Feathered wreaths and christmas trees ensure a more natural look

Feathered Christmas trees are natural looking. Their branches aren't exactly the same. There is instead a natural variation in branch size. Feathered Christmas trees, whether artificial or real, look more natural than those not feathered. Trees aren't the only xmas decoration that could use some feathered effects either. You can choose online from a number of feathered Christmas wreaths, for natural looks and beautiful ornamentation of your home or door. We found some stunning feathered Christmas wreaths and trees made of pine. The wreaths were wired and beribboned. The designer started with a faux pine wreath with a realistic feathered look that was approximately 18 inches in diameter. Its frame, double wires, was 14 inches wide.

This wreath was made with feathered pine that looked airy and light. Its needles gave it the feathered affectation that was also designed into the Christmas trees. The wreaths looked amazingly realistic, with pinecones and twigs placed through out the wreath. This vendor offered a variety of 18 inch feathered Christmas wreaths, the perfect doorway complement to your Christmas trees. The first displayed beautiful Christmas ribbon with caricatures of Ol' Saint Nick running through it. The second, as lovely as the first, sported a red ribbon with festive candy cane motif. Another of these feathered Christmas wreaths was decorated with a sheer ribbon of pale blue with beautiful snowflakes running through it. If you want to choose a larger wreath to accompany your feathered Christmas tree there are a number that are 22 inches in diameter, some with realistic looking snow hanging onto their limbs and gorgeous holiday bows.

New year trivia quiz

1. Under which calendar is New Year's Day Jan. 1? A. Julian Calendar B. Gregorian Calendar C. Jewish Calendar D. Chinese Calendar E. All of the above B. Gregorian Calendar QQ: New Year's Day is the first day of the year, Jan. 1, in the Gregorian calendar. Traditionally the day has been observed as a religious feast, but in modern times the arrival of the New Year has also become an occasion for spirited celebration and the making of personal resolutions. 2. What calendar determines the date of the Chinese New Year? A. Lunar B. Solar C. Chinese D. Zen A. Lunar QQ: The Chinese New Year, traditionally based on the lunar calendar, is celebrated in many American cities with the roar of blazing firecrackers, dancing dragons made from papier mвchй and cloth, and traditional music. 3. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the new year for what religion? A. Muslim B. Christian C. Buddhist D. Jewish D. Jewish QQ: Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew, "beginning of the year"), Jewish New Year, celebrated on the first and second days of the Jewish month of Tishri (falling in September or October) by Orthodox and Conservative Jews and on the first day alone by Reform Jews. It begins the observance of the Ten Penitential Days, a period ending with Yom Kippur that is the most solemn of the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the High Holy Days. 4. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday that begins Dec. 26 and extends through Jan. 1. What does the word mean in Swahili? A. First fruits B. First people C. First days D. First dance A. First fruits QQ: Kwanzaa, or matunda ya kwanza, is Swahili for "first fruits". This is an African American holiday observed by African communities throughout the world that celebrates family, community, and culture. Kwanzaa has its roots in the ancient African first-fruit harvest celebrations from which it takes its name. However, its modern history begins in 1966 when it was developed by African American scholar and activist Maulana Karenga. 5. In the Middle Ages most European countries used the Julian calendar, so they observed New Year's Day when? A. Feb. 14th B. March 25th C. April 1st D. May 21st B. March 25th QQ: In the Middle Ages most European countries used the Julian calendar and observed New Year's Day on March 25, called Annunciation Day and celebrated as the occasion on which it was revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. 6. The name January is derived from the Roman god Janus. What is he the god of? A. Wine and grapes B. Babies and childbirth C. Clocks and calendars D. Gates and doors D. Gates and doors QQ: The name of the month is derived from Janus, the Roman god of gates and doors, and hence of openings and beginnings. January was the 11th month of the year in the ancient Roman calendar; in the 2nd century BC, however, it came to be regarded as the first month. On January 1 the Romans offered sacrifices to Janus so that he would bless the new year. 7. When to the practioners of Tibetan Buddhism celebrate New Year's? A. Never B. January C. February D. March C. February QQ: Much of the ritual of Tibetan Buddhism is based on the esoteric mysticism of Tantra, devotions that involve both yoga and mantra, or a mystical formula, and ancient shamanistic practices. On special holidays the temples, shrines, and altars of the lamas are decorated with symbolic figures; milk, butter, tea, flour, and similar offerings are brought by the worshipers, animal sacrifices being strictly forbidden. Tibetan Buddhist religious festivals are numerous. The most notable are New Year's, celebrated in February and marking the commencement of spring 8. The Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people decorated their homes and gave each other gifts. In early times, the ancient Romans gave each other New Year's gifts of branches from sacred trees. Later they gave small items, such as nuts or coins, imprinted with pictures of what God? A. Julius Caesar B. Jesus Christ C. Janus D. Zeus C. Janus QQ: In later years, they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces--one looking forward and the other looking backward. The Romans also brought gifts to the emperor. The emperors eventually began to demand such gifts. 9. What New Year's gift did ancient Persians give? A. Money B. Eggs C. Cakes D. Rugs B. Eggs QQ: The ancient Persians gave New Year's gifts of eggs, which symbolized productiveness. 10. In ancient Egypt what event dictated the timing of New Year's celebrations? A. Pharaoh's birthday B. Flooding of Nile C. Solar eclipse D. Exact alignment of stars with Great Pyramid B. Flooding of Nile QQ: In ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated at the time the River Nile flooded, which was near the end of September. The flooding of the Nile was very important because without it, the people would not have been able to grow crops in the dry desert. At New Year, statues of the god, Amon and his wife and son were taken up the Nile by boat. Singing, dancing, and feasting was done for a month, and then the statues were taken back to the temple.

