(NAPSI)—Holiday shopping can be a breeze-with or without the
assistance of Santa’s little helpers. This year, more than ever,
people are looking for ways to get the best value out of their holiday
budget. Don’t have a posse of elves on hand to help find the best deals?
That’s OK. With a little know-how, shopping this holiday season can
be as easy as one, two, three (or ho-ho-ho).
• Make a List. Now Check It Twice: Create your
list and begin your hunt for the best deal. Have a favorite place to shop?
Some retailers offer price matching, which means you can shop where you
want and be confident you are getting the best value.
• Sweat the Small Stuff: Much of holiday gift
giving focuses on big-ticket items but sometimes the best gifts come in a
small package. Don’t forget about those great gifts that are $25 or
less. If you’re still stumped, opt for a gift card.
• Give Yourself the Gift of Convenience:
Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful
and expensive. So why not cut a few corners? Look for free online shipping
and easy return options. Some stores let you order online and pick up your
order the same day in-store. These offerings can make a lot of difference,
especially if you are a last-minute shopper.
• Gifting and Saving: Holiday
shopping on a budget doesn’t mean missing out on great gifts for
everyone on your list. A store like Best
Buy prides itself on having the season’s hottest selection of
gifts that will bring smiles to your friends and family, while keeping your
budget intact. Great gifts under $100 include:
• Rocketfish Mobile In-Ear Headphones
• Sprint HTC EVO Design 4G Mobile Phone
•Sportline Step and Distance Pedometer
• Madden NFL 12 for XBOX
•Griffin Technology Crayola ColorStudio HD for Apple iPad and iPad
• Kodak PlayFull Waterproof HD Pocket Camcorder
• Gear4 Angry Birds Apple iPad 2 Case
• Hello Kitty Over-the-Ear DJ Headphones
• Amazon Kindle Touch
• DeLonghi Pump Espresso Maker.
One last tip: Always buy a few small gifts just in case someone drops by
unannounced or gives you a gift you did not expect.
Now, take a deep breath and a giant sip of eggnog, because you are ready
to tackle your holiday list.
the holidays and any gift-giving occasion, an increasing number of
Americans are discovering some smart ways to save. Here are two tips on how
to get the most out of your gift card purchases:
• Savings are in the cards. When you get gift
cards for friends and family, there can be value in it for you too with
various rewards programs offered by grocery stores. Budget-conscious
shoppers can find savings that range from dollars off your next purchase at
the grocery store to discounts on gas.
• Stock up. When you know you have a big purchase
coming, you can buy gift cards—for yourself or others—in
advance and get the rewards. Gift cards are available for a broad range of
popular retail stores, restaurants and sports and entertainment outlets.
• Learn more about savvy gift card shopping and
share your tips at www.facebook.com/GiftCardsRock.
Inspired Gifts That Give Back
a holiday checklist can be easier with a little inspiration. Fortunately, a
new collection of gifts and cards does more than offer some inspired gift choices.
It can inspire real change around the world.
If you’re looking for inspiration, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF offers
new holiday card and gift collections, Inspired Gifts, and products benefiting
UNICEF offered by top brands. All money raised through the
organization’s Gifts That Give Back program will help UNICEF reduce
the number of daily, preventable deaths of children under 5.
Continuing a 60-year tradition, UNICEF’s holiday cards and gifts
collection includes an array of gift ideas for men, women and children of
all ages. From puzzles to home décor and scarves, a portion of sales
from each item will support programs that save, protect and improve the
lives of millions of children in more than 150 countries worldwide. To shop
online or for more information, visit www.shopcardsandgifts.unicefusa.org.
UNICEF holiday greeting cards may also be purchased by calling (800)
553-1200, and at Pier 1 Imports, IKEA, select Hallmark Gold Crown stores
and Barnes & Noble stores. Pier 1 Imports and IKEA will donate 100
percent of the purchase price of each holiday card pack, and IKEA will also
donate an additional $1 per pack sold. The Pier 1 card collection will
feature the winning design from this year’s Annual Pier 1
Imports/UNICEF Greeting Card Contest.
Inspired Gifts—such as Therapeutic Spread, Measles Vaccines,
mosquito nets and more—can make an immediate and dramatic difference
in the lives of children in need and may be purchased online at www.inspiredgifts.org.
