Must Be Nice: 10 Extravagant Services People Hire for the Holidays

For many, the holidays are a whirlwind of activity, chock-full of decorating, entertaining, and shopping for that perfect gift to put under the tree. But even at this busiest time of year, some people aren’t rushing around. In fact, they’re not even lifting a finger. A few smart—and well-heeled—folks are turning to professionals to take care of all their holiday needs. Click through to discover some of the unbelievable (and pricey!) services people hire for the holidays.
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I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays

I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays


I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays

When I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in 2017, I had recently survived a nervous breakdown, had just begun taking antidepressants for my bipolar disorder, was keeping myself afloat on three months of unemployment, and had started to see the cracks in my abusive relationship. It had been a tough year. I wanted to escape those feelings, so I attached myself to the family bar cart in the living room. I overindulged on whatever wine I could get in my glass so I could avoid the interrogation: “How’s the job? Where’s Adam?” etc.

It wasn’t long after Thanksgiving dinner when I decided to become semi-sober. I surrounded myself with other sober women (shoutout to Sarah Ordo, Cara Alwill Leyba, and the Slaying Sobriety Group) and started thinking about how I leaned on alcohol to cope with my life. I became more successful in my career, had a clearer mind, and generally felt more in touch with myself. I was thriving in my new lifestyle.

Then my father died by suicide in July, and maintaining my sobriety got a lot harder.


Holiday season is in full swing, and navigating this time of year can be difficult for anyone. Keep in mind, however, that holiday socializing is often associated with alcohol, and, more often than not, it is associated with overindulgence. For those of us who have chosen sobriety, semi-sobriety, or just more mindful drinking, the holidays can be a minefield of difficult situations.

“The holidays pose a particular risk to those in recovery for a variety of reasons. First, the holiday season can amplify loss, grief, stress, and loneliness in people working to maintain their recovery. To prevent relapse triggers, it is critical for those in recovery to avoid isolation and maintain a normal routine,” states Dr. Brent Boyett, Chief Medical Officer at addiction treatment center Pathway Healthcare.

So I connected with some more experts and got their advice on navigating sobriety during the holiday season:

1. Establish boundaries

“Sobriety is a lifelong journey that requires you to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Once you make that your number-one priority, you’ll know what your next steps are. If you really want to see your friends during the holidays, explain to them that you would love to spend time with them, but you can’t drink or hang out in a bar,” says Carolee Paruta, Clinician and Regional Director of Outpatient Services at Mountainside.

Paruta suggests offering alternatives to friends who ask to make plans. “Maybe you all can go to an early dinner or catch a movie. Make sure that they are aware of what your boundaries are,” she says. “Establishing boundaries will help you and your friends know what to expect and prevent you from being put in uncomfortable situations that could derail your progress. The same goes for family.”

Paruta explains that “friends” who can’t understand this part of your life are probably not supposed to be your friends, or at least not people with whom you should spend your time. “It might be difficult to hear that, but you have to remember that doing what is best for your recovery is what is most important,” she says. “Being sober isn’t all that you are, but it is a big part of you. You need friends in your life who don’t just accept that fact, but support you.”

2. Create a dialogue

Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you have to divulge your personal reasons for sobriety. Laura Taylor, founder of Mingle Mocktails, says, “When someone asks me why I am not drinking, my response is always short and sweet: ‘I am taking a break’ or ‘I just don’t drink.’ I’ve learned that most people just ask out of light curiosity and are satisfied with these simple responses…I’ve found that those individuals who continue to probe with more questions are asking because they’re considering their own drinking issues or thinking about someone in their lives who may have drinking issues.”

Taylor acknowledges that these questions are less stressful now that she has been sober for a few years, but regardless, she believes that brevity is key: “There are other, more interesting topics to discuss at parties than my drinking habits.”

3. BYOBeverage

“I am amazed at how few hosts stop to consider what non-drinkers would like to drink. The default options are typically soda or seltzer, and neither are exciting,” Taylor continues. “Hosts [should] consider their non-drinking guests, and have at least one premium non-alcoholic option on hand, like flavored seltzer, ready to drink mocktails, or fresh juices.” My mother and I are personally fans of La Croix in a wine glass, Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale, or DRY Sparkling Soda in the lavender flavor, and in 2018, we have so many options.

