Heartburn Diet for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, joyous festivities surrounded by family and an abundance of good food. Unfortunately, for those of us that suffer from chronic heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD, it is a time of potential discomfort and pain. Fear not! A heartburn diet for the holiday season need not be overly restrictive. You may be surprised at the foods you can enjoy in this festive season.

I love the holidays. The colors of autumn signal the abundance of the harvested fields. We all partake of the bountiful summer harvest and fill our bellies with its many delicacies. It is as if we must fill our bodies with sustenance in anticipation of the cold blue wintry winds that strip the land of its life.

Fats and Cholesterol

Those of us that suffer from indigestion and acid reflux know all to well the consequences of our feasting. But, there are holiday foods that we can safely ingest that are beneficial to our condition and that reduce our suffering.

We all know that lowering our cholesterol levels is good for reducing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and diabetes, but it also helps curb gastroesophageal reflux causes as well. Do not confuse cholesterol with fat. It is not a fat. Cholesterol is vital to producing some of the body’s hormones and cells.

Many of the foods we consume during the holidays are high in fats and some are high in cholesterol. Fried foods and foods high in fat content tend to slow digestion and increase the potential for acid reflux and heartburn.

Yet, we must consume some fats, if only to protect us from those long cold winter months ahead. Our bodies require the intake of fats. Fats are essential for some vitamins to dissolve in and for building cells in the body.

Saturated and Unsaturated

Fats are a combination of carbon and hydrogen atoms. If all the carbon atoms are linked to hydrogen atoms the fats are said to be “saturated”. If some of the carbon atoms are not linked to hydrogen atoms the fats are known as “unsaturated”. Not surprisingly, most foods contain both kinds of fat, saturated and unsaturated.

So, which fats are good and which are bad?

Generally, foods with unsaturated fats are more helpful for your body. Many processed foods and oils contain “hydrogenated” fats. These are unsaturated fats that have been artificially forced into a saturated state or into a state with more hydrogen atoms than normal (partial hydrogenation).

Partial hydrogenation results in “trans” fats that are not healthy at all. Avoid synthetically created trans fat foods like margarine, potato chips, and other processed foods.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that your total consumption of dietary fats be limited to no more than 20-35% of your total calorie intake based on a recommended intake of 2000 calories per day.

Foods To Eat

Foods with saturated fats also contain cholesterol. It is best to limit your intake of these fats to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.

Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, lard, bacon, ham, and tropical oils.

The remainder of your daily consumption of dietary fats should be from unsaturated fats.

Foods that contain unsaturated fats include almonds, walnuts, and turkey (a Thanksgiving Day staple).

All fruits and vegetables contain some fat, but the fat content is of such negligible amounts that the benefits of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables far outweigh any concerns about fat content.

Check the labels of store bought food. Hydrogenated oils (bad fat) used to produce these items must be listed in the ingredients.

Any heartburn diet for the holidays should consider the fat content. It is more a matter of common sense. You can enjoy the holidays, be festive and enjoy good food, just be mindful of your indigestion and acid reflux condition. It all comes down to moderation.

One of the many temptations during the holiday season is the abundance of leftovers and that tempting late night snack. Not a good idea for a reflux diet! Eating late night snacks is a major contributor of acid reflux. If you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with that burning in the middle of your chest, don’t be tempted by that fridge full of delectable goodies.

Celebrate the 4th of July Holiday With Meaning

Independence Day better known in modern times as the 4th of July is a grand and great holiday in the United States of America and is often a favorite of young people who especially enjoy the exciting colorful and noisy traditional fireworks. The fireworks, however, are but a symbol of the meaning behind the 4th of July celebration of independence. The meaning behind the 4th of July Independence Day holiday came about as the result of the valiant efforts and strong commitment of our American forefathers not so very long ago.

Amazing changes and events have happened since July 4, 1776, however, very important changes and dramatic events also occurred prior to July 4, 1776. Brave and restless people had uprooted their lives, left everything behind, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to come to this land where they sought freedoms and rights not available to them in their homeland. They formed settlements here and organized into various groups of towns and colonies with their own local laws and rules, while still under the authority of the King of England. The country was being born and the ideals of just how and what those freedoms would entail were ironed out through controversy and cooperative efforts of the differing opinions of the day.

