Could You Get All of Your Christmas Shopping Done at Buc-ee's? Probably

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Photos By Craig Hlavaty
The only place you want to see when you need to deuce it out while on the road in Texas.
If you travel anywhere in Texas, you have no doubt been to a Buc-ee's super gas station, home of clean restrooms, cheap gas, crack-like Beaver Nuggets, cutesy Texas trinkets, hunting gear and, at peak traveling hours during weekends and holidays, groggy and zombie-like humans hungry for beef jerky and coffee.

The biggest Buc-ee's locations, like the ones in Madisonville, Luling and near San Marcos (with one coming soon to Texas City) are part gift shop, deli, BBQ joint and convenience store.

Imagine that you are on a holiday road trip in Texas and you didn't get anything for the friends or family at your destination. What would you do? Let's throw gift cards and Walmart out of the equation. You could go to a Buc-ee's, of course, and knock out most of your list, and then some. You never know when you may need a Come And Take It bumper sticker.

This week I ventured out to the location in Luling to see if you really could do most of your Christmas shopping at Buc-ee's.

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Ten Gifts for the Houston Sports Fan They Are Bound to Love

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When you have a sports fan in your life, I mean a serious, hard-core fan, it can be tough to buy for them. Some of them seem to spend entire paychecks on sports gear and stuff related to their teams. Most have tickets to games and probably have a lot of memorabilia that will sell great on Ebay someday.

But, Christmas is coming and you need to think fast or you'll fumble away your chance at an awesome gift -- see what I did there? Fortunately for you, I'm here to help. There are quite a few interesting and unique ideas for the discerning sports fan in Houston despite the fact that our sports history hasn't always been, shall we say, stellar. And since they probably own everything the Texans have to offer, I figured I'd help find you some alternatives.


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10 Texas Christmas Ornaments from Etsy You May or May Not Want on Your Tree

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We Texans like stuff made by other Texans. We like to believe we are our own little country down here. In fact, some of us wish we were. In short, Texas pride runs deep, which is why we take every opportunity we can to demonstrate it. This Christmas, all over the state, there are houses decorated with Texas-themed displays. From lights bordering the unique outline of the state to all manner of nods to our western cowboy heritage, it's a very Lone Star Christmas up in here.

And in keeping with buying stuff made by other Texans -- or at least people who love us enough to want to make something about us -- we give you ten ornaments to consider for your tree...or not consider as the case may be.

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Wishlistr: An Alternative to the Amazon Wish List

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As Christmas grows ever closer, I know that I find it extremely helpful to keep a wish list for friends and family who don't know what to get me. I don't really care about surprises when it comes to getting gifts. Better to get something I want off of a list I made than a ceramic elephant lamp that doesn't work because when you pull the trunk, the light doesn't go on. Way to go, Anthony Michael Hall!

The Amazon wish list feature is pretty incredible and insanely useful, but what if you find products on sites other than Amazon? It's possible, believe it or not. I know that many of you choose to buy everything from Amazon, including milk and underwear, but a whole world of delights await you on a myriad of other websites.

That's where Wishlistr.com comes in.

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A Very Knitted Christmas: 15 Bizarre Handmade Christmas Ornaments on Etsy

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An Etsy ornament could've improved this.
If you are looking for some new and interesting ornaments to decorate your tree this year, Etsy can be a good place to look. The home of all things crafty on the Internet, there are thousands of options for funky, arty, quirky and even traditional adornments for your tree. But, Etsy also has an abundance of really, really odd stuff for sale and that includes stuff to hang from O Tannenbaum.

For starters, there are a ton of horror and zombie options. Zombies are clearly big this year and Etsy is a good reflection of that. But once you dig past the zombies, monsters and severed doll heads, there is a certain level of strange that is reached that defies imagination. When I think back to my childhood and wonder if my mom or grandmother would be cool with the zombie-headed angel tree topper, I think they might let me get away with it for a day or two. But, the ornaments on this list, I don't think so.

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Cyber Monday: Like Black Friday but for Nerds

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Photo by Ravenperch via Wikipedia
Nerdgasm!
Yes, it's Cyber Monday again. What's that? You don't know what Cyber Monday is? You're reading this on your computer right now, aren't you, and you still don't know? Have you ever heard of Amazon? No, not the jungle. Okay, I can see this is going to take a moment to help you through the ins and outs of what this day means to you.

So, sit back and relax and I'll tell you a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme. Sorry, that's Beauty and the Beast. This is a tale as old as, well, whatever you can think of that is seven years old, because the whole thing started in 2005. See, you learned something already.

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How To Avoid Giving Dumb Gifts to Your Boss This Christmas

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It's the most giftiest time of year, a time when we all get together, pretend to be happy and exchange worthless presents with our coworkers. This yearly ritual is often dull and depressing unless you've managed to sneak egg nog for a few hours prior to the gift-giving extravaganza, in which case you're probably ready to party, try to make out with that chick who is half your age in accounting and then sob on your cubicle mate's shoulder when she turns you down. Merry Christmas!

The one thing you probably can't get out of is getting a gift for the boss. On one hand, you don't want to appear to be kissing ass for a promotion. On the other hand, you don't want to be the one "I will not participate in commercialism" asshole in the office. It's a delicate balance. Here's how to avoid giving your boss a stupid gift this holiday.

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Out of Line: The Stress of Waiting to Shop for the Holidays

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Photo by JoeinQueens
Crazy lines at the Apple Store in Queens on Black Friday 2011.
At about 6 p.m. Thankgiving night, I was driving the familiar route between my fiancée's apartment and my own, hurriedly planning what I needed to finish packing before the perhaps ill-advised move set for 7 a.m. on Friday. Way too full of turkey and the usual Thanksgiving Day fare, I was damn tired and really not all that interested in loading boxes full of stuff for the move. Frankly, I wanted to lay on the sofa and watch football.

One thing that never crossed my mind was standing in line at Sears. Yet, as I drove past the Sears store at the corner of Fannin and Wheeler, there they were, dozens of people lined up waiting for the doors to open for what turned out to be a pre-Black Friday sale Thursday night.

Not four blocks from this Sears store is the well known breakfast/soul food restaurant the Breakfast Klub. Often on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I've marveled at the hours-long lines of people in the sweltering heat waiting to get some chicken and waffles or fried catfish. I mean, they have very good food, but not stand-in-the-sun-for-two-hours good.

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Five Ways to Alleviate Your Stress on Black Friday in Houston

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It's here again...Black Friday. Whether you are set to campout and trample someone for a $20 DVD player at Walmart or campout and trample someone for a $100 computer at Best Buy, you should be prepared for the long and winding crush of the season's biggest shopping day.

Fortunately, you live in Houston, where folks are generally friendly and there are rarely fights over toys or flat screens. Still, the stress and exhaustion of the day may be a bit overwhelming, so we'd like to offer some advice on how to take the edge off the day after Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, not all of them involve alcohol.

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Holiday Hackers: Five Cyber Scams to Watch for This Holiday Season

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Why get scammed by lame e-card services when you have someecards?
Everyone knows Black Friday as the day people sleep in front of Walmart stores for the right to fight over a $20 digital camera or $100 TV. Then there is the relatively more peaceful Cyber Monday that takes all the excitement of Black Friday and fuels it with orange soda and Cheetos but removes the violence, unless you consider turning on your own in Call of Duty because your partner snatched up that cool hard drive you wanted before you could get it violent.

Both days are great fun for the whole family, but you know what isn't fun? Getting ripped off by cyber scamming Scrooges and hacker Grinches who want to put a virtual lump of coal in your computer stocking...sorry, I lost the metaphor. Anyway, they want to steal your stuff and, unfortunately, you are making it easier on them, man. So let's pull this holiday together and figure out how to best spend your money this year without getting ripped off and I don't mean on a fruit cake. Stop buying those nasty things already!

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