I am thinking about throwing a holiday party. Nothing lavish, but I want to invite plenty of guests to make the house feel merry! I am also thinking about putting together some cute party favor gift bags for my guests and am brainstorming ideas. Perhaps you are looking for some ideas yourself? I have organized my thoughts and come up with a list of checkpoints for great gift bags full of fun favors that are both unique and inexpensive. My check list includes:

-The Bag Itself
-Gift List
-Personalize Something!
-Sweets and Treats

Glad Tidings Cookie Trio
The Bag Itself
The bag or container that the gifts are presented in can actually be a gift in itself! Use adorable decorative baggies or reusable bags. You can even get crafty and decorate them yourself. An idea that I really like is using a box instead of a bag. There are some truly terrific gift boxes out there that add so much fun to the gift. These Cookie Gift Boxes would make really cute favors and are fairly inexpensive. I just love the boxes!

I have also seen people use mugs as containers. I am thinking about doing this myself. Take cute holiday mugs, or even personalize a mug for your guests with a nice holiday greeting, and fill the mug with a package of cocoa or small bag of coffee, a baggie full of marshmallows, and a chocolate dipped stirring spoon. Another idea I picked up is the cinnamon stick. Tie together a bundle of cinnamon sticks with festive holiday ribbon to add to their mug!

Try taking a mason jar or other pretty jar and decorate it with puffy paint or whatever you choose, and then stick an appropriately sized candle inside. This is a fun idea because you can decorate each favor uniquely for a fun way to light up your party!

Personalized Beveled Glass Bell OrnamentThe Gift List
Now to consider filling your adorable container. Small, fun items applicable to everyone’s interests are perfect. Christmas ornaments, homemade or bought, are always fun. Also consider adding coaster sets, money clips, cufflinks, inexpensive jewelry, small candles, etc. If you are throwing a New Year’s party, add wine bottle stoppers, openers or aerators for a fun addition to their gift bag.

Personalize Something!
Add something personal from your party to the gift bag. Personalize an ornament, picture frame, coaster set, key chain even a wine bottle stopper! Add the details of your party like a location and date for something that can be kept as a memento of your fun night. Arttowngifts has tons of personalized holiday items perfect for a gift bag. Adding one or two personalized keepsakes creates a unique favor.

Now for What We’ve All Been Waiting for…. The Goodies
I have been itching to get to the best part of my article. Finally, I get to talk about food, and not just any food, holiday sweets and treats! Be sure to supply your gift bags with plenty of candies and goodies. You may be like my mom and spend hours making holiday candies, fudge, roca etc. Or perhaps your candy making skills are not so sharp. You can always buy candies and treats with which to supply your guests.

Lady Fortunes© Merry StampsA holiday favorite of mine is the homemade preserve. If you made any preserves this year, decorate jars full of yummy jams and jellies for your guests!  Get creative and add festive ribbons and decorations for an eye-catching addition to your party.

Baked goods are more than welcome, whether you make them or buy them. Everybody loves a brownie! These Holiday Stamps from Arttowngifts are so cute. They consist of delicious white Belgian chocolate covered graham crackers with edible Merry Stamps completely absorbed into the chocolate... Yum! The vintage Christmas imagery on the stamps makes them even better. Order a set and split them up between your gift bags for a very lovely and tasty holiday gift for guests.

Candy canes are a standard which can’t be ignored, though they are often left untasted. On a side note, is there anyone who actually likes candy canes? I think they are just disgusting. My mom must have too, because every year, we would pull candy canes out of our Christmas storage boxes that must have come from 1970. I think some people are simply afraid to wastefully throw them away, so they are kept, slowly decaying. Anyway, candy canes do make a pretty addition, though if I was you, I would go with the fruit flavored canes, they just taste better!

Cinnamon Sticks
Other delicious additions to your goodies bag may include packets of coffee, cocoa, cinnamon sticks, cheeses, salamis, etc. Popcorn balls are really tasty. Create multi-colored popcorn balls to surprise your guests with! The list goes on and on, with holiday treats never failing to be varied and numerous! Just be sure to try and cover sweet and savory for taste buds of every sort.

Well that about covers it! Now that you are loaded down with holiday party favor ideas, start planning a holiday party that they’ll remember from now til their uneaten candy canes finally disintegrate into dust! Best of luck surviving the holiday season, see you next time.
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We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. -Sam Keen
                                                                                     - Sam Keen
If you have been married this long, you probably know all about your partner’s imperfections… and your own. You also may have discovered that imperfections can define a person in ways that actually highlight their true beauty and goodness. This year, take time to remember all of the little things you love about your partner and all of the ways that you have learned to see them perfectly with the help of their imperfections. Here are a few gift ideas to get you started on your anniversary celebration…

Traditional: No traditional 21st anniversary gifts
Contemporary: Brass or Nickel
Flower: No traditional 21st anniversary flower

Brass Circle Strawberry Quartz Earrings
Jewelry is usually the gift of choice for the 21st anniversary, as nickel and brass jewelry is the first thing that comes to mind. Cufflinks and pocket watches are classic jewelry gifts for men. Many of these items can be personalized for an extra special touch. Check out the Personalized Gift Store at Arttowngifts.com to gather ideas. For the ladies, these Brass Circle Strawberry Quartz Earrings will make a stunning addition to her date night outfit. Take her out to show them off!

