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Holiday Season Tips and Tricks

Test out some new great recipes, track down the perfect gift for that special someone and more with this guide.

Holiday Cooking

Totally Turkey

Butterball Turkey:

If you’re in a bind about how to prepare and cook your turkey, consider calling Butterball’s famous turkey talk line (1-800-Butterball) or send an email directly to BBTurkeyCo@aol.com  The turkey talk line is available 6 am to 6 PM Thanksgiving Day.  Check the website for the talk line hours through November and December.  You can also download a Butterball podcast to listen as you cook.  Go to the website for great recipes, helpful tips and ideas to make your holiday special.

Jennie-O Turkey Store:

Turkey producer Jennie-O’s website offers recipes and its own turkey hotline (1-800-Turkeys) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The site also offers tips on pairing wine with food, table settings and holiday decorations.

The National Turkey Federation:

The National Turkey Federation has recruited chefs from around the country for its Virtual Chef section where you can watch a video of a chef creating a dish, get the recipe, and submit questions.  Leftover recipes are also included.
Cooks Illustrated:

America’s Test Kitchen offers tons of tips on turkey, including a Q&A section, 25 “fool proof” recipes, as well as information about kitchen and meat safety.  The step-by-step carving guide is well detailed as well.  Registration is required to access some of the parts of the site, though it is free.

General Food Finds and Recipes

Food Network:

Take a hint from Rachel Ray, Emeril, Paula Deen and some of your favorite celebrity TV chefs as they whip up various Thanksgiving meals.  The site also offers videos, recipes (with user reviews) and other helpful techniques for your own cooking.


This site serves as an open directory to Internet sites which focus on Thanksgiving recipes.  Links to side dishes, desserts and vegetarian options are also featured quite extensively.


Find vegetarian recipes and products.  Information is given on how to create a stuffed tofu “turkey,” and other ideas for celebrating a meat-free Thanksgiving.  Recipes for side dishes and desserts for meat-lovers too!

Supermarket Promotions

Acme Markets:

Shop Rite:

Online Shopping Safety

Internet shopping is easy and fun, but use common sense giving out confidential personal or financial information.

Following are a few guidelines for shopping safely:

  • Legitimate stores on the web will never e-mail you to request financial or personal data.   There is a type of scam called “phishing” in which criminals send e-mails that appear to be from a legitimate organization or company.  The e-mails could appear to be from a well-known bank, Internet store, online payment service or government agency the recipient might do business with claiming that a problem needs to be cleared up.  Because the request seems to be legitimate, recipients will release important information that leads to their becoming victims of retail fraud.
  • TrustWatch.com is a web site that offers free web site authentication.  Before you exchange sensitive information, you can check the web address at www.trustwatch.com to see if it has been rated as a reliable web site with sufficient safeguarding information.  TrustWatch is a product of GeoTrust, a worldwide leader in identity and trust services.  The web site offers a downloadable toolbar.
  • Find warnings about Internet scams at www.fraud.org
  • Never use debit cards online.  Only credit cards are protected against fraud.
  • Never give out your social security number or bank account numbers.
  • When you shop, print out the full product information and print out your order before exiting the web site.
  • Do not send cash or a money order; you will have no legal recourse if a seller says you never paid for the item.  Auction sites such as Ebay offer other, safer payment methods such as PayPal, an online service that acts as a broker between you, the seller and your credit card company.
  • When entering a secure area of a web site such as when you check out your shopping cart, the site should show an alert that you are in a secure area.  Also, your address line should begin with https rather than http, and there should be an icon of a lock when you are using Internet Explorer.
  • Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2008 (available at the Reference Desk) has information in the front of the Guide on shopping on the Internet, including a section on finding bargains on the web.  One of their suggestions is to “Shop with a bot.”  Bots are robots that compare prices on the Internet and sort the results.  Two suggested bots are www.BizRate.com and www.Shopping.com

Places to Shop

Following are some web retailers to check out.  There are many, many more; practically every major retailer you can think of has a corresponding web site.  Ditto for catalog retailers.  One advantage to the web is that retailers often have online discounts not reflected in their catalogs or stores.  Additionally, just about all the online retailers offer gift certificates that can be emailed to a recipient or printed out.

http://shopping.yahoo.com/ -   Links to over 100,000 stores, with option to narrow to “last-minute gifts.”  This option will list stores throughout the web and their absolute latest deadline for mailing a gift.

www.amazon.com   -  Amazon’s “Gift Central” icon will link you to an option for “last minute gifts.”   Gift options include gift certificates, magazine subscriptions, DVDs, and books that can ship out in 24 hours.   Barnes and Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com) offers similar options.  Check out other booksellers online as well.

http://us.lastminute.com/  - The American version of the British website, www.lastminute.com.  Get great deals on theater tickets, travel, and gift certificates.

www.overstock.com - Check out Overstock.com for terrific deals on a large variety of gift options.

www.llbean.com - The venerable Maine cataloger offers its complete collection online with sales sections.

www.shop.com - The online equivalent of a mall.

www.josbank.com - Traditional men’s clothing retailer Joseph Banks offers sportswear, menswear and business casual attire.

www.talbots.com - Traditional women’s clothing retailer Talbots offers fine clothing for women of all shapes and sizes

www.luckymag.com - Lucky Magazine’s web site has a web shopping guide and guides to shopping in large cities.

www.landsend.com - The popular retailer’s web site includes a virtual model on which you can “try on” clothing.

www.ebay.com  - The largest online auction house there is.

Major retailers:  www.sears.com , www.jcpenney.com , www.target.com , www.oldnavy.com

Garden retailers:  www.whiteflowerfarm.com , www.burpee.com , www.smithandhawken.com

Museums:  www.momastore.org , www.philamuseum.org , www.getty.edu

Charity:  www.igive.com , www.heifer.org , www.unicef.org , www.redcross.org , www.salvationarmyusa.org , www.operationhomefront.net

Greeting Cards

An E-card is a postcard, sent by means of the Internet through email.  To send an e-card, you select a pre-written card style with image and message from a list and specify the recipient's e-mail address.

On sending the card, the recipient receives an e-mail with a link to the e-card provider's webpage, and this link would go to the e-card as a webpage, with the sender's personal message. The actual card is not usually sent through the e-mail, rather only a link to the card hosted at the e-card provider's website.


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