MONEY Shopping

To Get the Best Deals, Skip Black Friday

The early bird gets the worm.
The early bird gets the worm. Abdolhamid Ebrahimi—Getty Images

Sure, there will be some great deals on Black Friday. But overall, the data indicates that the holiday season's best prices are to be found before Black Friday even arrives.

Black Friday, a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving, has traditionally been embraced as the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. But now that the season has been expanded dramatically by retailers, which began airing holiday ads in September, with Black Friday-type deals appearing as early as November 1 and plenty of stores open on Thanksgiving, the idea that Black Friday is the “start” of anything is silly. In fact, the idea that Black Friday is the season’s most important day for retailers is waning, and there’s a decent argument to be made that deal-seeking consumers should be done with their shopping by the time Black Friday rolls around.

The Wall Street Journal has examined retail pricing data from Adobe Systems, which shows that last year, the season’s biggest price drops took place the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the best overall prices were to be had not on Black Friday but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This year, Adobe predicts that the season’s lowest prices will pop up on Thanksgiving itself, with an average discount of 24%. The deal-hunting experts at dealnews also anticipate that Thanksgiving will beat Black Friday and come out overall as the best day for low prices.

This isn’t to say that Black Friday won’t have some phenomenal bargains. Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Macy’s, and the rest of the field will surely roll out their share of doorbusters and huge one-day discounts. You’ll probably be able to scoop up off-brand TVs for a song, and the lucky few with the right combination of timing, endurance, and sharp elbows will assuredly snag other in-demand toys and electronics at deep discounts on Black Friday.

But they’ll have to battle traffic and crowds at the mall to do so. More importantly, based on the data presented above, it should be clear that Black Friday won’t necessarily have the best prices on everything. The pitfall shoppers should really try to avoid is heading to the mall on Black Friday for a few amazing doorbuster deals—and then sticking around and impulsively buying a bunch of other things at prices that are higher than you need to pay.

Combine that with the fact that the majority of sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the rest of the weekend are available online at the same prices, and that huge online sales are all but guaranteed for Cyber Monday at the start of the next week, and there’s considerable justification for staying away from the mall the entire time.

It may not be the most appealing idea, but there’s even some justification for getting a good portion of your holiday shopping done right now. The Wall Street Journal has been tracking prices of 10 top holiday gift items at Amazon and other major retailers, and what it found is that competitors are changing prices from day to day, sometimes dramatically so, and that some particularly good deals are appearing sooner than they normally do in the season. “This year retailers are trying to lengthen the season by dropping prices even earlier,” Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst of Adobe Digital Index, explained to the WSJ.

Dealnews agrees. “The truth is that the entire month of November will see blockbuster sales,” a post in late October explained. “So if you see the item you want at a price that suits your budget, by all means don’t wait to purchase that item later.”

Certainly, there’s no reason to feel like you must wait and physically go shopping on Black Friday.

MONEY Shopping

QUIZ: What Your Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day

Drawing a blank on what to buy your pops? Take our quiz to figure out the perfect gift to match his personality.



MONEY Odd Spending

What You Wish You Could Give Dad on Father’s Day — But Shouldn’t

Your dad might really be in need of a hearing aid, a fitness regimen, or some form of anti-snoring assistance. But Father's Day is probably not the day to tell him.

Father’s Day is an excellent opportunity to give your pops something he’ll really love. And, like all gift-giving holidays, it’s also a great chance to send him not-so-subtle messages about his lifestyle and habits via passive-aggressive presents.

This might sound like a funny prank, but be warned: While you may wish to give such gifts, it is not advisable to do so. Handing Dad a cheeky present is all fun and games until he turns the table on you. And make no mistake, he will.

