car wash kit: Auto lovers not only love to get behind the wheel, but they also love to get behind the wheel of a good-looking automobile. A car wash kit, complete with a wash and wax that repels water and protects a good polish, is an ideal gift for auto enthusiasts who like their vehicles to look as good as they drive. * Customized floor mats: Many auto enthusiasts consider their cars an extension of themselves, and a customized accessory, like a new set of floor mats, can add a personal touch to driversâ€™ rides. If your loved one has a special nickname for his or her vehicle, consider inscribing that nickname on a set of customized floor mats. Auto enthusiasts who have an equal passion for a certain sport may appreciate floor mats with the logo of their favorite team. * Hands-free headset: Car lovers spend lots of time in their cars. Though such time might once have afforded auto enthusiasts an escape from the daily grind, nowadays the prevalence of smartphones has made it easier than ever for the outside world to find its way into vehicles. As a result, auto enthusiasts may appreciate a hands-free headset that allows them to take calls while driving without compromising their concentration on the road.
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A GPS system might make the ideal gift for auto enthusiasts this holiday season. Some hands-free devices even allow drivers to stream music from their smartphones directly to their car stereos, allowing drivers to hit the open road while enjoying their favorite tunes. * Auto show tickets: Many autolovers keep an open eye for their next vehicle purchase. Auto shows are often the best places to learn about new vehicles and what motorists can expect in the future, so why not give your favorite car guy or gal tickets to an upcoming auto show? He or she may find his or her next vehicle or simply enjoy walking around and seeing all the latest automotive industry upgrades and gadgets.
Gifting Avid Outdoorsmen 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. * 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 arenâ€™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 oneâ€™s valuables are fully protected on rainy treks through the forest. * Water filter: Drinking straight from natural water sources may seem like a genuinely adventurous thing to do, but itâ€™s genuinely dangerous as well. A hikerâ€™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. * Compass: Many of us have grown to rely on our smartphone 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. * Hot dog roasters: Curly hot dog roasters wrap around the hot dogs, snuggly holding them in place as the franks cook.
The Weston Democrat, Christmas Gift Guide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013â€”E3
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Getting a head start on holiday shopping gives consumers more time to comparison shop and find better deals.
Early Shopping Best Getting a head start on holiday shopping has its advantages. Holiday shoppers who begin their quests for the perfect gifts at the onset of the season or before the shopping season even begins often find the financial sting of holiday shopping is easier to manage when spread out over time, and starting early can save shoppers the hassle of navigating their ways through crowded stores and packed parking lots. But even holiday shoppers who hit the stores extra early should do so with a plan in hand, which can help shoppers save money while still finding the right gifts. * Establish and stick to a budget. Just because you may be starting your holiday shopping early does not mean you should throw financial caution to the wind. Establish a budget so holiday shopping wonâ€™t find you facing significant debt, which is just as difficult to deal with in late fall as it is once the holidays have come and gone. If necessary, speak to family members before establishing your budget so you can all agree on holiday spending limits. Once you have established your holiday shopping budget, stick to it and avoid the temptation of overspending just because youâ€™re starting early. * Take your time. Arguably the greatest luxury of getting a head start on holiday shopping is the ability to take your time so you donâ€™t end up making expensive impulse purchases. Such purchases may be your only option if you wait until the last minute to start shopping, but starting early enables you to take your time and comparison shop so you can find the best deal. If you find a great gift in a store but want to find it for less money, shopping early allows you to shop around at another store or online to see if itâ€™s more affordable elsewhere. Make the most of this extra time, and youâ€™re liable to save a substantial amount of money over the course
of the season. * Take advantage of early bird offers. Many online retailers want consumers to begin their holiday shopping early, so they offer incentives to shoppers who beat the holiday rush. Such retailers may waive shipping and handling charges or wrap gifts free of charge for shoppers who begin their holiday shopping early in the season. These offers typically disappear once the season hits full swing, so early bird shoppers should take advantage of such offers whenever possible. * Get creative. Starting early may allow some holiday shoppers to skip the process of shopping altogether. Creative men and women with unique skills such as woodworking or making pottery may be able to create their own holiday gifts. Homemade gifts will likely take more time to create, but starting early allows you to go at your own pace while still ensuring your special gift will be ready to go come the holidays.
