Christmas Shopping for Your Boss Christmas shopping for your boss can be a difficult situation. First of all purchasing a Christmas gift for your superiors at work is considered to be somewhat of a faux pas unless the gift is being purchased by a group of employees. While giving Christmas gifts to subordinates is generally an accepted practice, gifts from individuals to a boss can be viewed as an attempt to gain advantages such as promotions or favorable projects or treatments. As a result care should always be taken when giving Christmas gifts to a boss. This article will take a look at situations in which giving a Christmas gift to your boss is acceptable and will offer tips for Christmas shopping for your boss. While an individual giving a Christmas gift to the boss is not an accepted practice it is acceptable for a group of employees to purchase a joint gift for their boss. As an example, a boss who oversees the work of a small group of employees may receive a gift from this small group collectively and this would be considered appropriate. In this way the gift is viewed as a gesture of appreciate from the members of the group and not an attempt by one of the members to gain favorable treatment. However, even in this acceptable situation, Christmas shopping for your boss could be quite difficult. The first area of concern when Christmas shopping for your boss is setting a budget. If you are shopping for a gift from a large group of people, it is a good idea to collect the money first and then use the amount collected to set the budget for the gift. You may ask for a small amount of money, typically around $5-$10 from each person and once the money is collected you can search for items which fall within your budget. You should not exceed the amount of money you collected because it is not considered acceptable to ask for additional money if you had promised to stay within budget. Most people have a great deal of shopping to do and being asked to contribute additional money can be somewhat of a hardship for them. However, it is considered acceptable to spend a little less than the budget as long as you refund the remaining money equally to everyone who has contributed. For example if you spend $20 less than you collected from 20 people, you should return $1 to each person who contributed. If you are the person shopping for the Christmas present you may have to exercise some common sense and make judgment calls if necessary. For example if you collect $120 and purchase an item which costs $121.04, including tax, you may opt to simply pay the additional amount yourself if you are able to do so. The additional amount is quite small and if the gift is appropriate, it might be worthwhile to incur this small expense for the sake of purchasing a perfect gift which is within your budget. Christmas shopping for a boss can also be rather difficult because you may not know what to buy for your boss. If you are not particularly close to your boss and do not often socialize with him you may not know a great deal about his interests. In this case it might be a good idea to either ask someone who knows him better to do the Christmas shopping or at least ask them to provide you with a few gift ideas. Other employees may know the boss better because they have worked with him longer or because they participate in activities such as company softball games with him. In either case, they can probably provide you with some insight into his interests which would help you select a gift he will appreciate. If you are unable to come up with a suitable gift idea, a gift certificate to a local restaurant is always an appropriate, and appreciated, Christmas gift. Word count 668
Last Minute Christmas Shopping If you are like most people you do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots that are filled to capacity and stores that are literally filled with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more and more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for an acceptable gift. Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion, most people leave their shopping until the last minute every year despite New Year’s resolutions to get the Christmas shopping done early. This article will discuss a few different types of last minute Christmas shoppers. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exciting. People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity. Consider college students who typically end the semester around mid to late December. Many of these students are living on campus without access to a car. This can make Christmas shopping quite difficult but when you combine this living situation with the fact that they have finals to take at the end of semester, Christmas shopping becomes downright impossible. Finals often account for as much as 50% of a college student’s grade and it is understandable that they would have to spend the early part of December studying, the middle of the month taking their finals and then wind up last minute Christmas shopping almost immediately after their last final. Other last minute Christmas shoppers include those who are just born procrastinators. They may go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves. While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don’t feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy. Finally, there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping. Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year. Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn’t feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October. Word count 552
28. Christmas Movies Movies related to Christmas help to create a fun atmosphere and can also teach moral lessons related to Christmas. While everyone will have different Christmas movies that are most enjoyable, there are some that remain favorites. 'A Christmas Story' is told from the point of view of a little boy in the days before Christmas and on Christmas Day. It shows him doing routine things each day but against the backdrop of the Christmas season with the decorated store windows, Santa Claus, the snow and frostiness, and of course his wish for a Christmas toy. But his parents disapprove of the toy that he desired. The movie is good in showing the innocence of the Christmas season. 'A Christmas Carol,' written by noted author Charles Dickens, tells the story of old Scrooge whose only purpose in life is to make money. Scrooge puts making money above his family, friends and everyone who cares about him. His response to Christmas is a grumpy, 'Bah Humbug.' He gets a different experience however, when ghosts appear to him and try to point out the error of his ways. The movie's lesson is about the importance of appreciating people in your life. 'It's A Wonderful Life' is a story about hope and the worthiness of everyone. It tells the story of a man experiencing despair and self-destruction because he thinks he is of no worth to those around him, and they would be better off if he didn't exist. An angel grants him his desire and he gets to see what he contributes and what life would be like without him. Every Christmas, 'A Miracle on 34th Street' can be seen on television. It asks and answers the question 'Is there really a Santa Claus?' The movie is about a man who claims to be Kris Kringle, or Santa Claus, but is not believed and so he has to prove his identity claim. 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' is about the Griswold family with Mr. Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, who gets into silly accidents that provide a lot of humor. The movie shows the lives of the family as they celebrate Christmas and the difficulties that arise when their entire family comes to visit for Christmas. 'Home Alone' is about a large and chaotic family with lots of kids who are going on Christmas vacation. Amid the chaos of leaving on the morning of the trip, one child is left behind and must stay and fend for himself in a very large house during the Christmas season. At first he was happy to be alone but then two thieves break in and he has to fight them off. The movie shows the importance of family and loved ones. A sequel, 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York' tells of the boy who was left alone going to an aunt and uncle's home and again encountering the two thieves who are seeking revenge. 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' was first made as an animation for television but other versions have since been done as motion pictures. The Grinch is a grouchy, green man who lives in the mountains above the small town of Whoville where residents, called The Whos, celebrate Christmas enthusiastically every year. The Grinch who doesn't like Christmas wants to spoil it for Whoville and so he tries to steal all the toys, food and gifts that The Whos have accumulated for Christmas. The movie provides a lesson on the true meaning of Christmas. 'A Charlie Brown Christmas is an animated television movie about the popular Peanuts comic strip. The movie is about the comic strip's main character, Charlie Brown, and tells of the experience with his friends for Christmas. It also has Biblical references that relates to the true meaning of Christmas. 'Frosty The Snowman' is an animated story about a snowman, named Frosty, that comes to life and who must avoid a greedy musician who is trying to get the magic that brought Frosty to life. The movie is very funny and has lots of wonderful songs. 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer' is also an animation about the reindeer with a shiny nose that kisses a pretty girl and also helps out his friends.