Taylor suggests that hosts ask party guests for non-alcoholic drink preferences in advance. “This need is what inspired me to create my own line of ready to drink mocktails, Mingle Mocktails,” she says. “Non-drinkers deserve something fun, festive, and sophisticated so they can feel…socially connected in these situations.”

4. Seek support and have a network

I suffer from complex traumas, so I lean on my amazing therapist. But I also surround myself with like-minded women in the Slaying Sobriety Group on Facebook, a nationwide network of women who encourage and support each others’ sobriety.

It’s important to have this support from some kind of network since family and friends can unknowingly—but harmfully—attempt to enable unhealthy behaviors. Dr. Boyett tells me, “Though sometimes hard, people in recovery should avoid family and friends who frequently use drugs or alcohol. Many times, family and friends just don’t understand how fragile the recovery process can be. Offering drugs or alcohol to a person in early recovery can result in life-threatening relapse.”

Posted by Sarah Ordo on Friday, July 27, 2018

5. Remember that you are not alone

If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, there are organizations ready to help you. This is not something you have to face alone. You can call Alcoholics Anonymous at 212-870-3400 and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357)—which is available 24 hours a day.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day.

The post I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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How to maintain your weight during the holidays

The average person gains 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and those who are overweight often gain more, including children. Research shows that holiday weight gain is a major contributor to total yearly weight gain, so why not resolve to maintain your weight this holiday season? Here are 10 tips that may help.


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How To Stop Overspending During The Holidays

With unemployment at historic lows, rising wages and consumer confidence have hit an 18-year-high. Consumers are understandably in good cheer and ready to go out and spend this holiday season.

But for you, the thrill of the deal can quickly turn in to despair over the debt if you go overboard with your holiday gift giving.

Here’s how to keep your budget in check during the holiday shopping season.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH HOLIDAY SHOPPING IF WE DON’T WANT THINGS TO GET OUT OF HAND?

If there’s one thing that I hope people ask for, and get, this Christmas, it’s discipline. All the budgeting “tips and tricks” in the world won’t help you if you can’t control yourself. Yet, relying on willpower alone won’t be enough to get the job done. You need a system.

Here’s what I suggest:

 

  1. Build a Budget– This sounds simple, but on one likes to do this. You have to go into shopping season with a set amount that you’re committed to not outspend. When you do this, be sure to include ALL of your costs such as wrapping, shipping, travel, etc.
  2. Save All Year– You do realize that Christmas happens at the same time every year, right? So why do you seem so surprised when Black Friday rolls around and you haven’t set aside any money for gifts?

Americans are expected to spend $ 1000 on average during the holiday shopping season.  That’s $ 80/month or $ 20.00/week you should save in advance.

3Create a Separate Account – Don’t keep your “gift” money in the same account as your “bill” money. Open a free checking account or put money onto a prepaid debit card that will only be used for your holiday shopping. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Never Use Credit – Buying something on sale, but using credit to do so and paying the minimum each month totally defeats the purpose of getting the deal in the first place. Only use your credit card if you’re getting points or rewards and you’re going to pay it off in full when the bill comes.

OK, BUT WHAT IF WE DIDN’T SAVE UP MUCH MONEY FOR CHRISTMAS, WHAT SHOULD WE DO THEN? 

In that case, it’s time to think about generating some extra cash. Luckily, since there’s so much spending going on during the holiday season, there should be lots of opportunities to do this.

For example you can:

Convert Old Gift Cards – Check your wallet for unused or partially used gift cards. Use the balance for gifts, or use a site like CardCash.com to convert those balances to cash.

Sell Your Junk! – Go through your garage and your closet to find things that still have tags or haven’t been used in a while.  Sell these things on eBay, Poshmark, etc.

Donate Items – Donate the things you can’t sell to Goodwill, etc.  You’ll get the advantage of the tax deduction, which may put extra cash in your pocket at tax time.

BUT WHAT IF PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING EXPENSIVE GIFTS?

Look, you have to take charge and set the expectations up front.

