Monthly Archives: August 2021

3 Reasons Why You Should Place Your Holiday Orders Early

We are inundated with alarmist messages from retailers all the time: Order now while supplies last! Final sale! Only two hours left to receive 50% off! 

As we know, there is always another sale or great offer. However, one of the many ways Covid is causing disruptions is by complicating the supply chain. Products in those larger than life containers you see on cargo ships and crawling by on freight trains (while you pull your hair out in your car waiting at the crossing) are backed up. They’re clogging up ports–which are typically located overseas–and shipping companies have to hustle to distribute them. 

What we have here is a supply and demand problem, which naturally becomes a problem for consumers, who have to pay more for shipping and the product itself. Oh, more good news: it’s only supposed to get worse, especially for the holiday season, according to this Debbie Downer from CNN Business

But…we’re not going to just be the bearer of bad news and leave you to your own devices. Below, we discuss why you should place your 2021 holiday orders early. 

1. Really, Supplies Won’t Last That Long

We joked earlier about this message, but it’s very true this time around. There is quite a shortage of consumer products right now and for the foreseeable future. For example, Hasbro, the toy company that makes, well, everything, warns that shoppers will encounter bare shelves come holiday time. 

Not to be outdone by the doom and gloom of the aforementioned article, another CNN Business story cautions, “Tacos, cars, jet fuel. computer chips, Nike shoes and school supplies: What do they all have in common? They’re all (nearly) impossible to find — or getting there.”

No tacos? Ouch.  

The point is to do your shopping early and often, and if your biggest worry is not having enough jet fuel for your private plane, then you’re doing alright. 

2. More Expensive Products

Not only will gift selections be smaller, they will also hit your wallet harder. Speaking of Hasbro, they announced price increases to offset freight and commodities costs. If that doesn’t concern you, maybe this will: coffee is getting more expensive. 

The reality is that most consumer goods are going up in price–prices for U.S. consumers jumped in June by the most since 2008–so make your holiday shopping lists now, and save time and money while you can. 

3. Less Shipping Sticker Shock

The cost of shipping is soaring. Shortages of goods = higher shipping prices. The U.S. imports a lot from China, whose ports are tangled up, causing shipping companies to scramble and use more resources. We know that you read up on Drewry Shipping’s World Container Index for fun, but in case you missed the latest report, here’s some juicy data: “The composite cost of shipping a 40-foot container on eight major East-West routes hit $9,613 in the week to August 19, up 360% from a year ago.” 

In other words, that increase impacts us, the consumers. To boot, you can expect longer delivery times. Shopping now or soon will mean paying less for shipping than waiting deep into the season and ensuring that your gifts arrive in time. 

What We’re Doing

Okay, we’ve scared you a bit, but we want you to know how we’re responding to pass savings on to you:

  • Procuring baskets and containers now so that they are on hand for the fourth quarter
  • Sourcing products from smaller and more local vendors to try to reduce shipping times
  • Taking orders and pre-orders now for the holidays
  • Creating designs that allow for easy substitution of products so that we can manage vendor shortages. 

You see, it shouldn’t only be up to shoppers to do all the planning. As consumers ourselves, we want you to enjoy the holidays without regret or buyer’s remorse.

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5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Following the smashing success of our previous blog posts on the health benefits of red wine, dark chocolate, nuts, and coffee, today we focus on cinnamon, the adored spice that elevates everything upon which it’s sprinkled, including the aforementioned food and beverage items (except red wine, though cinnamon often shows up in flavor profiles). 

If you want the boring, albeit important history of cinnamon, click here. If you want to learn about its health benefits–and you know you do–read on. 

Quick note: we do not endorse taking The Cinnamon Challenge…unless you’re good at it. 

Types of Cinnamon

First, let’s identify the two main types of cinnamon (This information is only important if you feel the need to impress people at your next cocktail party):

Ceylon cinnamon – known as “true” cinnamon (as opposed to false?), derives from the Cinnamomum Zeylanicum plant in Sri Lanka, and is considered to be the sweet kind.

