The sweater didn’t fit right, the color was all wrong. You already have a singing bass on a plaque and the “Puppies in a Basket” throw pillow—gifts received and much appreciated—are not quite right in your mid-century modern pad.

For whatever reason, if you need to return a gift, follow these simple tips to make sure all your returns are happy. 

Gift-return-line-in-Retail-Store

Try to get the receipt

Things will go more smoothly if you can get the gift receipt from the giver. 

Act immediately

Sure the singing bass cost $98 before Christmas, but if it’s marked down to $8.13, assume that’s the amount you’ll get in return. 

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For months, I’d been hearing a lot about a new way to get dinner on the table. Every few weeks, another one of these meal kit delivery services would contact me with an offer to give it a try.

Seriously? Who in their right mind would trust seafood, meat, and produce from some unknown assembly plant, piled onto a loading dock then moved into the back of an unrefrigerated FedEx truck for who knows how long and until some delivery guy drops it on the porch?

The whole idea sounded ridiculously expensive, if not just plain gross. I didn’t need to test the obvious so I did what comes all too naturally for me: I jumped to conclusions. Turns out I was way off base and so wrong. Today I’m here to come clean and set the record straight.

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Here’s my idea of a killer New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl or any other kind of party—one that includes a smorgasbord of dips and things to dip in them.

3-ingredient-dips-anchor-this-beautiful-party-buffet

I’m talking about absolutely delicious hot, cold, savory, spicy, even sweet dips—an amazing variety sure to please all—beautifully arranged so that everyone can easily graze through the evening. All said dips need to be quick and easy to make, too, requiring only 3-ingredients.

Are you with me?

Crab Dip

It’s amazingly yummy, thanks to Mrs. Dash. You will be disappointed if you try to substitute anything else for her extra spicy blend. It has to be this one.

Place all ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Mix well. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Recipe source: Made from Pinterest

RELATED: The 1% New Year’s Solution

Queso Cheese Dip

Tortilla chips-with-queso-cheese-dip-on-wood-old-table

Who doesn’t love smooth queso made with real cheese? Paired with tortilla or corn chips expect this queso to disappear quickly. Thankfully, you can make another batch in oh, about 5 minutes.

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) medium sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

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No one knows your hair better than you do. But is it possible that in your efforts to keep it healthy and looking good, you are washing money down the drain needlessly? Consider these costly mistakes many people make.

Some rights reserved by Bellafaye Garden

Some rights reserved by Bellafaye Garden

Mistake: Expensive shampoo

Come on … ‘fess up. You feel guilty using $.99 shampoo because it’s really bad for your hair. And anybody knows the $24 salon variety is so much better especially for chemically treated hair, right? Wrong! Price has nothing to do with it.

The secret to shampoo intelligence is to know your detergents. Look at the list of ingredients on the shampoo bottle. Water (or some fancy name for it) will always be the first ingredient. Next comes the detergent. It’s tricky, so keep this list handy.

  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate – very harsh
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate – harsh
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – still harsh
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – mild, great choice
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate – gentle, good choice
  • TEA Laureth Sulfate – gentle, also a good choice

When purchasing shampoo, consider just two things: price and the type of detergent (the list above). If you clip shampoo coupons and match them with shampoo sales, you may never pay more than $1 for shampoo again.

Hint: Many in the Herbal Essences and Suave lineup of shampoos—found in most supermarkets and drug stores—contain the mild option Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). But don’t assume—read the label.

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According to a survey by the folks over at WalletHub, gift cards were one of the most highly desirable gifts this holiday season. If you were the recipient of your most desired gift—a gift card to your favorite retailer or service, that’s fantastic!  

Gift-card-gifts-aimed-at-moms-dads-children-teenagers etc

But sometimes a gift card doesn’t quite hit the mark, making its way to the back of a wallet, the bottom of a drawer or—gasp!—hopelessly lost in all the spent gift wrap and ribbon that was hauled to the trash.

Consumers spend more than $130 billion on gift cards per year—and roughly $1 billion goes unspent. Every year! Believe it. It’s as absolutely true as it is mind-boggling.

If you got a gift card from a store you’ve never heard of or one you’ll most likely never use—you may be wondering if there’s a way you can exchange it for cash. 

Good news. There is. And not only that new gift card. You may be able to get cash for other gift cards you’ve been collecting—even the ones that you’ve used but still have a decent balance remaining. Read more

Want a simple, pain-free plan to increase your savings this year? CPA, author, and blogger Mike Piper says to save 1 percent more. “Increase your savings contributions by 1 percent of your gross income,” suggests Piper.

It might be difficult to imagine how such a small change could make any difference at all, but according to Piper, this strategy can work wonders, especially if you are young. I could not agree more.

Yellow piggy bank and calculator with 2019 year on window

Anything you can do to become a consistent saver is going to come back to bless you in many ways in the future. A personal program of consistent savings does more than increasing your bank account. It changes your attitude. It quiets your insatiable desires and moves you away from the edge where it is easy to worry and panic.

Money in the bank changes everything. Read more

Forest-glade-covered with snow-sunny-Christmas-morning

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He did not go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.

He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While he was dying his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he remains the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s’ progress.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together, have not affected the life of man on this planet so much as that one solitary life.

— James Allan Francis, 1864-1928

Here it is, the eve of the day we’ve been focusing on for so many weeks. I know how easy it is to get so caught up—perhaps even lost—in the hustle and pressures of the season with all of the preparations and activities, that we miss what really matters most.

As I write, the house is very quiet. It is nearly daybreak as the sky is turning from dark to barely light. Our family has arrived safely and soon breakfast will be on the table.

house-ready-for-christmas

Gifts are wrapped, stockings are hung, and the finish line is within sight. The grandchildren can hardly wait one more day!

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get all of my plans accomplished because as usual, I overplanned. But it’s enough. No regrets. We’re ready.

Now it’s time to relax and enjoy our family as we reflect on why we do this. It’s for the love and joy that brings us hope—the true meaning of this season.

Our hope is that today will in some way bring you closer to those whom you love and cherish most. And may the glorious message of joy fill your heart!

Love and peace,

the-hunts