Saving Money In The Christmas Season

Saving Money In The Christmas Season

We look forward to Christmas for many reasons, the most important of which is getting together with family. While the flurry and expense of giving gifts can be overwhelming, there are many ways to make our shopping easier. We can also save money on our purchases with a little bit of clever bargain shopping. Whether we send food, clothing, household items, or gift cards, our purchases can be exactly what they wanted. Here are some pointers that will save money in the Christmas Season.

Christmas Hamper


Who on your list could use a Christmas Hamper? When you stop to think about it, there are probably a lot of people who would consider this a great gift. Think about all of the non-perishable food they are receiving, and you’ll start to get ideas.

Think about that young, upwardly mobile, still single career builder. They are notorious for seldom having anything more than a ½ bottle of ketchup and a stale loaf of bread in their refrigerator. If you are concerned about their protein intake, send a hamper full of assorted nuts and dried fruits.

Elderly people who live alone and who do not cook for themselves can often enjoy fruit and meat baskets. The assortment of in-season fresh fruits, along with packaged meats can be the best gift of the season. They seldom want additional chachkis around the house, but really appreciate flavorful foods that require no preparation.


College students often swarm the dorm room or apartment of classmates who receive a Christmas hamper. Increase your child’s popularity with a generous meat, cracker, and cheese platter that will get them through finals.

Help out the entertainer with a hamper full of dipped strawberries and cherries. This gourmet treat will help the to dress up their hors d’oeuvre table. What better hostess gift than a delicious, beautiful addition to their party?

Your customers will appreciate a gift basket with assorted sweets. It’s a great way to show appreciation for their patronage. So many customers give and give without realizing just how much we value their business. This is a great way to let them know.

Send your favorite staff a hamper, and watch the excitement. Whether it is the staff at your doctor’s office or your own staff at work, the break room will be a much happier place with a hamper full of a variety of snacks.


In most cases, you won’t have to worry about shipping with purchases over a certain amount. Whether you are buying a food hamper or something else, many businesses will pay the shipping once the order reaches a certain amount. This is a great benefit to look for when you are choosing a gift. Even small to medium businesses will pay the shipping under these circumstances. Check to see which delivery methods the company uses to see if they will work for your intended recipient. Then, sit back and enjoy the gratitude!

Creating An Original Garden

Creating An Original Garden

3574411866_717f8d2b91_bYour garden is a special project, where you express your love of growing things, creating an outdoor retreat or fantasy land. Maybe you just like to grow the same roses your mother loved, or you prefer home-grown tomatoes to the flavorless store bought kind. You may simply like the expanse of lawn with even, deep green, or fascinating hedges neatly trimmed, forming a mini-maze in your garden. Whether you prefer planting beds, big planters, or a mixture of several different displays, these ideas for your garden will make it look original and fresh.


Big Planters


One of the quickest and easiest ways to add a unique touch to your garden is with big planters. You can find them made out of many different materials, any of which may suit your decorating style or your individual taste. For example, for an earthy, natural look, you may want concrete planters. These will retain the roots of invasive species like bamboo so that you can plant that wind break or sound buffer you have always wanted around your garden.
Metal planters are available in all different kinds of planters, from zinc to stainless steel or wrought iron. Metal usually ages nicely, developing a lovely patina through the months and years. This can add a touch of history to your garden, looking like the piece has been made to place in your garden.

Specimen Plants


We all have special plants or planting beds in our gardens. At my house, it is the bed of hostas under the live oak tree in the back corner. This area which never gets much sun, due to the shade from the oak, was once a dull, lifeless area. While hostas don’t have very impressive blooms, they do come in a wide variety of foliage styles. You can find them in chartreuse, dark green, almost white, and every shade in between. The leaves may be smooth or corrugated, solid colored or variegated. The wide variety of hostas available make this one of the prettiest planting areas in the garden, now.

You can also draw attention to certain areas of your garden with a single plant. A heritage oak tree, for example, is worthy of its own special spotlights to highlight the texture of the trunk at night, or to shine up through the leaves. One of my favorites is black mimosa tree. This striking specimen looks particularly wonderful in a big concrete planter in a section of my garden where the soil is not so healthy. Everything else dies when planted in that spot, but my potted mimosa tree thrives. Since nothing else will grow there, I have mulched the entire area and added seating under the spreading, fragrant branches of the tree. As a bonus, since the mimosa is sort of a “trash tree,” the location keeps the seeds from sprouting, and the big planter keeps the roots retained so that they don’t spread.
Other ways to make your garden original and unique are with water features and seating.

