According to a new Robert Half survey, 64% of workers will take at least part of the Christmas week off, with one third taking the entire week. Of those who will be out the whole week, 61% say it’s because their company closes for the holiday, with 79% of them getting paid for that time off. Regardless, most people in the U.S. still won’t be using up all their vacation time by the time the new year begins, with 35% of those polled saying they will leave vacation time on the table at the end of the year.
Source: Robert Half
While the holidays are a time of joy and cheer, they are also a time for fraudsters to come out of the woodwork and scam a lot of unsuspecting revelers. According to ACI Worldwide, global fraud attempts during the holiday season increased 31% between 2015 and 2016, with fraud losses 25% higher during the holiday season as compared to other times of the year.
For this reason, we need to be alert while shopping over the holidays, and there are some common scams we can keep an eye out for to make sure we aren’t victims of a holiday hoax. Common holiday scams include:
- Gift Card Fraud – While both electronic and plastic gift cards are one of the most popular gift items for the holidays, they are highly susceptible to fraud. To guard against getting scammed, use your gift cards as soon as you can, buy cards off a company website, since ones on a display are more at risk, buy ones in protective packaging if you can, pay attention when a cashier activates a card and make sure how much money is on it, and don’t buy gift cards on auction websites or online marketplaces.
- Copycat Websites and Mobile Apps – It isn’t uncommon for fraudsters to copy popular websites or apps and profit by imitating a popular site’s trademark. Often the fake URL is off by a few letters or words. To guard against this, make sure you search the web for a company’s actual website, and double check the info on the site. And when it comes to apps, always download them from reputable stores like Apple, or Google Play Store.
- Fake Shipping Notifications – If you get a strange email from a shipper attempting to deliver a package it could be a phishing attack trying to spread a virus on to your computer. Never link to a shipping site right from an email. Instead, make sure to visit the shipper’s valid website.
- Phony E-Greeting Cards – If you don’t know the identity of the person who sent you an e-card, chances are it’s a fraudster so delete it. Also know that real e-card sites won’t ask you for your personal info to open a card.
- Help Wanted: Seasonal Job Solicitations – If an email with a job solicitation seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. If you’re looking for a job, go to a company’s main website to apply, or apply in person, don’t respond to those emails.
- Travel Scams – Again, if you’re sent a travel deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will try to lure people in with fake travel websites, and then snag credit card and personal information. Always deal with a reputable travel agency or website when making your travel plans.
Source: Market Watch
- GrubHub has come out with its second annual “Year In Delivery” trends analysis, which not only reveals which dishes were ordered the most last year, but predicts what will be huge in the coming year
Most Popular Dishes of 2017
- Poke — 643% rise in popularity
- Soft pretzels — 221% rise
- Avocado toast — 212% rise
- Chips and queso — 163% rise
- Acai bowl — 138% rise
- Chicken fried steak — 130% rise
- Bean and cheese burrito — 127% rise
- Italian sandwich — 125% rise
- Chicken dum biryani — 123% rise
- Mini corn dogs — 109% rise
Dishes Forecasted for Popularity in 2018
- Lettuce chicken wraps — 184% rise in average monthly popularity
- Poke — 91% rise
- Bulgogi bibimbap — 89% rise
- Roasted cauliflower — 88% rise
- Spicy tonkotsu ramen — 76% rise
- Kimchi fries — 75% rise
- Cinnamon buns — 74% rise
- Pumpkin soup — 64% rise
- Brisket sandwich — 54% rise
- Yellowtail belly — 54% rise
Source: Yahoo Finance
Flight attendants are sharing their advice on how to pack efficiently for your next vacation. Tips from flight attendants include:
- Plan around your shoes first – Flight attendants suggest limiting the amount of shoes you bring so they don’t take up space, with one suggesting folks bring flip flops or flats, since they are small, a pair of dress shoes, and boots, sneakers or walking shoes, which you wear on the plane. Also, pack those shoes at the bottom of your bag, and roll all your clothes and put them on top, with underwear and socks stuffed into open crevices.
