Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gift Ideas, Free Stuff and Shopping Trends

Hello shoppers! Here are our DreamWorthy thoughts for the week and a little Shop Talk. Take a peek, and if you feel so inclined, please write and let us know what you think.

Even Santa Needs Help Now & Then
Hey, we all know that Santa and his little elves get pretty busy this time of year, and even the best need help. Here's a company, Package From Santa, that will help Santa write letters to your little lovelies. I wish I had seen this one sooner, since orders need to be in before 11/27, but here's the info:

There are 3 packages, Basic, Standard and Deluxe. The Deluxe includes a letter from Santa, a 'Nice List' certificate, another letter from Rudolph himself, a 8x10 glossy of the big guy, reindeer food in a nice tin, a CD of Santa telling a story (there's an audio sample on the site), and a limited edition swatch of Santa's suit itself (while supplies last). They offer a 60-day money back guarantee, but it includes sending the goodies back, of course. Again, order before 11/27. Other quickie details:

Basic - $12.99 + $1.99 shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Shipped in Shiny Green Envelope
Standard - $27.99 with free shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Custom Letter from Rudolph
  • Official Personalized Nice Certificate
  • Autographed 8X11 Santa Claus Photo
  • Shipped in Shiny Gold Envelope
Deluxe - $59.99 with free shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Custom Letter from Rudolph
  • Official Personalized Nice Certificate
  • Glossy Autographed 8X11 Photo of Santa
  • Authentic Collectors Piece of Santa's Suit
  • Personal Greeting From Santa Claus (CD)
  • Genuine Reindeer Food in a collector's tin
  • Shipped in Bright Red Box
They seem pretty legit, secure (TRUSTe privacy and digicert secure), and sport the BBB accreditation seal. (BBBOnline program standards description.) Check 'em out at:

More Coupons Codes

The price of keeping your family entertained and on the go can be more reasonable and even cheaper by using the promo and coupon codes given by reliable merchants. We at DreamWorthy Gifts offer coupons and support the bargain shopper's quest. The kind folks over at Family Coupon Codes understand, too. See their site for tips on family shopping, travel, gift ideas, and money-saving coupon codes.

Gift Card Legislation
Yup, you read that right. I suppose this is helpful consumer protection, but I do get a little surprised by what gets legislated sometimes. Consumer Reports reports that Michigan’s new gift card law is a step in the right direction. (
I must pause to say that I always wanted to write 'reports reports' and have it be grammatically correct. Crossing that off my bucket list...)

Okay, back to Consumer Reports, Michigan lawmakers, and gift cards. As of Nov. 1, stores must honor the gift cards and gift certificates they sell for at least five years from the date of purchase. According to CR, "the legislation, signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, also blocks retailers from imposing inactivity, transaction, or other service fees that would decrease the face value of the cards. Retailers are further required to disclose all gift-card terms and conditions to prospective buyers under the new rules, and companies can’t change the rules after the card has been issued." (Spoil sports.)

Michigan is not alone up there. They are "one of around 24 other states that has begun considering legislative measures to make gift cards last longer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Heather Morton, an NCSL spokesperson, alerted us to a site that explains in detail each state’s gift-card rules, and the latest legislation in the pipeline." Check out:

Since You'll Be Holding Onto Those Gift Cards Longer...

...You'll need a place to store them all, right? The folks at wishing fish have a solution.

They claim this holder is "the ONLY gift card wallet with a register for keeping track of expiration dates and balances remaining on your gift cards!" I didn't research further but Google does have 512,000 returns for
"gift card holders." Nonetheless, this one seems pretty cool. See it at:

African American Women Are Powerhouse Shoppers
I'm cautious in providing this because I'm sensitive to the always-present possibility for misinterpretation of anything racially-related, so I'll disclaimer (new verb) that I'm sincerely fascinated by demographic research and my intent is pure. I got this link in a Google Alert for "shopping." The folks at provide news for and about the African American consumer. There is some interesting data here.

