Tag Archives: holiday shopping

Holiday Gifts That Always Win

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Holiday Gifts That Always Win

Howdy! The holiday season is here, and there is no doubt about it. And, with this festive season, comes family gatherings, lots of food, and holiday shopping. I, personally, love holiday shopping. But, then again, I love any kind of shopping! And, if you’re like me, then you will want to complete your purchases nice and early this month. Or, perhaps, you like to wait until the last minute and hit the stores on Christmas Eve! No matter how you do it, the present ideas below are always sure to please:

Comfort Items:

Male or female, every person loves comfort gifts. Whether it’s a huge cozy blanket, slippers, or new flannel pajamas, you really can’t go wrong with this option. If you’re shopping for a man’s man, grab a fleece throw with his favorite sports team on it. Or get your best girlfriends a pajama set and a bottle of wine for your next movie night in. These types of gifts are also a great choice, because they are something that your giftee will actually use and they will be sure to think about you every time!

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Ingredient Jars:

A gift idea that I love but, have actually never made, are ingredient jars. You know, the mason or cookie jars that are filled with the fixings to make a delicious pot of soup or tray of sugar cookies. These are fun gifts, because they are activity based but, the giftee really doesn’t have to do anything other than follow the instructions on how to make the recipe. You can go all out and decorate the jar into a reusable masterpiece, too! Or, you can get a set of holiday mugs filled with the goods to make a perfect cup of hot chocolate – a definite hit around the office.

Hobby Based Gifts:

The bread and butter of my holiday shopping are hobby based gifts. When you are preparing your shopping list, think long and hard about the interests of your giftees and plan accordingly. Is she an amateur photographer? Sweet, because Polaroid cameras are making a total comeback. Does he love to garden? Some packets of seeds and some new gear for around the yard will do just fine. Gifts that tend to the person’s hobbies are a great way to go, because you know that they will be well used and they will help to take the giftee’s passions further, which is a gift all in itself.

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Smell Goods:

Alright, let’s be honest here. Lotion, candles, body wash and all of that jazz are the most basic but effective gifts that you can give to someone. Girls love it and, hey, guys love to be pampered, too! But, just because this gift is given constantly, doesn’t mean that it has to be the same old same old. Create a gift basket for a bath time delight with bath bombs from Lush, bath salts, body butter, and bubble bath for the ultimate package for relaxation. Or, gift your guy with a fancy shmancy shaving kit to spruce his self care routine up. And, if you are unsure if which scents to go for, always go with something neutral like Shea or Cocoa butter, which is sure to be well liked by anyone.

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Home Decor:

The option of home decor is a really nice one to go with, because it’s going to be used year round or every year during the holiday season. Pick up some beautiful picture frames with some of your favorite photos of you and the giftee. Or, you could even craft a holiday wreath to hang on the door. Ornaments for the tree are also a hit, too! From centerpieces and vases to knick knacks and outdoor decor (Solar lanterns or wind chimes, perhaps?), decorative gifts are a crowd pleaser, because it’s something that the giftee might not necessarily buy for themselves. I love those types of presents!

Hopefully these gift ideas will put you on the right path to some successful holiday shopping. And, if you’re still having trouble, always remember that homemade gifts are an excellent and well received way to go, too!

What is your favorite type of gift to give? Who is the most difficult person on your list to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Early Holiday Shopping Tips & Tricks

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Early Holiday Shopping Tips & Tricks

Hiiii everyone! If you’re like me, then you like to get your holiday shopping done nice and early. I’ll tell you what, there is nothing better than clearing off your Christmas shopping list in November so that you can relax and be merry all December long. I recently began my shopping for my friends and family and even buying for just a few people has let me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

But, sometimes, holiday shopping can seem like a bit much – especially if you have a large family or group of friends to buy for. And, believe me, I get it. I have a pretty substantial list of people to shop for and that’s why I ball on a budget more than ever during the holiday season with the following tips:

Make A List/Budget:

The very first thing that I do when I prep for holiday shopping is the obvious starter of making a list. I go through everyone in my head that I need to buy for from family to significant others of the family to my boyfriend, BFFs, and colleagues and then write them down accordingly. Then, I include some basic ideas of what to get for each person by their names.

Once I have a good idea of who I need to shop for and what I would like to purchase for them, I set a budget. Normally, I have a pretty set in stone price range that I would like to stay in that applies for everyone. But, there could be certain people that you might want to shell out more or less from depending on the situation. Are you surprising your parents with a holiday gift basket? Awesome, ball out. Do you have a white elephant gift to buy for the office party? Spend a little less. That way your budget will still end up balancing out in the end.

