A Gift Giving Survival Guide
For the Budget-Conscious Consumer
By Jennifer Melnick Carota, The Gift Therapist
WHAT IS GIVEOLOGY?
How I Became an Expert Giveologist
I’ll never forget the day when I realized that I was onto something
pretty big. I was preparing for our annual holiday gift swap at the
office and I had to find a $20 gift for the gift exchange. I was pretty
low on cash but couldn’t risk the embarrassment of giving an “el-
cheapo” or uninspired gift. It just wasn’t my nature. The department
stores were way out of my price range, so I figured I’d give the
discount department stores a shot--And so the reluctant challenge
The process of spending less but giving more!
I proceeded to our local Big Lots store and did a bit of window
Thank you for downloading your copy of “Giveology: Giving the Best shopping. Doing the math in my head, I realized that I could give a
You Can with What You’ve Got!” I hope you find this information fabulous gift well under $20. I couldn’t believe it…I was saved!
very helpful and I encourage you to share this with your friends,
family, colleagues, social networking groups and anyone else in need When the day of the party arrived, I must admit I was a bit nervous.
of shopping advice. I am very proud of this publication and had a lot We each took turns opening our gifts one at a time… My gift was
of fun piecing it together over the last few months. I would love to coming up next. Fingers crossed and palms sweating, I was really
hear from you and please share your thoughts, advice, and bargain hoping she would like it. I prayed that I didn’t look like a cheapskate!
shopping strategies too!
Liking the gift was an understatement…she loved it!
In case you are not
familiar with the concepts The gift was a hit! As a matter of fact, she and the girls scolded me for
of Giveology, here is a spending too much money!!! Giveology was born!
little primer from my first
edition that was released
Jennifer Melnick Carota
2 What is Giveology? | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is Giveology? .................................................................................. 2 Serve-ware Gift Ideas ............................................................................. 22
What the Experts Have to Say! .................................................................. 4 Fashion And Beauty Bargains Online! ...................................................... 25
How to Give Great Gifts… in a Bad Economy ............................................. 5 Post Holiday Savings and Safety Tips ...................................................... 28
Getting Started Without the Guilt ........................................................ 6 Regift, Reuse, Resell .............................................................................. 29
How to Give the Perfect Gift ................................................................. 7 Cures for the Holiday Shopping Hangover.......................................... 31
Still Stumped? Try The social networking Strategy! .................................... 8 About the Gift Therapist .......................................................................... 32
Super Secret Gift Giving Strategy: ............................................................. 9
The Gift of Three (3) ................................................................................. 9
Money Saving Strategy: Give in Groups! ................................................. 10
Black Friday Shopping Tips.................................................................. 11
Holiday Savings When You’re Short on Cash ........................................... 12
How to Jazz Up a Gift Card ..................................................................... 14
Gifts for mom From the Heart…Not the Wallet ................................. 15
The Gift of Food with a Twist ................................................................... 16
Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! .......................................... 16
3 What is Giveology? | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY!
I am honored to include articles and advice from some of the savviest bargain
shoppers on the planet in this issue of Giveology! From New York to LA, these ladies
have us covered! Only the best in the business will do for Giveology readers, so I
encourage you to visit them online for even more bargain shopping tips. Without
further adieu, meet the savvy shopping dream team!
Stevie Wilson Kim Danger
Stevie Wilson pens the LA-Story.com blog on Southern Kimberly Danger is author of the upcoming book
California lifestyle and trends and contributes to Instant Bargains: 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery
Gather.com. Her blog includes videos, podcasts and a Bills and Eat Well for Less and creator of
sassy attitude featuring an eclectic mix of topics. While Mommysavers.com. Her savings tips can also be
completing her master’s degree, Stevie began found on Coupons.com and Uniroyaltires.com.
contributing to online beauty and fashion sites, Follow Kim on twitter @mommysavers.
eventually starting her own prestige online magazine,
Privilege. She’s worked for a slew of publications from
contributing writer to senior editorial positions in both online and print magazines.
Follow Stevie on twitter @LAStory.
Aly Walansky Julia Scott
BargainBabe.com helps readers save money on
A real-life sexy single blonde in New York City, Aly has everyday expenses like groceries, household bills,
worked as a shopping expert for iVillage and a style and meals out, travel, and more. After writing about
beauty writer for many markets, which have included saving money for almost two years, Julia has
SheKnows.com and JuliB.com. Her budget shopping become a real cheapskate. She has been profiled
advice has been sought by myriad web and print by NBC, and written about in the Washington
publications, and she currently contributes regularly to Post, Reader’s Digest and the LA Times. She lives
nine blogs and a long roster of magazines, including in Los Angeles. In July, Julia launched a second site, BargainBabeLA.com, which uses
ShopaholicsDaily, eBeautyDaily, and her own A Little Aly-Tude. Follow Aly on Google maps to help Angelenos find and share local deals. Follow Julia on twitter
twitter @ alywalansky. @bargainbabe.
4 What the Experts Have to Say! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
HOW TO GIVE GREAT GIFTS… IN A BAD ECONOMY
Many of us (not all!) have all been guilty of this practice at one time
or another. I always admired folks who would pull out their wallets
and pay in cash for things. Too bad I never felt that satisfaction until
after I hit rock bottom and was forced to pay EVERYTHING with cash.
