Gift Card rush Will Boost Holiday Sales Figures

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While online and retail holiday shopping sales have met or exceeded expectations for most retailers in 2005, there is another “rush” for all retailers to prepare for: gift card redemption.

According to Hitwise, an online intelligence service, the market share of U.S. Internet searches containing the words “gift card” was up 32% for the week ending December 10, 2005 as compared to the previous week. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects gift card sales to increase 6.6% this holiday season to 18.48 billion dollars, with consumers spending an average of $88 dollars on gift cards or 15.6% of their holiday shopping budget.

Gift certificates have always been a popular gift choice for the hard to please recipient or even for the lazy shopper. For the gift giver, it allows a quick purchase at whatever store or online merchant they select, with a dollar amount that fits their budget. For the recipient, they can select what they want from a particular merchant and for the most part use the card at their convenience.

But for some, giving a gift card is a cop-out, reasoning it is too impersonal and opting to hand pick a gift and selecting something special and unique for a loved one or friend. However, for some, the gift card is the ideal gift choice, with family or friends even suggesting the store or online merchant they prefer.

For the merchants, it has extended the holiday shopping season because they cannot record the sale until the recipient uses the gift card to make a purchase. This holds down sales figures in November and December, but provides a boost in January when most cards are redeemed. An additional boost is provided by the fact that most of the shoppers who redeem their gift cards typically spend 15% to 50% more than the face value of the card when they select their holiday gift.

There are some downsides to gift cards. Some retailers clear unused gift cards off the books by subtracting off of the face value of the card, an inactivity fee (usually $2.50 per month) after a certain amount of time. Some gift cards have an expiration date and others come with special conditions or restrictions. However, consumer outrage has prompted many states across the country to introduce legislation limiting or banning the fees. Additionally, there is no federal law on gift cards but, two Republican congressmen, Joe Barton of Texas and Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, have requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the way retailers conduct their gift card programs.

Is giving a gift card too impersonal? Is it the best gift choice? That question is up for debate and is a personal preference. But with annual gift card sales projected to reach 90 billion dollars by 2007 (Ernst & Young 2005), the gift card is here to stay.

The Benefits Of Opting For Vacation Rentals By Owner

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Let us learn some advantages of staying in vacation rentals by owner. Vacations rentals by owners are usually private homes owned by their family and are rented temporarily. Vacation rentals by owner are a lot cheaper than the commercial hotels if you just want to rent out a place for week to three months. In a vacation rental by owner what you have is the amenities of a home. There is more privacy experienced in a vacation rental by owner because you are like living in your own home.

Family Atmosphere is present in vacation rentals privately owned. Most vacation rentals owned by owners have a family atmosphere, meaning the traditional old fashioned family ambience is present. Most vacation rentals privately owned are attached to main houses. There are common in Europe, and is becoming common in Asia. You can get invited to family dinners, and sometimes family gigs, if you allow them. This will depend on you.

Vacation rentals by owner are generally safer to stay than most commercial places, especially when you are staying in places like Asia in the rural areas. Scenic spots are fantastic, and yet you are not sure of the environment. Families tend to protect their guests. You have to check the environment by asking and reading on reports.

Nevertheless, vacation rentals by owner have a lot to offer you. In a hotel you can get a room that would cost you a different amount per each person staying in said room and be really crowded and just have a rather cramped, annoying vacation as opposed as to what you were planning on having in the first place. However, if you choose to rent a vacation home, you have a nicer, less crowded place to stay in. You don’t have to worry about who kicked you in your sleep or how you ended up on the floor with no covers like when you stay at a hotel. Nor do you have to fuss at the kids to stop hopping on the bed because they’re so anxious to move around from being stuck in one place for the last few hours.

You see, when you get vacation rentals by owner, you don’t have to worry about the kids and yourself being cooped up for hours on end in the same room-you have room to breath. Though most vacation rentals owned by owners are paid in deposit with one two months deposit, common globally, you can still get your deposited amount less other auxiliary expenses like laundry, housekeeping, food and parking fees. In some privately owned vacation rentals, the deposit is consumable; not refundable in cash. Likewise, if you need car rentals, do not hesitate to ask as most vacation rentals by owner have garage where you can park your car with a minimal fee.