When he does, you better brace yourself (especially millennials out there) because he has more ammo than you can possibly imagine. By the time Dad was your age, he’d already moved out of his parents’ home, got a first job (maybe even started a business), found a partner, and had a child or three. He’s the spitting image of the American dream—he’s bullet proof! You? Maybe not so much. Your latest brilliant idea involves buying your dad snarky presents on the day established in his honor. So if you go this route, don’t be surprised when your birthday present from dad is an all-expenses-paid trip to boot camp, a job search guide, or “How to Get Married Before It’s Too Late.” Remember: You started this.

So you probably shouldn’t go there. But if you were to do so, here are some ideas.

Protein Powder and Fitness Magazines

A huge tub of whey and a subscription to Muscle and Fitness might be a great gift for a dad who’s already extremely into working out, but could seem a little sarcastic if your father’s workout routine consist of one sit-up per day (when he gets out of bed). Another, more covert option? A Fitbit or other wearable fitness gadget. Everyone loves new toys, and dad will be forced to go outside for a while in order to play with this one.

Anti-Snoring Gift Box

If you really want to make your point about Dad’s power to wake the entire house with one deep unconscious inhale, be sure to give dad a real sampling of anti-snoring products. That means anti-snoring spray, anti-snoring nasal strips, an anti-snoring pillow, and my favorite: an anti-snoring jaw strap. Who cares that many snore stopping products might not actually work? As the Joker said, it’s about sending a message. Put them all in a pretty basket, with a bow on top. Dads always appreciate good presentation.


For whatever reason, giving nice soap (as opposed to other personal hygiene products like toothpaste or shaving cream) is actually pretty standard Father’s Day fare. This is good because you can achieve your objective—more, or at least better, bathing by the old man—without causing offense. Well, not too-too much offense. The standard route is an organic soap sampler, but if you’re interested in giving the clearest possible hint, it’s hard to beat a single bar of Dove in an otherwise empty box.

Cooking Lessons

The offensiveness of cooking lessons really depends on how hard everyone else in the family laughs during the reveal. If it’s more of an “ahhhhh” reaction with lots of head nodding (and maybe a few snickers), then you’re all clear. If everyone spits out their soup guffawing over dad making anything other than reheated Mac N’ Cheese, then your message will get through. But don’t expect any gifts from dad next Christmas. Or ever.

Hearing Aid

There’s no subtlety here. This is something many fathers need but do not actually want because it suggests they’re getting a littttttle over the hill. However, if you’d like to avoid yelling whenever pops is in the room, you might just have to force the issue. Before you do, though, consider this: Does your dad actually want to hear everyone’s dinner-table squabbling at family gatherings?

MONEY Shopping

Just Plain Awful Father’s Day Gifts, and What to Buy Instead

There are the Father's Day gifts that you think are funny or cute or clever, and then there are the Father's Day gifts that dads actually like and will use. Which kind are you giving dad?

Here’s a list of common Father’s Day gift categories that dads really don’t want, followed by what you should buy instead:

Gag Gifts
You might be tempted to have a little fun with dad on Father’s Day by purchasing something silly and embarrassing like “meggings,” denim swimwear, or another joke from this list of gifts so bad they’re awesome. You might think it’ll just be hilarious to see the look on dad’s face when he opens up an inflatable toupee, or a “Senior Moments” memory workout book, or adult diapers, or something else that makes a show of how old your old man is. Ha-ha-ha. Joke’s on you, uncool, bald, pathetic, incontinent old man! You know, dementia and death are probably right around the corner! Ha-ha-ha.

Granted, some dads might think this stuff is really a laugh riot too. But … probably not. Same goes for gag gifts that burp and fart. We don’t want them, nor do we appreciate the message sent when we’re given them. As one dad blogger put it on his list of Father’s Day gifts dad doesn’t want, “I understand that I don’t hide my body’s venting. But I realize every Father’s Day that’s how you see us. I’m just a cartoon fart machine to you.”

What to Get Instead: Almost anything, really. Heck, even some stupid “World’s Best Dad” T-shirt or mug—often on Bad Father’s Day Gift lists themselves—would be way better. Far better than that, though, would be something genuinely thoughtful and practical. It doesn’t have to be something the average person would consider a “gift.”

