Holiday Tipping? Not So Much

I read an article today that provided guidelines as to what we should tip people who provide services to us throughout the year.  It told whom to tip and how much, whether to give a tip or a gift, and as usual when I read these articles I was surprised at who tips whom and how much they recommend you give.

Perhaps this is a more regional thing, but I just don’t do much of this.  True, I don’t have pool maintenance people, a personal trainer or a dog walker – I do these things myself.  Still, if I did I would figure that I pay these people for their services, so unless they go above and beyond the call of duty I don’t see any real reason to tip them.

Of the twenty-two service providers mentioned in the article, I only receive services from four: mail carrier, newspaper carrier, hair stylist and teacher(s).

My mail makes more than Husband, so I don’t think he (she?) will be getting a tip.   I have a newspaper carrier, but only have it delivered on the weekends so no way am I going to follow the article’s advice and give the tip of a full subscription period, especially when he/she has an uncanny ability to toss the paper right next to the sprinkler.

Isn’t that telling.  I don’t even know if my carriers are male or female.  It was different years ago, when the mail carrier was a neighbor and the newspaper carrier was my friend’s little brother.  In those days we seemed to have closer relationships with our service people, so tips and gifts felt more like giving and less like obligations.  It just shouldn’t feel that way…

My hairdresser has been doing my hair for 22 years, and even once set me up on a blind date with his brother.  If I wind up getting a service from him around the holidays I’ll probably bring a bottle of wine, but I consider the fact that I still tip him even though he now owns his own salon generosity enough.  Come to think of it, my new hair color had to be applied twice and is AWFUL, so perhaps this year he should be giving ME a gift.

Who else will be getting a gift or tip from me this year?  Well, Son’s teachers will be getting tote bags that hold photos, and I’ve filled the slots with shots I took at the Halloween party.  Inside will be a thank you note from me along with some cookies or other baked goods.

I’ll also give a some baked goods or a small, special gift to the teller at the bank who is always so cheerful and helpful, the girl at Costco who always chats with me and the Office Manager at Son’s doctor’s office who always, always goes above and  beyond.

I’m not going to feel obligated to give a gift to someone just because “that’s what’s done”.  Perhaps if I lived in a New York highrise I’d pay the price for not tipping my super or doorman (remember Ross getting shunned by his neighbors on Friends?), but I never expected a gift from any of my clients for doing my job.  Those that did give me a gift felt that I’d gone above and beyond my job duties in my dealings with them, and that’s because I did.

If people go above and beyond for me I shall give them a gift from the heart.  Not because some nebulous “they” say I should.

Celebrating Thanksgiving Twice and Hanukkah Once on Thanksgiving Day

We’re not the only ones who will be celebrating Thanksgiving more than once on Thanksgiving Day.  I venture to guess that we’re one of only a few that will have TWO Thanksgivings and a Hanukkah, too.

Thanksgiving isn’t a day in my family – it’s a four day extravaganza.   We have many traditions (breakfast at the flea market on Friday, dinner out Saturday night and  various other and sundry fun things jam-packed into those four days) that are so entrenched that when friends misguidedly invite me to go on a Black Friday Sale hunt I must shake my head and decline.

We’d gone away the past few years, but this is going to be the first Thanksgiving at Dad’s new home without my stepmother, and we all feel it’s Especially Important.  Husband’s family has been so supportive the past yfew years that we’ve gone away, so we’ve made going to their celebration a priority this year.   We’ll go there first, relax and not rush, and then head to my Dad’s later in the day.

How did we start celebrating Hanukkah at Thanksgiving?  It all began in 1983, when Hanukkah fell on December 1st.  Us kids had already started to scatter, so it made more sense to celebrate while we were together. We decided to celebrate it the day after Thanksgiving so at least we had two separate holidays.  And that’s how it’s been ever since.

This year my brother-in-law has to go back to work in Atlanta on Friday, so we’re doing all of our celebrating on Thursday.

What am I going to be doing with my time over the next two days?