16. What Makes Christmas Magical Christmas is a special time of the year for the joy and intangible magic that fills the season. It comes through in the delightful decorations, glorious get-togethers with family and friends and the sheer feeling of joy one gets from giving and receiving gifts. Although the commercialization of Christmas is often decried, shopping is an important and central activity to some of the intangible magic of Christmas. It is at the malls or downtown stores that some of the favorite sights, sounds and scents of Christmas can be experienced. The decorations at Malls and retail establishments are usually very fanciful and eye-catching, especially to children, with the many colorful and twinkling lights. It's also a wonder for both adults and children alike to look at the numerous tinsels, baubles and figurines such as fairies, angels and little babies that adorn the main Christmas tree in the center of shopping malls and others in department stores. These trees are usually extremely well embellished with decorations that are arranged in a very professional way that most shoppers can't replicate in their own homes. It's therefore a delight for them to stare at such trees in wonder and amazement. Along with the wide variety of decorations in retail establishments, there also is the sound of music playing, bells ringing, the laughter and wishes of Merry Christmas from shoppers that also create a special atmosphere and add to the magic of Christmas. Even the sound of cash registers in the background adds something to the special feeling shoppers have at Christmas time. And of course there's always a Santa Claus that children can meet and tell what they want for Christmas, and also have their picture taken. Sometimes Santa Claus may distribute Christmas gifts to children, telling them that because they have been very, very good they are getting an extra special early Christmas present. The ability to delight children by telling them stories about Santa Claus, as well as making them see and talk to the jolly old fellow, puts a lot of magic and excitement into Christmas. Once the tradition is started, or from the first time that children have been told the story, it becomes something that they look forward to every year during the Christmas season. There's also the sound of music from choirs or school groups who often give open performances singing Christmas carols and songs in malls and downtown areas of towns. Families and others who are out and about will pause to listen or to sing along with these groups. Shopping is undoubtedly an enjoyable activity for most people during Christmas, but merrier and more memorable times are enjoyed when time is spent with family, friends and colleagues during the season. Before Christmas Day arrives, there usually are parties at home and at work, an evening out with friends and other occasions to get together and share the spirit of Christmas. The presence of special Christmas music and people dressed in holiday attire provide a different atmosphere and contribute to the magical feeling of the season. Another thing that is different at Christmas is the scent from a fresh Christmas tree, of gingerbread and other cookies baking and other food preparations that are specially done at Christmas time. Most people who select a real Christmas tree instead of an artificial one for their homes do so because of the wonderful scent it provides. For many people, that scent from a Christmas tree is what puts Christmas into everything else. Another popular scent at Christmas comes from the popular Christmas song 'Chestnuts Roasting Over an Open Fire.' The actual roasting of chestnuts by families during the Christmas season may be a rare occurrence these days but it is occasionally done in some downtown areas and in bakeries and confectioneries that make fresh products everyday. All these events, activities, happenings, sights, sounds and scents of Christmas and the holidays create special and unforgettable memories. And who can deny that a pleasant memory is always something that is truly magical.
13. The Christmas Story The idea of celebrating Jesus' birth was done to counteract pagan holidays celebrated in Rome during the Winter Solstice. Church leaders thought Christmas celebrations were more likely to be popular if they coincided with the traditional festivals and merrymaking during the Winter Solstice. Although some Christmas celebrations are secular, the religious aspect of Christmas remains central to celebrations. This is evident in church services such as Midnight Mass and primarily in the many forms of the Nativity, or Christmas Story, presented wherever people celebrate Christmas. That story started in Nazareth in Galilee about two thousand years ago. Mary, a young woman, was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. An angel appeared to her one day and told her she was with child. She couldn't understand how that could happen because due to her circumspect nature, she had not laid in bed with Joseph. The angel explained however, that the child would be special as he would be the Son of God and his name was to be Jesus. Mary and Joseph then got married soon after the angel's appearance.. But about the time when Mary was to have the baby, the couple had to travel far away to Bethlehem, Joseph's birthplace, to pay a special tax. It was difficult for them to find a place to stay because many other people were in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. After many rejections, one innkeeper offered a room in his stable where they could spend the night. That's where Jesus, the Holy Child and Son of God was born and then wrapped in bundles of cloth and placed in a manger for a cradle. In the same hours that Mary was giving birth, shepherds who were in a field that overlooked Bethlehem saw an extremely bright star over the sky in Bethlehem. They had never seen anything like it and had feelings of curiosity and scariness. An angel appeared and told them the 'good news' that the Son of God had been born in Bethlehem. The shepherds left their flocks to go to Bethlehem to find the baby. When they reached the stable, they were filled with immense joy at seeing Jesus. They fell to their knees and worshipped Him. They also told Mary and Joseph about the bright star and the angel appearing to say Jesus would be the Savior of the world. The bright star was also seen by Wise Men in the east. The Wise Men, who studied the stars, learned that a new and great ruler would appear whenever an extraordinarily bright star appeared in the sky. Three of them therefore set out to find the new ruler. They first visited King Herod in Jerusalem because they thought the child would be born in the palace. But when they asked to see the child who would be the new ruler, King Herod was very worried as he thought he would be removed from the throne. King Herod told the Wise Men that when they found the baby, they should return and tell him so that he could also worship the baby. The Wise Men used the star as a guide to go to Bethlehem where they found Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus who they worshipped and offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Wise Men are celebrated in some Christmas celebrations on Jan. 6, known as the Epiphany to mark the date when they found Jesus. Later in the night the three Wise Men had a dream in which an angel told them that King Herod wanted to kill Baby Jesus. They left Bethlehem to return to the East but didn't return to Jerusalem to tell King Herod where they had found the child. Joseph also had a dream soon after the Wise Men left in which an angel appeared and told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod had ordered that Jesus be killed. In an effort to kill Jesus after the Wise Men did not return to inform him of the baby's whereabouts, Herod later ordered that all baby boys in Bethlehem should be killed. But by then Mary and Joseph had left with Baby Jesus.
