What Makes for a Good Stocking Stuffer?

When it comes down to it, there are very few surprises left in Christmas.  Most people have Wish Lists where they can keep itemized records of everything they want. Many would prefer to not be surprised with a gift that they didn’t include on the list. With the resources out there afforded by the internet and social media, there isn’t anything out there that they want that they don’t have on their wish list.  Now, this is just one of the areas where Christmas surprises have been negated through technology and social media. Luckily, there are ways to bring the Christmas magic back to the holiday. One way is through stocking stuffers.

Stocking stuffers are generally less than $25 and are small gifts that tend to show more personality and humor. Their name is derivative of the fact that they are generally placed 1522into stockings hung over a mantel place or anywhere there are hooks. So what makes for a good stocking stuffer? First off, it shouldn’t be too expensive. You don’t want to break the bank over the item – that’s what the gifts under the tree are for. It should also be special in some way – not just some commercial item that is on everyone’s wish list. Finally, it should be something that the recipient wasn’t expecting. For all of these reasons, we recommend a pin. Why pins? Let’s examine the reasons below:

Pins are customizable: Let’s say you’re purchasing gifts for a large number of people and have no idea where to get started. If you have to purchase for more than 100 people – let’s say for coworkers – PinMart can customize pins that fit your message or personality. These custom pins will be a memorable gift not found anywhere else.

Pins are inexpensive: Have $25 to spend on all of your stocking stuffers? You can buy one or two things, or you can purchase a handful of pins. You can count the amount of dollars a pin from PinMart will cost with one hand.

Pins will last past one Christmas: Most Christmas gifts do not appreciate. In fact, the interest level and satisfaction they provide the recipient will often depreciate very quickly. Pins, on the hand, are timeless. They don’t fit into a particular style or fad. They’re something that can be worn at every age to showcase the thought and ingenuity you had to give them such a unique and fun gift.

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One of the only times quitting is the goal

Typically, for many Americans, there are two times of the year when it’s most likely you’ll try to either give up a bad habit, or pick up a good one: Lent and the New Year. But every year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to give up the habit of smoking and replace it with a positive habit, like an exercise regimine, or a new hobby. It’s tough, being right around the holidays, but most smokers will tell you that there’s never an easy time to quit, and many supporters will tell you that the best time to quit is when you’re surrounded by friends and family, like around the holidays.

And just encouraging people to stop smoking is not enough, clearly. So The Great American6901 Smokeout has created fun characters and cool graphics that quitters can use on their facebook and twitter pages, can purchase on items like lanyards and lapel pins, and forums they can connect to other quitters on. It’s a great way to turn what sometimes feels like a frustrating and lonely process into something that ties people together, and maybe even builds new friendships based on getting healthy.

At the end of the day, The Great American Smokeout will be a success for those who put in the effort and the dedication, and no amount of cute emoticons or lapel pins will make or break that. But having a fun community, enticing extras and some mementos of the journey towards being smoke free certainly doesn’t hurt.

All I need to know now is who and what are you quitting for, and by quitting, what will you gain?

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You Do What Again?

Sometimes I have to do some explaining when I tell people what I do for a living. Custom lapel pins are so much a part of our daily lives that many people actually need to be reminded of where they see them every day. And once they’ve made that connection, I sometimes see their gaze glaze over in that telltale way: she sells boring, monotone, corporate recognition pieces that no one outside the organization cares about at all. It’s those people and those look that get me the most excited. It’s an invitation to share with them some of my more unique lapel pin requests from over the years.

There are the cool but still practical pieces, like selling custom lapel pins to various major TV shows and movie sets, or certification pins for deep sea divers and the rewards for the office that S749proclaim “My boss thinks I’m kind of a big deal”. We’ve made replica goldfish cracker pins, llamas, gold miners, manatees and two peas in a pod. I’ve spoken to high ranking members of both major political parties, lobbying groups of every shape and variety, sororities to motorcycle clubs.

That much normally changes their minds about custom lapel pins, dispels the glaze in their eyes, but if even my mention of miniature mossy-oak colored t-shirt lapel pins doesn’t get the desired response, I bring up the truly unique pieces, the “Trapeze Jesus” lapel pin we’re currently crafting for a college campus club, the T.A.R.D.I.S replica we created for ComicCon over the summer, or the full rhinestone corset lapel pins we had made for a bachelorette party. That’s when the requests for pictures normally get made, and from there, my reputation is typically restored. I go from corporate back to creative pretty fast, thank goodness!

 

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Enterprise is more than just a starship…

There are many sides to business. The profit side, the charitable side, the community engagement side, the expansion side. And the beautiful thing about all these sides is that in America, free enterprise is the law of the land. And thanks to Jimmy Carter, November 15th is a day we celebrate this quintessentially American mentality, with National American Enterprise Day!

