Find out what's hot this holiday and devise a plan to get the gifts you want. But remember, kids are fickle. Make sure they really want that "it" toy before you exhaust yourself and your bank account attaining it.
The King knew what a "Blue Christmas" it is without loved ones around. You don't have to be in the same sad situation. Deb Mangas of Menno Travel Service in Goshen, Ind., says economical holiday travel is still possible. "You might have to fly on the holiday," she says. "But if you're flexible, there are some seats out there and some fairly good fares." Flights into and out of airports a bit farther from your home or destination also might save you some bucks.
Mistakenly left "Home Alone" over the holidays, young Kevin McCallister creatively thwarts a pair of bungling burglars who repeatedly try to break into his family home. If you don't have an 8-year-old to stand guard at your house while you're away for the holiday, don't worry.
Some simple and cost-effective security measures, such as pruning shrubs underneath windows, upgrading locks or putting lights on timers, will help keep your house safe while you're away.
As Scrooge's lone overworked employee, Bob Cratchit put up with terrible working conditions before his boss wised up. Most of us aren't as loyal as Bob. If we find ourselves in a similarly unfulfilling job, we start looking for a new one. Laura Morsch, a career adviser with CareerBuilder.com, says, "January and February are very big months for job searching on our site." Her advice: Don't spam dozens of employers with the same generic cover letter and résumé. Customize them for each position. (Microsoft and CareerBuilder.com are partners.)
As the prematurely cynical young daughter of a single mom, Susan Walker initially refuses to believe that Macy's new store Santa is the real deal. But in "Miracle on 34th Street," Kris Kringle convinces her in spectacular fashion. He delivers the only present Susan's ever wanted: a home for her new family. We all share Susan's dream of the perfect house, but it doesn't take a miracle to make it come true. All you need is some planning and preparation.
This isn't the loving grandmother you'll visit over the holidays. Nor is she the one reached by going over the river and through the woods. This is the poor grandma who got run over by a reindeer. The 1979 novelty song pops up on radios every holiday season. Whether you find the song amusing or annoying, Grandma's situation highlights the critical need for insurance -- medical, life and, for drivers as reckless as the lyrical reindeer, auto coverage.
This article was reported by Kay Bell for Bankrate.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.