10 Things to Start Doing Right Now to Save on Christmas Gifts

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

10 Things to Start Doing Right Now to Save on Christmas Gifts

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I took down the Christmas decorations from our house?

Well, juuust in case you missed it, it’s almost the end of September. Are you ready to spend a lot of money on gifts?READ MORE How to Save $3K By Christmas Day

If you don’t want to go broke buying gifts and presents, you need to start preparing right now. And we are here to help you. There are 10 things you should do right now to save on Christmas gifts.

10. Make a list of gifts and giftees NOW.

This is the oldest trick in the book. By this time, you should have a list of your giftees and your gift ideas for each of them. You may have more than one gift idea for each person (I personally have 3 choices for each giftee), which is ideal to give yourself a bigger elbow room when shopping.

9. Know exactly how much you’ re willing to spend on each gift.

Your Christmas list should have three columns: your giftees, your gift ideas, and your budget for each gift. This is very important in helping you understand how much you will be spending for Christmas shopping. Never be caught unprepared! Also, feel free to adjust your budget to prevent yourself from spending beyond your means.

8. Do your research. Look for upcoming sales, bazaars, and garage sales.

You don’t have to do your shopping in the mall! Unless there’s a sale (and make sure it’s a really good sale!), you can hunt for gifts somewhere else. There are a lot of places where you can pick up awesome gifts such as bazaars and pop-up markets. Also, keep your eyes peeled for yard sales in the neighborhood. You’ ll never know what treasures you will find!

6. Collect discount cards and coupons.

This is the perfect time to start collecting discount cards and coupons for stores that you’ re planning to visit this Christmas. You don’t have to shell out money for these discounts and you can use them to further reduce your expenses, so it’s a win-win situation.

5. Check if your credit card has special deals for Christmas.

Many banks and credit card companies have special deals and promos just for Christmas. They may offer discounts in selected stores or rebates. But remember: never use your credit card unless you can pay for the same item with cash. Never forget that a credit card is just a tool for transaction, not a genie!

4. Check your existing shopping cards to see how many points you have accumulated.

Oh, and if you have shopping cards, which grants you points every time you buy stuff from their stores, you need to call customer service now and ask how many points you  have accumulated. You may have accumulated enough points to buy 1 or 2 gifts for free!

3. If you want to make gifting more special, start watching recipe and craft tutorials.

The best gifts are often handmade, but not all of us are naturally creative. Don’t lose hope. If you want to give your loved ones baked goodies or personalized handicrafts, now is the best time to start reading Christmas recipes, watching tutorials and practicing. If you wait until the last minute, you’ ll probably give up and just end up buying gifts — not good for the budget, I tell you.

2. Use Saving Made Simple, an app that helps you save money more easily.

For short-term and long-term saving, I use this app to help me determine how much I should save per day, per week, every 2 weeks, or per month to achieve the goal. It’s called  Saving Made Simple&nbsp, and is available for Android (not sure when it will be available for iOS sorry!).

1. Go on a spending diet.

I know there are still 93 long days before Christmas and, surely, there will be days when you will feel like shopping. But don’t do it. Be strong. Of course, you should go ahead and buy stuff that you need, but  stop buying unnecessary stuff, at least until Christmas. Instead of shelling out cash on unnecessaries, keep them instead.

Drooling over the new shade of MAC lipstick? Take out the exact amount of money you would have spent for that lipstick and drop it into your savings jar or envelope (or whatever). Instead of spending on stuff you and your family don’t need, increase your Christmas shopping fund and see your goal fulfilled in no time. Not only that, you will also be learning the delicate art of delayed gratification. *wink*

What do you usually do to save on Christmas gifts?

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

Weird and Wacky Christmas Traditions around the World

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals


Weird and Wacky Christmas Traditions around the World

Weird and Wacky Christmas Traditions around the World

Christmas celebrations are all about merrymaking, attending church and exchanging gifts with your loved ones. When we think about Christmas, we think about Santa Claus, some great tasting turkey and pudding and a beautiful Christmas tree.

Christmas celebrations are all about merrymaking, attending church and exchanging gifts with your loved ones. When we think about Christmas, we think about Santa Claus, some great tasting turkey and pudding and a beautiful Christmas tree.

