Gifting Outside the Box

Let’s start with the facts. No guy wants another tie. And no woman wants a gift card.

What do you get for the boomer who has more than they need or want? Most of my friends are packing up their possessions and selling them on eBay, giving them away on Freecycle or donating them to local charities.

But ‘tis the traditional gift-giving season. In addition to Hanukah and Christmas, I’m still attending milestone birthday parties. Since I hate to shop and am a terrible wrapper, I usually choose experiential gifts to mark these occasions. I’ll take a friend to dinner or give them concert tickets. There are so many great new bands out there playing in small, local venues; it’s an easy way to make a 50-year old feel twenty again.

Or, if you know someone who’s longed for a bit of Indiana Jones-like adventure, how about the chance to play amateur archeologist? It’s a unique gift for person in your life who wants nothing.

Looking for a unique gift for a guy? Consider an Adventures in Preservation trip.

Photo: The Fairfield Foundation.

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5 Tips for Slackers Visiting Pandora at Disney World

If there are no Pandora Fast Passes available for your Disney World vacation, don’t worry. Here’s a strategy for riding BOTH Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage in 2 hours!

“Did you book your FastPass+ yet?” My sister-in-law asked this question every time we talked about our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. “Nope. I’ll get to it,” was my standard reply. When I finally opened the My Disney Experience app (while riding on the Magical Express from the airport to the Animal Kingdom Lodge), there was no availability for any of the popular rides, including Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey in the new Pandora – The World of AVATAR.

When visiting Pandora without a FastPass, be sure to catch the Tree of Life Awakening in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Watching the Tree of Life is a popular nighttime activity in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf/The Open Suitcase LLC

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Mangia! Arthur Avenue – NY’s Other Little Italy

If your summer plans include a family trip to the New York Botanical Gardens or Bronx Zoo, take a detour to Arthur Avenue before heading home or back to your hotel. Insiders consider it the real “Little Italy”. Authentic or not, the food was delicious and it’s a worthwhile detour if you’re visiting attractions in the Bronx. Continue reading

Where Have You Been All My Life, Disney Springs?

What to see at Disney Springs include a hot air balloon for tethered rides.What to See at Disney Springs

I had no idea what to expect when I climbed the stairs to the pedestrian walkway leading to the entrance to Disney Springs.

And I’m glad I didn’t. Continue reading