How to Give a Good Gift After Giving a HORRIBLE One Full disclosure up front — I love everything about the holidays. From cookies and music to family get-togethers and spoiling my daughter, Justine, I am all about spreading cheer and getting into the spirit. I’d like to think I’m a pretty good gift-giver, but I learned one year that when you try to phone it in, the results can be less than spectacular. My husband, Tim, is one of those people who is impossible to shop for. He never has a list, and his most common response to what he wants for Christmas is “I don’t need anything.” Figuring out an ideal gift for him takes creativity, planning, and ingenuity. Without those things, it’s easy to end up with a gift that screams, “I had no idea what to get you.” Which is exactly the position I found myself in one Christmas. We were at a big family party, one where you open a gift in front of everybody. When Tim’s turn came, he unwrapped his present to find a sweater waiting inside. I know, I know. A sweater is the most cliché of gifts and is the easy option when you’re at a total loss. I should’ve known it wasn’t going to blow Tim’s mind, but what can I say? It was just what popped in my head. Now, in addition to being hard to buy presents for, Tim is one of the most gracious people you’ll ever meet, so he would never raise a ruckus about a gift. I don’t think anyone at the party could tell something was amiss. Anyone, that is, except for Justine and me. We could see on Tim’s face that he was disappointed with his gift. After we both took in his expression, we looked at one another. No words were exchanged, but the message was clear: Boy, we screwed up and we need to fix it.
Christmas sale for dog toys. We bought about 20 of them, took the time to wrap them, and waited anxiously for Tim’s response.
Simply seeing that we took the time to get him so many gifts was enough to raise Tim’s spirit. He opened the first and immediately starting goofing around with Duzer. By the time the third gift was open, Tim had realized what was in store for him. Thankfully, he was ecstatic. He and Duzer spent the entire day playing, trying out toy after toy. I can’t remember ever feeling so much relief after somebody’s reaction to a present. Tim didn’t try feeding that regretful sweater to Duzer, as he’s much too kind for that, but I wouldn’t have minded if he did. I was just glad that I didn’t finish the holidays with my gift-giving dunce cap still on my head. This year, in addition to the regular festivities and (hopefully) hitting it out of the park on the first try with Tim’s gift, the thing I’m looking forward to most this year is spending a second holiday season with my newfound grandmother. Yes, that’s right: I learned about a grandmother I never knew about last year, but that’s a story that deserves its own article. In fact, I think I know what I’ll be telling you about in January.
Before we had our own little family gift exchange a few days after Christmas, Justine and I sat down and devised a plan that would atone for my previous thoughtlessness. One of Tim’s favorite pastimes is playing with our dog, Duzer. We hit upon the idea of getting him a bunch of dog toys, individually wrapping them, and setting them up for a day of fun and surprises. Much to our delight, the pet store was having an after-
Happy holidays, everyone!
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Choosing the Right Charity
How Your Business Can Give Back the Right Way
FIND HUMAN CONNECTIONS The most powerful charity work your business can support is a cause that stems from the needs and passions of people connected to your work. Maybe a member of your team lives with a disability or a significant number of your customers face social, cultural, or economic challenges. Putting time, money, and effort into supporting a reputable organization that helps the people and communities connected to your business is one of the best ways to show you care.
CHECK CREDENTIALS Good intentions only go so far. To really make your charity efforts count and ensure your donations are used appropriately, you need to do some research. Thankfully, organizations like the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch, and GuideStar. org keep data on IRS-registered charities, making it easy to see which groups are reputable. In general, you should look for organizations that have a great track record of transparency and make all of their financial information readily available. REMEMBER THE ‘WHY’ If you’re just looking for a tax write-off or good publicity, charity efforts are going to feel hollow and frustrating. More than anything, philanthropy should involve a cause your business is passionate about — no matter how big or small. Taking the time to remind yourself why you’ve chosen to support a particular cause will keep you from losing sight of what giving back is all about.
We believe that small businesses can have a positive impact on local communities and the wider world. A successful charity campaign can make a world of difference for people in need, especially over the holidays. But not all charitable organizations are created equal, and supporting the wrong organization can do more harm than good. Here are some tips on finding the best fit for your business. ALIGN MISSIONS When narrowing down the thousands of local and national charities you have to choose from, comparing the mission statements of these organizations to your own is a great place to start. Charities that align with or complement your own goals as a business are natural partners. Still, while matching big-picture goals is a great start, you also need to make sure your chosen organization aligns with the heart and soul of your business: your employees and customers.