How to pick perfect flowers according to occasions

Life is beautiful. There’re so much in life to cherish and celebrate - birth of a baby, graduation, wedding, anniversary, Valentine’s day, Mother’s day and Christmas. Flowers are loved by both men and women for their beauty, purity and freshness. Valentine’s flowers are about love and passion if you pick roses. Consider a sunflower for the person in your life.

The meaning of this Valentine’s Day flower is admiration. Your special someone will feel adored by you all day long. How about a For-get-me not? This flower means true love. You could not say it any better. A tulip given on Valentine’s Day has a meaning of the perfect lover. Now that is a desired compliment. The meaning of mother’s day flowers is said best with pink carnations as these flowers say, “I will never forget you” and they represent a mother’s love.

While carnations are a popular choice for mom on her special day, they are not the only choice. Think about your mom and what she likes. The meaning of mother’s day flowers is to show mom that you took time out of your day to think about her so choose flower arrangements that suit her best. Christmas flower gifts have special meanings for Christmas celebration. In a story about the birth of Jesus Christ, it was flowers from two little poor children that outshone all the gifts that three wise men had brought for Him. Birthday flowers are chosen according to different months of the year, much like birthstones. January is the snowdrop and carnation; February the primrose and violet; March the violet and jonquil; April flowers are the daisy and sweet pea; May represents lily of the valley and hawthorn; June is the rose and honeysuckle; July the water lily and larkspur; August represents the gladiolus and poppy; September the Morning Glory and Aster; October the Marigold; November, chrysanthemum; and December birthday’s the Poinsettia and Holly. Remember, the monthly guide to flowers provides a basis for picking out flowers for a man or a woman, but other flowers are appropriate as well depending on whether you are buying them for a family member or the love of your life. Wedding lowers should be chosen according to the bride and groom preferences, color of the bride and bridesmaids' dresses, church and reception places, and sticking to the decoration theme, if any. Another point to consider is the season because most floral varieties are easily found year-round, but seasonal flowers are cheaper and easier to find. Fresh flowers are the most viable option when it comes to planning the wedding day, but a few brides prefer dried flowers or artificial ones made of silk.

Going on holiday take a kayaking tour

When you go on vacation, you will probably want to try something new. Sea kayak tours are a great option for adventure that is safe. A kayak sea tour is a great activity for a vacation. Such tours are popular in tropical locations. In fact, a large percentage of people use kayaks. You do not have to be a strong kayaker as long as you enjoy it. When you sign up for kayak sea tours, an experienced guide always accompanies you to help you if you have problems. Every year, more and more people are taking kayak sea tours. The tours are enjoyable, great exercise and a wonderful tropical adventure!

There are many different things to do on a kayak sea tour. You can select activities including scuba diving, fishing, deep sea snorkeling, island exploring and a whole lot more! These are excellent and very exotic trips that anyone would love! When you are kayaking, it makes everything seem different. Kayaking on the ocean is not the same as kayaking on a placid lake. You will find yourself surrounded by giant waves and being tossed around by them! But the waves are part of the fun. You of course wear a life jacket and learn all the safety rules before going out. Sea tours are usually priced at a reasonable rate for tourists and can be found almost anywhere! It is excellent exercise and lots of fun! Imagine waking at 7 a. m. and pushing a long kayak from the white sand beach into the cool blue water. Spending the whole day kayaking across the ocean and taking in the exotic scenery and water. The next time you are on vacation, look for these tours! You will have the time of your life, and there is no risk! No matter where you happen to be in the tropics, kayaking tours are something that you will discover that you always enjoy! I hope you will explore the opportunities of sea kayaking and join me in a most enjoyable sport.

Finding the perfect mother s day gift a daily connection

Mother’s Day comes and we are often at a loss for selecting a gift that shows we care, yet also is one of significance. Mother’s Day flowers and cards are nice, but a Mother’s Day Gift that she uses each day will be a daily connection of thoughtfulness. A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. -- Tenneva Jordan There is a name that often has the same effect as soothing balm on a tender wound. Many can go through life saying she doesn’t matter, but it is the wounds of life that require the ministrations that only a mother can provide. Surely you’ve had those moments when you desire the closeness of mom although you might indicate you’d rather not see her. We can all be grateful that moms see through our inner turmoil and willingly stand with us when the need is greatest. The most selfless individuals on the planet are mothers. They are often the first ones up and the last to bed. They serve your needs without asking anything in return. They suffer through the abuse of adolescent children and willingly welcome us home when we come to our senses. When the second Sunday in May rolls around it is the true essence of gratitude that brings us to the doorstep of mom’s house with gifts in hand, from hearts that have begun to catch a glimpse of thankfulness. Mother’s Day gifts come in all sizes, fragrances, colors and styles. Most often these gifts are simple flower arrangements and gift cards. Moms will never respond unkindly, but perhaps it is time to consider a gift that is a thoughtful indicator of the love and appreciation you have for your mother. A gift of considerate choosing that takes your gratitude to a level that will surprise and delight the very one who gave you life. Mothers spend a great deal of time in the kitchen and a unique kitchen gift or a gourmet gift of elegance and style will be remembered long after flowers fade, wither, and are summarily discarded. Imagine a time in the future; your mother sits down for a cup of tea and traces her finger across the top of the European Glass Teapot she received as a gift from you. She remembers special long ago moments she was certain she had forgotten. A thoughtful, daily used gift can provide a personal ongoing connection between you and your mother. Best of all - her thoughts will be toward you – not the gift. This in no way diminishes the effectiveness of the gift; it actually enhances the overall gift giving experience. You see, a well thought out Mother’s Day gift is as much for you as it is for her; useful and appreciated – with memories attached. When the second Sunday in May rolls around, consider a kitchen gift or a gourmet gift that conveys to your mom that you believe Mother’s Day is more than a special occasion – the day is a moment of insistence that she be held in the highest esteem. It may even be a moment when strained relationships can be mended and old offenses forgotten. The second Monday in May will find your mom back in her daily routine. Why not give her another reason to think of you each day. She will, you know.