It was tough, but I made it through--and learned a thing or two. For
families who are facing this dilemma for the first time, I encourage
you to see the gift in this valuable lesson. Accept the challenge to give
more meaningful gifts (rather than expensive ones!) and watch the
magic happen. It's a safe bet that not only will your gift giving skills
improve, but your relationships with the giftee as well as your bank
account will improve as well. You can't put a price tag on that!
The years of auto-pilot gift giving are now over. You know—the act of
buying gifts and not really paying attention to the price tag or genuine
interests of the gift recipient. You found a decent gift, put it on your
credit card, and just kept on spending what you didn't have until your
gift list was complete. I remember those days all too well. When the
bills rolled in during the month of January, I wanted to run and hide.
What was I thinking? Yep...been there, done that. Never again!
5 How to Give Great Gifts… in a Bad Economy | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
GETTING STARTED WITHOUT THE GUILT
If you find yourself in panic mode, don't fear! Before you run off to the mall, *Gift giving is about them, not you! How many times have you given a gift
please consider the following gift giving truths: expecting rave reviews but in return you get a luke-warm response? Odds
are pretty good that you have probably violated this rule. Just because you
*Gift giving is optional! When would love to receive cashmere sweater coat does not mean everyone else
it becomes an obligation in wants one too. Take the time to research and find out what really makes
your mind, it is no longer a them smile and do your best to give a gift that reflects it. A $25 gift card to
gift. Think about it and re-visit Macy's is a great gift if you know that your BFF is saving up for that "must
your gift list. Are you giving have" leather jacket she's been talking about. Just jot a note in the card that
gifts in order to avoid conflict, will add meaning to giving the gift card--"You are going to look great in that
keep up with the Jones's, or new leather jacket...hope this helps you make that big purchase!"
keep the family peace? Never
put the needs or expectations *Great gifts come in many shapes, sizes, and price tags. But never forget
of others ahead of your own that the very best gifts strengthen our personal connections with one
financial stability. There is no another, never to weaken them. Buying an expensive gift that misses the
shame in speaking your truth mark can really do some damage and change the dynamic of your
and changing the rules this relationship if not careful. Just stop, think, plan, and do your best connect
year. Speak up now and make no apologies. For example..."Our family is not while minding your budget. I promise you, you'll never lose.
in the position to buy gifts for extended family this year, but would love to
have you over for a pizza and movie night when it fits your schedule." See
how easy that was?
*Not all gifts are created equal. Be aware of what types of gifts are the
most meaningful to important people on your gift list. Would your best
friend prefer a sterling silver bracelet or a laid-back lunch at your favorite
local cafe? Does your Grandmother really need an expensive gift set from
Macy's or would she prefer an afternoon spent scrapbooking with you? If
you don't know, ASK! You just might create a new tradition in the process.
6 Getting Started Without the Guilt | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
HOW TO GIVE THE PERFECT GIFT
What love language do you speak? How do you show appreciation to people
A good friend and colleague of mine recently introduced me to a wonderful around you? Because we as humans tend to project our needs and desires
and inspiring book that seeks to help couples enhance their relationships by onto others, the way we choose to give (and what gifts we tend to give) are
examining the various "love languages" that people often use to express usually reflective of the needs or affirmations we seek for ourselves...What
their love and gratitude for one another. After reading "The Five Love we tend to "give" is a clear indicator or what we "desire".
Languages" by Gary Chapman, I had what Oprah would call an "Ah-ha"
moment and quickly realized that these principles also apply to gift
How does this relate to gift giving? It actually impacts successful gift giving
giving...as giving tangible gifts is identified as a love language in and of itself!
in a major way. I believe it's safe to say that if you are reading this you are
What are the 5 languages and how do they apply? Let’s first look at the love
very interested in giving "the perfect gift" to someone you love, which
requires creativity, inspiration, and often times a lot of thought.
1. Words of Affirmation- Desires to hear kind words and positive feedback. By paying attention to the RECIPIENT’S love language, you can pretty much
2. Quality Time-Desires to spend quality time with people they love. ensure that your gift will be wanted, appreciated and a success. Never
3. Receiving Gifts – Desires to receive tangible gifts or symbolic tokens. assume that because you prefer to receive tangible gifts that the recipient
4. Acts of Service- Desires to make a difference in the lives of others. does so as well...they may have a completely different love language! Can
5. Physical Touch-Desires close physical and/or intimate contact. you see how this relates to
couples but also relates to
showing our love to the world
The moral of the story is that
the gift giver be open,
observant, and sensitive to
other's needs around you.
Please don't buy an extravagant
gift for someone who would
much prefer an experiential gift
with you, or a well thought out
note of appreciation. By finding out the love language of another, we can
take gift giving to the next level...and hit a home run every time! Happy
7 How to Give the Perfect Gift | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
STILL STUMPED? TRY THE SOCIAL NETWORKING STRATEGY!
Here's a little trick to consider if
you have to purchase a gift for
someone you may not know very
well. This could include
colleagues, distant relatives, or
business contacts that you'd like
to recognize with a meaningful
With the majority of folks
currently using social networking
and community sites like
LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube,
Facebook and Myspace, getting
to know their personal
preferences is as easy as a few
clicks of the mouse.