Two corn casseroles, two pumpkin rolls ( a yummy dessert), caramelized onions, pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, and wrapping several Hanukkah presents. Already did the big shopping trip with my Dad (7 family members staying at his house).

Also last minute-shopping, wrapping, welcomes, non-Thanksgiving dinners, school, karate, laundry and cleaning.

Did I mention that I’m sick? I don’t even have time to go to the doctor – my sister-in-law gave me a Z-pack.

But happy! I get to see my sisters and their families, spend time with them and the rest of my family and spend time with Husband’s family. All the people I love most in the world!

On Monday I can collapse.

How to Not End the Year Fatter than You Are Now

Did you know that the average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day? And if you’re like me you gave two different Thanksgiving dinners to attend.  That reminds me – put Pepto-Bismol on the shopping list!

For many of us, the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day become one long excuse to eat and drink to our heart’s content  I’ve taken that to the Nth degree and have been on the 12 month plan.  Not my  best idea.  Time to make some changes.

Holiday parties and gatherings with family and friends can take a toll on our willpower and our waistlines which is why millions of us pledge to go on a diet come January 1st. Here are some tips to make the holidays less weighty, and perhaps start the new year with a few less pounds to lose.

  1. Exercise. Not only is exercise a great way to burn off a lot of those extra calories you’ll be consuming, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Have a houseload of guests? Too many obligations and not enough time to get it all done? Take a break and take a walk, each and every day.
  2. Eat before you go out. Lots of us think that by not eating before we go out, we’re saving calories that we can use up while we’re out. Makes sense but often, we eat more than we normally would because we’re starving. Have a healthy meal, or even an apple and a glass of water before you go out and you’ll likely eat less later.
  3. Adapt old traditions. Make the traditions you’ve always enjoyed healthier.  Here’s an idea: use those cookie cutters to make fun holiday shapes out of cheese instead of cookie dough.
  4. Start new traditions. How about a healthy recipe exchange amongst your friends and family?  Everyone can bring their favorite healthy dish and written copies of the recipe to taste and share.
  5. Listen to you. If you feel stressed out and want to leave a party or get away from your family and friends for a bit, do it. Don’t force yourself to be uncomfortable, neither you nor any-one around you will have any fun.
  6. Remember what’s important. We all wish we were thinner and that our houses were cleaner, but that’s not why we get together with family and friends and it shouldn’t diminish our enjoyment of these social events. If you’re going out, don’t obsess over how you look; no one else will notice that you’re less than perfect. If you’re having people over, don’t frantically clean if you don’t have the time (except the toilet – that must be done, especially of you have a four-year-old with less-than-perfect aim). The point is to spend time with the people you care about, celebrate life and have fun.

Adapted from an article in Husband’s company newsletter.   Some are theirs as I found them, some of theirs I changed, and  some are all mine.  Please don’t sue me.

A Jewish Dilemma…Chanukah Ham

Ever hear the one about the Jewish dilemma – free ham?

Well, apparently New York’s Balducci’s grocery store doesn’t get that joke.  According to blogger NancyKay Shapiro , some well intentioned but seriously clueless staffer there thought it would be a good idea to advertise their hams on cards that say, “Delicious for Chanukah“.

Oh, yes they did.

Really.

She has pictures, too.

And, in the spirit of true capitalism (and lending credence to a certain stereotype), she is already selling mugs, shirts and aprons sporting said photos.

Oh, yes she is.

They’d make great Chanukah gifts.

Share Your Holiday Shopping Coupon Codes and Deals!

Here are some great online and offline deals to save you money this holiday season! Some are from an e-mail my brother sent me, some are from mailing lists that I’m on, and some I’ve just found in my own web travels.

Please share any that you know of. If you’re a blogger just write your own post and I’ll link to it, or you can leave a comment or pop me an e-mail and I’ll include it here.

Please note that I am not an affiliate for any company and I’m not responsible for any errors or problems you may have using them. I reserve the right to remove or reject any link or comment, for any reason.

Let’s save some money!