Thanksgiving chose ecards with care

Though thanksgiving is getting associated more with food and enjoyment, the real thanksgiving means to thank each and everyone who has done something good for us. Express gratitude to all of them on this day that is the real spirit of Thanksgiving. There are few characteristics of those who are always feeling thankful. First, they thank even for the smallest help. Two, they never forget any act of help. Third, they are always obliged to all friends and family who have helped them at any point. This makes choosing Thanksgiving ecards a careful exercise. What should an ideal ecard have?

Text of saying thanks is most important. One should be very humble in expressing thanks and wish for the best. The text should be so chosen that it reflects your true sentiments. The design of the ecard should be delightful.

It should be a joy to look at it. The colors should be bright and life giving. The font size and the ecard size, appropriate for the recipient. Please remember to choose large fonts of senior citizens. Get ecards with music if possible. The music should match the mood of the ecard and increase the pleasure of viewing the ecard. Look for free ecards on the Internet, select one in flash and take care of all I said in the beginning. A good ecard will make the recipient very happy.

Express your thanks and make others happy. That is the true spirit of Thanksgiving. Choose ecards accordingly.

Father s day jokes that will bring a smile to dad s face

What better way to give dad a great day than to make him smile. With some funny Father’s Day jokes, you can do just that. This sampling of Father’s Day jokes from all over the internet will surely tickle your father’s funny bone this Father’s Day. One evening, while sitting around the dinner table, a little girl looked up and asked her father, “Daddy, you’re the boss, right?” Her father was very pleased by this and replied, “Yes.” Then, the little girl continued, “That’s because mommy put you in charge, right?” Q. Do dads always snore? A. No, only when they are asleep! Top Ten Things You Will Never Hear A Dad Say - Well, what do you know? I’m lost. We’ll have to stop and get some directions. - Well, honey, you are thirteen now. I bet you’re ready for un-chaperoned car dates! - I like all of your friends’ “Up Yours” attitudes. - Here are the keys to my new car. Oh, take my credit card, too. Have fun! - Football? You want to play football? What about figure skating, son? - Mom and I are going away for the weekend. Would you like to throw a party? - No, I don’t actually know what is wrong with your car. - Son, let’s go to the mall and get you an earring. - You don’t need a job! I have plenty of money for you to spend. - Father’s Day? Don’t worry about that. It’s no big deal! Daddy, daddy, can I have another glass of water? But I’ve already given you ten! I know, but the bedroom is still on fire! Junior had just received his brand new driver’s license. To celebrate the special day, the whole family went out to the driveway and climbed into the car for his first official drive. Dad went immediately to the back seat, right behind the newly licensed driver. “I’ll bet you are back there to get a change of scenery, right? After all these months of sitting up here, teaching me how to drive?” Junior said to his dad. “Nope!” said dad. “I’m going to sit back here and kick the back of your seat as you drive, just like you’ve been doing to me for sixteen years!” Happy Father’s Day to all you dads!

Finding the perfect gift

Holidays, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, the list is endless. When you have a gift to buy for someone special or as a social requirement, how do pick out the best one? When the recipient opens their gift from you will they say “How perfect! I love it!” or will they say “Oh, you shouldn’t have.”? With so many choices and so little direction how do you even start on your search for the perfect gift? Have no fear, help is here. The answer lies in learning to think like the intended recipient. For example, let’s say you need to buy a birthday present for a little girl.

You look for something pink and frilly-she’ll love it, right? It may look adorable and perfect to you, but what does it look like to the little girl about to receive it? Stop for a moment and think about things from the perspective of our little girl. It’s your birthday. There is a mountain of packages just waiting for you to open. There are only two things on your mind: TOYS!!!

and CANDY!!!! If you can’t throw it, shake it, push its buttons, or eat it you are not interested. Okay, come back to me now. You have just learned the secret to great gift buying. Don’t buy something you love, buy something the person getting the gift will love. Simple solution. Simple, but not always easy.

How do you know what they will love? The best way to start is to think about what that person does. What they enjoy doing. Who they enjoy doing things with. Consider our example of a little girl.

What do little girls do? They watch cartoons. They love to watch cartoons and play with their dolls. They watch cartoons with their favorite doll. So now that you know how she sees life, what would make a great gift? A pink, frilly dress? No. She would love to have a new dvd full of her favorite cartoons, new clothes for her favorite doll (but none for herself, mind you), a little tea set she can use to play house, and any other number of similar items. Now you have some ideas for great gifts.

