Celebrating Christmas with Poirot and Marple

If you're looking for some binge-worthy fictional subjects, nothing could be better than Agatha Christie’s signature characters

Celebrating Christmas with Poirot and MarpleAh, Christmas! There are many things I enjoy doing on Christmas, a wonderful holiday. This includes spending time with family, watching Alastair Sim’s version of Scrooge (1951) and animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), listening to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and reading Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. With respect to the latter,…

A child’s Christmas Eve in 1950 Dublin

One of my earliest Christmas memories was going to see Roy Rogers, the "King of the Cowboys", in The Gay Ranchero in a Dublin cinema

A child’s Christmas Eve in 1950 DublinAs you get older, one of the things that Christmas evokes is a sense of remembering. And for me, one the earliest such memories relates to Christmas Eve 1950. It was the first time I ever went to the cinema. Or, as Dubliners would have said, the pictures. I was six years-old at the time…

Dressing up your new smartphone

Here are some case, carry and accessory ideas that make your phone just a little bit smarter – and better protected

Dressing up your new smartphoneHoliday shopping and retailer incentives are driving sales of smartphones right now. And plenty of people want to dress up, protect or enhance their new phones. So here are a few ideas from Case-Mate, Smartish, Catalyst and Apple. From camo to colourful If you don’t want boring but still want to keep your case slim…

The ritual and love of Christmas at Skelhp

Whales, glorious sunsets, warming fires, close-knit family, a hand-cut tree, elaborate toasts – and plaid!

The ritual and love of Christmas at SkelhpThe humpback whales were still breaching and blowing as we crossed by ferry from Little River to Powell River on our way back to Skelhp after a week with friends. In mid-December, the big ocean visitors begin their travels south, and once again the local orcas and sea lions become the dominant residents of the…

Last-minute tech-savvy holiday gift ideas

Deep-muscle treatment, foldable phones, audio repair software and an easy-learn mini digital wind instrument

Last-minute tech-savvy holiday gift ideasWith Christmas just around the corner, you may need to make some last-minute purchases or gather ideas about what to do with all those gift cards come Boxing Day. So here are a few very practical selections from Theragun, Accusonus, Roland and Samsung. Gift of pain relief If you’re looking for a gift to help…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…

The secret to enjoying a Christmas that’s easy on your wallet

Whether tough times force your hand or you just want to start January without a credit card bill, you can still enjoy a glittering, happy holiday season

The secret to enjoying a Christmas that’s easy on your walletWhat if I told you that ‘cutting corners’ can transform Christmas from a hectic, stressful money drain into a joyous, energizing experience? I understand if you are skeptical, but let me show you how it is possible to save money at the same time you enjoy a sumptuous, all the trimmings holiday season. The secret…

Why Christmas matters in a secular society

Its message of goodwill towards all people is ultimately in the best interest of a multicultural society

Why Christmas matters in a secular societyWe go to extremes to avoid the religious aspects of Christmas in the public sphere, and we are worse for it. Christian beliefs about Christmas might offend someone in our secular and multicultural society, so we ignore its religious and historical background. The reluctance to mention the origins of this much-loved holiday permeates early childhood…

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…

Christmas in Germany

German Christmas markets, a kaleidoscope of colors and lights, are street markets that are usually held in town squares and spill over into adjacent pedestrian zones

Christmas in GermanyGerman Christmas markets, a kaleidoscope of colors and lights, are street markets that are usually held in town squares and spill over into adjacent pedestrian zones. While there are Christmas markets all over Europe, the tradition in Germanic speaking parts of Europe seems to go back to the Middle Ages. The markets generally coincide with…

Celebrate more this Christmas, worry less about business

This year, stop rushing through the holidays long enough to let your thoughts be diverted from the burdens of work to the joyfulness of the season

Celebrate more this Christmas, worry less about businessWhat do we miss by rushing through the celebrations and skipping the festivities of the Christmas season? At the end of the year, many people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Hanukah, New Year’s Eve or Festivals of Lights. Even if you aren’t religious, you probably celebrate Christmas with gifts or family gatherings and large meals.…

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…

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…

Teaching kids gratitude at Christmas

Consumerism has become a “big problem” for kids, a roadblock on their way to becoming appreciative and contented individuals

Teaching kids gratitude at ChristmasMaybe I am romanticizing when I say that the Christmas of my childhood was not about stuff. There were fewer products, less pervasive advertising and no Black Friday sales. A few pages at the back of the Sears Wish Book were the inspiration for visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Surely, the focus on…

Networking tips for the holiday office party

Don’t pass up the opportunity to expand your network and build your personal brand

Networking tips for the holiday office partyThe holiday office party is a wonderful time to mingle with colleagues in a less pressured setting. Which makes it a great time for networking. Never thought of an office party as a networking event? Then you are missing a key opportunity to develop or deepen relationships with co-workers, to personally thank those who have…
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