Shopping lists and budgets provide a great guideline for completing your present purchasing in a (Somewhat!) stress-free manner. But, don’t let the price points that you set make you go too crazy! Going over budget is fine if the item is worth splurging on and you know that the giftee will love it. Like I said, there are always deals and hacks to utilize to bring yourself back within your spending limit. Like the following:

Steals, Deals, & Freebies:

My number one rule of shopping is to always get something extra out of your purchases. Whether that be points on a credit card, a free gift, or a BOGO style deal in store, always always shop smart. Do your research on the promotions that your favorite stores are running in store or online. Is a huge Black Friday sale happening? Maybe wait on that big screen TV, then. Is the deal that you can get online even better than what you could get in store? Then you better grab it before it goes out of stock.

Being aware of what promotions that the stores are running is just half of the trick. A good way to go about whether to wait for Black Friday deals or to purchase now is to think about what sales the store ran last year. I worked four Black Fridays in a row and the stores that I worked at ran the same promotions every year and they still do now. So, if those deals are worth waiting for, hold off until Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If not, and a good sale is running already, buying it now is just fine.

The next thing that you should be concerned with, are the deals that you can get with your credit or store rewards cards. Sometimes, it’s worth applying for a credit card just to do your holiday shopping on it. For example, if you apply for an Amazon credit card and get approved, you get a free fifty dollar gift card to spend on the site. Other credit cards will reward you with points or store credit when you use them. Can your cash do that?

And, finally, always compare in store and online prices before you purchase! Some stores will price match if it is cheaper online. And, other stores, like Sephora offer deals that you could never get in store. I spent fifty dollars on their website and got free shipping, two free samples, and two free really nice gifts for spending a certain amount of money. You should try to get the most bang for your buck whenever you’re shopping and free gifts for yourself never hurts!

Ready, Set, Gift Sets:

Gift sets are the bread and butter of my holiday shopping. They are a crowd and wallet pleaser and they are so fun to assemble. Some stores offer stellar pre-made sets that have a lot of product for not as big of a price tag, and those are great, too. If a family member or friend has a more eclectic taste, gift sets are an excellent way to go, because you can give them an assortment of odds and ends that will speak more to their uniqueness than a gift card. Or, if you’re shopping for nieces or nephews, hit up a Five Below and create a goody bag on a dime. And, always remember, that a nice basket or container is part of the gift so pick something nice that can be used again. 🙂

What are your tips and tricks for holiday shopping? Who has their holiday shopping finished already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Dollar Tree Deals

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Dollar Tree Deals

Hi! We all know that Lil Red loves to shop but, the trick is, is that I am all about the discount stores to save copious amounts of cash while I partake in my favorite hobby. In today’s post, it’s all about the Washingtons, because I began my Christmas shopping early at the Dollar Tree and got six fairly decent sized candles for a dollar apiece. Check it out:

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The beauty of discount stores, aside from the immense amount of savings from shopping there, is that no one is the wiser when they receive their presents. I plan on attaching sets of three of the above candles with a festive bow as part of gifts for friends and family and, for all they know, I could have gotten them at Target. Not only is the size of the candles relatively big for a dollar deal but, they smell amazing, too! The Pineapple Upside Down Cake is my favorite and I know that it will be a hit for my giftees. 🙂

What is your favorite discount store? Who has started their holiday shopping already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Gephardt Daily

Top Gift Ideas For The Whole Family

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Top Gift Ideas For The Whole Family

If you want to find a gift that the whole family can enjoy, then you are not alone. Every single year, people try and find gifts for a group of people rather than buying gifts for them individually and this can cause real problems. This is especially the case if the family members in question don’t share many common interests. Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas out there for you to choose from and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to find something that matches your family perfectly!

Family Mugs: A lot of people feel a relentless sense of anger when they find someone else using their mug. We all have a favorite mug, one that we use to get us through those cold winter nights and even those long nights after work. If you want to put an end to those mug-wars then why not consider buying a family mug set? You could personalize each one with the name of the person and even a cartoon picture of them, as well. You can also create one for any guests that come to your home, so there will be no more arguing or bloodshed when the time to make coffee approaches.

Ice Cream Machine: An ice-cream machine is a must-have in the summer months. The best thing about having an ice-cream machine is that they are very easy to use and they are also good for the kids to use, as well. All you have to do is add the mixture to the machine and turn it on. The machine will then chill the ice-cream over time and when it’s ready, you can scoop it right out of the machine. This is way better when compared to making it yourself because you don’t have to worry about putting it in the freezer or even blending it properly. You can then add your own flavors if you’re feeling adventurous!

