Servicing DC, MD & VA

Snowmelt Protection Tips

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Snowmelt Protection Tips | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Use these four tips to help reduce your home’s risk of snowmelt damage:

  1. Clear snow from your home’s foundation. Shovel snow away from your home, including stairwells, window wells, downspouts and doors to help prevent water from seeping in through cracks.
  2. Maintain your roof and gutters. Any heavy snow that has accumulated on your roof should be cleared away to avoid water damage. Keep your gutters clear of debris to avoid ice dams – melted snow that refreezes at night, causing gutter clogs.
    1. Ensure proper drainage. Make sure your downspout drains away from your home, and keep any street storm sewer drains clear of snow to prevent buildup and freezing.
    2. Check your sump pump. Test to see that your sump pump is in good working order in case your home experiences flooding. If you notice any small leaks, take care of them before they become a bigger hazard.
View more Home Matters tips here.

Holes in Standard Home Policies

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Holes in Standard Home Policies | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Holes in Standard Homeowners Policies

Sewage Backup
Sewage backup in one of the several hazards that people widely assume is covered by their homeowners insurance. Standard policies do not cover damage from sewage and water backups. To get this protection, you need to buy special coverage.

Check with your agent to see if you have this coverage. If you don’t you should

consider adding a rider for approx. $50 a year that would pays up to $10,000 for sewage backup damage. It will also cover damage from sump pump malfunction.

Most people who live near a river or coastline know that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, and they purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. But Flooding can be a problem even if you don’t live near water.

Consider adding Flood Insurance. It is sold at government set prices, depending on your proximity to a flood zone. For more information on the cost of flood insurance and how to buy it, see the NFIP’s Web Site ( www.fema.gov/nfip), or call 888-225-5356.

Home Office
If you have a home office, don’t assume that your equipment is protected by the personal possession coverage in your homeowners policy. Homeowners and renters policies typically cap the coverage for business personal property at $2,500. The coverage drops even more if you take any of the property out of the house. It only pays $250 if your laptop is stolen on a business trip.

Also, a typical policy provides no liability coverage for business related claims.  For instance if your delivery person slips on you front stoop while delivering a business package and ends up suing, your homeowners may leave you high and dry.

Consider adding a rider for approx $200 a year that would set the business personal property and liability coverage to the same amounts as stated in your homeowners policy.

Your Workout Plan

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Your Workout Plan | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Don’t Let Cooler Temperatures Derail Your Workout Plan

If you find it harder to keep up with your workout program as the temperatures drop, you’re not alone. Every year, many Americans find it increasingly difficult to remain committed to their plan as the holidays, shorter days and less-than-ideal weather create obstacles.

Whether you’re a gym-goer or outdoor exerciser, there are simple ways you can overcome the winter obstacles and stay on track with your workout plan.

  • Acclimate to colder weather by warming up inside. If you’re an outdoor exerciser, try doing your warmup inside. By doing so, you’ll raise your body temperature and already be warm before you step outside.
  • Prep for your next day the night before. If you’re an early morning gym-goer, try getting everything you need for the next day together the night before. This way, all you need to do when your alarm goes off is get up, get dressed and go to the gym.
  • Have a backup plan. Even the most dedicated exercisers will lose their motivation. That’s why it’s essential to have a backup workout plan that you can do at home. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Aim to have three or four full-body workouts ready for when you need them.
View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Managing Holiday Budgets

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Managing Holiday Budgets | Posted in Family Health & Safety, inSIGHTS

Often, a leading cause of stress during the holiday season stems from money problems. If you are like most consumers, you have not planned ahead and may find yourself struggling for cash come January. Proper budgeting and smart shopping techniques will help you stay within budget while finding something special for everyone on your list.

Consider the following tips:

  • Write down a maximum dollar amount that you want to spend for your entire list, and then track how much you are actually spending.
  • Set aside money throughout the year to use for holiday spending.
  • Take advantage of online ordering to save money and time by comparison shopping. Make sure to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales and free shipping codes.
  • Buy gifts using cash. This will help you avoid putting too many expenses on your credit card.
  • Give personalized gifts instead of expensive gifts. A less expensive, thoughtful gift can be worth more than a costly gift that the recipient may never use.

Keeping in mind the above tips will ensure that you can enjoy the holiday season without worrying about money.

