October 2012
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. -Audrey Hepburn
Congratulations on rounding out year 16! Gift ideas for your 16th anniversary:

•    Traditional: No traditional 16th anniversary gift
•    Contemporary: Silver holloware
•    Flower: Statice, aka Sea Lavender

Silver Holloware
The term silver holloware encompasses a range of silver serving dishes. Silver cream and sugar sets, tea sets, serving dishes and cutlery are the most common examples of silver holloware. These types of gifts are usually given from husband to wife. Ladies, the 16th anniversary is a tough sell for husband gifts if you’re looking to stick to traditional guidelines! You could consider preparing a really nice dinner for hubbies, since this anniversary centers around serving dishes and the kitchen. If looking to get out, dine somewhere fancy where service and silver is the order of the evening!

Statice FlowersStatice (Sea Lavender)
The statice represents lasting beauty, sympathy, remembrance and success. It is likely that much of your success as a couple can be attributed to the sympathy shown, the beauty appreciated, and the remembrance shared between you. Feature this symbolism in your home with a dried flower arrangement. The statice is extremely popular in such arrangements because of its durability after drying. Dry flower arrangements can make stunning centerpieces for your home, and don’t wither away as live arrangements do. Statice flowers are also easy to grow, drought resistant, and are usually featured as borders or in beds. Keep the statice flower present in your home or garden as a reminder of the success of your sixteen-year marriage.

You have held onto each other for sixteen years and this is a very important accomplishment. Silver serving ware represents the occasions upon which you have served one another, both during major life events and on a daily basis. Statice flowers symbolize the success that your servitude and sympathy for one another has amounted to. The 16th anniversary is the perfect year to celebrate the sacrifice and hard work that are inherent in serving one another. Extend some gratitude to your spouse for their efforts, and enjoy your anniversary celebration! Join me next time for year 17.
Veteran's Day 2012Military Gifts for Veterans on Veterans Day 2012
On November 11th, 1918 an armistice agreement was signed, ending the World War 1 conflict between the Allied Nations and Germany. The date has since been declared a national holiday and is reserved for honoring all U.S. Military veterans. Salute the service of our brave military service members by acknowledging their sacrifice and honoring their courage. Thank the special veterans in your life by spending time in their company, visiting a war memorial with significant meaning to them, being present at a service at which they are honored or give them a gift to commemorate the day. Veteran’s Day is on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

A wide range of gifts can be appropriate for Veteran’s Day. Patriotically themed gifts featuring the colors of the American flag are usually very popular, as are camouflage-themed items. A flag display case makes a meaningful gift for any vet. Patriotic mugs, picture frames and apparel allow those who have served their country to proudly display their status as veterans. Arttowngifts.com has a series of gifts for those who have or are serving in the military.

Camouflage Flask
Military picture frames available in red, white and blue or camouflage are customizable with a name, date, location or other personalization of your choosing. A patriotic picture frame makes a vet’s service a proud part of the home, and serves as a daily reminder of sacrifice and bravery. Camouflage flasks available in pink camo or traditional colors make fun gifts for veterans who enjoy camouflage outfitting. If your veteran enjoys a fine cigar, Patriot Cigar Pub Gifts are perfect. Patriot Cigar-themed steins, poker sets, wall signs, humidors and coaster sets are ideal for a home bar or man cave. These items feature personalization with a name and date, making a fun addition to poker night or game time!

For a highly unique gift for your veteran, the Patriot Gold Trimmed Rose makes a stunning presentation when it arrives! A real rose has been preserved in lacquer, painted in red, white and blue and highlighted with gold stars. The edges of the petals are then trimmed with 24kt gold for an eye-catching display of patriotism. If your vet has a sweet tooth, this God God Bless America Gift BoxBless America Gift Box comes loaded with sweets and treats for a tasty celebration! The gift box also features the book, I Pledge Allegiance, full of heroic stories of bravery and sacrifice from American heroes. The box is available in a large or medium size. A gift box is perfect for sending to a veteran living too far away for a visit. Imagine how much they will love receiving this tasty gift on Veterans Day!