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YUM.

Family Bucket List: We all have things that we want to do before we kick the bucket, so a family bucket list is really fitting if you know that everyone has a mental list of what they want to do. It’s actually possible for you to buy kits that give you the chance to do this, and each one comes with a container and a list of slips for you to write what you want to do on there. Everyone can see the list going down as feats are accomplished, and it’s ideal for those who have adventurous family members!

Games Consoles: A gaming console is a brilliant way for you to get the whole family involved. You can buy quiz games and you can also buy family-fun games as well. If you have a family of console-lovers or even mobile app gamers, then games such as Final Fantasy 15 are great for this. You can even buy in-game extras and this can include currency and so much more, so it’s ideal if you want to give them a head-start.

Family Charades: Charades is quite possibly the game that causes the most arguments in a family. It is incredibly fast-paced and it is also very fun. When you do play charades, you will be given something to act out. It could be a movie, an actor, or anything else. You can get the kids involved with this and it is a great way for you to make sure that everyone is included. These sets don’t cost much, either, so if you want to have something that the kids can play then this is a good option for you.

Sweets Basket: Who doesn’t like sweets? Sweets baskets are the easiest way for you to get something for everyone without breaking the bank. They show that you thought about the recipients and you can put tags on the individual sweets, too. On top of this, you can add extra goodies to the gift basket. This could be a mug or it could be a selection of coffee. You can make something for each family member or you can make a joint one. Either way, this is ultimately the easiest way for you to appeal to everyone and you can do the whole thing yourself with bows, ribbon and more!

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 YUM again!

Finding the whole family a gift is relatively easy and there are plenty of ideas above to get you started. Happy holidays!

A Former Retail Worker’s Black Friday Lament

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A Former Retail Worker’s Black Friday Lament

Hellooo everyone and happy Black Friday! Boy, I’ve got to tell you – it never gets old not having to work on Black Friday any more. After over four years of working retail, the mall madness is the last place that I want to be, whether it be to work or to shop! It’s so crazy to think that as this post is being published, I would be stuck at work running around like a madwoman – if we were living in 2010 to 2014, of course. #blessed

Some retail workers live for Black Friday and that’s cool, but I was never one of them. I detested Black Friday like a fly buzzing in your ear, the common cold, or the relative that you can’t stand at family gatherings. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I was always very bitter that I never got to fully enjoy it for four years in a row. Of course, I’m thankful for those jobs but my sixteen to twenty year old self didn’t know how to separate the two so that I could still have fun on the holiday, despite dreading going into work in T-minus twelve hours.

As much as I enjoy a fast paced lifestyle, working for over twelve hours straight while on your feet the whole time and rushing to and fro between customers is for the birds. I genuinely don’t know how I did it, especially when I was working two jobs – hello, twenty hour day. And for this reason, among many others, I respect the hell out of retail workers during this time of the year.

It’s funny, because you would think that during the holiday season, people would be full of good cheer and might be even overly kind. Sadly, this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I have memories of delightful customers during the holidays, but those are trumped by people who have almost made me cry because the line was too long, I didn’t have the shirt that they wanted, etc. And for what? The shirt isn’t going to magically appear. The line isn’t going to move in double time. And the craziest thing, is that it was always adults that were speaking in raised voices and being out of line to me and my fellow retail workers. Just SHAMEFUL.

So, having said that, PLEASE be sure to be kind to all of the workers that you interact with today, throughout the holiday season, and always. Working retail is a choice and a responsibility – but how many employees really want to cut their family time short to work a long Black Friday shift? Slim to none. Enjoy yourselves during your Black Friday shopping, but be sure to give all of the employees who made your outing possible a little credit! I promise you that they will appreciate it far more than you know.

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Do you have any crazy Black Friday stories? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: AskIdeas

Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

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Black Friday Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I can’t say that I’ve ever gone Black Friday shopping before and have no real desire to, either. BUT, after working retail for four years, I’ve grown savvy to some pro tips that will get you through the madness with some great deals and your personal safety/sanity still intact. Take a look:

DO:

Know your sales: Most stores do the same Black Friday sales every year. PacSun does, The Body Shop does, Claire’s does, Piercing Pagoda does (All stores that I’ve worked at.). Investigate the sales from year’s past and see if you notice a pattern. That way, you can determine if it’s even worth it to go out and hit the shops. Most stores won’t give you their Black Friday sales info before the day – but it doesn’t hurt to ask, either!