View more InSights here.

60+ Things To Do

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on 60+ Things To Do | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

The nation’s capital offers a packed list of can’t-miss things to do this month, including holiday-themed events, markets and theater productions, New Year’s Eve celebrations and so much more.

We’ve picked out the best events, festivals, museum exhibits, theater performances, concerts and more happening this month in Washington, DC. Check out the best things to do in the nation’s capital and plan your visit today.


Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Events


Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Museum Exhibits


Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Theater
Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Music


Nighttime Shopping at the Downtown Holiday Market - Christmas and Holiday Market in Washington, DC

Downtown Holiday Market – Through Dec. 23
This free-to-frequent downtown bazaar is centrally located at 8th and F Streets NW, in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your-eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in DC.
12-8 p.m. daily |  Free admission
Centered at 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001


Holiday Afternoon Tea – Throughout December (excluding Dec. 24-25 & 31)
The Willard InterContinental Washington offers a holiday tradition throughout December. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the elegant Peacock Alley every day of the month (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31). There will be seasonal decor, sandwiches, pastries and the beautiful sounds of a harp to accompany you as you sip on festive teas from one of DC’s most historic hotels.
1-4 p.m. |  Reserve
Willard InterContinental Washington, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004


ZooLights – Through Jan. 1, 2018
Head to ZooLights at the National Zoo for a wildly vibrant display of LED Christmas lights (a half-million of them!), along with activities like Snow-less Tubing and special themed nights like BrewLights (Nov. 29). The kids will love the National Zoo Choo-Choo (a train ride through the Great Cats exhibit), while the big kids enjoy spiked hot chocolate and live music. ZooLights is closed on Dec. 24-25 and 31.
5-9 p.m. | Free Admission
National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008


LightUP Fest in Loudon County, Virginia - Winter events near Washington, DC

LightUP Fest 2018 – Through Jan. 2, 2019
An illuminative feast for the eyes, LightUP Fest transforms 20 acres of land some 30 miles outside of DC into one of the largest light displays on the East Coast. In sum, the outdoor spectacle includes one million lights and Chinese lanterns comprising 77 installations that represent key themes, including Tour of Fantasy, Freedom America, Mysterious East and Magical World. In addition to its colorful, high-tech light arrays, the experience, which was devised by Chinese designers from the Zigong Lantern Festival, includes a food court with Chinese street food finds, daily performances from artists and acrobats, as well as interactive arts and craft activities. Onsite parking is free, but if you don’t have a car, you can ride share from DC (around $50-$60 each way) or from the closest Metro stop, the Wiehle-Reston East Station on the Silver Line (around $20-$25 each way).
5:30-10:30 p.m. | Tickets
44600 Freetown Boulevard, Ashburn, VA 20147


Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival – Through Dec. 9
The Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival is a result of the annual Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards, which honor innovators across the entire creative spectrum, from technology to the performing arts to education. The 11-day festival will showcase award winners and other innovators all over DC through an array of events. Among the highlights: John Krasinski will speak at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Dec. 5, Jewel will bring her holiday tour to the Lincoln Theatre on Dec. 6 and The Long Conversation (detailed below) takes place on Dec. 7. Check out the full schedule.


Swedish Christmas Bazaar – Dec. 1
Held at the House of Sweden, this annual DC tradition takes place on the first Saturday in December, every year. The event features a Swedish marketplace with for-sale crystal glassware, textiles, books, artworks and even homemade bread. Snack on Swedish delicacies like “fika” and “glögg” in the cafe and stick around for the main event: the St. Lucia procession with traditional caroling.
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. |  Free admission
House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007


Georgetown GLOW – Dec. 1 – Jan. 6
This stroll through DC’s most historic neighborhood will certainly make you light up as you pass by unique, illuminated artworks. Georgetown GLOW is a holiday hit in this District, a five-week celebration of 16 artists and 10 installations (this Saturday through Jan. 6). Participants range from locally renowned to internationally celebrated, while their works gorgeously adorn outdoor spaces throughout Georgetown. Afterwards, wander through a winter wonderland at The Washington Harbour, one of our favorite places to ice skate in the District.
5-10 p.m. |  Free admission


