Five reasons leaders like you need a summer vacation

Not taking a vacation is harmful to your health and your business

Five reasons leaders like you need a summer vacationI was about to take a six-month vacation from my business and my team leaders Rachael and Carmel were a little surprised – and perhaps a little nervous – when I told them they would be in charge. The business had been open for five years, but the truth was I was making more money…

Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s origins

What do bunnies and eggs have to do with the religious celebration of Easter?

Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s originsThe community Easter egg hunt was fun until the Easter bunny showed up. My granddaughter took one look at the hairy hare, and the bliss of savouring a chocolate egg turned to terror. My grandson carried on happily eating his treat until the Easter bunny approached him, at which point he too began to cry.…

Five little tips for surviving the Christmas holidays

Accept your limitations and honour those activities that make you feel good when you do them

If you’re struggling with the holiday season, know that you are not alone: many of us scramble with all the responsibility and the desire to get things done. The perfect gift, the perfect wrapping, the cookies, sending out cards, attending school plays, paying the bills: the list goes on and on. With all this perceived…

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luck

How to avoid a Clark Griswold meltdown and having a SWAT team invade our home

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luckNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become a holiday season staple in many homes. The film, released in 1989, portrays the misadventures of the Griswold family as the main character Clark tries to create the perfect family Christmas. While the film is genuinely funny, there’s something more profound that appeals to us. Perhaps it’s the fact…

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faith

If we share peace and goodwill with others, we find them growing within us

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faithThough it’s technically the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, many traditions merge to form what we call Christmas. Some traditions are indeed Christian but others aren’t. Some date from eras before Jesus was born and some are more recent. One of the most endearing today is that of Santa Claus, the…

Blue Christmas: How Elvis turned it into a seasonal classic

How something quite ordinary can be transformed by a specific performance

In late 1965, coming to Canada from Ireland had its revelations. My Dublin hometown may have been more architecturally distinguished, but it couldn’t match Toronto’s relative abundance of decently paying jobs. There were also things like diners – which I’d only seen in American movies – and the language esoterica pertaining to “double-double” coffees. Top…

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

The traditional German song O Tannenbaum is often translated as O Christmas Tree. This translation is only partly accurate, 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 those…

What your Christmas tree says about your leadership style

Are you a dominant or conscientious or steady leader, or an influencer?

What your Christmas tree says about your leadership styleThanks to the women’s suffrage movement and their demands for equal work for women, I was at home last week while Margaret was slaving away at the university. Because she’s only in her 11th year at the university, she has to work until Christmas Eve. To make matters worse, Margaret was worried – as she…

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,…

How to shake off your Christmas stress

Remain calm. You'll make better decisions than those who are stressed

How to shake off your Christmas stressIt’s almost that time of year again – the shops are filling up, along with the roads, and people’s stress levels are increasing. Christmas is a time of tradition. Some people have huge family gatherings with relatives (lockdowns permitting) from all over the place; others prefer a quiet evening – fireplace, wine, blanket and time…

Taking the stress out of Christmas, preserving the joy

Christmas is about family and creating warm memories

Taking the stress out of Christmas, preserving the joyIt was a cold day – really cold. As I sat in a coffee shop with a cup of tea one Christmas season, 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…

Body language tips for the holiday office party

A holiday get-together can quickly turn into a career-limiting event

Body language tips for the holiday office partyThe holiday office party offers a great opportunity to socialize with co-workers, meet new people, and develop or deepen relationships. However, a holiday get-together can also quickly turn into a career-limiting event unless you understand the do's and don'ts of appropriate behaviour. The desire to relax and have fun can be a highly anticipated, positive antidote…

Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the Bailey

Leo McKern transforms into the barrister with personality, magnificent inflection and dry wit

Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the BaileyThanksgiving in Canada is a wonderful, relaxing time. Turkey dinner with family. Football games and baseball playoffs. Listening to music. Catching up on reading. How could you ask for anything better? As it happens, I can add one cherry on top of the proverbial sundae. I was able to go through my DVD collection of…

How to choose wines for Thanksgiving dinner

Our columnist's picks for Thanksgiving dinner wines

How to choose wines for Thanksgiving dinner“Our life is frittered away by detail,” proclaimed Henry David Thoreau. “Simplify, simplify, simplify!” On Thanksgiving, many of us heed Thoreau’s advice and remind ourselves and our loved ones to stop fretting over little things and give thanks for the big things we too often take for granted. Yet, one area that seems to defy…

Why I chose to celebrate Canada Day

Let’s fix what needs fixing but appreciate what we have

Why I chose to celebrate Canada DayI celebrated Canada Day. I took the day off from work. I wore red and white. I enjoyed a barbecue with friends. I’m very glad I live in Canada. Sad, tragic things have happened in Canada. A catastrophic event has been defined as one where little children die and we’re uncovering evidence of such catastrophes…
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