Archive for the ‘ Gifts ’ Category

 

While writing an article about the best paces to buy toys and gifts for kids in Greater Fort Lauderdale, I thought back to all the holidays we’ve celebrated in our family with our daughter. I have to say that looking back, I wish we had not only bought less gifts ourselves, but I also wish she was given less gifts from others.

This may sound stingy, but it’s not.  The older I get, the more I realize that gift giving, while wonderful in many ways, should be more about quality than quantity. The extra cash you save from buying less stuff, can best be invested in a college fund.  So what are the gifts I believe were the best loved and most useful?

  • Books
  • Arts and craft supplies
  • Additions to collections such as rocks, coins, etc
  • A really loveable stuffed animal
  • Music
  • Travel
  • Pets
  • Lessons – sports, musical instruments, etc.
  • Anything that keeps your child physically active, sporting equipment, a bike, etc
  • Computer

Giving is indeed a wonderful thing, but buying stuff just to buy it is a waste of money and of our natural resources. Giving useful and joyful gifts is what giving is really about. Don’t you agree?

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© Bobbie Peachey, http://webclipart.about.com

 

If you have a child, niece, nephew or friend in college or just want to mail a care package to someone special, here are some ideas for your box:

  • Homemade canned soup
  • Homemade jam
  • Homemade ginger spice cookies
  • Pumpkin spice coffee
  • Candy corn
  • Halloween candy
  • Pumpkin carving kit
  • Halloween or fall themed socks
  • Stickers
  • Fall-colored hoodie or long sleeve shirt
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown DVD
  • Slippers
  • Scarf
  • Halloween make-up
  • Mask
  • Wig
  • Fake spider web

 

You can get the best ideas for your box at the grocery store, superstore (like Target or Wal-Mart), coffee shop and costume shop.  Here are more tips.

 

 

 

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I made this bag for another niece, who had a baby girl in June. I used some fancy trim on the fabric handle, some leftover owl fabric from a  window treatment project and some contrasting black and white fat quarter pieces I had in my stash (though I cannot recall where I got them). The contrasting pink fabric was leftover from a costume project. The most expensive part of the bag was the new beaded trim.

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25 years ago, when we got engaged, my husband was smart enough to buy me an engagement/wedding ring set from Freddy’s Jewelery. They are located in the Seybold Building in downtown Miami. This is the most amazing building to buy jewelry in the US. It’s the second largest to buy fine jewelry in the country (10 floors and 280 jewelers), and the prices and selection just can’t be beat. Plus it’s located in downtown Miami, a great place to visit. People fly in from other states and countries just to buy jewelry here, because they know they are getting great deals. I will never understand why anyone would buy overpriced jewelry at a retail chain, when they can buy it from here – and no retail shop can beat the quality here.

Freddy’s sell the finest diamonds to the public at wholesale prices. What I love is that the members of this family-owned business are the friendliest people, and they can be trusted to sell you the highest quality jewels at extremely fair prices. They’ve been around for 40+ years, so you know they are the best at what they do. How many small businesses in your community have been around for 40 years?

 

We recently stopped into Freddy’s and reminisced with the staff (2 generations) about our experience choosing a ring all those years ago. One of the owners, Howard Steinlauf was there, and he was the one who helped us design the ring 25 years ago. We were thrilled to learn that our purchase has more than tripled in value since then. He offered to buy it back from us. No thanks. This diamond ring still shines for me (and so does the husband)!

I know many people are afraid to go into a jewelry store to get their diamonds appraised, because they don’t know if the owners are going to switch out their stones for lesser valued ones, or just give them a dishonest appraisal. This is not a concern at Freddy’s. I’ve sent countless people there over the years, and I’ve never heard a complaint. They’d never have been able to stay in business for as long as they have if it were not for their honesty, quality and superior personalized service.

Caution: If you do go, be prepared to be overwhelmed by the selection. I am not a big jewelry shopper in general, but my husband had to yank me out of the store because I was hypnotized by all those sparkling diamonds! (He made an obnoxious comment about how he “wished he had a chloroform-soaked rag” to get me out of there without making a scene.)

Thank you Freddy’s Jewelery for always being there. I’ve got a 25th wedding anniversary coming up in about a year and a half, and I’ll sure be hinting about coming in with my husband for a “productive” visit! Those diamond anniversary bands are calling – actually screaming out – my name.

