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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time spent together is better than stuff

Trying to be more green; trying to reduce consumption; trying to reduce the accumulation of stuff, we think that the gift of activities and time together is better than the gift of stuff.

Decorating together for Christmas, or any holiday, for that matter, especially with the kids or grandkids, is a great way to spend the holidays.  Making Christmas ornaments, before getting a tree, is a gift in itself.

There are tons of ideas and instructions online.  I've picked a video on How to Fold a Poinsettia from YouTube.  There are many more.

I've seen a few origami crane Christmas trees.  The origami crane is easy to make and many children already know how to make them.  

I've added some Christmas books and DVDs to our online shop, including a really nice adult Christmas novel, by Frederick Forsyth, I read a long time ago.  Click on the the links to buy them through me or visit your nearest independent bookstore; they will usually special order for you but time is flying.

And, don't forget mulled cider and hot chocolate.


More Holiday Shopping Suggestions

How about a kids After Christmas Party as a holiday gift?  You can do it at home with craft gifts and books for each child and, of course, holiday treats.  Or you can make arrangement for a party at any of these places:

Paint-a-Treasure -- Haddon Heights

Culinary Kids At Home -- Princeton area

Bee N' Crafty -- Nutley

Jump Zone -- Hillsborough

Monkey Town -- Turnersville

and this and that:

Creative Genius Art Gallery and Studio -- Medford

Cape May Miniatures -- Williamstown

Candles in the Attic -- Millville

Down Cellar -- Basking Ridge

Flim Flam Candles -- Cape May

Tachair Bookshoppe -- Jersey City

Ivy Cottage Baskets -- see website

That's it for now.  Our connection is troublesome this morning.  More tomorrow.

Doing Business:

The trend is toward small, local independent business.  It's also our focus.  So, even if you're doing business online, it's a good idea to indicate where you're based and absolutely important, if you're a brick-and-mortar store to have your address and hours on your website, blog and/or Facebook page.  Otherwise, nobody can find you.

I recently stopped in to an Applebees on the long trek to visit my father in rural New York state.  As I waited for my order, I notice that the decor was different and unique.  On closer look, I realized that it was all large blown up and collaged images of local sports teams, events and organizations.  I talked to the manager a bit.  While Applebees is, of course, a restaurant chain, the company headquarters has had the idea of sponsoring and being involved with local activities.  It's a great idea.  For those of you who are independent, local businesses, don't let the chains out do you in this activity.  You may not have all the money and staff they have but you can do something to support your local community.  Think of something related to your products and services or just something dear to your community.  Find out more about it.  Talk to people involved.  What can you do to contribute?  Do it regularly:  annually, seasonally, whatever works for you and the community.  Make your business known for supporting that one thing.

Finally, I told that Applebee's manager that I would mention his restaurant in my blog.  He never asked the address of my blog.  I know he's busy.  So am I.  It's always a good idea, particularly when someone is being supportive and spreading the word about you, to show enough interest to check out what they've actually done.  I believe that small, local, independent businesses need to find ways to partner and support each other.  The more unique and inventive the partnerships the better.  It gets attention.  It makes you and your business human and it's appreciated by customers who notice.

And, BTW, we are a business.  I was just asked, for the first time, about an ad on our blog.  We've been at this for about a year and a half.  There isn't enough traffic to our site yet to expect to make money but I'd appreciate it if you'd visit from time to time, add a comment, drop us an email, correct and criticize the site.  I love finding all the wonderful independent businesses, products and services, quite honestly, I could use a little income from all the time I spend on this.  Thank you.


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