Charitable Opportunities Abound This Christmas!

We are blessed this holiday season with endless opportunities to give to our fellow-man.  The Christmas season is typically a time of generous sharing with those “less fortunate”, but this year you could toss a stone and hit a needy person!  Seriously, you do not have to look far for a chance to brighten someone’s holiday. Now that our state’s highest court deemed panhandling a protected activity under the 1st amendment, there is a beggar at every corner and off-ramp in the county.  We donate to them through the local soup kitchen and despite the convenience of giving at a … Continue reading Charitable Opportunities Abound This Christmas!

The traditional “what the hell?” gift and other Christmas surprises

Inevitably, I receive at least one Christmas gift that makes me wonder, “What the hell made her buy me that?” and it is usually from my Mom.  I am her only child and can only surmise that it is because she buys me so many gifts and gets caught up in a Christmas buying frenzy.  This year it was Hello Kitty sleep pants.  I try not to say, “What the hell?” out loud anymore, but could not stifle my laughter.  Accustomed to my insensitivity, my Mom immediately offered, “They are SO cute!”  But, I am not a cutesy kind of … Continue reading The traditional “what the hell?” gift and other Christmas surprises

Take-Aways from George Bailey

It’s a Wonderful Life has been a meaningful part of my Christmas season for decades.  I find as I get older small things such as my love for this classic are enduring.  Every year I’m inspired by George Bailey and his truly blessed life.  George is a regular guy with big dreams who feels beholden to do the right thing, which often means foregoing his own desires.  Even as a kid, George Bailey is an unintentional hero who risks his own well-being for the greater good.  He still wishes for a million dollars like everyone else does.  Hot dog! Opportunities to make … Continue reading Take-Aways from George Bailey

Deck the jail cell with filet and whiskey

Throughout the world cheese is the most popular food item to shoplift, but in the states steak rules the hearts and minds of one in eleven who walk out of a store without paying for an item.  To deal with that pesky conscience, Jameson whiskey comes in second as the most stolen item this holiday season.  I know, I know.  Everything gets blamed on the Irish, but keep in mind that there are a ton of wannabes in the U.S. that think drinking Jameson makes them Irish.  That is simply how Jameson operates.  Daniall Ashley, a Florida man caught this week while attempting … Continue reading Deck the jail cell with filet and whiskey

Spending it all on Christmas

When Josh Brolin’s character in Wall Street Money Never Sleeps is asked how much is enough he replies, “More”.  It must have been the Christmas season.  Although we do not openly agree with him, most of us, deep down, wish we had “more” even as we tout how grateful we are.  We talk about the reason for the season, but the truth is Americans plan to spend an average of $700 on Christmas gifts and we all know how those well-planned budgets fail at Christmas time.  The electronic gadgets we crave are guaranteed budget-breakers; my iTouch comes in a close second … Continue reading Spending it all on Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Wal-Mart

Black Friday even sounds ominous.  Signifying sales that retailers hope will push their profits into the black, it also represents the dark side of Christmas.  A California shopper felt the frenzy of competition when she turned on her fellow shoppers with pepper spray in an L.A. Wal-Mart last night.  That is what the news reported the incident as this morning- competitive shopping.  On any other day pepper spraying a crowd of 20 adults and children would be labeled outright as assault, but in the name of consumerism today it is deemed part of the competition for deals that can only … Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like Wal-Mart

Happy New Year?

I received a notification informing us that donations to Michigan food banks will no longer be tax-deductible after December 31, 2011, which coincides with the expiration of federal extended unemployment insurance programs.  The expiration of federal extensions will immediately drop 2 million unemployed from the rolls and millions more will follow as state benefits expire in 2012.  Also heralding in the New Year, Michigan will reduce unemployment compensation to a maximum of 20 weeks from 26, the standard of all states for more than 50 years.  Because unemployment compensation is designed only to cover living expenses, it is commonly accepted … Continue reading Happy New Year?