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Enjoy the Simplicity of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is once again upon us and what was once in youthful times a joyous and happy time has become a dreaded season of commercialism, overspending and unmitigated stress. Many people can only recollect the magical feeling of joy during the holidays of their youth. They are exceedingly jubilant watching carefree children blissfully enjoying the spirit of the season devoid of responsibilities and free of stress.

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring families and friends together every year to celebrate the exalted traditions of the season of thanks and good will. For those who spend hours working to make everybody else’s experience wonderful, their own often comes up short. There are several ways that some of the work and stress can be reduced, and the enjoyment extended to all by simply increasing everyone’s participation and contribution in the preparation of the victuals. Planning a Pot-Luck or partial Pot-Luck allows for the delegation of many of the smaller tasks, such as providing desserts or appetizers. After all if everybody always has to hear about Aunt Betty’s famous apple pie, she might as well bring it. This way, everyone can enjoy the pie, and make Aunt Betty happy by showcasing her gift of culinary artistry.

There are many ways to consolidate work, stress and expenses of the holidays. There is no way to avoid the expense of buying gifts, but it can be stretched over the course of time. Picking up a present here and there during the course of the year is the smart way to shop but few people are inclined to practice this. For those who enjoy Christmas shopping, buying the first present for themselves is a veritable reliever of stress. This may seem a bit cynical, but it is a delightful incentive to go shopping without the anxiety brought on by the pressure. Perhaps buying a decorative piece to use every holiday can lower costs for future holiday celebrations.

Decorating can be simple for those inclined to the creative arts. Simple pine cones, fallen leaves, pine needles and other natural gifts of nature, combined with glue, interchangeable colored ribbons, wrapped up gingerbread figures, and other decorative items purchased at the dollar store can serve as both Thanksgiving and Christmas wreaths and table settings. These can easily be transformed between holidays with a few minimal changes like candy canes and assortments of figurines and trinkets. Getting the children involved with these kinds of projects not only gives them the opportunity to participate, but also stimulates their creative instincts, and can lead to the elevation of their spirit of the season. Children will appreciate their own creations over the artificial store bought decorations. It also endows them with a sense of pride as they have made a contribution in a direct and personal way. This is far more satisfying for them than just participating in the perfunctory tasks of placing artificial nick knacks in designated locations around the house. Creative thinking is the key to abating costs and stress.

November 11, 2010   No Comments

Thanksgiving Recipes for 2010

Thanksgiving is always a time of year that people put pride into their cooking. They may use recipes passed down the generations from their great-grandmother, or they might just use recipes they find online or in recipe books. You have to have a turkey and grandma’s famous stuffing, and the family favorite green bean casserole. Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without the pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce either. We’re pleased to give you the top 5 Thanksgiving recipes of this year.

Stuffing
Your grandma probably made her stuffing from homemade bread. Your mom probably made hers with store-bought bread, croutons, or with store-bought mix. They both tasted just as good. You can make a delicious stuffing using day-old bread, cornbread, butter, finely chopped celery and onion, and seasonings. Stovetop stuffing is very easy to make and very good, but you will need proper pots, such as the set you can find here, . Melt the butter over the stovetop and sauté the onions and celery. You then chop up the breads into cubes and toast it in the oven, and mix the bread with the sautéed onions and celery and seasonings; moisten with chicken broth as necessary. Put this into a baking pan and bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

Turkey
The turkey is usually a big deal. Some people will take a whole week to prepare their turkey. Most people do not care for turkey and just throw it in the oven, but if you prepare your turkey right, you will have a very delicious juicy bird. You should start by soaking your turkey in brine overnight. This will help to make it more tender by absorbing salt and break proteins down. To make great brine, rub down the turkey in a cup of salt, place in a big pot, and cover with a gallon and a half of cold water. Add a lemon, an orange, and an onion, all cut into wedges. To this, add three cloves garlic, four bay leaves, a tablespoon of dried thyme, and tablespoon of ground black pepper. Let this sit in the refrigerator overnight. On the big day, take the turkey out, rinse it, and throw away the brine. Place in a roasting pan, such as the one you can find here here, brush with 1/4 cup of butter, and stuff with the stuffing.

