Christmastime is here, and its traditions have become secular as much as they are religious. However, if you have friends of non-Christian faiths, including them in joy and spirit of the the holiday season can be tricky. Here's how to show goodwill without trampling someone else's beliefs.
Tagged With gift giving
Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
A good beauty writer isn't beholden to a single brand, but selects the best products to create the best possible look. Rather than giving a generic box set, buy your beautiful giftee a selection of expertly curated products from a tutorial, then take it a step further, wrapping these products in the tutorial itself.
Buying gifts can wreak havoc on your holiday budget, but having a list of inexpensive present ideas stops you from overspending. What are your best affordable gift ideas?
The Wise Bread blog has a few tips for anyone who's received such a nice thought from far-away relatives or friends who aren't quite hip to their tastes. If Craigslist, eBay, and same-store returns can't achieve equilibrium, you can turn it around, but not without taking a few precautions against getting caught. For example:
Don't wait too long to regift. ... The older the brand new item becomes, the more obvious it becomes that this is a regift. If you can no longer find the product in the stores, if the packaging has been updated or if the company that made it went out of business ages ago, you're stuck with that item. By all means try to sell it or give it to charity, but as a regift it stinks of "here's an old thing I found in my basement, but hey, it's never been used!"Regifting: a simple how-to guide
We've previously described online mega-merchant Amazon.com as a nearly universal wish list centre, but now it really can be. Drag the Universal Wish List bookmarklet into your browser toolbar, and you can add any web page—most usefully, of course, pages of products not offered through Amazon—to your Amazon wish list. Whether you use the lists as a holding place for future self-bought gadgets or actual suggestions to gift-buyers, it's a pretty handy capture tool for multi-purchase projects, brainstorming, or just sending an easy-to-grasp link to relatives.Universal Wish List
You already love the one-stop convenience of shopping online at Amazon.com, but chances are you're not getting everything you can out of this feature-packed shopping engine. Did you know Amazon can email you suggestions from Mom's wish list two weeks before her birthday? Automatically ship you a new case of toilet paper every two months? Refund the difference on the price of an item you purchased that went on sale? Several advanced Amazon features and third party apps and add-ons can help you get the best deals and the stuff you want delivered to your door right on time. After the jump, add our favourite 10 Amazon power-shopper tools to your cart.
Valentine's Day is just over a week away, which means if you're planning on getting something for your sweetheart this year, your remaining time to buy is quickly dwindling. You could go the DIY route and make something like the "sexy secret book" in the video above, but chances are you've already got tonnes of really great ideas to help out your fellow readers put together one helluva Valentine's Day. Let's hear your V-day gift ideas for the geek in the comments.
Amazon power user Merlin Mann makes a convincing case for how Amazon's Gift Organizer helps you be lazy and thoughtful when it comes to giving the perfect gift:
As you surf Amazon and notice stuff that might be cool for Mom or Aunt Sue or that nice UPS man, just click "Add to Wish List" and select the person it's intended for. Into the hopper it goes. Ubiquitous capture. Swish. So, if you start using the Gift Organizer today—even for stuff you have no intention of buying from Amazon—your life is going to be much easier the next time a gift-giving occasion rolls around; you've capitalized on several months of passive, half-assed attention to actually do something useful.
At this point, Amazon is big enough to act as a universal shopping cart and wishlist app; if you, like me, were one of the unprepared stressjobs running around on December 22nd, this sounds like a good Getting Gifts Done system.Preemptively Save Christmas '08 with the Amazon Gift Organizer
Still don't know what to get that special someone for the holidays? In an attempt to save time (and keep within your budget), Kiplinger suggests that you use the Internet to comparison shop and look for the best deals online. Take advantage of local stores that are open 24-hours to locate food, tech gear, magazine subscriptions, lottery tickets, and of course, greeting cards. Show your creative side by giving of yourself. Photo DVDs and homemade treats work well. Buy tickets to sporting events or concerts. Make a donation in honor of friends or family to a local charity. The ideas aren't bad at all, and they'd make great stocking stuffers too!Give the Perfect Last-Minute Gift
For most online retailers the deadline for guaranteed pre-Christmas gift delivery passed days ago (December 18). The mall lines are growing longer and longer and a scant three shopping days stand between you and Christmas. Lowe's seemed to roll out the perfect solution by offering electronic gift certificates delivered over email. However, as pictured above, overwhelming popularity shut the program down. Just when you thought all hope was lost, CBS News comes to the rescue with 15 last-minute gift ideas that don't require leaving the house. What advice do you have to avoid the lines and deliver excellent gifts to your friends and family? Share in the comments.Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas On The Web
Tired of forking over too much cash for gift cards for last-minute gifts? The Zen Habits blog points out more than two dozen life-hack-friendly, GTD-ish gifts that can be had for less than $10 and show a bit more thought than a Home Depot voucher. Amongst the goods suggested are a Moleskine notebook (likely not name brand at that price), pedometers, and a self-made cookbook. I'm sure our readers have far more great suggestions, however—what have you all given when time and money aren't abundant? Spread the spirit of productive giving in the comments!Top 25 Life-Improving Christmas Gifts for Under $10
Crafty do-it-yourselfer John Boak uses anything and everything he's got around the house to wrap holiday gifts: from those fake plastic credit cards you get in the mail (pictured), to packing foam to catalogs, newspapers and bag handles. Don't miss the gallery of gorgeous gift-wrapped packages which will make you ditch your recycling bin and hold onto every bit of colorful paper that comes into your life next year.Wrap Art
If you still have your holiday presents tucked safely in your closet without gift wrap because you simply don't know how to wrap a gift properly, your worries are over. WikiHow explains that the skill of gift-wrapping is all about patience (and having the right length of wrapping paper). Once your paper is all laid out, mark your cut lines where you will be folding the paper. After placing the gift upside down on the wrapping paper, fold the paper around your gift and pull the ends tightly. Tape the folded corners onto your gift. Dress up your final product with a ribbon and a card, and then deliver the gift to the loved ones.How to Wrap a Present
Personal finance blogger Penny Nickel outlines 14 ways to give "more meaning and less stuff" this holiday season. She writes:
I don't know about you, but it drives me nuts to give and receive so much meaningless stuff, just out of tradition. It's bad for the environment, it's stressful to have extra clutter in the house, and it emphasises material objects as the way to show people you care about them. Ugh!
Alternatives to giving stuff include giving favours (like babysitting "gift certificates"), giving experiences (like show tickets), choosing online gifts (like iTunes purchases), and giving to charity in someone's name. How do you avoid giving stuff for the sake of giving stuff this time of year? Let us know in the comments.Holiday Gifting: 14 Ways to Give More Meaning and Less Stuff
US-centric: Free web site TrackThePack offers an interface to simultaneously keep tabs on FedEx, DHL, and UPS packages. It sounds similar to previously mentioned PackTrack, but TrackThePack keeps your packages on its own page rather than moving you to the shipping companies' web sites. It currently tracks only the three major private package firms, and can save your all-in-one screen through a free account or by your IP address. For corporate workers and serious online gift shoppers, it could serve as a handy toollbar link.TrackThePack