Enterprise is what keeps our country moving, growing, improving. Enterprise is what smallRCRF1263business owners have and execute in order to get their ideas from the computer screen to street corner. And what I think is really cool about our business in particular is that not only is PinMart itself a business, but we’re in the business of helping other businesses! I speak to men and women every day, hear about their business grand openings, and how lapel pins fit into that. Or the company that is looking to update its brand and wants lapel pins to help achieve that.

Enterprise is a big part of what got America from a small cluster of struggling colonies to the booming hub of commerce that it is today. And for a company like PinMart, it’s great to be able to cater to both sides of the enterprise coin, selling a product that helps charities and Fortune 500 companies, and also being a component in what helps these organizations and businesses thrive themselves, with the help of lapel pins, lanyards, and other promotional products.

Happy American Enterprise Day!

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A Heaping Helping of Knowledge, Hold the Diabetes

When I think of November, much like December, I think of food. This is normally in conjunction with family, which in my case, normally dovetails anyway, regardless of the time of year. But November is the start of the holiday season, and with any holiday, there is food. Lots of food. And Thanksgiving is arguably the most notable food holiday. Sweet and savory, meat, potatoes and pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, for a lot of Americans, these foods are not something they look forward to, it’s something they dread. With nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffering from diabetes, the holidays are more of a minefield than they are a celebration. So it’s both ironic and possibly fitting that November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Perhaps more than cancer, certainly more than other diseases like Alzheimer’s and Lupus, diabetes comes in different varieties and to an extent, is entirely preventable, and even reversible. So when it comes to fundraising for diabetes awareness, the focus is not just on 497treating the disease, but educating people in how to prevent and reverse it. That’s a lot of power to put into something like awareness ribbons or awareness bracelets. But that’s what the American Diabetes Association works tirelessly for every year, especially in November.

The key is to point out, through events, through paper pamphlets with awareness ribbons attached, in news and media, how easy it is to prevent various kinds of diabetes with simple diet and exercise practices. That will not prevent all kinds of diabetes, unfortunately, but for anyone at risk or suffering from type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise can be the main component in reversing or preventing diabetes in the first place! Facts like that save lives, and can make holidays like Thanksgiving something to be celebrated again, instead of something to dread.

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Semper Fi

You’ve heard about James Brown being the hardest working man in show business. But have you heard of the hardest working men and women in the military? Those would be the Marines. Not only were they an organized, recognized fighting force BEFORE our country was even an organized, recognized country, but they have been a part of every single American armed conflict. Ever. I’m not sure “hardest working” even really begins to cover it.

Back in the day they were America’s formidable fighting force on land and on sea, doing 1248newdual duty as both army and navy. To this day they still work closely with naval officers, and on naval tactics. In the 20th century, this organization has proven itself superior to all other fighting forces in its ability to act quickly and effectively at a moment’s notice. And the accolades, commemorative challenge coins and lapel pins that have derived from this unique brand of soldier continue to mount.

The reason I am pointing all of this out is that their “birthday” as an organization is this Sunday November 10th, the day before Veteran’s Day. Being a year older than our country, this makes them 238 years young, and all the stronger, braver, and smarter for it. So this Sunday, and again on Monday… heck, all month or all year, pin on your poppy lapel pins, your marine lapel pins, wear your Semper Fi t-shirt, and wise some folks up on just exactly HOW amazing the marines are. Cause they’re awesome.

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Citizen Soldiers

I love seeing people stand up straighter, extend a hand to shake, or even open both arms out wide in embrace, when they see a member of the military. In shopping malls, airports, on city streets, these gestures of thanks and gratitude warm me up as much as I hope they do the military men and women themselves. But something occurred to me when I was witnessing one of these moments recently: do the families of these brave soldiers receive the same welcome when they’re out and about? Chances are: they don’t.

Military families sacrifice in a different way than their loved ones all over the world in uniform, but their sacrifice is no less noble or challenging to deal with. These wives and husbands, children, significant others, brothers and sisters, have a constant fear and loneliness that no one should have to be burdened with. But they are also so proud of their1458 (1) loved ones that they carry that burden willingly, proudly, but because they do not wear a uniform themselves, they often carry this burden anonymously.

This is where I think lapel pins fit into the situation. (You had to know I was headed towards it, right?) If you know of family members of the a member of the military, make sure they have something to put on their jacket, their hat, the strap of their purse, proclaiming “My daughter is in the Air Force” or “My Grandson is a Marine”. These pieces, much like bumper stickers you sometimes see on cars when sitting in traffic, are the uniforms these families should wear so that we can recognize them in public, and then thank them for *their* service.

Every day tasks, every day life, is drastically different for the families of military members. The constant worry, the pride, the sacrifice and the loneliness are battle wounds that these people tend to every day, and if and when I recognize these individuals in public, whether it’s from a t shirt proclaiming “Army Mom” or lanyards or lapel pins distinguishing them as one of these brave family members, I always make sure they know that I’m thankful for *their* sacrifice, as well as their son, sister, or husband. They too are paying a hefty price for my freedom. Thank you to *all* who serve: here, there, and everywhere.