The vote for the United States to become independent of Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776 by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congress formally approved the document, the “Declaration of Independence” on July 4, 1776. This declaration was the final break with Great Britain and expressed the united view of all of the colonies to become independent. This act was a culmination of dramatic events in which the early Americans faced a great deal of unrest that was accompanied by heartfelt and explosive rebellious incidents in their efforts to be free from tyranny. They were not deterred as they sought to identify, solidify, and maintain the profound and precious freedoms and justices they had so yearned for that they were willing to commit their entire lives to the values that they embraced.

This was, however, just a beginning point of establishing freedom in this great land, as at that time in our history, the Revolutionary War to complete the severing of our dependence from Great Britain was yet to take place, plus the horrific practice of slavery still existed, women were not privileged to enjoy most of these independent rights, and, sadly, Native Americans were being displaced and uprooted as they lost their native homelands to the onward movement of the American settlers. Since the momentous Declaration of Independence was signed and approved, our struggles to truly bring equality and equal rights to everyone has triumphed with many victories, while movements and progress continue to this day.

Even though it seems like such a long time ago, if you put it into the perspective that using a moderate lifetime of only 60 years, those 232 years since 1776 are less than 4 lifespans away from our present 2008. As we approach another 4th of July holiday celebration it comes to mind that our American peoples from all heritages and ethnic backgrounds can truly celebrate the enormous progress that has been made over the span of these minute and short 4 lifespans of time. Our values and ideals are far too precious to become lost through the fears and struggles we are experiencing today.

Our American forefathers successfully worked through strife, fears, and the bullies of their time to prevail in establishing this great country. We, as recipients and inheritors of their magnificent efforts, must hold our heads up high as we express our thanks and jubilation on the 4th of July Independence Day holiday celebrations that we live in such a great country, and we should be encouraged to work together, hand in hand, to resolve our problems and differences in order to maintain the integrity and values that the great and famous document, the Declaration of Independence was founded upon.

A significant point of evidence to remind us that all these differences can be overcome is the cooperative and friendly relationship and camaraderie that the United States and Great Britain have been enjoying for many many years. Those differences were very important to early Americans and Great Britain in 1776 that many risked and lost their lives over those matters at that time in history. Today it seems strangely remote and unusual that the United States and Great Britain would be enveloped in such a great controversy, and yet it happened. There is an important lesson here that we, too, can resolve all of our differences, and as we enjoy celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day holiday with the magnificent fireworks, tasty barbecues, traditional hot dogs, fun parades and other symbolic events that mark the freedom and birth of our great country, we share a common goal and belief that all people are created equal and that this country is founded on the belief of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Creating Your Own Holiday Traditions

I love this time of year — decorations on the houses, a cold nip in the air, beautiful music everywhere you go. I often have a hard time understanding why so many people get so FRUSTRATED during the holidays — until I go out in public and partake of the madness. Between the crowds, the crazed spending, and the pressures to participate in every social event that comes along, it’s no wonder that some folks dread this joyous season!

So I invite you to make a pact with me — this is the year that you decide to step off of the treadmill and do your own thing. Who says that you have to have a nervous breakdown to celebrate properly? Where is it written that you must give in to the consumer feeding frenzy? If I remember correctly, the holidays are supposed to be a time when you celebrate all that is good about life — when you enjoy the company of your friends and family — and when you spread goodwill wherever you go. The holidays are a time when you get to practice being the person you always hoped you could be — how can you do that when you are going 90 miles an hour? Let’s take time this year to develop a few holiday rituals that focus on your true priorities.


How much time do you spend during the holiday season watching the boob tube? TV execs have got things figured out this time of year — if they call it a “special,” everyone will tune in. But how many times do you really need to see the “Grinch” and “It’s A Wonderful Life”? Wouldn’t that time be better spent doing something meaningful with your loved ones? Try and trade at least one TV show for the telling of a holiday story — or go caroling around your neighborhood. The memories you share will be much more valuable than that lost hour in front of the telly.