Casserole and Cranberries
Two of the most overlooked dishes at a Thanksgiving dinner are often the best. These two dishes are the green bean casserole and the cranberry sauce. Green bean casserole is very simple to make, you just have to decide whether you want to use fresh green beans or canned beans. It is simply mixing a can of cream of mushroom soup with green beans, a little bit of onion, some milk, a dash of soy sauce, and some French’s French fried onions. Cranberry sauce can either be bought in a can, or you can make a traditional homemade sauce. This is a simple sauce made from 4 cups of cranberries, one cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water. You dissolve the sugar in the water, and then add the cranberries, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Some people add pecans, orange zest, cinnamon or blueberries. It is up to your preferences what you add. You will probably want a casserole dish though, and one that will look good on your table, such as this gorgeous white Corningware dish.

Pumpkin Pie
The best part of the dinner is the dessert. Of course, this is what pumpkin pie fanatics would say. Pumpkin pie a simple to make, whether you make it from a can or you make it from scratch. A simple delicious pumpkin pie can be made using a 15 ounce can of pumpkin, three fourths of a cup white sugar, 1-12 ounce can of evaporated milk, two eggs, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half a teaspoon of salt and ground ginger each, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves. Don’t forget the whipped cream on top!

So this thanksgiving, cook up, eat up, get fat and be happy! Then it’s off to the gym again. But you won’t regret it with these delicious recipes.

November 10, 2010   No Comments

A Small Business Suggestion for the Holiday Season

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small business owners are looking to do something special for their employees, something for their customers to carry on the holiday spirit. Beyond being fun, beyond being an effective way to further endear your business to your clients and employees, this also helps to sort of “legitimize” a newer business.

Think about it. Suppose it’s December fifteenth and there are two local shops that only opened their doors for business a few months ago. One has their Christmas decorations up, the other doesn’t. Clearly the one with some decorations up is going to look a little more professional than the other, a little more like the management really cares and is trying to put every effort into their business.

So, if you’re looking for something special to do but can’t make up your mind, take one of these suggestions and see if you can work it into your own plans. These are all designed to go a step beyond simple decorations to spread the holiday cheer, but without forcing you to dig deep into the corporate account.

Red and Green Paper
This is just a little thing, but you might be surprised what a difference it makes. Clearly you’re not going to replace all the printer paper with red and green Christmas themed stationary, but if you get a roll of red or green receipt paper, some red and green post-it note pads and so on, it can really brighten up the atmosphere around the office.

Secret Santa Gifting
The whole secret Santa thing is a longstanding workplace tradition. The anonymous gifting allows workers to give away only one present, as few people can really afford a present for each and every person at the workplace on top of all of their own family and friends. The Secret Santa tradition gives employees something to look forward to when they get to work and encourages a friendlier atmosphere around the Holidays.

Thanksgiving Office Pot Luck
The problem with the holidays is that people tend to skip right from Halloween to Christmas when it comes to decorations and parties and so on. Other than the family feast, you’d almost think Thanksgiving was just another Thursday. Well, with an office pot luck as a warm up dinner about a week or so before the big day, it’s easy to encourage the notion of treating your co-workers as family and boost the office morale. Just provide the paper plates and maybe a treat of your own and you’re good to go.

The bottom line is that running a business can’t all be boiled down to spreadsheets and numbers and business intelligence and so on. There’s also a human element that is often neglected, and the holidays are when that human element becomes very important. If you have employees and clients who are happy around December, you can consider office morale to be far above and beyond average.

November 8, 2010   No Comments

FREE Shipping Ends Today!

Get your orders in now and take advantage of the FREE SHIPPING offer going on. This offer ends today(11/8)

All orders over $349 receive free shipping, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of huge savings on large orders.

How It Works

1. Add products to your cart until you reach the minimum order or more.
2. Appropriate discount will automatically calculate in your shopping cart.
3. Proceed to checkout as normal.

November 8, 2010   No Comments

Week in Review (November 5)

E-Commerce Evolution: Beyond Traditional Search – November 1, 2010

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/ecommerce/71144.html

Any online retailer knows that position on a search correlates to customers and sales. And currently, an increasing number of consumers are beginning product searches on retail sites as opposed to a search engine. Manufacturers are taking advantage of this and searchandising, where they are paying for position on a retail site just as they would on a search engine or a store shelf. Manufactures and retailers alike need to be looking at searchandising as a way to increase customers and sales.

Your Dropship Business: How to Avoid Internet Fraud – November 1, 2010

http://blog.dropshipaccess.com/bid/49720/Your-Dropship-Business-How-to-Avoid-Internet-Fraud

As online consumers and sales have increased this year, so have online scammers. To keep an online business secure, it is critical to use a program designed to detect credit card fraud, be aware of phishing scams as they can put not only the retailer but also an entire customer database at risk, and keep current with up-to-date anti-virus protection.