This report includes additional facts about this powerhouse consumer - African-American women, who:
  • Account for 58 percent of all new car and truck sales made among African Americans, compared to 44 percent of women overall. Are also more likely to purchase prestige and luxury cars and trucks than women in general.
  • Spent $57 billion on food-related items.
  • Skew high on food-at-home expenditures ($36 billion).
  • Spend 30 percent more than the general market on personal/beauty products, an industry estimated at $7.5 billion
There is a ton of other research/demographic info on the links in the left pane of the site.

In agreement, Home Accents Today reports that
spending on home decor items by African-American women "has increased by 6% compared to a 21% decrease for Caucasian women and a 30% decrease for Hispanic women." (Hey, ladies, check out our Web store!)

Shop More, Spend Less

Now wouldn't THAT be nice! Shop4Freebies seems to be an ad-revenue/affiliate site with a good cause... making people aware of free stuff. Hard to argue with that. On the site they have Freebies, Forums, Free Magazines, Coupons, and Freebie Hunting Tips. Check out You can navigate to find:
  • Beauty Freebies
  • Food Freebies
  • Mixed Freebies
  • Health Freebies
  • House Freebies
  • Kids Freebies
  • Baby Freebies
  • Pet Freebies
  • Money Freebies
  • Magazine Freebies
You can also Download Free Stuff, view International free stuff and get Money Saving Tips!
You can link your site or blog to them here, if interested.

Do Working and Giving Mix?

Sure they do. But you should keep a few things in mind. Who better to give advice about being proper than our neighbors in the UK. The Office Connection helps businesses looking for new office space in the UK. And, they offer great advice in their Office Christmas Gift Guide. No matter where you park your briefcase, heed their advice this holiday season.

So, Does This Make it mShopping or iShopping?

The growing trend of mobile everything, including mobile shopping, will be a force to be reckoned with. On the iPhone Blog Forum there is a Holiday Gift Shopping Tracker application for iPhone that looks interesting.

You can easily manage a list of people you are shopping for, set your overall Holiday Budget and track progress toward each person’s Individual Budget. As you add Gifts to a person, your budget totals will let you know how much money you have left. Each gift has a checkbox to let you easily see if you have purchased the gift. An intuitive “Hide” button lets you mix and match different gift combinations to see how it will affect your budget, and more.

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

My faith in humanity, Deloitte, or perhaps both, was confirmed when I read Deloitte's retail research that "seventy-one percent of consumers will purchase online, making it the #2 shopping destination; almost half willing to pay more for ‘green’ gifts." Additionally, the reports says, "almost four in 10 (38 percent) surveyed say they will use fewer plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores this year — a significant increase over the 27 percent who said the same last year. One in five consumers (20 percent) say they will purchase more 'eco-friendly' products this holiday season than they did in the past. A similar number (21 percent) say they will consider not wrapping holiday gifts to conserve paper."

“The big question around the green movement has always been how it translates into revenues for retailers,” said Janiak. “Our survey shows that a significant number of people will pay more for eco-friendly products, which tells us that this issue is becoming a key factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Like multichannel retailing, environmentally friendly strategies can help retailers differentiate their brands, capture consumers’ hearts and minds and increase share of wallet, particularly in this economic environment.”

Of course, in the very next paragraph, green gets shot just a bit:

"For the fifth year, clothing continued to be the second-most-popular gift category in the survey (gift cards have been #1 for five years); however, the popularity of clothing has fallen over the past several years. CDs/DVDs for music and movies were again #3 and toys and games were #4. Money and books were tied at #5.

The top gifts that consumers said they intend to buy for friends and family include Nintendo’s Wii gaming system, Apple’s iPod (which has been in the top 3 since 2005), Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. Other top gifts included two computer games — Wii Fit and Guitar Hero — Apple’s iPhone, Barbie, American Girl and Hannah Montana merchandise. The top “generic” gifts mentioned were televisions (HD, plasma, flat screen etc.), computers/laptops, GPS systems and digital cameras. As previously announced, the survey found that gift cards/certificates continued to be the #1 gift that consumers plan to buy; the top venues for these gift cards were Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target."

Hmm. Maybe some of the electronic items come in green?

On that note, that wraps up our Shop Talk for the week. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts.

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