We are a little over two weeks away from Christmas which means it’s time to go into panic mode over gift shopping and holiday madness. This also applies to the Hanukkah celebrating crowd since if you’re like my family, you may be getting together separately to exchange gifts even though Hanukkah has come and gone. Holiday parties are dominating the calendars these days and your email boxes are likely overflowing with discounts from every vendor you ever shopped at or browsed at their website. I think I counted 9 holiday catalogs in my mailbox yesterday. So where are the great gifts and holiday ideas this year? Here are a few:
(1) Photo Holiday Cards
You’re probably receiving (and sending?) those fun family holiday photo cards by the dozens these days. We didn’t send one out this year since we’ll hopefully be doing birth announcements come next spring. But that doesn’t take away from the joy I get when receiving them. I used to hang them up all up like a big collage by our apartment’s entry way. But since we’re looking to sell our place and have to get our home to look like a civilized, classy museum for people who might want to live here, we’re advised to remove any “clutter” type items, and unfortunately, I think holiday cards fall into that category. That said, here’s a great idea for what to do with all those holiday cards that won’t take up any physical room. Check this out from a great new design blog called Julep: http://www.minted.com/julep/2013/01/11/note-from-the-editor-4/ How cute an idea is that? And if you haven’t done your Christmas / Holiday card yet, it’s not too late. Check out these adorable designs and help support indie artists. For holiday cards, go here: http://www.minted.com/photo-christmas-cards and I couldn’t resist sharing this link in case you want to send out a pet holiday card: http://www.minted.com/pet-holiday-cards
(2) “Cool,” Well Priced NYC Jewelry
One of the great things about living in New York City is that occasionally, you find out about little boutique shops opening up that offer unique items you’d only find in NY. A friend of mine started working with a jewelry company based in Tribeca, Chloe + Isabel, that offers a beautiful variety of jewelry and reasonable prices. They make fabulous gifts and I wanted to share the link, especially since there’s a 25% off Friends and Family discount through this Wednesday, December 11th: https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/alanabenjamin#19750 Enter code “FRIEND” at checkout.
(3) The Gift for The Person / People Who Has / Have Everything
One of my favorite websites to order holiday gifts from is PersonalizationMall.com. Their products are high quality, the shipping is quick and they are always having sales. I’ve ordered a wide range of gifts from this site, but some of my favorites are the personalized ice cream bowls for my nephews, the picture frames (they are also great gifts for newborns – this is my favorite: http://www.personalizationmall.com/Custom-Personalized-Baby-Picture-Frame-Our-New-Arrival-Collection-p1731.prod?sdest=dept&sdestid=1164&storeid=1&categoryid=1164) and even serving dishes personalized with the family’s last name are always popular (popcorn bowls, flat trays, etc.). You can’t go wrong and for a reasonable price, you’ll have a thoughtful and useful gift to give.
(4) Movie Gift Cards
The Husband’s favorite gift of all time is receiving vouchers to go to the movies. Given, he’s obsessed with the movies, but I think they can also make a great, neutral gift for most people, including office co-workers. AMC offers “Gold” and “Silver” level tickets. The Gold level will get you into the latest released movies and sometimes they come with a popcorn and soda voucher. The Silver gets you into older movies, so if you don’t care about seeing Hunger Games the second it comes out, that category may be right for you. I have a corporate discount that I get through work, but Costco sells them too: http://reviews.costco.com/2070/11539542/amc-amc-gold-experience-movie-tickets-4-pack-reviews/reviews.htm. If you don’t have AMC near you, just order a movie gift card from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=movie+theatre+gift+cards&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=33848470075&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=345935926420394308&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_718o78eaev_b
(5) Holiday Tips on Tipping!
So this is always my biggest concern during the holidays: who are you supposed to provide holiday tips to and how much should you give? Living in New York City, the price tag is way up in terms of what people will find acceptable for a holiday gift. The doormen in our building expect (so I’m told) about $50 each on average and then you have to figure out if the Superintendent should get more and the part time doormen should get a little less. You have to balance these decisions against possible future crises, so that if you’re toilet explodes at 3 AM on a Tuesday, you want to be on spectacular terms with your Super and for him not to think you stiffed him during the last Christmas season. YIKES.
The hairdresser tipping is also confusing to me because I tip mine nicely throughout the year and haircuts / color are EXPENSIVE all year long, so to shell out even more money to say “thanks” seems so excessive especially when on a budget, but I guess another 20-25% is fine and even a small gift (homemade cookies or brownies??) is appreciated.
I remember receiving a holiday card from our postman last year which basically said, “Happy holidays from your US postal service delivery carrier” which I took as a request for cash even though they are not allowed to accept cash tips. I also have to tip Wally’s doggy daycare people and then make a list of the 30 other people that I’ve forgotten about. Of course I see so much of my OB / GYN this year, that of everyone that helps me throughout the year, you’d think this guy should get the best tip of all. He’s treating our unborn child after all. That said, he certainly gets paid enough during my doctor’s visits, so I think that’s covered. This article is helpful in at least establishing some parameters on holiday tipping: http://www.emilypost.com/out-and-about/tipping/92-holiday-tipping-is-really-holiday-thanking
On that note, it’s time to get back to some online shopping, apartment cleaning and breakfast. Hope you all enjoy a nice, calm Sunday filled with getting stuff done.