Non-violent videogame gifts for the holidays (2013)


Looking for a videogame gift to put under someone’s tree? If you’re a parent like me and the recipient is a teen, tween, or even younger kid, you might prefer something free of blood, guts, guns, and other violent images.

Alas, that leaves out a lot of the hot new releases, including Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Grand Theft Auto V. I’m not wild about exposing my kids to so much realistically rendered brutality. (That’s what TV is for! Kidding, kidding.)

Fortunately, alternatives exist.


Holiday Gift Guide 2013: 12 gifts for $120 and less


From clothing to electronics, there are tons of holiday gift options. The downside of having lots of choices is that people get lost and ultimately buy something that’s just “okay”.

In order to cut the research time for you, I found 12 excellent gift choices that you’ll be confident in giving and on top of that, they all come in at under $120.

(All items were hand selected. Some were sent by stores for final review and others I purchased).

1. Blush Mystery Beauty Box. I recently wrote about The untraditional holiday gift? A guide to your top snack, beauty and kid’s subscription boxes and one thing that was missing from the guide was this subscription box.


The box is a mix of full and travel-size products worth at least $100. It is filled with a variety of high quality products for your skin and nail. The selections change from month to month, so if you order this month, you’ll get the December box. From the choices, I completely fell in love the Deborah Lippmann nail polish. Price: $34.95 for one-time purchase or as low as $24.95 with subscription. With this coupon from, you can save $5 off the December Blush Mystery Beauty Box and get free shipping.


Top ten gifts for kids: Holiday 2013


Technology takes over this season, with many of the hottest gifts for kids requiring batteries and/or a USB port. But, in the case of Big Hugs Elmo, some things never change…soft and cuddly always has a place under the tree.

1. Rainbow Loom Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker The Shimmer & Sparkle Set comes with literally thousands of pieces for creating hours of fun. This is the craft trend that is sweeping the nation, says Senior Vice President of ToysRUs Lisa Harnish. $14.99+, for ages 6 and up.


Holiday shopping destroying the holiday spirit


Well, the shopping season is upon us. Do you find yourself overwhelmed and beyond stressed out during this time of the year? Are you desperately fretting about finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Are you consumed with worries about money and the cost of all these gifts? If so, you aren’t alone. For many individuals, the quest for the best deal or perfect gift overshadows the reason for the season.

Black Friday sales are leaking out and sprouting up everywhere and the Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t even been carved – or cooked for that matter! Every year the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. In fact, many families are now finding their Thanksgiving dinners rudely interrupted as deal seeking members head out to the stores to save a few dollars on the PlayStation 4 or new iPad. Believe me, as a deal dishing blogger and avid money saver myself, I can appreciate saving a buck. However, I do not allow scoring the latest and greatest deals and freebies to come at the expense of my family.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that this season has become less and less about giving thanks for our blessings and spending quality time with loved ones and more about competition and materialistic items. Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday – it’s simply Black Friday eve.


Five great gifts that don’t require a Black Friday outing


Don’t feel like getting up at the crack of dawn Friday morning so you can wait in long lines and fight surly shoppers? If you’d rather sleep in, fear not: You can still score some amazing deals on some great gifts. I’ve rounded up five that should please any gadget fan on your list.

1. Toddy Gear Home Buttons
What do you get for the iPhone, iPod, or iPad owner who has everything? Why, decorative home-button stickers, of course.

A perfect stocking-stuffer, Toddy Gear Home buttons come in three different sets of seven, each priced at $7.99. They’re all raised, colorful buttons that add a distinctive look to any iDevice.


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