To get started, run a name or e-
mail search on one or more of these sites and you’ll be amazed at the
information that you can find. Often you can find basic information as well
as their favorites in books, music, restaurants, movies and sports. Can't find
a social networking profile? Try a Google search on their e-mail address.
This will often times bring up online groups that the person actively
participates in...you’ve hit PAYDIRT! The goal is not to become a stalker! The
goal is to give a gift with meaning using the information that is available to
you ...doing your research will make your gift more memorable and much
8 Still Stumped? Try The social networking Strategy! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
SUPER SECRET GIFT GIVING STRATEGY:
The Gift of Three (3)…
THE GIFT OF THREE (3)
1. *Think of an experience that you would like to give rather than a
specific gift. For example, if you would like to give the experience of
relaxation to a special lady on your list, you can begin you build a
theme around a home spa or pampering experience.
2. *Choose one central gift that will be the foundation or centerpiece
of the gift experience. Remember, you are building a gift with three
crucial components. This gift should be the main focus.
3. *Choose two smaller gifts that will tie the theme together. To save
major moolah, consider making gift items by hand, baking gifts from
your kitchen, or pull from your emergency gift stash. Re-gifting is OK,
but make sure the item is in excellent condition or has a clear
sentimental value. Just make sure they fit in with your theme, and
you’ll be amazed at the results!
For Example: The Gift of Family Time
Gift One: A family friendly DVD the entire family can watch together
Now that you’ve learned how to identify a fabulous gift for that
Gift Two: A board game or jigsaw puzzle the family can build together
special someone, it’s time to shop. I bet you’d like to make a splash
Gift Three: A disposable camera to take pictures throughout the
on your next gift giving occasion but don’t want to spend a fortune?
evening and capture precious memories at the same time!
Try my super secret gift giving technique called “The Gift of Three”
and make your gift giving experience more personal, affordable, and For more great gift ideas please visit my blog at
memorable. Better yet, the Gift of Three strategy is fun and www.theGiftofThree.com for creative gifts and gift giving themes
easy…anyone on any budget can do it! using “the Gift of Three (3)” technique.
9 Super Secret Gift Giving Strategy: | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
MONEY SAVING STRATEGY: GIVE IN GROUPS!
One Gift Gives So Much To A Child!
With budgets shrinking and families growing, gift giving for the holiday
season can be quite the challenge. If you can no longer afford to buy an
individual gift for everyone on your gift list this year, why not consider giving
one large gift to the entire group? This strategy works extremely well for
large families and workplace gift exchanges. For example, rather than buy
each family member one small gift, why not put together a thoughtful gift
basket filled with toys, games, or activities that the family can do together?
For the office, why not suggest everyone pitch in small gifts for the “office
survival basket”…have each person bring a practical gift that can be shared
by everyone in the office! This can be lots of fun and extremely funny!
found a new
website that is
The folks over
at FrumUs.com have made collecting for a group gift a cinch! The next time
you are put in charge of collecting money for a teacher, coach, or long-
distance gift, head on over and get your collection started. Once everyone
has contributed, you can even buy the gift right from their website, saving Create Treasured Memories
even more time, energy and stress. Gift Therapist approved! By Reading Together as a Family
Kathy Stupar 412-897-5838
10 Money Saving Strategy: Give in Groups! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING TIPS 2. Play it safe! Keep a detailed list of the credit/debit cards that
you keep in your shopping wallet in a safe place at your home. Be sure to
include the card name, account number and customer service phone
number. Should you lose your wallet or have it stolen, having quick access
to this information will save you valuable time and stress should this
unfortunate experience happen to you.
3. Pack a snack! The old rule "never go shopping hungry" still rings
true, especially while holiday shopping. During a long day of shopping,
keep your blood glucose balanced by nibbling on a granola snacks, protein
bar, or homemade trail mix. These are healthy and filling treats that will
boost your stamina, mood, and budget!
4. Dress for success! Minimize your morning primping and select your most
comfortable clothes and sneakers to get the job done! Leave your
bulky coat in the car and rely on a fleece pull-over or hoodie to shield you
during your long walk to and from the
parking lot. You can always tie your
hoodie around your waist later and still
have two hands to manage all of your
5. Prioritize your list and shop
backwards! Buy the small gifts first and
big gifts last. Find great bargains by
1. Get organized! Clean out your wallet to include only the cash, taking 10 minutes to browse the
credit cards and photo identification that you will need to make your clearance racks first. Challenge yourself
purchases. Leave all unnecessary items at home to lighten your load, resist to come in under budget. Applying your
the urge to overspend, and protect against loss or identity theft. Creating a savings toward the bigger purchases on
separate shopping wallet is a simple and effective way to keep your lists, your list, next year's gift budget or your
cash, cards, and receipts organized throughout the holiday shopping season. favorite charity!
