Posted by Vered on December 20 2010
It’s been a rough 3 years for all of us. The Great Recession has been tough on everyone. But ‘tis the season to be jolly, and give thanks, and so we have decided to look at all the things we are grateful for this season, as we spend much valued time with family and friends.
1. Family. We are grateful for our loving, supportive family.
2. Friends. We are so lucky to be surrounded by friends with whom we can share a laugh, have a talk, and know they will always be there for us.
3. Roof over our heads. Every night as I climb into bed, I say a silent than you for something I would otherwise take for granted – a roof over my head, a warm bed, and my family close to me.
4. Food on the table. This should be something that we all take for granted, but even in the United States, this is not always the case. Anyone who has plenty of food, and access to healthy, nutritious food, should consider themselves very lucky. In fact, each time I enter a supermarket and see all the abundance surrounding me, I am reminded of how lucky I am.
5. Clean water. Something that in many developing countries around the world people cannot take for granted.
6. Modern medicine. Yes, the US health system is far from being perfect. But most of us are still in a far better place than previous generations when it comes to access to high quality healthcare and to routine preventative care. We are definitely at a much better place compared with developing countries.
7. Technology. Technology is amazing. It has improved our lives so much, and we do tend to take it for granted. But sometimes I look around me, at all the appliances and gadgets and tools that make my life so easy compared with previous generations, and I am so grateful!
8. Art. Music, plays, books, paintings, movies. Whatever genre of art moves you, remember to be grateful for this beauty and for the escape it allows you from your day-to-day struggles and worries.
9. Freedom. Each and every one of us living in the free world should be grateful for our personal freedoms. In many countries around the world, people do not enjoy the freedoms we enjoy.
10. Life’s little pleasures! Sleeping in on the weekend, a warm bath, a frothy cup of fragrant coffee, freshly baked holiday cookies, reading a good book, and getting cozy in our flannel pajamas in front of the fireplace.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!
Posted by Vered on December 01 2010
It’s been a long recession, and it’s not completely over yet. We’re all trying to save, and of course the holiday season isn’t traditionally the best time to save. But with a whopping 83 percent of shoppers expecting to spend the same or less on holiday gifts this year compared to 2009, it looks like we have become truly serious about watching our spending.
Here are a few easy tips for saving this holiday season:
1. Buy on sale. Whether you shop for food, for gifts or for everyday items, buy as much as you can on sale. When shopping online, see if you can get free shipping (Tiny Totties, for example, offers free shipping on US orders over $99). Also check to see if you can use any coupons, whether you find them in your Sunday paper or print them online.
2. Limit gift giving. Many families are only giving to children these days, and even there you can agree to limit to kids until the age of, say, 12.
3. Give practical gifts. If the adults in your family exchange gifts, it’s very thoughtful to find practical gifts. Expectant parents will appreciate many of the items featured in our Baby Gear section.
4. Limit partying. Holiday parties and get-togethers are fun, but they can also be costly, especially when you need to hire a babysitter and bring a hostess gift. Try to limit the number of events you’re attending and only go to the most important ones.
5. Focus on the holiday spirit. Holidays are not just about exchanging gifts. The recession has forced many of us to become better at managing our money and to focus on the spiritual rather than on the material. This can actually be a good thing. This year, focus on spending quality time with family and friends, on sharing meals, stories and jokes. It’s the best kind of sharing!.