The key is to examine what the gift recipient enjoys, what keeps their interest and ignore what you yourself want. In fact, you may find that as you get better at giving gifts people actually want, you start receiving more gifts that you actually want. Funny the way things work sometimes. So in a nutshell, figure out what gift your intended recipient will want and find it. After brainstorming some great ideas, do you have to go brave the crowds a the mall? Of course not. The other secret to great gift giving is knowing where to shop. I recommend shopatmoes.

com you can always find some great gifts there, no matter who you are shopping for. They have excellent discount prices and top quality merchandise. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Remember to think like the lucky person getting your gift and always shop at Moe’s. shopatmoes. com

Planning thanksgiving dinner tips to make your holiday easy

Planning Thanksgiving dinner and preparing it can be very stressful, especially if you have a large family or are expecting a number of guests. In order to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable for yourself as well as your guests, some advance planning and preparation will work wonders. Use these tips to make your holiday a stress-free, memorable occasion: 10 Days before Thanksgiving: A week to 10 days before Thanksgiving, make your guest list. If there are any friends or family members you have not yet contacted, do so now to give them and yourself plenty of time to prepare. If any of your guests will be bringing a special dish, add it to your menu. If you will be cooking turkey, decide upon fresh, frozen, or smoked. Make sure you have room in your refrigerator and oven. You should plan on one to one 1/2 pounds per person and even a bit larger if you want plenty of leftovers. Deciding upon your final menu should be completed at least a week before the big day. Consider the number of people you will be entertaining and if you have children on your guest list, try to plan a couple of special dishes or treats especially for them. The Week of Thanksgiving: The week of Thanksgiving is the time to stock up on necessary items from the grocery store. You can make certain items in advance such as bread or rolls and freeze them until Thanksgiving morning. Also make sure you have supplies such a napkins, cups, etc. The Days before Thanksgiving: A couple of days prior to Thanksgiving you can prepare a few items in advance to save time on the big day. Things like cranberry sauce or relish can be stored in your refrigerator for a few days. You may want to cut up onions, celery, and any like items and store them in plastic ware to save time on Thanksgiving morning. Make sure you have everything on your shopping list in your kitchen at least 2-3 days before Thanksgiving morning. If you have children, involve them in the planning. They can help organize games for the younger guests, assist with decorations, and can even help out in the kitchen if you desire. If you have purchased a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator 3 days prior to cooking to give it plenty of time to thaw. If you will need to iron linens, etc., do so a couple of days before Thanksgiving to cut down on the amount of work you will have to do the night before the big day. Thanksgiving Morning: On Thanksgiving morning, make sure you have your thawed turkey stuffed (if necessary) and ready to place in the oven. Side dishes should be ready to cook or place in your oven and it would be a good idea to have desserts prepared the night before to save time and frustration on Thanksgiving Day. Any items you have frozen should be taken out of the freezer the night before so they can be heated easily. With some advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving can be a stress-free (almost) occasion and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Gifts for dads

The holidays are just around the corner and you have to come up with some gifts for dad. Here a list of gifts for dads of all types and character. Gifts for Dads 1. Daddy O’s Shirts – Retro is in and retro bowling shirts are hot, hot, hot. If you want to buy him a cool gift, get him one of these great shirts from Daddy O’s by just searching for them online. You can expect to pay between $35 and $80 per shirt. 2. Chef’s Fork – Now family comes complete with out a grill guru. If you’re looking for unique gifts online for the grill guru in yours, the Chef’s Fork may be the answer. These forks are made especially for grilling and contain sensors in them to tell the grilling guru the temperature and “doneness” of the food being cooked. Works for practically every food item, even baked potatoes. The Chef’s Fork will run you between $30 and $50 depending on the feature you want. 3. Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife. If he likes to cook, this knife made by the famous Ken Onion is sure to please. This is the ultimate knife is forged with VG-10 stainless steel, ergonomically designed and of the absolute highest quality. The ultimate Chef’s knife will set you back just under $200. 4. Digital Photo Keychain – Everyone has a keychain and everyone has photographs they carry around with them. The digital photo keychain lets you combine the two. The keychain has a 1 inch by 1 inch display that easily fits in the palm of your hand. Load photos onto from your PC and off you go. Expect to pay $40 to $50 for this very cool gift for dads, moms or anyone. 5. Nomad Writing Journals – If you’re buying for a person that loves the outdoors or to travel, Nomad Writing Journals make great gifts. These journals are tailored to activities such as travel, fly fishing, bird watching, backpacking, camping, rock climbing and so on. They come with or without a case and provide writing space as well as cues for writing down important information. A great keepsake to preserve their travel and outdoor experiences. The journals cost as low as $9 without waterproof case and $25 with case. With these gifts for dads, you can come up with that particular thing that will make them smile. Trust me, they’ll be happy not to get another sweater!

Stay sane this holiday season 7 tips to make your life easier

: The stress of the impending holiday season is enough to take an experienced host out of their Thanksgiving turkey, tryptophan-induced coma and turn them into a Christmas-crazed, Black Friday maniac. With these seven helpful hints, avoid the fervor of the masses and retain your sanity. 1. Delegate! Although hosting the perfect holiday celebration may feed your ego, it may also provide you with sleepless nights before the big event. Don't be afraid to delegate tasks. Send your spouse to the store with a list of last-minute items; have your kids vacuum and clean up around the house. When a guest asks what they can help with or bring, don't look a gift-horse in their courtesy offer.

2. Watch the clock. If you know the post office or the grocery store becomes chaotic at 4:30 pm every afternoon, plan your trips accordingly. Avoiding long lines, impossible parking and crazed consumers will help you keep your cool. If you cannot fit these tasks into your schedule at any other time, see tip number one! 3. Check vacation balances at work. Don't be afraid to ask a member of management or Human Resources to check your vacation and floating holiday balances.