Creating Your Own House Planters


House plants are some of the first ways that people can personalize their homes. Plants brighten up the spaces, bringing a sense of life to the room. Fresh flowers, whether cut or potted, bring a nice fragrance to your home. What many people do not realize is that live plants actually purify the air, cleansing hundreds of cubic feet of air every hour. There are some species of plants that do this job better than others, but placing them in indoor house plants specifically designed for the spaces will maximize not only the health benefits of house plants, but make them more enjoyable and a pleasant addition to your home.

Choose Lighting


If you have south facing windows or skylights, you have a great opportunity for growing healthy house plants. Place the indoor planters in the optimum place to use light from these sources. Of course, you are not going to place planters in the idle of the floor or in traffic areas, but they can be used quite effectively in corners and in transition areas between rooms. For example, in an open floor plan, a large copper planter can serve for space definition. Gauge the depth of the planter based on the height of the ceiling. It should be only one fourth to one third of the height of the ceiling. The plantings you place in it should make up three-fourths or two thirds of the distance to the ceiling. The lighting will determine direction of growth of the plants, so try to keep the planter where it can receive even lighting.

Some plants are very shade tolerant. These will not require a great deal of light from windows, doors, or skylights. It is hard to find trees that can thrive in these conditions, but properly planted houseplants can do quite well. For example, a large planter with pothos ivy will look wonderful with a topiary form around which the ivy will be trained.

Choose Materials

There are so may materials these days out of which planters can be made. Metal planters are more popular than ever, especially considering that they are much less expensive than they used to be. Copper planters, zinc planters, steel and aluminum all have their own unique look. Some, such as copper and zinc, develop a great patina over the years. Of course, you can polish them, but the patina is part of the appeal of these planters. Steel and aluminum are sleek and shiny, contributing to the look of modern décor. People who like smooth lines and simple design will tend to choose these two metals for their indoor house planters. Those who want more detail will often look for the copper, because it is soft and easily hammered into various designs.


Wood is another great material for planters, because of the natural look of grain and color. Whether you choose metal, wood, brick, concrete, or some other material, keep in mind that your planters will add beauty and life to your home.

Weight Loss And Surfing

Have you ever seen a fat surfer? Probably not, right? Now, you may think that the reason for that is that only fit people are brave enough to tackle surfing, but you would be wrong. Surfing is proving to be one of the most popular fitness activities of the 21st century. Just as the 70s and 80s had aerobics, the 90s had spinning, you’ll find that the 2000s have surfing. And, if you are lucky enough to live within an easy drive to the coast, you can incorporate surf school Bude into your weight loss routine.

Surfing is For Everyone

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Visit any coast in the UK, and you’ll find that people of all ages are surfing. It’s not all buff bodies on huge waves. You’ll see toddlers on funboards and grannies on longboards, all paddling in the shallows and making their way out into deeper water.

This is partly because some dedicated surfers wanted to share their love of the water with the general public. Several big names in the surfing community started figuring out how to help people with no previous skill, and who even may not be physically fit at all, to enjoy being on the water. The development of various sizes and shapes of surf boards made a big difference, as did the building of a variety of curricula that broke the sport down into manageable bits.

Weight Loss

But what about weight loss and surfing? Well, it seems that floating and paddling through the water burns a lot of calories. Even if all you are doing is crawling up onto a surf board and paddling to and from the beach, you are using muscles in your entire body, getting a core workout. Not only do the extremities, such as your hands and feet, do their fare share of micro-movement, but your torso, belly, and buttocks get a workout, too.

One big benefit to doing your workout in the surf is that the water bears your weight, so you don’t have any impact on your joints. This low-impact exercise not only stretches your muscle groups, it is a good cardio workout, as well. Just the micro-adjustments your muscles make as you lie on your stomach on a surfboard burn calories. The added exercise from paddling and kicking is more workout.


If you choose to pull up onto your knees on the surfboard, you build even more core strength. In addition to getting stronger, you also improve your sense of balance – often an issue as we get older. Many times, when a senior citizen falls, it’s because they cannot react quickly enough to maintain their balance. This often results in head injuries or broken bones. But with surfing, your balance improves and you more naturally recover from a misstep.

All of this physical activity burns hundreds of calories, and builds muscle tone, too. The improved sense of balance and increased physical strength improve your quality of life. So, when you consider a weight loss regimen, think about taking up surfing.