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,…

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…

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…

The first rock ’n’ roll Christmas

That a guy nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis had tackled sacred songs was offensive and sacrilegious to many. But it was perfect marketing

The first rock ’n’ roll ChristmasTeenagers in the 1950s couldn’t escape the music of their parents. Despite radio’s new-fangled Top 40 and the attendant infiltration of rock ’n’ roll, the sounds of the past were all around. This was particularly the case for Christmas songs. But things began to change in late October 1957, thanks to Elvis Presley announcing the…

Five little tips for surviving the Christmas holidays

The greatest gift you can give yourself is to accept your limitations and honour those activities that make you feel good when you do them

Canadians are expected to spend significantly less this Christmas season – or so the story goes – but that doesn't mean the holiday stress will melt away. The other night, my husband and I headed to the local mall to see what we could check off our Santa list. In spite of the mall being nearly…

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lights

Across traditions and time, there has been a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lightsI had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this week. A bright light, probably the planet Venus, shone with extraordinary clarity and pierced an otherwise black sky. Given my Christian faith and the time of year – less than a month until Christmas – my thoughts turned to the legendary Star of…

Balancing fun and professionalism at the Christmas office party

10 tips to insure that you make a great impression while you mix and mingle at the office party

Balancing fun and professionalism at the Christmas office partyAre you planning to attend your office holiday party? I hope so. This is a great occasion to relax and have a good time – and can be a highly anticipated, positive antidote to year-end stress. But anytime you combine fun with professionalism, it can also be a challenge. Here are 10 tips to insure…

Pack up you troubles in your old kit-bag

Our perspective in marking Remembrance Day is definitely at odds with views of the day, but that doesn't mean the sacrifices weren't worthy

As rhetorical formulations go, ”the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” packs a formidable punch. Signifying the coming into effect of the armistice that ended the First World War, the words have a striking resonance: eliciting solemnity, dignity and the sense of something very important. Much more so than VE Day or…

Rituals around death may help us live better

From creepy Halloween graveyard scenes to praying for the dead, our subconscious is trying to gain mastery over our fears about dying

Rituals around death may help us live betterEach year from Halloween on Oct. 31 to All Soul’s Day on Nov. 2, we give death a cultural nod. Does this fulfil some deep-seated need? We don’t have to be historians to recognize that Halloween is connected with death and dying. Just walk around any neighbourhood in the days preceding Halloween and you'll notice…
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