- Try using packing cubes – Packing cubes are lightweight pouches, that keep things neat, compact and organized, and stack in your suitcase like a puzzle, with each containing a different type of clothing.
- Wrap fancier clothes in plastic – If you want to keep your fancy stuff fresh, try packing them in plastic. One attendant says she packs such items in either garbage bags or bags from the dry cleaner, which results in no wrinkles or stains.
- Always bring a swimsuit – You may be headed to a cold location, but flight attendants say it’s good to always have one on hand. As they note, “you never know.”
- Make yourself a portable Rite Aid – Don’t forget to pack all the toiletries you may need. One flight attendant suggests having a medicine kit, with various medicines, ear plugs and hair ties, as well as an airplane kit, that includes an eye mask, Dramamine, neck pillow and more.
- Embrace being basic – It’s hard but do your best to scale back on how much you bring. Folks always think they need more than they do, and that will just weigh down your bag, and make you have to pay money to check it. One attendant suggests sticking to basic colors and clothes, which can be re-worn without anyone noticing. They also advise folks to pack their bag, and then take a quarter of the items out.
- If it doesn’t fit in a bag, wear it – If you really want to bring something but it’s too bulky to pack, wear it. Since planes can be cold, wear that bulky sweater instead of putting it in your luggage. And if it isn’t cold, you could even use it as a pillow.
Now that the tree is up and decorated, it’s time for one of our favorite things about the holidays: cookies! Some seasonal favorites are good enough to eat by the dozen, but others are still lingering on the plate long after the Christmas party ends. These are the holiday cookies no one really likes, but won’t admit it.
- Jam thumbprints - Sure, they look festive, but haters say jam belongs on toast, not cookies.
- Crinkle cookies - They don’t always turn out as pretty as the ones on Pinterest and the powdered sugar coating doesn’t really help the flavor.
- Shortbread - Fine for a cup of tea, but they’re just a little weak for the Christmas cookie game.
- Florentines - Their lacy edges and layer of chocolate are appealing at first glance, but when you bite into the candied orange peel, it’s too much like fruitcake to enjoy.
- Snowball cookies - These little powdered sugar-covered goodies are so pretty, but they’re messy and the crumbly, nutty center is kind of a letdown.
- Molasses cookies - While some love these old fashioned cookies, others complain they taste like tar.
- Pignoli cookies - An Italian classic, these nut-filled treats are not too sweet and just not as festive-looking as other Christmas cookies.
- Biscotti - Tasty for dipping in your coffee, but holiday cookie-worthy? Maybe not so much.
- Spritz cookies - These dry, bland cookies are made with a cookie press and who has room to store one of those things anyway.
- Cinnamon stars - A classic German cookie that’s lovely to look at but not sweet enough to hit the Christmas cookie bliss point.
- Candy cane cookies - These just always end up looking like a kid’s play-doh project, not something you want to devour.
- Sugar cookie cutouts - Unless these are topped with frosting and candy, we’re not interested.
You've heard a lot about Dollar Shave Club for guys, but now it’s women’s turn. Now we have Billie, a female-run subscription-based shaving company. They’re over the fact that woman have to pay more for products like shampoo, skin care, and razors that are marketed to women, so they’re trying to take the “pink tax” out of women’s razors.
Here’s how it works:
- Your first order includes two five-blade razor cartridges, a handle, and a magnetic holder for $9.
- After that, you get four blades delivered right to your door for $9 and you can choose the frequency of the deliveries and cancel anytime.
- The handles even come in four colors: coral, periwinkle, blue, and pink.
Billie is even offering a “Pink Tax Rebate,” which is a referral code that earns you $5, $10, or $20 off when you share it with friends. And the company donates a portion of all proceeds to global women’s charities, so you can feel good about helping other females out while you save on razors.