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Last Minute Gift Guide
Gift exchange dos and don’ts

Gift exchange dos and don’ts

Gift exchanges in the form of grab bags, auctions, swaps and other games make for fun additions to holiday festivities. They also can be a part of any family or friends gathering to add excitement and entertainment to the occasion. The following are a few do’s and don’ts to ensure...
Capturing  the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Capturing the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Connecticut is brimming with holiday festivities, many of which date back decades or otherwise serve to bring on childhood nostalgia. A little harder to come by are events that truly take one back in time. “The draw to historic holiday celebrations is how they offer a peek at the past,”...
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Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

Giving eco-friendly gifts is now easier than ever before. As more and more people are conscious of reducing their impact on the planet, the demand for environmentally-conscious products and services has grown. Choosing earth-friendly gifts is not only generous, but gift-givers also can rest assured they’re doing their part to safeguard natural resources for future...

Contribute to charity… Even if your cash flow is low

Charitable giving is a noble gesture that can potentially benefit scores of people. But many people intent on giving must find ways to budget their charitable contributions so that donations do not negatively affect their personal finances. Although nonprofit organizations solicit donations throughout the year, never are such solicitations more prevalent than during the holiday...
Stuff your stockings with stocks

Stuff your stockings with stocks

What is a typical last-minute gift? An expensive shirt, a box of candy, a coffee mug, a picture frame? As you consider what to give your loved ones this holiday season, ask yourself, how useful are these gifts? Are they ultimately destined for a tag sale? How quickly will they lose their value? What can...
Give a gift with a message

Give a gift with a message

What female doesn’t like a piece of jewelry for Christmas? Not many. And jewelry with an inspirational message can be a special keepsake. Love Sees jewelry, created one year ago by Nancy Diehl, a Wilton resident and mom of two teenaged daughters, features sterling silver, delicate necklaces and bracelets engraved with various love phrases. “Love...
Time to stuff  those stockings!

Time to stuff those stockings!

With one week left until Christmas, it is time to scurry, scurry, scurry and tick those gift items off your list and turn to the stockings hung by the chimney with care. While it’s easy to hit the local CVS, Walgreens or mom-and-pop pharmacy and buy some small toiletry items and toys, playing cards, or...

Top new toys for boys: And hot updates to classics, too

Buying for boys this holiday season? There are two pieces of good news: 1) Industry experts have done the research on what’s hot for you, and 2) There is no single must-have-for-all hot toy. “It’s really what’s ‘hot’ for the child, about what the child is interested in,” said Adrienne Appell, a toy trends specialist...

Most affordable and expensive spots to buy a home in state released

Bridgeport, Fairfield make list

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC released its 2014 Home Listing Report, which ranks the affordability of 69 real estate markets in Connecticut. The Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report named Hartford the most affordable market in Connecticut, with an average listing price of $130,123, while Greenwich ranked as the most expensive market in the state, with...

Create an energy-efficient home for the holidays

’Tis the season to be festive, and that usually means stringing up hundreds of twinkling lights to create a welcoming glow on dark winter nights. Some people view the holiday season as their chance to go all out with regard to decorating their homes with an abundance of lights, inflatable lawn ornaments and maybe even...

Building My Passive House — Part 9

This is the ninth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified passive house. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes, and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). Because my heating requirements are so small, my house...
The season is about quality time, not about all the stuff we want

The season is about quality time, not about all the stuff we want

The holidays are a time of reflection, prayer, and gratitude. When we focus on the true meaning of this magical time of year, we’ll find that it’s not the amount of money spent on our family and friends, or the numerous decorations we adorn our trees and homes with, but it’s the time and memorable...

Good fruit makes good jam

Jam — commonly thought of as something eaten with peanut butter or toast in its simplicity — when made well, is really a marvelous addition to many foods. The key to a good jam is in the quality of the fruit. If the base ingredient is lacking in flavor, the jam will be a reflection...

Historical society sale

The Orange Historical Society Antique Shop is ready for the holiday season. Antiques and collectibles in all price ranges have been set out in the holiday tradition of bows and greens, making this 1878 Academy an inviting place to visit every Saturday from 10-3.