However, Christmas celebrations are not the same in all parts of the world, in some countries people follow some very strange and wacky customs and traditions. We have compiled an exciting list of some of the strangest Christmas traditions:

 

 

Philippines

 Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

 

 

 

2.

The most amazing Christmas markets in Europe

What’s more magical at the end of the year than to dive into the heart of traditions, visiting the Christmas markets. Lost in history, these places welcome you with a warm atmosphere and are perfect to round off the year while enjoying the one or other mulled wine.

What’s more magical at the end of the year than to dive into the heart of traditions, visiting the Christmas markets. Lost in history, these places welcome you with a warm atmosphere and are perfect to round off the year while enjoying the one or other mulled wine.

What’s more magical at the end of the year than to dive into the heart of traditions, visiting the Christmas markets. Lost in history, these places welcome you with a warm atmosphere and are perfect to round off the year while enjoying the one or other mulled wine.

Follow us on a tour along the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe!

The gourmet choice – Prague

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

The market of Prague remains one of the most famous of Europe. You’ ll experience  lovingly decorated stands, souvenirs of all kinds but also delicious Czech pastries accompanied by traditional meat dishes. A real treat for the senses!

The gourmet choice – Prague

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

The market of Prague remains one of the most famous of Europe. You’ ll experience  lovingly decorated stands, souvenirs of all kinds but also delicious Czech pastries accompanied by traditional meat dishes. A real treat for the senses!

The oldest Christmas market – Dresden

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

Dating back to 1434, this market is one of the oldest and most authentic Christmas markets there is. Even in Germany, which is famous for its markets, this is something quite unique. Stroll along with the giant pyramid and make sure to enjoy a piece of stollen, a traditional candied fruit cake.

Dating back to 1434, this market is one of the oldest and most authentic Christmas markets there is. Even in Germany, which is famous for its markets, this is something quite unique. Stroll along with the giant pyramid and make sure to enjoy a piece of stollen, a traditional candied fruit cake.

In Vienna, Christmas markets are legion. There are no less than a dozen! The most important one, however, is in front of the town hall with its 130 beautiful cottages. all culture lovers must also visit the Christmas market dedicated to Central European crafts and popular culture. Here you’ ll find concerts, workshops and even live poems.

Christmas Time

Well it is that time of the year once more Christmas IT is the  Magis of the season when people fall in love with the Earth and each other

It is time to Slow Down and says Hello Merry Christmas to each other. It is the time of FAMILY a time to heal wones and bad feelings It will not HURT to say I’m Sorry

it is Christmas Time the this to Give gifts and come together Its Christmas

It is my hope that each oy you have a bright year filled with Pleanty


 

 

 

Caribbean Cruises – Selecting a Caribbean Cruise that Suits You

Often considered the vacation of choice for a certain age group, the demand for Caribbean cruises is increasing; this has got to be the easiest way to see a variety of Caribbean islands in a short space of time. It should be on everyone’s list of vacations with tropical Caribbean islands, clear, clean beaches and of course a fun-filled time on board the cruise liner. Some people only take a short break and visit perhaps only a couple of islands as part of a larger vacation but most people are doing a tour of as many islands as they can with some lasting over two weeks.

Vacations like this are about enjoyment and it what these companies do best irrespective of whether or environment, it is your choice; enjoy the onboard entertainment or that at each destination. Never worry that there will not be enough to keep you occupied as cruise liners are past masters at ensuring their travelers have everything they need.

It is always a pleasant use of your time to see what vacations on ships are available and see what choice of packages there are so why not start at the local travel operator for some advice. Almost every Caribbean island will receive cruise liner guests but they can’t call on everyone each trip as it would take to long so you need to look for a package that will call at the islands you want.

Some cruise vacations to the Caribbean are for people that like to party with plenty of discos and non-stop entertainment and may not be the ideal place for families. Don’t forget that more and more information is put online these days and whilst the travel agent will be helpful, there is every chance you can take a virtual tour of the Caribbean cruise ships if you visit the website directly.

Remember that a vacation on board a ship allows you more opportunity to dress up as there are more functions than you are probably used too. These are the sort of times when you will need to have a tuxedo for men and evening gown for women as part of your attire.

The great thing about cruise vacations is that if you take your children along you can be sure they will have a fun filled time. You can even take time off for a little quality adult time as there is fully trained staff to look after them.