I received an e-mail 2 years ago called “The White Envelope” — and it really made me think about the true meaning of the holidays. On Christmas morning, a family came downstairs to open their presents and found a white envelope sitting on the mantel. No one was sure who put it there, but they eagerly opened the envelope, thinking it might be another present. It was, but not for any of them. Enclosed was a letter, stating that an anonymous gift had been given to a local community group on behalf of the family. No one ever confessed to having made the donation, but every year one member of the family would secretly take a turn at the tradition. And from that point forward, the family was more excited about opening the white envelope than their own gifts. What would you place in your white envelope?


One of my favorite holiday rituals is celebrating in the tradition of another culture each year. This doesn’t mean abandoning your own religious beliefs or personal preferences — it’s just an exercise in expanding your horizons. One year, we celebrated the last day of Hanukkah with some Jewish friends — another year, we lit the candles on the kenara each day of Kwanzaa. There are so many interesting holidays during the winter months — solstice, Boxing Day, Ramadaan — each with fascinating origins and symbolism.

You can also find hundreds of different ways to celebrate Christmas — try fixing a holiday dish from another country or instituting a foreign tradition. Maybe this year, you can put out wooden shoes instead of stockings (Holland) — or hang a blown glass pickle on your tree (Germany) — or have your holiday meal at midnight on Christmas eve (Mexico). This practice will liven up your holidays, give your family something new and interesting to do each year, and keep you from getting into a rut with your celebrations.


Many people look at the traditional activities of the holiday season — putting up decorations, sending greeting cards, baking goodies — as a chore rather than a joy. I can think of nothing more distasteful than doing something because I HAVE TO! But I’ve found that setting the mood makes all the difference. Instead of sitting at a dreary desk with inadequate lighting and a cramp in your neck writing out cards, take your stationery to a cozy little cafe and make an afternoon out of it. Rather than fighting with those tangled strings of lights by yourself, invite your friends to a decorating party. Turn on some holiday music, order some food, and serve hot chocolate — you will be surprised at how much fun you have!


Which holiday party sounds better to you: one where you get to spend time socializing with your friends and family — or one where you spend all night running back and forth to the kitchen checking, tasting, basting, serving, and cleaning up? I personally would go for the first choice! Your loved ones will appreciate you much more if they actually see you than if you serve them a 17 course meal. Remember, Martha Stewart has a paid staff and tons of money and way too much time on her hands! Instead of trying to kill yourself entertaining, plan a potluck or a progressive dinner (where each guest prepares one course and you eat your way from house to house). Or you can even have your party catered. Do whatever it takes so that you can actually enjoy the celebration along with your guests.


We often get caught up in the idea that we need to always busy during the holidays — going somewhere, doing something — we’re so busy having amazing experiences that we can’t even remember them all! There is a lot to be said for stopping and just sitting still. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy lighting a few candles, putting on some soft music, and curling up with a book and a cup of tea in front of the fire. That’s my holiday quiet time. Yours might involve a walk through the neighborhood looking at lights or time with your kids before bed. Build some silence into your list of rituals — you will find that the holidays seem much less hectic and more enjoyable.


Unfortunately, most of our holiday experiences these days seem to be inside of a building — concerts, shopping, parties, Festival Of Trees, indoor ice skating — don’t people get outside anymore? Develop some rituals that involve stepping out into nature. Hang pine cone ornaments (covered in peanut butter and bird seed) on trees in the woods — as a treat for the birds. Go to a Christmas tree farm and cut your own tree. Build a snowman. Just take a walk through the brisk morning air. Get “unplugged” for a little bit and reflect on the real meaning of the season.

Holiday "Mocktails" & Low Cal Cocktails

Parties, events and gatherings are a great way to spend time with friends, family members and coworkers. The holidays seem to present a large number invites to parties. If you’re watching your weight, wanting to stick to your healthy regimen or simply don’t want to drink alcohol, there are creative drinks are festive yet don’t contain a ton of calories to enjoy. Both the non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions to enjoy are listed for each drink.

Cranberry Rosemary Martini

Ingredients: 4 ounces sparkling water, 1 ounce cranberry juice, 1 sprig rosemary

Directions: Shake the sparkling water and cranberry juice with ice to chill. Pour mixture into martini glass and add the sprig of rosemary. Let the rosemary sit in the drink to slightly infuse with rosemary flavors. Leave the rosemary in as garnish. Calories: 15

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces of sparkling water, 1 ounce cranberry juice, 1.5 ounces vodka, 1 sprig rosemary – Calories 115

Cinnamon Eggnog Martini

Ingredients: 4 ounces eggnog, 1 ounce 1% milk, dash or two of cinnamon

Directions: Shake the eggnog and milk in a shaker with ice until chilled. Pour mixture into martini glass. Add your dash or two of cinnamon on top and swirl with spoon. Calories: 125

Addition: Coat the rim of the glass with brown sugar or coconut sugar as an extra garnish.