Just in time for the holiday gift giving season, The Museum of American Glass (MAG) in West Virginia has published A Glass Loverâ€™s Cookbook that is just right for the glass lovers and food lovers on your gift list. This unique and attractive spiral-bound cookbook measures 6â€?x 9â€? and has 295 pages and over 240 recipes contributed by the Museumâ€™s friends from across the United States and Canada. It makes a lovely and memorable gift for family and friends. The book is illustrated with photos of over 100 pieces of glass from the Museumâ€™s diverse collection. Each of 12 sections is introduced with a relevant color photo. For example; a pitcher and tumbler for the Breakfast and Brunch recipes, a center-handled server for the Appetizer recipes, a covered butter for the Bread recipes, a place setting for the EntrĂŠe recipes, and a divided relish for the Condiments and Sauce recipes. The remaining seven sections have equally appropriate color photos of glass serving pieces. In addition there is a special 16-page color photo section with wonderful shots of other objects from the MAG collection. The cookbook can be ordered at the Museum member price of $20.95 or regular price of $24.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling for the first copy and $1 for each additional copy by sending check or money order to MAGWV, P.O. Box 574, Weston, WV 26452 or by calling 304-269-5006. All proceeds benefit the museum. It is also available on Ebay at http:// stores.ebay.com/WV-Museum-ofAmerican-Glass. The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day noon to 4 p.m. The balance of the year the museum is open daily noon to 4 p.m. and closed on Wednesday and Sunday. Admission is free. It is easily accessible off I-79 exit 99 onto US 33 West for two miles to Main Avenue. A left turn onto Main and the museum is on the left at 230 Main Avenue. Begun in 1992, the museum relocated to its present location in 2007 and occupies 12,000 square feet with over 12,000 pieces of glass on
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permanent display. The museum is home to the National Marble Museum and The American Flint Glass Workers Union Archives. The museum holds an annual marble festival and numerous special exhibits throughout the year. More information can be found at http://magwv.com/. Questions about programs or the museum can be directed to 304-269-50
Create Gift Wrapping Station Nearly as much energy goes into wrapping gifts as purchasing them. Some people excel at wrapping gifts, while others do not enjoy the task at all. Part of the trouble with gift-wrapping is the room and tools needed to wrap all of those holiday treasures. But a gift-wrap station in a corner of the home that is seldom used can make wrapping presents any time of the year easier and more enjoyable. * Find a place to store gift wrap and the tools needed to wrap gifts. Many people find the back of a closet door works perfectly. * Install wire hanger racks so the gift wrap tubes can be stored vertically along the surface of the door. * Install a folding shelf on a hinge, and use that shelf to do your wrapping. Fold the shelf up when it is not needed and secure it with a latch at the top. * Hang hooks to store tape and scissors. Attach the scissors to the hook with a string so they wonâ€™t go missing. * A basket tucked nearby can house bows and ribbons so that they are easily stored until needed. Having the wrapping station so accessible also allows you to take inventory of supplies and restock when necessary. The Weston Democrat First in News, Sports, & Advertising
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E4—The Weston Democrat, Christmas Gift Guide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Is a Child Ready for a Tablet? Tablets are poised to grow more many children are anxious to get parents wonder if their kids are popular in the years to come, and their very own tablet. But many ready for a tablet and if such devices would make good gifts for their youngsters this holiday season. According to a 2012 report from Pew Research, 22 percent of American adults now own some type of tablet, while In-Stat research estimates 65 percent of Americans, or more than 200 million people, will have a smartphone and/or tablet by 2015. According to a Fall 2012 report by the Media Technology Monitor, an estimated 26 percent of the Canadian population has a tablet, more than twice the amount of tablet owners just a year earlier. As tablets become the device of choice, many different manufacturers have entered the tablet market, and children have begun to ask for tablets for holiday gifts, leaving parents wondering if their children are responsible enough to own a tablet that may cost several hundreds of dollars. Price-wary parents should realize that tablet prices vary greatly depending on the