Bring Generations Together
family time is more important than ever, and with the approach
of the holidays, many of us are eager to celebrate with our
loved ones. End the year memorably by dusting off some
tried-and-true traditions and mixing it up with fresh,
With the average price of a movie
ticket inching closer and closer to $8, a night at the movies
with the whole family in tow can cost upwards of $50 before you
even get popcorn and candy. Instead, have your guests bring over
their stashes of classic board games and make sure to stock up
on family-friendly video games, too. "Deca
Sports 2," a sports compilation title from Hudson Entertainment,
is sure to become a classic for the Nintendo
Wii. Families can face off as they
check, dodge and smash the competition across all the included
events: Ice Hockey, Dodge Ball, Tennis, Darts, Speed Skating,
Mogul Skiing, Road Racing and Synchronized Swimming. It even
features Petanque--a game similar to
boccie ball--and Kendo, a form of
Japanese martial arts.
"Deca Sports 2" also lets gamers
use their Nintendo Wi-Fi connection to remotely challenge
opponents across the country. It's a fun way to bond with
relatives and friends who may not be able to travel this year.
The game retails for a value-conscious $29.99 and can redeem
many a snowy or rainy day year-round.
"Deca Sports 2," rated "E" by the
ESRB, is the perfect stocking stuffer and family game this
holiday season. You can find more information at
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Gifts That Matter Focus On
most memorable gifts are often the ones that focus on meaning.
According to a recent Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll,
nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of consumers planned on returning
some of the gifts they received. Instead of a gift that may wind
up being returned, try giving something that is memorable. Here
are some tips to get you started:
- Give the gift of time--Time is one of the most precious
gifts you can give to someone. Offer to help a friend or
family member with housework or with a task that's hard to
find the time for. Volunteer to babysit or weed the garden.
Or invite them to a home-cooked dinner made by you--the
thought and time you put into the meal and details will make
a memory that will be guaranteed to last all year round.
- Ditch the gift card--According to a recent Deloitte
survey, nearly half (47 percent) of consumers
have an average of six unused
gift cards laying around. Whether they got lost in the back
of a wallet or just simply go unused, gift cards aren't
always the best answer for the hard-to-please person on your
list. Take the time to pick out a tangible gift to ensure it
won't be fast forgotten.
- Make a memory, give a memory--The holiday season also
marks the end of a year's worth of great memories. Help
family and friends treasure favorite moments from the past
year by creating a personalized desktop calendar or flip
book from an online photo site such as
Snapfish.com. Available in a variety of colors, layouts
and sizes, the photo gifts are easily customizable with
favorite photos and original text, so you can create a
one-of-a-kind gift that can stay on display year-round.
- Pay it forward--The holiday season can be a great time
to give to those who are less fortunate. Surprise loved ones
with a meaningful donation in their name to a local food
bank or a donation of products to a charity like Toys for
Tots or Meals on Wheels. Get even more creative with a gift
that's beautiful to look at and also gives back.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America has partnered with
online photo site
Snapfish.com to create a Make-A-Wish custom cover photo book
that can be personalized with your own photos. Thirty percent of
all proceeds from the sales of the books will go directly to
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Keep Stockings Full And
(NAPSI)-The trend this year is to spend less but get more.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are
expected to spend 3.2 percent less on holiday shopping this
season. Fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice quality to save
on cost when you shop at off-price retailers like Marshalls and
Many department and discount stores are planning to lower
inventory these days, while off-price buyers will receive more
than 10,000 new gifts and merchandise items right through
Christmas. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx offer amazing savings on
must-have fashion items, trendy accessories, holiday home decor
and even the most sought-after toys.
Here are some ideas for how to make this holiday season
Make Someone Happy
For grown-ups, this could be a great time to fill a stocking
with items you know they really need. Replace his razor with a
top-of-the-line electric one or update her worn gloves with a
new, longer pair in a jewel-tone color with ruffles.
Hot Looks For Cold Weather
Transform any look for winter with a chunky cable-knit or red
cashmere sweater for a pop of color. Pair designer denim with
suede ankle booties or a statement necklace for a bold look. For
a funky look, try a bomber jacket over a sparkly knit dress and
colorful tights. Update last year's coat by adding a ruffled,
plaid scarf and a fringed handbag.
Time To Celebrate
Stock up on barware and other fun party pieces including
decorative cocktail plates, stainless steel shakers and new
glassware. Wow by serving gourmet chocolates or a new recipe you
found in that cookbook! Board games and puzzles can add a fun
and unexpected element to a party.
For Your Youngsters
Off-price retailers have a selection of brand-name toys for
half the price of most toy stores--they'll love Transformers,
Barbie or My Little Pony.
Find a better way to Christmas shop at Marshalls and T.J.
