Hello, Lovelies! I know you have been searching for the perfect gifts for this year, so I thought I’d share a few secrets. I have a few ideas for not only obtaining great gifts but also some great gifts to give. My first secret is Layaway plans. Stores like Sears, K-Mart, Marshalls, TJMaxx and Burlington Coat factory all still honor the wallet friendly option to shop now and pay later. In the weeks leading up to Christmas when the weather is cold but the sales are hot, I shop all the designer labels of these stores. Once I am satisfied with my payload, I am off to the Layaway counter where a deposit is all that is needed to hold all your treasures. Some stores want $10 for the 1st, $100 like K-Mart. Marshalls and Burlington require a percentage down either 10% or 20%. I spent nearly $ 80 at Burlington, checking off almost my entire shopping list, the compare to total was over $200 and all I took from my wallet to hold my finds was $20 down. The benefit is I don’t need to spend everything in my purse at once in one store and there is no need to find a hiding place at home. When I know the house is empty and have some time to wrap the gifts I will venture back out to the Layaway registers to make my final payments and collect my gifts.

Now if stores, shopping and holiday madness isn’t exactly your cup of tea there are a few sites that offer something for everyone. Restaurant.com offers gift cards to restaurants in your area for sometimes ½ the price, a $25 card for $10 or a $50 card for $20. You can get more card for less cash and can give the gift of a nice night out on you. My other favorite gift ideas are the “of the month” clubs. Sign a friend or family member to get a gift of the month. MonthClubStore.com offers such clubs as cookie of the month, popcorn of the month, cigar of the month, wine of the month and the list goes on and on. Pick the length you wish for them to receive gifts and what you want them to get, pay the amount and every month a new one will show up at their door to try out.

Hopefully my holiday secrets will give you some idea of what to get for the “I n
ever know what to get you” on your list. Good luck with your gift giving and have a lovely little holiday.

Lauren Matera is a wife, mommy to the adorable Jocelyn (who shares my birthday!), writer, cook, fundraiser (remember Zita's Hunnies? That's her!) and shopper extraordinaire living and working in Annapolis, Maryland. Check her out at her cooking blog, PantryPerfect.blogspot.com, and her writing blog, RennisRoom.blogspot.com.

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