Some Caribbean cruises are specifically for adults only, which ideal for couples, honeymooners, and people that would like to have a child-free vacation. There is no end to what you can actually request on your cruise liner vacation so if you have just got married or are celebrating your fiftieth wedding anniversary, something special can be arranged.

If you let the staff on your Caribbean cruise do their job, all you will have to do is enjoy the vacation, after all, isn’t that what it’s all about.

Universal Studios Orlando – Celebrate Christmas in Florida

Universal Orlando is dedicated to bringing the fun and magic of cinema to you and your family and giving you the experience of a lifetime. The magic doesn’t stop when Summer and Fall are over, though. The holiday season comes alive at the Universal Resort’s theme parks and hotels, and we welcome you to come to share in the festivities!

Festive decorations, lights and your favorite holiday melodies greet you along with every turn at Universal Orlando Resort. Universal Studios Florida features live street performances with memorable characters dressed up for the season. Kids can dance and sing along with their favorite characters at the KidZone Holiday Show and Barney’s Christmas show, ‘A Day In the Park with Barney’. And be sure to catch the Blues Brothers Christmas Show, rocking your favorite holiday tunes every night and bringing the snow down on Delancey Street after every show.

Your trip to Universal Studios Florida wouldn’t be complete without catching the famous Macy’s Holiday Parade, with your favorite floats from the Thanksgiving Day Parade, performers and marching bands from across the country and Santa Claus himself topping the bill with the tree-lighting Ceremony.

The Islands of Adventure join in the holiday fun when The Grinch invades Seuss Landing and transforms it into Grinchmas, with Who-ville decked out in unique holiday decorations and featuring a brand-new live stage show starring The Grinch himself; you’ll dance and sing along to a special presentation of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, with music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller.

Later in the season be sure to catch the one-of-a-kind Universal 360 Cinesphere Spectacular, bringing iconic Universal special effects to huge, 3D life on spheres across the lagoon along with breathtaking fireworks and laser light displays. And the Universal CityWalk invites you to rock in the New Year with a blowout celebration; The New Year’s Eve Street Party features live entertainment, food and a countdown party with fireworks and a live telecast from Times Square.

The Universal Resort hotels also take part in the holiday festivities with unique events, all moments away from the parks. Celebrate the season Italian-style at the Portofino Bay Hotel, have a rock ‘n’ roll holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel or experience the tropical festivities at the Royal Pacific Resort.

Special packages and prices are available for any and all of the spectacular events, theme parks and hotels for the 2008 Holidays at Universal Orlando to make a unique holiday for you and your family. However you want to experience the seasonal festivities at Universal Orlando Resort, you won’t want to miss a minute of the holiday fun. So come spend the season with the holiday sights and sounds as only Universal Studios can bring them to you.

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Christmas Is All Around in London

Despite being the setting for Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, the attitude of this capital city is far from “Humbug” when it comes to celebrating the festive season. Indeed, it seems that with every year that goes by, London strives to improve on its previous performances by rolling out even bigger and better decorations, lights, attractions and general merrymaking in a bid to become the most Christmassy of cities.

Visitors to England’s capital this winter can’t fail to feel the Christmas cheer as they negotiate the main shopping streets with their glittering window displays, bundle up in hats and mittens for a stroll through the parks, or marvel at the myriad landmarks as the strains of caroling fills the air with festivity.

Whether you live in London or are visiting for a Christmas break, here are some tips on where to look if you’re hoping to get the most Christmas for your money while out and about…

Christmas Lights

London’s Christmas lights are arranged somewhat strategically this year, with different Christmas-themed items depicted above each main street.

Oxford Street shimmers under giant twinkling snowflakes, while Carnaby Street is adorned with a sparkly holly leaf and berry garlands, as well as enormous mistletoe chandeliers which change color in time with the music. An illuminated cobweb of stars scatters the length of Regent Street, decorated with images advertising the animated 3D film ‘Arthur Christmas’, and St Christopher’s Place is a fun-fest of huge colored baubles and glitter balls.

Ice Skating Rinks

Outdoor ice rinks seem to have sprung up all over the city, one of the most impressive being the grand courtyard at Somerset House, which has transformed into an icy paradise presided over by a huge Christmas tree decorated by Tiffany’s and inspired by carousel animals. This rink holds a skate school with sessions for children and disabled people, as well as ice dancing lessons, late-night skates and club nights.