11 Black Friday Shopping Tips | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
HOLIDAY SAVINGS WHEN YOU’RE SHORT ON CASH
BY KIMBERLY DANGER
The holidays are quickly approaching, and many people out there are Mix flour and salt together. Add oil. Add water until flour becomes dough
looking for creative ways to stretch their budgets on decor, gifts, and food. like. Roll out dough and use cookie cutters to cut the dough. Add metal
ornament holders or puncture dough with ice pick so that a ribbon can be
The good news is that saving money can be easy if you simply know where
strung after baking. Put on cookie sheet and bake for about an hour at 250
to look. Sometimes bargains can be found right in your own home! degrees. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, paint (make sure you
use gloss craft paint, or metallic, they yield the best results). Adorn with
Home-style Décor and Gift Ideas
google eyes, sequins, beads, or anything else in your craft stash. Don’t
There’s no need to go broke buying holiday forget to write your child’s name and the year on the back.
décor. By simply looking around your Supermarket Promotions
home and using what you have, you’ll be
able to create attractive displays for your This time of year, grocery stores compete for your business more than ever.
home or for gift giving. Evergreen boughs, Many offer turkey, roast or
dogwood branches, and pine cones that
ham as loss leaders. Some
you may have in your own backyard look
great this time of year in just about any even run promotions such as
arrangement. An old-fashioned sled looks spend $50 get a free turkey.
great by your front door. Fluffy woolen mittens look great on tabletops or Be sure to take advantage of
walls (a scarf can be used as a table runner). A hardcover holiday book – these deals to maximize
whether a children’s book or a cookbook -- looks great on side tables and savings. If you enjoy
coffee tables. Frame attractive holiday cards and use as wall decorations or
cooking, you can even take
your supermarket savings
Ornaments one step further and give an
Making a homemade ornament for each of your children every year is a elderly neighbor or relative a
great tradition. As they get older, they can help you with the project and “Soup of the Month” or
make ornaments to give cousins and friends. Here is a simple recipe for “Dessert of the Month” club.
dough ornaments that costs just pennies: When you cook for your own
family, make a double batch
2 cups flour
and bring the other to them.
1 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of Vegetable oil Wrap up a calendar (You can find them at any Dollar Store) and mark the
1/3 - 1 cup water dates of when you’ll bring over the goodies. Just be prepared to follow
12 Holiday Savings When You’re Short on Cash | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Cash In for Gifts DIY Gift Wrap
Gift wrap is an
expense that most
people don’t figure
into their holiday
budget. Instead of
breaking the bank,
consider using what
you have available to
Look for red, green or holiday fabric from the clearance section at your local
fabric store. Tie with a spool of inexpensive ribbon. What’s great is that
this can be used over and over again.
• The comics section from your Sunday paper
• Use your child’s artwork to wrap smaller gifts
• Use a craft scissors to cut designs from holiday cards to use as gift
Most households have at least $50 in spare change just sitting * For unique gift wrapping ideas please visit www.giftdecorating.com for
around. If you’re having a hard time coming up with money for gifts free tips and tricks to make gift wrapping easy, unique and affordable!
this holiday season, now is a great time to cash in. Either take your
Redeem Rewards for Stocking Stuffers
loose change to the bank and get cash to use for presents, or take to
a Coinstar kiosk and redeem for gift cards to give babysitters, Many stores offer rebate and rewards programs to keep members
teachers, or family members. Their service is free when you redeem coming back. Members who have mastered the ins and outs of how
your change for gift cards to Amazon.com, iTunes, JCPenney, Lowe's, these programs work can save loads of money – even get items for
and other participating retailers. free! Be sure to shop stores like CVS and Walgreens for stocking
stuffers and toiletries that can be used as stocking stuffers or part of a
13 By Kimberly Danger | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
HOW TO JAZZ UP A GIFT CARD
Giving gift cards doesn’t have to be boring! Use them as a complement to a
fun, creative and practical gift. Use them like a gift tag and tie them onto a
plate of homemade cookies, cuddly stuffed animal, or new bestselling novel.
For example, for the book lover, wrap up a book or CD and use the gift card
as the gift tag. For the coffee lover, slip the gift card and a sample sized
gourmet coffee into a holiday gift mug. Super easy, super thoughtful,
14 /How to Jazz Up a Gift Card | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
GIFTS FOR MOM FROM THE HEART…NOT THE WALLET 5) Help in the garden/around the house – do a few hours of work that she
BY JULIA SCOTT might not be able to do herself anymore, or just doesn’t want to do!
6) Make her dinner – have fun with it by creating a special menu and table
7) Talent show – if you have a big family that lives nearby, enlist their help
to perform short skits for your Mom. The skits don’t have to be about her or
her life because the act of everyone working hard to entertain her will be a
8) Personalized tote – purchase a blank tote and decorate it yourself (or
have her grandchildren do the honors). Fill the tote with gifts.
9) A Small Indulgence – Erin at About.com’s Frugal Living blog suggests
finding “out what your Mom has been denying herself, and then buy it for
her.” Perhaps it is a particular beauty product, type of chocolate or
1) Breakfast in bed – doesn’t matter if this has been done a million times, it
10) Print coupons - go online and sift through recent newspapers for
coupons you know your Mom uses.
2) Make a video – ask each of her children what they love about her on
11) Picnic lunch – pack a lunch and
take her on a hike, to the beach, or to
3) Frame a picture - choose a picture of you and her or better yet, of her
12) Write a letter - tell your mom
what you appreciate about her. Bonus
4) Memory jar – write a dozen of your favorite memories of your Mom on
points for special stationary or a hand-
slips of paper. This works best if you can get siblings to contribute.
15 Gifts for mom From the Heart…Not the Wallet | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
THE GIFT OF FOOD WITH A TWIST SUPER SIMPLE RECIPES THAT MAKE GREAT GIFTS!