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces eggnog, 1 ounce 1% milk, 1.5 ounces spiced rum, dash or two of cinnamon – Calories 225

Coconut Cranberry Thyme On The Rocks

Ingredients: 4 ounces coconut water, 1 ounce cranberry juice, 1 sprig thyme

Directions: In a rocks glass, add enough ice to fill glass. Pour coconut water and cranberry juice over ice and stir to chill. Add sprig of thyme to drink and let sit in the mixture to slightly infuse the drink with the thyme. Leave the thyme sprig in as a garnish. Calories 45

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces coconut water, 1 ounce cranberry juice, 1.5 ounces vodka, 1 sprig thyme – Calories 145

Vanilla Spritzer

Ingredients: 4 ounces sparkling water, 1 ounce cream soda, dash of vanilla extract, dash stevia

Directions: In a wine glass, add ice to fill to the top of the glass. Pour sparkling water, cream soda, dash of vanilla extract and a dash of stevia. Gently mix all together and enjoy. Calories 20

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces sparkling water, 1 ounce cream soda, dash of vanilla extract, dash stevia, 1.5 ounces vodka – Calories 120

Orange Cranberry Martini

Ingredients: 4 ounces water mixed with 1 scoop orange replenish, 1 ounce cranberry juice, 1 scoop orange replenish dry and 3-4 cranberries

Directions: In a shaker, mix the orange replenish and water mix and the cranberry juice with ice until chilled. Pour the dry replenish mix onto a plate. Wet the rim of the martini glass and coat the rim with the dry orange replenish. Pour the drink mix into the martini glass and drop a few cranberries in the glass as a garnish. Calories 45

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces water, 2 scoops orange replenish (separated – 1 is for the drink mixture, 1 is for the rim), 1 ounce cranberry juice, 3-4 cranberries, 1.5 ounces vodka – 140

Pear Thyme Bubble On The Rocks

Ingredients: 4 ounces sparkling water, 1 ounce pear juice, 1 sprig thyme

Directions: In a rocks glass, pour the sparkling water and pear juice over ice. Stir so the liquids are mixed completely. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. Calories 20

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2/5 ounces sparkling water, 1 ounce pear juice, 1.5 ounces vodka, 1 sprig thyme – Calories – 120

Orange Lemon Spritzer

Ingredients: 4 ounces sparkling water mixed with 1 scoop orange replenish, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 lemon wedges

Directions: In a wine glass, add ice to fill to the top. Pour the sparkling water mixed with orange replenish and fresh lemon juice into glass. Mix together completely. Rub the juice of one lemon wedge over rim of wine glass. Garnish the glass with the remaining lemon wedge on the rim of the glass or dropped into the drink. Calories 25

Turn It Into A Cocktail: 2.5 ounces sparkling water mixed with 1 scoop orange replenish, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 lemon wedges – Calories 125

Continuing the Business by Giving Corporate Holiday Gifts

Christmas is a perfect time of the year for celebrating, giving and receiving gifts. However, in the case of business owners, Christmas is the perfect way to build corporate relationship between them their clients. This relationship will tell you how well is your company sales and profits in the upcoming year. Giving corporate holiday gifts is an excellent technique that has been proven and tested to easily get a client retention, and a loyal customer. Never give a gift that will leave a poop impression of your business, or one that will leave a unprofessional image.

Many companies give corporate holiday gifts to their clients, customers, partners and employees for some beneficial reasons. Not only loyal customers and clients deserve a holiday gift, but also business partners and employees. Business partners, whether you like him or not, exist for a major reason and that is to help you with your business. And you should give them thank and appreciation, especially on this holiday season. Employees will also appreciate holiday gifts from their bosses. Apart from the recognition day, Christmas is a perfect time also to show how thankful you are having them in your company.