33. Holiday Parties at Home It can be very satisfying to cater to friends, families and loved ones during the Christmas holidays. Taking the time to share food, fun and laughter in a happy, jovial manner truly embraces the spirit of Christmas. In deciding to have a party at home, one of the first things to consider is whether it will be formal or informal. Among the key things that need to be considered are the number of people to attend, the menu, the preparation of food and arrangement of decoration that is attractive and has themes for the holidays. It's also important to make a note of how much, if any, help will be available from friends or family members. A formal Christmas party likely would include a small number of people - not more than 12 and likely fewer - who would be seated at a table for the duration of the meal. It means that place settings and seating have to be done and a decision made on whether the meal will be a three - or four-course dinner. The advantage of a formal dinner is that it is very organized, it has a known content and everyone around the table usually engages in pleasant conversation. It also usually provides a good opportunity to get to know and hear from everyone present without having to initiate any small talk, which some people are not comfortable doing. As the host of a formal dinner, you will also have the responsibility of keeping the meal flowing smoothly by having each course brought out at the perfect timing and to also be aware of any special needs that a guest may have. In contrast, an informal Christmas party at home is organized in a different manner and does not have the predictability of a formal one. The fun and festive spirit of an informal holiday party comes from groups of people who mill around, move about freely to have conversations, laugh and enjoy munching on Christmas treats, goodies and other foods. Despite the easy, fun-filled atmosphere, it is necessary to plan the use of space and to think about the area that people will use or wander around. Making such a plan will facilitate contact between partygoers so that the party spirit will pervade everywhere and put participants in a livelier mood. Another consideration to make for an informal Christmas party among friends and family is if children will be present and about their ages, if they are allowed to attend. Children, even older ones, always need careful supervision. If children are going to attend a holiday party at home, arrangements should be made for adequate supervision of them and special activities should also be provided that can occupy their attention. An important feature that must be a part of a festive Christmas party at home is the right mix of music. In selecting Christmas music, consideration should be given to what will be played at the start of the party as guests are welcomed and introduced to each other, the songs that can be played later to inject or enhance liveliness and later to create the right mood as the partygoers bid farewell with 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays.' Along with the music, Christmas decorations and even the food can also help to enliven a Christmas party at home. Food that is interesting because it looks 'pretty' due to the color palette of items, infuses a mellow feeling among guests and adds an intangible element to the level of enjoyment and excitement of the partygoers. Christmas parties at home can also be personalized with special cookies, treats and dishes that are ethnic. The presence of some ethnic food, but not an overwhelming quantity, which isn't frequently enjoyed by guests will be different and will add something that is unique to the host. And that is a part of what a Christmas or holiday party at home is about. It's to entertain family, friends and acquaintances with a personal style while all enjoy some merriment in the season of goodwill and good cheer.
7. Christmas Around the World Christmas in the Birthplaces of Traditions -- Bethlehem, Germany and England Christmas as celebrated today is a culmination of centuries of traditions that are religious and secular and which came from different countries around the world. It is interesting therefore to look at some of the general ways in which Christmas is celebrated in these countries. The traditions examined for each country will be examples of some of the things that are unique to that country and which are done today, or which were once done by people in those countries. To begin, it is symbolic to look at the town of Bethlehem, which is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. The Church of the Nativity is located in Bethlehem and at Christmas it is decorated with a lot of flags and other Christmas decorations. A very large crowd usually gathers at The Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve to see a dramatic parade procession of horsemen, led by police who are mounted on Arabian horses. Following the police in the procession is a lone horseman who carries a cross, followed by churchmen and government officials. Members of the procession solemnly enter the doors of The Church of the Nativity and place an ancient effigy of Jesus in the church. A silver star located deep in an underground cave-like section of the church marks the site where Jesus was born. A star is also set atop a pole in the town's square. In Bethlehem, homes of Christians usually have a cross over the door and a manger scene is usually set up inside the house. In Germany, home of the Christmas tree tradition, the Christmas tree is not seen until Christmas Eve. The tree is usually kept in a special room, or elsewhere, and decorated in secret with lights, ornaments, tinsels, angels, candies, nuts and cookies. It is then lighted, the presents placed underneath and then shown to the delight of Children on Christmas Eve. In Germany, Dec. 6 is known as St. Nicholas Day when Santa visits the homes of boys and girls. On the day before, Dec. 5, children leave a shoe or boot outside or by the fireplace for Santa Claus. If they were good, he places gifts and candies inside the shoe. But if they were naughty, children will find twigs or a rod in their shoe. Dinner on Christmas Day includes roast goose, long loaves of bread filled with raisins, nuts and dried fruits. Other sweet delicacies are also enjoyed. Many traditions in England are similar to those in the United States because such traditions originated in England and were brought to the United States by immigrants. The tradition of sending Christmas greeting cards started in England and is still popular at Christmas, as well as the tradition of neighborhood caroling on Christmas Eve. Children also hang stockings on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa Claus filling them with Christmas gifts or treats. The holly, ivy and mistletoe are also used a lot in Christmas decorations. In England, the traditional Christmas Dinner is roast turkey, goose or chicken with stuffing, vegetables and roast potatoes. Dessert consists of the British or Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. A rich, fruit-filled Christmas cake may also be enjoyed later in the day. A tradition of pulling Christmas crackers also goes with the serving of food on Christmas Day. A cracker is a paper tube that contains a party hat, riddle, toy or trinket, and is brightly colored and twisted at both ends. It gives out a crack as the contents pop out when it is pulled at each end. Also on Christmas afternoon, the Queen broadcasts a Christmas message to the nation, which is heard on radio and television. The day after Christmas is also a holiday that is known as Boxing Day.
Twelve Things You Never Knew About Christmas 1. Christmas trees were first lighted with actual candles, which presented a fire hazard. As a result containers filled with water had to be kept near the Christmas tree. 2. Workers in the construction industry are responsible for the tradition of having a Christmas tree on display at Rockefeller Center in New York City. They are credited with placing an undecorated tree at the site in the early 1930s. 3. Since the mid-1960s, The National Christmas Tree Association has maintained a presence in the White House at Christmas by donating a Christmas tree to the First Family. 4. The former Woolworth department store first sold manufactured Christmas tree ornaments in 1880. 5. Plastic became the primary material used to make tinsel after their use for decorative purposes was at one time prohibited because lead was used in the manufacturing process. 6. The idea of Christmas greeting cards started in Britain in the late 1830s when John Calcott Horsley started to produce small cards that had festive scenes and a holiday greeting written inside. Similar cards were also being made in the United States at about the same time by R. H. Pease, in Albany, New York, and Louis Prang, who was a German immigrant. The idea of sending the greeting cards during Christmas gained popularity in both countries about 10 years later when new postal delivery services started. 7. The shortened form Xmas for Christmas has been popular in Europe since the 1500s. It is believed to be derived from the Greek word 'Xristos' which means Christ. 8. According to the National Confectioners Association, for 200 years candy canes were only made in the color of white and it wasn't until in the 1950s that a machine was invented that could automate the production of candy canes. 9. The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day in England and it is a national holiday. Several stories exist for the origination of the name. It is believed to have originated from the practice of boys who would be about collecting money in clay boxes. Another thought is that the term is derived from a custom in the Middle Ages, about 800 years ago, when churches would open their 'alms boxes' and distribute the contents to poor people on the day after Christmas. Alms boxes are boxes in which donations of gifts and money would be placed. Yet another belief is that it comes from a custom of masters giving their servants Christmas presents in boxes on the day after Christmas. 10. Evergreen trees had special meaning in winter to people, particularly in Europe, before Christianity started. Ancient peoples would hang evergreen branches over their doors and windows because evergreens were believed to ward off witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness. For worshipers of the sun god, evergreen plants were a reminder of all the green plants that would grow with the return of summer and the sun god being strong again. 11. In ancient times, many people worshiped the sun as a god in December because they thought winter occurred yearly because the sun god had fallen into ill health. They therefore celebrated the winter solstice because it was a sign that the son god would begin to regain strength and return to good health. 12. Legislators in Congress did business on Christmas Day in 1789, which was the first one to be observed under the country's new constitution. The reason for the Congressional session was because it had become unpopular then to observe and take part in English customs following the American Revolution. And when Christmas celebrations were barred in Boston earlier in 1659 to 1681, it became a costly thing to be seen participating in any event or activity related to Christmas. Anyone caught doing so had to pay five shillings.