With Your Kids – This is a great time to discuss needs vs. wants and priorities with your kids.  They may not be able to get everything they want, so give them a say in what is most important to them.

With Your Family – Perhaps set up a Secret Santa gift exchange where each family member only has to buy one gift. Try secretsanta.com or Elfster to set up your exchange.

With Yourself – Buying great presents won’t make you a better friend, spouse or parent. Have a real discussion about what the most important people in your life really want, and you might find that it may not cost you anything at all.

CONNECT WITH ROB ON TWITTER @ROBWILSONTV OR AT HIS WEBSITE WWW.ROBWILSON.TV

 


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Here’s How Designers Decorate for the Holidays

Searching for inspiration for your holiday decor? Look no further! We’ve gathered the boldest, brightest ideas for 2018 from top designers around the country. These artful tips will help you put your own twist on traditional themes and bring joy to friends and family all season long.
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Karl Lagerfeld Turns Champs-Élysées Red for the Holidays

SEEING RED: Karl Lagerfeld switched on the Christmas lights Thursday night on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, bathing the street known as “the most beautiful avenue in the world” in red light.
The designer, who helms Chanel and Fendi, in addition to his own Karl Lagerfeld brand, arrived in his Rolls-Royce shortly before 7 p.m., flanked by his personal assistant Sébastien Jondeau. He was greeted by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel SAS, alongside a phalanx of the French luxury brand’s senior staff.

Anne Hidalgo and Karl Lagerfeld 
Dominique Maitre

Wearing a silver-embroidered peacoat, Lagerfeld greeted a nine-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl who had been chosen to attend the ceremony by French charity Les Petits Princes, which arranges exceptional experiences for sick children.
After a 10-second countdown, Lagerfeld and Hidalgo, wearing a gold-embroidered black tweed jacket from Chanel’s 2010 Paris-Byzance Métiers d’Art collection, flipped the switch on the holiday decorations at 7:15 p.m., setting off an explosion of metallic confetti.

The holiday lights on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. 
Dominique Maitre

The new red color scheme was chosen to match an advertising campaign marking the launch of a limited-edition red bottle of Chanel No.5 perfume available for the holidays. Red banners bearing the label’s double-C

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7 Black Friday Shoppers Tell Us What They Really Plan to Spend for Holidays

Cyber Monday still hasn’t killed Black Friday… at least not yet. This holiday season, it was estimated that 34 million people would shop in person on Thanksgiving Day, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. For Black Friday, that number was estimated at 116 million shoppers. And according to the survey, the average amount spent on holiday purchases will be a not-so-frugal $ 1,007.24. That’s 4.1% more than the average amount spent last year.

We decided to take our own kind of survey. It’s far from scientific, but we asked seven random shoppers why they gave up holiday time to search for deals in person. We also asked them about the best deal they found, and what their budgets are like this year. (We like budgets, after all.)

Here’s what they had to say.

1. Brittany Snyder shops at Target with her two children, Axel, 4, and Everleigh, 2, in Pinellas Park, Fla.

A mother shops at Target

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

We were in the house all day for Thanksgiving with family over, so today we needed to take a little break and come outside and do some shopping and leave the messy house behind for a little bit. This is also my excuse to not clean up so quickly. I come out here and see everything. I normally get something for [the kids]. And when I get home, I’ll do the rest online. I like to be done with Christmas shopping by Monday.

What is the best deal you found today?

Every year, I always buy them clothes here. Everything’s just really cheap, so I won’t get upset if they get candy all over it. Their shirts, long sleeves, are $ 3.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

It was $ 77 for, I think, five shirts, two [pairs of] jeans, toys, candy. I’ll take it. 

2. Luis Valdez with his 8-year-old daughter, Sofia Valdez, at Best Buy in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Luis Valdez and his daughter Sofia Valdez, 8, both of St. Petersburg, Fla., stand in line to purchase TVs at Best Buy on Thanksgiving day on Nov. 22, 2018.

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

I like to see what I’m getting. I don’t like to wait for things to come.

What is the best deal you found today?

The Samsung 65-inch TV for $ 599. It’s a good, quality TV for a good price.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

Under $ 1,000 for just two TVs and a phone.