Consider Colorado Diving Vacations

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It is never too early to begin planning your next vacation. You can easily make it a dream vacation by participating in scuba diving vacations. Colorado diving companies offer the best diving trips here in the United States and around the world in prime warm-water dive locations for your enjoyment on your next holiday.

Beautiful reefs are at the heart of Colorado scuba diving vacations. You might be fortunate to travel to Key Largo to experience your next wonderful Colorado scuba diving vacation. Amazing night skies and heavenly warm weather await you on this delicious Colorado scuba diving vacation that puts you in a prime location to sample fresh seafood and other local culinary specialties. Another interesting feature of a Florida-based Colorado scuba diving vacation is the proliferation of shipwrecks that are available for exploration. Luxurious accommodations at a resort will mean that your time out of the water during Colorado diving vacations will be very enjoyable as well.

Other hot travel destinations for Colorado scuba diving vacations are found in the Cayman Islands. Little Cayman is just one of the best diving spots for scuba diving vacations. Colorado excursions can take you into the coral canyons and sand chutes leading to the world-famous Bloody Bay Wall. These Colorado diving vacations will allow you to spend time diving in Marine Park zones, where you will see amazing sea life like turtles, eagle rays and angelfish. Meals, accommodations, airfare and several days of diving await you on these scuba diving vacations. Colorado divers fill these types of trips up rapidly, so if you think about vacation plans well in advance of your desired departure date, you will have much more choice and flexibility in obtaining the Colorado scuba diving vacations that you want.

Another popular diving spot is the Fiji Islands, and they make a lovely location for scuba diving vacations. Colorado dive companies offer secluded beach resorts where you can enjoy the tropical scenery in between your diving. Fiji features soft coral, which comes in a wealth of vibrant colors. If you want a change from diving during your Colorado diving vacations in Fiji, you can also enjoy wonderful beach snorkeling or time in a kayak or on body boards for more water fun.

The nice thing about well-organized Colorado diving vacations is that your hosts take all the work out of planning your trip for you. They will make sure travel to and from the resort is taken care of, and can help make sure you see everything you want to see on your next diving vacation.

Tahoe Vacations Prepare For The Fun

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When people think about Tahoe vacations, they are usually thinking about a skiing trip. That is because Tahoe is a great place to ski for people at all skill levels. From the beginner to the expert, you can find ski slopes that seem to have been made just for you at the hot spots for Tahoe vacations. However, Tahoe vacations offer a much more.

Skiers, snowshoers and snowboarders are likely to have an incredible time on Tahoe vacations. Even those who cant ski will appreciate the beauty of this place.

If barreling down a mountain of snow doesnt excite you, then maybe you will find your place with the fishermen. Many people take Tahoe vacations just to fish. People will drive amazing distances because of the great fishing that the streams and lakes in this area have to offer. From October 1 to June 30, the streams that drain into Lake Tahoe and their tributaries are closed to fishing. However, many of the lakes, including Tahoe, stay open year round.

There are many kinds of fishermen that go on Tahoe vacations. Some like to troll the lakes and streams, and some fly fish. Just make sure that you have any license that you are required to have, and follow the rules.

Golf has become more and more popular in recent years and many people hit the Tahoe vacation spots for the premier golf courses. Golf is a sport that is popular to a wide array of people. The sport doesnt restrict because of social class, race, age, or gender. More and more people are getting into it everyday. Even those who dont golf can appreciate the natural and man-made beauty of the greens. And there are many courses to choose from on your Tahoe vacations.

When you are going on Tahoe vacations, remember to bring the right gear including sun block. Whether you are going to ski, snowboard, fish, golf, or simply soak in the beauty that is Tahoe, take care of your skin while you are there. When theres snow on the ground, some people may not even think of the need for sunblock. This is a big mistake since suns rays can actually reflect off of the snow and ice creating an even more intense effect. When you are on the snow, make sure that you wear all protective gear included tinted goggles. The bright reflections off of the snow can also be bad for your eyes.

