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Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season

Amazon limited new Prime memberships amid order surge

Amazon.com on Thursday said it limited new Prime membership signups during peak periods in order to protect current member orders from the surge in new memberships.

Amazon said more than 1 million customers became new Amazon Prime subscribers in the third week of December.

Amazon Prime is a membership program that offers unlimited free two-day shipping on certain products for $79 a year. Amazon set a record on orders globally, as well, with more than 36.8 million items ordered on Cyber Monday, or 426 items per second, alone.

(Read moreRetailers to roll out huge after-Christmas deals)

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Holiday shipping issues trigger consumer complaints
UPS and FedEx are drawing criticism after experiencing Christmas delivery problems, reports NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez.

The news comes as shipping giants United Parcel Service and FedExstruggled—and in some cases failed—to get packages delivered before Christmas. The delays were blamed on poor weather earlier this week, as well as overloaded systems. The holiday shopping period this year was shorter than usual, more buying was done online and Americans’ tendency to wait until the last possible second to shop probably didn’t help either.

(Read moreUPS, FedEx struggle with delayed Christmas gifts)

Neither company said how many packages were delayed, but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments.

Responding to the delivery delays, Amazon issued a statement Thursday: “Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery. We are reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers.” The retailer also said it will refund any shipping charges associated with impacted shipments, and offer a $20 gift card to customers who did not receive packages on time.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story was corrected to reflect that Amazon limited new Prime membership signups during peak periods in order to protect current member orders from the surge in new memberships. It was also clarified to show that Amazon set a record on orders globally.

By CNBC. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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How I enjoy holidays parties without food guilt.

by Isabel De Los Rios
Just too good not too re-post…
Today I want to share with you how I keep up my healthy eating regimen even during all the holiday parties and events.

Actually, the strategies you’ll find below are NOT just specific for the holidays, you can use these methods for any social gathering and party that you may be attending.

Just last Saturday, I hosted my own little party for the parents from my kid’s school. It was really great. A lot of us only see each other during drop off and pickup so it was nice to get to know the other parents outside of the school parking lot.

Many of these parents don’t know me at all…so they don’t know how passionate I am about nutrition and health or that we are completely gluten free and don’t eat any processed food. My goal for the party was to choose foods that would make everyone happy, without having to resort to unhealthy “party” foods.
isabel
Here is what I served:

Corn chips (organic, non GMO) and home-made guacamole
Rice crackers and goat cheese
Raw cheese platter
Veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip
Fruit salad

The party was a huge hit! By the amount of food that was left (almost none) and the wonderful compliments I received, I could safely assume that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and did not go home feeling lousy.

Now, a party at my house would be super easy to work with, BUT what if the party you’ll be attending is not quite an Isabel bash? What do you do then?

Here are my top 3 strategies for surviving your next social event or party. These are methods I personally use all the time so I am always excited about any social event or gathering regardless of the food being served.

1. Offer to bring something to the party. I very rarely go to anyone’s home without bringing something homemade (and my friends and family really look forward to it). The host or hostess is always so grateful and at least I know, if nothing else, I can eat the item I brought. Many of the items that I served at my last party (shown above) are also some of the items that I bring to parties. I have also been known to make cocktail meatballs (made from grass fed beef), chicken skewers (made from pastured poultry) or smoked salmon on cucumber slices. You may want to give your hostess/host a few options and see which one appeals to him or her the most. (Tip: Guacamole and fresh veggies is almost always a huge hit everywhere I go!)