Hopefully these gift suggestions have given you some ideas about how to celebrate your veteran. It is important to remember, however, that appreciation is probably the best gift that anyone can give to a veteran. However you choose to appreciate the important veteran in your life, whether with gifts, a visit or even a special ceremony in their honor, you can be sure that your gratitude and time is deeply welcomed.

Trooper's Snack Pack
Many of us have friends and family serving in the military over the holidays. It’s tough on us, and it’s tough on them to be apart during this time usually reserved for family gatherings and homecomings. Sending gifts overseas is as close as we can hope to come to sharing the holiday season with our loved ones stationed far away, so I’m writing this blog post to make sure your gifts get there on time! Follow a few simple rules to make sure your soldier receives their package before Christmas.

Rule #1 – Start Early
Keep in mind that calculating a delivery date for a military address is difficult if not impossible. Instead of a regular daily or weekly scheduled delivery time, the delivery process for military addresses depends on a combination of the location and available transport. This lack of a delivery schedule makes it necessary to ship packages very early to account for uncertain delivery time frames. Start shopping now for holiday gifts and send presents early and accurately to be sure your soldier receives their Christmas gifts on time.

Here is how the process works. Your package is routed via the US Postal Service to one of several holding centers on the east or west coast depending on its final destination. From here, packages are taken into the custody of the Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) and this is where tracking becomes next to impossible. If you send your gift through Express Mail, Priority Mail or First Class, packages are transported on an airplane, and are usually delivered within one to two weeks. Standard rate postage packages are transported on a cargo ship, taking much longer to reach the other side of the ocean, up to a month or more! 

Packages and mail are transported whenever transport becomes available, so there are no established shipping or pickup times. This means that calculating a definite delivery time is impossible. The riskier or more remote the station being delivered to, the longer transport will take. During peak holiday times, delivery slows down as well. To further complicate shipping to a military address, tracking normally stops when the postal service completes the hand off of the package to the military. So as you can see, it is next to impossible to determine an exact delivery date. Better safe than sorry, so send very early. With delivery times that range from one to six weeks, I recommend sending packages before Thanksgiving.
Pfc. Lucero Garcia, in Baghdad. Photo by US Army
Pfc. Lucero Garcia, stationed in Baghdad. Photo by US Army

Rule #2 – Get the address correct… Down to the letter!
A military address can be a little confusing, so here is how it is put together. A typical address looks something like this:

SGT John Doe
PSC 802 BOX 74
APO, AE 09499-0074

Be sure you include the full name of the person to whom you are sending a gift. The postal service, due to security concerns, no longer accepts packages address to “Any Service Member”. The final line is usually the most confusing due to all those acronyms! One of three types of postal offices, an APO, FPO or DPO is designated first in place of the City reference. APO stands for Air/Army Post Office. Packages addressed to APO’s are taken into custody by the Army or Air Force. FPO stands for Fleet Post Office; these packages are claimed by the Navy. DPO’s are Diplomatic Post Offices for delivery to embassies. AA, AE and AP designations replace the state designation.

•    AA stands for Armed Forces Americas, serving all of the U.S., Central America and South America,   excluding Canada.
•    AE stands for Armed Forces Europe, serving Europe, Canada, Africa and the Middle East
•    AP stands for Armed Forces Pacific, serving Asia and the Pacific

This designation determines the holding center to which the USPS will deliver packages. Those marked AA are delivered to a holding center in Miami. AE designated packages are routed to New York City, and AP marked packages are sent to San Francisco.