Many companies do not roll vacation balances to the next year; if this time is not taken, it is lost. Use this forgotten vacation time to finish last-minute details and errands. 4. Give your hand a break! When contemplating all the Christmas cards, holiday invitations and thank-you notes to be written, you may already have a hand cramp. Buy an address stamp for those envelopes or a “Season’s Greetings” stamp for your correspondences. 5. Stay healthy. Get eight hours of sleep each night, drink enough fluids and take your vitamins. While you're busy taking care of guests, family and friends, don't forget to take care of yourself.

6. Shop online. Although there's something immediately gratifying about leaving the store with a fistful of shopping bags, shopping online can eliminate the insanity of the in-store experience. Many online stores offer free shipping, "receive by Christmas" guarantee dates or a huge variety of gift ideas. Shop online and avoid the mob flocking to the local mall. 7. Remember the "reason for the season.

" Instead of allowing the stress and circumstances to overwhelm you, take a moment to reflect on why your family and friends are gathering. Follow these seven tips this holiday season and watch your tension levels melt away. Don’t traumatize yourself by obsessing over unfinished tasks. That’s what family is for.

Combating christmas shopping stress

Anne Gadsden handles Christmas shopping the "new fashioned" way. She puts on a CD of classical music such as Pachelbel's Canon in D, logs on to the internet, and starts surfing. The Newark mother of three says, "I've already done the store thing and now its time for me to get gifts for family members who don't live in New Jersey. I visit Amazon and Buy. com; between the two companies I usually find something that I need. Besides, shipping is free if I spend at least $25 and that isn't hard to do!" Tasha Crimson shops early. Very early. "I shop all summer long starting when we go to the shore after July 4th all the way up to Labor Day. That's when I'm done. I don't have to put up with the hassles, I shop at my own speed, and I don't have to freeze as I run from my car to the store!," the East Orange grandmother of eight chuckled. In Wanaque, Bob Caprioti has his own style of shopping. Or not. He simply has his wife pick up everything for her family, his family and for their three children. "She knows I hate to shop. Fortunately, Rita loves to shop; why not let her do what she wants to do and let me do what I want to do?" So, does Rita buy gifts for herself and mark them from Bob? "No, I won't go that far. My mother loves to shop so I go out with her to the Willowbrook Mall and we find what I need for Rita. Mom knows what Rita likes and makes it as painless as possible for me." Angela Rodriguez of Fair Lawn laughs when asked about her shopping methods. "I don't begin to shop until the day after Christmas. My family is from Peru and we celebrate the Feast of the Three Wise Men when we get together in early January. We're scattered all over the place and it is too difficult to meet up on Christmas. So, instead of shopping ahead of time, I wait 'til after Christmas and get all the markdowns." When asked what she does on Christmas Angela replied, "I'm single and work in New York. I hang out with friends and co-workers who are by themselves for the holidays. Then, on New Year's Day I fly to Florida for a week to be with my family. I ship everything out ahead of time, so I'm not lugging all the stuff through the airport." Tamara Williams loves to shop, especially in crowds. The Hackensack resident replied, "I do a little bit in early December, but I really don't get going until a few days before Christmas. The best prices can be found then and it just seems more like Christmas." When asked how close to Christmas she shops Tamara answered, "I usually don't finish up 'til Christmas Eve. One year, while I was working at Stern's at the Bergen Mall I got off at 2 p. m. and began my shopping. When the store closed at 6 p. m. I made my final purchase and went home! I was working at the store and attending college full time. My finals were done only the day before, so my first opportunity to shop was on Christmas Eve. I start late, but not that late anymore!"

Don t buy a gift card until you read this

I enjoy giving gift cards, especially to those hard to shop for people on my list. I, like nearly everyone else, have at least one person on my shopping list that I either don’t know what to buy or I can’t find what I think they would like. When that happens I consider their likes and then purchase a gift card I think they will enjoy using. For example, I give my restaurant loving friends gift cards to their favorite restaurants; gas station gift cards to my teenage nieces and nephews who drive; shopping mall gift cards to my daughter; and massage gift certificates to my sister-in-law because I know she loves getting massages. Although gift cards are great and I buy them frequently, there are a few things to be aware of. The main thing is to make sure the recipient knows the gift card is like carrying cash and needs to be safeguarded in the same way cash is. For the most part, lost or stolen gift cards cannot be replaced. Another thing to be aware of is hidden fees, well not really hidden fees, but fees detailed in very small print – that size “one” font that’s nearly impossible to read! One charge that will be apparent right away is a possible upfront processing fee to defray the cost of producing and distributing the gift cards.

Most companies try to avoid charging an upfront fee. But some, like my local mall charges a small fee to purchase a gift card. It’s nominal, $1.50 per card. Some companies and stores charge a non-use or dormancy fee on their gift cards. If a card is not used for a specified period of time, a small amount is deducted from the value of the card every month. For example, $1 or $2 may be deducted from the balance of a gift card every month if that gift card is not used within six months of purchase. Another type of charge some gift cards have is a balance fee. If a gift card has a balance on it after a certain amount of time, typically six months after purchase, a small fee is deducted each month.

The fee is small, not usually more than $1.50 or $2. This is similar to a dormancy fee, but the difference with a balance fee is that even if the card was used within the first 6 months (or whatever time frame is specified) a fee will be assessed each month for still having a balance on it. This is to encourage people to use their gift cards in a reasonable amount of time and not leave them sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. If you purchase a gift card that has a balance or dormancy fee, try to purchase it as close to the time you are going to be giving it away as possible. Also be aware that the gift card could have an expiration date. Most of the gift cards from large companies don’t have an expiration date or allow a lengthy amount of time before the card expires, such as five years. Shorter time periods to use gift cards and gift certificates, usually not less than 12 months but occasionally as little as 6 months, are more likely to be found with smaller companies and independent business owners. I think it’s perfectly fine to give gift cards and gift certificates with an expiration date.