I wish you the perfect 21st anniversary celebration. Love can bring out the best and worst in any person, and the imperfections of your partner may, at times, bring the worst out in you. On your big day, remember your own imperfections that have been overlooked by your partner. Acceptance can work miracles in our lives, so reflect on just how great it is to be taken for what you are, bad habits, mistakes and annoying tendencies included! Thank your spouse for their acceptance and understanding. Join me next time for year 22.
My favorite part of Christmas is the stocking. Forget the bigger packages under the tree, let me at that sock full of little tiny stuff. I think my love of stockings has something to do with my compulsion to organize and stow things away in places. On more than one occasion, I have been accused of being a “cubby holer” that is, I like to store things away in designated places known only to myself like a squirrel storing nuts away for the winter. Anyway, I like to have little items that I can store away, it makes me happy. I know that there are others like me out there, and for us, a stocking is an opportunity to neatly hoard gift matter.

For the “normal” people out there, I’m guessing stockings are still pretty fun, right? Hanging there over the fireplace is a sock with your name on it, filled with candies, chocolates, tiny tools, gadgets and more. Now to address the moms and dads responsible for filling these stockings: I have a new gift category suggestion to include in the stuffing of stockings. I think personalized gifts make really fun stuffers for young and old alike! If you agree, try checking out the Stocking Stuffers at Arttowngifts.com to fill up on ideas for all the people on your gift list.

Personalized Snowscapes Coffee Mug

We have a huge selection of personalized gifts at Arttowngifts, perfectly sized to fit in a stocking. There are plenty of Christmas themed items, such as Christmas tree ornaments, holiday frames and mugs. They also have tons of gifts for guys and gals with something for just about any hobby or interest under the sun!

Silver Plated Tiffany Style Keychain

Jewelry is always a popular addition to stockings, and we have lots of different options . Bracelets, necklaces and key chains are perfect for a young lady. This Silver Plated Tiffany-Style Key Chain is perfect for a young woman’s first set of keys. For men or boys, you will find custom dog tags, personalized cufflinks and pocket watches. Engraved money clips are also great gifts for a husband, brother or son.

Silver Plated Yo-Yo

For young kids, this silver plated yo-yo is perfect. Personalize it with a name for a really fun addition to their stocking. Other great gifts for children include a custom stainless steel harmonica, a sterling silver charm bracelet, a personalized leather bracelet and an engraved heart-shaped mirror, just to name a few!
Yukon Lock Back Knife

For a man or older boy who enjoys tools and gadgets, this Yukon Lock Back Knife comes in a tin case for safe storage. The wood-handled knife is perfect for taking on hiking, hunting and camping expeditions. Multi-purpose tools, custom Zippo hand warmer, personalized lighters and an engraved army knife can all be found at Arttowngifts as well.

Stainless Steel Engraved Wine Bottle Stopper

Adults love getting stockings too, I’m living proof of that, and there are lots of gifts for the over 21 age sector. For wine lovers, personalize a stainless steel wine bottle stopper, wine glass, coaster set or bottle opener. We also offer a whole bunch of nifty flasks in every style from camouflage to plaid for both guys and gals.

Small, personal gifts like these are perfect for filling space in their stocking and creating Christmas memories that will last. Personalized gifts make great keepsakes that can be treasured for a lifetime and not just tossed in the trash. Consider custom stocking stuffers this year to delight those loved ones whom have a place in your heart and a sock over your mantelpiece!

How To Make Your Stocking Stuffer Shopping Easier
Holiday Shopping OnlineThe holidays often present us with tons of stress. A time meant to be set aside for family, rest, relaxation and fun typically turns into a mad dash to buy gifts, host parties, remember to send cards to a million relatives, or travel during the most expensive time of the year.

My gripe this year? Plane tickets to get home cost $500, and on my way to work this morning, the exhaust pipe and muffler decided to fall out of the bottom of my car. Expenses are piling up and I haven’t even begun to get started on my Christmas shopping. Due to Murphy’s Law, this happens to many of us at Christmas time.

On my mind today are 5 simple ways to get started on fighting holiday stress. I’m not sure about you, but when I am presented with an overwhelming amount of things to do, I like to begin by making a list and dealing with one thing at a time. Hopefully this will help you and me both...