3. Joanna Gregg, right, with her daughter Aydrian, 16, at Target in Pinellas Park, Fla.

A mother and daughter shop at Target

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

I pretty much do all of my shopping here, other than a couple of items. All of my grocery shopping, everything, I can do at Target. I still like to touch everything and see everything in person. And I’d still rather give the stores the business than do a ton of online shopping. I want the stores to be here.

What is the best deal you found today?

Probably the iPhone deals with the gift card. They’re better than the actual carrier’s discounts. That’s what we’re here for. We’re waiting to get an iPhone 8 and a $ 150 gift card, zero down on the phone. The $ 150 gift card is worth being here for.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

I don’t really have a budget. Probably with reason, I’ll spend about $ 1,000. We’re probably at about half of that right now, which is good. 

4. Nitya Pendyala, 14, left, and her sister, Shari Pendyala, 8, with their father, Sri Pendyala, not pictured, at Best Buy in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Nitya Pendyala, 14, left, and her sister Shari Pendyala, 8, both of Pinellas Park, Fla., shop for movies on Thanksgiving day at Best Buy on on Nov. 22, 2018. S

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

I guess we just wanted to go to the store. It’s interesting.

What is the best deal you found today?

The best deal I’ve found today are these movies: “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther” and “Coco.” They are $ 6.99.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

Not much. Under $ 500.

5. Lakeisha Carroll, left, shopping with her niece, Ceasia Moore, at Target in Pinellas Park, Fla.

Two women shop at Target

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

I’m going to do both. Right now, we’re going to do little things. And on Cyber Monday, we’re going to do electronics. I went yesterday [on Thanksgiving Day], but it was kind of crowded. I thought today was going to be the better blockbuster, but yesterday was the better blockbuster.

What is the best deal you found today?

This Fisher Price [Smart Home] I got for $ 30 cheaper than I saw in the competing store. Also, this Honda Ride On [Electric Bike]. The Fisher Price is $ 99 here. It was $ 129.99 at the competing store. The Honda Ride On was $ 59. The original price was $ 69.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

Budget for toys: not over $ 500. Cyber Monday, I’ve got a little bit more of a budget.

6. James Granger at Best Buy in St. Petersburg, Fla.

James Granger of St. Petersburg, Fla., drags his new 65 inch TV to a register at Best Buy on Thanksgiving day on Nov. 22, 2018.

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

I’m out shopping in person because I was in the area, and I thought I could get a better deal.

What is the best deal you found today?

This TCL TV for $ 400. I’ve been eying all the Black Friday deals. It was a doorbuster for Walmart and Target, but for some reason, I found it here for the same price and they didn’t have it as a doorbuster.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

I plan to spend about $ 800. I’m buying a TV, a Samsung watch for my mom and a scooter thing for a kid — and it comes out to $ 800 altogether.

7. Jennifer Meyers with her son, Kaden, 3, at The International Plaza Mall in Tampa, Fla.

A little boy is carried by his mother in a mall

Why are you out shopping in person, rather than online?

Well, we don’t have a mall where we live, because we live on a tiny little island. So we wanted to see crowds and all of the decorations and all of the excitement. We live on St. Simons Island. We do some [shopping] online and some in the stores, just figure out what we need and the best deals we can find.

What is the best deal you found today?

The Disney Store had a lot of different things — animals, costumes for the different movies that they like. We were able to get a themed present, which they like, [for] about $ 50 each, two kids about $ 100. Probably full price, we would have spent $ 100 [or] $ 150 per kid. So it was definitely worth the sales.

How much money do you plan to spend during Black Friday?

Really, [I’m] just figuring out who I need what for and figuring out the best deals I can find. Stuff that they will like. [I don’t] really have a budget.

Sharon Steinmann (Instagram @sharonsteinmann) is the chief photographer at The Penny Hoarder. Chris Zuppa (Instagram @chris.zuppa) is the senior photographer. Both would rather photograph on Black Friday than shop.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The 7 Best Games to “Stream Binge” During the Holidays

As we enter the holiday shopping season, let’s be brutally honest for a second: AAA video games are expensive. And, even if we could afford to buy them all, how would you have the time to sit in front of your couch/computer to play them? That’s the beauty of game streaming — you can still get your fix of your favorite games while on the go or multitasking while being entertained by some hilarious personalities at the same time.

