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Holiday Shopping


Holiday Budgeting for the 20-Something

holiday-budgeting-for-the-20-somethingManaging a budget in your 20s might seem like a daunting task that’s impossible to face. Between trying to manage opening a 401K, paying bills and attempting to organize a work and social life, the last thing you want to figure out is how much money to spend around the holidays.

Your paycheck will come and go before you can even see it if you don’t make a budget. There are ways to give gifts for everyone you love without breaking the bank. 

Start Saving Money Before the Holiday Season Comes

Most of my friends wait until November or December before they decide to get serious about saving for the holiday. BIG MISTAKE! This will easily make you stressed out and feel like you’ll never have enough to spend on everyone you need to get a gift for. Solution: Start saving a little bit each month before the holidays roll around. Even if you put $20-$50 aside each month before December, that will leave you a buffer of money to splurge on for other people. Saving just $20 a month starting in January gives you $240 by December. It might not seem like a ton, but it’s better than nothing!

Decide How Much You Want to Spend Before Spending It

Don’t just go out shopping without even knowing how much you can, or want to spend. Chances are you’re going to overspend, and you’re going to buy gifts for people you weren’t planning on giving gifts to in the first place. Also keep in mind other holiday grab-bag parties that you might need to get gifts for. Most people forget to factor in holiday parties with friends, co-workers and extended family. Those three things alone might put you $50-$75 into your budget.

Start Shopping Early!

There’s no shame in getting holiday gifts before said “holiday shopping months” begin. Most people think they have to wait until the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales happen. Let’s be honest, there’s ALWAYS a sale, so if you see a gift you want to give someone in June, then snag it! But, if you do shop early, don’t forget about the gifts you bought for people and make sure you factor that money spent into your budget so you don’t over spend. It’s easy to forget about that $20 you spent in June when it’s November and you’re out shopping again. Stay strict with yourself!

Keep Emotions Out of It

It’s super easy to overspend when you see things and say, “Oh my, my mom would LOVE that!” Or, “This would make my boyfriend/girlfriend so happy…. What’s another $15 going to hurt?” NO. Before overspending on other people, think about the bills you’ll have waiting at the door when you get home: Cell phone bill, cable, rent, electric, etc.

Just remember, the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time! Don’t make them any more stressful than they need to be. Keep a budget and stick to it!


3 Gift Ideas for Conscious Consumers

gift-ideas-for-conscious-consumers-mainDo you have someone to buy gifts for this year who insists you donate money on their behalf instead of going to the mall? Or maybe you are tired of gifting the same ties, toys and gift cards to your loved ones for another year.

These holiday gift ideas can fit both those needs! You can spend money on others while also helping to make the world a better place. That’s what I call a win-win.


There are several organizations out there that allow you to adopt wildlife. These gifts are great for children or for any animal-lover in your life. Defenders of Wildlife allows you to symbolically adopt anything from a red wolf to a panda to a bald eagle. There are different adoption levels that work well with any budget. If you have a particular animal or organization in mind, a quick web search will usually point you in the right direction. The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, which rescues and rehabilitates the fuzzy creatures, has a list of what different amounts will allow the group to do. Most non-profits accept donations in any amount.

Creative Gifts

For the art lover or anyone who likes a non-traditional present, sites like Etsy allow artists and crafters to sell their own wares. This process lets your money go mostly to the artist instead of a third-party and your gift recipient gets a unique gift that you could never find at the mall. It’s easy to search for items from jewelry to clothing to homemade stationery.

Fair Trade

Some stores such as Ten Thousand Villages sell items that are exclusively fair-trade. Fair-trade means that equitable prices were paid to the producers of the items in developing countries. If the person on your list likes particular goods, from coffee to clothing, it is easy to find fair-trade options for most mainstream categories.

Even Starbucks sells many fair-trade coffee options. If you prefer spending your gift money domestically, there are a growing number of American-made goods. American Apparel sells all domestic clothing and accessories. Another great option is to head to the local, non-chain shops in your community, where your shopping dollars are more likely to help small businesses.

Good luck in your gift-buying endeavors!

15 Stocking Stuffers for Him and Her

StockingStuffersNeed some ideas for stocking stuffers? Here’s 30 perfect items to fill those stockings in no time! 

Presents are wrapped and under the tree but don’t forget about the stockings that are hung by the chimney with care! Fill them with small meaningful and fun gifts that every one of all ages will love! Or if you’re shopping last minute, these 30 ideas for stocking stuffers for him and her will fill them up in no time! 

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Him 

  1. A sexy activity book for the bedroom: Isn’t this what every man wants for Christmas? 
  2. Video games or movies: When in doubt, go for the video games or action films! 
  3. Grilling cookbook: Get the griller in your life a new cookbook! 
  4. Engraved pocketknife: This is a meaningful gift your man will always carry with him. 
  5. Anything bacon: Teen and adult men love their bacon. Try bacon popcorn, candy or a cookbook! 
  6. A new wallet: If his old wallet is beat up, this is the perfect stuffer! 
  7. Engraved money clip: Engrave his initials and the year; this also makes a great gift for your first Christmas together! 
  8. Candy: Satisfy his sweet tooth with an array of different candy and chocolates. 
  9. Fun bottle openers: If your man loves beer, he’ll love this stuffer! 
  10. Holiday boxers: Men can never have too many Santa boxers! 
  11. Beer of the month club: Sign him up for a beer of the month club and insert the certificate in his stocking! 
  12. Engraved lighter: The perfect size for any stocking! 
  13. Shot glass set: You can find fun themed sets like Star Wars or Family Guy
  14. Cologne: Pick up new cologne for him try so he always smells nice! 
  15. Purified water bottle: For the athletic man in your life, this is the perfect gift! 