With a bit of planning, youll have an incredible time on your trip, and youll likely find that Tahoe vacations become an annual event.

How To Get Huge Savings On Your Disney World Vacation

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Have you ever been on a Walt Disney World vacation? If your answer is no, then what are you waiting for? This magical wonderland is just what you and your family need to wash away that stress and fatigue that comes from the redundant 9 to 5 work week.

It’s time to take a break with Mickey and his pals. You can check out Universal Studios and Epcot Center. Have a blast watching wonderful shows and enjoying fabulous restaurants. That Walt Disney World vacation is waiting for you. Can’t you just taste those delectable treats and see those fireworks? It’s high-time to get on the World-Wide-Web and see what’s available.

I can recall the last time I went on a Walt Disney World vacation. Okay, so it was the only time I’ve been down to the Magical Kingdom; regardless, it seems like yesterday. I was only eleven years old when my folks took me and my brothers on a Walt Disney World vacation. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I wanted to do everything, taste everything, and see everything. I wanted to meet Pluto and ride every roller coaster in the park. I knew it was going to be amazing. Back then I’m sure the entry tickets weren’t quite so pricy, but at least now days we have an advantage. Yes, I’m talking about the Internet. Cyberspace is the perfect route to finding the absolute best deals and packages regarding your Walt Disney World vacation. You can choose where to stay and how many days you wish to have access ahead of time. When you take advantage of the Walt Disney World vacation package deals, you save your hard-earned cash. Besides, it pays to plan ahead of time. Go ahead and book your room right in the middle of things. Now days you can choose from Disney World resorts. It’s all at your very fingertips, folks.

Are you planning that big Walt Disney World vacation? Summer is upon us, people. Maybe it’s time you prepared for those vacation days with the family. That warm sun will get you motivated. Doesn’t a Walt Disney World vacation sound ideal? If you simply pop open your Google search engine, you can sort through a number of deals. Book that round trip flight and hotel stay at the same time. This way everything is already taken care of. Make your Walt Disney World vacation a relaxing one. The last thing you need is added stress and chaos.

Curacao Vacations Provide many places to visit

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Curacao is a closely guarded secret of the Caribbean with many villas to stay in CURACAO VACATIONS. There are a substantial variety of things worth doing and see while staying on the island of Curacao, including Hato Caves, Christoffel Park, and the Curacao Sea Aquarium. The Hato Caves have a world-leading lesson to lean, they were employed in the times of slavery in Curacao by the slaves as hiding places they would escape to the caves and live in them for months at a time, this would have been a terrible way to live for them so the desperateness is clear as the slave trade was horrid for them also. There are guides to take visitors through the blinding caves and they’re going to clarify all the history of the caves and what they were employed for which would be a mesmerizing trip. You can view the stunning stalactites and stalagmites through the strange lighting which makes the experience more enticing. The caves are north of Willemstad the consequential heritage city.

The Curacao Christoffel Park is another must see while on holiday on the Island, it is made of 3 prior plantations and is home to a few tropical plants and trees, including flora and fauna, sensitive pear cactus and divi divi trees, in the park some cacti reach up to a large ten feet tall. There are guarded wild life in the park which can often be seen while on the driving trails like Iguanas, rabbits, mules and birds.

Deer watching occurs each afternoon all of the year round, the deer are white tail Curacao deer which are claimed to be of South American origin brought over centuries gone. To explore the park there are several options by foot or bike and there’s also a choice to explore the park in jeeps and 4 wheel drives.

There’s also a theater in which you can go and watch some underwater films and a cafe that’s got a terrace for you to enjoy an al fresco lunch at the aquarium there’s also a novel substation which is a deep sea submarine in which visitors can get into and view all the tropical sea life and even some shipwrecks. The Aquarium really is a place not to miss while on your CURACAO VACATIONS.

Mississauga and Etobicoke two best places for vacations

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World is filled with numerous exotic places and Canada is one of them. This place has plenty of options where you can enjoy world’s best food, ultimate hostelry, and amazing parties. The hotels in Mississauga and Etobicoke offer all these amenities with perfect ambience. Thus, if you are here for vacations then you are definitely at one of the most enthralling places of world.