Maxx. To learn more, call (800) MARSHALLS and (800) 2TJMAXX or
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Bringing Entertainment Home
For The Holidays
year, many families are searching for creative ways to entertain
at home without breaking the bank. According to lifestyle expert
Savvy Mommy® Victoria Pericon, with
some careful planning and preparation, celebrating the holidays
on a budget can be just as memorable as a more elaborate affair.
"During the hectic holiday season, everyone is looking for
easy ways to bring more fun time into their homes and keep the
whole family entertained," says Pericon.
"But when watching your wallet, it's important to resist the
temptation to go overboard. Instead, focus on creating
experiences that foster togetherness and make memories that will
last a lifetime."
Pericon, together with Microsoft,
offers the following tips to maximize the family fun this season
without racking up the dreaded post−New
Go Big--At Home
When it comes to holiday shopping, a recent survey noted that
nearly half of Americans will give one large family gift this
year as opposed to many smaller individual items.* According to
Pericon, you'll get more bang for
your buck with a gift that has something for everyone in the
family, such as a new computer, TV or entertainment console. She
suggests an Xbox 360, which provides the biggest and best
selection of games, thousands of movies for instant
high-definition (HD) streaming, access to
Facebook and Twitter and everyone's favorite music on
Last.fm--right from the living room.
For the cost of taking a family of four out to the movies a few
times, pick up the Xbox 360 Elite Holiday Bundle featuring an
Xbox 360 Elite console and two free games and access to
entertainment whenever you want it, all year round.
Breathe New Life Into the Party
Everyday items around the house are all you need to throw a
fabulous holiday soiree. Consider hosting a white elephant gift
exchange where guests gather to trade inexpensive, humorous
items they have no desire to keep. Or, throw a potluck party and
challenge guests to bring a dish using only the ingredients they
have on hand in their kitchen. Once the party is in full swing,
break out the new musical Xbox 360 games "Lips: Number One Hits"
or "The Beatles™: Rock Band™." Even the most reserved guests
will unleash their inner rock stars.
Create New Traditions
Coming together as a family to create lasting memories
doesn't have to leave you strapped for cash. Pick a night to
decorate cookies together, play cards or get a competitive game
of flag football going out in the yard. After a big holiday
meal, Pericon likes to settle down
and watch a movie on Xbox 360 with her family. With a huge
selection of instantly streaming HD movies from Netflix and Zune
video, it's like having a movie theater in your home without the
parking hassles, long lines or outrageous ticket prices.
Connect Without the Cost of Travel
With travel costs rising and budgets shrinking, not everyone
will be able to make it home for the holidays this year. So at
this year's gathering, pass around a digital camera and snap
photos to share with friends and family members who couldn't be
there to celebrate with you. With an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership,
you can send pictures of the kids to grandma over
Facebook, tweet about how Aunt Susan
made her famous gingersnaps, and even arrange a Netflix Movie
Party to virtually watch your favorite supported flicks with
friends from afar. (A Netflix unlimited membership is also
* "Microsoft Holiday Technology Omnibus." Survey. 21-24,
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New Game For Film Fans And
to add some excitement to family movie night or a game night
with friends? Or maybe you need a great holiday gift idea for
the film buff in your life. If so, there's a new videogame
coming out this holiday season that combines both movies and
trivia called "Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!"
The latest offering in the popular "Scene It?" trivia game
series, the game features all-new film clips and trivia content,
covering recently released 2009 movies as well as fan-favorite
Hollywood hits from the last four decades. The game marks the
first time a "Scene It?" title is available for
Wii and PlayStation 3 computer
entertainment systems and marks a return for the brand to the
Multiplayer mode in the game creates a challenging, lively,
social game-playing experience for up to four teams. Competitors
can choose from a variety of classic genre-inspired character
avatars including Horror Queen, Desperado, Starlet, Leading Man
or Swashbuckler. "Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!" features
a brand-new single-player mode not available in previous
versions of "Scene It?" games. This new single-player mode is
designed to challenge player speed and entertainment trivia
There are thousands of new questions, multiple play modes,
unique minigame content, plus a new
host character to spice things up, and they all add up to a
lively group gaming experience. For gamers familiar with other
trivia games on home consoles, it is worth noting that the game
is compatible with multiple controllers so players will have the
choice to use standard game console controllers, or to use
Sony's Buzz™ Buzzers or Microsoft's Big Button controllers.
"Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!" has something for
every film buff and trivia enthusiast.
For more information, call (866) DVD-GAME or visit
www.screenlifegames.com. Distributed by Warner Bros.
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Great Gadget Gifts On A
Santa on a smaller budget can be challenging, but with quality
gadget gifts, you can still please everyone on your shopping
list without breaking the bank.
Chances are, most of your friends
and family already have the high-ticket electronics they want,
such as a Nintendo Wii or DS, Xbox
360, iPhone or laptop. So help them
make the most of what they have with gifts that will enhance,
customize or protect their favorite tech toys.