Partner companies conducting activities supporting UNICEF this holiday
season include: IKEA, Gucci, Disney by FEED Projects,
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
Through December 24, with every purchase of IKEA’s “Soft
Toys for Education” collection, including stuffed animals, finger
puppets and an accompanying book, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro
(approximately $1.35) to support UNICEF and Save the Children education
Since its inception in 2003, IKEA’s “Soft Toys for
Education” has raised $47.5 million in support of education programs,
including UNICEF’s “Schools for Africa” initiative,
helping UNICEF provide 5.5 million children in 11 of Africa’s
poorest countries with access to a quality education.
In celebration of Gucci’s seven-year partnership with UNICEF,
which has raised over $10 million dollars, Gucci Creative Director Frida
Giannini has designed an updated version of the best-selling “Gucci
for UNICEF” Sukey bag. Twenty-five percent of the retail price for
each bag sold in Gucci stores and online through February 28 will benefit
UNICEF’s “Schools for Africa”
initiative. Gucci also announced a $250,000 donation in honor of its
partnership with UNICEF and the release of the luxury edition tribute book
Gucci: The Making Of... The latest FEED initiative benefiting UNICEF
celebrates Disney’s beloved attraction through the “Disney It’s A Small World” collection, inspired by
the original artwork of Mary Blair.
Items from the collection include a tote, bib, infant bodysuit and pants
set, and a tee for girls and boys, available at Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and
online. For each “FEED Our Small World” product purchased, FEED
will make a donation to help UNICEF provide children with an entire
year’s worth of vitamin A supplements.
Other supporters are helping this holiday season as well. Through
January 15, 2012, for every $1 donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF at www.unicefusa.org/aa, American
Airlines® AAdvantage® program members will earn two AAdvantage
miles in return (minimum donation of $10 and maximum award of 2,000 miles
per AAdvantage member). Delta Air Lines SkyMiles® members can also put
their unused frequent flier miles to good use by donating them to the U.S.
Fund for UNICEF at www.delta.com/skywish.
Looking for another way to give back?
• To aid children in famine and drought-affected areas of the Horn
of Africa, Threadless and BBH New York have partnered with the U.S. Fund
for UNICEF to release a line of T-shirts entitled “Good
Shirts.” Visit www.threadless.com/UNICEF.
• MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence
O’Donnell” has partnered with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in
KIND—Kids in Need of Desks-to provide tens of thousands of desks to
hundreds of schools in Malawi.
For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org/kind.
Scent-sational Gift Ideas
holiday season, give a jewel of a fragrance and receive a jeweled watch to
go with it—both originally designed by the legendary Elizabeth
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the award-winning White Diamonds
fragrance collection reflects the deep feminine warmth and classic enduring
beauty of the woman who created it. The rich, floral scent is available for
the holidays in a beautiful gift set. Available at fine department stores,
it includes a 3.3−fl. oz. Eau de Toilette Spray Naturel, .5−fl.
oz. Eau de Parfum Spray Naturel, 3.3-oz. Perfumed Body Cream and a 3.3−fl.
oz. Gentle Moisturizing Body Wash.
In addition, a beautiful gold-toned watch, designed by Elizabeth Taylor
and encrusted with sparkling faux diamonds and flowers, is available free
with any White Diamonds purchase of $52 or more through December. Offer is
limited, one gift per customer, while supplies last.
Learn more at the White Diamonds counter at Macy’s or www.macys.com.
©2011 House of Taylor
Striking The Right Note
looking for a meaningful gift that provides lasting value, why not give an
experience—such as learning to play a musical instrument?
In a survey conducted by Toluna Global Omnibus for the National
Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), 58 percent of consumers regretted
not learning to play a musical instrument, and 34 percent of consumers said
they preferred to give loved ones gifts that offer an experience.
“The only way a retailer is going to drag consumers away from
their PC or mobile phone this holiday season is by offering a compelling
experience,” said Robin Lewis, CEO, The Robin Report and co-author of
“The New Rules of Retail.” “Whether it’s
Lululemon’s yoga classes or music lessons at their hometown music
store, these are life-enriching experiences that consumers cannot get
Playing an instrument does not have to break the bank. Simple musical
instruments such as harmonicas, ukuleles and keyboards make great gifts,
provide training for the same skills needed to play their larger
counterparts, and cost less.
Visit a local music store for advice on instruments that best suit your
budget and musical interests. You can find them at www.wannaplaymusic.com.
Tech Toys Take Tradtional Playtime To New Heights
smartphones to tablets and all things digital, today’s kids are
surrounded by technology at every turn—even playtime. While kids anticipate
the presence of technology in their toys, according to the Mattel Consumer
Insights Group, a research arm of the leading toy company, nearly half of
today’s moms wish their children engaged in more unplugged
opportunities each day—more similarly to how they grew up.