It is essential that the address is perfect. What may seem like a simple mistake such as a one digit zip code error will likely mean the package will be lost. Don’t assume that the postal service will correct the address. If in doubt, confirm the address with the recipient before shipping your package. Make sure that you print and write very legibly. Check and re-check that address before you send!
Military Packages

Rule # 3 – Pack carefully

1.    Choose the right box.  Do not overstuff a box; if the box is too full, it might open on the way to the destination.
2.    Waterproof the contents by lining the box with a garbage bag.
3.    Package the items so that they are secure and cannot move around.
4.    If the item is fragile, use bubble wrap.
5.    If you are shipping several items in the same box, make sure that you put anything that can spill inside a baggie.
6.    To make receiving more fun, wrap each item separately. This will also help protect the items and is particularly true if you mix the contents.
7.    Add a copy of the recipient’s address to the inside of the box. This way, if the outside label is torn or becomes unreadable, the package will still arrive.
8.    Finish the process with lots of clear packaging tape. Seal the box shut on all sides and then tape along all of the box seams.
9.    Be sure to add a return address to your box.
10.    Take your box to the post office and ask for a customs form. The clerk will help you complete the form if you need assistance.

Stick to these guidelines and your gift should be set to go, neatly packaged and ready for its long voyage across the sea!

To Consider Before Sending
•    Be sure to check on military mail restrictions before sending. Mail going to personnel through the Military Postal Service Agency is subject to the host country customs requirements. Contact your local Post Office, or visit the USPS website for a list of restrictions. Common prohibited items include alcohol, firearms, perishable food items, batteries, flammable materials and fruits. Soldiers serving in the Middle East or Afghanistan cannot receive a bulk amount of material contrary to the Islamic faith, pork or pork by-products or material considered pornographic or politically inflammatory.
•    Be sure to consider the amount of time your package may likely be in transit. Obviously, the transit time prohibits fresh flower gifts. Even chocolates should be avoided in most cases due to the fact that temperature controls may be lacking during transport. Desert temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees; this can damage delicate goods such as electronics.
Trooper's Snack Pack
Gift Ideas
Care packages and gifts specifically designated for military members make wonderful options for sending to soldiers. Arttowngifts.com features a selection of care packages boxed in disposable containers to help soldiers avoid the hassle of carting around bulky packaging. Care packages like this Soldier’s Snack Pack feature an assortment of fun snacks and sweets, plus puzzles and games to ward off boredom. If you want to send food, avoid the temptation to send fresh baked. Instead look for food items with a long shelf life such as beef jerky, jelly beans, snack mixes and sunflower seeds. Other ideal gifts include personalized gifts such as multi-purpose tools, flash lights, knives and dope bags. Some military sites recommend razors, word puzzles, baby wipes, socks, disposable cameras, duck tape, lip balm, reading materials, writing materials and mints. Include cards and letters from various friends and family members to make gifts very personal and pleasing. It is difficult to spend holidays away from home, so be sure to send gifts that comfort and remind the soldier that he or she is missed and loved.

Not All Online Retailers Ship to Military Addresses

Keep in mind that many online and brick and mortar retailers do not offer shipping to military addresses due to the lack of tracking, additional paperwork required, etc. There are some alternatives such as ShipitAPO or APO Box. Using these services, you can place an order with any online company and send the order to their location and they will reship to the soldier for a handling fee plus the additional shipping charges.

The final takeaways: start early and send carefully. The uncertainties in shipping to military addresses can leave your soldier without a Christmas gift if left until the last minute. Plan ahead and send before Thanksgiving to avoid this. As you prepare to send, decide what to send carefully, and make sure that what you plan to ship is permissible through the postal service. Check and re-check your address for correctness and pack your box neatly, keeping in mind the long journey ahead. Nobody needs Christmas cheer as much as the troops serving far from their families and loved ones, so making an effort to send out packages on time is well worth your effort, and well worth the joy felt by service members overseas as they receive holiday packages. Start now for a happier holiday all around!
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So you got invited to a birthday party of the friend of a friend, a cousin or some other loosely related person. You can’t show up empty handed, and it is good gift etiquette to pair a gift with a card, so the question is, what do you write? This is a pretty basic topic, but it has caused me a moment’s pause in the past as I have tried to phrase a nice message for someone I barely know. The main message you want to send is, hey, I was there, I got you this gift, and I wish you a happy birthday. The key points to cover are as follows:

•    Salutation: This could be Dear So-and-So, or it could be Happy Birthday So-and-So!
•    Happy Birthday! (Unless included in salutation)
•    Reference your reason for the gift, and your hope that they enjoy it
•    Your wishes for their special day
•    Closing (Sincerely, Love, All the Best)

Here are a couple of examples of good birthday gift messages for guys and gals:

Dear James,

Happy birthday!
I know you like to host poker night, so hopefully this poker set will come in handy. Have a terrific birthday!