Just make sure the recipient is aware of the expiration date. An expiration date shouldn’t cause you to not buy a gift card. After all, you don’t want people to hang on to the gift card and not use it. And, remember that although gift cards may carry some fees, the majority of them will never be a problem if the card is used within six months, which most gift cards are. So feel free to give gift cards whenever you think it is an appropriate gift. One interesting note: even though some gift cards have started adding fees to their gift cards such as dormancy fees, balance fees, or maintenance fees, some states are starting to pass legislation banning those fees as well as banning expiration dates. This is good news for consumers.

Organize your christmas shopping

Grab a notebook. Grab a pen. It's time to get serious about your Christmas shopping by making your list (and checking it twice). Make a list of the people you'll be buying for this year. Leave space between each person’s name. Now go back through the list and write down gift ideas and a rough dollar amount you’re willing to spend on each person. Example: 1. Aunt Fran - Collects lighthouses, loves golf - $30.00 2. Beth - Candles, bath and body products - $20.00 3. Joe - Something for his new truck, loves fishing - $50.00 Bring your notebook shopping with you. It will help you to stay focused on who you need to shop for, a general idea of what you're looking for and your price range. Making a detailed list like this will prove invaluable in keeping you organized and on budget with your Christmas shopping. As you shop, cross off each person on your list. Be sure to keep an eye open for bargains and grab a few extra gifts - there's always that visitor that shows up that you didn't anticipate. Set holiday shopping goals for yourself and jot them down in your notebook. 1. I will have all cards in the mail by December 10th. 2. All of my major shopping will be done by December 15th. 3. I will not go over budget! Making lists and setting goals for yourself this holiday will save you time and stress and allow you to enjoy the season for what it really is. If you haven't started your shopping, start now. It's not too late to get on track. The first step is starting your notebook, making your list and getting a plan of action. After the holidays, store your notebook away somewhere (perhaps with your decorations). It will serve as a great reference when you're ready to start your shopping next year. Happy Holidays, Happy Shopping...and by keeping a Holiday Notebook - Happy You!

Valentine s day cards a great way to say i love you

There are many ways to show that you love someone. One of those ways is to give the gift of a special Valentine’s Day card. This is a great way to get your message across in a sweet, loving way without having to find the words on your own. And, because there are so many to choose from, you are likely to find just what you want and what you’ll love too. Your Spouse Or Significant Other Your first goal is to honor your significant other with a special card. It is okay to go with something humorous or something touching. What you choose is up to you and your preferences but you can easily find a card that shows how much you love someone, how it is you two against the world or simply ways that you wish to show your love. Choose whichever fits well with your desires. Make sure you leave a special message at the bottom or a simple, “I Love You” will mean the world to them. Your Parents You will likely not find it hard to find a card that you can give your mother or your father for this day. Here, honor the things that mom and dad have done for you throughout the years or continue to do for you now. A card can praise the things that your father has done too. A card that shows that you love them, respect them, and appreciate them will be cherished by them. If you can’t say these words to them easily, finding just the right card to express is will be that much more meaningful to them. Your Siblings Sure, they drive you made most of the time, but your sisters and brothers should receive a card too. You can really get away with a comical card here. Tease them about something from childhood or a cute joke is just the right touch for these cards. Make sure to provide a sentiment of your love and respect for them, or perhaps how much you value them. Everyone Else You’ll find a wide range of other Valentine’s Day cards available too. You’ll find them for virtually every member of your family and can purchase them for these individuals if you would like to. Make sure that the card says something that is special and meaningful for that relationship. This is a great way for you to feel good about your family and friends in an inexpensive way to remember them on this day. Friends and other people in your life can really find it sweet that you have thought of them on this day. Providing just the right type of card is crucial here. Make sure to get the relationship down onto the card well and then a simple note is all that is needed. Providing a Valentine’s Day card to those that you love and those that have meaning in your life will strengthen your relationship with them. They will appreciate you and your feelings for them. And, they will be thrilled that you thought of them on this day.

On thanksgiving thank god for our soldiers

Not many people reading this article will remember the old television serial called “I Remember Mamma” and certainly almost none of the young men and women of our present day armed forces will remember it. I shudder when I think of how old I am getting, because I do remember it very well. “I Remember Mamma” was a TV series on every week about a Swedish family that came to America to start a new life away from the old country. Each episode was a perfect picture of what life was like for a family of immigrants in the new land of opportunity. It was a typical family of four with mother, father and sister and brother. One unforgettable episode was when the young man of the family decided to join the army because the war had broken out and he wanted to serve his new country.

The folks and the sister were devastated by his choice to go, but they seemed to adapt to the idea if only to support his decision although not fully agreeing with it. You could feel the sadness on that family as the young man slept in his bed for the last night. I cried so deeply when his mother came in to give him a good night kiss, perhaps his last. I became so emotionally caught up with the story that I could hardly sleep at all that night. I knew nothing about war even though my buddies and I often put a nail in a stick for a trigger and played GI Joe with each other. All I was sure of was, that as a soldier someone was very likely to be shooting at you at some time. What I found hard to grasp was, why anyone would put themselves in such a situation of their own free will.