19. Making Memories During Christmas and the Holidays A favorite Christmas song has a line that describes Christmas as 'the most wonderful time of the year.' While giving and receiving gifts is something that is highly anticipated and remembered at Christmas time, there are also many more activities that make Christmas memorable and wonderful. One of these activities is decorating the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree occupies a central spot and is the most visible display of Christmas in most homes. Unlike in other countries, most American homes do not have a representation of the Nativity scene, which is more likely to be located at churches. As soon as the Christmas season begins on the day after Thanksgiving, families will begin their search for the perfect Christmas tree. This in itself can become a memorable activity as children may accompany family members to places like a Christmas tree farm to select a tree. Once a real or artificial tree is selected, then it's an exciting activity for the entire family to play a part in decorating the tree. Manufactured decorations come in many shapes and forms. But a special memory is created when family members make a special ornament for the Christmas tree, or contribute one or more keepsake items to decorate the Christmas tree. It then becomes a ritual each year for those particular items to be placed on the Christmas tree although other decorations may change in coming years. Another activity that can help to create special memories at Christmas is baking cookies. Along with popular gingerbread cookies, using cookie cutters to make special holiday-shaped cookies is also practiced a lot in households. Based on the ages of children, they can help in the actual baking activity by measuring and mixing some ingredients, or, younger children can sprinkle sugar on the cookies or decorate them with icing when they are finished. Helping in this activity can also be educational as parents can use the activity of measuring and figuring out equivalent measures to teach fractions and other mathematical elements. An activity that is related to food which also helps to create memories during the Christmas season is making fruit and goody baskets, which are filled with candies, baked items and other treats for loved ones, their special friends, neighbors, teachers or for charity. Items such as goody baskets make especially wonderful Christmas gifts because they are home-made. That quality often makes them more treasured than a Christmas present that is bought at the store. Because Christmas is the season of goodwill and good cheer, it is very important to reach out to family, loved ones and friends during the season. The busy lives that many people lead today often leaves them little or no time during the year to be in frequent contact with family and friends who are located far away, or even others who live within a reasonable distance in the same or a neighboring state, for example. It is therefore very common during Christmas to send a Christmas or holiday greeting card to those individuals. Along with the pleasant memory of receiving the card, there may be a short letter included that gives a brief account of any significant event in the individual's life or with members of the family. That makes sending and receiving Christmas greeting cards more memorable. Then there's probably the most anticipated activity of Christmas - finding out what Christmas gift Santa brought on Christmas Eve. While adults also look forward with much anticipation to see what Christmas gifts they will get, it's really the children who get the most delight from receiving presents at Christmas. The carefully planned actions to hide Christmas presents from children and then to magically place them under the Christmas tree to be found on Christmas morning is one of the most wonderful ways to create unforgettable memories for children at Christmas.
Making a List for Christmas Shopping “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice.” This may be a line from one of the most recognized Christmas carol. Almost everyone who celebrates Christmas knows all about Santa’s good list as well as his naughty list and most people do their best to avoid being placed on Santa’s naughty list. While the concept of Santa’s good list and naughty list is a fun way to convince children to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, the concept of a list should one that all Christmas shoppers adhere to while they are doing their Christmas shopping. In fact Christmas shopping should be filled with all sorts of lists. You can create lists of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year, lists of potential gift ideas and even lists of the actual gifts you select. All of this list making may sound tedious but this article will explain how all of these lists can be very helpful. Making a list of everyone you plan to give a Christmas gift to should be the first step in any Christmas shopping expedition. This list is so important because it gives you a handy reference to all the people you should keep in mind while you are shopping and also gives you an indication of the total number of people on your Christmas list. Knowing how many people are on your list is important for setting a budget. Consider how much money you have to spend and divide this amount by the number of people on your list and this will give you an idea of how much you can spend on each person on your Christmas list. After you make this list and set your budget, it is a good idea to make another list of potential gift ideas for each person on your Christmas gift list. It is a good idea to brainstorm and try to come up with a few good gift ideas for each person on your list. This is helpful because when you are out Christmas shopping you know where to start your search and will have a few choices if you are having difficulty finding one of the items on your list of suggestions. You may find items which are not on your list but are perfect for the person you are shopping for and it is acceptable to buy these items. It is important to remember your list of suggestions is just a starting point and if you find a more appropriate gift that is not on your list it is a good idea to purchase this gift instead. When Christmas shopping you should also keep a list of the items you actually purchase as Christmas gifts for those on your list. This is a good idea because if you have a particularly long list, you may have difficulty remembering all the items you already bought. Keeping an updated list of whom you have already purchased Christmas gifts for and what you bought them will minimize this problem. This list also comes in handy when it is time to start wrapping all the Christmas gifts you purchased. You may have a closet full of gifts but you may have trouble remembers which gift goes to which recipient. However, if you kept an accurate list as you made your purchases this should not be a problem. Word count 569
10. Christmas in the United States and Canada Many of the celebrations in the United States that are associated with Christmas were traditions brought by German and English immigrants. Along with the well-known and practiced tradition of a brightly decorated Christmas tree, other traditions brought by these immigrants include Advent calendars, Christmas greeting cards, gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies. Christmas in the United States today can be seen as focused around family, travel, shopping and decorations. Family and travel go together during Christmas in the United States because family members often have to travel fairly long distances to be with each other at one location. The growth of cities that have primarily economic activity, suburbs for residences, as well as the fact of different industries being found in certain geographic locations, are among the reasons that family members often live great distances from each other in separate states. Christmas and its festivities therefore present a wonderful opportunity for many members of the family to gather in celebration and see each other in an intimate setting. The traveling involved makes the Christmas season a busy time of the year for rail and air travel. The occasion of seeing many family members at Christmas is also linked to the activity of shopping that is an important feature of Christmas in the United States. The Christmas season officially begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday and which now ranks second in shopping for a single day to the Saturday before Christmas. Much of the shopping that is done is to purchase gifts for friends and family. Gifts for family members are usually exchanged after dinner on Christmas day, when everyone gathers in the room with the Christmas tree. Gifts are usually left at the base of the Christmas tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Gifts may also exchanged before Christmas at parties held by friends and parties held at workplaces. Second to gifts, shopping is also done at Christmas for decorations. While the Christmas tree may be the centerpiece of attraction, garlands, wreaths, candles and decorative lighting placed outside on lawns or along rooflines are also used to create a beautiful holiday appearance for homes. Canadians enjoy Christmas activities that are similar to those celebrated in the United States. That is so because in the 1700s when some German immigrants in the United States migrated to Canada, they continued to practice many of the activities associated with Christmas. The geographical proximity of the two countries also means they share many things, so similarities in Christmas traditions wouldn't be an exception. One thing that accounts for the difference between the two countries however, is the Eskimo population in Canada. Eskimos in Canada celebrate a festival during winter and have other traditions that are absent from American Christmas celebrations. A practice also exists in Nova Scotia in which small groups of masked individuals march around about two weeks before Christmas. These masked groups attract attention by creating stir with much bell ringing and engaging in a noisy caper in an aim to get candy, sweets and goodies from onlookers. This tradition bears some similarity to Jonkonoo celebrations in the neighboring islands of the Caribbean. Those celebrations also involve masked individuals, including some that appear on stilts that make them as tall as trees. The parade of Jonkonoo regale onlookers with various antics and present a minor scare to some children, who are then calmed with candies and other treats. In Nova Scotia, onlookers can try to calm the noise and rowdiness just a little if they can correctly guess the identity of the masked person. A correct guess puts an end to the noise as the mask is removed, exposing the individual. For their part, maskers also play nice by friendly nudging answers from children about whether they have been naughty or nice and handing out candies and treats accordingly.
