Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Should you say Merry Christmas or something else?



DiwaliDon’t you find the phrase “Happy Holidays” to be rather generic and non committal? That’s a logical phrase and doesn’t come from the heart. It didn’t have any significance for me and you felt that.

When you have a strong belief, there should be no fear of professing that. If a Jewish person wishes me Happy Hanukkah, I really appreciate that. If someone who is Hindu wishes me Happy Diwali, that would warm my heart.



I want heartfelt wishes. I have no interest in platitudes.



ChristmasTree2013-2Wishing you Merry Christmas by no means indicates that I don’t respect you or your faith. I absolutely respect both. To be honest, your taking offense would be offensive to me. The reality is that Diwali and Hannukah mean nothing to me personally so I can’t give you a heartfelt wish using those words.

As a Christian, this is a time we recognize the birth of Jesus Christ. This is a time for family, friends and is a celebration of life. When I wish someone a Merry Christmas, that means I offer the warmest wishes that I know how. That comes from the heart.

So, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Make it a great day,


What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for all my friends and family. I’m thankful for my faith. I’m thankful for tolerance.

What are you thankful for today?

Christmas trees. How do you choose?

Christmas trees.  I never really thought about how they are a bit of a reflection on us.  Think back about how you decide to buy your tree.  Is it for the adventure, the hunt?  Is it to support charity?  Then, how do you decide which type?

Walmart North_web

Available at our hall and the two Barrie Walmart stores.

How do you choose your tree?

  • Tall
  • Short
  • Fat
  • Narrow
  • Fraser Fir
  • Balsam
  • Spruce
  • Conblufir
Fraser Fir-web

Fraser Fir


My family always had to have a tree that hit roof, was as wide and full as possible.  We were a Scotch Pine family.  My wife was a Spruce or Fir family.  That was actually a challenge when we were first married.  I won the first couple of years until there was a blight on Scotch Pine and I haven’t been able to find any since.









This year, I was surprised when I showed up to sell trees for the Knights and discovered the new choices.  There was the traditional Fraser Fir and Balsam.  Then I saw the Conblufir.  What an interesting tree!  It has a Scotch Pine type of look with the curled branches and yet the needles are shorter and not as hard.  I want to convince my wife to try one next year!






So, how do you choose your Christmas tree?

Barrie Council 1626 sells Christmas trees every year to raise funds for charity.  These funds will support many smaller charities in our area.  Please share this with your friends and invite them to come and see our trees.  Check out the new Conblufir!

No, it’s not too late.  There are many who buy their trees Christmas week so that they last longer in the house.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for the work the Knights of Columbus does.  I’m thankful for the new Conblufir!  I’m thankful for Christ in Christmas.

What are you thankful for today?

Mom’s Butter Tarts

ChristmasTree2013_webThis is a nostalgic time of year.  I lost my mother three years ago and the fact that Christmas is a big thing for me is because of her.

Every  year, mom would bake up a storm and Dad would take us out to get the tree.  My favourite was, and still is, her butter tarts.


Site Pictures 107




Luckily, I got the recipe before she left us.  I was making a batch today and brought Mom’s picture up to the kitchen to help me make butter tarts.


5 ½      Cups All Purpose Flour

1          Teaspoon Baking Powder

2          Tablespoons Brown Sugar

2          Tablespoons Vinegar

¾         Teaspoon Salt

1          Pound Shortening

Cut shortening into dry ingredients


1          Egg

2          Tablespoons Vinegar

Beat egg and vinegar into ¾ cup of water and mix into dry ingredients.


Roll into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for a half hour.




2          Cups seedless raisins soaked in boiling water

4          Tablespoons Butter or Margarine

2          Cups Brown Sugar

2          Eggs

2          Teaspoons Vanilla


Drain raisins and mix in butter.  Beat eggs and vanilla, then mix with raisins.  Mix in brown sugar.


Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Picture of butter tart.









Thanks Mom!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for such wonderful parents.  I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my kids baking for Christmas.  I’m thankful for Christ in my life.

What are you  thankful for today?

The Christmas season changes people! This can be the most stressful time of year.

I worked in retail for many years and people used to say to me “It must be fun working in the stores at this time of year!”. Not!! The Holiday season changes people.



Man-CryingRetail staff are typically working longer shifts, more of them and the recovery of the stores at the end of the day is horrendous. Shoppers drop things all over the store. At the end of the day, someone has to gather that all up and put it where it belongs. It’s like when the husbands and kids just drop things and think it miraculously puts itself away.

Imagine being in a store and hearing someone saying TGIF!

Are you kidding me?! That’s the third busiest day of the week with the two busiest yet to come. Don’t get me going on Sunday shopping! These people have been busting their backsides to keep everything you need ready for your appearance in the store and then get snapped at because the person before you took the last of the item you came for. There’s more in the back if you’ll be patient!



People, like bankers and financial advisors, are rushing to get all of their year end tasks completed so they can enjoy this time with family. Then they are rushing to get ready for the holidays. Shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping and so on. Plus, keeping up to the normal day to day chores.

At the risk of coming across as sexist, Moms are amazing. I don’t know how they keep up because the kids typically seem to go to her for help, oblivious to all of the other stuff she has already been doing. Men, help!

For some, they have lost a loved one, or experienced something like job loss. The holidays work to emphasize loss and some can actually sink into depression. I can tell you that, having lost a child, there are moments that are not the brightest at this time of year. I might even snap at you if you catch me in a bad moment.

We all need to remember that at this time of year, everyone is under stress. Even people who don’t observe holidays at this time of year. They are under the same pressure to complete tasks at work before the office or store closes for the break. No pressure!



3D-Women-Presentation-06Remember that the retailer is trying their best to accommodate your needs. It’s not their fault you are shopping five minutes before the store is closing.

Think about the person that is calling your office and the pressure they are under. Take a break! When you are feeling frustrated, go for a little walk and get some air. That’s being kind to yourself. You deserve kindness too.

Taking a few minutes to unwind before facing family, staff and clients is not only a good thing for your health, it’s good for business.


It’s difficult to stay mad with someone who is kind and letting their face and voice show it. Now, get out there and kill them with kindness!


Make it a great day,


P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the Christmas season. I’m thankful for all of the people who try to make me smile. I’m thankful for you!

What are you thankful for today?