Gain Customers and Sales With Like-Minded Businesses – November 2, 2010

http://blog.toptenwholesale.com/b2b-retail.htm

To help increase both customers and sales, consider partnering with similar businesses in regards to referrals and advertisements. Depending upon the specifics of a particular business, it can be quite beneficial to partner with another business who provides a service or products to similar clients in order to glean more referrals and, ultimately, sales.

News: Retailers Strap Down Returns – November 3, 2010

http://www.wholesalematch.com/blog/news-retailers-strap-down-returns/4341/

Due to the current recession, the return rate of both in-store and online holiday purchases are expected to rise. Many businesses are requiring information such as a phone number, address or driver’s license in order to return a product in order to stop fraudulant behavior. An online business, of course, already has access to much of this information due to the checkout process. Customers need to be aware of return policies, and business owners need to be sure they have reasonable and beneficial return policies to product themselves while not steering away customers.

How To Create A Compelling EBay Auction Listing – November 4, 2010

http://www.wholesalematch.com/blog/how-to-create-a-compelling-ebay-auction-listing/4344/

To ensure an eBay listing stands out from the competition, heed the following tips. Be sure the listing is readable; keep the descriptions simple. Select one, easy to read font type, and use italics rather than capitalization when striving for emphasis. Choose appropriate font sizes, and be sure that the header and body fonts are proportional. Use no more than two contrasting colors on the page for easy reading. Search through other eBay listings, decipher which seem to be the most successful, and utilize some of those aspects in your own listing.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Use the Internet to Save Money on Holiday Shopping

Online shopping can be tricky. Shipping charges alone can eat up a Christmas budget before the season gets going good. There are, however, countless opportunities to save money by purchasing online. It just takes a little organization to take advantage of them all.

Sign up for e-mails
This is a first and vital step, and to maximize the money saved, it should be done at the beginning of the year. This allows a shopper to take advantage of sales all year around. To begin, make a list of stores that you enjoy shopping from. Then go to each store’s website and sign up for their e-mails. To minimize spam, create a whole separate e-mail address for this, using a free service such at yahoo, hotmail, or Gmail.

These e-mails will ensure that you are alerted to sales when they happen and sometimes give you early access. It also means that occasionally you will receive promotion codes for percents or dollars off, or free shipping. Take advantage of these deals as they come along throughout they year, rather than waiting until the last minute to make purchases when these deals may not be available. This is especially true of free shipping. Shipping charges can ruin a great online sale.

Do a code search
Never complete an online purchase without first doing a search for coupon codes. Sites such at retailmenot.com and currentcodes.com list hundreds of stores alphabetically along with currently available coupon codes. A simple search can sometimes save up to 20%.

Shop through a cash back service
Sites such as Ebates.com and shopathome.com offer cash back on purchases from hundreds of online stores. This is paid quarterly by check or PayPal. Taking advantage of this all year long can yield a nice little nest egg at the end of the year to go toward Christmas or to be used as a special holiday treat.

Swagbucks
Sign up for Swagbucks and search, search, search. Searching through Swagbucks.com earns points called “swagbucks” that can be redeemed for all kinds of merchandise, including gift cards that can be used to buy Christmas gifts, or can be given as gifts themselves.

The scenario
Utilizing the tips above, an online purchase may look something like this:

  • ABC Company is one that a shopper enjoys to shop at. Back in January the shopper signed up for ABC Company’s e-mails. Now it is October and they have sent and e-mail that they are having a huge sale and offering free shipping through the end of the week.
  • The shopper goes to Ebates.com and enters the store’s website there. ABC Company happens to be offering 4% cash back through Ebates.
  • Once on ABC Company’s website, said shopper selects several gifts at sale prices that allow him or her to purchase gifts worth $100 for $70, or 30% off.
  • Now the shopper opens a new tab and goes to a coupon code site to do a search for ABC Company. They happen to have a code out for 20% off an order of $50.
  • The shopper clicks over to the checkout and enters the code where it is requested. The total drops to $56.
  • The sale includes free shipping on orders over $50 through the end of the week. After taxes the order goes up to $60.
  • The check out process is finished, and in a few days $2.40 is deposited into the shopper’s Ebates account. This shopper just spent a net of $57.60 on $100 worth of products.
  • The tips and scenario above should encourage all holiday shoppers to take advantage of resources available online to maximize their dollar during the holiday season, and all year long.