41. Selection of Christmas Trees Given the many types of Christmas trees available and the various ways in which they can be bought, it's important to know certain qualities that a Christmas tree should have so that it will be suitable for decorating and will also last through the season. One of the most important qualities a Christmas tree should have is freshness. This makes buying a tree from a Christmas Tree Farm the best option because you will observe the tree being cut at the time it is purchased. If a tree is bought elsewhere, such as from a retail lot, it is important to find out where the tree came from and when it was cut. To determine the freshness of a tree, observe whether it looks green and healthy, has a fragrant scent and has needles that are moist and flexible. If the needles appear dry or show browning, then that is a sign the tree isn't very fresh. If a large amount of green needles fall when a few branches of the tree are shaken, that's also a sign that the tree isn't the best one to buy to last for the entire season. The needles of fir trees should break crisply when they are bent. If a fir tree needle is bent and doesn't break readily with pressure, it might mean that the tree isn't absorbing water and that will affect its longevity. Another reason a Christmas tree farm can be a better option for purchasing a Christmas tree is that it will be more likely to offer more species of trees and therefore a wider variety of shapes and sizes. For those Christmas trees that are located on retail or other commercial lots, freshness can be determined by looking at the conditions in which the trees are kept. Observe whether the trees are kept in stands that hold water, if baled trees are protected from the wind and sun, if a fresh cut is put on trees and if the trees are tied down correctly. Another quality to consider in selecting the right Christmas tree is its size. Before buying a tree, its important to decide where it will be placed so that the space can be measured. You will need to do a floor to ceiling measurement and then subtract at least 10-12 inches to get the maximum height for the Christmas tree. It is recommended that at least 10-12 inches of space should be between the top of the Christmas tree and the ceiling. The bottom of the Christmas tree also needs to be checked to make sure there is adequate space between the end of it and the lowest branches. A small diagonal fresh cut, such as an inch, is made in that area to enhance absorption of water, which will make the tree last longer. This cut should be made just before the tree is placed in water. If a fresh cut is done and the tree is exposed to the air too long, the vessels can become blocked. Along with freshness and size, a tree should be selected based on the shape that you like, the smell of the needles and bark and on how dense and sturdy the branches are. For the density and sturdiness of the tree, you need to have an idea how the tree will be decorated - how many heavy ornaments, Christmas lights or bows will be used. As an example, a fir tree that has sturdy branches will be better for holding heavy ornaments and a pine tree is good for Christmas trees that have light decorations such as bows and a string of Christmas lights. The texture of the branches and how durable or long-lasting the tree will be are also worth considering in choosing a perfect Christmas tree.
Christmas Shopping for Kids Christmas is a truly magical season that is enjoyed by many but no one enjoys the Christmas season more than kids. It might be the prospect of some well deserved time off from school, the allure of the lights and decorations, the beauty of the snow that often accompanies Christmas or just the anticipation of Santa and his sleigh filled with toys that is so exciting for children but it is evident that most kids are truly enchanted by Christmas. For this reason many adults truly enjoy shopping for kids and Christmas time. While Christmas shopping for kids is a great deal of fun there are some factors to consider when Christmas shopping for kids. A few of the specific concerns include selecting age appropriate toys, selecting toys which are not too noisy or too big for the child’s living situation, selecting toys the child does not already have, selecting toys which the parents consider to be acceptable and finally selecting toys the child will enjoy. This can make Christmas shopping for kids a little more difficult but does not make the shopping any less fun. Selecting age appropriate toys is very important when Christmas shopping for kids. This is so important for a couple of reasons. First of all it is important because toys which are designed for older children might be potentially dangerous for the child. For example toys which are designed for children over the age of three may contain small pieces which pose a choking hazard. Children under the age of three still often put toys and other objects in their mouths so they must receive toys which contain only pieces large enough to not be a choking hazard. Also, toys which are designed for an older child or even a younger child may not be as much fun for the child as they would be for children of the appropriate age. If the child is too young for the toy, they may be come easily frustrated because they can not use the toy appropriately. Conversely a child who is too old for a particular toy may become bored with the toy quickly. When shopping for Christmas gifts for a child, it is also important to consider the child’s parents and the living situation. This includes the size of the living area and the proximity to neighbors. Specifically toys which are particularly noisy may not be appropriate for a child who lives in an apartment building with other apartment units nearby. Also, large toys such as a trampoline may not be appropriate for a child who does not have a yard large enough to accommodate such a gift. Similarly large indoor items such as a foosball table would not be appropriate for a child who does not have a dedicated toy room to accommodate such a large item. As a general rule it is best to stick with small items which do not make a great deal of noise when Christmas shopping for kids. It is also important to consider the personal beliefs of the parents when shopping for Christmas gifts for their children. Specifically you should not purchase an item for a child if you know their parents are ethically opposed to such as item. Guns and violent video games are a couple of obvious example of Christmas gifts which may offend the parents. There are many parents who do not allow their children to play with these items because they believe they promote violence. If you are not sure about the feelings of the parents, it is best not to select these items. Finally, when Christmas shopping for a child, it is wise to consult the parents beforehand. This can be helpful for a couple of different reasons. First the parents can give some insight into the child’s hobbies and interests which may make selecting a gift easier. They may even suggest a specific item from the child’s Christmas list ensuring you are giving the child something he really wants for Christmas. Consulting the parents can also prevent you from giving the child a gift he already has. Try calling the parents before you make a purchase to suggest a particular item. They can let you know if they think the child will enjoy the item or if the child already has the item. Word count 724
