5 Smart Ways to Get the Best Online Deals and Discounts after Christmas!

Shopping online right after the holiday season is one of the smartest ways you can save up!

Forget the holiday rush that takes up all your time, money, and energy. Anyone can do their post-holiday shopping in the comfort of their home, in front of their desktop or laptop computers, or even with just a tablet in hand. Luckily, Tree Classics has compiled smart tips to help you get the best deals and discounts, avoid scams, and also protect your computer system from malicious and malevolent software posing as ‘great’ offers.

shopping during Cyber Monday is the best way to get the best deal this season

1. Do Some Background Research on Online Retailers

After the holiday shopping frenzy comes the clearance sale! Check out the website of your favorite stores and brands. Bookmark the merchandise that catches your interest and take note of the markdown in prices.

Right before making the purchase, visit what is known as a comparison shopping website to see if another online merchant offers a lower price for the item you’ve been eyeing. Compare the deals before clicking!

2. Update Your Computer’s Security System

One of the dangers to online shopping is picking up computer viruses and programs that either destroy your files or steal your data. Before visiting any e-commerce website, update your anti-virus programs and spam protectors first. If your system doesn’t have one, purchase a program and install it before going online. Remember, cleaning and repairing a system once it gets infested costs a lot more than simply installing a security software right from the start.

3. Upgrade Your Browser to the Latest Version

updating your browser can speed up your system

Don’t miss out on a good deal just because of a slow system. You can remedy this by updating your browser so you can connect faster and enjoy other features of the site. These features may include video streaming on how to use an item or the zoom-in function when you view photos of the product.

It’s also a great idea to update your operating system if you can. Cleaning out junk files might also help since this will speed up your gadget’s overall performance.

4. Never Click on Links to Sites that are NOT Trusted

Often, you’ll get junk email about supposedly ‘great’ deals from unknown senders and incongruous sites. Unless you’re familiar with the name, don’t click on them. Most of these sites are breeding grounds for viruses and worms that can ruin your computer and your online shopping experience. Stick with the websites you are familiar with.

5. Use PayPal (or Other Payment Protection Services) to Avoid Credit Card Fraud and Take Note of All Your Purchases

use your credit cards during Cyber Monday

There will be sites and deals out there that offer various methods of payments. To be safe and also process payments faster, always use a secure third-party payment processor, such as PayPal or ProPay, so you can avoid having to give out your credit card number each time you shop at a different website. At the same time, these websites help you keep track of expenses by letting you check the invoice online. You can then check this invoice against your upcoming credit card statement.

Enjoy a safe and splendid post-holiday shopping spree online when you follow these smart tips from Tree Classics!

Photo Credits

Photo by nicholasjon via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by JaredEarle via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by StormKatt via flickr. CC BY 2.0.

Films that Honor American Heroes

Heroism and patriotism have always been a favorite subject in film. These narratives are a wonderful way to remind people about the importance of struggling against injustice and defending our community and country against all that threaten them. At the same time, these narratives also honor the bravery and sacrifices made by the people who chose to fight for what is right. Here are five American films that pay tribute to our modern day heroes:

All the President’s Men (1976) 

the film poster for Alan Pakula's All the President's Men

Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men focuses on one of America’s most talked about controversy: the Watergate Scandal. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford play Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two journalists who try to uncover the secrets behind the strange burglary at the Watergate complex. Aided by a secret informant, who calls himself Deep Throat, the investigation leads the two newsmen to a startling discovery that might compromise the integrity of the president and the administration. Based on real-life events, this movie shows Bernstein’s and Woodward’s unbreakable commitment to the truth, to journalistic integrity, and to what they owe the public.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July is part of Oliver Stone’s trilogy of films about the Vietnam War. This critically acclaimed movie takes the subject matter out of the deadly battlefield and brings it to the home front, in the invisible war that the media did not cover. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, a soldier taken out of the war zone due to injuries sustained during combat. In his hometown, the audience becomes witness to his difficulty in adjusting to the life he once knew before seeing everything he had seen in Vietnam. He finally gets his bearings, realizes that he does not want what he experienced to happen to anyone, and joins a coalition protesting against the war. The film is a testament to the horrors of war while honoring the men and women who would put themselves in the line of fire for their country.

The American President (1995) 

Rob Reiner's The American President

Rob Reiner’s The American President is an enthralling look into the life and responsibilities of the world’s most powerful man. Written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, this film focuses on President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, as he deals with re-election, a debate over a crime bill, the conflict in the Middle East, and an impending environmental crisis, while trying to make a relationship work with a liberal lobbyist. The film expertly showcases the dedication of a man in his efforts to improve a country and his willingness to sacrifice his personal happiness for the betterment of the electorate.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan

Considered a modern-day masterpiece, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is a breathtaking and harrowing account of a small band of soldiers under orders to retrieve and bring home Private James Ryan, a paratrooper who had lost three of his brothers in World War II. With uncertainty, the soldiers plunge head-on into enemy territories, risking life and limb just to save one man. This film exhibits the bravery of our soldiers fighting out of the country and their dedication even in the face of death.

