Living in Charlotte County Florida

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Creative ways for giving gift cards

Gift cards have become so popular these days.  When receiving a gift card it is just not the same as being able to open a gift, wrapping paper and all.  There are a lot of gift card holders for sale made out of cardboard, paper, a stuffed animal, a stocking, a plastic window sleeve, or even a tin.  Here are some fun and exciting ways to present that gift card to the recipient.

Wrap in multiple boxes

A common way is to wrap a gift card in a box, but why not try several boxes of several different sizes.  Wrap the gift card in a small box, then wrap that box in a larger box, then wrap in another larger box, repeat with as many boxes as you like.  This adds back in the fun of unwrapping a gift and the excitement of wonder.

Attach to a delivery

Plan to meet with the person and have something delivered such as flowers or a pizza.  Go to the delivery location ahead of time and ask them to tape the gift card to the top of the delivery box or attached to the flower arrangement.  Then when the delivery arrives, they will be surprised.

Place inside a photo album

Buy a small photo album and purchase several different gift cards.  Let’s say you are going to spend $100 as a gift.  Instead, buy 10 ten dollar gift cards.  Put each gift card in a different slot in the photo album.  Next to the gift card try to find a coupon for the location.  If it is a department store gift card, look in the newspaper for a coupon worth for example 20% off.  Cut it out and put it next to the gift card in the photo album.  If it is a restaurant coupon, look for buy one get one free or discount coupons in the newspaper or local flyers.  Put that next to the restaurant gift card.  This way they get to use your gift several times throughout the year and get extra savings on top.

Another idea for inside a photo album is to fill the photo album with lovely family photos.  In the last page of the photo album place a gift card which will be a surprise ending. 

Give it in a basket

Purchase a small woven basket and fill it with colorful shredded paper or natural filling.  Place the gift card in the basket along with some small items the recipient may use such as lip balm, a comb, hand lotion, pocket size Kleenex or other handy items you know they will like.  Wrap the entire basket using clear cellophane.  Tie the top with a pretty bow and you are good to go.  They will have a reusable basket, some small goodies and a gift card to buy what they want.

Play hide and seek

Hide the gift card somewhere in the house.  Give the person clues where they have to find one clue and then it gives a clue where the next clue is, repeat as many times as you like until the final clue leads them to the gift card.  This is especially fun for children or even teenagers. 

Place it in a purse or wallet

If you know someone who needs a new purse or wallet, accompany it with a gift card.  Place the gift card inside the wallet or purse, then wrap.  This is also a good idea for giving cash. 

Put it in a mug

If coffee, tea or hot cocoa is a favorite, put some in a mug along with other items such as a chocolate dipped spoon, a cinnamon or peppermint stick, marshmallows, sugar packets, creamer packets, biscotti or cookies.  Don’t forget to place the gift card in there too.  Wrap with cellophane and tie with a bow.

Personalize based on type of gift card

If you are giving a gift card for clothing, wrap it in a sock, hat, gloves or even a shirt pocket.  If you are giving a gift card to a Chinese Restaurant, wrap it in a take-out box.  If you are giving a gift card to a kitchen supply store, wrap it in a dish towel.  A gift card for a hardware store might be wrapped in a toolbox.  A movie theatre gift card might be placed in a box with popcorn and movie type candy.  A book store gift card could be clipped to a book, magazine, or even a calendar.   You get the idea.  Be creative and see what you can come up with.

Gift cards are not always a unique gift choice and it may not seem very personalized, but you can personalize it by using an imaginative wrapping technique.  It makes a nice surprise and shows that you put some effort into it.  Have fun!

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL



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Holiday gift ideas for the unemployed

Do you know someone that is unemployed and don’t know what to get them for Christmas?  Being unemployed can be a very stressful time and especially during the holidays.  What once was a basic to the unemployed may now be a luxury.  It is not a good idea to buy an expensive, frivolous gift but a more practical gift.  Here are some gift ideas for that special person.

A gift card for dinner – When a person is unemployed, they don’t even think of going out to dinner.  This may bring some normalcy to their lives.

