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Hello Neighbors and Happy SPA’lidays! It really is such a magical time of year. We are so fortunate to live in this part of New England and truly enjoy this special season. Now is also the time so many of us are looking for the perfect gift to show our loved ones how much we care and appreciate them.

I remember when I was in elementary school, a holiday bizarre was held in the cafeteria. Do you remember those? Talk about nostalgia from the late 70’s and early 80’s. My mom would drop me off with $5.00-$10.00 in tote and I would peruse the lunch tables that were converted into store aisles. I remember being so strategic in my selections because I always wanted to buy her and my family the perfect gift. It wasn’t an easy feat considering most of the items were homemade ornaments, change purses, and costume jewelry. I wanted my family to have the same feeling receiving the gift as I had selecting and wrapping them. The point is, I took it seriously then and I still take it very seriously now.

To me, gift giving is an art form. The very essence of gifting goes beyond the act of giving and receiving. It’s a nuanced dance of emotions, and is a reflection of one’s understanding and appreciation of another. Don’t get me wrong, I too struggle with coming up with great gift ideas for those hard -to- find people in my life who literally have everything. But the hunt is also part of the fun. Once I’ve made my list of who I will be gifting, I set my budget for each and get to work. I also pay attention when someone tells me how much they love something and I keep it in the archives. Sometimes I’ll come across an item that I know a friend would love because they’ve mentioned it in the past, but other times I’m at a standstill.

Now, being in the spa and beauty business, this is kind of a no-brainer for me. Spa gifts and gift cards are always a hit with my friends and some family members. I know some people have hang ups about giving gift cards, but they really are a great gift and always appreciated. This time of year, the promotions are plentiful. Where I work at Cerulean Spa at Mystic Marriott, we are offering a Spa Bonus Dollars promotion with qualifying amounts purchased. The recipient will receive added value to the dollar amount given and will be able to use those bonus dollars until March 31st, 2024. The gift cards don’t expire, but the Spa Bonus Dollars do. The beauty of this promotion is you can give the Spa Bonus Dollars with the gift card, or keep them for yourself and use them towards your own spa day. It’s the best of both worlds! Don’t miss out on our 12 Days of Fitness holiday membership promo too! For more info, go to The promotions at Cerulean Spa are just an example of the many holiday deals offered. Lots of places include a gift with purchase too. When I receive a gift bag with a logo from a place I love to shop or spa, I know I’m in for a special treat.

Something that is very important to me is to shop local. How lucky are we to have such wonderful places shop that offer one-of-a kind gifts? Shopping local provides job security, offers a more personal and relationship building experience, and helps the environment with less packaging. Some of my favorites are; RI Boutiques in downtown Mystic, The Bowerbird in Old Lyme, and Azalea in Niantic. They also have beautiful clothing and accessories options for holiday work parties and special occasion events.

And speaking of holiday parties, be sure to treat yourself while preparing for such festive celebrations. If you read my November article, I mentioned I was going for an IV hydration therapy session at Contemporary Wellness Med Spa in Mystic. I can’t say enough about my experience with Victoria. My skin is still glowing. They are offering 10% off all services for the holidays! I also keep a stock of boxed candles on hand that I pick up while on a shopping excursion as hostess gifts for holiday parties. A trip to Sift Bake Shop is always a huge hit for the sweet- lovers in your life too.

Finally, and saving the best for last, let’s not forget our four-legged friends. I like to give out natural, pet friendly, and safely made in the USA holiday cookies to my friends and neighbors who have furry family members. They are a gift from Trixie, my chihuahua mix, who has made some friends while on our walks. Especially her pals Wheaten Terriers Sweet Pea and Popeye, and her new friend Toy Golden Doodle, Roxy. Check out Paw Print Pantry in Niantic and Mystic Pet Store in downtown Mystic for all of your pet supplies and gift ideas.

I hope you have fun shopping and gift giving this holiday season. Be on the lookout for steals and deals, promotions and gift with purchases. I also encourage you to keep some spare change on hand to support the Salvation Army. We are in a cashless society and those bells will be ringing soon enough, along with the red kettle looking for the much- needed support for those who can really benefit from our help. Small change can have a big impact.

I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season. See you next year! 

Be well, spa often, and wear your sunscreen.

Tracy XO