Giving the gift of food does not have to be boring! To make gift
The following recipes are just a few of my favorites that do double
giving tasty, we use the “Gift of 3” strategy:
duty when using “the gift of three” strategy. Consider making and
• One food item taking these crowd pleasing recipes to your next dinner party, family
• One piece of serve-ware gathering or potluck get-together. Be sure to tell the hostess to
• One small gift to tie the theme together. “Just keep the dish!”
It is a super simple formula and so much fun to put together. And as a Disclosure: The following section contains affiliate links to my online
bonus, you don’t have to worry about getting your favorite dish back! So Amazon store. Should you choose to purchase products through
dust off your recipe box and start pulling your favorite recipes! Can’t cook? these links, a small commission would be paid to me by Amazon
That’s OK! Did you know that discount department stores like Lots, TJ Maxx through our affiliate agreement at no additional cost to you. Prices
and Marshalls carry a wide assortment of gourmet gifts at bargain basement
and availability are subject to change. The following prices were
prices? No-bake gift ideas include:
accurate at the time of posting on November 1, 2009.
• Gourmet Dipping Oils
• International Coffee Beans
• Belgian Chocolates and Truffles
• Exotic Bread and Muffin Mixes
• Flavored Syrups for Desserts and Coffee
• Herbal Tea Assortments
• Pre-packaged Dry Soup and Chili Mixes
• Jarred Salsas, Tapenade’s, and Marinated Veggies
Don’t forget to check the kitchen clearance section for discounted serve-
ware to give along with the food item you choose. To tie the theme
together, look for a cookbook or unique serving utensil to add some extra
pizzazz and thoughtfulness to your next gift of food! Check out
www.justkeepthedish.com for more fun, food and recipes!
16 The Gift of Food with a Twist | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Classic Beer Bread
Make it a Gift: Find the perfect loaf pan at your favorite discount
After trying many different recipes, this recipe is by far the easiest and most
department store and make it part of the gift. Choose another small gift to
versatile. Depending upon your taste, choose 12oz of a beer of your choice.
compliment the recipe. For example, a cookbook, magazine, or Mason jar
Light beer will result in a lighter bread, whereas a dark beer or lager will
filled with the dry ingredients with a recipe card attached. For example:
result in a heavier, more dense bread.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard sized loaf pan with your
favorite non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter (my favorite!)
In a large bowl, mix the following dry ingredients together with a wooden
spoon: The Beer Lover’s Cookbook
* 3 cups of all-purpose or self-rising flour $11.24
* 1 Tablespoon of baking powder
* 1 Tablespoon of sugar
* 1 Teaspoon of salt
Add 12oz (usually one bottle) of your favorite beer to the dry mix. Stir gently
until dough forms into a ball. If dough is too stiff, add 1/4 water. Do not
over-mix! Place into loaf pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes at 375 or until toothpick pierced in the center
comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and remove from pan. Cool an additional A Bread Basket Warming Set
Cut and serve with your favorite cheese spread, dip, or hearty soup. This
bread also tastes wonderful toasted with cream cheese! Enjoy!
17 Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Love chicken wings but hate the mess? Dip away into this luscious recipe Make it a Gift: Along with the dish, include an appetizer cookbook, six pack
that is a staple in our home and a crowd favorite all year long. The recipe is of beer, or bottles of gourmet hot sauce! For example:
very easy, forgiving, and economical if you choose to use fresh chicken that
you have on hand (or in the freezer) instead of the canned that can be
expensive. I have also substituted with Ranch dressing and mozzarella
cheese and it was fantastic as well! The recipe is as follows:
Ingredients: Oster Platter with Warming Pot
*1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing $39.99
*1/2 cup Hot Pepper Sauce or Buffalo Wing Sauce
*1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
*2 (9.75 ounce) cans of chunk chicken breast in water, drained
*Assorted fresh vegetables or crackers
_ Heat the oven to 350 degrees
_ Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or 8x8 baking pan
until it's smooth.
_ Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
_ Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbly.
Gourmet Hot Sauce
_ Stir before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.
If taking this dish to a party, you may want to double the recipe...it will be
gone in no time! Enjoy and happy sharing!
18 Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
Make it a Gift: Is the hostess a chocoholic? Along with the pretty serving
This is one of my favorite and most popular dessert recipes to date! I can't dish, bring a bottle of Godiva chocolate liqueur or gourmet hot chocolate
tell you how many times I have given out this recipe after bringing it to a for the kiddos! For example:
party or having a little on hand for guests at home. If you like chocolate chip
cookie dough, you are going to love this! If you don't have the mini-chips, go
ahead and use what you have. You can even use chopped Hershey bars if
you like :) Let the drooling begin!
Fiestaware Chip and Dip
* 1 pkg. 8oz. cream cheese (for a healthier version you can use low-fat)
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/4 tsp. vanilla
* 2 Tbs. brown sugar
* 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
* 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional...I usually leave them out)
Bring cream cheese to room temperature or microwave on 50% power for
approximately one minute to soften. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla Serendipity Gourmet Hot Chocolate
until creamy. Slowly add sugars until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon
the batter into your favorite serving dish and sprinkle with pecans (if you $15.99
are using them, if not, just sprinkle a few chips on top for a lovely
presentation). You can also form into a ball by chilling the cheese ball for 15
minutes in the fridge before gently forming into a ball and rolling in pecans
and/or chocolate chips.