If you’ve noticed your dad’s wheelbarrow wobbles, or his favorite work boots have no more tread, or his college alma mater baseball hat is falling apart, go and get him a new replacement. Save him the trouble of a trip to the store. The elimination of a headache or a chore is a wonderful gift the average dad deeply appreciates. Above all, be sure that whatever you do or give implicitly demonstrates you see him as more than just a silly old fart machine.

Useless Gadgets
Just say no to anything that you’ve seen in the Sky Mall catalogue, and anything that you imagine might has or ever will be in the Sky Mall catalogue. Again, this basically comes down to knowing who the gift recipient is: Is your dad (or spouse) really the kind of person who would want—or even know what to do with—a wrist fitness monitor or a voice-activated golf cap?

Most dads hate to see money wasted, and hate it even more when the money is being wasted in their honor. Think about that before presenting dad with a dubious doohickey that’ll sit unused, unopened, indefinitely.

What to Get Instead: Some piece of technology that’s actually useful, and that dad actually wants. Dads aren’t tech idiots. They just like what they like, and they’re skeptical (for good reason) about the value of any hot new “must have.” Father’s Day, which should be a day of relaxation and enjoyment, isn’t the day to prod dad into embracing something unfamiliar. That’s sorta like giving a high school student homework on the day he graduates. It’s cruel.

If you know your father (or spouse) well, you should be in tune with his likes and dislikes, and what’s in his comfort zone. In some cases, it’s a great idea to give dad the newest version of his favorite e-reader or tablet, or perhaps even to splurge on the 70-inch HDTV you know he’s been dying to see in his living room.

If you’re pursuing this route, go the extra mile and make dad’s transition to the new tech as smooth, simple, and easy as possible. That might mean importing his contacts or e-book library, or taking care of the wiring and installation of the TV or video game system (yes, some dads are big-time gamers). Remember, Father’s Day isn’t the day to give dad extra work to do. Speaking of which …

Gifts That Put Dad to Work
Whereas moms may get “a dozen long-stemmed, obscenely expensive flowers” for Mother’s Day, the corresponding gift for fathers, according to Detroit News columnist Brian O’Connor, is “an entire flat of tomato seedlings from the farmer’s market for you to plant, weed, water and fertilize for the next three months.”

What to Get Instead: Feel free to buy those tomato plants—or some other gift that’s really something of a project—but volunteer to take responsibility, or at least share the responsibility, for them. Not just on Father’s Day, mind you, but for the long haul. Come harvest time, make dad his favorite homemade sauce, or if you can’t cook, slice those tomatoes up and serve them with fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Gifts That Tell Dad He Should Change
Even worse than gag clothing gifts for dads are some of the clothes that givers actually expect dad to wear—and that cause him extraordinary discomfort as a result. Sure, traditional dad fashion may be embarrassing (black socks and sandals anyone?), but it’s even more embarrassing to see a blissfully uncool, out-of-it dad try to pull off donning the latest trends, be it skinny jeans, floral prints, or whatever else someone deems as “hip” at the moment. Or rather, to see a dad being forced to wear such clothing because one of his children decides it’s in his best interest.

Father’s Day is about fathers. It’s about celebrating who they are, not who you think they should be. The day you’re honoring your father is not the day to implicitly send the message that you think he should be more fashionable, or lose weight (would you buy your mom a treadmill for Mother’s Day?), or learn to cook, or try some cocktail that’s all the rage, or stop snoring, or change in any way. Yet some gifts unsubtly send just those messages, and they come across not as helpful, but as disrespectful and insulting.

What to Get Instead: His tried-and-true favorites. Whatever brand of cigars, Scotch, craft beer, sunglasses, or sandals he favors is a can’t-miss gift. Stop fooling around and get the man what he likes. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate you know him well, and that you accept and love him for who he is.