I can’t say I have ever found a sufficient answer to that question but after more than six decades to ponder it, the question has been rewarded with some surprising and perplexing answers. One of the answers is that some people really believe that the freedom we enjoy here in America is worth fighting to keep and if possible to share with others. Some of them believe that oppression and injustice should not be allowed to prevail unchecked anywhere in the world, not just here at home. I have heard all the comments about how a soldier is only thinking about saving his own life once the bullets start flying but they have been mostly neutralized by the stories of uncommon heroism on our country’s battlefields. There are countless stories of men and women who have risked and in some cases lost their lives while protecting the lives of others around them in their units.

For me one story would be enough to prove that not all men are thinking of themselves even after the bullets are flying. Some young folks still join our armed services for lesser reasons. Perhaps they are enticed by the chance to go to college at the expense of Uncle Sam. In some cases they may just be in that place where they simply don’t know what else to do with their lives. These reasons may not seem as noble as those of the young people who signed up after 9/11 but they are still legitimate reasons and they are not open to any ones critical judgment. Certainly all of those who joined for any reason had a moment when they reflected and faced the possibility that they could be thrust into a battle at any given time. They had to deal with that question but for everyone who signed on the dotted line the question did not deter them, this in itself is a form of bravery. Soldiers once lined up by the thousands willing to fight against one of the world’s greatest despots, Adolph Hitler.

No doubt there are those in Iraq today who see Saddam Hussein and his Bathist party members as something akin to Hitler. Still others in Afghanistan are still hoping to corral one of the worst terrorists of all time, Osama Bin Laden. Should we not liken their devotion to accomplishing these goals to those who fought in other wars? In today’s all volunteer army we have no other choice.

To offer the soldiers in the present conflicts any less than our complete support and gratitude is not only to dishonor them but it equally dishonors every brave soldier who gave their all in the past wars and battles of our nation. We may brag a bit about how well our soldiers are equipped and trained but we must never forget that they also are guided by certain beliefs and principles that are shared in our land by almost everyone. This then, is their purpose and it must be appreciated and respected or we are all fools indeed. They represent us in that purpose and anything less than our full support is to betray them and in my humble opinion is akin to treason. This thanksgiving season among the other things I will be thankful for is our soldiers. They still give me a sense of awe like the night I cried in my bed trying to understand the young Swedish boy in the “I Remember Mama” series who decided to go and risk life and limb for his newly adopted country, the USA. I will pray that they all come home safely and if any do not, I will always have a home for them in my heart as will millions of other grateful Americans. Thank God for our soldiers this thanksgiving day.

3 romantic ways to propose on valentine s day

Many men use Valentine’s Day as the day to propose to their loved one. After all, it is the most romantic day of the year and it is a day you will always remember as the special day that you decided to become one. So, what are some romantic ways to propose? Here is a list of three ways to propose on Valentine’s Day that will definitely thrill your girlfriend. 1. Do it in front of her family This all depends on how traditional your girlfriend is, of course. If she does not get along well with her family, this is a bad plan. But, if you know she is very close to her mother, father, siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc., this can be a great idea. Have them help you plan the special day. Assign one of them to ask her to come to a family reunion on Valentine’s Day in order to get everyone together. Inform them of the real plan, but have them keep the secret from your girlfriend. When she tells you about the “reunion”, complain a bit about the “reunion” being on Valentine’s Day, but do not over do it to the point where she decides not to go. If that happens, remind her that family is important and even though you would rather take her to a romantic dinner alone, you will go to the “reunion”. If you are very traditional, ask her parents for her hand in marriage before the party. Let the “reunion” go on for a while, so she really believes it is real. Designate a time when you are going to pop the question and inform the others beforehand (so they know it is going to happen) like when you put on a certain song or say something in particular. Then, drop to one knee; tell her how special she is and that you’ve already received her parent’s permission to ask for her hand. Tell her you love her, ask her to marry you and give her the ring. Chances are she will say yes and the whole room will burst into applause. Make sure in advance that you have spoken to someone in the family about taking photos or a video when you ask so you will have the moment preserved on film. 2. Plan a weekend getaway If Valentine’s Day is on the weekend, plan a getaway destination such as Las Vegas or Miami. This is a great way to propose if she likes doing spontaneous things and loves to travel. Don’t tell her until Friday afternoon when she gets off work. Pick her up at the office and say she has 30 minutes to get packed, that you have planned a weekend trip. To do this you will need to plan several things in advance. You will need to get either airline tickets, train tickets (traveling by train can be very romantic), or get the driving directions. Make sure you have reservations at a romantic hotel. For example, if you are going to Miami, try to get a room on the beach. If you are going to Las Vegas, try to get a suite on the Strip at one of the nice hotels. You will have to have the stuff you will need for the weekend packed – including the ring. Hopefully, she will be so excited by the trip, she will think that is what the weekend is about. But, at a great romantic moment, like a walk on the beach or in front of the Bellagio when the fountains are going off, propose to her. If you are in Las Vegas, you can even get married there the same weekend. 3. Borrow from her favorite click flick Most women love romantic click flicks and many include a proposal. If you know a movie she loves that has a romantic proposal scene, reenact it with her. If My Best Friend’s Wedding is her favorite movie, just holler out “Will you marry me?” as she is getting in her car to drive away. It is even better if she is getting on the train (which is how the movie version actually goes). If An Officer and a Gentleman is her favorite movie, walk in to her office, just pick her up in your arms, and carry her out. As you are carrying her out, ask her to marry you. For this, you should probably consult her boss first. If she loves Sex and the City and you have a dog, take the dog out for a walk with her. When you stop to bend over and scoop the poop, pull out the ring just like Aidan did for Carrie. If you are not sure what her favorite chick flick is, ask. You can always use the premise that you are thinking about buying her the DVD copy for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to ask for a few of her favorites to be sure to find one that has a romantic proposal. Proposing on Valentine’s Day is a great idea and one that your girlfriend will surely love. If you have the right setting, it can be very romantic and something that you both will tell your grandchildren about one day.