device. But a growing number of child-friendly tablets have entered the market, and such devices are designed to be more durable for children who have a tendency to drop and destroy things. Those on the fence about whether or not to purchase a tablet for a child can consider these options. * The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids is a tablet that comes with a selection of educational functions, games and e-books. The device allows parents to decide which apps can be accessed on the device and restrict use to certain periods of time. The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids boasts a seven-inch screen and will run Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean. The front and rear facing cameras are considerably lower in quality than Samsung’s previous products, down to three-megapixels and 1.3-megapixels, respectively. * The VTech InnoTab tailors apps to children in a compact device. The screen is just five inches in size, and the tablet comes packed with interactive e-books, learning games and other creative tools. It also has a modest price tag for a child’s first foray into the world of tablets. * The LeapFrog Leappad Ultra is a kid’s learning tablet designed for children between the ages of
Popular Toys of The Past
Children have begun to ask for tablets for holiday gifts. four and nine. It comes with a seven-inch screen, Wi-Fi with kidsafe Web access and the ability to connect to a library of more than 800 educator-approved apps, books and more. * The nabi is an Android tablet that is geared entirely toward kids. The nabi comes in several different incarnations (nabi Jr., nabi 2 and nabi XD) depending on the age of the child and the desired features. In July of 2013, Fushu, Inc., creator of the nabi tablet, was received the “Best Tablet 2013: For Kids” award from Laptop magazine for its nabi 2 device. * The Amazon Kindle Fire is quickly becoming a go-to option for parents interested in acclimating their children to a tablet. Less than half of the price of its biggest competitor, the Kindle Fire still allows kids to access a bevy of features. Music, movies and Amazon’s ever-growing trove of e-books are just some of the features that make the Kindle Fire a popular choice. * Though small, the iPad mini has all of the features of a larger iPad but in a more kid-friendly size. Many parents prefer the iPad mini for their children because they have Apple products and appreciate being able to share with their kids apps and information among all of the devices. Determining if a child is ready for a tablet is a difficult decision for parents, who must assess how well the child handles responsibility, toys and electronics in the home. Adults may opt for a more durable, less expensive tablet as an introduction to tablets for children and then gravitate toward more “adult” options as their children prove they can be responsible with the device.
Here’s a look at some of the toys that have made their mark over the last several decades. * Rubik’s Cube: The Rubik’s Cube reached the height of its popularity during the 1980s, when the colorful game puzzle was massmarketed to the public. * Cabbage Patch Kids: Adults stormed stores in the mid 1980s for Cabbage Patch Kids, which became one of the most popular toys of the decade. The dolls were marketed with a fantastical story about a cabbage patch in a magical valley, where dolls were born and awaited their adoption into loving homes. * Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic designed to parody established popular comics of the early 1980s. The concept of genetically mutated turtles who possessed ninja skills quickly caught on and the TMNT franchise expanded to television shows and scores of complementary merchandise. * Beanie Babies: Ty Inc. introduced a series of plush toys filled with tiny plastic pellets instead of traditional polyester stuffing in 1993. These pellets made the dolls flexible and cuddly, which played a role in their popularity. * Tickle Me Elmo: The hottest toy of the 1996 giving season was Tickle Me Elmo, a plush doll based on the beloved Sesame Street monster. When prompted, Elmo would laugh, giggle and gyrate to the delight of kids and adults alike. * Nintendo DS: The Nintendo DS, first offered in 2004, was the first Nintendo console released in North America before it was released in Japan. * Zhu Zhu Pets: Interactive, robotic hamsters, Zhu Zhu Pets first appeared on the scene in 2009. * Nintendo Wii: In addition to the Sony Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii became the latest in a history of must-have video game consoles in the early 21st century. * Monster High Dolls: With their ghoulish good looks, Monster High action figures were one of the most gifts of 2012. It remains to be seen which toy will become this season’s “must-have” item.