Here I have made a list of the typical holiday stresses:

    -Huge Gift Lists
    -Crowded malls and stores
    -Too Many Party/Event Invites
    -Cooking and Cleaning as Host of Your Own Party
    -Visiting Family/Traveling
Here are 5 things you can do to get started on tackling your stresses…

1. Cut Down the Gift List
Who should you buy for? What should you buy? So many things to think about amidst all this stress, right? This year, my family is doing something really helpful. During our Thanksgiving party, we drew names so that each family member is only buying for one other family member. Then we each wrote several things down that we wanted and set a price limit. This drastically reduces my stress this year because I only have one family member to buy for and I have a good idea of what they want!

Cardinal Merry Christmas Personalized OrnamentThere are a few people that we will always buy for, such as a spouse or best friend, but this isn’t so difficult because we know these people so well. And for all of the random relationships in my life, such as aunts, uncles or distant friends, Christmas cards are the perfect solution. I like to send a Christmas picture frame or custom ornament as a greeting card to some of my family members because they are so much fun!

My main piece of advice for the gift list is to simply get together with family and friends and decide to draw names to drastically cut back on your gift list. Then you only have a few people to buy for and feelings don’t get hurt. Be sure to set a price limit though, so no one ends up with something way more expensive or cheaper than everyone else.

2. Shop Online
I hate Christmas shopping! The stores are packed, people are pushy and testy, and the shelves rapidly empty of the top items and best deals. I have begun to do my shopping online. There are more options, and I don’t have to worry about driving around town to compare deals. Plus, I don’t have to wait in line at the post office for eons; I can simply have gifts shipped to my recipients. If I like a particular site, I subscribe to their mailing list to begin receiving e-mails about holiday promotions. The deals are usually really great and I end up saving a bundle on gas, too. Many sites offer free shipping as a promotion, but be careful with this. Usually the free shipping applies to ground shipping only, so order early.

3. Don’t Say Yes to Everything
The holidays are a time for parties, and lots of people get invited to too many parties. On top of this are engagements that we are expected to attend such as holiday office parties, church plays or charity drives, school functions for the kids, etc.

I would suggest prioritizing early to book a comfortable schedule for yourself. Set limits so that you don’t over-extend. I always feel guilty saying no to invites, but this year I’ve determined to put my foot down. I will accept as many engagements as will fit comfortably into my holiday schedule and no more! This will leave me fresh and ready for when I host my own party. Decide how you want your holiday to look and plan accordingly.

Holiday Party Planning4. Enlist the Help of Family or Friends for Your Party
Throwing a party of your own? This task can be daunting, even if the party only includes a few friends and family members. The house needs cleaned, cooking is in order, and who is going to help you with that huge mound of dishes?

Invite guests early so that you can plan for who is coming and how many mouths will need feeding. Plus, you are helping out guests by inviting early, as this helps them prioritize their holiday schedules, too!

Try asking your spouse and children for their help. Have the family clean house while you prepare a menu and do some heavy-duty grocery shopping. If your spouse is willing, enlist him or her to wash dishes while you cook to cut down on kitchen clutter. Never be afraid to ask for help when planning and preparing for your holiday party. When I was a kid, my mom always liked to do everything herself, feeling as though she was responsible for everything. It would have been a huge help for the whole family to pitch in together to get the work done.  Make it out to be something expected each year, so that family members plan to help out. Hopefully this will help everyone associate the hard work of party preparations with the usual holiday fun!

5. Make Travel Plans Early
Holiday Travel
Travel can be a truly painful experience over the holidays. Not only do airlines jack ticket prices up to epic heights, but the weather is almost always poor, making driving dangerous and stressful and flying oftentimes turbulent. For frightened flyers like myself, winter plane rides are an annual source of anxiety and heartburn.

To top it off, there are usually several invitations for Christmas gatherings, especially if you are married, and one side of the family always tends to get irritated if you choose the other.  Get together with your spouse and discuss holiday travel plans to decide what is best for you as a family. Let relatives know about your plans in advance so they can expect your absence or presence during the holidays.

Again, just as with accepting event invitations, set limitations. Decide how much traveling and visiting you really want to do and set a schedule. Plan very early so that tickets can be purchased early. The closer you get to the holiday, the higher prices go. Expect bad weather and delays so that if they occur, you are prepared.

Hopefully, this article is helpful as you begin to plan for the holidays. Just writing it has given me a sense of control! Today began badly as the bottom half of my car seemingly fell off on the way to work, but at least I now have some plans in order. I think my main takeaway is to set limitations. The holidays are simply overwhelming, no questions asked. Form a picture in your head of what you would like your holiday season to look like, and plan to suit it. Prepare for setbacks and catastrophes, (because you know they are going to occur!) and make room for them in your budget and your schedule. Have a happy holiday, and may you make it to January unscathed with a whole year in between you and the holiday trepidations of 2013!