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Remember November

November is upon us. Time to spend more time indoors, warm, spending time with family, old and young. We honor our servicemen and women on Veteran’s Day in November. We take the time to listen to our elders, whether or not they participated in war, and learn S802from them. So it seems fitting that November also recognizes and casts a spotlight on Alzheimer’s Awareness. As the sixth leading cause of death in America, it effects the lives of millions of Americans, both with the disease, and loved ones of those suffering.

Research for a disease like Alzheimer’s is a time consuming, meticulous process, with medication to reduce or eliminate the effects of the disease taking upwards of 10 years to build, test, and release to those in need. But the time and money it takes to create these medications is nothing compared to the cost of currently handling those with Alzheimer’s, which tops $1.2 trillion. Numbers like that put the cost of awareness ribbons to support the cause into perspective.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that robs both old and young of a life, and memories, that are priceless. Rendering formerly sharp, independent people of their self-sufficiency, this disease also takes its toll on family members who devote endless hours caring for their loved ones. It’s for people like that that awareness ribbons benefit too: by showing your support and thanks for their often thankless services to family and friends.

The holidays are about family, friends, and creating new memories. And Alzheimer’s awareness month is about helping save those memories, and keep families together. No matter why you pin on awareness ribbons during this month, just know that it’s undoubtedly the right reason. Because there isn’t a wrong reason to support those in need.

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Keeping the Weeeee! in Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. The scary, the silly, the creativity, everything about this holiday is pure fun. And that’s easy as a kid. You’re encouraged to dress up, to play pretend, to decorate and participate, but the older we get, the less we celebrate things like this. Sure, you’ll have a few people who keep the tradition, and those are the best houses for kids to trick or treat at, the ones where the adults are still big kids at heart. But even for those of us who haven’t given up on the childlike fun of holidays like Halloween, it’s not always going to be appropriate or possible to wear that amazing Marie Antoinette ball gown into the office for Halloween. So what’s to be done?

Adapting our flair for the dramatic to work in all sorts of settings is not impossible, and can10091 (1) even be fun. Decorating your cubicle at work with fall and Halloween decorations, obviously after getting permission, is a great way to go about things. Putting a bucket of candy out for coworkers to snag a piece out of on Halloween is another fun thing to do, to get others into the mood without their needing to do any of the work themselves! And of course, if dressing up in a big way is going to be an issue, small but fun pieces like Halloween lapel pins and other jewelry make great alternatives. Spiders, skulls, witch hats and pumpkins all set the tone without having to worry about anyone tripping over your tail, or how to sit down in a suit of armor to answer emails.

Trying to get the whole office involved isn’t a bad idea either, if you think they’re receptive. Luncheons with Halloween-themed dishes and desserts is a great idea. Trivia contests with candy and spooky lapel pins as prizes is another good one. And if your office is on board, doing cube decorating contests can create a great atmosphere and a healthy sense of competition.

No matter how you go about it, holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and St. Patrick’s Day can still be fun, no matter how old you are. As long as you’re a kid at heart, there’s always a way to make sure your inner child is entertained.

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Having the Right Tools to Organize Your Next Fundraising Event

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s better to give than receive.” The basic message is that the satisfaction and joy in your heart that you have after giving something to someone in need will far surpass whatever gift you could ever want. It’s a very popular sentiment around this time of year. It’s probably more than a coincidence then that a number of different organizations hold fundraising and other philanthropic events during the Holiday Season. If you’re in the middle or are still in the planning stage of your next fundraising event, here are several things to keep in mind:

Create a Committee and Appoint a Chairperson: A committee can get the ball running and help your event get off the ground. They can help establish those all important questions of who, what, when, where and how. In addition, when setting up your committee, make sure there is a chairperson or point person, so people know who to turn to for questions and concerns.

Secure Corporate Sponsorship:  Because there are so many other fundraising events going on at the same time, the competition to get the best ones will be very tough. Therefore, you need to be prepared to answer questions about the theme of the fundraiser, why support is needed and who the event will reach. In addition, make sure to have different sponsorship levels to further encourage sponsorship.

Go Green: When it comes time for invitations and announcements, it might be a good idea to consider enacting a green initiative.  Paperless invitations are a good idea – as are announcements through social media, email blasts and other green means.  Green marketing can help you reach a great audience in a short amount of time, and you’ll be fullcolorlanyardpreventing further harm to the environment.

Support your employees with neck lanyards: On the day of the event, it could get quite chaotic. Therefore, you need to have the tools in place, so your employees and volunteers can maintain control to secure a successful event. An easy way to encourage organization is through neck lanyards. Neck lanyards allow supporters and invitees to see who is working the event, and at the same time, provides ample opportunity for promotion of the event.

By doing these among many other things, you can ensure that your holiday season fundraising event is a success. Contact Pin Mart today to learn more about neck lanyards and other promotional items.

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