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,…

Enjoy a glittering Christmas that stays within your budget

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

Enjoy a glittering Christmas that stays within your budgetWhat 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…

How willing are you to stretch your comfort zone?

Fear has the power to hijack our thoughts and behaviours, even when a new path makes sense or is harmless

How willing are you to stretch your comfort zone?I’m often fascinated by how rigidly some folks cling to the familiar, especially when it comes to being asked to do something novel. Not something dangerous – just unfamiliar. In my former career, this came up a lot, with leaders standing up in meetings and asking for “out of the box thinkers.” Then they would point…

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 BordersModern 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 her book…

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…

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…

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic genius

And a full dose of air-conditioned museum comfort certainly doesn't hurt the appreciation of Picasso

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic geniusLast week, thousands of Montrealers began to experience what I expect will gradually become a new phenomenon in global art gallery visitation – viewing art to get out of the heat. The heat wave (CBC news referred to it as “a heat event”) really descended on the city on the previous weekend, with Saturday’s temperatures…

In search of a New Year’s Eve tradition

Make sure you have a bottle of bubbly just in case you make it to the stroke of midnight. What the heck – you can pop the cork earlier if you’re getting weary

In search of a New Year’s Eve traditionBy the time you get to my age, you begin to think that getting all dolled up and going out on the town on New Year’s Eve is overrated. First of all, I’ve had the stuffing kicked out of me by all of those Christmas gatherings and celebrations. My energy level is as low as…

’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…