Please tell them at Freddy’s, Debbie Glade sent you. No, I do not get a finder’s fee. I just love this business.

Freddy’s Jewelry

First Floor of the Seybold® Building:

36 NE 1st St #131
Miami, Fl 33132-2432
Phone: (305) 371-8261

email: sales@freddysjewelry.com
Website: http://www.freddysjewelry.com/

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday: 10:30-5:30pm
Saturday: 10:30-5:00pm
Sunday: – Closed

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My two favorite this year gifts were:

Reusable Bags for shopping – Baggu

Earrings form Beadz and More

 

What were your favorite gifts?

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Wooden ornaments you can buy in the craft stores make perfect gift tags, and they are fun to paint while watching Christmas movies on TV.

All you’ll need:

  • Unfinished wooden ornaments
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Small paint brushes
  • Water
  • Paper towels

Simply paint the ornaments as you wish, let them dry, use a Sharpie to write the name of the giftees on them and tape them to the front of Christmas packages. Be sure to rinse off your brush well and tap it dry on paper towels, every time you want to use a new color. You can get creative and use metallic paints, glitter or whatever else works for you. What is great about these is that the ornaments will be used for years to come, and the recipients will think about you every time they put your hand-painted ornament on their Christmas trees.

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Over the years I’ve made my share of mistakes when it comes to shopping for Christmas. I think I’ve got it down pat now. Here’s what I’ve learned:

http://www.cksinfo.com

  1. Communicate. If you are on a tight budget, explain to your friends and extended family members that you prefer not to exchange gifts his year. Another option is a gift exchange where each person buys only one gift for one family member, rather than buying for every member of your extended family. There is nothing wrong with this! What IS wrong is buying gifts you cannot afford, out of obligation.
  2. Get creative. If you have lost your job or are really strapped this year for another reason, that does not mean you cannot have a wonderful Christmas. Get creative and celebrate economically.
  3. Inquire first. Ask those you plan to buy for (including small children), what they really want. That way they won’t be disappointed, and you won’t be tearing your hair out trying to find something perfect. You can get one or two small surprise gifts, but in general, make sure the recipient will use and enjoy what you are buying.
  4. Set limitations. Tell your kids they will not get everything on their list, and be open about your budget or gift limitations.
  5. Zig when everyone else zags. Go shopping during off hours to limit your stress levels. There are deals every single day of the holiday season.
  6. Shop at home. There are so many amazing options online for gifts. Many websites offer free or budget shipping. If you order from only one or two websites, you’ll save a lot on shipping.
  7. Beware of shady deals. Two-for-One deals can be wonderful, but make sure prices have not been elevated before you buy. If the price of two for one is not a big savings, don’t buy it.
  8. Think before you buy.  Now that I am a much more cautious shopper, I always ask myself these questions: 1) Do I really like this? 2) Can recipient really use this? 3) Is this made well? 4) Will this be in my donation pile in a year or less?
  9. Avoid featured holiday gift shelves. You know what these are – those sections of a department store that showcases a bunch of junky low-quality gifts like cheap jewelry or electronics, etc. These are a waste of money and will not last. Don’t buy just to buy.
  10. Track all costs. If you are on a budget, add up the cost of the gifts, taxes, shipping, batteries, warranties, etc. It all adds up.
  11. Capitalize on leftovers. Buy gift wrap, bows and ribbons after the holidays are over. You are going to need it all next year, so why not buy it for up to 90% off?
  12. Attitude is everything. Getting excited about the holidays is a bigger part of the fun than the material aspects. Planning out your meals and activities with your entire family will add to your most memorable moments of the holidays.
  13. Spread the joy. If you can afford to, adopt a needy family for the holidays. This does not mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts. You can buy a turkey for their dinner, or a few small gifts for the children. This is the best way to put the holidays into perspective and show your kids how important it is to give.

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My daughter, Rachel is not home from college yet for Christmas break, but her pal, Molly Rubin stopped by to make Christmas earrings with me. Molly is a college art student, and a pleasure to craft with! We cut green corrugated cardboard, I found in my stash, into different sized rounds and stacked them with beads. It was so simple, and I’ve been getting a lot of compliments when I wear them.

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My daughter just received the finest going-away-to-college-gift ever! It’s a giant sock monkey, named Lloyd. And what better roommate is there than a fluffy, cute stuffed animal who cannot talk, cry, complain, drink or be messy? Thank you Dylan O!

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