Other outdoor rinks of note include the Natural History Museum’s 1,000m² rink, alongside which is a less imposing rink for children, all surrounded by trees decked in fairy-lights giving the impression of a snow-globe fantasy world. Canary Wharf also has its own rink situated in the midst of the towers, which is recommended by “Time Out (London)”.

Christmas Markets and More….

Take a walk through any part of London and you’re bound to stumble across all kinds of festive markets and Christmas fairs. It seems everywhere you look at the moment there’s another “Winter Wonderland” springing up, but Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is certainly a wonder to behold this year, with a Christmas market of over 100 stalls, a giant observational wheel and the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, as well as Santa Land and a fully heated and covered restaurant/bar for when Jack Frost starts to nip!

A trip down the Portobello Road will uncover the Bad Santa’s Grotto, a seasonal exhibition where Bad Santas paint, rap, and beatbox, alongside street art photography displays and a Christmas market.

Even London Zoo is getting its Christmas on, with London’s very own reindeer herd taking up residence at the “Reindeer Lodge” exhibit every weekend from November 26th until Christmas (when, of course, they’ll be packing up their antlers for the long overnight trip delivering presents to all of the world’s good children!).

Looking for a Christmas Party Venue in London?

Every year the same old problem, the boss gives the order to conjure up the party of the year for the company and to do it with a modest budget. No pressure then! So where do you start in London? There are so many bars, pubs and clubs in London that it could be a task that keeps you up all night!

When I normally book our staff Christmas party venue, I have to do a lot of hunting around on the internet. There are not so many good sites as you just get basic listings of venues which really don’t tell you much. I am normally looking for a venue with a bit of class and atmosphere, somewhere with a private space so it feels like we have something special for our Christmas party, some tasty cocktails and drinks list and of course some good music to let your hair down to. So I want to design my night so that I feel we have put our own stamp on the party and it is not just some cheesy old backroom of a pub.

My boss has a thing for rooftop bars so that is something I normally have to consider when planning our Christmas party and things can get quite pricey! One thing I have also go to remember is that our budget is often limited, normally two or three complimentary drinks, but then the rest is at the expense of the staff. Because of that, I have to try and find a bar or club that has cheap drinks to make sure the party spirit continues!

We normally head for central London for our corporate events so that is normally the area of London I start looking at. Over the years we have had some really successful Christmas parties. Firstly I would recommend Meza as a great place. They have a private room with a plasma TV, options for karaoke, Wii, PlayStation and any other games that you want to add to the party. There is a really good DJ playing in the bar and it has a nice classy feel to the venue so everyone makes a special effort to get dressed up.

Hawaii Camping on Oahu – Try Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden for Hawaii Budget Vacation or Eco Travel

Camping on Oahu has its challenges. Unlike the other islands in Hawaii, many of Oahu’s campgrounds have a litter and/or roudiness issues. However, you can find a few very nice, clean, quiet, safe and scenic places to camp on Oahu. The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe is one of them.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens lives up to its name, which translated to English means, “to make a place of peace and tranquility.” This is a very peaceful environment. And rules are very strict about noise; for example, even in the middle of the day, radios and CD players must be kept low enough to not disturb camping neighbors.

The gardens meander through 400 acres and are backdropped by the green, castle-like peaks of the majestic Ko’olau Mountains. Plants from tropical regions around the world are grouped here geographically, and special emphasis is placed on conserving plants native to Hawaii. The Hawaiian garden here like many of the others here has some very nice tent sites, along with clean indoor restrooms and showers.

You can camp here free of charge from 9 a.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Sunday, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. There is no camping on the other days of the week, but this is a nice place to stay for the weekend. While it doesn’t have 24-hour security, everyone I spoke with said it is very quiet.

The gate to the gardens closes at 4 p.m. and those camping there will be given car passes so they can use the later gate that is open from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Considering all this, and that it is a mile hike from the gate to the first campground, this takes it off the list for “party spots.” Since it doesn’t have beach access, it’s not a place where big extended families gather with good Hawaiian music and food either. People come to the gardens to enjoy the flora and fauna and the peacefulness.

While there’s no beach here, there’s a trail that will take you to a wonderful spot for watching the sun rise over the ocean.