Yellow Day Lily
The 20th anniversary is a major milestone. Your relationship has proven of high value to each of you, and has also shown itself to possess endurance and strength. Celebrate the longevity of your life together with gifts of love. 20th anniversary gifts are as follows:

Traditional: China
Contemporary: Platinum
Flower: Day Lily or Aster

Traditional Gifts of China
If you are looking to keep it traditional this year, China kitchenware, delicate home decorations or artwork make really nice gifts for the ladies. If you have the means, a wonderful romantic getaway is a terrific way to help you break away from your daily routines. Traveling is a great way to foster romance and excitement in a relationship. Take a break from your daily cares. The 20th anniversary is the perfect excuse to splurge on your relationship, and an exotic vacation is usually something enjoyable for both spouses.
Personalized Color Rose with Silver Trim
Modern Gifts of Platinum
Contemporary gifts of platinum typically include jewelry. Husbands might enjoy watches, rings, or cufflinks. Rings, necklaces and bracelets are always welcome additions to a wife’s jewelry box. If you are looking for something unique and creative, Arttowngifts.com has a collection of gorgeous Platinum Roses. You can choose a rose which has been entirely dipped in platinum, or they also offer a rainbow of colored roses each trimmed in platinum. Real roses are preserved in lacquer and metal for a gift that will last a lifetime.

Asters and Day Lilies
The traditional 20th anniversary flowers are the Day Lily and the Aster. Pretty little Day Lilies symbolize flirtatious or playful behavior. The Aster is a colorful wildflower that represents elegance, daintiness, love, contentment and peace. If you wish to share elegance, peace and contentment with your sweetie, arrive with a bouquet of asters. If you feel like flirting with your wife, send her a day lily!

There is plenty of potential on your twentieth anniversary for you to share luxury with your spouse. Whether traveling or exchanging gifts of platinum or delicate china, I hope that you find joy and contentment in one another’s company. Happy 20th! Join me next time for year 21.
"Love is something eternal, the aspect may change but not the essence."
Happy nineteenth anniversary! This quote by Vincent Van Gogh is simple and true of relationships as they evolve over time. Many couples feel that their love has changed, but truly only the aspect of that love has changed. The same love that each of you felt in the beginning still exists, but the view from inside probably looks quite different. Youthful passion and excitement usually turns to a solid companionship only made richer by the passion that hopefully still exists. The scene is still the same, but you have probably viewed it from many different vantage points over the years. You probably appreciate that view a lot more now that you have seen it from so many angles. It might be a fun exercise today to try and see yourselves as the couple that you were in the beginning. It is likely that many things about each of you has changed, and it’s interesting to think about the why’s and how’s of this change. While you ponder, be sure to exchange some gifts to commemorate this special day. Here are just a few gift ideas to get you started…

Traditional: No traditional 19th anniversary gift
Contemporary: Bronze
Flower: No traditional 19th anniversary flower

Copper and Brass Oval Leaf Earrings
Bronze is what you have to work with this year. There are plenty of bronze items for both men and women that make wonderful gifts. For me, when I think of bronze, I think of Olympians. This makes me want to visit Greece! Take a romantic trip if you can afford it. If not, bronze comes in many forms. For the wife, jewelry, bookends, a lamp, picture frame and even makeup make great gifts. These Brass Oval Earrings would make a gorgeous gift for any lucky lady. For the hubbies, pocket watches or cufflinks work just fine. Lots of accessories come in bronze, so let your imagination run wild to come up with something specific to the tastes of your spouse.

Take some time on this nineteenth year of marriage to enjoy the splendid view. Take in the big picture this year, full of hills and valleys that may, at times, have obscured a part of the picture. Where are you at this year? What is the view like? Why have you chosen this vantage point? Enjoy discussing these questions with your spouse this year. They may lead to some fun conversations. Join me next time for year 20.
Black Friday draws near, forcing us to consider which stores, sales and products to begin planning for. Long lines and heavy traffic make it necessary for many of us to plan early for a day not so much about manners and courtesy, but about combat shopping executed with our steely resolve to seek out the best deals available. Arttowngifts.com will be putting on a great Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale and is getting started early. Arttowngifts’ Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales begin on Wednesday, November 21st. They will be discounting over 120 products that all make great gifts. You can finish shopping before your Thanksgiving feast and take a nap on Friday, rather than brave the shopping mall. I encourage you to think about e-shopping for Black Friday this year. The benefits of online shopping are clear, and many shoppers are choosing to turn away from the traditional melee of Black Friday shopping to the ease and convenience of internet buying.

Personalized Star Beveled Glass Ornament
Besides being able to avoid crowded malls, combative shoppers, and endless lines, you win in several other key ways. Shipping packages no longer results in a wait at the post office. You can avoid a tedious trip to an overcrowded post office and the hassle of finding perfect packaging. You can also get started early with more and more sales being offered in advance of Black Friday. Arttowngifts offers free personalization on many of their gifts along with free gift messages. Perks like these allow you to save on the details such as gift cards and gas. Plus, comparison shopping is a snap. Instead of searching store-to-store, you can compare browser-to-browser! With endless possibilities available at the click of the button, the advantages of shopping become clear when it’s time to start scanning for the best deals.