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Coworker Gifting Discussed Many offices host a gift exchange during the holiday season. Professionalism should always be a top priority when gifting coworkers, and some men and women may want to brush up on gift-giving etiquette before exchanging gifts with fellow employees. Long before any gifts are exchanged, research your firm’s policies on gift-giving. When in doubt, inquire among more seasoned workers. Many companies put dollar limits on gift values, while others have strict policies forbidding such exchanges, as it’s easy for gifts to create discomfort around the office or give the impression of favoritism. Gift exchanges also depend on the relationship between employees and their supervisors. Close, friendly relationships may warrant gift exchanges, especially if everyone else is on board with the idea. Gifting a boss is not necessary, but employees who have a close working relationship with their supervisors may want to purchase a professional gift to indicate their appreciation of a supervisor’s support. These can include picture frames, gloves, scarves, books, and personal interest items. Steer clear of personal gifts or ones that can be taken the wrong way. Inappropriate gifts should always be avoided. Decorative gifts that do not focus on any particular religion or holiday, inspirational books, calendars, plants, and publications that cater to a particular interest likely won’t raise anyone’s ire. However, self-help gifts, perfumes, lotions, or overly personal gifts may give recipients the wrong impression. While homemade foods were once popular gifts, many companies now discourage such gifts because they may trigger various food allergies. Gift cards tend to be universally acceptable, but only when they do not exceed the agreed-upon spending limit. Grocery store gift cards can help employees offset some of the costs of entertaining, and gift cards to popular department stores may help offset holiday spending. Whenever any giving between coworkers takes place, care should be given to ensure all the gift values are equivalent. Coworkers who are especially close and want to give a more meaningful gift should exchange those gifts on their own time and not during office hours. Tenure can also dictate giftgiving. Employees who have been with their companies longer than their coworkers may receive a more personalized gift. Employees who receive gifts from their bosses should not feel obligated to reciprocate. Employees should also keep in mind that personal thank-you notes are courteous, professional and appreciated.
The Weston Democrat, Christmas Gift Guide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013—E5
Shopping Dos, Don’ts Thanks 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. 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
Hidden fees can offset the benefits of shopping online.
Avoid Hidden Costs Of Online Shopping even money to refute fraudulent purchases, and such issues may negatively affect your credit rating, even when they’re not your fault. Shopping online puts you in touch with global retailers. Purchasing from around the world may be easy, but navigating currency exchanges and other fees can be difficult. International sites may list the prices of items at their currency rate, so what seems like a good deal may be anything but. What’s more, some shoppers may incur duty fees when accepting items from other countries, particularly if the value of the product is high. The Internet may be a good place to buy items at attractive prices from the convenience of home. However, shoppers should be aware of any hidden charges that can offset the benefits of shopping online.
lachian G a l pp & Gifts a
Online shopping saves shoppers the trouble of waiting in long lines while offering the convenience of around-the-clock hours. With a few clicks of the keyboard or scrolls on a tablet, shoppers can typically find just about any product or service they desire. But additional fees and service charges that can quickly accumulate also are a part of online shopping. However, shoppers can mitigate such costs by identifying potential fees and learning how to keep them manageable. Shipping costs are a burden to online shoppers. Even when prices are low, shipping costs can offset those savings, especially for lastminute shoppers forced to select overnight or two-day shipping. Before completing checkout, check the estimated shipping costs to determine what the final cost will be. Avoid retailers who charge high fees or limit your shipping options. Watch for specials that advertise free shipping, and stick with retailers that offer free or reduced shipping on particular days or times, then do the bulk of your shopping during those discounted periods. Some retailers offer free shipping to a store location. This affords consumers the convenience of shopping online without the added cost of having merchandise delivered to your home. Before buying any items online, familiarize yourself with the return and exchange policies of the retailer. Although many sites post sizing charts and dimensions for furniture and other products, sizing mistakes can be made, and you may be responsible for the shipping costs when returning or exchanging items. Shop with retailers who have lenient return policies, including accepting exchanges or returns at area stores. Otherwise, rely on companies that include return labels and take care of the cost of exchanges. Read the fine print when shopping online. Although rare, some retailers charge a restocking fee for returned items, particularly electronics. This fee may be 5 to 20 percent of the purchase price. The potential for identity theft is another concern when shopping online. Reputable retailers employ security measures to safeguard shoppers’ personal information. Encrypted data, identifiable by a “locked” icon on the check-out page, protects billing information from hackers. Although no system is entirely impenetrable, encrypted sites are generally safe. Never enter personal information unless a site is encrypted. It will cost you time and maybe
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Hectic schedules sometimes result in last-minute shopping. 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 Web sites 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 ac-
ceptable 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 Dec. 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. Don’t allow the stress of holiday shopping to compromise an otherwise joyous time of year.
E6—The Weston Democrat, Christmas Gift Guide, Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Buy Unique Gifts for Travelers A passion for traveling leads many people to go abroad and experience other cultures or explore the sites closer to home. Those with an avid traveler in their midst can tie into this love of exploring and give travel-themed gifts. Gifting the family globetrotter is not always easy, however. Travelers tend to bring home mementos of their trips and make it seem as if they already have everything they need. Gifts purchased at the local store may seem to pale in comparison to more exotic trinkets. But gifting travelers doesn’t have to be difficult. The following gifts should make great gifts for your favorite adventurer this holiday season. * Travel journal: Many people love to document their trips, describing journeys to exotic locales or simply a family trip to a nearby campground. Travel journals make great gifts for those travelers who want more than just visual memories of their trip. Be sure to buy a journal that’s sturdy enough to handle all the bumps and bruises that accompany a nomadic lifestyle. Leatherbound or hardcover journals should suffice. * Travel kit: Travelers know the value of a good travel kit, which can help them freshen up during long layovers at the airport or once they Shoppers have a number of travel-themed options at their disposal. arrive at their destinations. In addition, a travel kit allows travelers to pack some of the comforts of home, such as moisturizer, shaving gel or a particular type of toothpaste, that might not be readily available at their destinations. When gifting a travel kit, place some of those favorite products, such as travelsize mouthwash or some luxury moisturizing creams, inside the kit for a special gift-within-the-gift. * Noise-cancelling headphones: A set of noise-cancelling headphones is a gift no globetrotter should go without. These headphones reduce ambient noise and can make it easier to doze off comfortably on a flight or to enjoy a music playlist while sightseeing in a busy city. * Maps: Domestic travelers may be able to rely on their smartphones for directions, but overseas travelers may need to keep their phones off when traveling overseas to avoid heavy surcharges. In such instances, maps make great gifts,
especially if you find out in advance where your special traveler will be visiting next and gift a map of that particular locale. * Gas card: For some, the joy of travel stems from getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. If that’s true of your favorite travel afficionado, consider a gas card that can alleviate some of the cost of his or her next trip. Gift cards to filling stations can be purchased in just about any denomination, and your loved one will appreciate their free pass at the pump on their next road trip.
Finding ways to save time on holiday shopping can make the season more enjoyable and less hectic.
