Tag Archives: Christmas

Why Love Actually is a Good Christmas Movie

While Christmas happened a few days ago now, I wanted to write a quick note on Love Actually. You may or may not have heard of this Christmas movie. It was first released about a decade ago, but many people seem to want to watch it when Christmas rolls around. I didn’t realize just how popular this movie had become at Christmas time (my wife and I have watched it just about every Christmas since we’ve been married) until I started seeing notes about the movie in my twitter feed.

That is, there were some folks who were vehemently against Love Actually as a “good” romantic comedy. In fact, one person wrote:

The fundamental problem with Love Actually is that it presents romance as either absurdly easy—something that strikes you like a thunderclap and requires only a single grand gesture in order to be fulfilled—or all but impossible. Notably absent is the idea that love might ever be worth a little sustained effort: some mutual exploration and discovery, a bit of care and nurture, maybe even the overcoming of an obstacle or two. Indeed, it’s hard to shake the sense that what is “classic” about Love Actually is not that it shows us anything about how people fall in love, but that it so conspicuously declines even to try.

But there are also those folks who feel quite the opposite. That is, they think the film is actually quite good:

More than anything, Love Actually is a movie by people who get it. That get that the holidays are about love and loss and memories. It’s about new beginnings and it’s about endings. It’s about family and second chances, and sometimes it’s about the same old, same old. It’s love, in its many, many forms, lighting the way through the coldest season.

Then, there are those who are trying to figure out whether the movie should actually qualify as a classic (over 80% of voters on this CBC website think that it should be).

I can stipulate that Love Actually might not be promoting the “best” version of love, but I would say that with a level of maturity and understanding that some of what’s being portrayed is actually tongue-in-cheek (do all British men really think that their accent is enough to get American women to sleep with them?) the movie can be quite heartwarming. Putting that aside for a moment, one of the best aspects of the movie for me is the message of truth-telling. On a number of occasions we hear the characters saying something to the effect of, “It’s Christmas, so I wanted to tell the truth,” (or “tell you,” or “check with you,”).

To me, this is great. I enjoy that there’s this subtle albeit noticeable message that it’s important that we tell the truth with people we care about and/or are interested in spending time with on a regular basis. So, if you do decide to watch Love Actually at Christmas time or any time for that matter, maybe pay less attention to the “fake love” parts and pay more attention to the “truth” parts.

Still Looking for a Christmas Present? Try These Projects on Kickstarter Canada

It’s the last weekend before Christmas, so there’s a good chance that a lot of you out there are out in the hustle and bustle trying to find last-minute gifts for friends and family. If the weather forecasts are to be believed, some of you might not be able to make it out into the madness that is last-minute shopping before Christmas. That’s great! Why? Well, that means that you’ll have to be a bit more creative with your gift ideas.

So, why don’t you make someone’s day (in addition to the person who you’re giving the gif to) by making a donation in their name to one of these projects on Kickstarter Canada. Also, you could just donate to them anyways — and not make the donation on behalf of someone else: it could be on behalf of you!

Note: I’ve only included projects that — at the time of writing this post — hadn’t reached their goal.

NASH: The Movie

“You may have heard of Steve Nash, the NBA superstar and multiple MVP winner. You may also know that he’s Canadian. A Vancouver documentary crew secured unparalleled access to Nash, and they’re in the middle of raising money for production and editing costs for the final film. Unlike many film projects, tiers of this project include a physical and digital copy of the final product, which gives potential backers a tangible reward for their donation.” (Source)

Stratus Watch

“The concept is as simple as it is unprecedented; a titanium wristwatch with a face that you can choose. You can choose from dozens of patterns and colours from the manufacturer, or design your own and submit it to them. The watches exude a clean, straightforward charm, and even the lowest funding tier gifts you one of them.” (Source)

Shot Time

“In what could easily be the ruin of many a young soul, this is a shot glass that measures the amount of liquor consumed over a period of time; a potent mix of a stopwatch and a case of acute alcohol poisoning. The consequences of such a device are best left to the imagination, but if it meets its funding goals, the consequences may become very real, very quickly. Hooray for progress?” (Source)

Canadian Black Garlic

“Exactly what it says on the tin; backers are funding the creation and shipping of various black-garlic-based condiments and seasonings. The majority of the project’s funding goal will go to securing a large batch of Canadian-grown garlic, and the rest will go into the blackening and production/packaging process. Is there anything more Canadian than authentic Northern delicacies?” (Source)

SpecShot

“Like the mirror universe version of the Shot Time, the SpecShot is a two-in-one system that scans your drinking water for contaminants and then posts the results online. This process could be equal parts fascinating and harrowing, depending on your results, but the ultimate goal is to spread awareness through hard data, and hopefully inspire some change to our water quality standards.” (Source)

Why Posting Duplicate Content to Social Media is a Good Idea

When I first connected my website to my Twitter account, I worried about reposting the same link. That is, when I tweeted, I didn’t necessarily want to be sharing something that I had already sent out. I figured if people had already seen what I had said, they wouldn’t need to see it again, right? Well, that might just not be the case.

Yesterday, I came across a creative answer to a question on Quora that I’m going to share below. A quick lead-in: the question asks about bizarre (and small) social experiments  that lead people to the opposite conclusion of their hypothesis. There are some great answers on the question, but this one in particular, applies to sharing content on the web:

We all get countless happy birthday message from acquaintances (veritable strangers) on Facebook.