Serve with assorted graham crackers (I vote for cinnamon), vanilla wafers,
19 Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Mojito Martini Recipe
Make it a Gift: Bring a basket or large metal bucket filled with a bottle of
If you can't be in the Caribbean, bring the Caribbean to you! This elegant
light rum, bottle of lime juice, fresh mint leaves and decorative sugars to rim
recipe is super easy and will make quite an impression on your dinner
the glass. Be sure to include a stunning set of martini glasses for the host
guests this holiday weekend. Let the fun begin...
and hostess as well! For example:
*3oz light rum
*A handful of fresh mint leaves A Travel Friendly Beverage Dispenser
*2 oz of lime juice (fresh is best!) $32.99
*1 tablespoon of sugar
Wet the rim of a cocktail glass and press down in sugar to get it on the rim.
Put mint leaves, remaining sugar, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Mash
("muddle") the mint with spoon. Add light rum and ice. Shake, strain, pour.
If it's too tart, add more sugar to the shaker. This recipe makes 1 Mojito
Martini (double, triple or quadruple as necessary!).
A Modern Set of Acrylic Martini Glasses
20 Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Bacon -Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Make it a Gift: Wow the hostess with a lovely serving platter that she can
These are always a huge hit when I make these for the holiday. But make
keep after the party has ended! Include stainless steel serving tongs or a
every day a holiday and whip up a batch of these...you won't be
high quality slotted spoon for ease in serving! For example:
disappointed! Let the fun begin!
*1 pound sliced bacon
*2 cans (8 ounces each) whole water chestnuts, drained
*1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
*1/2 cup mayonnaise Decorative Serving Platter
*1/4 cup chili sauce
Cut bacon strips in half. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until
almost crisp; drain. Wrap each bacon piece around a water chestnut and
secure with a toothpick. Place in an un-greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In
a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mayonnaise and chili sauce; pour
over water chestnuts. Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes or until hot
and bubbly. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.
A Must Have Set of Appetizer Serving Tongs
Tips: Rather than fry the bacon in advance (and dirty another pan) I wrap
the chestnuts in the raw bacon, then broil for about 15 minutes until crisp.
(You can also get the kids involved and make the wraps the night before and
toss in the fridge for next day baking.) Carefully drain the bacon grease from
the baking dish, then pour the sauce mixture over the bacon. Reduce oven
temperature to 350 and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until hot and
Enjoy and Happy Sharing! They will not last long!
21 Super Simple Recipes That Make Great Gifts! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
SERVE-WARE GIFT IDEAS
Take a look at the following serving items and get inspired to give your
favorite recipe in your own creative way! Many of these products can be
found at deep discounts at your local discount department store like TJ
Maxx, Marshalls, Big Lots, or Home Goods. If you don’t have time to shop
on your own, click through on the description and browse my Amazon Store
for even more gift ideas that won’t bust your budget. Happy Giving!
Blue Glass Pitcher $29.00
Square Copper Hammered Trays $24.99 Tiered Bowl Set $50.00
22 Serve-ware Gift Ideas | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Four Plate Server $20.48 Mini Crock Pot $15.23
Football Chip and Dip $29.99
Baseball Chip and Dip $24.
23 Serve-ware Gift Ideas | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Grill Time Chip and Dip $39.99
Swiveling Cake Servers $24.99
Wilton Cupcake Server $20.99
24 Serve-ware Gift Ideas | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
FASHION AND BEAUTY BARGAINS ONLINE!
BY STEVIE WILSON
Do you have a fashionista on your gift list but
can’t afford the retail prices? Scarves, hats, GiltGroupe.com is another sale site that has ANOTHER site that’s a lower
price point. At GiltFuse.com, you have to register on giltgroupe first. You
purses and some girlfriend “bling” are now
MUST register with GiltGroupe.com first before you can get into
available at bargain basement prices, never giltfusion.com
having to worry about paying full price
Try TopSecret.com — an off-
again—for you or the designer diva on your
shoot of Top Button with
list! limited sales and a special of
the day— that’s often a real
RueLaLa.com is just one of many sites. Click steal. It’s invite only and the
on that link and you can register to go shop at link will get you into the site
a variety of great sales! to register.
Beyond the Rack is another
Hautelook.com — that link will get you members-only site and it
invited too. I have bought numerous features ”Luxury brands at
things from this online site (and awaiting Exclusive prices.” Their sales
another shipment). run 48 hours and sell out fast.
New kid on the block Retail
Happy Hour is definitely one
Ideeli.com is a great site— but has two that should be on your list.
tier shopping: the $7.00/month paid per Retail Happy Hour is free to
annum that gives you first crack at join and aims to ease buyer’s
serious bargains and the second tier remorse by running private,
which is free and thus you run the risk of 72-hour sales from Thursday
not having any good left or nothing in at 4pm PST to Sunday at 4pm
your size. You do need an invite to shop. PST on women’s
Regarding their tier system, unless you contemporary fashion,
plan on REALLY shopping a lot or aren’t beauty and other goods at up
in an accessible area, don’t worry about to 80% off. Right now this site is on hiatus as they get ready for holiday.
