Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

Okay, so what is still on your list? Or have you not even started yet? Christmas is 3 days away, so you deadline-pushers (that would include me), stop despairing. These quick tips can help you survive another holiday season and elate your friends and family as well.

1. Do your online shopping TODAY. If it’s important to you that people on your gift list have actual items in their hands by Dec. 25, then today’s the day to start clicking for two-day shipping, if available. Many online retailers promise to deliver presents by Christmas Day if you place your order by Dec. 21-22 using two-day shipping, there are still some lenient retailers will continue to guarantee on-time delivery if you use overnight shipping by noon Pacific time on Dec. 22. You can quickly check the shipping sections of stores’ Web sites to find out which deadlines you’ll have to hit. Take a look at Have a look at the new Jaguar Collection – from fragrances and leather luggage to soft toys and cufflinks. www.jaguarcollection.com

2. Buy tangible, plastic gift cards. Stop by Jaguar of Orlando and pick up a gift certificate for a nice accessory, oil change, tire rotation, car detail, car rental, etc. Most local businesses offer them, so you have plenty of opportunities to look thoughtful by tailoring your gift-card purchases to certain individuals. Just be sure to read the fine print before you buy. Some cards might have expiration dates and fees, particularly those bearing the logos of major credit card companies. Our gift cards do not have any hidden fees. If you’re not comfortable just handing over a card, wrap it inside a mug or put it in the arms of a small stuffed animal.

3. Send electronic gift certificates or gift cards. Another option is an online gift certificate that gets sent out via e-mail. Many retailers offer them, and their convenience to you is unparalleled – so long as you feel reasonably comfortable that your recipient won’t mistake your electronic gift for spam. Some retailers allow the certificates to be used only on their Web sites, not in their stores, so make sure the person on the receiving end is comfortable shopping online. You’ll often have until around noon on Dec. 24 to order the e-gift cards and guarantee their timely arrival.

4. Shop on Dec. 24. Most non-procrastinating types relax on Christmas Eve day – meaning traffic at the malls should be thinner then. Of course, this approach only will work for presents you can give in person locally, not for gifts that need to be mailed.

5. Think food and drinks. Consider “splurges” that your loved ones might not get for themselves – and that also won’t require you to step foot into a crowded mall. Some ideas: nice bottles of booze and liqueur; a case of wine; caviar; prosciutto; gourmet cheeses; fine chocolate; premium olive oils; hard-to-find hot sauces.

6. Give the gift of yourself. For a gift that’s both personal and easy to execute on a deadline, create “coupons” for services you can provide in the weeks to come. You can give coupons for an amazing multi-course meal, babysitting services, pet-care services, massages, Web site building, car repairs, painting and other handyman services around the home. Just be careful not to over-promise; you’re sure to be remembered for giving a “gift” and failing to deliver on it. Or maybe a coupon for someone to go pick out their very own Jaguar(There are great specials for new and pre-owned Jaguars).

7. Opt for practical ideas. You can get large quantities of items your recipients are sure to use, such as art supplies for art lovers, prepaid calling cards for friends who travel a lot, or specialized emergency kits. For someone with chronic car problems, give them a gift certificate for a Jaguar emergency kit, a flashlight, gas can, jumper cables, flares and a membership to AAA.

9. Donate to charity in someone else’s name. Through the nonprofit Charity Checks, you can order a check in any dollar amount, then let your recipient select a charity from among 800,000 in the United States. Go to http://www.charitychecks.us/ or call toll-free 1-800-854-5601. (Once again, if you want your gift to show up by Christmas Day, it’s best to place your order by Dec. 21. You might be able to get away with waiting until Dec. 22 to order, so long as you’re willing to pony up for overnight delivery.)

Don’t despair, just get creative and there are lots of ways to bring holiday cheer! Jaguar of Orlando is here to help! Stop by and we can help you put together a gift that will knock your Jaguar fan’s socks off!

Safety on the Long Road – Holiday Driving

AAA reports an estimated 33.8 million people travel during the last two weeks of December with more than 75 percent of those people driving. Estimates project an even higher number of travelers this year, causing our nation’s highways to be more congested than ever, in potentially bad weather. Follow these tips, get prepared, and stay safe during those long hours behind the wheel this holiday season.