Top 10 holiday gifts

Here are the top selling holiday items according to MSN Shopping. Couch Signature Gallery Pouch This handbag from Coach is proving to be very popular this holiday season. This short-strap classic style handbag has a zip closure and inside open pocket. It has jacquard fabric with leather trim, is fabric lined, and comes in black, khaki, and red. Diamond Bracelet Sterling Silver by Ashford This piece proves you can never go wrong with diamonds. It has S-shaped links and diamond accents. Silver is a good addition to most styles of clothing and accessories. iPod nano 2 GB MP3 Player by Apple Unless you have been under a rock lately, you are familiar with the iPod family. This version is in between the small type and full-size iPod, but still holds 500 songs and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Satin Drapeneck Dress by S. L. Fashions This is a gorgeous polyester satin pull-over dress which is available in black, almond, and jade. For any special occasion, it will wow whoever sees you. You can not go wrong with such classic beauty. Its stunning sleeveless design and drapeneck provides a sexy but sophisticated look. Step 2 Ride-On Motorcycle A great buy for your toddler, the Step 2 Ride-On Motorcycle will provide hours of amusement for your child, as well as you watching them play. Made of durable plastic, it has wide wheels for stability and easy grip handles. Snack Attack by RedEnvelope Food! This assortment includes sweet and salty goodies for all of those Christmas or Hanukkah munchies. With berry-nut mixes, caramel corn, gummy bears and much more, there is something for everyone. Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) The ultimate in gaming, this portable device allows for games, movies, playing music, and displaying photos. The great thing is that you have all of that at your fingertips. Tealight Fountain by Innovage This beautiful desktop fountain is perfect for the candle enthusiast. With a marble type finish, this piece holds three tealight candles and is calm and relaxing. It is also cordless, so you can set it anywhere. 4 Carat Trillian Cut Green Amethyst & Diamond 14k White Gold Ring by Ice. com This is a truly breathtaking ring. With a large green amethyst stone, surrounded by diamond accents set in beautiful white gold, you are certain to get a smile out of this gift.

An inspirational poem for mother s day

If you are looking for an inspirational poem that shows an understanding of what a mom has to deal with, this is the one. Every mom, young or old, knows this by heart and can only hope that her children will understand when they grow up. "You don't love me!" How many times have your kids laid that one on you? And how many times have you, as a parent, resisted the urge to tell them how much? Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I will tell them. A MOTHER'S LOVE GOES DEEP I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money that we could afford and you couldn't. I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your handpicked friend was a creep; I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me fifteen minutes. I loved you enough to say, "Yes, you may go to Disney World on Mother's Day." I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, mistrust and tears in my eyes. I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or you bad manners. I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask your forgiveness. I loved you enough to ignore "what every other mother" did or said. I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail. I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions, at 6, 10, and 16. I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned but forgave you for it after discovering I was right. I loved you enough to shove you off my lap, let go of your hand, be mute to your pleas and insensitive to your demands...so that you had to stand alone. I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be. But most of all, I loved you enough to say “no” when you hated me for it. THAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF ALL.

8 things for a wife to do for father s day

No, I am not talking about picking up the dry cleaning or filling the dishwasher. That “To Do” list will just have to wait for another day. Things for a wife to do on father’s day are special and celebratory of the fact that this man is your husband and the father of your kids. So, if you are ready, here are some of the many things for a wife to do on Father’s Day: Provide your husband with some “mad money” – Believe it or not, your husband puts off buying little things he needs for the good of the family many times, too. So, giving him some money specifically for purchasing what he wishes, he will feel okay about buying that new pair of khakis or the DVD he’s wanted for months. Have him plan a “night on the town” that you pay for! – Most times when couples enjoy a “date night”, the wife does the choosing of the restaurant and movie. This Father’s Day let your husband make all the decisions and treat him to it all! Surprise him with a vacation day – Plan an outing to the beach, the park or a nearby zoo! Then, contact your husband’s boss and tell him he will be taking the Friday before or the Monday after Father’s Day off! To make it a real surprise, don’t inform your husband until he gets up for breakfast! Go get his car, truck or SUV cleaned and waxed – add an oil change for a total vehicle make-over. Since the men of the house are normally the ones responsible for car maintenance, this will not only be a surprise, but a truly appreciated gift. Send him off for a weekend – Send him to a men’s retreat, out fishing with friends, or anywhere he can relax and rejuvenate. Put aside money all year so you can buy that really expensive gift he wants! Even if you don’t make much, setting aside a little each paycheck can really add up! Make sure this fund is strictly for Father’s Day, so you aren’t tempted to tap into it for groceries. Each year, a nice sum will be available to buy your husband that extravagant gift he really wants! Give him some “alone time” – Set aside a whole day that your husband can do as he pleases. Send him off to golf, play baseball, or have an all day poker party with his friends. Let him know you can hold down the fort and the kids while he enjoys himself. Plan a night “in” – When kids are in the picture, intimacy is not always on the top of your list. Make sure for Father’s Day you make romance the #1 priority. Send the kids to grandma and grandpa for the day and prepare a candlelight dinner, followed by cuddling on the couch in front of your favorite movie, followed by a bedroom rendezvous. The options for things for a wife to do on Father’s Day are limitless. Just ask your partner, lover, and friend what you can do to make that day the most special day of the year.

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