The District’s Holiday Boat Parade – Dec. 1
Dozens of dazzling boats will traverse the Potomac River from the waterfront in Alexandria, Va. to The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront. You can observe free of charge, and there are plenty of holiday  festivities to supplement the experience. The Wharf will feature live music, cookie decorating, a fire pit, ice skating and winter-themed drinks at the Waterfront Wine & Beer Garden, in addition to an on-site Santa. Prizes will be awarded to the most beautiful vessels, which begin their journey at 5:30 p.m., and fireworks will cap off the parade at 8 p.m.
5:30-8 p.m. |  Free admission
From the Docks of Alexandria to Southwest Waterfront in DC – 600 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

• • •

Native Art Market – Dec. 1-2
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian hosts this two-day market that will showcase some of the best Native American artists. You’ll be able to peruse silver, jewelry, beadwork, dolls, paintings, prints, sculptures, fine apparel, ceramics and handwoven baskets. Expect to observe both traditional and contemporary styles as you shop at this free-to-attend event.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

• • •

The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show – Dec. 1-2
From a Grand Tasting Pavilion featuring more than 50 local restaurants to chances to meet top celebrity chefs, the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show is like a Super Bowl for foodies. Over two days, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will also sport tasting and entertaining workshops, a pop-up cooking school and a beer, wine and spirits garden. Finally, award-winning chefs such as Carla Hall, Emeril Lagasse, Michael Schlow, Erik Bruner-Yang, Nicholas Stefanelli, Vikram Sunderam and Amy Brandwein will participate in fascinating cooking demos. Ready the taste buds for this culinary bonanza.
12-5:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001

• • •

2018 Nationals Winterfest – Dec. 1-2
In an event that always produces classic moments between players and fans, Nationals Winterfest comes to Nationals Park. Many of the Nats’ stars will be on-hand for fun interaction, games and autographs. Coaches and mascots will be hanging around, too, as the city celebrates its beloved baseball team.
11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Tickets
Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

• • •

40th Annual Logan Circle Holiday House Tour – Dec. 2
Logan Circle is hip, happening and historic. Get in the holiday spirit by exploring a diverse mix of Victorian mansions and upscale modern housing that lines DC’s only remaining residential circle during the 40th installment of this wintertime tradition. You’ll encounter fascinating interiors, accompanied by in-house musicians and street carolers along the way. The excursion concludes with a reception at the beautiful Studio Theatre.
1-5 p.m. |  Tickets
Logan Circle NW, Washington, DC 20005

• • •

National Menorah on the National Mall in Washington, DC - Free things to do this winter in Washington, DC

National Menorah Lighting: Chanukah on The Ellipse – Dec. 2
Chanukah kicks off with this lighting ceremony of the world’s largest menorah on the White House Ellipse, which greets all with latkes, doughnuts, menorah kits and dreidels. Music from the United States Air Force Band will add a soundtrack to the scene. As is the custom, a new candle is illuminated on each of the eight days of Chanukah.
4 p.m. (gates at 3 p.m.) | Free, but tickets required.
White House Ellipse, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500

• • •

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting – Dec. 5
Situated in front of the monumental U.S. Capitol on the West Lawn, this Christmas tree is yet another majestic staple of the holiday season in the District. This year’s version is a beautiful conifer from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon and will go aglow on Dec. 5. The tree has been transported across the country by motor vehicle – see its Facebook and Twitter pages to check out its journey. Once lit up, you’ll be able to admire the tree’s beauty throughout the season.
5 p.m. |  Free admission
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, East Capitol Street NE & First Street SE, Washington, DC 20004

• • •

Cirque du Soleil presents 'Crystal' at Capital One Arena - Events this December in Washington, DC

Cirque du Soleil presents ‘Crystal’ – Dec. 5-9
The very first on-ice experience for Cirque du Soleil is coming to Capital One Arena. Crystal will feature feats of athleticism that challenge gravity and acrobatic moves from world-class ice skaters performed with daring speed. Follow the title character as she immerses herself in her own imagination in this fast-paced and empowering tale that is suitable for the entire family.
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

• • •

The Long Conversation event at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall in Washington, DC