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Her 

  1. Leather journal: Give her a place to jot down her daily thoughts and inspiration! 
  2. Bubble bath: Find a holiday scented bubble bath!  
  3. Makeup palette: Around this time of year, makeup palettes come in awesome kits. 
  4. Nail polish or nail art kit: Stuff some nail polish and nail art supplies in her stocking. 
  5. Jewelry: Buy her a nice charm bracelet or necklace for the holidays. 
  6. Candy: Women can’t resist chocolate, especially this time of year! 
  7. Phone case: Let her bling out her phone with a trendy phone case. 
  8. Perfume: Buy her favorite perfume or perfume set. 
  9. Mini flavored coffees: Women love their flavored coffees. Select some of the holiday favorites for her stocking. 
  10. Knitting book: For the crafty gal in your life, get her a knitting book or craft book. 
  11. Coin purse: The perfect last-minute stuffer. 
  12. Wine of the month club: Sign her up for a wine of the month club and place the certificate in her stocking. 
  13. Anything Hello Kitty: Phone cases, journals, wallets, key chains and more! 
  14. Holiday CD: Pick out a holiday CD complete with all the classic songs for her to play at her Christmas party. 
  15. Tea infuser: For the tea drinker, give her the gift of amazing tea and an infuser. 


8 Ways to Wrap a Gift


After spending time finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones, there's still one more exciting step: gift wrapping! Go the extra mile and try out a creative way to wrap your gifts instead of relying on the store-bought paper that doesn't reflect how special your gift is. Here are 8 different tips, tricks, and styles of wrapping to try out for the holiday season!

Jars & Canisters

The great thing about gifting in a jar is that the jar becomes an extra item that can come in handy for the recipient. With how popular, affordable, and versatile mason jars have been as of late, they are the perfect container for thoughtful gifts. Have a baking fiend on your list? Layer dry ingredients to a new recipe inside of a jar and decorate with a cute ribbon and handwritten recipe tag. Give out gardening kits, terrariums, homemade jams, sodas, or even a new pet goldfish for a lucky child! 

Ribbon Weaving

Now, no one says you ever have to ditch the classic gift wrap entirely. Instead, use new techniques to make your present stand out in the sea of smooth red and green paper. Once your gift is all wrapped up, instead of topping it with a generic bow, use long pieces of ribbon to create a "basketweave" pattern. Just by adding a few strands and a little bit of patience, the effort and detail really pays off. Try mixing different thicknesses and textures of ribbon to make the pattern pop.


Parcel and Twine

A trend that is perfect for all occasions is to use simple parcel or brown paper. It gives off the feel of receiving a package in the mail, and with a few adorable additions, you will have a sleek and chic gift. Using a thick twine to wrap around in any way you prefer brings back a retro look to gift-wrapping. For a bolder, or even more nautical feel, try using rope (like jute) to tie on instead of the twine. 

Earthy Additions

If you want to work with solid color wrapping (like the brown parcel paper), adding on natural decorations is a simple and beautiful trick. Tie on miniature pinecones and acorns. Tuck small holly twigs, pine twigs, and poinsettia petals into fastened ribbons. Any way you can incorporate the beauty of nature during the holiday season is a terrific way to go!


Wine Bottle Sweater

Wine can be a wonderfully thoughtful gift, but a nightmare to try and wrap. Try making a wine sweater! Have an old sweater with a crocheted or knitted design down the arms? Instead of throwing it out, cut the sleeves from it and sew an end shut for the wine bottle to set in. Cinch the top with ribbon, a festive bell, or an ornament!

Fabric Wrapping

It can be frustrating when a corner of a gift comes peeking through the wrapping after some traveling or even from being shuffled around in the holiday madness. Avoid this mishap by using fabric to wrap your gifts. Shop around your fabric store for deals or re-purposed garments, drapes, or any other home fabrics for a sturdy (and reusable) gift wrap. Fabric is also terrific for gifts that are not in the shape of a box.



Recycle your daily paper for convenient wrapping material. The printed word gives a neat-looking pattern and can easily be paired with any color ribbon, bow, or decorations due to its faded black and white color scheme. For an even more vintage look, use old maps to wrap your gifts!

Burlap Gift Bags

Simplicity can be a beautiful thing. Using a natural-looking material like burlap can give off an effortless yet sophisticated look to your present. Small burlap gift bags are the way to go for any tiny trinket or even jewelry. These bags are quite accessible, and if you look hard enough, you might be able to find some with designs on them. If you cannot find what you like, but you still want something more personalized, pick up unique stamp to make a design or monogram the bags yourself!
By using these simple techniques, you should have a lovely presentation in just a few moments. Do remember to never worry about spending too much time on wrapping because the unwrapping is just around the corner. If you are a bit attached to the masterpiece you created in the gift-wrapping world, just take a photo to remember it by and pass the joy along. Happy wrapping!

Cheap and Easy Gifts for Coworkers

CHEAP-and-easy-gifts-for-coworkers-mainGiving gifts at the office on the cheap.... shhh.

You don't want to be cheap, but you are poor this year. How can you give but not so much that it hurts.  Co-workers deserve acknowledgement but they don't deserve the shirt off your back!