2. Eat before the party. Do not arrive starving! If you really don’t think the party will offer anything that is an acceptable option for you, eat beforehand so that you are not partying hungry. If someone asks why you’re not eating, you can use any of the following responses and none of them would be lying: “I had a really late lunch and I’m not quite hungry yet. Everything does look great and I’ll be sure to try something out,” OR “I’m definitely going to grab something here in a sec. Thanks for asking,” OR my personal favorite, “I get pretty sick if I eat any wheat or dairy so I try and stay away from it. I definitely would not want to get sick at this great party.” As far as I’m concerned, none of those are rude, nor are they lies (especially the last one!) I actually use a very similar response for my children, “My kids get very sick if they eat wheat or dairy so I try and keep them away from it.”…No more explanation needed. I find that the people that truly care for you will want you to be healthy and would never want you to get sick, especially at their party!

3. Focus on something else besides the food. This is where having 2 toddlers really comes in handy (so if you want to borrow mine, please let me know). Many times, I really can’t even focus on the food and what’s being served because I need to tend to my children (every parent reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about). But, you may not have kids, or you may be attending this particular party without them. Focus on catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time, engage in conversations you don’t have the opportunity to have otherwise, and maybe even get your “groove on” on the dance floor (c’mon, what’s a party without dancing?). Keep your focus on the true goal of the party and that’s to enjoy yourself with family and friends, not to focus on what food is being served or what you should or shouldn’t be eating.

And most importantly, I want you to NOT beat yourself up if the party just doesn’t go the way you wanted. Maybe you had one too many cocktails, maybe the brownies were just too good to say no to, or maybe you just ended up eating every single thing that came in your direction. Leave that party behind you and move on. Today is another day and another opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. One party will not make or break your weight loss goals or your health.

The most important thing you can do is see it as one night or just one party, and not as a reason to let all of your healthy efforts go to the way side. I know this time of year can pose some challenges, so arm yourself with the tools above and remember that this season is about happiness, joy and the togetherness of family and friends.

In health and happiness,

 

 

 

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Would Your Holidays be Different If You Knew You Had a Terminal Illness?


Woman Living with Incurable Cancer Offers 3 Ways to Get
the Most Out of Every Day

herrman

Jane Schwartzberg cringes when she hears someone say that a terrible accident or frightening medical diagnosis made them realize what’s important in life.

“In some ways, I do wish everyone could experience a taste of terminal, if that’s what it takes to make them appreciate the intangible gifts we receive not just during the holidays, but all year,” says Schwartzberg, co-author with Marcy Tolkoff Levy of “Naked Jane Bares All,” www.nakedjanebaresall.com, a new book that shares Jane’s story with candor and humor.

“But I wish they’d known all along, and I hate the thought of goodness coming at the expense of so much suffering.”

Schwartzberg says she was clear about what’s most important before she was diagnosed with stage four incurable breast cancer. As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, she knew that all that really matters is how much love we give and receive.
The holidays are a wonderful opportunity for people to remember that and to focus on who they love. But, too often, they become a source of anxiety, stress, and tension. Financial concerns, having too much to do, and missing loved ones were among the top causes of holiday stress, according to a recent Mental Health America survey.

“Although I won’t attribute any revelations about what’s most important in life to my illness, I can say that there are a few things that I am trying to do better since getting sick,” Schwartzberg says.

“The holidays are a great time to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to re-focus on the things that are most meaningful.”

For Schwartzberg, those include:

• Showing up. If you’re worried about yesterday or always planning for tomorrow, you’re missing the present moment and any wonderful experiences it may hold.

“Although my clock ticks louder than others, I know we are all here for a short time,” Schwartzberg says. “I am determined to find joy in every single day. It may come from the simplest of things: a view from my window, a great conversation or a hot cup of coffee. But I know I need to be always present and available, with an open mind and open heart, to experience any of it.”

• Riding her love train. We all have people in our lives who care about us, and it’s important to let them know how much we appreciate them. Schwartzberg’s “love train” is a metaphor for all of the people she chooses to share her life with.  “They are rooting me on and giving my family and me love and support,” she says. “I try to be as meticulous and thoughtful as I possibly can be with those on board, and that means making sure they know how much I love and value them.”

