LOS ANGELES—This is the time of year when we all try to do five things at once—or at least that’s how it seems!
Where do we find just the right gift for that tough to shop for family member or friend?
What to cook for the holiday meal? Where to find recipes for goodies to send to those who cannot be home for the festivities? How to make far-flung family and friends feel like part of the celebration? What are age-appropriate gifts for youngsters? How to find or make holiday decorations that won’t cost a fortune? What are some of the traditions for this time of year?
Luckily, most, if not all, these problems can be solved when you let your mouse do the walking through the wonders of the Internet.
Since the holidays are mainly for children, the first place I’d suggest is kbtoys.com where toys and games are listed by age appropriateness as well as price.
In our family, the teen-aged boys are enthralled with computer-type games. The latest GameBoy or X-Box will be just what they had hoped to receive- again, check KBtoys or Amazon (amazon.com/) for those goodies.
Most teen-aged girls adore make up, ULTA (ulta.com) has quality products at very reasonable pieces, including an on-line-only special sure to delight any young lady.
More mature ladies may enjoy a gift from Sephora or Lanc’ome (sephora.com, or lancome.com/).
Men’s gifts can range from electronics and gadgets (sharperimage.com) to sports equipment (sierratradingpost.com) and books. Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com) offers great prices and free shipping as well.
Do you need to send a gift to someone who cannot make the celebration, to someone you want to thank, or to an older friend who has all the ‘tchotchkes’ they need? We’ve found that Harry and David’s site (harryanddavid.com) offers some wonderful gifts, including many bargains not found in stores.
If none of the above has inspired you, may I suggest you log on to surprise.com for more ideas—they’ve never failed to give me a good suggestion.
Traditions are a big part of the holidays. For Christmas traditions around the world, try portharbor.com/santa/xsatrad.htm, Hanukkah traditions are found at hanukah.com/, and the background of Kwanzaa is told at officialkwanzaawebsite.org/- all these sites add to the specialness of the season.
Food is always a big part of holiday gatherings, and cooks with varying degrees of expertise may find recipes at christmasrecipe.com/, or the Southern Living site (southernliving.com/southern/) as well as the Better Homes and Gardens’definitive primer on buying, baking, carving, and using the leftovers from your holiday turkey (findarticles.com/cf_dls/m1041/n11_v75/19921389/p1/article.jhtml) . From sinful desserts to the basics of mashed potatoes, try searching the Recipe Source - this is one you’ll probably want to bookmark (recipesource.com/). You’ll also find recipes here for cookies and other goodies (fudge anyone?) to send to those who cannot make it home for the holidays, especially those in the military.
Decorations are a nice added touch, and homemade ones are extra special. Ivillage (ivillage.com/home/homemade) and the KidsCom site (de.essortment.com/christmasornam_rblt.htm) offer some great suggestions to help the family get into the spirit.
Whether your candles are in a window, in a Menorah, in a Kinara, or on a tree, may your holidays be bright, and your New Year be happy and healthy!