Holiday Tips to Save You Time and Money
- Thursday, December 07, 2006
Could you use some last minute help? Try these holiday ideas on for size!
Double up. When you cook this month, double your favorite meals and freeze the leftovers. Then, when you’re in a frenzy the few days before Christmas, you won’t have to fret about making dinner, too.
Electronic cards. You can save a lot of time and money when you send electronic Christmas cards, or "e-Cards." There are lots of free sites—www.hallmark.com, www.americangreetings.com and www.dayspring.com offer the best selections.
Quick polish. You have guests arriving any minute, you’re pressed for time and the silver needs to be polished. No problem. Line your sink with aluminum foil, fill it with super-hot water, add a cup of baking soda, then dip your silver and wipe it off for instant tarnish removal.
Shop at home. Shopping online can save a lot of time, frustration and gasoline. Finding free or reduced shipping makes online shopping even better. Here’s a one-stop site that will show you everything on sale in your area in any given week: www.cairo.com.
Perfect fit. Some people say giving money as a gift is tacky but it is not. Money always fits. It’s never the wrong color and it works in any store or bank account.
Unlike a gift card, the recipient can spend cash right to the very last penny. Sales of Hallmark greeting cards that are designed to hold cash have increased so dramatically in the past few years, they are now the company’s top seller, evidence that currency is still in vogue and quite acceptable.
Think consumables. Consumables are gifts that will be used up, not stashed in a closet for the next yard sale. Here’s an example: Forget the Easy-Bake Oven, a pricey toy that promises to bake cookies using a single light bulb. Instead, bundle a few cookie cutters, a mini rolling pin and a box of sugar cookie mix together with a certificate for "cookie lessons."
Magazine subscriptions, food, theater tickets, personal care items are all examples of consumables—items that are enjoyed while being used up.
For the cook. Select a cookbook and choose a recipe from the book. Attach a card to the front that includes the recipe name and page number. Place the cookbook and dry ingredients for the recipe in a decorative basket.
Use your computer. Make a set of thank you notes or stationery; tie with a festive ribbon and place in an attractive tin for that one of a kind gift. Don’t forget to include a colorful pen and envelopes.
Photos make great gifts. Whether printed traditionally or on your home computer, a well-chosen framed or mounted photo can be a terrific gift. Take family heirloom photos to a quick printer to be photocopied on a color machine, even if the original is black and white. The duplicate will be so close to the original you’ll have a difficult time deciphering.
Holiday flowers. Find amaryllis, paperwhites, poinsettias and English ivy this time of year at a nursery or home improvement center. Placed in an attractive decorative container, they make a great holiday gift.
Waterfall kit. Stretch that relaxing moment with a small in-door waterfall kit. The main ingredient is the pump (not expensive). Get a bowl or dish to hold it, some small decorative rocks and an eye-catching small figurine. Don’t forget directions or a diagram. Put everything in holiday packaging and you’re good to go.
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