Out of personal and professional curiosity, I decided to perform an experiment with 2 parameters:

1. I edited my “Facebook” birthday to the current day every day
2. I did this every day until not one person wished me happy birthday

A few people — mostly my closest friends — immediately noticed, but for the few first days, the volume of birthday messages hardly diminished day-to-day.

After a couple of weeks, I started getting a few people who were in on the “joke” wishing me happy birthday every day, along with a handful of “stop it, this isn’t funny” messages.

A few weeks later, a few people just went ahead and un-friended me (on Facebook only … I think).  But more interestingly, a couple people who had just recently wished me happy birthday, did so again.  And did so very sincerely!  They had merely forgotten.  More on that in a bit.

A couple months into it, the messages were still coming in (genuinely), but were down to just a couple or a single every day — along with the requisite friend who wished me HB every chance he got.

Finally, after just 103 days, I got no new happy birthday messages.

The span crossed 3 “major” holidays: Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day.  My favorite messages were the “I had no idea your birthday was on Christmas!” types from pretty close friends.

The “wasn’t it just your birthday? Oh well, hope it’s a good one!” types were fun as well.

What to take away from this? I occasionally coach/teach people how to use social tools for marketing/whatever and one important lesson is that not everyone sees every message every day, so you shouldn’t be afraid of posting duplicate content, especially if it’s an important message or one that resonates well with a big audience.

And when people occasionally express concern over that concept, I tell this story 🙂

Of course, this is just one small social experiment, but it is certainly something to keep in mind when you think twice about sharing that blog post on social media more than once.

 

What the Heck is Boxing Day, Anyway?

Seeing as though today’s Boxing Day, I thought I’d offer up an explanation as to the meaning of Boxing Day. Growing up in Canada, I grew to know Boxing Day as the day when all the good sales would happen at stores. For many Americans, this may sound strange. Although, think of it like Black Friday — Boxing Day is much the same — in that stores increasingly compete with each other to open sooner and sooner to have better sales.

So, when I was younger, my thought that Boxing Day got its name because of all the boxes. To a young person, that makes sense. With all the day after Christmas shopping, there’s bound to be lots of boxes! Somewhere along the way, I remember someone telling me, ‘oh no, that’s not it. It’s because there was a big boxing match back in the day.’ Well that sounds plausible, too. Although, after having searched the internet, I don’t seem to find any solid references to a boxing match on “Boxing Day,” leading to the day getting its name.

Regardless of the etymology, Boxing Day is most certainly a holiday in Canada (and some other Commonwealth countries) and that’s because it derives from European tradition. It does seem, though, that there isn’t any one definitive answer. According to Wikipedia (and many other places I found in researching for this post):

The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.

One of those competing theories has it that the lord of the manor would “pay” its servants with boxes of practical goods (food, clothes, etc.). This starts to make more sense when we realize that a “Christmas Box” is like saying “Christmas Present.” So, it’s almost as if “Boxing Day” was the day that the bourgeoisie would “exchange” gifts with the proletariat. That may be taking a bit too far, but it certainly seems like it.

So… while I can’t give you a definitive answer, some of the things out there on the internet certainly seem plausible as to why it’s called “Boxing Day.” One thing it seems we can say for sure — it wasn’t because of a big “boxing match.”

Five Years, Five Christmases: You Never Know Where You’ll Be…

As 2012 draws closer to its end, I find myself reflecting on the past. Not the distant past, but the recent past. In fact, with Christmas here today, I found myself reflecting on the last 5 Christmases and just how much things have changed for me over those 5 Christmases. Let’s journey back, shall we?

2008

At Christmas in 2008, I was on reprieve between quarters of the first year of my PhD in clinical psychology (obviously, I didn’t continue with that route). For that Christmas, I left the balmy shores of San Francisco for a flight home to visit my family in Toronto and Detroit. It was a great time.

2009

In 2009, I was in Victoria, British Columbia living on a floathome. My partner and I had just recently come back from New Zealand and decided to spend some time living in the floathome that we had for sale. For that Christmas, my partner and I accepted an invitation to have Christmas dinner with some of the folks living on the Wharf. This particular family had invited a bunch of folks over, so there were like 20+ people inside of this one floathome having Christmas dinner!

2010

The Christmas of 2010 was one that I won’t soon forget, partly because I was just recently married, but probably more so because I spent it on one of the top 10 beaches in the world — on the island of Kauai (in Hawaii). My wife and I got up early on Christmas morning and we went down to Hanalei Bay. The exquisite backdrop of the mountains paired with the sound of the gentle waves kissing the shore… amazing.

2011

In 2011, my wife and I drove up to visit our families in Ottawa/Toronto. If I recall correctly, we spent Christmas in Ottawa visiting with family and friends. It was a rocking good time and makes me consider Ottawa as a place that I might like to live.

2012

And now, 2012. This year, my wife and I have decided to *stay* in Fairfax, VA. I wrote stay like that because it’s not as if we’ve lived in Fairfax for very long (only since August), but we have been in the DC area for over a year now, with me finishing up an MBA.

~

If you would have asked me in 2008 about any of the subsequent Christmases, I almost assuredly wouldn’t have been able to guess how any of them turned out. Victoria!? HAWAII!? FAIRFAX!!? Who knows where I’ll be for Christmas in 2013. Wherever I am, I hope I’m happy and surrounded by people that I love.

Enjoy the rest of your day!