Tips To Maximize Shopping Time The holiday season encompasses several weeks of frenetic activity, as men and women look to juggle abnormally busy social schedules with holiday shopping. While you might not be able to add hours to the day, there are certain measures anyone can take to make the hustle and bustle of the holiday season more efficient. Shopping swallows up a significant amount of time come the holiday season. According to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, the average person will spend 15 hours shopping for presents. Women tend to spend twice as long as men in stores and online, with women logging 20 hours of holiday shopping compared to the 10 hours the average male spends shopping for holiday gifts. Making the most of holiday shopping trips can free up moments and reduce overall stress during the holidays. Condense your gift list: How much time you spend on holiday shopping depends largely on the number of people on your gift list. Shortening that list can save time and money. This may be the year for adults to collectively decide to forego exchanging gifts in lieu of devoting more funds toward gifts for youngsters. Distant friends may no longer need to feel obligated to buy presents for one another. Opting to do a “Secret Santa” or another grab-bag style gift exchange can reduce the number of gifts you need to buy, saving time along the way. Keep a spreadsheet of your shopping list stored on your com-
puter or smartphone so it can be easily modified year-to-year. Create a shopping strategy: Millions of shoppers flock to stores on Black Friday to take advantage of doorbuster deals, and some even get all of their holiday shopping finished on this one afternoon. Others prefer to divide and conquer over a few weeks. Decide how you would like to economize your shopping so you won’t be traveling from store to store wasting precious time. Organize your shopping list into certain categories. Then match up those categories according to the stores that cater to these items. For example, if your list mentions bedding for a new college student’s dorm room, curtains for an aunt and a set of beach towels for a friend who will be doing some post-holiday travel, group these purchases together and head to a bed-and-bath store. Such a plan in place can greatly cut down on your time spent shopping. Shop off-hours: Consumer Reports says shoppers expect to wait in store checkout lines for an average of 3.5 to 4 hours this holiday season. Avoiding such situations can save you a significant amount of time, so shop during off-peak hours when you won’t be elbow-to-elbow with fellow shoppers. Take advantage of stores’ extended hours and shop later in the evening, when parents and their children will likely be preparing for bed and not waiting in line at the mall. Some retailers entice shoppers with early bird specials
and open their doors very early, so shoppers looking to save time can make an effort to be the first person at the door when the store opens. If you must shop during a lunch hour, shop online where crowds are never a concern. Split up the shopping: Spouses, family members and even friends can pool their shopping time and help others by tackling some of their purchases. Dividing the work shortens the time spent in stores, and a third party may have a keen eye to a deal or a unique gift when he or she is emotionally removed from the purchase. The average person finds time is of the essence come the holiday season. Prioritizing and economizing shopping is one way to make the season less hectic.
Baskets are an often inexpensive alternative to wrapping paper.
Wrap Gifts Frugally, Creatively Holiday shoppers spend billions of dollars each year on gifts for friends, family and coworkers. But holiday shoppers also spend substantial amounts of money dressing up those gifts with bows and wrapping paper. Shoppers may not want to spend much more on wrapping paper, bags and other ways to dress-up their gifts, and by employing a few tricks of the gift wrapping trade, they may not have to. The following are some frugal, yet flashy, ways to wrap presents this holiday season. * Children’s artwork: Over the course of a school year parents can accumulate dozens of original pieces of art from their children’s time in the classroom. Instead of relegating those pictures to a memory box or temporary glory on the refrigerator, turn them into unique gift wrap. Pair these pieces of art with colored ribbon, and everyone who gets a unique masterpiece will feel special. * Newspaper: Recycle newsprint and comics into wrapping paper. Encourage everyone to wrap in newspaper for a cohesive look come Christmas morning. * Cloth: Leftover cloth from Halloween or cloth purchased to create homemade curtains can be turned into gift-wrap for awkwardshaped gifts. Use decorative ribbon to seal the bundle shut. * Brown paper: Brown paper tied with twine or ribbon is inexpensive and can easily be recycled after use. Use a marker to put the names of gift recipients on each package to save on gift tags as well. * Glass jars: Use mason jars when wrapping smaller gifts, including gift cards, to give them an arts-and-crafts feel. * Fabric gift bags: If you’re handy with a needle and thread, sew sacks out of leftover fabric to make gift bags of various sizes. * Cookie tins: Find unique cookie tins from yard sales or leftover tins from holidays past and use them as gift boxes. * Recipes: If you will be giving a cookbook or food-themed gifts, print recipes that can be used as gift wrap and then later used to make certain dishes. * Baby linens: From blankets to wash cloths, use baby linens to wrap infant-themed gifts for new parents. * Baskets: Wicker baskets are available in various shapes and sizes. They can be used to make a gift collection and then reused over and over again.