United 93 (2006)

Paul Greengrass' United 93

One of the most heartbreaking movies in our list, United 93 takes a look at the greatest tragedy of our times. On September 11, 2001, against the threat of an attack on US soil, the passengers of United 93 bond together and stop the nefarious plans of the Al Qaeda. Armed with nothing but their bravery, without any military training whatsoever, they fight off the terrorists and bring the plane down, just so they could save the capital from an act of violence designed to take hundreds of lives. This movie is beautiful and stands as an inspiring reminder that everyone can make a difference.

Remember the heroism of our dear countrymen with these stirring and inspiring film recommendations from Tree Classics.

Tree Classics Christmas in July: 5 Simple Ways to Spread Cheer

Christmas has always been a season of giving. Whether you’re handing out gifts at an orphanage or helping out at a local soup kitchen, you know there is nothing more satisfying than being able to make other people happy. Celebrating Christmas in July allows you to continue spreading the joy of the holidays. Join Tree Classics as we list down ways you can turn your Christmas good deed into a year-long tradition.

1. Hold Storytelling Sessions with Kids

Audiobook
Photo from LibAmanda via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Reading is a great way for kids to enrich their imagination. There is a tale of adventure and awe locked inside every page of a good book. But reading can be very difficult for a child who has dyslexia or is visually challenged. Remove this obstacle by lending your voice in an audiobook production and holding a storytelling session with kids.

By using well-loved storybooks and textbooks that have been transformed into electronic recordings, children with learning disabilities can enjoy the lessons that these wonderful literary treasures have to offer. Visit Learning Ally to find out how you can sign up as a volunteer reader.

2. Visit Homes for the Elderly

Elderly
Photo from ryanrocketship via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Time has a way of making us forget the things that really matter. We won’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the people who came before us. Let’s not wait until the Christmas season to check up on Grandpa and Grandma and make them feel appreciated. Drop by your grandparents’ house or your local elderly home and bring back their smiles. You can share a meal, tell stories, and even play fun games with them. Check out organizations such as Little Brothers to learn more about how you can help bring cheer into the lives of our beloved elderly.

3. Become a Red Cross Volunteer

First Aid
Photo from Fort Meade via flickr. CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a long-term commitment helping out, you can never go wrong with the American Red Cross. Always ready to help where there is a disaster, the organization has come to symbolize solidarity and care. For decades, it has given aid to those situated in the most dangerous corners of the world. The Red Cross has diversified its volunteer work into different functions. Aside from helping in disaster relief efforts, you can also be a volunteer at blood drives, become a health and safety instructor, or even a social media advocate.

4. Rescue Animals with Your Neighbors

Animal Rescue
Photo from Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Animals have the right to be safe. Sadly, not everybody is aware of this fact. We often find pets neglected or mistreated by their owners. Groups such as Sanctuary One and The Humane Society of the United States try their best to care for these poor critters, but they also need the help of other animal lovers. Sign up for their programs such as rescuing and protecting these pets from cruelty and providing them a loving home.

5. Build Homes for the Homeless

Habitat
Photo from Rob Swystun via flickr. CC BY 2.0

And, yes, there is no place like home. This has always driven the volunteers of Habitat for Humanity. They have dedicated their time and energy to providing homeless people everywhere a shelter where they can be safe and warm. You can join hands with family and friends and turn home-building activities into a time for bonding. With every brick you lay and every beam you hammer into place, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped create a better tomorrow for your fellow.

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to spread holiday cheer. Now is as good a time as any other.

Tree Classics’ Summer Reading List

Tree Classics Pride and Prejudice

The slower pace of life in the summer allows you to take time, relax, and delight in a good book. As you make the most of your summer holiday, Tree Classics recommends titles that will help you unwind and pull away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life:

1. The Classics

There are novels that you wish you had read thoroughly back in college. Enjoy some of these old favorites. The classics take you back to the early times, giving you a greater perspective of the way people used to live and the ideas that had once influenced our world. Reading books written decades or even centuries ago not only increases your knowledge of literary references, but exposes your mind to different viewpoints. With some written in old English, and others representing the beginnings of modern English, classic books also improve your vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Tree Classics Recommends: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen; Les Misérables by Victor Hugo; Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy; and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

2. The Bestsellers

Don’t shy away from the bestseller rack. Reading something popular once in a while allows you to check out mainstream literature. Many bestsellers have, in fact, received good reviews. Whether fiction or non-fiction, these titles can explain much about the present world we live in. They especially give us ideas of the latest trends both in literal and literary terms. Since most are written in modern English, popular books are easy to understand, but this is not to say that you won’t pick up any new words from them.

Tree Classics Recommends: Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser; Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld; The Peripatetic Coffin by Ethan Rutherford; and Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon.

3. The Beach Reads

Languorous afternoons on the beach set the stage for light, escapist reading. Let’s face it: no one actually reads something as heavy as The Brothers Karamazov while out in the summer sun! Summer books or beach reads should not be as challenging or heart-wrenching as the classics, but they should be interesting enough to keep you entertained while you’re swinging on a hammock or lounging under a beach umbrella.

Tree Classics Recommends: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; Heat Wave by Richard Castle; Summer Sisters by Judy Blume; and Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult.

And the list is complete. Happy summer reading!