If four legs trump two on your holiday-giving priority list, then you’ve got plenty of options to pamper your dog or cat this year. Check out these gift-giving ideas for the furry friend in your life (and to all you cat lovers out there — don’t take offense about our canine focus; dogs just seem easier to buy for):
Think political. Regardless of how the election turns out in November, your pooch can make its political preferences known. Opt for the “Bark for Barack” or “Mac is Back!” T-shirts, both available from Moochie & Co. at Southpark Center, Beachwood Place or Belden Village store locations or online (moochieandco.com). Make it a themed gift and throw in a “George the Lame Duck” plush dog toy, available from Cleveland’s Pet-Tique (pettique.com).
Think treats. We’re not just talking about a box of Milk-Bones. Pet-Tique is just one of many Greater Cleveland stores offering gourmet dog treats these days, with special holiday-themed cookies ranging from Christmas trees and snowmen to the Star of David and a dreidel.
Think luxury. Apparel options for animals are reaching humanlike proportions, with doggie coats and sweaters leading Pet-Tique’s holiday gift sales for four years running, according to co-owner Lawrence Carter. Pick up a Buckeyes, Browns, Indians or Cavaliers jersey for your pooch at Pet-Tique, or add a little bling to kitty’s collar with Moochie & Co.’s rhinestone-studded letters spelling out her name ... or perhaps “s-p-o-i-l-e-d”?
Holiday Tipping Cheat Sheet
All those people who make our lives easier throughout the year deserve a big thank-you once the holidays roll around, says Catherine Holloway of Cleveland-based Etiquette Consulting Services.
That thank-you should take the form of an extra tip or appropriate gift whenever possible, says Holloway, but just how much should we give? How should it be presented? And who exactly should make our tip-giving list?
Who makes the list?
“Take a personal inventory of all those people you’ve paid for a service throughout the year,” says Holloway. This may include a pet sitter, hair stylist, baby sitter, lawn-care professional, massage therapist, groomer, newspaper-delivery person or cleaning professional.
What should you give?
Holloway encourages this rule of thumb: A holiday tip should be equivalent to the value of the service. For instance, if you normally pay a cleaning person $75 per visit, then give a tip of $75 or an equivalent-value gift. Other options: pick up a gas card for your mail carrier or run out a box of homemade cookies when your garbage men make their weekly stop.
“It’s the one time of year when you can say, ‘Thank you for taking care of me,’ ” she says. “People often expect it, but it also makes them feel really special.”
How should you present it?
Be sure to give the tip or gift with a separate card and a personal note, rather than just including extra money in your hair stylist’s normal tip. “You don’t want to assume they’ll know it was a gift,” says Holloway.
What if I really can’t afford it?
Don’t let tip etiquette add too much to your holiday stress; most important are the sincere words you use to thank the people who make your life easier.
“The words will say more than the money,” says Holloway. “Those extra words complimenting the service they give will make up for the extra $25 you couldn’t put in because of the economy.”