Posts Tagged 'holidays'

Gift card tips for the holidays

If you still have gifts to buy this week, you may be thinking about gift cards.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers tips on purchasing gift cards – especially considering new rules passed this past summer.

The FTC notes that gift cards must now show their expiration date (if there is one), cards can only charge inactivity fees after one year, and the money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years.

There’s also a difference between retail gift cards, offered by stores and restuarants, and bank gift cards, which are offered by Visa, MasterCard, and American Express for you to spend like a debit card.

The new gift card rules are supposed to help protect consumers – which is good news for anyone who gets a gift card in their stocking this holiday.

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Winter Wonderland 2010 photos

Winter Wonderland - Exit

This past weekend American 1 employees celebrated our own night at the Winter Wonderland. We took some photos of the event on Saturday night, and boy what a turnout!

Winter Wonderland starts up again this Friday, Dec. 17 and runs through December 23. It’s free with paid entry to Nite Lites. Hope to see you there.

Store cards hurt more than help

With all the Christmas shopping, you might be tempted to save 10 or 15% on your store purchases by signing up for a store credit card.

The drawbacks, as the New York Times puts it, may outweight that one-time benefit:

As one expert put it, if you strip away the store discounts and brand names that come with these cards, many are essentially the same products marketed to subprime borrowers, or individuals with tarnished or fairly new credit histories. Would you really choose a card with an interest rate of say, 25 percent, or about 9 percentage points higher on average than many other credit cards?

You may save on that initial purchase, but gotchas like a higher interest rate, a lower credit score, or spiking rates after a promotion are some of the harmful effects of signing up for store-brand cards.

To learn more about how big bank credit cards can “get ya,” visit our Operation: Your Best Interest site.

Winter Wonderland added to Nite Lites

Nite Lites

You may have read in the Jackson Citizen Patriot that American 1 is adding a Winter Wonderland event to John Spink’s Nite Lites Christmas light show at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

The American 1 Winter Wonderland will coincide with Spink’s Nite Lites from Saturday, Dec. 12 to Wednesday, Dec. 23 at the American 1 Event Center. The event will feature decorated holiday trees, vendors offering hand-crafted items, a kids craft area, food and drinks of the season, and a visit from Santa Claus. Entrance to the American 1 Winter Wonderland will be at no additional cost to the Nite Lite visitors.

Thousands of cars drive through Spink’s Nite Lites event each year at the Jackson County Fairgrounds during the holiday season, starting after Thanksgiving.

“I’ve been looking to increase the activities we offer at Nite Lites for several years,” John Spink, owner of Nite Lites, says. “It takes a lot of work to create something from scratch and, with their success at coordinating events, I felt American 1 would be the perfect business to approach about supporting it.”

Liz Niles, our community relations manager, is looking for businesses to participate in the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest and vendors to offer holiday handmade crafts for the event.

“The Jackson community has been so supportive when it comes to getting involved with events that are focused on family, and this event is just that,” Niles says. “This is going to be one stunning sight you won’t want to miss.”

Local businesses will compete in the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest. During the Winter Wonderland, all the trees in the contest will serve as prizes in a silent auction that will take place during the 12 days. The winners will receive a potted blue spruce pine with decorations. Guests will also be able to vote for their favorite tree by making a donation to that tree’s donation box. After the event, the business with the most donations in their box wins the contest. The money collect will be donated to a charity of the winning business’s choice.

For more information on the Holiday Tree Decorating contest or vendor participation, contact Liz Niles at (517) 780-4139. To support the event with a donation, contact John Spink at (517) 937-6426.

[Photo courtesy Mlive.com.]