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…

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faith

If we share peace and goodwill with others, we find them growing within us. If we share kindness, we become more kind

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…

How to shake off your Christmas stress

People who have a calm perspective make better decisions than those who are stressed. And stress behaviour is self-perpetuating

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 from all over the place, others prefer a quiet evening – fireplace, wine, blanket and time off work.…

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t like

Social and cultural change is most effective when it employs persuasion as opposed to heavy-handed tools such as censorship

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t likeThe removal from air play of the newly controversial 1940s hit Baby, It’s Cold Outside represents a noteworthy shift in the way media companies defend artistic freedom in the eight years since the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing was banned in Canada. The Dire Straits tune, a monster 1985 hit, was forbidden from broadcast…

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…

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost Borders

Kate Harris’s book is a must for the travellers on your gift list; discovering Norway and Iceland; indulging in a wellness weekend

Holiday reading: Get lost in Lands of Lost Borders[smartslider3 slider=59] Modern explorer Kate Harris’s story may not compel you to follow in the skinny tire tracks she left on an often-gruelling bicycle trip on the ancient Silk Road trading route. But one thing is for sure: She’ll leave you breathless with her beautiful writing about her 10,000-kilometre cycling odyssey through 10 countries in…

Three gadget reboots worth another look

New Kindle Paperwhite, Fitbit Charge and the iRobot Roomba models make for great contenders

Three gadget reboots worth another lookHave you ever hesitated to buy a gadget because it wasn't quite right? Or perhaps you bought something but found the technology wasn’t up to the job? You’re not alone, but there are always new things coming onto the market or retooled devices that might fit the bill. So we’re having a first look at…

Albertans most likely among Canadians to set firm holiday spending budgets

Two-thirds of Canadians plan to spend the same this year as they did during the 2017 holiday season: survey

Albertans most likely among Canadians to set firm holiday spending budgetsAlbertans are more likely than other Canadians to set very firm budgets this holiday shopping season, according to the Retail Council of Canada’s Holiday Shopping Survey 2018 which was released on Wednesday. Twenty-six per cent of Albertans surveyed said they would be firm on their holiday budget. The survey also found that 66 per cent…

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boys

The camaraderie of splitting and stacking your winter wood with pals, and the payoff through the cold months

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boysDo you still burn wood in a fireplace? For most of us, fireplaces are becoming ornamental. We heat homes with natural gas flares emitted from faux metal logs, or carefully machined wood pellets bought in bags at Canadian Tire or plastic-wrapped bundles of kindling and fire logs purchased at gas stations for $9.99. The whole…

We’re all ears for holiday headphones

Ears come in all different shapes and sizes and so do earphones, earbuds and headphones

We’re all ears for holiday headphonesWith the weather turning cold, holiday season is right around the corner. While many are thinking about keeping their ears warm, others might be thinking of keeping their ears filled with their favourite tunes and podcasts. So instead of toques, let’s look at headphones and wireless earbuds to meet different budgets. Dr. Dre meets Mickey…