Prepare your vehicle. Make sure it is maintained and in good shape. Check your tire pressure, oil, and coolant. Jaguar Orlando is here to get your Jaguar humming for the long haul and often brutal winter haul. Call us and set up an appointment. We’ll be happy to get you rolling.

Be prepared for winter driving. In some areas of the country, you are dealing with snow, ice and unplanned conditions that you might experience at home. Carry a snow scraper and brush, a flashlight, blankets, booster cables, and a shovel, and make sure you have flares or emergency triangles.

Check on road conditions and weather in advance. First check TCC for our own real-time traffic reports. You may also want to try the Federal Highway Administration’s site for traffic information and links to other traffic sites. Check the weather forecast before you go for the weather along major interstate highways.

Bring a cell phone(s) for emergencies, but don’t ever use hand-held cell phones while driving, and even if you have a hands-free cell phone, use it only when absolutely necessary. Leave the calling to passengers, or better yet, when you’ve pulled over somewhere off the highway. And make sure you have a phone charger to keep your phone ready.

Wear a seatbelt. Make sure that every occupant of your vehicle is properly wearing seatbelts, even if you are in a van or RV.

Take regular breaks. Stop at least once every two hours-more frequently if it’s snowing, as falling snow can have a hypnotic effect.

Don’t speed. Speeding to try to cut trip time is especially risky when highways are packed with holiday traffic. Police will be out in full force to enforce posted limits.

Don’t drink and drive! Watch out for other drunks on the road, and report any suspects to the police before they cause an accident. According to NHTSA data, more people are killed in accidents on holidays than any other time, and nearly half of the accidents involve drunk drivers.

Don’t binge. Drinking or eating too much over the weekend will leave you tired for the drive back. Safely stow food in the trunk, rather than in the car where it’s a distraction. Keep in mind that turkey contains a natural sedative, called L-tryptophan.

Cut distractions. Supply the kids with distractions so they don’t distract you. Traditional games like travel bingo tend to be a lot less annoying on a long trip than the sounds of a Buzz Lightyear doll and a Game Boy.

Finally, read TCC’s tips on Night Driving for more information. And get a sense of humor-if you’re driving more than six hours, you’re going to need it!

Happy holiday traveling!

Your friends at Jaguar of Orlando

Jag you are…the car of my dreams

As seen in the Orlando Biz Journal on Thursday December 9th.

Written by Anjali Fluker

I’ve always been a little-car driver.

My vehicular lineup ranged from a Saturn in the 1990s to a Suzuki Esteem in the early 2000s to the Chrysler PT Cruiser I’m driving now. I want my next car to be a smart fortwo — the itty-bitty one that looks like a toy and can squeeze into half a space in a standard parking lot.

Heck, a few years ago, I drove a Chevy Impala that felt like a boat!

But the other day, when I got into my car, things looked too different. There was no huge monitor showing me the radio or climate controls. There was no push button to start and stop the engine. There was no fancy little silver gear-shift knob rising quietly out of the console. And the needles on my gauges were real moving needles, not computerized pictures.

I think I’ve been bitten by a Jaguar — the luxury car, that is.

As part of my reporting efforts last week, I made a trip to Jaguar Orlando near the Mall at Millenia to see what all the hype was about and to experience what driving a Jag was really like. The owners of the newly branded Orlando Premium Collection — which includes Infiniti, Lotus, Aston Martin and now Jaguar Orlando — are planning a nearly $3 million showroom and service center expansion to accommodate all the upscale models in separate but adjacent space. See the full story in Orlando Business Journal on Dec. 10.

On a side note, several members of the Orlando Premium Collection speak with English accents — just a coincidence, they say — so for the rest of this blog, you’re welcome to pronounce it “Jag-You-Are.”

To begin with, dealership co-owner Peter Wilson and salesman Gary Swinard made sure to get me a newer Jag to test drive — the Jaguar XJL priced at about $80,575, which has standard features including soft-grain leather heated and cooled seats with built-in back massagers, individual temperature control for four passengers and the ability to electronically pre-set how you want your seat aligned for up to three drivers. I already started counting in my head — one setting for me, one setting for my husband and one for my mom when she comes to visit.

Being that it wasn’t my car, I had to navigate through about four or five electronic levers in order to get my seat to the point where I could see well enough over the hood of the car and reach the pedals.