Canada is popular for its different and various wineries that produce some of the world’s most delicious and mouth-watering wines. However, if you are a wine lover, you do not need to visit these wineries as to taste the exotic flavor. Almost every Bar In Mississauga and other cities of Canada let you satiate your taste buds here only. Here at the bar counters of Mississauga hotels, you can not only enjoy the wines but also taste international drinks. Moreover, with the ample space offered by these hotels, you can host any kind of party here be it birthday parties or Retirement Parties In Mississauga.

As aforementioned, you can enjoy most lively parties. Thus, if you are a party animal, then Party Rooms In Etobicoke and Mississauga hotels are the place for you. These party rooms give ample space to host or be a part of some most memorable parties for lifetime. While enjoying parties, you can also enjoy your favorite cuisine at Restaurant Of Etobicoke and Mississauga hotels. These restaurants offer almost every cuisine as to pamper your taste buds and satiate your appetite. Moreover, the hotels here allow you to enjoy your breakfast and evening tea in the beautiful patios. Most of the hotels have Patio In Etobicoke that can be used for dining, indoor games, or just relaxing.

Besides party rooms, Lounge In Etobicoke and Mississauga also offers the top-class amenities as to give an ultimate experience. At these lounges, you can enjoy best hard drinks including mock tails and Cocktails In Etobicoke. Not only hotels, various stop over here also let you enjoy your vacations at Mississauga and Etobicoke. To start with you can visit butterfly garden, kariya park, scooter’s roller palace, fantasy fair and many more.

In a nutshell, if you are at Mississauga or Etobicoke as to give yourself a break from your daily schedule, then you get ample options to enjoy the vacations at its best. Here, if you want to enjoy parties, you have spacious party rooms and lounges. If you love food, then you can have almost every cuisine at famous restaurants. Moreover, these places also have various scenic beauties to pamper your eye-sights. All these together make Mississauga and Etobicoke best holiday destinations.

The Open Cork Eatery & Lounge, Mississauga Restaurant with patio offers freshest, highest quality ingredients and dishes as pasta, seafood, sauces and soups in breakfast, brunch and dinner for family and individuals. We also provide services such as Private Parties Mississauga, Outside Catering Etobicoke, Brunch Restaurant Mississauga and Breakfast Restaurants Mississauga. Browse through for more information.

Figurines For Holiday Themes At Home

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Figurines at any time of the year can brighten up your home, but holiday figurines are very special.

They can cheer up any room, and enchant any moment during the holiday season. Since figurines can be placed almost anywhere in your home, every room can have a warm feeling of the holidays.

Starting a Holiday Figurine Collection

If you haven’t started a holiday figurine collection, you may want to start by going to your local gift shop. They will have all the collectible figurines for your needs as well as some that are one of a kind. Also, department stores usually have a great display of holiday figurines for you to choose from. it’s really a matter of choosing pieces which have a special meaning for you as an individual. Perhaps a particular figurine will bring to mind a special time and place in your life, or perhaps you might be drawn to a piece because it encapsulates a personal Christmas wish.

Holidays are magical times, full of happy thoughts that shine in our memories forever. Since figurine ideas are infinite, you can have them for any room in your home. Below are just a few ideas for the different rooms in your home.

For the living room: This is where most people like to show off their best holiday decorations. Here crystal figurines, which are very elegant, can fit in with any theme. You may want to display your religious themed figurines as well as fun and cheery figurines.

For the Kitchen: In the kitchen you might want to display figurines that show a family eating a holiday dinner together or one showing mom cooking in the kitchen.

For an adult bedroom: For an adult bedroom a figurine can display a romantic theme such as a couple walking in a wintry scene or a couple taking a horse and carriage ride.

For a child’s room: Decorating a child’s room can be one of the most fun things to do during the holiday season. Children always have cartoon characters that they love. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding their favorite cartoon characters in figurines.

The holiday season is a special time to cherish fond memories and make brand new ones. Holiday collectibles are wonderful mementos of each passing holiday season, and they’re a lovely way to evoke special memories and reminiscences with your family and friends. You will probably find your collection of holiday figurines growing each year.