Meet Dio Landeros
A Director of Sales Who Cares About Customer Experience
Dio Landeros joined All-Clean! in August as our new director of sales. Though he’s only been here a relatively short time, he’s already made a serious impact on the way we approach sales and customer service. “I come from a hospitality background,” Dio says. “I went to school at UNLV and was part of the team that opened the Bellagio in Las Vegas. One of the things that drew me to All-Clean! was their
from our great services just as much as homeowners do, so it’s a win for everyone involved.”
No matter the property involved, Dio believes that a high standard of service and a focus on customer experience is crucial to growth and long-term success. “The sales process doesn’t stop when a deal is closed,” he says. “We want customers who will be with us for as long as they are in the area, and that means delivering an experience worth raving about. Happy customers are the best weapons in a salesperson’s arsenal.” Outside of work, Dio is an avid traveler and has visited over 40 countries. “It’s impossible to pick a favorite place,” he says. “But if I were going to move anywhere in the world, it might be Berlin.” In addition to his globe-trotting, Dio enjoys wine tasting and dining. Bringing a world-class, hospitality-focused approach to exterior washing has always been one of our goals. In Dio Landeros, we’ve found the person who can help us achieve it.
focus on customers, which is basically unheard of in this industry.” Of course, we didn’t just hire Dio to compliment us on where we’re at; we hired him to take us to the next level, and he’s been doing just that. In addition to providing great advice to our sales team, Dio has been pursuing lots of new business for us. “I’ve been reaching out to multi- family and commercial properties, because I see them as a big growth opportunity for us,” he notes. “These property owners stand to benefit
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How We Can Help Reduce Your Stress During the Holidays Don’t Let This Holiday Chore Slip Through the Cracks
recipe title While it’s easy to forget about your gutters as you’re preparing your home for visitors this Christmas, leaving them clogged can cause a whirlwind of damage. Save yourself some tim to deal with all the other chores, and let us reduce your stress load by taking care of the gutters for you. In addition to our gutter cleaning option, we also have a maintenance plan package deal wherein our team will get rid of all the debris and wash the entire exterior of your home. Call us today for a free estimate! PESTS In addition to damaging your roof, gutters filled with damp leaves can make a great home for pests. Birds, for example, might find the debris to be an ideal location for nests. GARDENS If your gutters become clogged to the point where water is spilling over the side and into your garden beds below, you might be inadvertently killing your plants through overwatering. This can be just as harmful as not watering your plants enough. FOUNDATION Just like water from your gutters can flood your garden beds, it can also pool along your home’s foundation. Then, when the water freezes, it expands and creates cracks in your foundation.
The number of tasks you need to do to prepare your home for the holidays might leave your head spinning. From dusting all the tiny crevices in your kitchen and raking the never-ending pile of leaves in your yard to hanging up lights with your kids, you’re likely to forget about one chore that it is easy to overlook but important nevertheless: cleaning your gutters. Millions of homeowners tend to neglect this task, and there are a number of problems that can arise from the debris that builds up in uncleaned gutters. For example, if twigs or leaves keep water from properly draining away after a rainstorm, the accumulation of stagnant water causes subsequent damage in various locations.
ROOF When leaves and other debris clog up your gutters to the point where water is flooding over, the fascia — or the board that runs behind your gutters — gets waterlogged. This constant flooding not only weighs down your gutters, but it can also cause your roof to rot.
Holiday Roast Prime Rib
INGREDIENTS • 1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds) • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 2 cups red wine DIRECTIONS 1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. Looking for an easy holiday roast that still feels elegant enough for the occasion? Look no further than this delicious prime rib flavored with garlic, thyme, and red wine.
• 4 cups beef stock • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus.
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Inside This Issue LESSONS FROM HOLIDAYS PAST PAGE 1
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CHARITY
SPOTLIGHT ON DIO LANDEROS PAGE 2
DON’T LET THIS HOLIDAY CHORE SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS
HOLIDAY ROAST PRIME RIB PAGE 3
HOLIDAY DECORATION TOURS PAGE 4 Christmas Tours
Get Away and Be Festive This Holiday Season There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list.
arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for a Western-themed holiday pulled right out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered. YEARLY YULETIDE IN SANTA CLAUS, INDIANA This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town. DISNEY WORLD’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
NEW YORK CITY’S ROCKEFELLER CENTER New York City is an iconic location for Christmastime. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply-decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. RANCH CHRISTMAS IN JACKSON, WYOMING Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler
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