The Long Conversation – Dec. 7
Prepare for a creative marathon inside the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building. The Long Conversation will bring together individuals across a wide spectrum of professions, from comedian to DJ to geologist to poet to astrophysicist to drag queen and many more. The event is broken into sessions – each one will discuss pertinent topics of the moment and how we can make a brighter future. Speaker highlights include Cheech Marin, Sasha Velour, David Brooks and Alfre Woodard. The Long Conversation will also feature on-site art installs and locally sourced gourmet menu from James Beard Award winner Spike Gjerde. Attendance is free, but tickets are required.
2-10 p.m. |  Free admission, but tickets required
Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC 20560

• • •

Russian Winter Festival – Dec. 9
Celebrate like it’s the 19th century at the Hillwood Estate’s annual event, which brings holiday cheer and Russian traditions to Upper Northwest. Meet Grandfather Frost (the Russian Santa Claus) and his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden. You can also make and wear your own traditional headwear and enjoy live performances as you explore the grounds of this historic estate. Admission ranges from free for children under six to $18 for adults; become a member and admission is only $12.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Tickets
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Engagement Ring Insurance 101

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Engagement Ring Insurance 101 | Posted in Lifestyle

RingInsurance101Putting an insurance policy on your engagement ring may sound unromantic, but nothing’s sweeter than peace of mind.

What Ring Insurance Is:

There are a few ways to insure your engagement ring. Ring insurance can be purchased as an extension (also called a “rider”) for your renters or homeowners policy. Renters and homeowners policies cover the stuff in your home, but only up to a certain dollar value. Expensive, special items, like engagement rings, art and electronics, are guaranteed through scheduled personal property coverage—an insurance policy extension that covers particular items. Another option is to insure your ring through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance, which might offer more coverage than a standard homeowners policy (replacing a lost or stolen ring rather than paying a set amount of cash, for instance).

Who Needs Ring Insurance Most:

Any couple with jewelry that has pricey material or sentimental value. Whether your wedding and engagement rings cost $500 or $50,000, an insurance policy is a way of honoring not just their financial value but what they represent. The sentiment behind your rings is priceless, but the rings themselves can be replaced—if they’re insured—in the event that something happens to them.

How Ring Insurance Works:

You’ll need to provide your receipts, as well as an appraisal, which costs a small fee. (You can get an appraisal from a certified gemologist.) And remember: If you move after the wedding, make sure your “ring rider” follows you. Some couples have the ring insured at the bride’s house (or her parents’) before the wedding, but forget to add it to the policy for their new home when they move in together.

If you don’t have a renters or homeowners policy, there’s an alternative way to insure your ring: Certain insurance companies offer policies through jewelers on individual pieces—ask your jeweler if they work with an insurance company to offer ring insurance. These kinds of policies can vary widely company by company (usually a jeweler will offer a policy that’s underwritten by smaller company), so ask specific questions about the level of coverage provided.

Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Policy:

  • Is the ring covered if you lose it accidentally, or only if it’s stolen?
  • How will the company replace the ring—with a check? Or will they require you to purchase a replacement through a specified jeweler?
  • What if it’s a vintage ring or other unique piece? How will the quality and size of your diamond—and that of a replacement if needed—be documented?
  • Is the ring insured to full cost or a fraction of it?
  • How will you need to prove the ring vanished if you make a claim?
  • Are there any circumstances that aren’t covered? (What if your ring flies off at the circus and gets trampled by elephants, for example?)

Average Cost:

The yearly cost to insure your ring is $1 to $2 for every $100 that it would cost to replace. In plain English, this means that if your ring would cost $9,000 to replace, you might expect to pay between $90 and $180 per year to insure it—or slightly more in cities where the risk of theft is higher.

How to Get Your Cost Down:

Buy a vault or safe to keep jewelry in when it’s not being worn. You can also keep paperwork like appraisals in the safe, so you’ll always know where it is if needed.

If You Only Remember One Thing:

When you shop for a “ring rider” policy, make sure to read the fine print. A good policy will cover every potential ring-threatening situation, from theft and damage to accidentally dropping it in the garbage disposal.

Source: theknot.com

Fight the Flu!

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Fight the Flu! | Posted in Lifestyle

What is Influenza (also called Flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Onset of Symptoms

The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Preventing Flu

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Diagnosing Flu

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. There are tests available to diagnose flu. For more information, see Diagnosing Flu.


There are influenza antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

For more information, see “Seasonal Influenza, More Information.”

