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Three Wise Sites for Happier Holidays

Happy Holidays

The activities that buzz around the Holiday Season are so hectic, we thought it was worth a blog post to share with you some unique and useful sites that might make your lives less chaotic this year. Instead of the click, click, click of tiny reindeer, tap the click of your mouse to treat yourself and others to some entirely unique services. So as our gift to you, here are three experience-based sites to make your holiday season brighter – or at least a bit more efficient.

The Gift of Healthy Home Cooking

This is real food in real time. Co-founders and Harvard Business School grads, Nick Taranto and Josh Hix, say that most people want cooking to be a part of their daily lifestyle, but the reality of choosing a recipe, braving the grocery store, prepping and cooking makes it seem overwhelming. Plated’s answer is to make it simple by offering a different healthy menu every week and packaging the ingredients in organized containers along with a recipe so that all the decisions and prep are taken out of the process.

Busy working couples and harried moms are two key targets for this culinary company out of Brooklyn, NY. All dishes include fresh fruits and vegetables and the company claims its produce will be “fresher than what you’d buy at a grocery store.” The menu changes every week to keep things interesting. This week, there’s Nissan’s White Bean Chicken Chili (cross promotion alert!) in honor of football season and Nissan’s sponsorship of the Heisman Trophy. This proves that they’re not just foodies, but smart marketers. Food comes in increments of 2, 4 and 6 servings and per-plate cost is around $15. Gift cards in increments from $60 to $360 are offered. One caveat – cooking lessons are not included. I received this service as a gift and my husband, who’s the cook in the family, mentioned that it’s “not for beginner cooks.” So think about the skill level of the recipient before you sign them up.

The Gift of a Private Driver
Site: (or more importantly, the Uber App)

Uber is the rogue personal driving service that has taken the sharing economy to the streets in several cities around the world. Using its GPS app on either iPhone or Android, available drivers in a variety of cars can be identified, price-checked and automatically charged against your credit card at a typically better price than a local cab. You can actually find the closest car and ping that driver directly via the app.

For holiday gatherings with friends, a large car that fits your whole group can be arranged and the app has a fare-splitting function via your friends’ Uber account. Even if your friends aren’t signed up, Uber will send them a text with a link to download the app and all excuses are moot at that point. Unfortunately, Uber no longer allows credit as a gift certificate, but they’ve tried many other promotional holiday ideas such as a partnership with Home Depot to deliver a Christmas Tree on December 5th this year and an UberSleigh is available in Indianapolis to pick up toys for a local toy drive. There’s always the opportunity to become an Uber driver to help with holiday expenses too — word on the street is that it pays an average of $25 per hour, including the cost of gas.

The Gift of Living Someplace Else (temporarily)

It started with the founders putting air mattresses around their tiny apartment to accommodate visitors to a huge conference in town. This transformed their small apartment into an “Air Bed and Breakfast.” Years later, it’s popularity has angered hotel owners so much that some cities are trying to have it banned. But if you’ve never heard about, we encourage you to visit the site and peruse the fabulous homes, apartments, lofts and tree houses all over the world where you could stay for much less than an average hotel would cost.

Airbnb is all about finding a place you like and reaching out to the owner to start a friendly dialog so that everyone is comfortable with the arrangement. The legal loophole for not becoming an actual “B&B” is that they are building a friendship and saying “I have guests staying at my house.” My husband and I spent a fabulous week in the East Village in Manhattan this year in a roomy third floor walkup above a massage parlor. Our host told us the income was helping her pay mortgage that month. From our perspective, a hotel in that area would have cost hundreds more per night. A win-win situation all around.

So wherever life takes you this happy season, we wish you all the best and hope you travel safely, sleep snugly and enjoy wonderful meals with family and friends. Cheers and happy tidings of good will and success from your friends here at Vertical Marketing Network.


Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

Screen captures intended as illustrative examples only. Registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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