Facebook Gaming has jumped into the game streaming scene with a ton of great streamers to watch playing the season’s best games. Here are the ones to look out for when you’re ready to binge stream over the holidays.


Be vewy, vewy quiet. We're hunting noobs...

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

We know, we know — historically speaking Call of Duty isn’t the most beloved of series after 20 years of franchise fatigue. That said, Treyarch has really turned things around with the Blackout mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, an absolutely thrilling-to-watch Call of Duty take on PUBG‘s battle royale format. Yep, it’s 100 players, parachuted into an ever-shrinking open-world arena, only this time you have the hyper-tuned and blisteringly fast Call of Duty gunplay that’s basically unparalleled in this genre.

FB Streamers to seek out: Ricky Live, Themarkofj, Kilo gaming


Squad goals, Dubya Dubya Two

Battlefield V

Though it’s the last one out of the gate in 2018 (in terms of AAA first-person shooters, at least) Battlefield V‘s multiplayer has already found itself a huge streaming audience. And what’s not to love here? You’re getting good ol’ fashioned Allies vs. Axis battles in some of the prettiest, largest, and most destructible arenas in PvP gaming. Better yet, each match is like watching a mini-series as each victory or defeat dynamically shapes the objectives for the next “day” of the conflict (3 days total). Thrilling stuff to watch, and witnessing half a team get wiped out by a V1 rocket strike will never not be glorious.

FB Streamers to seek out: Rivalxfactor, LevelCap, Donardim


"Hey, you, let's fight!" Them's FIGHTIN' words! *draws gun*

Red Dead Redemption 2

At the time of writing, Rockstar’s ambitious cowboy epic Red Dead Redemption 2 is looking like a lock for GOTY 2018. This is less a video game and more a cultural event that needs to be experienced by as many folks as possible — and we wouldn’t hand out that sort of praise lightly. Drop into a stream and see what the fuss is all about with the solo campaign (but know you’re walking through a spoiler minefield). Alternatively, skirt all that for the soon-to-be-released MP component, Red Dead Online. There’s nothing cooler than watching a streamer who can single-handedly waste an enemy posse with Eastwood-level gunslinging skills.

FB Streamers to seek out: Glitchy, Darkness429, Amplified


Camouflage in an incredibly hostile environment: overrated. Look to your Halloween wear instead.

Fortnite

You didn’t seriously think you’d get through this list without seeing Fortnite in it, did you? Though its popularity may be on the wane due to the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and other newer titles, Fortnite still does big viewing numbers. It has staying power because its unique, build-happy mechanics set it apart from its battle royale genre brethren. Watching somebody deftly speed-construct a cubby house — and headshot an aggressor who’s trying to scale it — is popcorn-worthy stuff. If Bob the Builder then accidentally trips off their structure and dies from fall damage? Even more entertaining.

FB Streamers to seek out: DiMez, Good Game Bro


"Guys, I actually forgot our lunch boxes so we'll have to eat irradiated dogs instead." DAMN IT, STEVE!

Fallout 76

Though dyed-in-the-wool diehards of Fallout 4 aren’t exactly shouting their praises of this game from the rooftops right now, the fact is Fallout 76 is a damn good first-effort from a studio that’s still relatively new to the MMORPG genre. Yes, Fallout 76 is devoid of NPCs and script-heavy narrative threads, but it still makes for great viewing because watching four-person teams of Vault Dwellers work together (or stab one another) is riveting. It also helps that the play-space of Appalachia takes this franchise to new heights in terms of prettiness and color. Almost heaven, West Virginia…

FB Streamers to seek out: Austin John Plays, Open World Video Games


You'd need seriously big cojones to take on a God of War and -- oh, there they are. Costume malfunction.