Know your sales Pt. 2: Normally, Black Friday sales don’t end on Black Friday. At PacSun and The Body Shop, their sales didn’t end for a solid month. If you don’t get to the stores on the actual day, I wouldn’t sweat it too much – especially because Cyber Monday is still a thing.

Cyber Monday Savvy: And speaking of Cyber Monday, get hip to it. In some cases, Cyber Monday sales are even better than Black Friday deals, especially if the stores you prefer to shop at have a stronger online presence. Do your research of sales from the past as mentioned in the above sections and make your decision on which day to shop. Or throw caution to the wind and shop on both!

Get there early: If there’s something that you really want, I’d recommend staking out at that specific store front at least an hour before opening. That way, you can get in, grab the item, and get out. It also doesn’t hurt to see if you can put items on hold prior to the Black Friday date so that you can purchase them with the sales and you don’t have to run into the store like a madwoman to get it.

Let it go: If you find yourself in a stand off for the last of something, just let it go. People are literally crazy and I’d rather leave the store in one piece than get the last of something that I’m sure you can buy at a later date.

DON’T:

Be that person: Black Friday is, by definition, a crazy time. Please have some respect. At the mall that I worked in, the store manager of Victoria’s Secret got punched in the face THREE YEARS IN A ROW. That’s pure insanity. You are all better than that. Don’t be that person.

Go in willy nilly: It’s essential to have a game plan during Black Friday. What items do you want? What stores are a must to go into? Can you and whomever you’re going shopping with divide and conquer to get everything on your lists? Devise a plan and stick to it so that you can make the most out of your Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

Buy in excess: Yes, it’s great to get a good deal. BUT do you really need everything that you’re buying? It’s nice to see all of the money that you saved, but don’t buy stuff just for the sake of buying it on Black Friday. As I mentioned before, check the deals. Some stores already have their sales going on now. Think of what is really necessary to purchase and try and do it beforehand, if you can. Being involved in all of the Black Friday hubbub can make you feel inclined to overspend so DON’T FALL FOR IT!!

Black Friday is not everyone’s cup of tea. It certainly isn’t mine! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know a thing or two about how to shop during it. Use my pro tips and have the best Black Friday shopping experience yet! What are some of your Black Friday do’s and don’ts? What are some of the best Black Friday deals that you have scored? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

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Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

Due to how Christmas has developed over the years, the holiday has become more about giving presents than anything else. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – you can easily show how much someone means to you with a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You don’t have to spend millions; a smaller budget can actually make you think more about the meaning behind the gift that you’re giving.

It’s also a great opportunity to slyly slip forward your wish list for gifts that you hope will turn into reality. And for people with slightly more expensive hobbies, like photography, it can be a rare chance to get something you really really really want. Like some of the following:

Lens:

A lens can cost anywhere between fifty and five hundred dollars easily. And it really depends on the camera you have, the quality of the lens you want, and the type of lens you’re after. If you ask for a lens, maybe ask for a case for one, too. You wouldn’t want any breaks to happen immediately after you get your gift!

Cases:

Speaking of cases, a new case could really change the game for you. You might need a waterproof one, and that might just be for the camera while in use or for storage. You can get a branded case, which is designed to fit your particular camera or a generic one which is designed to house a range of sizes.

Tripods:

Ranging from large and traditional to small and versatile, a tripod is a great way to take your photography to the next level. Plus, they aren’t that expensive. Most tripods can fit a bunch of different cameras, so you don’t have to get the branded one. If you’re going to be shooting off in the wild, you might want to look a bit deeper into the specs before choosing.

Camera:

And then, there’s an actual camera. We all know how costly a good camera can be, and it’s likely that you’ve been saving for a while so you can get one yourself. Rather than asking one person to get you one this Christmas, why not ask it of multiple people? It will spread the cost, and it’ll be more likely that you can get the one you’d really like. Or you can always offer to go halfsies.

When looking for the camera you’d like, don’t just go for the flashiest model. Think about what you actually want the camera to do. Are you shooting outside or in? Will you be using a tripod more than going free hand? Do you need the best low light camera or the best portrait camera? Or even one that’s decent at doing both? There are many things to consider, and if you’re just starting out, it’s worth getting one that covers a lot of different options. As your skills develop, you’ll know exactly what kind you need when you get around to upgrading. Maybe next Christmas?

Featured Image By: Pexels