Or you could just get a “World’s Best Dad” T-shirt. At least he can mow the lawn in the T-shirt without drawing snickers from the neighbors. That’s more than you can say for skinny jeans.

MONEY Shopping

The Three Cardinal Rules for Father’s Day Gift Giving

Homemade I Love Daddy sign
Courtney Weittenhiller—Getty Images

Dads like being acknowledged, but they can do without elaborate displays—and certainly don't want money being wasted. Follow these rules and you'll be OK.

Su Young Kim, a 30-something owner of a salon in California, was surprised by what her father asked for as a Father’s Day gift. “He said that if I was going to waste my money on something he didn’t need or want again this year, I might as well just give him the cash and save us both some trouble,” said Kim.

Most fathers aren’t quite as blunt, but according to my annual anecdotal survey of dads, they pretty much want what Kim’s dad wants. Not cash, necessarily, but for their kids to not waste their money.

No wonder Father’s Day is the tiniest American gift-giving holiday, accounting for $12.5 billion in consumer spending this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending on Mother’s Day, by contrast, was estimated at more than $20 billion.

And no wonder Father’s Day can be a frustrating holiday for gift givers. Most want to surprise, delight, and honor their dads, for good reason. Instead, however, too many sons, daughters, and spouses end up either spending too much money, getting something off the mark or silly, feeling guilty because they didn’t put in much thought or effort beforehand, or some combination therein. To avoid the pitfalls, here are three cardinal rules, endorsed by dads, for fool-proof Father’s Day gift giving:

1. Keep it Simple

This year, and every year that I’ve surveyed fathers, what I hear is that their identity as fathers doesn’t mesh well with lavish Father’s Day celebrations. It seems there’s something unmanly, or “undadly,” about being pampered. Dads pride themselves in providing for others, and they can feel uncomfortable when the tables are turned.

Even though most dads downplay the significance of Father’s Day, there is nothing more important to them than being fathers. According to the 2014 Dove Men+Care Dad Portrayal Research Study, 94% of American fathers prioritize their families over their careers, and three-quarters say they organize their lives around family so they can spend more time with their children. So, regardless of how “undadly” it feels to be celebrated, fathers are likely to feel hurt if they’re not feted on our national day devoted to fatherhood.

Dove also posted this video celebrating dads that made me cry, and then made my husband cry when I made him watch:

How do you balance the need to honor dads without going overboard and making them feel uncomfortable? The solution is to keep it simple. Katy Short, a financial advisor and mother of two children under 5, wrapped up her brilliantly simple Father’s Day plans in one sentence: “We’ll give him lots of kisses, some cologne he wants, and then we’ll dance.”

2. Spend Wisely, Not Wastefully

When I ask dads what they’d like for Father’s Day, many start their response with something they want that’s in the best interests of their kids. “I want my son to get a job,” is a common answer, usually followed by laughter or eye rolling. “I want my kids to be happy,” is another one I hear regularly.

Or like Kim’s father, they respond in a way that essentially says they want their kids to spend their money wisely. Evidently, fathering doesn’t take a holiday. In some ways, the gift a son or daughter picks is a measure of the lessons they’ve learned (or not) from their father. When you spend wastefully on Father’s Day, dads are likely to think that they’ve failed to teach you to not spend wastefully. Your dumb spending reflects poorly on their roles as fathers, even if what you’re spending money on is your dad.

Most dads are gracious when receiving gifts. But when handed presents such as flashy sunglasses or expensive cufflinks, they are probably thinking something along the lines of What did I do wrong? Didn’t I teach this kid about the value of a dollar?

It’s not that dads don’t want budget-busting lavish gifts—they just don’t want them from you. Instead, if your father has been needling you to read a particular book or try a sport, make a Father’s Day gift by showing him you were listening. Then wrap it up in a bow by asking him to discuss the book or play the sport with you. Above all, for heaven’s sake demonstrate that your father has done a good job raising you by not wasting money on something he doesn’t need and will never use.