All the Best,

Personalized Fitness Fun Tote

Happy Birthday Tabitha!

I know you like to travel, so I got you this cute tote to help carry your travel necessities in style. Have a fabulous birthday full of fun and laughter!


Birthday gifts can also be a difficult find. When you aren’t too personal with the birthday girl or guy, you might not know much about their interests or hobbies. General gifts like gift baskets or wine sets are perfect in these cases, as most everyone enjoys a nice bottle of wine or a basket full of snacks or sweets. I referenced poker sets and totes above, which are both great generic gifts. Arttowngifts.com offers personalized poker sets and totes, so you can add their name or initial, which is also a fun way to put some thought into a simple gift.

Tanner Ridge California Wine Duet
Now you are set to show up bearing gifts, and a terrific message to go along with! Avoid the discomfort of showing up empty handed with a simple and generic gift that anybody would enjoy. To make it a bit more thoughtful, add personalization and a gift card. Join me next time for a how-to on the perfect gift message to accompany a corporate gift. Happy gifting!
 Anniversary Gifts for Year 15
It’s time to say goodbye to year 15! Gift ideas for a 15th anniversary are as follows:

•    Traditional: Crystal
•    Contemporary: Watches
•    Flower: Roses

Crystal: Something Worth Treasuring
Traditional 15th anniversary gifts are made from crystal. Crystal is known for being extremely delicate, and therein lies the beauty. Crystal is something to be protected and handled with care, because carelessness leads to brokenness! Relationships are a lot like this. It seems as though breaking points are usually reached when one or both partners become careless and forget the companionship that was once treasured. This year, give gifts of crystal to remind yourselves of the beauty in your relationship, and to keep in mind the things that each of you treasures about the other. Crystal jewelry, glassware and home décor items always make a statement with their beauty and fragility.

Finding Value Over Time
The modern 15th anniversary gift is a watch. 15 years have passed, and hopefully the time has flown. Stop the clock this year and take a look at the meaning behind the time you have spent raising kids, washing dishes, doing laundry, traveling, working and communicating. Time spent on menial tasks is just as valuable as time spent on romantic getaways and exciting new experiences. If you are valuing each other every minute, no matter how time is being spent, then you are a lucky pair! The gift of a watch is meant to symbolize the time that you have spent together in companionship and love. Husbands, an elegant wrist watch is a nice way to celebrate the woman that you have chosen to pass your time with! Ladies, a sophisticated pocket watch for a classy husband is perfect for honoring your time as a pair. Personalize his watch for a thoughtful twist on his timepiece. This Brushed Silver Pocket Watch from Arttowngifts.com features customization on the back perfect for adding his name, a date and a message. He can step out in style with a watch that will remind him of you with each passing hour.

A Lifelong Love
Gold Dipped Rose and Red Gold Trimmed RoseRoses have long epitomized romance and passion. The 15th anniversary is the perfect year to give her an unforgettable rose that will never fade. The line of Gold Roses from Arttowngifts.com offers a stunning array of rose colors and styles dipped or trimmed in the precious metal of your choice, including platinum, gold or silver. Find roses completely coated in shiny gold, silver or platinum or browse their huge selection of colorful lacquered roses with metal trimming. Real roses are hand-picked at the peak of their bloom and coated in lacquers and metals to preserve them for a lifetime. These roses, like your love, will never wither away. Pair her rose with a crystal vase for a gift that is both traditional and modern in one!