25 Fashion And Beauty Bargains Online! | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Another online sample sale site: LuxeClubOne.com is a spin-off of the sample sale. Rather than a
gomattagirls.com . Sales are one day conglomeration of sales under one masthead, they get the scoop on
only and they do have a clearance various clearance sales for different brands and give you some extra
section — but if you snooze— you goodies: free shipping or an even greater discount on the prices. Stuff for
lose. REALLY!! men and women too!
RegentsSecret.com now has become
Billiondollarbabes.com — and
because of the change you might have
to check on your password. If you
don’t have an account, click the link
and make sure you register— because
BDB’s is known for having killer sales
— they used to do live sales in LA, NYC
CatwalkToCloset.com a no invitation
required site that has great bargains too. You can shop right now! This site
is overseas— just an FYI because everything is in Euros!
Glamlist.com doesn’t require membership either! However there is a VIP
level that’s $20. 00/ 6 months that gives you first crack at the goods and
additional discounts. The Savvy is a “not so well-known” online & brick/mortar sale site. Price
points run under $50 for jewelry that would make for great gifts for
birthdays and holidays. It’s a “no invite” site so have a blast. I Don’t know if
OneKingsLane.com is a website that features home decor items at a this site is going to continue or if it’s just fading slowly into the sunset—
serious discount. No invites needed. Check the link! however, it’s worth bookmarking or signing up for email newsletter.
ILoveSampleSales.com has a list of various sample sales in various cities
and you can subscribe to those sale/emails and also you can subscribe to
the ONLINE sample sales too. It’s a win-win - in case you are in those areas
that they list.
26 By Stevie Wilson | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Are you a beauty junkie? Check out these sites for more
fabulous gift ideas!
The Fairest.com has an
amazing array of cosmetics,
skincare and other products
with brand names you will
love! However it’s a members-
only site so you must register.
Their sales can be a 24 or 48
hour sale, so if you find
something you are dying to
have, buy it and don’t think
about it. Because hesitation
can make you lose it. There is a beauty panel on board including noted
make-up artist, Beau Nelson!
Beautyticket.com is similar in flavor but a different voice . Featuring a
“steal of the week” and lots of brands that you covet (Smashbox,
Annick Goutal, YSL, and more) featuring in skincare, fragrance,
haircare, cosmetics and even “grab bags” by brand or gift sets that are
definitely a bargain! There is a beauty panel on this site as well and the
products tend to move out quickly—so if you spot something you love,
buy it fast!
Scout these sales regularly and find amazing shoes, jewelry, handbags,
clothing, beauty products that would make fabulous gifts for very little
Every site here has great potential for pre-holiday fashion and beauty
as well as gifting! We all love a bargain and why not gift someone
something fabulous that just happens to cost less, or fill in those gaps
in your wardrobe (or test out new skincare) without paying full price!
27 By Stevie Wilson | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
POST HOLIDAY SAVINGS AND SAFETY TIPS
*Snag up on the post holiday sales right now and get your pick of
holiday cards, wrapping, bags, and decor at a minimum of 50% off.
Selection is best right now, so stock up now on red, silver, and gold
wrapping, bags and tags that are multi-seasonal and can be used for
all occasion gift giving.
*Use gift cards from obscure shops and retailers ASAP just in case
they close their doors. I wouldn't worry too much about the bigger
retail chains, but play it safe and use the cards and treat yourself to a
shopping spree now!
*Organize your gift closet. Clean out the gifts that you know you'll
Here are just a few tips to ensure that you start off 2010 in the black never give, including some of the awful gifts that you may have
and begin your smart shopping for an entire year of gift giving with a received this year that didn't come with a gift receipt. Donate them to
solid plan and strategy! your favorite charity or Goodwill store. Make room for up to date and
dazzling items that you find on the clearance racks now for great gift
*Establish an annual gift budget in addition to your annual giving later.
household budget. Set up a separate debit card account that you can
deposit into regularly throughout the year so you can snag up great *Send Happy New Year Cards to folks who didn't make your holiday
bargains when you see them without the guilt or stress! gift list. Surprise them with a heartfelt 2010 greeting.
*Eliminate the evidence! Never put boxes that contained high ticket *Never overlook sending "thank you" notes to relatives who may
items out for the trash. Doing so is an invitation to get robbed! Either have sent you a long-distance gift. Better yet, call and thank them
break the boxes down or take them to a dumpster off-site to ensure personally!
your family safety.
28 Post Holiday Savings and Safety Tips | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
REGIFT, REUSE, RESELL
BY ALY WALANSKY
"We're seeing the trend in re-gifting and reselling unwanted presents
Think twice before you stuff that unneeded gift into the back of your closet becoming more commonplace in this economic climate," said Marsha
this holiday season: It could translate into cash, or become the perfect Collier, author of "Santa Shops on eBay" and "eBay for Dummies." "For
present for someone else! those seeking to make the best of an unwanted gift and maybe even start a
small business, eBay is a great place to sell items and make some extra
With financial concerns weighing on Americans' minds this holiday season, money; it's also a destination for amazing deals for everyone on your
consumers are becoming holiday list."
more resourceful than ever.