3. Be Thoughtful

This is the golden rule for all gift giving, of course, but it applies big time for Father’s Day. For the most part, dads want to feel appreciated, and to spend some quality time with their families on Father’s Day. When pressed for an actual gift they’d like to receive that costs actual money, the top choices I hear from fathers are typically celebratory events like sharing a special meal together or tickets to a ball game. Evidently, kids know their dads pretty well. Of those who are purchasing gifts for fathers (or husbands on behalf of younger kids), the top two categories are greeting cards that thank dad for all his does (63%) and special dinners or outings where the crew can be together and have fun (43%).

Russell, a father who preferred not to use his last name for fear of offending his less-than-perfect gift-giving son, summed up what he wants and what he thinks most dads want this way: “It has to be something personal. They have to spend time thinking about what their dads would really like, or spend time with them–like making a breakfast in bed or spending the day fishing.”

Russell got a gushy handmade card and a bottle of wine from his adult daughter last year, and he said both were perfect because they were so incredibly thoughtful. His daughter had taken the time to learn about wine, and had researched his tastes to pick out just the right bottle. And Russell told me that he still has the gushy card – along with every other one he’s received since his daughter was old enough to draw.


Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., is a consumer psychologist who is obsessed with all things related to how, when and why we shop and buy. She conducts research through her professorship at Golden Gate University and shares her findings in speeches, consulting work, and her books, Decoding the New Consumer Mind and Gen BuY.

TIME Gadgets

The Best Tech Gifts for Father’s Day

Choosing the perfect Father’s Day gift depends on what kind of guy the dad in your life is. Does he love travel, playing sports or listening to music? We’ve got you covered with tech gifts that show your dad just how special he is.



Does your dad love to listen to music? Blumoo lets him use his existing home stereo and speakers to enjoy music stored on or streamed to his mobile device. Just plug the small Bluetooth 4.0 device into the receiver or a powered speaker and he’ll be good to go.

Blumoo isn’t just for playing music. If Dad is a (remote) control freak, Blumoo puts his whole stereo system in his hand. Using the mobile app (available for iOS and Android), which includes codes for over 200,000 types of equipment, Dad can turn the TV on and off, change channels or fire up a CD. And the base uses an IR blaster to relay the commands to his TV and DVD or CD player.

Price: $119 at Amazon


Cobra JumPack

There’s nothing worse than a dead car battery during a family road trip. Instead of waiting for roadside service, Dad can jump the car battery himself with the Cobra JumPack. It’s a handheld rechargeable power pack capable of jump-starting the car battery multiple times, if needed.

The JumPack also includes an LED light to use as a flashlight for working on the car or as a strobe light if he’s stuck on the road at night. Even more handy, the JumPack’s USB port can charge up a mobile phone or tablet, too.

Price: $129 on


Chamberlain MyQ Garage System

Dads worry about things like “Did the kids close the garage door?” Ease his mind with the MyQ garage door monitoring/control system. Once he’s attached the MyQ to the current garage door opener and connected it with the home Wi-Fi, Dad can control the garage door via a mobile app (iOS) from anywhere.

Kids, be warned: In addition to being able to check whether the door is really open or not and being able to close it from anywhere, Dad can also get alerts on his phone whenever the door is opened. So if you’re sneaking in past curfew, he’ll know.

Price: $129 on Amazon


Fugoo Sport Speaker

If Dad likes to listen to tunes on his bike or while he shoots hoops outside, the Fugoo Sport Speaker is among the best portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen in a while — and we’ve seen a lot of sport speakers.

The Fugoo Sport Speaker boasts six drivers to deliver great-sounding music, and it claims a 40-hour battery life. The Fugoo line is unique in that you buy a core unit that is waterproof, shockproof, dust-proof and all kinds of impact-ready. The sport cover (included) makes the unit even more rugged and mountable (bike mount available later this year), so Dad can hit the bike trail with his tunes still playing.