No Time To Waste
My wish for you is that the time that you have spent together has resulted in companionship with a value that is crystal clear to the both of you. We don’t have much time to waste as humans, and the one person that we do choose to spend that time with is an extremely important part of our life's value. Before any more time runs out, let your spouse know just how integral they are to making you tick. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate an anniversary. Join me next time for year 16.
It is customary to congratulate happy couples as they celebrate each year of marriage. Often, we find ourselves needing a gift for a couple with whom we are not extremely familiar, such as an aunt and uncle, long-distance grandparents, or a pair of friends we only see once in a while. It can be difficult to know exactly what to buy, and exactly what to write in a gift message in these instances. When preparing to write your gift message, here are a few key points to cover:

•    Salutation: Dear Name & Name
•    Congratulations on number of years together
•    Comment on this achievement
•    Your wishes for their future
•    Closing (Love, Sincerely, Best Wishes, etc.)

Here is an example of an appropriate anniversary gift message:

Dear John and Kathy,

Congratulations on 36 wonderful years together! Your success as a couple has inspired many, and is an accomplishment to be proud of. I wish you many more years of companionship and love.

With Love,

Chocolate Fondue and Champagne for Two Gift Chest
You may also decide to comment on your gift as well, such as an expression of your hope that they enjoy it. Just a few brief lines adequately conveys your wishes and sentiments for the happy couple, and is appropriately personal for a couple that you may not see on a daily, monthly or even yearly basis.

It may also be difficult to pick out a present to go along with your nice gift message. Perfect anniversary gifts include bottles of wine, gift baskets, home décor items, or gifts related to hobbies that they share as a couple. This Chocolate Fondue and Champagne for Two Gift Chest from Arttowngifts.com makes a romantic and unique gift for a couple.  This set includes two small bottles of champagne and a fondue set complete with chocolate chips for melting, a pot, stand, candle and dipping forks. They are sure to love this gift, and your message!

I hope these tips help make your anniversary shopping and gift preparation simple. Next time, I will fill you in on how to write a great birthday gift message. If you have suggestions for gift message occasions that you would like me to cover, or if you would like gift ideas for a certain personality or holiday, let me know. Drop us a line on our Facebook Fan Page or on our Twitter Page, or leave a comment on the blog. Happy gifting!

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 Anniversary Gifts for Year 14
Congratulations on your 14th year as a couple. Adventures are in order this year, as well as gifts of ivory and gold. Consider new horizons for making fresh memories! Here are a few gift suggestions to get you started…

Piano KeysTraditional Gift Ideas… Ivory
Traditional 14th anniversary gifts are made from ivory. If your love is a musician, a piano could bring music and creativity into your home. I have played the piano for most of my life, but found a traditional piano to be too heavy and cumbersome to move, so I opted for an electric piano. The sound quality is superb, the cost was about equal to that of a traditional piano, and it never needs tuning! Of course, electrical problems become the issue. However, the music store from which I bought mine had a technician to deal with these types of problems. I have owned my piano for over three years, and have never had any technical glitches, however. The gift of music is one of the most meaningful you can give, so be sure to consider it for a musically inclined spouse.

If travel is in your future and within your budget, this ivory anniversary is the perfect excuse to go visit Africa and go on safari! What an excellent opportunity to experience something totally new together. Sometimes an escape into the unknown is exactly what we need to light up a marriage or life that has become a routine instead of an adventure.

Other more traditional ivory gifts include:
  •     Jewelry
  •     Ivory sculptures or other artwork
  •     Ivory-colored home décor items like sheets, curtains, etc.
Contemporary Ideas: Gifts of Gold
Purple Lacquer Gold Trimmed RoseOf course, jewelry is typically the first thing that comes to mind when we think of gold. Arttowngifts.com has a few gold-covered gifts to help you think outside the box. For a wife, their collection of Gold-Dipped Roses is stunning. You can order her a rose completely dipped in gold, silver or platinum, or a rose preserved in a pretty colored lacquer with gold, silver or platinum trimming. Real roses are preserved and dipped for a flower gift that will last forever! From this same collection, for a golfer husband, they offer Gold-Dipped Golf Balls. Golf balls are dipped in 24 karat gold for a neat display piece for his office or man cave. They also offer playable golf-toned tees for using out on the green!