There are some very valuable benefits from sending Christmas gifts to your clients and customers. If you send Corporate Christmas Gift Baskets to your loyal clients and customers, and they like them, most likely they will tell it to their friends and family, making a good impression to many people. You have gained the retention of your clients and customers and you will definitely earning a few more in the future.

But there is still a question that remains to be very tricky, though. What corporate gift should you give?

From the lines of different business products, you may find it difficult to choose the one that can delight their holiday taste. One of the most safest option to give are corporate gift basket. A gift basket is a perfect choice that will work for all ages and genders, and people of all interests. When you choose a gift basket, chose the one that of high quality and of course affordable.

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. Therefore, it is time for you to give corporate holiday gifts to delight your loyal customers and clients. After all, this will make a good way to strengthen the bond of relationship that you have with your loyal patrons. When you give your Christmas gifts to them, don’t forget to give something that is tasteful and elegant. You may include in your list several business items such business card holders, pocket watches, engraved mugs, desk accessories and the likes. Gift baskets have also a wide assortment to choose from, either you will include edible treats such as gourmet products or you want to make a certain sporty theme or business-related theme to your basket. This won’t require you a large amount dollar, just be creative and always think unique, fun and practical. Remember gaining customers loyalty is very important for your business, so give gifts that are worth your cost!

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Best Friend

A best friend is a priceless gift all year long, always there for you to share your best and worst moments, offer advice when needed, lend an ear or offer a hug in hard times. When it comes to the holidays what can you give your best friend that will show you appreciate having her there for you? Here are a few ideas that are sure to put a smile on her face.


Does she love coffee? If you can afford it, consider an espresso maker so she doesn’t have to spend so much money on her daily fix. If that’s too pricey, a gift card or certificate to her favorite coffee shop or a gift certificate filled with various flavored coffee beans also make a wonderful present.

Gourmet food

A gift basket filled with gourmet treats that she wouldn’t normally spend the money on for herself but would love to have, can make an ideal gift. Depending on her tastes, heavenly dark chocolate and other sweet delectable treats, gourmet cheeses, specialty jams, hot cocoa mix, a bottle of wine – all great ideas to fill in your own basket, and made just for her shows that you are a very thoughtful best friend.

Bath products

Everyone loves to be pampered, but often feels guilty about spending their own money on products meant to de-stress and soothe. Aromatherapy candles that can be used around the bath, bubble bath, specialty soaps and soothing gels all make great gifts that will allow her to soak her cares away.

Lessons or classes focused on a shared interest

Do you both love yoga, art, writing or perhaps share a desire to travel to another country in which a learning a new language would be helpful? Consider a gift of taking a class together that is focused on any shared interest. This is a gift that will keep on giving for many years to come.


Do you both love adventure? Consider a gift certificate for a girl’s day out on a white-water rafting adventure, horseback riding, zip-lining, a scenic helicopter ride, or for the really adventurous, perhaps bungee jumping or skydiving?

A day of beauty

Give her a special day of beauty that you can spend together, with a gift certificate to a Spa or beauty salon that includes a facial, manicure and pedicure, haircut and/or styling. After you’re finished and you both look amazing, consider a night out on the town; take lots of pictures and you’ll have wonderful memories to look back on forever.

The Holiday of a Lifetime in Rio De Janeiro!

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most exciting, vibrant and amazing cities in the world. Millions of people every year choose to have a holiday here to enjoy the beaches, warm, sunny tropical climate and all the sights and sounds of city life. You can have a perfect holiday, with everything at your finger-tips when you choose to spend time in Rio.

One or two days are not enough. If you holiday in Rio, give yourself at least a week to enjoy everything the city has to offer. An excellent way to do this is to find a good quality apartment for rent in Rio. This will give you a home base, and let you spend time doing all the things you want to do on your holiday.

Many visitors who come to Rio take a tour to see the amazing, and spiritual Christ the Redeemer. The famous statue of Jesus is known around the globe as one of the Seven Wonders of the World! The museums, historical sites, art galleries, and of course the spectacular carnivals and the world famous beach are all must-sees too!

Spending time in the museums will tell you all you need to know about the fascinating history and culture of Brazil and you will learn about the history of Rio too. There is also the Museu de Carnival which you must go and see, it tells the story of how the Carnival was born and how it has continued through the decades. The Rio National History Museum contains over 287,000 wonderful artefacts, all on display and ready for you to explore and learn.