If you’re really nice, maybe he’ll share the core and you can get your own stylish jacket to use.

Price: $199 on Amazon

Zepp Labs

Zepp Labs 3D Swing Sensors

If the sound of “Batter up!” puts a smile on Dad’s face, then you’ll score a home run with the Zepp Labs 3-D Baseball Sensor ($143 on Amazon). Dad simply attaches the sensor to the bat mount to see his swing in glorious 3-D on the accompanying app (iOS or Android).

So make a date to head to the batting cages or local ball field and get in some practice time together. After you hit a bunch of balls, check the app for a detailed analysis that tracks your hit speed, path, timing and angle at impact. The app also tracks your progress over time, providing personalized tips and drills.

If Dad prefers hitting the links, the Golf 3D Training System ($143 on Amazon) provides the same type of swing analysis, tips and drills. Instead of attaching to the club-head, though, the sensor attaches to his golf glove.


STM Drifter Backpack

Whether he’s going to work, headed to the gym or going on a family outing, a dad usually winds up carrying a lot of gear. Why not get him a backpack that looks great, is comfortable to wear and can hold everything up to and including a 15-inch laptop?

The well-constructed STM Drifter backpack fits the bill. Three zippered pockets in the front hold sunglasses, cell phones and other easy-to-lose items. The large main compartment cradles a tablet or laptop with protective cushioning against bumps and bounces. We give the Drifter bonus points for the water bottle side pocket.

Padded shoulder straps and foam mesh back panels make this backpack comfortable to carry on a bike trail or during a family hike. And the backpack’s water-resistant 320-denier cotton/poly main body fabric and 640-denier poly reinforced bottom make it soft, light and strong.

Price: $139 on

This article was written by Andrea Smith and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Odd Spending

6 Mother’s Day Factoids to Show You’re Not a Horrible, Ungrateful Son or Daughter

In advance of your Mother’s Day plans (or lack thereof) not going over well today, here’s some ammunition for making the case that you—and your mom—could have done a lot worse.

Moms get more love than dads. Or at least we spend a lot more on moms. According to the National Retail Federation, average household spending on Mother’s Day is roughly $50 higher than it is for Fathers Day.

Mother’s Day = Scam Day. The Better Business Bureau warns that consumers should “proceed with caution to avoid falling victim to a Mother’s Day scam,” which might consist of phony coupons and vouchers, a phishing e-mail, or an e-card of mysterious origin that is “as likely to contain destructive malware as warm wishes,” notes Consumer Reports. So if you’re desperate, you can use the possibility of a scam as an excuse for why you didn’t pony up and get mom a gift. You know: “Sorry, ma, just trying to save you from the horrors of identity theft.”

Thoughtful, hand-picked gifts are overrated. In a survey conducted on the behalf of PriceGrabber, the majority of consumers (60%) said they’d just order something online as a Mother’s Day gift. As for what moms want on Mother’s Day, 29% said they favored the not-remotely-personalized gift of a gift card, which was the second most common answer after a “gift” that doesn’t cost anything—spending quality time with one’s family (44%).

Mom would probably return whatever you picked anyway. Nine out of ten consumers polled by said they suspect that their mothers have returned or exchanged a Mother’s Day gift at least once. (Only 30% of the moms surveyed admitted to doing so, but what else do you think they would say.)

Tons of sons and husbands whip up plans at the last minute. Among the men polled by, 42% said they’ll make Mother’s Day plans only a few days beforehand or just throw something together on Mother’s Day itself. So you’re in good (or at least abundant) company if you’re totally winging it at the last minute. Just don’t be among the 6% of men who have forgotten about Mother’s Day altogether in the past.

Thousands must think moms really love beer and wings. Some 35,000 people reportedly brought their moms to Hooters last year on Mother’s Day. So on Sunday you can tell your mom, “Hey, at least I didn’t drag you to Hooters last year for your big day.” And if you did—hey, moms eat there free after all on Mother’s Day—at least you weren’t the only one.