And off we went! Though it wasn’t a long drive — one block down Oak Ridge Road from Orlando Premium Outlets-International Drive and then along Millenia Boulevard back to the dealership — feeling the rush as I floored the pedal for a quick second was enough for me. And for those who are a bit more daring than me, there’s a little button with a picture of a racing flag on it next to the gear-shift. You can just imagine what happens with that.

For a moment, I could see why nearly 55 percent of Jag drivers stay with the brand. And why Jaguar Orlando sold 43 new cars in the first three months since it bought the dealership.

OK, so the magic may wear off soon and I’ll be back to wanting a smartcar. But it does give me yet another thing to aspire to …

Of course, there was that Lotus in the back lot, too.

Have you ever driven a Jaguar, and if so, what are your thoughts?

How to Keep Holiday Memories Fun – Focus on Safety

As we all go through the hustle and bustle of holiday planning, we often lose site of the lack of security and dangers around us. We all are out there shopping and spending and so are the opportunists to take advantage. It’s the most dangerous time and when we put our guard down the most.

holiday-safety

So before you head out to the malls and shops for marathon days of shopping for your family and friends, heed this advice before heading out. Taking a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday memories fun and memorable.

The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

ATM Safety – Be extremely careful using ATM machines
• Use them in populated places and be constantly paying attention to what’s going on around you.
• Try to go during the daylight hours.
• If you must go at night, pick a machine that is well lit and visible to passing traffic.
• If anyone is lurking near the machine, pass it up and find another.

At the Mall – Lots of distractions
• Try to shop when the mall is less crowded — during the weekday, or at night when malls stay open late for holiday shoppers. Avoid the weekend rush, when it’s easy to lose children among crowds.
• Don’t dangle your handbag from your shoulder. You are creating a perfect setup for a purse-snatcher. Instead, keep your purse tucked tightly under your arm, or better yet, don’t even carry a purse. Wear a fanny pack facing the front instead. Besides allowing your hands to be free to hold onto or carry your child, you’ll eliminate the possibility of leaving your purse behind or having it stolen.
• If you use pockets, place your checkbook, cash, or credit cards in your front pockets. Only bring one or two credit cards and a limited amount of cash with you.
• Spread your money around in different pockets. That way a pickpocket can’t clean you out in one fell swoop.
• Avoid carrying your checkbook, cash, and credit cards all together in one wallet, because a thief who gets the whole package together can cash checks with your identification and run up a large credit card bill in a short amount of time. Keep your keys separate, too.
• Don’t “flash” large rolls of money in public. You never know who’s watching!
• Check to see you’ve been given back your card once you’ve paid for what you bought.
• Watch your credit card slip being filled out – and make sure it’s not passed through the machine more than once. Ask for your carbons.
• Keep your credit card receipts in safe place when you get home and check them against monthly bills.
• Make a list of your major credit cards, their account numbers and the phone numbers to call if cards are lost. Keep this list at home.
• If you’re not sure a shopping bag will be available, take one of your own to the mall.
• Consolidate as many packages as possible, or make several trips to your car to deposit packages in the trunk. Don’t allow yourself to become so burdened down with packages that you become a tempting target.
• Avoid carrying large, heavy packages that block your vision and make you a target for purse-snatchers.
• Keep an eye on your child. It’s okay to let children look around and have fun while they shop, but they also need to understand that it’s important to stay near their parents.
• Bring a babysitter, friend or older child to help watch your youngest, especially when waiting in long lines.
• Teach your son or daughter what to do in the event you get separated. The best option is to instruct your child to look for a security guard or police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help.

In the Parking Lot – A prime area for targeting, don’t go alone.

• Always park where there is plenty of light, not only around your car, but also from your car to the mall or store entrance.
• Once your car is parked, familiarize yourself with its location so you can find it without delay.
• Don’t hesitate to ask for a security escort if you feel unsafe.
• Use the trunk of your car to keep your packages out of sight.
• Keep your car locked at all times.
• When walking through parking lots, be sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Walk with authority. Don’t look like a victim!
• Have your keys in your hand before you go to your car.

Jaguar of Orlando wishes you and your family the best during this holiday season. Safety is a critical part to your family joy and fun. We are here to answer any questions you might have about the security options with your Jaguar. Give us a call at anytime and we’d be happy to walk you through the features and options.

Happy Safe Holidays!

Your Friends at Jaguar of Orlando