A gift card for groceries – Being able to go out and buy some food to put dinner on the table can be welcoming and a relief.

A gift card for gas – We all know the gas prices are high and a person who is unemployed may spend time driving around to look for openings or to go on interviews.  Having some gas in their car will help them feel like they can also get out of the house.

A gift card for clothing – If the person doesn’t own a lot of interview clothes, you may want to get them a gift card at a clothing store so they can buy essential clothes that will help them make a good first impression on an interview. 

A gift certificate for a salon – If you can find out where the person normally gets their haircut, you can give them a certificate to help them look nice for an interview as well as feel better about their appearance.

Give them money – Think of a creative way to give them money such as in a balloon or tied to a money tree. They can use the money to help buy essential items or pay bills.

A prepaid phone card or minutes – Communication is necessary when looking for employment and being able to keep in touch with family or friends. 

A gift card to an office supply store – Job hunting can get expensive with purchasing supplies for printing resumes, mailing resumes, and it is a good idea to have an organizer on hand to keep track of the job hunting.

A gift card to a pet store – Quite often when someone is unemployed, they can no longer afford to buy food for their pet.  They start feeding the pet table scraps or neglect to give them flea medication.  This may help them be able to keep that family pet. 

A referral to an employment agency – If the person lives in Southwest Florida, refer them to Southwest Florida Works –  This agency offers free employment counseling, workshops such as resume preparation, interviewing skills, computer skills, job search sites and more. 

The most precious gift you can give the unemployed is your time.  Offer to drive them somewhere, help them with their resume, invite them over for dinner or bring them a family meal, and offer to wash their car, or mow their lawn.  What you decide to purchase depends on the person you are giving it to.  You should know what their likes and needs are and whether they can give back to you or not doesn’t matter.  Just the thought of being able to help them in time of need will be much appreciated. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL

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What to buy as a housewarming gift

Buying a housewarming gift

Do you know someone that just moved into a new home and you would like to get them a housewarming gift?  Have you been invited to a housewarming party and don’t know what to get?  A traditional gift is a bottle of wine, a flower arrangement, or a gift basket such as fruit.  But a practical gift will always be well-received.

It is important first of all to determine what their needs may be and you want to get something that speaks to their style or personality.  Are they downsizing, moving into their first place, or moving from out of town or out of state?  Their circumstances will determine the type of gift that is most appropriate.

The most practical gift would be a gift card from a local home improvement store (Ace Hardware, Home Depot, or Lowes), a grocery store, a local department store (Kmart, Target, or Wal-Mart), or even a restaurant.  That way they can select items they know they need.  They can stock up their refrigerator and pantry.  Or they can take a break and go out to dinner

If you are looking for something unique and creative but also practical, here are some other ideas:

  • A collection of tools in a toolbox
  • A phonebook with local businesses and the neighbors
  • A collection of garden items
  • A  collection of kitchen items
  • A collection of cleaning supplies
  • A tree or plant for the yard/garden (only if the person has a green thumb)
  • Just moved note cards with a book of stamps
  • An assortment of paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, napkins, paper cups, plastic silverware)
  • A gift pack of batteries of all sizes
  • A first aid kit
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A housecleaning service

If you don’t have time to select and organize a special gift, you can go online and order a gift basket or personalized item and have it delivered to their door.

Some local Charlotte County, FL places to purchase a gift basket, arrangement, or personalized gift:

A housewarming gift is generally easy to buy.  These ideas should help you decide what to buy the next time you know someone moving into a new home. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL

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Moving with a pet

Whether you are moving across town or across state, you will need to make arrangements of how to transport your pet.  Pets quite often have a fear of new surroundings and need time to adjust, but getting them to the new location can sometimes be a challenge.  To help the transition go a little smoother here are some suggestions. 

