Holiday time of year can be very stressful.  Yes, it’s the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, but in order to make it that happy, much work and preparation must occur first.

There’s buying and wrapping of gifts, sending packages and cards, visiting friends and family, and hosting holiday gatherings at home for which the house must be decorated and spiffed and shined like a diamond, food must be purchased and prepared, oh and don’t forget the baking!

What helps me keep the stress level to a minimum is knowing where to shop for all the ingredients, food, and cleaning products that will get me through the holiday season — and then some. That’s when I head straight to Smart and Final!

 

Holiday time in LA.  Who says we don't get the seasons?

Holiday time in LA. Who says we do not have change of seasons?

 

It was an exciting trip to Smart and Final this time. First off all, living in southern California, my friends and family from back east (I hail from the New York Metropolitan area) always ask “Don’t you miss the seasons, the changing of the leaves, the snow?”  All I have to do is drive down my block this time of year to see the beautiful changing leaves and if I want snow, I just have to look out my window at the mountains or drive an hour or so to get to them.  It’s one of the many wonders of southern CA living.  You can surf in the Pacific in the AM and snow board at Big Bear in the PM.  At holiday time, many do it dressed as Santa!

After taking in the breathtaking colors of the holiday foliage, I had to drive a bit out of my way to get to Smart and Final.  We are getting a new light rail public transportation line in my neighborhood and construction closed off some of the roads on my regular route.  No worries, with a little extra time and effort and finagling my way around the neighborhood, I arrived at Smart and Final ready to shop!

 

Welcome to Smart and Final

Welcome to Smart and Final

 

The first thing I did upon entering the store was look around for the Procter & Gamble promotion.  You know the one…

Get $10 off your next shopping trip with $30 in P&G participating items purchased from December 5 through December 11, 2012.

Smart and Final Procter and Gamble holiday shopping promotion

Smart and Final Procter and Gamble holiday shopping promotion

 

I came to Smart and Final especially for this promotion. I needed to stock up on Bounty paper towels, for cleaning the house and yard; had to replenish my Tide (I’ve strayed from Tide over the years, but always come back); and needed more Dawn dish-washing liquid — all items that are covered under this promotion.  (Purchase items from this list. )

It didn’t take me long to find the promotional products.  This particular Smart and Final puts them just off the front of the store to the right as you walk in.

 

Smart and Final Procter and Gamble promotion

Smart and Final Procter and Gamble promotion

 

The Bounty was right there front and center.  The Dawn was off to the side.  But the Tide was in a different aisle all together.  Luckily, they had a small sign near the Tide that noted the P&G Christmas cleaning promotion making it easy to #choosesmart.

 

The Tide was in another aisle, but the promo was clearly marked making it easy to #choosesmart.

The Tide was in another aisle, but the promo was clearly marked.

 

I quickly gathered all my items.  I knew right away how to put all this Bounty to use.  We had a garage sale this weekend — the first step in cleaning house for Christmas.  The Bounty came in handy to wipe down and dust off items that had been sitting in the garage waiting for the sale.  Another benefit of living in Southern California. While my friends and family back east are dealing with wind, rain, snow, ice and below freezing temps, we still have “yard-sale” weather!

 

Shopping cart full of my Procter and Gamble products, Tide, Bounty and Dawn

Shopping cart full of my Procter and Gamble products, Tide, Bounty and Dawn

 

With my cart full of my Procter and Gamble items I did a quick tally.  Yup.  These three would cover the $30.00 requirement that would enable me to get the $10 off coupon for my next visit to Smart and Final!  Can’t beat that as a Christmas gift to me!

 

Yum. I can't wait to get those brownies in the oven!

Yum. I can smell the goodness baking already

But my shop today wasn’t finished. Along with cleaning and decorating for the holidays, I also do a fair amount of baking.  My signature item?  Brownies!  Luckily, Smart and Final has another promotion this week as well.  If you purchase two First Street baking products, you get a free ticket to see the new Billy Crystal, Marissa Tomei, Bette Middler family (soon-to-be-classic) holiday movie, “Parental Guidance,” opening December 25, Christmas day, nationwide.  So, in the spirit of Christmas, I dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all straight to the First Street Baking aisle and found my brownie mix.  Yum. My house is going to be clean and smelling sweet once I get some laundry going with Tide and those brownies in the oven!

 

Checking out at Smart and Final was a breeze

Checking out at Smart and Final was a breeze

It was about 2:30 PM in the afternoon, and the checkout line wasn’t at all crowded, so I was able to check out very quickly.  The cashier was very helpful in explaining how the $10 off coupon worked and how I could take advantage of it the next time I shopped.

 

Parental Guidance, First Street baking items promotion in Smart and Final circular

Parental Guidance, First Street baking items promotion in Smart and Final circular

 

But when I asked her to further explain the First Street/”Parental Guidance” promo, she was not familiar with it.  Instead of simply sending me on my way, however, she called over a supervisor who quickly got the week’s circular and showed me how I can get further info.  I really loved this extra effort on the part of the staff.

 

Testing a holiday-themed recipe

Testing a holiday-themed recipe for a side dish

So, home I went, far less stressed knowing that I was stocked up with my cleaning products for the holidays.   But my work was not done.  I immediately began preparation for a holiday-themed dinner, testing my recipe for sauteed peppers.  Thankfully, I had stocked up on Bounty.  This dish, although festive with its red and green colors, can leave a mess of oil splats on the stove!  Armed with Bounty, clean up was a snap.

The recipe is easy, too!

Ingredients:

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 large fresh green pepper
1 large fresh red pepper
Pepper and Salt

Slice one large fresh red pepper and one large green pepper in half.  Clean out the core (with the seeds).  Slice both peppers into 1/2 inch strips.  Set aside.  Coat a skillet with EVOO and heat until the oil easily slithers across the pan.  Add the peppers to the skillet.  Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the peppers are coated with the oil and are slightly softened.  Serves 4

 

Holiday cleaning starts with clean clothes and linens! Tide and laundry standing by.

Holiday cleaning starts with clean clothes and linens! Tide and laundry standing by.

 

Next, I had to get a load of wash in. Luckily, I have a collaborative husband, who typically takes on the chore of doing the laundry.  How cool is that!  He had his Tide and was ready to get the first load in.  Nothing better than smelling Tide at work and knowing that cleaning your clothes, towels, and Christmas linens couldn’t be easier!  Thanks, hubby.

 

First load in!  Thanks to hubby, Tide and Smart and Final!

First load in! Thanks to hubby, Tide and Smart and Final!

 

Not only did I #choosesmart with my shopping trip, I did it with the man I married, too!  Happy holidays, everyone!

Find out more about Smart and Final at the Smart and Final Social Calendar, Smart and Final on Twitter, and Smart and Final on Facebook.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper
insights study for Collective Bias™ and Smart & Final
#CBias  #SocialFabric

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