Celebrate Forever with Dahlias
The 14th anniversary flower is the dahlia. This colorful bloom is available in many colors, and is stunning in bouquets. This flower is often used in celebrations of love and marriage as it symbolizes everlasting commitment. Give her dahlias to let her know that your promise will last forever.

Enjoy your 14th anniversary! Hopefully you can share in an adventure on the wild side. You only live once, and only have one 14th anniversary, so make it count. Good luck with your planning! Join me next time for year 15.
Happy Halloween Cookie Bucket
Halloween Gifts
Shop online for Halloween gifts, costumes, decorations and party supplies to access millions of options at the click of a button! Many of us wait to the last minute to head down to a local store to browse through the slim Halloween pickings left on shelves. Everyone in town is wearing the same costume, and your decorations mirror those of your neighbor’s. To find truly unique Halloween items, look no further than your computer. With a little preparedness, you can throw the scariest party in the neighborhood, and your kids will be wearing the best costumes in town. Be sure to start early to take advantage of the best deals and lowest shipping costs on the web.

Where to Begin?
A great place to begin gathering Halloween ideas is Pinterest. My Pinterest stream is always loaded with autumn and Halloween decorations, costume ideas, foods and more. Also try checking out Halloween bloggers to find all kinds of creative goodies. Once you have collected enough ideas to complete your vision of the perfect Halloween, order what you need from an online retailer with a Halloween collection.

Begin Early
Order early to avoid high last-minute shipping costs. Take advantage of low-cost ground shipping to get the best deal. If you are prepared well in advance, it should be no problem to place orders in time to account for ground shipping, which usually takes 3 to 5 business days. Though don’t count on a 3 day delivery. Always be prepared for delivery hiccups like address errors and bad weather.

Most retailers incent holiday costumers with coupons and bargains, so be sure to take advantage of any deals you can. However, the longer you wait, the less likely these coupons will be available. Once the holiday rush kicks in, retailers often stop offering deals as they become overwhelmed with orders, so start looking now.

Halloween Gifts
Halloween Celebrations Gift Bag
Costumes are a must, along with party decorations, but what about gifts? Halloween gift baskets and activity packs are great for sending to friends and family that live far away and can’t share in your Halloween festivities. Arttowngifts.com has a nice selection of Halloween gifts for a loved one of any age. Many of the baskets feature stuffed animals and toys along with candy. Cute pumpkins and reusable bags replace the traditional basket for a fun accent to their spooky Halloween holiday. This Halloween Celebrations Gift Bag features an adorable trick or treat tote stuffed with mouthwatering treats sure to make their Halloween sweeter.

Gather your ideas from across the web, order early, and have a fun and frightful Halloween night. Shopping online puts a large variety of ideas at your fingertips, but be cautious and order early to avoid a shipping fiasco. Get started today for a spooktacular Halloween celebration to remember!
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Gift Message Guide
Your pen is poised over that cute gift card you just picked out…. Your mind goes blank….. What to write? This gift message writer’s block is a common ailment, and seems to afflict us most when we’re not too closely connected to our recipient. It’s easy enough to write out a mushy message for Mom or an I Love You note for a sweetheart. But what about the card for your best friend’s sister’s wedding? How about a graduation note for a cousin? How the heck am I supposed to address an Aunt or Uncle on their anniversary? These are questions that I hope to be able to answer with my newest blog series on Gift Message Ettiquete. I will address those occasions on which we often find ourselves giving to someone not within our immediate circle of friends and family. Follow these simple guidelines, and your message should come across beautifully.

Occasion #1: Weddings
Attending a wedding for a cousin, nephew or a friend you haven’t seen in years? Keep your gift message simple and sweet. The bride and groom likely have a large stack of gifts and cards to go through, and will probably only briefly glance at your message. Here are the key points to cover:

•    Salutation: Dear Name & Name,
•    Congratulations
•    Your wishes for the happy couple
•    Close with Love, Sincerely, Best Wishes, etc.