Tent sites are on the lawns and include fire pits and picnic tables. You must bring your own firewood and grills.

The staff members we spoke to in the garden’s Visitor Center were warm, generous with their time and very knowledgeable. The center features an art gallery with cultural exhibits and a botanical library. You’ll also find a network of trails and a lake (catch and release fishing; no swimming).

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens is located near several wonderful sightseeing, water play and other destinations including the Boyda Temple tucked away in the Valley of the Temples and featuring a larger than life Buddha statue, meditation garden and pond with 10,000 koi; Kaneohe Bay with its white sandbars appearing as tiny islands in azure waters at low tide; the cities of Kaneohe and Kailua with several shopping and dining opportunities; the country and very Hawaiian town of Waimanalo where horses still roam free and the beach is one of the best on the island; and Kailua Bay, the quintessential water playground of the Windward side that offers a long stretch of white sand and protected waters popular with beginning boogie boards, kayak paddlers and windsurfers.

A variety of programs are offered at the gardens throughout the week such as orchid growing, weather making, and botanical drawing to name a few. Some of these have fees, while others are free of charge. For a current schedule, use the contact information above and request one.

Hawaiian ecology is emphasized in these programs. Day use and camping programs can include ethnic, craft, botanical, horticultural and environmental activities. Free guided nature hikes, covering topics such as local birds, cloud watching and medicinal plants, are offered at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays.

The catch to this free and peaceful campground in a garden? It’s in a rainforest. So remember to bring a waterproof tent and gear. It will still be warm though, so something light-weight, like the poncho that fits in your pocket or a light-weight jacket will work best. You may also want some mosquito repellant, although I wasn’t bothered by them. You will find picnic tables here and campfire rings. If you want to use a tarp, bring poles because they don’t allow tying anything to the trees. A small camp stove or hibachi might also be useful.

You can get a detailed map with hiking trails in the Visitor Center or at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens. However the Web site’s map doesn’t include a legend, so if you use it just know that the hiking trails are shown by dashes, and the H-3 Freeway is shown by boldly printed dashes. Distances aren’t shown on the map, but the Visitors’ Center can answer your questions.

Grocery Store Discount Lift Tickets – King Soopers, Costco and Safeway Ski Deals

Hunting Down Lift Tickets at Grocery Stores

Back in the 1990's and early 2000's there was a huge movement in the ski industry to partner with grocery stores and local ski rental locations to sell discounted lift tickets. Nowadays, passes are still sold at grocery stores, but unfortunately, the rates are no longer discounted. Even in off-peak times, prices at King Soopers, Safeway, Costco, and Albertsons' grocery stores are the same rates as the ski resorts themselves.

It is common knowledge within the ski industry that purchasing your tickets ahead of time can significantly save you time. With the advent of online brokers, deals and discounted ski passes are easily found online. Just a simple search for discounted rates at your favorite ski resort will lead you to many options that you may not know are available to you. Before you spend your precious time in the car searching for deals at grocery stores such as Safeway, King Soopers or Costco, check online first.

1. King Soopers Discount Ski Lift Tickets

King Soopers is the most well-known grocery store for selling passes. This is especially true for Colorado skiers or those visiting on vacation. In years past, King Soopers had good rates at all major stores throughout Colorado. This has changed in recent years especially for peak season time periods. Discounts at King Soopers do not exist anymore during the high season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, President's Weekend and most of March). In the low season, the ticket rates at most grocery stores are the same rate you would find at the ticket window.

2. Safeway Discount Ski Passes

Specials on Safeway lift passes are very similar to King Soopers and the price you pay depends on the time of year you are planning on skiing. It is advisable to book your lift tickets online in advance, instead of waiting to the last minute.

3. Costco Discount Skiing

Costco reportedly has deals for skiers in California and Utah, but discounts do not exist in Colorado. The price for various ski resorts in the Utah and California region varies broadly depending on when you are looking to head to the mountain. Check your local Costco outlet for options. Or if you'd prefer to save gas, money and time just search online for better deals. Most online travel portals that sell discounted ski tickets will email you the confirmation. After that, all you have to do is print out your confirmation and bring it to the ticket office to redeem your ski passes.

4) REI Stores

Some REI stores sell lift tickets through their connection with Ticket West. Prices vary depending on the season.