37. Christmas Lights It's only fitting, perhaps, that along with the magic of Santa Claus at Christmas, holiday and Christmas lights also came about through the work of a wizard - the Wizard of Menlo Park in New Jersey - as Thomas Edison was called. It was Edison who first developed and demonstrated an incandescent electric light bulb in 1879 that had commercial potential, an event that led the way for the mass use of electricity and lights on Christmas tree as used today. Before the discovery and use of electricity, candles were used to light Christmas trees. That practice evolved into having glass covers with candles inside them or metal lanterns that had small wicks. These were hung like ornaments on Christmas trees. But even after Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb, it took many years before the large-scale manufacture of Christmas tree lights were available commercially. It is said that the idea of Christmas lights came from one of Edison's assistants, Edward Johnson. In 1882, Johnson had Christmas tree bulbs made specially for him. He displayed these electric bulbs on his Christmas tree at his home on Fifth Avenue in New York City and it drew widespread attention. But Christmas tree lights underwent many changes and improvement before General Electric Co. introduced Christmas lights on a commercial scale. As an example, among the earlier lights used on Christmas trees were night-lights that were strung together to make light strings. After the commercial introduction of Christmas lights, sales and wide-scale use of them soared. Decorative mini-lights to be used for Christmas tree lighting were introduced in the 1970s. Since then, they have continued to be popular and are the dominant types of Christmas tree lights in the marketplace. Before that, icicle lights were introduced as decoration for rooflines. Those decorative lights are the most popular ones used for outdoor landscape lighting during the holidays. Outdoor decorative lighting has evolved from Christmas tree lighting to also become a popular way to use colorful lighting during the holidays to create spectacular scenes. Another development in decorative lighting at Christmas time is the use of candles. Real candles can be used, but electric candles became more popular and safer because they present less threat of a fire hazard. Today that threat has also decreased with the development of flameless battery candles. The battery operation also makes their use more flexible because they can be placed in areas where there aren't electrical outlets. Candles are usually displayed at several windows of a house during the holidays. They produce an appealing look especially if there are at least two sets of three windows each other where they can be placed. Battery-operated candles can also be used during Christmas and the holidays for other activities such as caroling, church services, school activities and for other holiday arrangements around the home. As Christmas lights have become a mandatory feature of the holidays, they are continually being used in new ways that differ considerably from their early beginnings. Outdoor lighting is now just as common as indoor lighting and that is an area in which a change in the use of holiday lighting can be seen. Along with icicle lights that illuminate rooflines and frames of houses, there are also lights that are placed in shrubs. Holiday lighting also comes in the shape of trees and other ornaments that can be placed on lawn to enhance the visual appeal during the holidays. Many lawns are landscaped by lighting during Christmas and the holiday season with lighted figurines and various other items associated with the season. In some communities, entire blocks of streets will have such elaborate holiday lawn lighting that they attract passersby and even tourists - residents from elsewhere - who are captivated by the spectacular visual displays of the landscaped holiday lighting.
15. Christmas Day The Christmas season and all its activities are geared to the big day, Dec. 25, which is Christmas Day. The word Christmas is derived from Middle English 'Christemasse' and Old English 'Cristes maesse,' both of which means 'Christ's Mass.' The day is celebrated by Christians as the day that Jesus Christ was born, although the true date of Jesus' birth isn't really known. Given the religious significance of Christmas Day, it therefore follows that attending church is a big tradition on that day. It is seen as mandatory for devout Christians and for others who are concerned about retaining the sacred meaning of the day. Many people fear that the sacred aspects of Christmas are being lost and overshadowed amid the bustle of commercial activity now associated with the entire season. Church services therefore take place early on Christmas morning. Attending those services is the first official activity that many people do on Christmas Day. Unlike the Midnight Mass and other earlier church services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day services do not usually include the dramatization of the birth of Jesus. They may be more subdued with a sermon that recounts the birth of Jesus and his purpose to save mankind. The congregation is then exalted to be as giving as Jesus and to help out those who are in need. Consequently, many people will take some time on Christmas Day to volunteer in a charitable activity such as serving dinner to the poor and hungry at a church, charitable organization or other social services center. Others will also work with charitable organizations to distribute toys to needy children at shelters, hospitals and other places. As part of the religious aspect of Christmas Day, groups that sing Christmas carols will also be out very early on Christmas morning. Although Christmas Dinner is the most significant meal of the day, a large breakfast will also be served in most households that will be shared by all family members. The occasion of all family members having a meal together is a disappearing tradition in many American households and so Christmas is seen as a perfect time to return to the tradition. Christmas Day after all, is all about family, sharing and togetherness. Throughout the day, greetings of 'Merry Christmas' will be exchanged by telephone calls with family, friends, acquaintances, and loved ones who are located elsewhere in the country and overseas. It is a common occurrence for so many people to be trying to make international calls to loved ones and friends on Christmas Day that telephone communication systems to some countries often are overwhelmed. The availability of technology and the Internet eases that somewhat nowadays however, as emails and instant messaging can also be used as other communication channels to exchange greetings on Christmas Day. Christmas Day Dinner is undoubtedly the central activity of the day. Family and friends gathered for dinner take pleasure in enjoying and sharing a delicious meal and also are mindful and thankful for the opportunity to be able to share the meal, to have each other and for the material things that make their lives comfortable and give them happiness. Some of those material things are then shared in absolute delight as everyone will gather around or near to the Christmas tree after dinner to exchange and open Christmas presents. It's an activity that is relished and which is filled with much laughter, happy chatter and merriment, especially by children who are usually much delighted to get a toy that they had wished for. After dinner and the exchange of presents, adults may have light conversations, play games or even watch a movie. Children are often taken up with experimenting or playing with their new toys. It has also become a tradition on Christmas Day for members of some families, such as teenagers and young adults, to end Christmas Day by attending the movie theater on Christmas evening or Christmas night to see a recently released film.