Spending time on the beach is an experience you will never forget! The wonderful people of Rio will delight, amaze and yes, maybe sometimes they will shock you too! But you’ll be able to relax, enjoy the sun, sea and sand on the beach. The Copacabana Beach is famous all over the world and is a mecca for beach lovers everywhere. Warm sand and blue perfect waters and you’ll be able to do a lot of people watching too!

Take a trip to Sugar Loaf Mountain while you are holidaying in Rio. You can spend the whole day enjoying amazing views of the beach, Guanabara Bay and of Corcovado Hill. Enjoy visiting the Metropolitan Catherdral in all its splendour and the Cinelandia Square too.

Major airlines from all over the world fly to Rio so you will have no problem getting here. The biggest problem is that after a holiday of a lifetime in this awesome city, you won’t want to leave!

The oliday season can be very busy in Rio, and prices can get expensive. For this reason it is best to book well in advance. Finding an apartment for rent in Rio is one way to keep your budget under control so you have some extra cash to enjoy everything the city offers.

There are some great places where you can find the perfect, modern and well equipped apartment for rent in Rio.

Don’t forget to book well in advance. Over the next few years, Rio is going to be the place to be! In 2014 we host the World Cup! And in 2016 we have the honour of hosting the Olympics in our beautiful City. Come to Rio to join the daily celebration of life and have the holiday of a lifetime!

4 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Automotive Dealerships

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are hugely important to annual sales in many industries, including automotive sales. Potential customers are out shopping in stronger numbers than the rest of the year, giving car dealerships a larger audience to market to. Holiday shopping crowds are also in “buying mode”, ready to purchase items not only for friends and family, but often for themselves as well. Shoppers with extra available holiday capital are more easily persuaded to treat themselves to a new car than they are during other times of the year. Whether customers’ new car purchases are a special indulgence just for them or a perfect gift for the whole family, the holiday shopping season is a ripe opportunity for automotive dealerships to boost sales.

In order to capitalize on the holiday shopping season, your auto dealership needs to have a solid marketing plan! Thanksgiving and Christmas offer plenty of fun, fresh ways to promote vehicles and special offers, so get creative. The more unique your marketing strategies are, the more successful they are likely to be.

These four holiday marketing ideas are great ways to kickstart your auto dealership’s season of holiday sales.

1) Get festive! Show your dealership’s holiday spirit by making your show floor and lot bright, inviting and festive. Nothing draws the eye like bright Christmas decorations. Buy a 20′ Douglas Fir, place it in the center of your outdoor lot and decorate it with bright white lights, tinsel and decorations. Hang fresh garlands, red bows and lights from building eaves and light poles. Serve hot chocolate on the show floor. Unless you have a talented person already on staff who is willing and able to completely deck out the rest of your dealership’s exterior and interior, hire a decorator to come and do so. Show potential customers your dealership is in the holiday spirit and make your show floor irresistible with holiday cheer.

2) Offer a “12 days of Christmas” holiday sale. Everyone loves a great deal – so why not package 12 fantastic vehicle deals into a Christmas-themed event? Rather than having an unrelated string of holiday sales events, run a 12 Days of Christmas sale, with easy day offering a different type of sale. Start on smaller incentives and older vehicle models and work your way up to the “twelfth day of Christmas” with larger deals, ending with a grand finale!

3) Be creative with holiday-themed direct mail. Christmas is no time to send out the same old stock postcard mailers. Send your direct mail list a little holiday cheer with authentic-looking Christmas cards or present-shaped cards, complete with bow. Throw in some “dealership cash” to send an extra merry message.

4) Run a social media contest. Offer a contest for a significant % off, or a door prize giveaway (if your applicant pool is large enough for it). Ask people to connect with you in a specific way: have them finish the phrase “all I want for Christmas” in a photo, tweet or video, then ask them to post their response either on your dealership’s Facebook wall or tweet it to you using a specific hashtag. Whatever your contest entails, be sure to create a specific landing page on your website (or Facebook event) that outlines the details of the contest – link to this from your social media accounts.