To cope, they are learning According to the survey, the
how to manage unwanted most popular items adults would
gifts. Over half (54%) of U.S. re-gift include wine, champagne
adults who have resold gifts or spirits (21%); trinkets or
online plan to do so this collectibles (21%); beauty or
year, a 10 percent increase bath products (21%); DVDs, CDs
from last year (45%) or books (16%);
according to new research electronics/appliances (14%);
recently released by eBay and the infamous fruitcake
conducted on its behalf by (14%). The most popular items
Harris Interactive. adults resell online include
personal electronics (12%);
DVDs, CDs or books (11%); home
technology (10%); event tickets
Of U.S. adults who receive gifts during the holidays, more than four in five (10%); trinkets or collectibles
(83%) receive unwanted items and almost half (46%) of those adults resell (8%); and sporting or fitness
or re-gift, that is, give the unwanted gift to someone else as a gift. equipment (6%).
Additionally, nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults feel that re-gifting or reselling
gifts is more socially acceptable now than it was several years ago.
29 Regift, Reuse, Resell | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
Trends in Re-gifting and Reselling: Know Your Recipient: Adults who have re-gifted listed these as the top
reasons for doing so:
Re-gifting in the Air: Three in five adults said they have received an
item that they believe someone re-gifted.
Green is Good: Nearly three in four (73%) adults view re-gifting or
reselling as a form of recycling, up from 69 percent last year. • 68 percent said the item was a better match for
The End Justifies the Means: More than one-third (37%) of adults who • 66 percent said they didn't think they would use the
have resold gifts would feel less guilty about reselling a gift if a portion item
of the profit benefited a charity. • 61 percent said it wasn't their taste
Re-entrepreneurs Emerge: 30 percent of adults said they would rather
receive a gift that they could re-gift or resell than not receive a gift at
30 By Aly Walansky | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
CURES FOR THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING HANGOVER
Did you blow your holiday shopping budget? Do you dread the arrival *Retrain your brain to shop strategically rather than impulsively. This
of large credit card bills that you racked up this holiday season? If so, requires planning, discipline, and consistency! Evaluate your current
then you are one of many shopping style and create a plan that you can stick with when you get
generous hearted souls the urge to shop. What is your shopping goal? What is your budget?
suffering from a post- Where can I find the best bargains? Can online shopping save me
holiday shopping both time and money? Answer these questions before you leave the
hangover! No good deed house and only take as much money as you can afford to spend.
goes unpunished and the Establish a separate shopping wallet if you have to! Leave the credit
holiday season is certainly cards at home! Put yourself up to a challenge! Who said shopping
no exception. Have no can’t be a sport?
fear! There are several *Shop for gifts year-round! Designate a closet or bin somewhere in
things you can do right your home where you can stash gift items throughout the year. I
now to knock off your holiday debt and become a debt free shopper usually allocate $10-20 per shopping trip toward the purchase of
once and for all! Use the following tips year-round to save time, timeless clearance items I find while shopping for other things. Check
stress and bring enjoyment back to your shopping experiences: out store clearance areas first before making any purchases at full
*Sell or Consign items that you no longer have use for! Sell new or price! Use this strategy and never be caught empty-handed or
gently used items on EBay, Craigslist or Amazon to sell your items financially challenged for the next birthday, baby shower, or special
online. If you prefer more traditional methods, find a consignment occasion!
shop that specializes in what you have to sell and sign up to become a
member. If you have a lot to sell, start organizing your wares now and
plan a springtime yard sale. You’ll be surprised how much extra
income you can earn from stuff that’s probably collecting dust in your
closet! The key is to earn extra income and pay that directly toward
reducing your debt!
31 Cures for the Holiday Shopping Hangover | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com
ABOUT THE GIFT THERAPIST
A native of Pittsburgh, Jennifer Melnick Carota credits her struggles with
For More Fun and
credit card debt as inspiration for her evolution into the Gift Therapist.
Forced to cut back on spending, Jennifer used her counseling expertise to Affordable Gift Ideas, Please Visit…
devise a system that enabled her to regain control of her spending and
inspire others to do the same. The Gift Therapist
Her trademark “Gift of Three” strategy has helped hundreds of consumers
give fabulous gifts within their spending
limits, allowing them to give more to
The Gift of Three Blog
people and causes they are passionate www.theGiftofThree.com
Just Keep the Dish!
An author, speaker, and community www.justkeepthedish.com
champion, Jennifer is the founder and
volunteer director of the “Black Pants
Online Amazon Store
Project,” a program that supports women and girls seeking employment.
Jennifer explains, “My credit card debt began when I needed to buy clothing
The Gift of Three Boutique
for my first job. If I can save one woman from repeating my mistakes, I will
feel like I’ve made a difference.” Facebook
The Gift Therapist Fan Page
Expert advice from the Gift Therapist has been featured in local and national
media including WTAE Action News, The Jennifer Antkowiak Show, and
Follow on Twitter
National news syndicates and online publications including AOL Finance,
Bankrate, Clear Channel Radio, FatWallet, and iVillage. Jennifer currently
serves as an expert lifestyle contributor on Carolyn Kepcher’s premier
website for women, workherway.com as well as contributing regular gift Jennifer Melnick Carota, MS, LPC
giving podcasts and videos for thewinonline.com. 412-559-1754
Her first book, “Shop Smart GIVE MORE” is available for purchase at major
online outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Media inquiries and
speaking engagement requests are welcome.
32 About the Gift Therapist | Giveology 2009-1 www.theGiftTherapist.com