Enhance--Broaden their gaming horizon with family-friendly
fun at prices you can easily afford. They'll shred the slopes
all winter long in "Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage"
($49.99 on Wii). Shaun White has
partnered with Target to offer a special-edition version of his
latest video game, including exclusive behind-the-scenes Olympic
training videos and in-game content. Or pick up modern classics
like "Wii Sports Resort" (with
$49.99) and "The Beatles: Rock Band" ($59.99 on
Wii, PS3, Xbox 360).
Customize--Reform their tech gear with all kinds of
budget-friendly personalized peripherals and stylish
accessories. Help your budding rock stars show their personal
style with all-new Roxy Earbuds
($19.99) and On-Ear Headphones ($69.99), both available in an
assortment of cheerful colors. For the iPod or
iPhone enthusiasts on your list,
amplify their holiday season with audio accessories like the
Skullcandy Pipe iPod Pipe Speaker
Dock ($69.99)-a sleek new speaker system that sounds as good as
Protect--Keeping accessories protected is an easy, affordable
way to make sure your gifts keep on giving. Even someone who has
"everything" will appreciate items like protective
iPhone covers from Incase
($19.99-$34.99), laptop sleeves from Isis Dei and
Sumdex ($19.99-$29.99), a Hannah
Montana Nintendo DS Lite Protective
Case ($9.99) or Sony PlayStation Portable Travel Case ($19.99).
Save yourself a New Year's headache and stay on budget this
holiday season. You don't have to sacrifice time over money
either-shopping at a store like Target allows you to stock up on
exceptional values in one simple trip. Remember, convenience is
bliss and pleasing everyone can be affordable, so relax and get
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Mobile Phones Designed With
Seniors In Mind Feature Large Buttons, Easy-To-Use Displays
companies that have a long history of providing user-friendly
consumer electronics to the active mature market, Consumer
Cellular and Doro, have teamed up to bring two new easy-to-use
cell phones, the Doro PhoneEasy® 345
bar-style phone and Doro PhoneEasy®
410 flip phone to the market.
The new cell phones, available now, are the most recent
additions to Consumer Cellular's product lineup and feature
enlarged buttons and easy-to-read display text. The phones are
developed by Doro, a Swedish company specializing in innovative
and user-friendly consumer electronics for seniors. The phone
designs are based on Doro's extensive research and studies in
collaboration with seniors and engineers who specialize in
technology, ergonomics and physical disabilities.
"So many of today's cell phones have more features than our
customers will ever use," said John Marick,
president and CEO of Consumer Cellular. "We understand the
difficulty in finding an easy-to-use cell phone and have
partnered with Doro to provide simple, straightforward phones
and calling plans that serve our mature customers. The Doro
phones enable users to enjoy the convenience of cellular service
without the unnecessary--and confusing--features. And equally
important, these phones look great, too. Just because the phones
are easier to use, consumers won't be embarrassed to use them."
Consumer Cellular has taken frustration out of the game by
providing best-in-class service for its customers. It is for
this reason that the company was selected as the exclusive
wireless provider for AARP members.
There are no long-term contracts or early termination fees to
worry about. Customers enjoy the simplicity of monthly billing
with the flexibility to modify their service at any time.
Affordable rates start at only $10 a month and are ideal for
individuals who want all the safety and convenience cellular
service has to offer without paying high rates for unused
Plus, the Doro PhoneEasy 345 and
410 models are less expensive--and more functional--than similar
phones on the market, retailing for $40 and $50, respectively,
with a $35 activation fee. Additionally, customers can add a
second line for just $10 (plus the cost of the phone) and share
To make it even easier, customers can also transfer an
existing cell phone number. Phones are hearing-aid compatible
and available with a 30-day, risk-free satisfaction guarantee.
AARP members receive special discounts and an extended free
To learn more about the cell phone plans for seniors or to
sign up for cellular service, visit
www.ConsumerCellular.com or call (888) 437-9221.
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Shipping Baked Goods
how to properly pack and ship baked and perishable goods will
help keep all your favorite holiday treats fresh and delicious.
Here are a few tips from the pack and ship experts at FedEx
- Place baked goods in a sturdy container and layer wax
paper between the baked goods using crumpled paper to fill
in any void spaces.
- Secure the lid of the container to the body with tape to
keep it from accidentally popping off.
- Place the container in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box
and use newspaper or plastic grocery bags to cushion the
container tightly in place.
- Shake the box-if you can feel or hear any movement, add
- Freeze perishable foods completely and keep in a sealed,
durable plastic container. Add dry ice to keep the food
frozen during shipping. Ship the package overnight, priority
or standard. If possible, let the recipients know when it
When shipping, Ground or Home Delivery services can be sent
up until Dec. 17 for delivery by Christmas. For last-minute gift
givers, the final day to ship with FedEx Express is Dec. 23. For
more information, visit
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