Source: cdc.gov

30 Simple Holiday Décor Ideas

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on 30 Simple Holiday Décor Ideas | Posted in Lifestyle

Looking to update your holiday decor? Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.


Twist on a Traditional Wreath

Instead of the traditional evergreen, try a homemade wreath of citrus fruits. Start with a circular piece of florist’s foam, then use wooden florist’s picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruit: kumquats, clementines, limes. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon.


Sparkly Ornament Display

Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.


Personalized Place Settings

Serving holiday dinner buffet style? Wrap each dish in a sheet of parchment paper and tie with a length of ribbon before stacking it. Guests will be rewarded with a pretty presentation (not to mention a little gift-opening practice).


Invite Greenery Inside

Lush greenery draped around the house, especially doorways, creates an inviting atmosphere and a woodsy aroma.


Get More Great Ideas

Visit http://www.realsimple.com/ to see the rest of these awesome decorating ideas.

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

December 7th, 2018 | Comments Off on Last-Minute Holiday Shopping | Posted in Lifestyle

Dos and Don’ts of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

shutterstock_521034784If you’ve put off holiday shopping for yet another weekend and still can’t get through your growing holiday to-do list, make sure that you’re not paying a premium for last-minute gifts. Shopping at the last minute may be your only option, but there are still steps you can take to keep costs down and share the holiday spirit under budget.

Here are some dos and don’ts of holiday shopping at the last minute.

Do: Ask about free gift-wrapping services. Many stores will offer free gift-wrapping services on in-store purchases, so you’ll have that gift ready to go the same day you buy it. You’ll save time, or course, but you’ll also save money on gift wrap and assorted supplies. It really does pay to ask if the service is available, especially if you are buying multiple gifts a few days before a holiday event.

Don’t: Go shopping without a list. When you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the option to splurge, make sure that you’re armed with a shopping list and plan to keep your spending on track. It’s easy to get derailed once you’re in the store and on the hunt for gifts. Your list of must-haves will keep you focused on your task (time is running out, after all), and your list will help you stay on budget.

Do: Check the store or shopping center schedule. Many stores will open early and close late to accommodate last-minute shoppers like you. This means that you can avoid the after-work traffic jam by arriving later in the evening or rising early to get your holiday shopping done before work. Check the mall and store hours to confirm opening and closing times and plan accordingly. Consider that many holiday shoppers may not be willing to shop at the crack of dawn, either. If you can make a trip out earlier in the day, you may be able to beat last-minute crowds.

Don’t: Forget about your local grocery or convenience stores. Many grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores are stocked with holiday items that make for great last-minute holiday gifts. From boxes of chocolate to gift baskets filled with goodies, stocking stuffers and smaller gifts may be available at low prices at your local grocery or hardware store. Keep an eye out for in-store specials and markdowns as Christmas draws near. These stores will need to clear inventory as quickly as possible, so you may be able to get a good deal before the after-Christmas sales.

Do: Make use of smartphone apps for last-minute deals. Whether you’re heading to the electronics store, a gourmet food store or your favorite big-box store, use shopping apps, such as SlickDeals, RetailMeNot and Coupon Sherpa, to get the latest coupon codes, coupons and other discounts on online and offline purchases at the last minute. You’ll rarely have to pay the full retail price on gift items once you’ve checked these apps for deal alerts and the latest coupons.

Don’t: Worry about Christmas Eve crowds. If you’re the ultimate procrastinator who left the holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, there’s still hope. Most people are already home for the holidays – and at home for Christmas Eve – so if you still have a few gifts to round up for Christmas Day celebrations, now’s your time to shine. Just keep in mind that many stores close early on Christmas Eve, so you will need to head out earlier in the day to pick up those gifts.

Do: Consider food gifts. If you’ve been baking away this holiday season, consider wrapping up some of those treats in an attractive gift tin or food gift box as a last-minute holiday gift. Cookies, brownies, cupcakes and other baked treats can make the perfect gift for any foodie on your gift list. Even better? They are an easy gift to put together at the last minute. If you don’t have any time left to be in the kitchen, you could also put together a mini gift basket of holiday candy, boxed cookies and other treats you already received or purchased to give away as a last-minute gift. Regifted holiday treats may not be the most thoughtful gift to give, but this late in the season, there’s not enough time for thoughtful.