God of War

Released earlier on in 2018, the quality of God of War blindsided us and put it on a fast-track to the GOTY award — until Rockstar dropped its cowboy odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2. Be that as it may, you need to forget everything you think you know about this franchise and give this new direction a look in. Click into a stream and expect to be greeted with absolutely gorgeous visuals (emphasis on the gore), top-shelf digital performances, and meaty, mythological brawling. As far as game-changing sequels and reboots go, wow, this is one for the ages. God-like, you could say.

FB Streamers to seek out: Das_Pickle, Papawteyto


Pictured: the most spatially-unaware PUBG solo players ever. Geez. Check your peripherals, people.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Much like Fortnite, you were never not going to see this in our top picks. Behold PUBG, the one that started the battle royale craze off way back in March 2017. How successful was its concept of making 100 players murder one another in an ever-shrinking Thunderdome? Oh, you know – just 50 million copies sold and climbing. At the time of writing the PC player base is still incredibly active, though the console versions on Xbox (and soon to be PS4) aren’t nearly as big, due to iffy port issues. If you’ve never witnessed the intensity of a PUBG match before, log onto a stream and prepare to experience a painful cramp in your caboose. Sitting on the edge of a seat will do that to a butt.

FB Streamers to seek out: Yasumeow, Ishpaghetti, Powerbang Gaming

The post The 7 Best Games to “Stream Binge” During the Holidays appeared first on FANDOM.

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Want to beat the Christmas rush? Here are key shipping deadlines for the holidays

With the annual holiday shopping frenzy here, those of us who would rather shop online than brave long lines in chilly temperatures need to be aware of key ordering dates for the holidays.

The stakes are especially high this holiday season. Online spending this holiday is expected to see a nearly 15% increase to $ 124 billion, according to a forecast by Adobe Analytics, a company that tracks transactions from top retailers.

Ordering gifts in time for the holidays? Know these key dates

That means that if you wait too long to order your goods online, you run the risk of being empty handy when it comes time to exchange gifts. To help online shoppers, retailers are offering free shipping or dropping their purchase minimums.

Many have also banded together like in years past to offer “free shipping day,” set for December 14, 2018. This is the ship-by date that retailers are guaranteeing that your packages will be delivered in time for Christmas.

Of course, delays are quite common around this time. UPS has already announced that its shipping schedule in parts of Southern California is being affected by the wildfires.

Here are some other key dates to keep in mind:

Here is the UPS 2018 holiday shipping schedule

  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Thursday, December 20 (delivery on Monday, December 24)
  • UPS Next Day Air: Friday, December 21 (delivery on Monday, December 24)

For the most accurate appraisal of when your specific package will arrive at its destination, UPS is encouraging customers to log on to see its Calculate Time & Cost tool.

Here is the U.S. Postal Service 2018 holiday shipping schedule

The USPS recommends mailing and shipping on the following key dates for expected delivery by December 25:

USPS Retail Ground Friday, December 14
APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Tuesday, December 18
First-Class Mail (including greeting cards), Priority Mail Thursday, December 20
Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail Thursday, December 20
Alaska & Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express Saturday, December 22
Priority Mail Express (includes Alaska & Hawaii to mainland) Saturday, December 22

Here is the 2018 holiday shipping schedule for FedEx

SmartPost Monday, December 10
Ground Friday, December 14
Home Delivery Monday, December 17
Express Saver Wednesday, December 19
2-Day Services Thursday, December 20
Overnight Services Friday, December 21
Keep up to date with the latest money-saving tips and more at Clark.com. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Here are some more Black Friday-related articles from Clark.com:

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Consumer Group Releases ‘Worst Toys’ List For Holidays

BOSTON (AP) — A Black Panther “slash claw” and a plastic Power Rangers sword are among the toys topping a consumer safety group’s annual list of worst toys for the holiday season.

Massachusetts-based World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., unveiled its list Tuesday at a Boston children’s hospital.

A Nerf gun, a Cabbage Patch Kids doll and a xylophone for infants also made the list.

The nonprofit organization’s president, Joan Siff, says many of the toys represent choking, eye and other safety hazards that surface year after year.

But the Toy Association, a toy industry trade group, says the annual list is biased and inaccurate. The association says W.A.T.C.H. does not test the toys.

W.A.T.C.H. has been releasing its list for more than four decades.

