Tag Archives: gifts

Have Yourself a Greener Little Christmas…with Gifts that Last

The environment is top of mind for many this holiday season, after a year of horrendous natural disasters. That might mean we’re a little greener in our Christmas preparations this year. And even if wildfires and hurricanes aren’t pushing us to be greener, the rising awareness of plastic waste should be. As we switch to re-usable grocery bags and restaurants stop offering straws, we are paying more attention to that waste. And now is the time to do it, because the amount of trash we throw away in the U.S. increases by an estimated 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Yes, that makes the holiday season an excellent time to step back and figure out ways to make less waste of all kinds…starting with gifts. To help you get greener, we offer four ways to give gifts they’ll love—with less waste.

Give quality gifts
Choose a higher quality product if it will last longer, and most definitely avoid kitschy things that no one really wants anyway. (Hint: If it looks like it belongs a White Elephant party, it belongs at a White Elephant party.) Spend a little more and give a little less if you have to make up the difference in price. When you spend more for a higher quality product that lasts, you benefit in the long run by cutting down on waste.

Restrict your buying to local, independently owned shops
One way to cut back on waste is by driving less and spending more locally. It’s easy to go online and go on a splurge, buying things people might not need or want and generating lots of plastic shipping material that gets thrown away. Try shopping locally and you’ll make less waste while benefiting your local economy. (We are trying an experiment at our house this year: We are taking the money we saved for Christmas out of the bank as cash and only using that to do our Christmas shopping, forcing us to shop at brick-and-mortar stores and not online.)

Give gifts that keep on giving
It might not be glitzy but a gift like home security is a gift that keeps on giving without generating more waste. It’s something useful and much appreciated. It doesn’t take up any room or need storage, but it gives plenty of peace of mind. And it’s a gift that causes the recipient to think of you every time he or she uses it. Home security can be a priceless gift that keeps on giving. If not home security, maybe it’s a subscription to a publication, or a donation to a charity, or something else your loved one would appreciate.

Wrap naturally
Although we’ve been saving and re-using the same Christmas wrapping bows for years now (and admittedly, some are looking haggard and worn!), we are transitioning to all natural materials for gift wrapping. Check Pinterest for ideas, and you’ll see how gorgeous this kind of gift wrapping can be!

As our awareness of plastic waste increases, organizations and businesses are taking steps to decrease the amount of that waste. You can read updates on the fight against plastic waste at the National Geographic website. And you as an individual can take your own steps to reduce waste by going a little greener with gifts this season!

Home Security: Not the Most Glamorous Wedding Gift, but Perhaps the Most Thoughtful!

August gone and the fall season looms near. Where did the summer go? I can’t tell you, but I can tell you it’s no longer the season for weddings. Nope. September and October are now the most popular times for weddings, with 19% of weddings taking place in September and 14% in October. That means if you’re getting a wedding invitation, it will probably be for a fall wedding. (We have one on our calendar for September!)

If you’re wondering why we’re talking about weddings as the month of September approaches, it’s because we have an unusual wedding gift idea for you: home security. Sure, it’s not a glamorous gift, but it is a thoughtful one.

Making home security doable
Although Americans are waiting longer to get married, with the average age now 27 for women and 29 for men, there’s still a chance they will be living on tight budgets, especially if they are buying a house. Adding a home security system to their monthly expenses probably won’t be a priority once they’ve taken on a massive mortgage payment.

If you’re older and your financially established, you can give home security as a wedding gift, with the monthly cost easily less than the cost of a dinner out. You’ll hardly notice the cost of the monthly fee. Then later when the young couple is financially more stable, they can take over the payments. In the meantime, you’ve helped to keep them safe, and they’ll get into the habit of having the home security system, making it easier to budget for later.

Keeping clutter at bay
A home security system also makes a practical wedding gift because it doesn’t add to our ever-growing collection of “stuff.” The peace of mind it provides is not tangible like a dinner plate or throw pillow, but then again, who can put a price on peace of mind? Yet it takes up no room, doesn’t need storage space, and won’t someday end up at a garage sale.

If you’re headed to a wedding this fall and you want to avoid working your way through the dreaded online registry, consider home security instead. Learn more about the benefits of the gift of home security, a gift that keeps on giving—peace of mind, that is, without causing clutter.

When May Means Graduation, Give Gifts to Keep Them Safe

May has definitely become the month that kicks off graduation season, with both May and June seemingly full of elementary kids moving up to middle school, and middle school to high school, and then high graduates going off the college and college graduates going off to life! Oh my!

If you have friends or family moving into a next life stage—with a transition into or out of college—consider giving gifts that put safety first, because it’s an uncertain world out there. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be a suit of armor or anything overly pricey. There are several ways you can give the gift of safety and security with ease…

For the kids headed to college in the fall For those graduates heading off college dorms, look for gifts at DormSmart.com. They sell “dorm room essentials” and have a section of their website focused on safety and security, including both items for sale and helpful hints. (Read more about dorm safety and security here.)

For those who will be driving, consider car safety kits, or this emergency preparedness backpack kit sold by the Red Cross. Other good ideas include gift cards for car maintenance or oil changes, so they can prepare their cars for the road trips to and fro.

For the kids headed out into the world
Not all kids are headed to college. Some will be entering the military while others go straight into the workforce (an increasingly popular choice these days). And even those going off to college won’t necessarily live in a dorm, as many choose apartments instead. (If you’ve ever had dorm food or tried to sleep in a building full of immature 18-year-olds away from home for the first time, you might not blame them!)

