‘Tis the Season for Giving Back: A Conscientious Christmas

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Use these suggestions to make this holiday season special – not only for the folks on your gift list, but also for those you’re purchasing the gifts from:

Think Small-Biz: Give the gift that keeps on giving. This year, make a concerted effort to purchase from the little guys. Now more than ever, small businesses need your support. A few dollars either way could be the difference between make or break. Check out some of those small-town boutiques and niche shops that you always drive past. You’ll be amazed at the freshness of selection when you get away from the big-box stores and cookie-cutter malls. When you shop small, you’re gifting not only your Secret Santa recipient, but the economy, too!

Think One-of-a-Kind: What is more fabulous than receiving a unique handmade item? Not only is it a one-of-a-kind, but it’s been made with special care. You can feel the love that’s gone into it. Yes, a handmade scarf may cost a few dollars more than that acrylic scarf made in a factory in China, but you truly do get what you pay for. This holiday season stuff your stockings with handmade treasures that are sure to delight!

Think Artsy: So many great artists in the Twin Cities are creating incredible pieces. Many studios have open houses before the holiday season. Take advantage! Check out what the phenomenal local art community has to offer. You will be inspired by their creativity and amazed by the artists’ stories. Spread some holiday cheer by cheering on our local artists.

Think Experience: We all have that person in our life who simply has it all; the last thing they want this holiday season is another thing. Instead, why not offer them a new experience. Tickets to an intriguing museum exhibit or powerful play or maybe a gift certificate that buys an exquisite dining experience — there are certainly enough choices and price ranges to suit your needs. It’s the thought that counts, so think outside the gift box.

Think Self-Help: People are always interested in self-development and growth. Give a truly profound gift to someone on your list this year. There are terrific classes out there – whether it’s a Tae Bo lesson, a meditation class, or a resume-writing seminar, give the gift of growth!

Think Close to Home: Retailers and manufactures are being hit just as hard by this economy as the rest of us. This year make an effort to support some of the terrific local companies founded and headquartered here in Minnesota, such as Best Buy, Target and 3M.

Think Personalization: Personalized gifts are sure to win over any Scrooge on your list. Professional photos of your family given as gifts will capture cherished memories. You can even put them in a calendar, on a coffee mug, or emblazoned on a T-shirt. To further maximize your money, you could use these photos as personalized holiday greeting cards, too.

Think Ahead of Time: Nothing is harder on your wallet or your stress level than waiting until the very last minute to find the perfect gifts. Your procrastination is often evident. If you begin earlier in the year, you will choose gems that really speak to the recipient – and save yourself from last-minute mayhem.

Think Sensible: If your finances are plummeting, don’t run up credit card debt just to have presents under the tree. Those you’re buying for, your beloved friends and family, would likely prefer you be sensible and save your money. They’d be much happier knowing that you’re able to sleep soundly at night, rather than lying awake worrying about credit card payments. Give only what you can afford to give; and you will be giving your loved ones peace of mind.

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Lauri Flaquer has more than 25 years entrepreneurial experience on the East Coast, Central America, and in the Midwest . She has extensive knowledge of marketing and has developed an astute and focused branding methodology. Lauri began her career in film in the 1980’s. Later turning to the small screen, she has an extensive background in the television in the NY Metro area. As owner of several successful service oriented companies, her regular client roster included NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC, WWOR, WOR, and Bloomberg LP. Among her particular achievements is the co-authoring of Ready, Set, SOAR! 77 Super Flying Fun Tips to Make Your Business ZOOM and the authoring of Ready, Set, SOAR for Authors! A Writer’s Guide to Marketing and Publishing. As principle of Saltar Solutions, LLC Ms. Flaquer has a talent for being able to help organizations develop a true identity by determining who they are, what they do, and how they do it. She uses this information to help clients clearly establish and define their brand and to successfully launch marketing and product promotion campaigns. Her experience with the media, has given her advanced techniques in being able to deliver the message effectively.

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