• Knowing my place in the world. There is a Jewish teaching that says everyone should carry with them two pieces of paper, each in a separate pocket. One paper should say, “I am but dust and ashes.”  The other, “The world was created for me.”

“I constantly remind myself that both statements are true,” Schwartzberg says. “I am capable of incredible things to improve the world, and I am just a tiny speck in the universe. Powerfulness and humility can, and do, exist for me side by side.”

As the holidays approach, keep in mind that the best gift you can give – or receive – is love.

“It’s not a table full of food or gadgets you can’t afford,” she says. “Approach this holiday season as if it could be your last, and you’ll probably find much more to revel in than to stress about.”

About Jane Schwartzberg

Jane Schwartzberg, 45, is the co-author of the newly released book, “Naked Jane Bares All,” the many-layered story – told with humor and candor — of how she learned to embrace life when she was down for the count. Jane is a financial services executive and founder and former CEO of a start-up technology company.

 

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Merry Christmas to All of Us

As we progress through the holiday season it is so easy to get caught up in our own personal goals: dinner with the family, grab those presents, make sure we have an office party, have the neighbors over for egg nogg. I find myself literally running over people to get to the store and buy all the things that will make a great time for my friends and family.
How many times in life can we have the goal of making people happy only to plow through everyone else that “gets in our way?”
If there is one lesson I can take from this life, let it be the one where I slow down and smell the roses. Let it be where I stop and talk with people in the store instead of charging through the isles to get in line first. Let it be putting my favorite television show (even if it is the Superbowl) on pause when a neighbor needs to talk. Let it be where I listen to my mate with honest appreciation, even though I was in the middle of something else.
Otherwise, life ends up being what passes you by, when you were too busy making plans!

 

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Considerations to Make When Sending Business Christmas Cards

Business Christmas cards have long been something business owners have turned to during the holiday season to help them show appreciation to their customers and business contacts, all while assisting them in drumming up a little more business. Yet before you buy, sign and stamp your next set of Christmas cards, take some time to consider these important thoughts.

Avoid Being Overly Religious

Even if you are a devoutly religious individual, your customer, client or business contact may not be. This is not the time to be overly religious. Choose a generic greeting, or tailor each card to the recipient. Of course, if your business is religious in nature, this consideration may not apply, but for most businesses a generic card works best. You simply cannot predict the religious preference of every recipient.

Consider Being Cost Effective

At first, holiday cards seem to be a very small expense in your overall business budget. Yet, when you incorporate the time necessary to prepare and send the cards, you may need to stop and consider whether or not you are doing everything as cost effectively as possible.

Etiquette states that it is best for you to personally sign each card. This is not that time consuming for a few hundred cards, but if you have thousands of cards to send it may become so. You may be better off investing in a printed greeting that includes your name, or buying an ink stamp made from your signature. Sometimes, sacrificing etiquette is important when you are trying to run your business efficiently.

Similarly, choosing a card specifically for each recipient, such as a Hanukah card for your Jewish contacts and a religious Christmas card for your Christian contacts, shows your attention to detail and the preferences of your customers. However, this takes time. If time is at a premium in your business, you may want to forgo this in favor of a more generic card that works for everyone.

Benefits to Consider

Sometimes, sending out business Christmas cards seems like an overwhelming task. When you start to feel this way, take the time to consider the benefits of doing so.

When customers and clients receive a Christmas card, it puts your business’s name in their minds. Later, when a customer needs the service that you provide, your name is going to be on the forefront of his or her mind, rather than your competitor that did not send cards. Some customers who have been putting off a call to you may even be prompted to do so when they see their card.

Business Christmas cards also show that your company is financially stable and successful. A struggling business is not going to have the money or time to send cards. Even though it is a commitment of time and resources, sending business Christmas card helps paint your business in a positive light, and this is a tremendous benefit.

Monique Trulson works for eInvite.com, an online retailer of wedding invitations, birth announcements, business Christmas cards and more.

 

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