5 Holiday Destinations for Single Men

For most unattached men, the word “single” brings a dual, or should that be duel, feeling. Being single is synonymous with freedom, but on the flip-side, very few men look forward to a lifetime spent alone. Thankfully, there are many destinations for a single vacation where a guy can tackle this conundrum on his own terms, in due time, but always after a hot experience in paradise. Here are five places that are custom-made for a singles holiday.

Medellin, Colombia:

Made for: Adventure-seekers, and romantics

The draw: Endless jungles, and seduction as a culture

The terrain surrounding this ancient city is one of the most diverse in Colombia and a great vacation for singles. It has tall mountain peaks, jungle highlands and lowlands, deep gorges and canyons, and amazingly hypnotic farming areas. Every type of terrain offers the opportunity for extreme guided excursions. Places like the Abbura Valley are unmatched in the world for seasonal color. Temesis offers endurance hikes and waterfall rappelling only minutes from the city. Of course, there are thousands of private places like Los Katios National Park, where the jungle meets a crystal clear pool, perhaps with a cave or hot spring. This is the ideal spot for a single guy to entertain a lovely local girl, or fellow traveler in a dream-like setting.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Made for: Fit men who can dance and who crave noise

The draw: 24 hour socializing and parties

Party Mecca for single men is Carnival, and Rio is its home base. Almost all year long, people in this city throw back the curtains for tourists. This is especially true for single guys who are extremely comfortable with leaving their self-loathing behind the moment the step off the plane. Festa (Portuguese for feast/celebration), is ingrained in Brazilian culture. In the ancient world, all roads led to Rome. In Rio, all roads lead to the beach, or a world class nightclub. There are the classics like Ipanema and the Copacabana, but other venues are becoming popular, especially if you have a favorite beach activity. Praia Vermelha is a surf hub, and Praia da Barra da Tijuca is famous for motor sports and parasailing. After working on the tan,go for dancing, drinks, and booty-watching at clubs like Leviano with its massive mosh pit, and Casa Rosa for laser-lit, edgy interaction. Rio might well be the perfect place for singles to holiday.

Bangkok, Thailand

Made for: Urban-oriented, tryst addicts

The draw: Food, adult entertainment, and more food

Men from all over the world find Bangkok to be a fascinating study in opposites. There’s no argument that adult entertainment in all forms is a major draw, but local laws and customs must be respected at all times. It’s absolutely possible to find any type of entertainment that you want, but it must be enjoyed on the culture’s terms. Bangkok is like a single traveller’s fantasy theme park, but definitely… ahem, lives up to its name. The people of Bangkok are exotic creatures in familiar westernized, U.S. and Euro-style packages. They are very accommodating to the expectations of single male tourists, and have the inviting currency exchange rate to boot. Restaurants like Xing Fu satisfy a guy’s stomach. Fitness and outdoor gyms help a guy retain his muscle tone while away from home. Elephant riding in the Khoa Yi National Park provides opportunities for selfies to make friends jealous. Adult clubs, lounges and hotel concierge like will certainly where out a single guy’s eyes (if not his entire body). As a single guy wrestles with the notion of settling-down in life, he can get the “wildness” out in this huge bachelor party of a destination.

Ibiza, Spain

Made for: History-lovers, mermen

The draw: Genuine locals, The Mediterranean

Ibiza is an island getaway steeped in old world culture including religion, sport, and cuisine. The deepest blue imaginable comes from an interface with the Mediterranean Sea, and the deepest brown is found in the eyes, hair and skin of some of Europe’s most alluring women making it the dream holiday for singles. A network of inviting villages each have town centers emerging from a catholic chapel like the Capilla de la Virgen de Lourdes, or a school or monastery. As far as social activities, anything having to do with playing on the sand or in the water is available. This area is very family friendly, so singles fun remains extremely intimate and low key. Single men should try offering a lonely local girl a glass of wine followed by a conversation on art, and a paddle board session afterward.

Cancun, Mexico

Made for: Penny-pinchers, beach bums

The draw: Oceanside recreation, tequila, tans

This resort city is obviously popular with the college Spring Break crowd for reasons that also appeal to any single man. Every dinner plate, public transport, cabana, fishing charter, beach chair rental, and bottle of Jose Cuervo is affordable. This means single guys in every stage of life can find a way to have fun. Spend a few days hiking in the Yucatan inland camping near the Chichen Itza Pyramid, then join a beach rave with some new Mexican friends for the rest of the trip.