Last-Minute Digital Mother’s Day Gifts She’ll Love

It’s been a busy week for you, but that’s not an excuse for not getting her a gift for Mother’s Day. There’s still time to put the thought and effort into choosing a great gift.

Here are our top picks of digital Mother’s Day gifts that will save you a hurried trip to the store.

Giftly: A more personal gift card


If your mom is hard to shop for, you can give her a personal gift card through Giftly. The gift card service lets you send money along with a suggestion of how you’d see Mom using it — from buying coffee in the morning to splurging on a spa day — to show you’re really thinking of her.

Once your mom has spent it, she can share what she did. Customize the way your Giftly gift card looks with colors and a message, then choose to send it by email or text message, or print it out and give it yourself.

Price: As much as you’d like to spend plus a small service fee, from

Bluum: A monthly gift box for expectant and new moms


Bluum is best for expectant moms, or new moms of babies 0-12 months old. Each month, Mom will receive a gift box filled with five or more full-size products based on the child’s age, with one or two items for Mom.

Expectant moms will receive products for them along with a few items for her newborn child. Boxes have a value of $40 or more.

Price: $24.95 for 1 month, $69 for 3 months, $126 for 6 months, $249.50 for 12 months at

Scribd: An ebook subscription service


If your mom has taken the plunge into ebooks, consider a gift subscription to an online book service like Scribd. This Netflix-type service gives her access to more than 300,000 books, including New York Times bestsellers, non-fiction, fiction in every genre and even young adult books.

She can save any books she wants to read to her library for easy access. And while she’s reading, the books are synced across iOS devices, Android devices (including Kindle Fire) and any computer with a web browser.

Price: $8.99 per month for unlimited books with a free starter month at

Umba: A monthly gift box of handmade goods


A perfect gift for the mom who spends hours surfing Etsy each week, Umbabox offers gorgeous handmade gifts delivered each month. Umba is a Swahili word meaning “to create,” and they curate either one large handmade item or several small handmade items. Inside, there’s also a “meet the artists” card with information about the people who created the items.

Price: Starts at $25 per month at

TwoSmiles: For non-monetary gifts


Mother’s Day is about appreciating Mom, and sometimes the best gifts are those you can’t buy, like breakfast in bed, letting her sleep in or a hug. TwoSmiles makes it easy to give those gifts with its free print-at-home greeting cards. You personalize your card, pick your gift—a coupon for a non-monetary gift or a gift card to places like Sephora, Spafinder or Harry London Chocolates—and print. If you won’t be seeing Mom in person, you can also email or send the card on Facebook.

Price: free at

Rescue Gift: For giving to others

If you want to avoid the consumerism, give a donation in Mom’s name to the International Rescue Committee to benefit mothers in need. Choose from options like Emergency Care for a Child, A Safe Delivery and Maternal Health Care, among others. Mom will receive a personalized print or digital card to let her know how her Rescue Gift is making a difference.

Price: Gifts start at $18 on

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Pope Francis

Pope Francis Greets Queen Elizabeth In Vatican

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Rome And The Vatican City
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have an audience with Pope Francis, during their one-day visit to Rome on April 3, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Oli Scarff—Getty Images

Last week, Obama gave the Pope seeds. Today, the Queen gave him whiskey

A highly anticipated meeting between Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth was held on Thursday afternoon in the Vatican, where the two world leaders exchanged words and gifts in person for the first time. The pair met for half an hour, including 17 minutes in private.

Last week, President Obama gave Francis a chest filled with seeds from fruits and vegetables used in the White House garden. But the Queen one-upped the American leader during her visit, presenting the Pope with whiskey and venison. Francis was the fifth Pope with whom Queen Elizabeth has met during her fifty-year reign. This trip marks the first foreign trip for the British monarch in three years.

