Quick Hits

posted by Jay - 

If you’re still struggling to come up with a gift idea for that hard-to-buy for person in your family, you may want to think about getting them an experience, rather than an actual tangible gift. According to a new survey, 95 million Americans would rather get a gift of experience than any other form of present, including gift certificates.

Overall, 67% of people say they’d prefer to get an experiential gift rather than a gift certificate, with 81% of people thinking they are more memorable than any other form of gift. And these type of gifts are so desired people seem to be willing to do a lot, or even give up a lot, to get one. For example:

  • 47% of people in relationships say they would more be likely to have sex with a significant other if they received an experience rather than a material gift
  • 46% of Americans would be willing to sleep an hour less each night for the entire holiday season to get an amazing experience instead of a gift certificate
  • 29% would give up their cell phones for a week for an experiential gift
  • 75% of Millennials would do anything in exchange for an incredible experience

So, what types of experiences do people want? Well top choices include going on a helicopter tour (39%), going on a private tour of a museum (32%) and petting a panda at the zoo (27%). One experience they don’t want is spending time with their in-laws. The survey finds that only 9% of people would want to spend an entire week with their in-laws. That certainly sounds more like a punishment than a gift.

Source: Market Watch


Don’t believe those Target commercials about what Christmas Eve is like with kids. It’s not all Instagram-worthy family moments while the Pentatonix Christmas album plays in the background. Here’s the difference between our expectations and the reality of Christmas Eve when you’re a parent.

Expectation: Your relaxing, stress-free day will be spent watching classic Christmas cartoons and sipping cocoa while the kids play quietly near the glow of the Christmas tree.

  • Reality: You wake up before dawn because you realize Christmas is tomorrow and you still have to buy presents for the cousins and go to the grocery store today. The kids are so psyched Santa is coming that they’re fighting more than usual as you fight the crowd of last-minute mall shoppers for those cousin presents.

Expectation: Your kids will happily help wrap the last few gifts for the extended family while you listen to Christmas carols and sing together.

  • Reality: The kids start bickering about who’s singing “too softly,” because this is a thing now. And the little one is sticking the bows all over her head and now the tape is missing. Again.

Expectation: You’ll all have fun baking Pinterest-worthy cookies for Santa before bed. You’ve been planning this memory-making activity for weeks, so what could go wrong?

  • Reality: The kids are on a sugar high and they’re supercharged like tiny Hulks in the kitchen, tossing flour and sprinkles everywhere. You exhaust yourself trying not to yell, because who wants to be the Grinch on Christmas Eve.

Expectation: You’ll read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas' snuggled with your little ones by the Christmas tree.

  • Reality: After one page of this old fashioned snooze-fest, the kiddos beg you to read their favorite “Frozen” bedtime story instead. And you give in because that cookie fiasco really wore you down.

Expectation: After the kids go to bed, you’ll enjoy a glass of wine and admire the twinkling lights of the tree and the quiet house because you worked so hard and everything is done now.

  • Reality: You remember that play kitchen set that needs to be assembled and under the tree, so two screwdrivers, three arguments, and an hour and a half later, it’s done. But you drag yourself to bed because the kids will be up in three hours to see if Santa came. Merry Christmas!

Source: The Stir


63% of Americans sometimes wonder whether we are actually all part of a reality show for another planet. (?!?)  54% of people are actually happy to see 2017 come to a close, while 38% are neither happy nor sad, and only 8% are actually sad to see it end.  74% of Americans have high hopes for the new year, while 24% are anxious and 14% are wary. 

Source: Market Watch


Our Christmas tree tradition may have come from Germany and our holiday meals from England, but there are plenty of American holiday traditions. And by the rest of the world’s standards, these are a little strange.

  • Black Friday - Other countries shop then too, but Americans do the day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza like no place else.
  • Eating pumpkin - People eat pumpkin in other places, but in the U.S., nearly every holiday table has a pumpkin pie and we’ve all seen how huge the pumpkin spice craze has become.
  • Eggnog - Sure, folks drink this seasonal beverage around the world, but Americans LOVE eggnog and spend the month of December sipping the raw eggs, cream, sugar, and don’t forget the alcohol.
  • Hanukkah gifts - Because Hanukkah is so close to Christmas, it’s been over-commercialized in the U.S. as well.
  • Holiday 5Ks - It starts on Thanksgiving morning with running turkey trots and goes right through the end of the year with cocoa 5Ks, cookie 5Ks, and “dashing through the snow” 5Ks. But all that jogging does help balance out the overindulging we do over the holidays.
  • Making fun of fruitcake - We love to joke about fruitcake being terrible, but in the UK and other European countries, Christmas pudding - which is pretty much fruitcake - is a favorite holiday dessert.
  • Opening gifts in front of the giver - We open our presents in front of the giver so they see how much we like them, but in other places opening a gift right away is seen as greedy.
  • Overeating - Americans love to overindulge, especially when it comes to food.
  • Santa Claus - He’s known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Kris Kringle, too, but the American version of Santa is unique. And so is our tradition of leaving milk and cookies out for him to snack on.

Source: The Daily Meal


We’re closing in on the end of 2017, so it’s time for out with the old and in with the new. These are the styles and trends we’ll be seeing more of in 2018.

  • Ruffle shoulders - This vintage-inspired look was on the spring runways at designers like Stella McCartney’s show and it could be next year’s bell sleeve.
  • Indie brand wines - They’ll be having a moment in 2018 like craft beer did 10 years ago. Brands like Omen Wine from Oregon are coming out with small-batch wines with well-designed labels and price tags we can afford.
  • Several week-long vacations - People are prioritizing self-care more and those who can get out of work or work remotely are going to be enjoying extended vacays for weeks or months at a time.
  • Team-based workouts - Gyms and fitness studios will be embracing a “team-like atmosphere” in the coming year. Great for outgoing types, not so much for introverts.
  • Colorful kitchens - Stainless steel and matte black aren’t disappearing just yet, but expect to see more colorful cabinets and bright appliances in 2018.
  • Swedish Death Cleaning” - It’s the decluttering craze that’s clearing messy households everywhere. The idea is that when we die, we tend to leave a mess behind for our loved ones to deal with, so we can avoid that by “death cleaning” so they don’t have to.
  • Curtain bangs - Pinterest searches for the long, middle-parted fringe or curtain bangs were up 100% as of last month, thanks to famous faces like Halle Berry and Alexa Chung who have sported the look.
  • Plandids - Forget selfies, the new photo trend is the “plandid” - which is a carefully planned candid shot. It’s basically when you ask someone to take a pic, but you pretend you weren’t expecting it and you’ll be seeing more of it on your Insta feed.

Source: PureWow

Jay and Dawn

Jay and Dawn

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