For those new graduates who are moving into an apartment or a home of their own, an emergency preparedness kit like the one mentioned above makes a great gift. Or pull together a few basic items they probably won’t have, like flashlights and batteries and a hand-cranked radio, and make a gift basket with those. Or make a gift basket with canned good and a can opener, in case the power goes out. These can be very clever but very useful gifts, because they help prepare the new graduate for an emergency but also get them thinking about being prepared.

And of course either the car safety kit or the emergency backpack mentioned above make great gifts for your new graduate, no matter where they are headed.

More than anything else, however, make sure you talk to them about staying safe and secure. It is a scary world out there. Talk to them about intangibles like identify theft and password concerns. Be honest with them about the importance of staying safe on campus or while out at night. Prevention really is worth a pound of cure, and their schooling probably didn’t teach them how to stay safe in the first place. So now’s your chance…

Think Safety and Security When Buying Grad Gifts

Well, it’s May and graduations galore are suddenly upon us! If you’re pondering grad gifts, we—being the safety and security minded company that we are—have some suggestions for you to consider…

Those graduates will be headed off to all kinds of different adventures, so one-size-fits-all won’t work as an approach to buying gifts. But what you can do is buy gifts with a theme and a purpose, gifts that will help them transition into their next phase in life and keep them safe while they do so.

Obviously, a high school graduate heading across country for college has different needs compared to someone leaving for the Peace Corps or getting a job and setting up an apartment. Ditto for college graduates, who might be headed in any number of directions. But you know what they all do need? To be safe. And you know what all of us need? Peace of mind, knowing we’ve helped to keep them safe as they grow up and go out into the world.

With that in mind, here are a few of our top picks that can be good gifts for almost any grad:

Dorm safety
For those graduates heading off to live in a dorm for a while, DormSmart.com might be a place for buying gifts. They sell several items specifically for dorm residents plus they offer some vital advice for staying safe and secure on campus. (Read more about dorm safety and security here.)

Car safety kits
We offer suggestions for creating car safety kits here, but you can also buy ready-made ones. Both of my children, plus my mother and myself all have store-bought kits in our cars. I added an emergency supply of food and drink, but otherwise thought the kits were comprehensive enough to give me peace of mind. And this is the kind of gift any graduate of any kind who has a car can use!

Apartment safety
For those grads who will be setting up house in an apartment, safety and security should still be top of mind. An emergency preparedness kit would be a great gift, or even those kinds of safety items that younger folks might not think to have handy, like flashlights with extra batteries and hand cranked radios.

Home security
Finally, for those who have finished college and are launching careers, soon to be buying their first houses, the gift of home security is a gift that keeps on giving. Let’s face it, the income one has fresh out of college usually doesn’t allow for a lot of extras. Although for us older, established folks the monthly cost of a home security system is easily less than the cost of a dinner out, it is still out of reach for kids just getting started. So gift them with a home security system and pay the monthly fee for them. Later when they are financially doing well, they can take over the payments themselves, but at least their homes and property will be a bit safer in the meantime, while their budgets build up.

If you’re celebrating a graduate or two or more this spring, make your gift a more meaningful one by choosing safety and security as your theme. But also enjoy this time. It’s exciting to watch people of any age accomplish something meaningful and move on to the next stage of life. Celebrate and enjoy their accomplishments…and your own that got you where you are today!

Black Friday Safety Tips: Ways to Keep You, Your Home and Your Purchases Safe on the Busiest of Days

Everyone has heard horror stories about Black Friday, because incidents happen every year. Shoppers deal with violence from other shoppers, car damage, and increased burglaries at their homes while they’re gone. And now that in recent years stores have increased the length of their sales–some starting on Thanksgiving and spilling into as late as Saturday–the time for crime is even longer too. From trampling to theft, some may wonder if the deals are really worth it—and they can be if you’re smart about your safety.

If you do choose to brave the crowds of other value seekers, here are some do’s and don’t’s to help keep your home, your car, and most importantly yourself safe.

Keep your home safe

  • DO keep some lights on that day as a deterrent. If you plan on camping outside a store early in the morning or being gone for several hours at all, make it look like someone is home—before you’re not.
  • DO make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Even with lights on, it’s best to be on the safe side and still ensure that all entrances are secured, and you might be in such a hurry to rush out the door for the sales that you forget these basics!
  • DON’T leave packages outside after your shopping trip, and don’t advertise expensive purchases. Break down large boxes as soon as possible to keep recent pricey purchases like televisions or appliances a secret from curious eyes.

Keep your car safe

  • DO lock all doors and roll up all windows in the parking lot, even if you only leave your car for a few minutes. Make sure to double-check they’re locked, in case you’re distracted.
  • DO hide purchases left in your car. The best way to do this is to leave shopping bags in your locked trunk or hidden under seats if they fit.
  • DON’T park near the busy buildings during the day, to prevent damage done by shopping carts or other cars. Parking will also be easier to find, letting you get in line to wait a few minutes earlier.

Keep yourself safe

  • DO wait to pull out your checkbook or wallet until needed. If grabbed prematurely, either your money or your information could be stolen.
  • DO carry your purse close to your body at all times or carry your wallet inside a front pocket.
  • DON’T buy more than you can carry at one time. If you know that you won’t be able to handle all of your purchases, ask a friend to accompany you shopping or a store employee to help you out to your car. (If you leave packages in a car, see the tip above about putting them out of sight.)

Some other tips to keep in mind whenever you’re out in a crowd include keeping your phone charged, setting meeting places if you’re shopping with a group (in case someone gets separated), and letting people know when you move from your known location.

By keeping your wits about you and paying attention to what you do on this hectic day of Black Friday, you can change one letter and make a sale safe.

 

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Customer Reviews

I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!

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We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

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