TIME Gadgets

7 Red Hot Valentine’s Day Tech Gifts

Sure to please your sweetheart long after flowers will have wilted.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, may we suggest something high-tech? Though you might not think gadgets are romantic, any of the high-tech toys on this gift list are sure to please your sweetheart long after flowers will have wilted. And because it’s Valentine’s Day, look for these gifts in red or pink.

1. Albergo Clock Radio with Bluetooth

You may think radios are old-school, but this modern device combines all the handy features of a bedside alarm clock with a Bluetooth speaker that pairs with your smartphone or tablet. The alarm is simple to set, with instructions on the display so there’s never a need to guess or pull out the instruction manual. It’s hard to ask for a better alarm clock than that.

The Albergo comes in a variety of colors to match your decor, including glossy red.

Price: $299 on Amazon

2. Libratone Loop Wireless Speaker


If you’re looking for sound with style, you can’t go wrong with the Libratone Loop, a wireless speaker with an award-winning circular design. The Loop connects to your Wi-Fi network to play music over AirPlay or DLNA, and despite its small size, this little device manages to fill the whole room with sound.

The Loop can be mounted on a wall or placed anywhere using the included stand — and with a design like this, we definitely recommend placing it where it can be easily seen.

Price: $427.99 on Amazon


3. Beats Wireless Headphones

For music on the go, you really can’t do better than Beats. You get great sound with great style.

The latest Beats wireless headphones sync with your music player via Bluetooth to provide crisp sound and up to 10 hours of play time without the annoyance of tangled cables. Music controls on the ear cup make them easy to use, and a folding design makes them easy to carry — perfect for any commuter.

Price: $279 on Amazon


4. Nexus 5 Android Smartphone

If you’re in the market for an Android smartphone, check out the LG Nexus 5, a powerful five-inch headset that runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat).

Its large size makes the Nexus 5 great for playing games or watching movies, and the fact that it’s a Nexus device means you’re running pure Android with all of the latest updates from Google.

Despite a large screen, the Nexus 5 is a svelte 0.34 inches deep and weighs in at only 4.59 ounces. What’s not to love about that?

Price: $349 for 16GB from


5. Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 Android Tablet

Seven-inch tablets are pocket-sized and portable, making them the perfect gadgets for reading books, magazines, websites or emails on the go.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 offers great performance and perks that make it stand out from the rest of the pack, bundled with a case, three months of Netflix, Hulu Plus and SiriusXM Internet Radio, 12 months of Boingo Wi-Fi access, two years of Dropbox access and even more perks.

Look for the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 in Garnet Red.

Price: $199 on Amazon


6. Fitbit Flex Fitness Tracker

If you want to give the gift of fitness, we can’t imagine going with anything other than this Fitbit wristband, which monitors exercise, sleep and weight to help anyone who listed “getting in shape” as one of their New Year’s resolutions.

The Flex wristband syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth with a computer or smartphone, where you can set goals, check current activity status and monitor day-to-day progress. And if its tracking features aren’t enough, the Flex has a silent vibrating alarm for waking wearers without waking their partners — handy for couples on different schedules.

Though the Flex is one gadget on this list that doesn’t come in red, it is available in a variety of colors including pink.

Price: $99 from

7. Scottevest Women’s Trenchcoat


Any gadget-lover is sure to appreciate a coat from Scottevest, designed with plenty of pockets for carrying your tech. The Women’s Trench has the classic style of a trenchcoat along with 18 pockets and a weight management system so you can stuff them all without feeling (or looking) loaded down. Why carry a purse when you can keep everything you need within easy reach in your coat pockets?

Scottevest offers an equally nice trenchcoat for men, but it doesn’t come in red —which may or may not be a bad thing.

Price: $150 from

Isn’t one of these gifts just right for your special someone? Whatever you’re giving this holiday, we hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

This article was written by Elizabeth Harper and originally appeared on Techlicious.
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