4. Asides - Interesting Facts/ Notes About Christmas It is an accepted fact that the Christmas tree tradition is one that was brought to the shores of America by German immigrants who continued a practice that was popular in their former homeland. Today, a Christmas tree, even a miniature one, is present in just about every home at Christmas. It is therefore interesting to note some little-know facts about the Christmas Tree and other traditions related to Christmas. The first interesting fact is the source of real Christmas Trees for some Americans. These can be bought at a Christmas Tree Farm or at many local stores and other places of business in just about every town and city across the country around Christmas time. But according to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy about 330,000 Christmas trees that are real through e-commerce or from a catalogue and have them shipped by mail-order. The scent of real Christmas trees is the reason they are so popular. But as they stand silently in their decorative wonder, they also are providing another benefit. The Christmas Tree Association says the amount of oxygen produced on a daily basis by one acre of Christmas tree is enough to provide enough oxygen for 18 people. And during the first week, a Christmas Tree at home will use up to one quart of water each day to help retain its longevity for the many days of Christmas. Since Christmas celebrations gained popularity in America, the Christmas Tree has always been a big tradition. During the 1950s however, artificial Christmas trees were not always green. It was very popular during those times to have artificial trees with other colors such as silver, pink and aqua. The appeal in having these colored Christmas trees may have been due to the fact that they looked shiny and bright and appeared like tinsel instead of green foliage. An important ceremony related to the Christmas tree that gains national attention during the Christmas season is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House. This tradition can be credited to President Calvin Coolidge who lit the first decorated Christmas tree outside at the White House in 1923. The lighting of the National Christmas Tree has also been used to convey some symbolic meaning not related to Christmas. It was not lighted until Dec. 22 in 1963 because of a national mourning period of 30 days for the assassination of President Kennedy. And while Teddy Roosevelt was President he gave an order that banned the Christmas tree from the White House, not for the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, which caused him to become president, but for reasons related to the environment. Also of note is that when the National Christmas Tree was lighted on Dec. 13 in 1984, temperatures were in the 70s during an unusually warm December. Christmas has been celebrated in the United States since the 1600s although it wasn't always very popular. It took more than two centuries into the mid-late 1860s for Christmas to become a popular holiday season all across America. So maybe the rest of the country owes the holiday of Christmas Day to the state of Alabama, which in 1836 became the first state to declare Dec. 25 a legal holiday. It is interesting to note that on Christmas Day of 1789 Congress was in session. And to show how far ahead of the game Alabama was, it wasn't until June 26, 1870 that the federal government declared Christmas as a federal holiday. Although Christmas is based on the Christian religion, not all Christian groups celebrate the season. Among the Christian groups who do not celebrate Christmas and related traditions such as sending greeting cards are Jehovah Witnesses. Jehovah Witnesses and other non-participating Christian groups say Christmas isn't specifically mentioned in the Bible as a time or reason to celebrate and since they strictly adhere to the word of the Bible, they refuse to celebrate Christmas.
6. Spreading Goodwill at Christmas The real meaning of Christmas, the season of good cheer, is about giving especially to provide some assistance to those who need help for their daily survival and who therefore don't have the material resources to enjoy the Christmas season. The importance of giving to those in need during Christmas is embodied in the story of Jesus' birth, which is the reason Christmas is celebrated. For Christians, Jesus was born to save mankind from sin by giving everlasting Salvation to all who believe in the Word of God and chose to follow the principles for living in the Bible. Jesus therefore gave in the ultimate way - he offered himself as a sacrifice for every living person. Christians therefore believe that Christmas should be about following the example of Jesus by giving of oneself to others, especially to those who are in need. The Christmas season should therefore be about spreading goodwill and good cheer. This purpose of Christmas is very significant because research by social service organizations has shown that Christmas happens to be a high time for depression among the have-nots, among people with problems and others who just don't have the means and resources to enjoy the merriment of the holidays. The hundreds of Santa letters written by children are often a sad testament to the many unmet needs of families and individuals during the festive Christmas and holiday times. Just about every child is told the story of Santa Claus, or hears about him because his presence is everywhere at Christmas. And up to the age of 7 to 8 years, most children believe the story about Santa Claus bringing toys and other gifts. That's the reason why so many young children often write letters to Santa at Christmas time in which the innocently plead for toys and other gifts because they their parents or other relatives will not be able to give them those Christmas toys or Christmas gifts that they want. Thankfully there are many volunteer and charitable efforts carried out by groups and corporations that seek to fulfill the needs of children and also of adults during the Christmas season. One of the most notable organizations that do such charitable work is the Salvation Army, which has a history of giving service to those in need. According to The Salvation Army's website, the organization as known today was started in 1865 by a Methodist minister, William Booth and his wife Catherine. They formed a group that preached, provided food and shelter to the homeless, the hungry and to alcoholics in need of recovery services. The services were provided in London's East End. Booth and his followers, first known as 'The Christian Mission,' started to use The Salvation Army name in 1878. The Salvation Army is now uniquely associated with the Christmas season through its many representatives who dress up as Santa Claus and stand outside retail establishments ringing their bells while they kindly seek donations from shoppers to help the poor at Christmas. Individuals also play Santa Claus at Christmas time and help out those in need by donating toys and gifts through their companies, other business enterprises such as banks or through their local municipality. These groups usually all have a box or an area where new toys or clothing can be dropped off and the items are then donated to families in need or to social service providers for distribution to the needy during the Christmas season. Along with much charitable giving at Christmas time, other public interest groups also work hard to inform and educate consumers about avoiding the after Christmas blues. This is often experienced in January when the bills and debts are due as a result of all the spending, much of it on credit, that is done for the holidays. These groups try to spread goodwill and cheer in a different way. They try to provide educational information on spending responsibly during the Christmas season with the hope that the happiness and good feeling enjoyed during the season can also carry over after Christmas and not be spoiled by the burden of having huge bills to pay.
