Canadians expect to spend more this Christmas shopping season

Many shifting back to in-store shopping, says new report from PwC Canada

Canadians expect to spend more this Christmas shopping seasonChristmas will soon be here and in many ways the shopping season has already begun. A new report says Canadians will spend an average of $1,563 this Christmas shopping season, a 3.7 per cent hike over the previous year. According to PwC Canada's 2018 Holiday Outlook report, eight out of 10 Canadians plan to spend…

Legion poker rally and toy run returns

Bikers are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy to be donated to the West Central Crisis and Family Support Centre

Legion poker rally and toy run returnsKenneth Brown of The Clarion Kindersley area bikers looking to go on a late summer cruise, win cash and support a good cause at the same time could do it all at the beginning of September. The second annual Legion Poker Rally and Toy Run is being presented by the Kindersley Legion on Sept. 1,…

The overwhelming imagery of the Crucifixion

The child that was me experienced the lead-up to Easter as foreboding rather than inspiring

The overwhelming imagery of the CrucifixionI was never big on Easter. As a Catholic schoolboy in 1950s Ireland, Easter played second fiddle to Christmas. In fact, the competition wasn’t even close. Christmas had several advantages. For one thing, school holidays were longer. Whereas Easter only delivered a week and a half, Christmas tacked on a further full week. The tone,…

’Twas the night before Christmas …

The lights will be artfully strung, the family heirloom decorations will be carefully hung, and the boys will murmur appropriate and truthful praise

’Twas the night before Christmas …It’s the week before Christmas and all through the forest it’s cold, wet and dark at 5 a.m. when I awaken. We’re going to bed at 9 p.m. in this part of the world because the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. and it’s pitch dark at 5:30. The leaves have definitively fallen from all of…

Christmas dream routes through East Germany

Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock, in East Germany, rival many of their big city cousins, especially during the Christmas season

Christmas dream routes through East GermanyLike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, emerging from a world of black and white, East Germany has been transformed into a Technicolor version of its former self. While relatively unknown to those outside of the country, the cities of Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock have been transformed into vibrant tourist hot spots that rival many…

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a week

Starting this Christmas, have the guts to turn off the phone for a few days – okay, start with one day – and contemplate what you have to celebrate

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a weekSomeone asked me the other day if I missed the mayhem of owning a business at Christmas time. The truth is, I do. While I don’t miss taking inventory, all the extra hours, the squeeze of trying to find enough time for family and customers, figuring out if there should be a Christmas bonus or…

Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright

For 199 years, this beloved Christmas carol has resonated. More than 26,000 versions have been recorded and it enticed soldiers to lay down their arms

Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is brightSilent Night, which is probably the most famous Christmas carol of all, will be 199 years old this Christmas Eve. It was first performed at the parish church in the Austrian village of Oberndorf during midnight mass on Dec. 24, 1818. And, fittingly, the performers included the two men who’d written it. The words had…

Not feeling the holiday magic?

There are no perfect holidays. Accept your limitations and honour those activities that make you feel good when you do them

Not feeling the holiday magic?Not feeling it this season? Started getting stressed as soon as you saw the Christmas decorations go up the day after Halloween? I’m guessing that it’s not because you’re famous for being able to give the Grinch a run for his money. You can get by most of the time without people thinking your heart…

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of Christmas

The Christmas tree is a universal symbol that delivers a message of endurance and light during the dark winter months

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of ChristmasThe traditional German song O Tannenbaum is often translated as O Christmas Tree. This is only partly true, however. The English version is quite different from the German. The essence of the German song is far more universal. One of the beauties of learning languages is discovering what words and poetry mean to the people…

Celebrating Christmas in 18th and 19th century Alberta

Christmas was more primitive in the 18th  and mid-19th century, but it was still Christmas – joy and fellowship were, and are, its primary expression

Celebrating Christmas in 18th and 19th century AlbertaTurn the clock back to the late 18th century and mid-19th century Alberta, and chances are you’d be eating fish, beavertail, and stewed moose rather than roasted turkey and honey-glazed ham for Christmas dinner. Instead of rockin’ to tunes emanating from audio systems and iPods, you’re more likely to be dancing the jig to the sounds of…

Give of yourself to get this Christmas

I don’t have a surplus of cash to donate during the Christmas season. Being a Salvation Army bell ringer is my way of giving back

Give of yourself to get this ChristmasI don’t have a surplus of cash to donate at Christmastime – or any time of year. I can’t afford to put a bill in the kettle every time I encounter a Salvation Army bell ringer. And yet, I’ve found a way to give to their worthy cause this Christmas. I donate my time. It…

Christmas songs and the power of nostalgia

Bing Crosby's version of White Christmas is recognized as the best-selling single record ever

Christmas songs and the power of nostalgiaIt’s surely a personal quirk, but I must confess that the relatively modern Christmas songs, like All I Want for Christmas Is You and Fairytale of New York leave me cold. Yes, I know they’re critically acclaimed and immensely popular, not to mention enormous money-spinners. However, they don’t tickle my fancy at all. Perhaps it’s a…

Bah, humbug to the war on Christmas

In the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas

Bah, humbug to the war on ChristmasIn the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas. Battles loom over nativity displays, the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting and Christmas trees. Public schools banned carols from school concerts years ago. There is, some argue, a war on Christmas. While some seek to eliminate anything that remotely resembles religious…

Taking the stress out of Christmas, preserving the joy

Christmas isn’t about gifts, a blanket of snow, a crackling fire and carols. It's about family, and creating warm memories

Taking the stress out of Christmas, preserving the joyIt was cold the other day – really cold. As I sat in a coffee shop with a cup of tea, preparing to answer a few emails during a break from Christmas shopping, I noticed four shivering teens – opting for fashion instead of warmth. They ordered hot chocolates, then headed to a far corner of…