    November 4, 2010   No Comments

    5 Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving

    There is so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

    1. I am grateful for fleece blankets. Coming in from the cold, nothing feels better than snuggling down on the couch watching television, wrapped in a warm fleece blanket. How did we ever live through a winter without these? They are the perfect size and the perfect amount of warmth for hours of cozy couch time, alone or with loved ones. No winter is complete without a few of these always available, laid over the back of the couch.

    2. I am grateful for fuzzy ankle socks. These cover our tiny little toes when we must venture out from the safe comfort of our fleece blankets. Nothing defeats a cold, evil, hard tile floor than a warm pair of fuzzy ankle socks. These socks are modern-day armor against household chills. Slippers can get lost, but warm fuzzy socks are always right where you left them—on your feet.

    3. I am grateful for scented candles. Some days are so cold that even vegging out on the couch seems too hard. The best cure is a warm bubble bath with aroma-therapeutic scented candles surrounding the bathtub. There is nothing like warm water and delicious scents to warm both the body and soul after a long day. Sometimes choosing a single scent works, while other times an interesting bouquet of assorted scents hits the spot.

    4. I am grateful for Martha Stewart. No one needs to come up with the best Thanksgiving Day dinner on their own when cooking and decorating expert Martha Stewart is on the case. Relaxing after a hot bath with scented candles, laying on the couch in fuzzy slippers covered by a warm fleece blanket, you can pop in Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving DVD and let her teach you how it’s done. Get everything from unique decorating ideas, to tips on making your turkey absolutely perfect. Good-bye, trial and error!

    5. I am grateful for family. After all, without family, who would we snuggle on the couch under a fleece blanket with? Whose stocking would we sneak candy out of to munch under a fleece blanket? Who would we impress with a Martha Stewart-inspired Thanksgiving feast? Who but family would stress us out and make a relaxing, candle-scented bubble bath necessary? Thanksgiving is all about family.

    Thanksgiving is definitely a great time to remember what we are grateful for. Here’s wishing us all a happy Thanksgiving.

    November 3, 2010   No Comments

    Wholesale Blankets – Wholesale Fleece Blankets


    Did you know that if laid end to end, DollarDays has sold enough wholesale blankets to reach around the world? We want you to think of us as your world leader for wholesale throw blankets considering we sell and ship wholesale blankets all over the world. Do you need blankets for resale? Are you a non-profit trying to keep people warm? No matter what your needs are, our value prices will give you warm feelings all over. Give us a call and place your order for our cheap fleece blankets today!

    November 2, 2010   No Comments

    WINTER’S COMING; Fleece is Here

    Remember the iconic Got Milk commercials?

    When your thirsty, or your eating a cookie, Got Milk? is an appropriate question.

    Well, like you crave a good glass of that white deliciousness in the presence of a cookie, this winter, I bet, you’ll be craving a fleece blanket on those cold winter nights. Make sure that when you ask the question “Got Fleece?” you can answer with a resounding YES!

    Today and tomorrow ONLY, you can pick up 18 fleece blankets for $3.99 each. Got Fleece? If not then Get your fleece blankets today!



    November 2, 2010   No Comments

    This Holiday Season – Get Your Small Business Online

    With the holidays fast approaching, retail stores all over are preparing to cash in on the biggest consumer shopping months of the year. November and December are huge shopping months because of the day after Thanksgiving sale (black Friday), and of course the commercialized Holiday of Christmas. But retail stores aren’t the only establishments cashing in on the Holiday spending.

    Small businesses have in the past taken advantage of consumer shopping around the Holidays, and the best opportunity for success is via the internet. The internet makes it easy and very convenient for small businesses to reach out to new customers. In fact, with just a simple website and a few advertising campaigns, new customers will be just a click away.

    Most brick and mortar businesses are your small independent mom and pop shops, and usually only do business with their local customers. This can prevent the business from growing, but with the internet, customers can come from all around the word. And this will definitely expand any business into a global company. Now with the Holidays coming up, this is the perfect time for small businesses to cash in on the billions spent this time of the year.

    A website can easily be created online, and the prices to get the site up and running will vary based on the features the website will need. For example, a small business that carries hundreds of products and want to display their catalog online, may require database functionality. This will be more expensive to create than a standard website. The idea is to have the website represent the business perfectly, so that when someone visits the site, they will want to make a purchase.

    The internet is huge enough for any and all products to get noticed, and this is why small businesses have such great success online. Consumers want options and when they are given options, especially for Holiday shopping, they spend a lot more money. So whatever your small business has to offer, get it up online and join the other small businesses this Holiday season. Remember, your business may be local, but with the internet it’ll have a global effect.

    November 1, 2010   No Comments