2. Eating Heartily but Consciously During Christmas Season During the Christmas season, summer and its body-conscious state of mind are distant memories. Hearty indulgence in the many foods shared at Christmas therefore doesn't produce the same feelings of guilt. Nevertheless, its not a pleasant thought to start the New Year carrying any extra pounds. So why then eat yourself into a resolution to 'take off a few extra pounds' if you can smartly avoid it? Whether it's sharing cookies and candies at work, or having an evening out at a party or dinner, you can have Christmas food and enjoy it. While you seem to be eating heartily with a smile, the key is to have a secret strategy of moderation. It involves sticking to a plan that can be called 'Eating on a Budget.' 'Eating on a Budget' is not about the cost of what is eaten, but about the quantity of what is eaten. It is important that a 'budget' or eating in moderation plan is developed because it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to a lot of cookies, candies and other sweets at Christmas. At work, you may risk appearing like the Grinch who stole Christmas if your response will always be something like, 'Uh..no..bah humbug' all the time that some Christmas goodies are offered. It will seem as if you aren't in the spirit of the holidays especially since at that time of year everyone is usually in a festive and more relaxed mood, and the pace at work is usually slower. A practical way to partake in Christmas goodies, for example, is to substitute some holiday cookies for say the bagel that you usually have with breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. And instead of just taking one cookie, from the platter, which is noticeable and likely will encourage a colleague to tell you to have more, take three instead. That's where the plan can come into play. You can then enjoy the cookies over two or more hours, because nobody will be watching how you really eat. You can always have a few candies, one cookie or a cookie and a half by your desk and that way it will seem as if you are heartily enjoying the holiday treats. Another strategy is to bring - bake or buy - low calorie Christmas cookies and candies to work to counteract others that are being offered. Since eating healthy is highly encouraged, health-conscious cookies will not be looked down upon so long as they taste great. A box of sugar-free Christmas chocolate candies for example will look just as delightful as regular chocolate candies. It's interesting to note that in a poll sponsored by the National Confectioners Association in 2004, chocolate was the favorite food gift that Americans said they preferred to receive for the holidays. The lowly and much maligned fruit cake was last on the list. The second favorite holiday food gift was a fruit basket and a plate of cookies was third on the list, according to the Association. For an occasion such as a Christmas party or a dinner, including Christmas Dinner, where larger quantities and selection of food is available, the 'Eating on a Budget' plan means that serving portions and the choice of food selected should be carefully watched. At a party where more desserts and sweets are likely to be available, a few of the selections can be sampled. If the urge to try everything can't be resisted, then do so, but then second helpings have to be severely limited. The same is somewhat true for Christmas Dinners. One big difference is that the food served during Christmas Dinner will be heavier, so by selecting portions wisely, one can always say truthfully that the stomach is full. And indeed, after a sumptuous Holiday Dinner, your body is likely to be full from food and your soul full of joy from sharing another memorable holiday tradition with family, friends and loved ones.
32. Holiday Parties at Work During Christmas and the holiday season, the festive spirit and relaxed mood even extends into the workplace where the pace is likely to slow considerably as the volume of work is lessened. By having parties at work, everyone can unwind a bit, have some fun and enjoy the satisfaction from the results of a year of hard work. Colleagues at work can celebrate goals that have been accomplished and look forward to an even more rewarding year. Parties at work during Christmas and the holidays may include a voluntary gift exchange and individuals have to make a decision whether or not they will participate in it. In a situation where an individual may not know other colleagues very well and is unsure what Christmas present to give, it may be better to opt out of exchanging gifts. If the party and gift exchange is among a fairly large group, such as company-wide or of several departments, it may not be noticed if someone doesn't participate in the gift exchange. If it's a small group however, it is likely to be noticed. To eliminate the possibility of any negative talk regarding non-participation, it would likely be better to be among those agreeing to exchange gifts. A basic thing to remember in selecting gifts for Christmas gift exchanges at work, which are usually called Secret Santa, is to not choose anything that could be considered inappropriate or offensive. Although the sender won't be revealed, it won't leave a good feeling and it will become the topic of conversation among everyone. Separate from the 'Secret Santa' Christmas gift exchange at work, it may also be a good gesture to give Christmas presents, which can be small tokens or even just candies or treats, to colleagues in a division or department if you are the respective leader or manager. Such a gesture shows thoughtfulness and that the work of individuals has been appreciated. It will be a good note on which to end the year and to start a new one. Another important thing to observe during Christmas parties at work is good behavior that is considered casual but still business-like. Although there will be much fun and laughter, it will still be occurring within a work environment or within the parameters of work. So, individuals will still be observed by their colleagues. It is of utmost importance to be careful about how much drinking is done, or how much alcohol is consumed, because drunken or any offensive behavior will not be tolerated and could have negative repercussions on one's career. The consideration of good etiquette is also something to be remembered and observed at holiday parties at work. As examples, talking and laughing with food in one's mouth, emptying a platter of delicious hors d'ouevres or bagging candies, cookies or treats to take home are all considered poor etiquette. A Christmas party at work can also provide an opportunity to have a brief conversation with supervisors, managers and other company officials whom one may not come in contact with frequently. It can be the ideal time to leave a good impression on a key decision maker. By introducing yourself and striking up a conversation, it is also putting a face to a name or making yourself known and standing out among fellow colleagues. For those who are strivers and who want to advance such interactions at work holiday and Christmas parties can be beneficial and advantageous. It's therefore important to keep in mind that while Christmas parties at work are fun, there are still ways to inconspicuously seek some benefit while you laugh and enjoy a break from the stress, competitiveness and daily routine of work.
Impulsive Christmas Shopping Impulsive Christmas shopping is a problem which plagues many during the holiday season and it can have a variety of complications. Some of the problems which often stem from impulsive Christmas shopping are going over budget, buying frivolous items and even forgetting about items that were already purchased. All of these problems can pose their own set of dilemmas and this article will discuss the ramifications of impulsive Christmas shopping. However, it is important to remember that although there are many problems associated with impulsive Christmas shopping there is also some merit to this shopping tactic. Going over budget is one of the major concerns of impulsive Christmas shopping. A common scenario is to pick up a few small items each time you go out Christmas shopping. These gifts may seem small and seemingly harmless to your budget but they can add up over time. For example you may only be purchasing items which cost less than $10 but if you buy enough of these items, you could find yourself hundreds of dollars over budget without even realizing it. One way to combat this problem is to write down each item and the price of every gift you buy. This will help you to be aware of how these small gifts can add up and may prevent you from shopping on impulse in the future. Purchasing frivolous gifts is another problem associated with impulsive Christmas shopping. You may see a few small items which you think will make cute gifts at the time but after you purchase these items you might realize they are actually quite silly. When this occurs you have two choices you can either return the item or replace it for a more meaningful gift or you could keep the item and give it to your friend or relative anyway. If you opt to return the item you may find yourself pressed for time to find a replacement gift depending on when you started shopping. If it is close to Christmas already, you may have difficulty finding some thing at the last minute and may have no choice but to give your friend or relative the gift you purchased on an impulse. Another problem often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping is forgetting about items you have already purchased. If you purchase a number of small items on impulse you may put these gifts in a safe location and then completely forget about them. When this happens you may end up buying additional gifts for those on your guest list who were supposed to receive the impulse gifts you already purchased. This can cause you to go over budget and also create unnecessary stress. While there are many problems which are often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping, it is important to remember that sometimes impulsive Christmas shopping is a good idea. When you see an item that you just know will make the perfect Christmas gift for a friend or relative and purchase the item without giving it any thought that is the exact definition of impulsive shopping. However, it is also not necessarily a bad thing. Buying a gift on impulse is not a problem when the gift you purchase is a great gift for the intended recipient but impulse Christmas shopping becomes problematic when it causes the shopper to go over budget or purchase silly items they wouldn’t normally buy. Word count 567