Arttowngifts.com will unveil its Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales beginning on the 21st of November at 3:30 p.m. EST. Over one hundred discounted products will become available for a limited time. Christmas gift baskets are great for offices and entire families. Holiday-themed baskets are available as well as fancy wine baskets for a sophisticated way to save.

Ultimate Pub CollectionArttowngifts.com is also deeply discounting many of their personalized gifts. The great prices on their custom collection are amazing, and these low prices already include engraving, so you don’t have to pay extra to have names, initials or special messages added to your gifts! This Ultimate Pub Collection includes a stein, coaster set, humidor and bar plaque each personalized with the name of the recipient for the perfect gift for a Dad, husband or brother. Also perfect for someone seeking gifts for gentlemen is the large collection of custom cufflinks that will be featured in the sale. A variety of interesting cufflink designs can be found, each including a personalized gift box, to make a stunning impression on any recipient. These and other personalized gifts make the Black Friday collection at Arttowngifts unique and exciting.

Also included in the Arttowngifts.com Christmas sale are custom wooden signs. You have the ability to design your own sign to add names, a favorite phrase, a date or other sentiment for a highly personal gift for anyone. A variety of colors, text fonts and design styles are offered so that you can create something unique and a one of a kind.

I recommend getting ahead of the game by hitting sales early to take advantage of the great deals being offered by online retailers. You will avoid lines, and quite possibly tramplings, by investing time into scoping out the discounts being offered by online retailers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can subscribe to the mailing lists of your favorite companies to receive e-mails touting sale times and featured products. Top Christmas sales are only offered for a very limited time so take action and prepare early to take advantage of the best holiday savings available. Shopping online makes being prepared simple with resources available day and night to help you find sale dates and product availability without the guesswork of the conventional shopping trip. Happy bargain hunting!
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As Thanksgiving approaches, I start to consider just what it is that I have been most thankful for during the past year. It’s a yearly ritual for me, begun during my years in college. Home was too far away to visit every year, and I missed my family a lot during the holidays. Thinking of all the things worth being thankful for helped me out. Now it is tradition for me to sit and think about the year’s many gifts.

The past year was a tumultuous one at best, beginning with graduating college. I subsequently moved to a town I had never even heard of before, Sandpoint, Idaho. It is way up in northern Idaho, just about to Canada, and every bit as cold as it sounds, especially since I moved there in December. I had a friend in college who moved near Sandpoint as a teacher, and we moved in together to help each other pay the bills. Hence, my great northern adventure began. I got a job, moved my cat into our new apartment, and started working on life in the real world.

I have found that the most wonderful thing about the past year is the acquaintances I have made here in my new home. I have been blessed with a great group of friends, and the people around here are very kind. The weather here is grey more often than not, but when summer hits, you better look out! Blue skies, temperatures that are positively perfect for swimming, lakes everywhere, hiking, recreation, everywhere you look, it’s just fabulous. Winter is dreary, like I said, but living at the bottom of a ski resort makes up for it. I tried out skiing for the first time, and it was very fun once my friends managed to coax me down the bunny hill. All in all, it has been a year of new beginnings, fabulous friends, pleasant people, and a view that is to die for. These are the things that I am most thankful for this year.

Summer is officially gone- we saw our first snow storm last week- and I will miss it. But here’s to cups of hot chocolate, snowmen, ski hills and holiday parties!! Every season has something to offer around here. What are you thankful for this year? Leave a comment or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you. Enjoy your holiday season, I know I will.
 "A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day."  
                                                                                          -Andres Maurois

Congratulations on finishing up year 18. Do you find truth in this quote from Andre Maurois? I have never experienced eighteen years of marriage, but based on the examples of marriage that have been present in my life, it seems to ring true. A perfect end is never found because a great relationship is an every-single-day job. Some days, a small hut is built, and on others, a castle. The stability and quality of your edifice depends on the time that each of you is willing to put into it each day. Since you have made it through 18 years, you probably have excellent building skills, and it may be a lot easier to work together on a daily basis than it was in the earlier years. Celebrate this teamwork on your 18th anniversary because you have earned it! Gift ideas for the 18th anniversary are meager, so your own creativity will be required…

Traditional: No traditional 18th anniversary gift
Contemporary: Porcelain
Flower: No traditional 18th anniversary flower