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9 E-Commerce Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

It hardly seems possible that we’re entering yet another holiday shopping season. Year after year, advertisers start campaigning to win over early-bird shoppers earlier and earlier. Christmas decorations emerge in retail stores before some families are even planning for Halloween. So in light of preparing well in advance, here are some tips to prepare your e-commerce site for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Use Holiday Terms in Your Campaigns

You can capitalize on early-bird shoppers by using those keywords in some of your campaigns. Do your due diligence first to analyze the potential in your particular niche, but incorporating key phrases related to the holiday shopping season could tap into the early-shopper market. Terms such as “early holiday discounts,” “pre-holiday sale,” “Christmas shopping,” and similar terms combined with your niche keywords can be effective in the pre-season with early shoppers.

Promote Pre-Season Prices on Hot-Ticket Items

Some shoppers specifically seek out early deals on hot items. The Skylanders video game is popular among children and teens right now, for example, and parents may be looking to buy game systems and characters before the prices start creeping up in time for the busy shopping season. If you’re offering a hot seller at discounted prices, let shoppers know.

Analyze Last Year’s Performance

Now’s the time when you should be carefully analyzing last year’s performance. What marketing tactics did you use, and how well did they perform? Should you allocate more of your budget to PPC or organic SEO this year? If you’re using content marketing, start planning your efforts and getting the ball rolling.

Get your plans in place now. If you need to hire a copywriter to spice up your product descriptions or run a branding campaign, you have the time to do so. But if you wait until holiday shopping season is in full swing, you’ll be chasing your tail.

Ramp Up Your Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions are what will sell your inventory at the end of the day. You can get visitors to your site by optimizing and using PPC – but your product descriptions are what will drive conversions. Take a close look at your product copy and revitalize it. Run some A/B tests to drill down to the most effective headlines and descriptions. You can also start planning how you’ll incorporate holiday-relevant copy in your descriptions, such as “must-have 2013 Christmas item for teens,” or “on the 2013 holiday hot list.”

Take Advantage of Google+

Google is really pushing Google+, so you should be using it to your advantage. Make sure your physical location information is up to date, and make sure you’re sharing your compelling content there. There’s a definite SEO benefit to Google+, not to mention you can drive additional traffic through your connections.

Fine-Tune Your Local Business Presence

If you also have a brick-and-mortar location, make sure your local business presence is solid. Local customers will find you online this holiday season. Update your hours, contact information, physical address, and description. Make sure your description is relevant and keyword-rich, including the main products you sell. Give directions if your location is tough to find.

Use Retargeting

Now is the perfect time to start using retargeting. Because shoppers are browsing the web for ideas, they may spend some time on your site and then leave without making a purchase. After all, they have plenty of time to place orders before the holidays.

But you can make sure you stay top-of-mind in consumers’ minds – and give them an incentive to buy – by using retargeting. Hit up visitors with special offers and deep discounts on items that are sure to be best-sellers, and offer some motivation by letting them know the items they looked at are in low supply at the current prices.

Be a Resource

Everyone has at least one difficult-to-buy-for person on their holiday gift-giving list, and shoppers are always looking for great gift ideas. Be a resource to your visitors by offering tips on finding the best deals, what’s hot on this year’s wish lists for different recipients, ages, and so on, and other fun and informative information. The more valuable content you provide, the better your organic rankings and the more likely visitors are to share your content.

Pay Attention to Mobile

More people are shopping via mobile devices than ever, so it’s critically important to ensure your site is mobile-optimized. This is particularly difficult with e-commerce, as the many product listings and the check-out process are often difficult to make mobile-friendly. But if you neglect the mobile audience, you’re going to lose valuable conversions. Your PPC ads are going to show up for mobile users, too, but they’ll bounce quickly when they realize how difficult it’s going to be to complete the checkout process from a smartphone.

It’s not too early to start thinking about the holiday shopping season. Retail stores already have holiday inventory on the shelves, and shoppers are going to be scouring the web for ideas and deals soon. Tap into the opportunity by heading into this year’s holiday season armed with your best marketing efforts.