Here is an example of an appropriate gift message:

Dear Tom & Joana,
Congratulations on the beginning of your new life together! I wish you millions of happy moments and years full of joyful memories.

Notice that the message is short and sweet, and the congratulations and well wishes are expressed without fluff, but are still poignant and heartfelt. As the bride and groom scan their cards, your point will be clear immediately, and later, if cards are revisited for some reason, a more thorough examination of your message will still deliver a punch! Your meaning is clear, your sentiments are dear, and you are now on their thank you card list. Case closed!

At Arttowngifts.com, many of our gifts include the option to add a hand-written message to your gift. We will pick out a card to match the gift and personally write out your message. Our Custom Name Signs are very popular gifts for newlyweds. Custom design your sign for a very thoughtful expression of best wishes for the newlyweds. The icing on the cake… your amazing gift message!

Live, Laugh, Love Family Name Sign

This concludes my wedding gift message tutorial. I plan to write a series of gift message blog posts to help you write meaningful messages without the stress. If you are interested in having a certain occasion covered, let me know! Subscribe to the blog and leave a comment or visit our Facebook Fan Page and share your ideas. I would love to hear from you. Happy gifting!

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Anniversary Gifts for Year 13
Thirteen years have come and gone, and despite this unluckiest of numbers, I wish you the very best of luck at closing it down memorably. Thirteen years of sharing everything means that you specialize in the interests and desires of your partner. Use this to your advantage to make this day truly special for them. Here are a few gift ideas to get you started…

Traditional 13th anniversary gifts are made from lace. Lace gifts are typically for women, so guys, consider clothing with lace, a beautiful evening dress with lace, (date included), or a lace nightgown. For a wife who loves her jewelry, buy something lace inspired. Intricately patterned jewelry can represent lace and is usually exceptionally elegant. Perhaps a piece to go along with that lacy evening dress for date night?

Consider decorating a candle with lace. I stumbled across these lace candle holders on Goodhousekeeping.com. It's a super simple idea, and a great way to dress up your romantic  candle lit dinner. Lace doesn’t have to equal doilies, so get creative with it!

The 13th anniversary flower is the chrysanthemum. This eye-catching bloom symbolizes optimism and joy. Some say that a single petal placed at the bottom of a glass of wine will lead to a long and healthy life. Share a glass of chrysanthemum petal wine to toast the longevity and health of your relationship! Another 13th anniversary flower is the Hollyhock. This blossom represents fertility and fruitfulness. If you wish to express thanks for your children, the meaning behind the Hollyhock is perfect.

Contemporary 13th anniversary gifts include furs and textiles. Fur coats and any form of clothing is an easy enough solution. How about redecorating the bedroom? Pick out a brand new comforter set, matching curtains and rugs to lend a new and exciting feel to this privately shared space. Take it even further and repaint, and perhaps include the master bathroom as well! This could turn into a really fun project for the both of you, and add new color to your daily lives.

Perhaps you’re headed off to Home Depot with visions of a brand new bedroom, or maybe you will enjoy a candle-lit supper with chrysanthemum wine for toasting. Whatever activities you choose to fill this day with, be sure that the meaning behind them is clear to you both, and don’t forget to reflect on the number 13, and just how lucky you are to be sharing this year with your best friend and favorite person. Join me next time for year 14.
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Sweetest Day Gifts
Sweetest Day continues to gain popularity across the nation with its good-natured premise and inspirational beginnings. Started around 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio by Herbert Birch Kingston, this holiday is rooted in the desire to celebrate individuals who are often overlooked. Kingston decided to begin spreading cheer to the underprivileged by distributing candy and small gifts to children in orphanages, those with sickness or disabilities and others who are often forgotten.

Over the years, others joined in, including celebrities. Soon it was declared an official holiday in Cleveland, Ohio and has since begun to gain popularity, especially in the Great Lakes region. Today, it is considered a celebration of the wonderful sweetness that people can bring to our lives. Gifts exchanged are usually similar to those given on Valentine’s Day, including cards, candy and small mementos. This year, it is celebrated on Saturday, October 20th.