Porcelain Tiling in Bathroom
Fine china isn’t exactly the most exciting gift idea, especially for the hubbies! Dishes and décor are typical porcelain gifts. For couples that like to think outside the box, a bathroom remodel could make an interesting project. Make a luxurious change such as a adding a new shower or jetted tub! Porcelain tiles can add lots of color and texture to your bathroom floor or the walls of your shower. Tile also looks gorgeous in an entryway or in the kitchen! There are plenty of creative home ideas for porcelain. Who knew building your edifice could be so fun?? You can take fine china gift ideas a step further and think travel. Is a trip to China on your budget this year? You can get pretty inventive with porcelain gift ideas with just a little bit of brainstorming, so dream away to make your 18th anniversary one to remember.
Order and Ship Early to Complete Online Holiday Shopping
Online Holiday Shopping
Buying Christmas gifts can be super stressful! Rather than run out to the shopping mall and drag yourself down hundreds of crowded aisles, why not sit at your computer and find thousands of gifts with just a couple clicks of a mouse? Find something for everyone, from Mom to Uncle Bob, and avoid shoving matches and fistfights over the last I-Pod on the shelf. The best part: you can do it all in your bathrobe!

Okay, online shopping is a cinch, but shipping debacles can really mess it up! Here is a quick shipping tutorial to get you informed and just a click away from wrapping up that holiday shopping!

Shipping Deadlines 101
Shipping deadlines are oftentimes misunderstood, and end up causing lots of unnecessary holiday trauma!! I cannot emphasize it enough… ORDER EARLY. You will save yourself a boatload of money by simply allowing yourself the time to select ground shipping, especially on heavier items. For example, consider a package with a ground shipping cost of $10.99. This is no big deal, right? For this same exact package, overnight or next day air shipping costs can be as high as $65.00!! Saturday delivery options are even costlier.

Free Shipping Caution
Many online retailers offer free shipping on selected items. This is really exciting, but when you read the fine print, this usually applies exclusively to the ground shipping option. Retailers don’t want to have to pay costly last minute shipping fees, either! The lesson here, GO WITH GROUND. Plus, Christmas always seems to fall smack-dab in the center of a snow storm, and bad weather can shut down shippers, so order well in advance to steer clear of a possible Mother Nature tantrum.

Baby Girl Personalized First Christmas OrnamentShipping Personalized Holiday Gifts
Personalized items are usually a big hit for online shoppers. Having an item engraved or monogrammed is a super way to add a thoughtful touch to any gift! Here at Arttowngifts.com, we have a large selection of personalized gifts that are very popular, however, sometimes shoppers forget that it takes longer for personalized gifts to ship out. Even with the quick turnaround on our customized collection, shoppers still have to allow us some time to make their gift extra personal! Here are the ordering deadlines I would recommend to

          1.    Help out overwhelmed retailers during holiday madness
          2.    Avoid weather mishaps
          3.    Account for personalized items

For all items with personalization: Place orders by December 10th
For all items without personalization: Place orders by December 13th

Shipping Deadlines 102
Okay, now we’re ready to get into the nitty gritty details about shipping. Here are a couple of super important tips to keep in mind for your holiday shopping:

- There is no shipping on weekends and holidays, so these don’t count towards your shipping transit days
- Shippers pick up in the afternoon, so if you want an item delivered today, place your order in the early morning to account for time zones
   --Example: If you place an order on Friday night, it won’t ship out until Monday morning 

Let’s say you select ground shipping for an order. Here is a schedule of what you can hope to expect regarding days in transit. We will use Monday as ship day.
               Monday:    Ship Day    Does Not Count as Transit Day
               Tuesday:      Transit Day 1
               Wednesday: Transit Day 2
               Thursday:     Transit Day 3
               Friday:         Transit Day 4
               Monday:       Transit Day 5

Your package should arrive by Monday at the latest. The ground option usually states a 3 to 5 day delivery period. This variation is a function of the combination of the Ship From (Warehouse) location and the Ship To address of the recipient.

Holiday ShippingOne last note: Please, please, please check and re-check the Ship To address you specify. A wrong address will put the smack down on your delivery in no time! Nothing is more frustrating than finding out your gift will not be delivered on time because you entered 201 Park Place instead of 1201 Park Place. Plus, shippers will charge you an address change fee, so get it right the first time to avoid an unnecessary expenditure.

Whew! That was a workout. Even the frugal mind of a bargain hunter is probably feeling dizzy after this. But really, there is only one takeaway here, and I bet you can guess what it is. Yep, it’s ORDER EARLY. That’s all you really have to keep in mind. Good luck out there and happy holiday shopping!
Fall Gift Ideas for Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again, reader. Fall is in the air, winter approaches, and our chilly consolations, at least my chilly consolations, typically include warm cups of cider and coco, ski season looming just around the corner, and reunions with family for the holidays. Summer is over, and it’s a bit disheartening, but there are tons of fun things to be thankful for during the fall and winter seasons, especially all the fun holidays coming up! In a couple of weeks, the majority of us will be gathered around a Thanksgiving feast, celebrating the abundance of blessings in our lives and the opportunity to share in this overflow with our loved ones.