Festive Creative Baskets The Cheerful Holiday Food Gifts

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Holiday food gifts in creative baskets deliver bright and cheerful holiday messages! If you live a distance from the ones you love, you can still be a part of their celebration by sending your cheery wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.

Festive and fun holiday food gift baskets filled with edible delights of cookies, chocolate truffles, cheeses, stone wheat crackers, summer sausages, wafers and many more food gifts are delicious ways to send your brightest wishes. Sending your delectable wishes in creative baskets is as much fun to have delivered, as it is to receive the holiday food gifts.

Imagine bright and cheery presents arriving at the front door, with love from you to your brother or sister and their families or mom and dad, son or daughter. Grandparents would love the festive creative baskets with gourmet coffees and sweet edible delights, especially for them, from you.

Celebrations with sweet and savory specialty gourmet goodies lets those you love celebrate in festive fun. Holiday food gifts are dressed up to suit any family or friend. Gourmet nuts and chocolates are delightful gifts for sister or brother. They are quality ways to let them enjoy delicious bites of gourmet from you.

Gourmet chocolate gift baskets are delectable gifts for chocolate lovers you know. It just would not be the holidays, without the sweet chocolate bites of deliciousness. Chocoholics, along with the rest of us are in heaven with the holiday’s sweet edible delights.

Gourmet coffees in festive creative baskets are always a treat and scrumptious gift ideas for mom and dad, as well as grandparents and those who are lovers of the brew. Treats of pastries, chocolates, cookies and more holiday food gifts are to be devoured by your special recipients.

Holiday food gifts are found online for easy shopping and fast delivery. Multiple gifts in one, the specialty gourmet goodies are a pleasure to give and a delight to receive. When you are in doubt and want to send your best wishes for a happy holiday season, remember creative baskets and the cheerful messages they deliver.

Sun And Snow – Why The French Alps Make The Perfect Family Holiday

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For families, especially those who appreciate nature, the French Alps are the perfect holiday destination. Fresh Alpine air, lush pine forests, green meadows and valleys, crystal lakes, and majestic mountains are just the beginning of this region’s many attractions. The family-friendliness of the area is perhaps most apparent in its numerous catered chalets, which provide the perfect mix of comfort, luxury, and privacy. Some can sleep as many as 30 people, which is great for extended families.

Of course, lovely as they are, theres a lot more to the French Alps than its picture-perfect catered chalets. Listed below are some attractions and activities that are perfect for families. From extreme water sports, leisurely nature hikes, or informative tours, every member of the family is sure to have a fun and memorable time.

Play in the snow

Just looking out the windows of its lovely catered chalets, you can already tell that its pristine slopes and state-of-the-art skiing facilities are definitely among the main attractions of Tignes. However, the younger set may want to engage in a sport they consider more hip and exciting. If your family wants to try something new, snowboarding is the perfect activity to learn together.

In Tignes, snowboarding schools offer lessons to students of different ages and skill levels. Students can also choose how intensive their lessons to befrom basic courses that take only a day to longer advanced courses. Once you and your loved ones have your snow legs, you can all head on out to play together in the snow or challenge yourself on the slopes.

Enjoy a day in the sun

If beautiful nature is what youre after, youll definitely be spoiled for choice during your holiday in the French Alpsjust look out the window of your cosy catered chalets and youll know what we mean. It almost doesnt matter which town you choose, the sheer beauty of the region is sure amaze you. Lake Geneva, for example, is the perfect place for a family picnicenjoying the lovely scenery imbibing in wine, cheese, chocolate, and other Swiss delicacies. The sunlight hitting the blue water and the surrounding greenery is perfect for picture-taking and watching boats on the lake; afterwards, you can engage in water sports such as sailing, swimming, and boating. You can even reserve a campsite if you want to rough it and spend some time away from your catered chalets. The best view of the Alps and the surrounding areas, however, is by cable car, so head on up to Aiguille du Midi, which is the steepest cable (an arguably the most thrilling) ride on Earth.