Fancy Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Duet
Check out the large selection of Candies and Treats at Arttowngifts.com to find something for a special person in your life. Candies, cookies, baskets and teddy bears are all there! It doesn’t get any sweeter than this Fancy Chocolate Caramel Apple Duet. Beautifully presented in a pretty box, these caramel and chocolate covered apples will tickle their taste buds with Belgian chocolate and toffee coverings. Plus, caramel apples make the perfect fall gift! Hand-make a card to add to your treat for a truly special way to bless someone on this sweet holiday.

This wonderful day comes from truly humble beginnings, with a meaning that can be understood and shared by everyone. Help us shed some light on this heartwarming holiday by sharing gifts and special time with those who make your life sweet. If you wish to stick to the more traditional roots of the holiday, share something tasty with someone who might be lonely or in need, like an elderly person in your neighborhood or someone struggling with illness. Make October 20th the Sweetest Day of the year for someone special, and feel the reward of sharing goodness with the important people around you. Enjoy!
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Gift Wrap
I’ll admit, I really do hate answering this question. My confession: I bag everything!! Who wants to stand around wrapping gifts, especially if you have a huge load of presents to prepare for Christmas? Then again, I don’t even like wrapping gifts when there is only one. Not only do I not enjoy wrapping, but my skills have been scoffed at more than once. Yes, I am the person who can’t figure out how to neatly wrap a package. I just stick tape everywhere until it holds. Wrapping feels like a waste of time, so instead, I just skip over that part and stuff something in a bag. Tissue paper makes it look at least somewhat decent, so I do add this at the end. Laziness? Ok, maybe!

Taking a Lesson from Mom
When I think back on birthdays and Christmas, those neatly wrapped packages always look so delightful! Yeah, the paper is kind of a waste, but gifting occasions only come around once in a while, so why not dress it up with a sparkly covering? My mom used to spend hours meticulously wrapping gifts for everyone, and you know, I appreciated it a lot. Perhaps if it means something to me, it means something to everyone else too, including my recipients. I actually took a vow after last Christmas to start wrapping things. So far, I have done somewhat well. However, I have found that some occasions or gifts just seem to require bagging. Here are a few instances in which I have found bagging to be necessary…

Like, Let's Say We're Wrapping a Giraffe or Something...
Awkwardly shaped gifts can be next to impossible to box, right? What about a candelabrum? Who wants to try and box that? It’s just easier to slip it in a large gift bag. I believe that your recipient should understand the difficulty in boxing such a strangely shaped item. I would, wouldn’t you? I say, if the item is going to cause a lot of difficulty to box, just bag it.

Plushy Gifts
Soft teddy bears, blankets, and socks just look better coming out of a bag. This is purely an opinion, but I don’t get warm fuzzies when I pull a super soft blanket or pair of socks out of a box. I can’t fully explain this one; it just feels wrong to me. Maybe you disagree? Plus, it’s easy to wrap something soft like a set of sheets in tissue paper. To feel like you’re going the extra mile, make sure the bag is super dressy and fun.

Graduations and Weddings
These occasions find a couple or an individual opening a mass number of gifts. The wrapping paper piles up like crazy, and then someone has to deal with it. During these occasions, if it were me, I would prefer a larger number of bagged gifts. Tearing off wrapping paper does eventually get old, and pulling things out of a bag is quicker and easier. Plus, the recipient gets to keep a whole bunch of cool bags and re-use them in the future. This is always my favorite part of receiving gift bags; they are so fun to collect! Again, go the extra mile with a unique bag to show some effort.

Share Your Opinion
So there are my suggestions, all wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow! I conclude that there are a few instances when bagging it is more practical, but have to admit that wrapping does demonstrate more time and effort to your recipient, and looks really neat, too. Have a different opinion? Let us know with a comment on our blog, or visit our Facebook or Twitter page and let us know. I always love to share new ideas. Happy wrapping!
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