Online Discounts:

American Eagle Outfitters Coupon Code: 87241053 (15% off through Dec 24, 2007)

Armani Exchange Coupon Code: STYLE20 ($20 off $100 from ? – ? )

Avenue : Coupon code 71299 (15% off entire purchase, plus free shipping on orders over $100 through December 13, 2007)
Banana Republic Coupon Code: BRHOLIDAY (20% off from Nov 27 – Dec 24, 2007)
Barnes & Noble Coupon Code: N6R7C4J (25% off Single Item AND Free Shipping through December 18, 2007)
Bed Bath Store Coupon Code: holiday07 ($15 off $75 from Nov. 28 – Dec. 10, 2007)

Bloomingdales Coupon Code: DEC25 (25% off (exclusions apply) through December 19, 2007).
CCO – Closeout Catalog Outlet Coupon Code: HD2007 ($15 off $100 coupon through 12/20/07)
Children’s Place Coupon Code: GGNRK4EHKGC7 (25% through Dec. 23, 2007)
Cloud Veil Coupon Code: 7LJ400 (45% off from ? – ? )

Disney Shopping: Coupon code3199 (15% off coupon expires 12/24/2007)

***Eastbay Coupon Code: EMEB72GC (20% off Giftcards from Nov 17 – Dec 20, 2007)

Esprit coupon Code: ESP12 (20% off purchase through December 31, 2007)

FAO Schwarz : no coupon needed(25% off purchase AND Free Shipping through December 17, 2007)

Frederick’s of Hollywood (25% off all purchases through December 12, 2007)
GameStop Coupon Code: AFF25 (25% off Used Games from ? – ? )

J Crew (MERRY30 to save $30 on $150, MERRY40 to save $40 on $200 and MERRY50 on orders of $250 or more. Expires 12/15/2007.)

JC Penney Coupon Code: MGP79 (15% off $75 through April 30, 2008)

Kirkland’s ($5 off $25 purchase through December 17, 2007)
Limited Too Just click link for savings (25% off f through Dec 24, 2007)
Linen & Things Coupon Code: 223823997733 (20% off from Nov 30 – Dec 31, 2007)
Liz Claiborne Coupon Code: LCMAIL3 ($25 off $75 or more purchase, free shipping through Dec. 10, 2007)

Lucy.com Coupon Code: 1207MWONDER (25% off purchase through December 13, 2007)
Macy’s Coupon Code: GIFTED (for Free Shipping, and also 15-20% off when you use your Macy’s card through Dec 17, 2007)
MetroStyle Coupon Code: MSTYLE50 (50% off Single Item from Nov. 28 – Dec. 31, 2007)
New York & Company Coupon Code: 7476 (through Dec 10, 2007)

New York & Company ($30 off a $75 purchase through December 17, 2007)
Nike Coupon Code: 2PCTH7A (20% off $125 from Nov 27 – Dec 24, 2007)

Old Navy Coupon Code: MYFRIEND ($10 off $75 purchase through December 13, 2007)

Origins Coupon Code: 1207FF (25% off until ???, free shipping until December 16)
***Overstock Coupon Code: 73989 (10% off $45 from ? – ? )
***Ralph Lauren Coupon Code: HOL2007 (30% off 11/10 – 12/10)

Red Envelope Coupon Code: SAVE12E9 (20% off purchase through 12/17/2007)
Sephora Coupon Code: FF2007 (20% off from Nov. 28 – Dec 31, 2007)
***Sharper Image Just cick link for savings ($10 off $100 from Nov 27 – Jan 31, 2008)
Snap Fish Coupon Code: FRIENDS07 (25% off on Nov 27 – Dec 25, 2007)

Target Coupon Code: TGAFLETJ (10% off through December 30, 2007)

Urban Outfitters Coupon Code: LUCKY2008 (20% off $100 purchase, unknown expiration)
Victoria’s Secret Coupon Code: FA78113 or FA78449 ($15 off $100, $30 off $150, $75 off $250, & $150 off $500 from Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 2007)

West Marine Code:West10 (10% off through December 14, 2007)
WinkFlash Coupon Code: G3F8E7W4 (40% off from Nov 28 – Dec 15, 2007 )
Yankee Candle Just cick link for savings ($10 off $25 from Nov 27 – Dec. 22, 2007)