While we can expect toy companies to continue to incorporate advanced
engineering and design into their next generation of products to remain
relevant to today’s child, there are some toys that help bridge the
gap between child and parent by offering the latest tech-infused
innovations to help further facilitate creative and imaginative play
A few smart holiday toy picks include:
Taking wheel play to new heights, the popular Hot Wheels brand has
placed a video camera inside a 1:64 scale vehicle. Hot Wheels Video Racer
cars let kids become extreme sports video producers, capturing
action-packed footage with their friends and then going online to create
their own films with free editing software featuring preloaded music, scene
transitions and more.
Generations of girls have spent hours brushing their dolls’ hair
but the new Barbie Designable Hair Extensions customize hair play for the
modern-day minifashionista. Children can play stylist, creating designs and
custom patterns online at the free design center and then printing their
creations onto special Barbie hair extensions from any ink-jet printer,
which can then be worn by the girls, their friends and their favorite
For smart tech fun that the whole family can enjoy, UNO Roboto
introduces a new way to customize gameplay every time the family gets
together. UNO Roboto allows groups to record house rules and players’
names so that UNO Roboto can jump into gameplay unannounced and keep
players on their toes.
“We talk to children and parents all year long and we know moms
acknowledge benefits of new technologies, but they also want kids to
interact with toys and other lively activities that foster creative, social
and developmental growth,” says Michael Shore,
vice president of Worldwide Consumer Insights for Mattel Brands. “But
the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Instead, look for toys
that incorporate age-appropriate technologies that can enhance traditional
play experiences, while providing today’s tech-savvy youth digital
generation with toys that are fresh and relevant.”
Great Giving Simplified
make your holiday gift giving easier, consider these tips and tricks from
Amy Judt of TheGift.com:
• Think outside the box. In addition to the usual
stores, try an antique dealer, sewing shop or gardening supply center.
• Food for thought: Some hostess presents give
twice. You can get baked goods and other items that raise money for
charitable organizations. You get to present something that’s useful
for the recipient and supports a cause that may be dear to his or her
• Gift givers who really mean business can also
look into the Business Gift options at 1800baskets.com.
The Premier Chocolate Treasures Gift Trunk, for instance, is filled with a
variety of Godiva, Ghirardelli and Lindt chocolate specialties—and
when you order eight or more, you not only get a lower price on each,
you’ll save on shipping, too. They’re handy for friends and
• Learn more. You can find many great gift ideas
online at www.thegift.com.
Find Fabulous Gifts For Less
some holiday cheer: You can find the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas
list without paying high prices. From brand-name toys to hostess gifts from
around the globe, shoppers can find them for less at off- price retailers
Marshalls and T.J.Maxx.
Consider these unique gift ideas to feel good about spreading holiday cheer
without breaking your budget:
• For the Fashionista: Italian leather gloves,
jeweled bangle bracelets or a blue leather clutch can add a pop of color to
a night out on the town. Scarves from India can help her bundle up in
style and a faux fur sweater vest will make her feel cozy and trendy.
• For the Pet Lover: A reindeer pet costume can
get your favorite furry friend in the holiday spirit while a plush holiday
doghouse gives them a place to retreat to when the festivities come to a
• For Food Lovers: Gourmet food like tea and
cracker sets from the U.K. can make them feel like royalty, and, for the
chef in the family, try an elegant Italian gourmet food basket with pastas
• For the Hostess: Unique gifts such as serveware
from India or pottery
can help make her party the highlight of the holiday season. Decadent
chocolates from around the world are also tasteful for her and her guests.
• For Kids: From Mr. Potato Head to Legos and
interactive books, if they want it, why not get it at up to 60 percent off
toy store prices?
• For the Glam Girl: Assorted retro cosmetics can
help her be the belle of the ball, while designer perfumes and must-have
brand- name beauty products and tools make great stocking stuffers.
• For the Time-Conscious Teen: Fun Slap watches
can help keep her on time and in fashion.
• For Him: For the tech nut, pick up a new MP3
speaker and headphone set. Spoil him with a luxurious cashmere sweater or a
designer watch from those famous Rodeo
All these unique gifts can be found for up to 60 percent off department
store prices at off-price retailers such as Marshalls and T.J.Maxx. With 10,000 new
items arriving each week in each store up until Christmas Eve, there will
always be an amazing selection of gifts, decor and fashion to choose from.
To find a T.J.Maxx store, visit www.tjmaxx.com.
For a Marshalls
store, visit www.marshallsonline.com.