[ione_media_gallery id=”312619″ overlay=”true”]

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Amazon Announces Free Shipping for Holidays — No Prime Membership Needed

Amazon is the latest e-commerce retailer to offer free shipping on all pre-holiday purchases, regardless of membership status.

Amazon typically offers free two-day shipping to Prime members, who pay $ 119 for the privilege. Otherwise, shoppers must hit a $ 25 purchase minimum to access free shipping.

“All Amazon customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday,” the company announced on its website.

It also noted that eligible items typically ship in five to eight days.

The promotion started Nov. 5 and is available “for a limited time.”

Amazon’s offer is likely in response to increasing competition from other retailers that hope to lure customers to their e-commerce options.

Target announced Oct. 23 that it would offer free two-day shipping to all online shoppers without requiring a minimum order size. That promotion began Nov. 1 and will continue through Dec. 22.  Target typically has a $ 35 minimum order requirement to access free shipping.

Meanwhile, Walmart announced the same day that it’s expanding its free two-day shipping option to Marketplace items sold by third parties.

“In the coming months, you will see millions of additional items with the two-day free shipping label,” the company announced. Walmart.com will still require a $ 35 minimum order for free two-day shipping.

Customers in search of the best shipping deal for their online holiday shopping should watch the fine print for deadlines and restrictions that could delay delivery of those gifts.

One Last Free-Shipping Hurrah?

These free shipping offers are enticing for customers, but retailers may not be so generous next holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a 9% to 12% increase for the parcel select shipping service used by Amazon for the last leg of delivery. FedEx also announced that ground and home delivery shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9%.

These increases don’t go into effect until January 2019. But they surely have major e-commerce players preparing to adjust their shipping strategies or make up for the increase in other ways — potentially by increasing prices.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, where she covers the retail and grocery industries.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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11.2.18 Clark Stinks; Gas prices going down for the Holidays

Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here; Gas prices are going down just in time for the Holidays. And the US is now #1 in getting oil out of the ground.

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Brad Pitt Is Sure That Angelina Jolie Is Going To Create Drama When It Comes To The Holidays

More than two years after they separated, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are still in the middle of their nasty divorce and custody battle, and a new report claims it is going to be a drama-filled holiday season for the former couple. Could the strange move Jolie’s lawyers made this past week be an indication of unusual things to come?

According to Radar Online, one of Jolie’s lawyers, Joseph Mannis, took the odd step of filing a formal motion with the court to notify them that he will be out of town for a week at Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas.

Because of this, Mannis has requested that the court doesn’t have any hearings between Jolie and Pitt during those times.

“Brad’s lawyers are going to ignore something that comes up with the kids that needs immediate attention from the court just because Joe is on vacation?” asked an insider.

The source says that the Once Upon A Time in Hollywood star is concerned that his ex will be ready “to stir up drama” during the holiday season and is going to continue her attempts to make Pitt look like the bad guy, especially if he needs to go to court while her attorney isn’t in town.

However, Pitt isn’t going to let Jolie’s antics keep him from spending time with their six children, says the insider.

Jolie recently made things even worse with Pitt when she threw out a bunch of items that he had left with the kids. The source says that Pitt left antiques, family heirlooms, and sentimental trinkets like old toys with the kids, and when Jolie found them, she threw them all out “without hesitation.”

Even though the divorce drags on, Pitt has moved on and is dating. However, the chances of him walking the red carpet with another celebrity are pretty small, says a pal. Friends do think that Pitt will marry again, but they think he will end up with a woman who has a lower profile.

Insiders say that these last two years have been a nightmare for the actor. And, after decades of relationships with women like Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Juliette Lewis, Pitt wants to keep things more private instead of having a public relationship.

Sources say that Pitt is enjoying hanging out with his friends and meeting women through people he trusts, but his top priorities at the moment are his children, his work, and getting some sense of normalcy. He is casually dating, but right now everything is about the kids.

Brad Pitt has stayed relatively quiet since his split from Angelina Jolie, making only two public statements. An insider says he is trying to do what is best for his kids, but he is hurt. Ultimately, his friends want him to find peace and love again.

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