FREE SHIPPING

Apple Store – Free shipping with no minimum required. No code needed. Ends 12/10/07.
SkyMall – Free shipping w/code LSDFD. Expires 12/31/07.
Crate & Barrel – Free shipping on orders of $100 or more. No code needed. Expires 12/20/07.
Simple Human – Free shipping with a purchase of $25 or more. No coupon needed. Expires 12/25/07.
ESPN Shop – Free Shipping on orders of $20 or more w/code LKSP7E35. Expires 1/5/08.
Fashion Bug – Free shipping on orders of $100 or more w/code 776200107. Expires 1/23/08.
Dale & Thomas Popcorn – Free shipping on orders of two or more items w/code HOLIDAYFS. Expiration unknown.

JC PENNEY -Free shipping on orders over $25 w/code WPFS25. Expires 12/10/2007.

JoAnn Fabrics DECFSERR72– Free shipping on all orders through December 17, 2007.

Speedo – Free shipping on any order w/code SPEEDO124. Expires 12/19/07.
Swell – Free shipping on orders of $50 or more. No code needed. Expires 12/13/07.
Alloy – Free shipping on any order w/code XMASALL. Expires 12/16/07.
Delia’s – Free shipping on any order w/code XMASDEL. Expires 12/16/07.

PRINTABLE IN STORE COUPONS

American Eagle Outfitters (15% off any purchase through December 12, 2007)

American Greetings and Carlton Cards ($5 off $25 purchase through December 31, 2007))

Avenue (20% off (or 25% off with your Avenue card) entire purchase through December 20, 2007)
Barnes & Noble (10% one item through Dec 23, 2007)
Borders or Waldenbooks (20% off from Nov 27 – Dec 6, 2007)

Borders (25% off the list price of one item through December , 2007)

Cache (25% off purchase through December 10, 2007)

Children’s Place (20% off through December 31, 2007)

DKNY (20% off $100 purchase through December 24, 2007)

Dress Barn (20% off single item through December 24, 2007)

Express ( $10 off $20 or $20 off $60 purchase through December 11, 2007)

Foot Locker/Champs/FootAction ($15 off a $50 purchase through January 10, 2008)

Goody’s ($5 off purchase of $10 or more through 12/31/2007)
Gordmans (20% off Single Item from Nov 27 – Dec 9, 2007)
H&M (25% off from Dec. 7 – Dec. 9, 2007)
JC Penney (20% off on Dec. 9, 2007)

J Crew (MERRY30 to save $30 on $150, MERRY40 to save $40 on $200, and MERRY50. Exp. 12/15/2007.
Kirklands (25% off Single Item from Nov 27 – Dec 31, 2007)
Limited Too (25% off from Nov 27 – Dec 9, 2007)

Linen & Things (20% off from Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2007)
Loehmanns (15% off Reduced Item & 20% off Clearance Item from Nov 27 – Dec 31, 2007)

Loehmann’s (15% off total purchase through December 21, 2007)
Lord & Taylor (15% off from Nov. 9 – Dec. 24, 2007)

Mervyn’s (20% off purchase through December 8,2007)
New York & Company (through Dec 10, 2007)

Nike (15% off $125 purchase through December 24, 2007)
oshKosh ($10 off $50 from Nov 26 – Dec 11, 2007)

Pier 1 ($10 off $50 purchase through December 31, 2007)

Reebok, Rockport, and Greg Norman Outlet stores (20% off any purchase through December 31, 2007)

Sharper Image ($20 off a $75 purchase through December 6, 2007)
Sharper Image ($10 off $100 from Nov 27 – Jan 31, 2008)
Staples (12% off from Dec. 2 – Dec. 8, 2007)

Toys R Us ($10 off $100 coupon
Yankee Candle ($10 off $25 from Nov 27 – Dec. 22, 2007)

Now go save some money!

If you like this post, check out my post on Absolutely Free and Almost Free gifts, and my Stretch You Dollar page.


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