Cassia cinnamon – the more common kind that has stronger potency and is found in savory dishes. 

1) Contains Antioxidants

Oh, antioxidants, we just can’t quit you. Antioxidants are the Kevin Bacon of health benefits for this series of blog posts. Not to sound like a broken record, but antioxidants are very good for the body because they fight free radicals and help protect against disease. 

Cinnamon is rich with polyphenol antioxidants, which have tons of anti-inflammatory effects. Speaking of…

2) Anti-Inflammatory Properties 

Inflammation is great for rafts but very bad for the body when there’s too much of it. Chronic inflammation can attack your body’s tissues and act as the precursor to illness and disease. 

Enter cinnamon. 

Many studies, like this one and this one, conclude that the spice is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties that encourage healthy tissue. 

3) Improves Gut Health

The term “gut health” makes me cringe, but it’s popular, so we’ll roll with it. The enemy of your gut (ewwww) is pathogenic bacteria which can cause disease. The enemy of pathogenic bacteria is beneficial bacteria that is produced by prebiotics. 

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll naturally conclude that cinnamon contains prebiotic properties that can keep your insides healthy and clean. 

4) May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease 

Heart disease is the world’s most common cause of premature death. High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are terrible for your ticker, but our friend, cinnamon, can reduce these levels and promote HDL cholesterol, which is the healthy kind. 

5) Digestive Comfort 

Lest you think cinnamon has run out of health benefits, here’s another:

Cinnamon is good for digestion. You are entitled to enjoy dining and feel comfortable afterward, and cinnamon extract is used to alleviate gastrointestinal issues. It also acts as an anti-microbe, which helps create digestive balance and ease discomforts like bloating and gas.  

As we’re careful to note with these posts, you’ll only gain the health benefits of this ingredient if you consume it…healthily, as in having it with coffee (I’m a big fan) or tea rather than a bundt cake. 

Go on and open your cupboard and give your cinnamon some love.

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How to Surprise Your Employees This Labor Day

As its name suggests, Labor Day recognizes folks who work. It’s nice that there’s a holiday, but I’d feel better if we just called it Labor Year. 

That’s a fight for another day. 

For now, let’s focus on the most important people in your lives after family and friends: your employees. 

Labor Day is right around the corner, and you’ll look really good by showing your employees just how much you appreciate all their hard work. 

Gift Baskets

Did you really think we weren’t going to lead with this? Oh, you know us too well.

Gift baskets keep growing in popularity year over year, and one of the main reasons is that there’s truly something for everyone. The good companies, like ours, customize baskets based on hand-picked (and tasted) inventory researched at trade shows and other industry events. 

Any sort of recognition can work wonders for employee morale, but gift baskets possess that personalized characteristic that makes them so special. 

Company Picnic 

Given the latest on Covid, an indoor gathering isn’t the best idea at this time. Enter the great outdoors.

It’ll still be summer and a company-catered picnic at an attractive venue allows employees to bond in a non-workish environment. To sweeten the event, definitely hold it during the workday and discourage work-related cell phone use. 

Labor Bonus

I know, bonuses are typically reserved for the holiday season, but why not go the unorthodox route? There is a direct link between employee performance and bonuses, and surprising your staff with some extra cash is not only a generous thank you, but the gesture is likely to enhance motivation and employee engagement

Considering this is our second Covid Labor Day, you will no doubt create good will. 

Thank You Notes

Whether a bonus or a gift, be sure to include thank you notes. A small message expressing gratitude makes a big statement to your staff. Go the extra mile, and personalize them, addressing employees by name and identifying unique ways they’ve helped the company. 

We’ve written before about the importance of planning your gift-giving, and Labor Day is no exception. It may not be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, etc., but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a special occasion for the people who help keep the lights on.

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