Thanksgiving Gourmet Gift Basket
Each of us usually misses out on a few very important people living too far away to spend Turkey Day with. Share some autumn abundance with a fall gift basket perfect for sending across the country to someone special on Thanksgiving. Create a basket filled with preserves, homemade candies and traditional fall treats or order a pre-prepared basket online for a delightful surprise for your distant loved ones. This Thanksgiving Gourmet Basket features a bottle of sparkling apple cider nestled among all kinds of delicious treats from a gourmet cheese round to assorted chocolate creams. Even if you can’t give them a hug this year, share the best the season has to offer with family and friends living far and wide!

Oftentimes, rather than hosting our own feast, we are invited into the home of a family member or friend on Thanksgiving. This is another instance in which having a Thanksgiving gift can come in very handy. Arrive bearing gifts for your host to show appreciation for the opening of their home and the time spent preparing dinner. Homemade gifts such as canned items from your summer garden or hand-prepared desserts are perfect for giving to the host of your Thanksgiving party. Put care into the presentation for an extra thoughtful touch. For instance, if you bring a jar of homemade preserves, tie it off with a festive fall ribbon, or decorate the jar with fall trimmings of some kind.

Ultimate Gourmet Cheese and Sausage Collection with Cutting Board
Cheese and sausage platters also make fabulous fall gifts for the season of plenty! Stomachs start growing as winter sets in, so make sure your host has plenty to snack on! The Ultimate Gourmet Collection and Cutting Board from Arttowngifts.com features a large assortment of cheeses, sausage, spreads and crackers neatly presented on an attractive wooden cutting board. This delicious selection of gourmet snacks is sure to keep them full and satisfied through the fall!

Near and far, we can share Thanksgiving with the special people who make life beautiful, and certainly worth being thankful for. I hope your holiday is abundant with friends, family and food! The joy in this festive season is more than enough to make up for the cold times ahead. Warm up to your winter consolations with meditations on the millions of things in life to be thankful for. Personally, the gift of relationship is probably my very favorite blessing and is at the forefront of my mind during the holidays. May your Thanksgiving be full of the celebration of friendship and family. Here’s wishing you a happy Turkey Day 2012!
Anniversary Gifts for Year 17
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. -Mignon McLaughlin
The 17th anniversary isn’t very exciting as far as gifting goes. There is no traditional gift or traditional flower for this anniversary, but seventeen years is still more than worth celebrating. Congratulations on 17 years’ worth of falling in love with one another. Falling out of love occurs for many couples, but it seems like the most successful pairs know what it takes to fall back in. This year, fall in love with each other all over again by promoting a little romance with the gifts and activities you choose. Here are a few gift ideas to get you started…

Traditional: No traditional 17th anniversary gift
Contemporary: Furniture
Flower: No traditional 17th anniversary flower

As you can see, 17th anniversary traditional gift ideas are lacking, so this leaves you plenty of room to get creative! There are plenty of ways to create with furniture. Choose to redecorate with a brand new living room set, remodel the kitchen, or revamp the master bedroom. Whatever project you decide to tackle is sure to add new color and interesting textures to the home you share. Take on this new task together and work as a team to breathe new life into your home décor.

If large-scale renovation isn’t on your budget or something interesting to the both of you, a discussion about furniture may result in some creative ideas. Would a new patio set add something pleasant to your summer? What about a new garden bench or some outdoor furniture for the porch? Is the dining room table in need of restoration, or would a larger table better accommodate for guests? Brainstorm ideas for furniture that would be exciting or useful for the both and you to come up with something new and fresh that tickles each of your fancies!

Dozen Yellow Designer Long Stem RosesWith no traditional flower idea, there is another chance here for a hubby to get creative for his wife. A gorgeous bouquet of her favorite flowers is always a winner, or an ever popular Gold Rose from Arttowngifts.com. These stunning 24kt gold roses are perfect for a woman who loves beauty. Flowers are associated with romance, and may seem cliché, but for many women, it’s the time and thought put into acquiring the flowers that means the most. A colorful display for the dining room table or coffee table is just the icing on the cake!

I wish you good luck in love this year. Falling in love can be a lot harder than falling out, but much more rewarding, and definitely more fun. Nobody is perfect and sometimes a person’s faults are part of the initial attraction and feeling of falling. Add a few years, and those imperfections begin to ride on our nerves, right? Try seeing the shortcomings of your partner in a new light this year, and remember why you loved them in the first place. Fall in love all over again with the good… and the bad. Join me next time for year 18.
Corporate Gift Exchanges
During the holidays, businesses often order large numbers of gifts for clients and employees. When preparing for the upcoming holiday, smart business managers can take advantage of special benefits available to them by placing their corporate gift requests well in advance of the Christmas rush. Many online retailers offer discounts and free personalization for large orders of gift baskets and personalized gifts when orders are placed far enough in advance. Last minute large corporate orders can create a variety of challenges for busy retailers. Their shippers experience pressing holiday deadlines while transporting large shipping volumes, and internally, companies face high order demand from individual customers.