Moving with a Pet

Some methods of transportation are by air, either accompanying you or in an appropriate container traveling with the air freight, traveling with you in your personal motor vehicle, or hiring a professional pet moving service.  It is best to have your pet in a crate or pet carrier for safety reasons.  Some pets are frightened of car travel and others will get car sick.  You should know how your pet reacts to traveling and make plans accordingly.  Some vets will prescribe a sedative or tranquilizer if your pet does not adjust well to traveling. 

Regardless of the type of transportation you are using, you will need to plan ahead of time.  Some things to prepare ahead of time include making sure to have your pet’s vet records.  Your pet should have some type of id on them whether it is an ID tag or an implanted microchip.  The rabies tag should also be on your pet’s collar.  It is also a good idea to pack a travel kit for your pet which includes a leash, food, water, blanket, some treats, comb or brush, paper towels, newspapers, and don’t forget the scooper or plastic bags. 

Plan to make stops along the way to give your pet a short walk.  It is best to not give your pet food or water before starting out for the day.  Feed your pet in the evening and give it a drink at your stop.  Never let your pet loose or out of the vehicle without being on a leash.  Do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.  While traveling make sure your pet is not in the direct sunlight because it can become overheated.  If you are staying overnight in a hotel, be sure to have your pet in a crate close by.

When you get to your new place your pet may have some anxiety issues and need to be watched carefully and given some attention.  They need time to adjust to the new surroundings and neighborhood.  Do not let your pet outside alone.  To make things a little easier try to put your pet’s belongings in a similar location as your previous home such as food and water in the kitchen, pet bed in the living room, and toys in the hallway.  Inspect the home to make sure it is a pet friendly environment and adjust accordingly. 

The next step would be to get a new veterinarian and contact the local county or city office to obtain a license for your pet.  Also, don’t forget to get a new ID tag for your pet and change the address if your pet is micro chipped.  Happy moving!

For more information on moving your pet, try some of these web sites:

Humane Society of the United States –

International Pet and Animal Transportation Association –

Travel Pets –

Florida Pet shipping, moving and transportation – We Move Pets –

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL



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Options for Moving


Moving Options

Whether you are moving into Florida or out of Florida, you have to make a decision as to what is the best way to move your belongings.  Here are some options available.

  1.  PODS – A POD is a portable moving and self-storage container.  A POD offers you the opportunity to have easy access and convenient loading of your household items at your own home.  The company will deliver the POD to your door and pick it up at your door and deliver it to your new home.  If you aren’t going to be moving into your new home right away, your POD can be stored until you are ready.  You also have the option of packing and loading yourself or the company can pack it for you.  If you decide to pack yourself, be sure to pack carefully and arrange the items in the POD so that they will not shift.  Here is the company web site if you want to check into rates:
  2. Renting a Truck – You have the option of renting a truck and moving yourself.  There are some advantages to this type of moving versus the POD method.  You have control over what you are moving and how you move it.  You can take your time driving to your new location and you know where your stuff is at all times.  A rental truck has a little more restrictions on the time frame than a POD.  It also is a little harder to load because you have to haul your stuff up a ramp.  In addition, someone has to drive the truck and you have to find a place to park it if you are staying somewhere overnight.  Rental truck sites in Charlotte County, FL:  Budget –,  U-Haul –, Penske –
  3. Using a Moving Company – Many people don’t like to deal with the hassles of moving themselves, so they will hire a moving company.  A moving company can generally load and unload much faster than you would yourself.  They move people all the time and have a method down pat.  They can also maneuver furniture easier because they are experienced.   If you use a moving company your items are usually covered if something gets damaged.  Using a moving company also relieves some of the stress of moving itself.  One of the things that some people don’t like about using a moving company is they can’t always move right when you need them.  Some companies need 10 days’ notice and they may not get your belongings to your new location on a date and time that you need them.  It can also be more expensive that renting a truck or using a POD.  To get free moving quotes from moving companies go to:

Costs for all of these types of moving vary.  The expenses involved depends how much stuff you have, how long you will be traveling, and how fast you need to move.  Check into prices and compare sizes as well.  Be sure you have enough space to fit all of your household items.  It really pays to shop around. 

By:  Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL