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Tips For Christmas Shopping on a Budget

There’s no doubt we spend a lot of money at Christmas time. As a matter of fact, a quarter of all personal spending in the United States is done during the holiday season. As families grow so does the gift list and our Christmas budget can get out of hand. But, there are ways to save and cut back on your gift giving without looking like a scrooge. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. We should be celebrating the real meaning of the season. Right? Well, that’s a hard sell at times to children but with creative planning coupled with imagination, your gifts will be appreciated and you can avoid going into holiday debt. Celebrate Christmas all year long especially where buying gifts is concerned. Make a gift list early in the year and when you do your everyday shopping you’re sure to stumble onto the perfect gift for someone on your list. It may even be on sale or on special. Two for one clearance deals can double your shopping fun. Huge savings can be found right after Christmas so constantly be on the lookout. No last minute shopping for you. Scan sales flyers and clip coupons. You probably already do this but this year keep gift giving in mind too. Try to use coupons in combination with sale prices and save even more. Sign up for department stores newsletters through the mail or online to keep on top of sales. Newsletters many times include special offers and discounts. Shop the Internet. Here you can compare prices not only online but how they compare with your local stores. Usually, when you buy online you don’t pay sales tax and many times shipping is free. The gas savings is another plus. Carpool with a friend when you’re going shopping. This not only saves fuel but you can exchange ideas on what to give and where to go. Make gift buying fun instead of a obligatory chore. Don’t forget to shop the Dollar Stores and the 99 Cent Stores. No one has to know what you spent on the gift. Yard and garage sales are great places to find that perfect treasure for a fraction of the cost. And, many items are new, in their original package and unopened. But, the item doesn’t have to be new. With a little clean up and fix up it can look new. Or, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find an antique that just needs a coat of polish. Regifting is a practice that’s gaining in popularity. Yes, many people do it and you can too. No need leaving that gift you received years ago in the closet gathering dust. Dust it off, gift wrap it, give it to someone who can use it and you save. If you have frequent flyer miles that are going to waste give them as a gift. Who wouldn’t enjoy a free plane ride? Most mileage plans can also be traded for merchandise or even cash. Don’t let them expire even if you have to give them away. Many large families nowadays draw names to keep holiday expenses in line. Some only give gifts to the children or exchange cards. Of course, personal, obviously well thought out gifts are always most appreciated. Enjoy the holiday season but stay within your budget. It will be a happier new year if it starts debt free.

 


Pictures and Frames - Always a Great Gift

They encase our photos and keep them safe from dust, scratches and other potential mishaps. Picture frames are available in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common. They are designed to keep our printed memories alive and well. One of the most popular gifts to give is a photo and picture frame combination. A couple celebrating a milestone anniversary may enjoy receiving a retouched image of their wedding photo or a special moment captured on film from their earliest days together. Today's technology allows old photos to be restored with the touch of a button, but that's not the only way to restore an old image. Many gift givers present an artist's rendition of a photograph, which may be either oil or acrylic. And, what is the best way to present this beautiful memento? In picture frames, of course. If you are giving the gift of a photo, select the perfect picture frame to go with it. If you envision the picture being hung above the fireplace, purchase a large photo and picture frame. The border should be bold and would preferably match something in the home's decor. If the photo is small and better suited as a tabletop gift, a regular picture frame will suffice. No matter the size, a picture frame is often too awkward to use with gift wrap. Most opt for a large decorative bow in the top corner, which is simple but outstanding. There are a number of other ways to use picture frames in gift presentations, including baby photos or a collage of special memories, graduation photos, wedding memories or even a special pet memoir. Many have heard of novelty companies who offer a star-naming service. In exchange for a fee, individuals can name a star after a friend, relative or other acquaintance. These are popular gifts because not many people can say they have a star named after them. Upon receipt of the star kit, a large certificate is included. Even though the service usually offers a choice of picture frames to go with the star kit, any individual can do the work themselves for a lot less money. If it weren't for picture frames, our photos would certainly age much faster than we would like. Discoloration, scratching and unwanted bending would most likely be a problem. Thanks to the sturdy help of picture frames, however, our memories no longer have to remain in our minds because they can forever live on in our photos. And best of all, we get to enjoy them every day.

 


Need a Great Holiday Gift? Try a Cheese Gift Basket

If you're having trouble finding the right gift, think cheese gift baskets. Giving gifts of food is a tradition during the holidays, and food gifts that contain an array of tasty delights are always greatly appreciated. If you have a Christmas list filled with names of people who already have everything, or of people who are difficult to buy for, or people who you just aren't sure what to get for, try a cheese gift basket. Gourmet cheeses are welcome at any table and are wonderful served as light snacks at parties or while having a relaxed conversation. Cheese gift baskets can become the centerpiece of a buffet table at your holiday party, and are perfect for sharing with co-workers at the office party. Cheese gift sets come in both small and large sizes, working well for any holiday budget. Containing a variety of cheeses, both soft and hard, bold and smooth, often along with crackers or meats, people really love to receive cheese gift baskets because they are usable, sharable and enjoyable. Consider all of the people on your holiday gift list that would love to receive such a gift – your neighbor, your child's teacher, the dog walker, your office mate, the babysitter - even your best friends and closest family members. Customize your cheese gift basket by adding some special touches. A small cutting board and knife would be perfect, or a great bottle of wine and a set of wine glasses. You could add some fresh, sweet fruit, or a baguette of fresh bread. Present your gift with a set of kitchen towels, or a set of small hand decorated plates and some nice cloth napkins. The possibilities are endless. But remember, if you don't want to, you don't have to dress the cheese gift basket up at all – it will stand on its own as a fine gift. And don't forget that the baskets that your cheese gifts come in are decorative and reusable. Lots of people love baskets and trays for decorating with, and to use for serving other foods in. You're not only giving a deliciously edible gift, you're giving a decorative and useful one, too. Food has long been used for gifts. During the holidays, it's a tradition to give food gifts and share food in celebration of a season of hope, abundance, happiness and generosity. When you give a gift that reflects the joy and bounty of the season, such as a cheese gift basket, you give a gift that reminds people to sit back and enjoy the friendships and fun they've known throughout the year.

 


Great Greeting Cards for Easter

Coming up with Easter card ideas isn't too difficult thanks to the fact that the stores are full of cards around this time of the year. However, things can get a bit more tricky if you're trying to find the perfect, unique card. Not to mention the question of whether you should stick to religious themes or not. Here's a quick guide to the things you might want to consider when shopping for an Easter card. Religious Or Non-Religious? Although Easter is a religious festival, not everybody chooses to celebrate the religious element. It has become a secular festival for many, designed to celebrate the coming of spring and the new life and hope that it brings. On the other hand, there are some who insist that Easter should be a day of religious reflection, and you wouldn't want to offend them with your choice of card. This is why it's so important that you know who you're sending the card to, and whether or not you should use a religious motif. If you're really not sure then you can get them a card that represents something in between. Something that uses spring images but doesn't show too much of the commercial side of Easter. Although this is technically a non-religious card, it still serves to symbolize the new life of the resurrection if you really don't want to risk offending anyone with obvious religious imagery. Homemade Easter Cards Instead of buying cards, you might also want to come up with your own Easter card ideas to make from scratch. Just about anything related to spring is acceptable for an Easter card (unless you are going for a religious theme in which case a very simple cross will do). A few Easter card ideas include: * Wooly lamb designs, using cotton balls to recreate the soft wool, * Flower cards using cardboard, crepe paper or silk cut outs to attach to the front of the card, * Easter egg designs (these are great for unleashing your creative spirit, as they can be designed however you want them to be!) On the inside of the card you'll want to write a message. This could be as simple as "Happy Easter", though there are also a number of messages and quotes available on the internet if you want to come up with something a bit more unique. When you take some time to think up the best Easter card ideas, you'll find that the card becomes so much more meaningful, and is even a gift in itself!

 




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