Take Advantage of Bulk Discounts for Client Gifts – Order Early

Corporations must order early to take advantage of available discounts and to receive the lowest possible shipping costs. You can expect to pay close to full price and higher shipping costs for last minute bulk orders during the holidays. I recommend ordering in between mid-November and early December to give retailers plenty of time to get an order together and ship at lower rates.

Corporate Gift Giving Popular Again
Corporate gift giving declined during the height of the Great Recession. Fortunately businesses have recognized the importance of thanking their clients, so the popularity of giving business gifts during the holidays is on the rise again. Gifts to employees from supervisors and managers improve morale, while gifts between work associates boost workplace camaraderie. Giving gifts to clients has also become a trendy way to thank clients for their business and garner their future support and patronage. The perks of corporate gift giving are clear, but the actual gifts themselves can be difficult to choose. Appropriate gifts differ from recipient to recipient, so how do you choose an appropriate gift?

Employee Gifts Boost Morale
Gift towers and large gift baskets addressed to an entire office and shared among all members of the staff make perfect centerpieces for holiday office parties, and have become a normal fixture at company Christmas parties. A few employees perform above and beyond the mark, and management can demonstrate its attention to detail and performance by rewarding these star performers with customized gifts. Personalized gifts for the desk or office are perfect for rewarding outstanding Stainless Steel Folding Money Clipemployees. I would recommend personalized pens, desk organizers, paperweights, mugs, glassware or money clips. The extensive collection of personalized gifts at Arttowngifts.com features items such as an engraved leather desk caddie which is perfect for organizing their desk. These gifts include room for personalization with a name and date or message. Gifts like these let employees know that they are appreciated, boost morale in the workplace and encourage continued performance from high achievers.

Coworker Exchanges Encourage Holiday Energy and Camaraderie
Inter-office gifting is a typical feature at holiday office parties. Secret Santa exchanges are fairly popular and usually feature the exchange of generic gifts. Mugs, picture frames and bottles of wine are perfect gifts for co-workers who usually aren’t overly familiar with one another. Work associate exchanges among the staff are great for fostering camaraderie among team members who work together to produce results for the company as a whole. Nurturing these types of relationships is extremely beneficial to your organization.

Client Gifts Build Business Relationships

Dom Perignon Grand Champagne Basket
Client relations are integral to the success of companies that depend on the patronage of their clients to grow and prosper. During holidays, many companies choose to acknowledge their clients with gifts that are often expensive and extravagant. Vacation packages, golf packages and lavish wining and dining are common. Fancy gourmet gift baskets and wine baskets are also perfect for impressing clients. The Top of the Line Luxury Wine Gift Collection at Arttowngifts.com features a selection of high-priced wine and champagne gifts for dazzling clientele. The Dom Perignon Grand Champagne Basket is another popular upscale client thank you gift. If your company expects to count itself among the most successful in your respective industry, you should spare no expense when attempting to foster strong relationships with potential and current clients.

Order Personalized Gifts Early

Start very early when ordering personalized gifts for employees or adding a logo to a gift selection. Even for retailers who make quick turnaround time a standard, it takes time to create quality custom products. This is especially true for bulk orders placed by companies purchasing personalized gifts for a large number of employees or clients. Place orders in early to mid-November to ensure the best possible service.

Avoid Last Minute Same-Day Gift Orders
Many companies opt to have a large gift basket or tower delivered to a business office on the day of the company’s holiday party or other special holiday occasion. Same day deliveries are in extremely high demand during peak holidays. Arttowngifts.com works with local florists and gift companies to hand deliver these gifts. These local shops are usually swamped during holidays. Time and resources become strained, and overbooking occurs. Orders placed for immediate delivery are often turned away, so place an order for same day delivery at least a week in advance to ensure that your order is on the roster and within the resource limitations of local gift companies.

Consider Holiday Closures
Keep in mind that many businesses close for as long as a week before or after the Christmas holiday. While it may seem appropriate to have your gift arrive on Christmas Eve it is often not practical.

December 25th
Plan Ahead for Successful Holiday Gift Giving
The takeaway here for any company is to plan ahead and order corporate gifts far in advance. The stresses and demands that peak holidays present to gift retailers makes last-minute orders, especially large orders, difficult to impossible to fill. Many retailers will offer corporate discounts for bulk orders when placed in advance of the holiday. Your company can expect to pay full price for large orders placed too close to holiday deadlines, and should anticipate high shipping costs as well. Make the holidays happier with some simple planning and preparation for a budget-friendly way to spread company-wide Christmas cheer!