New York Christmas Proposals

It seems that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have a thing on Christmas Day when it comes to romantically surprising the girl of your dreams and proposing.  According to an article in USA Today, Christmas 2011 was certainly the time to pop the question.  One guy said that it felt particularly appropriate because everyone’s in a good mood; there is lots of family around and it’s always nice to be near to those you love on this special, momentous occasion, so why not combine the two?

As well, according to NY professional proposal planner Sarah Pease, gets around one or two inquiries a week from grooms-to-be but from Thanksgiving it’s usually around one or two a day with most of them thinking about getting down on one knee from December onwards until the Christmas and New Year season.

It seems like people are still traditionalists at heart when it comes to romance and proposing, according to Pease.  People like doing the engagement-ring under the tree fanfare.  As well, diamond dealers see a huge jump in sales around this time.  There are also celebrity proposals around this time too – it certainly makes a great publicity stunt! 

So overall, December seems to be the month to get a wife.  Of the close to 40 percent of proposals that take place between November to February, 16 percent of these take place in December.

Post-Christmas Shopping and Holiday Deals

Retailers across America have been anticipating December 26th, the day after Christmas, for weeks now. This year’s post-Christmas shop will be even more dramatic, since it fell out on a Monday.

The day is a shopping day every year, with shoppers ready to exchange items or redeem gift cards at the break of dawn. Last year, however, the 26th was a Sunday; a day often dedicated to family time, and a day on which blue laws usually require at least limited opening hours for stores. This year, it’s a Monday, and often still a vacation from work, too.

ShopperTrak, a retail research firm, predicted that foot traffic on the 26th would be 60% up from last year’s day-after-Christmas. In a survey from American Express, 57% of Americans said they planned to shop on the 26th, while last year the number reached 43%.

In general, after Christmas sales are popular for reasons other than just gift cards. Millions of Americans reported that they decided to cut back or delay on their Christmas spending, with many waiting for the 50% or 75% discounts available throughout the country after the holidays. A survey revealed that 6% of respondents are waiting until after January to do the majority of their shopping.

Retailers, on the other hand, prefer that shoppers buy sooner rather than later. Hundreds of stores offered 40% and 50% off deals BEFORE Christmas, instead of waiting.

The chief executive of a retailer explained: “The inventory is worth so much less in two weeks. With that kind of inventory, you’ve got to get rid of it. Whatever the margin is today, it’s that much lower next week and the week after when traffic stops.”

Enough About Santa, Who’s the Woman Behind the Man?


We always hear about the big cuddly Santa Claus but usually, when men are that successful, we really need to look at the woman behind them. So, let’s take a look at Mrs. Claus.  Did she exist?  Who was she?  And what do we know about her?  Well, apparently, it was a James Rees who founded her in 1849 in a book he wrote entitled ‘Mysteries of City Life.’  In the book, Rees looked the Christmas legend and through this developed the persona of Mrs. Claus, who he called Gertrude.  Since then however, she has been lovingly known as Jessica.

So it seems, Jessica, Gertrude, aka Mrs. Claus is worthy of a mention.  Over the years the woman behind the man has made a variety of literary appearances including in the very well-documented and famous Yale Literary Magazine.  As well, if you look through the archives you can find her Good Housekeeping as well as Harper’s Magazine.

We say keep it coming.  It’s all very well Santa goes down many chimneys to deliver presents to lots f little kids but it’s Mrs. Claus who has to make the dinner at home and wait for her hubby to return – hopefully in one piece – to join her for their best holiday of the year!

Giving in the Holiday Spirit

It truly is wonderful that so many individuals and companies try to get into the holiday spirit and, in the upcoming weeks and days to Christmas, really give back to those in need.  For example, the Great Clips hair salon chain – around Northwest Indiana and Chicago – is going to be making a real difference for the charity of Ronald McDonald House in the region.

The chain is asking its customers to purchase basic household items from the charity’s online gift registry (RMHC-CNI, which will be adding to Edward Hospital’s new Ronald McDonald Family Room in Edward Hospital as well as the Ronald McDonald House located near Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago. As well, people can donate soda pop tabs to the recycling program.

Spreading Holiday Cheer

Sudz – the Great Clips mascot – will be going with Ronald McDonald to the Palaos Park Salon a couple of days before Christmas.  Further, the salon will be offering free haircuts to those with a valid coupon, Christmas Eve.

So it really is a special time for everyone. So many kids are left without toys on Christmas – the season of gift-giving – as their parents cannot afford them; this is a great way of giving to those in need so that they do not feel deprived during this time.  Good job McDonalds and Great Clips!

Chennai Residents Take Christmas Seriously

Those in Chennai certainly don’t mess around when it comes to Christmas festivities.  This was clearly evident at the Le Royal Meridien hotel.  Its Christmas tree stood at a staggering 35 feet, nearly touching the domed-shape ceiling of the hotel lobby.  Indeed, onlookers think it may even be longer than the length of the chimney Santa Claus has to travel down!  According to the hotel’s General Manager, Jennifer Buhr, the extremely large tree is traditional in the hotel; a custom that begun 10 years ago at the hotel’s first Christmas.  Decorating the tree requires between 12 and 16 people but it is always fun.

As well, there is some religious input into the holiday at the hotel.  A senior pastor from New Life Assembly of God Church delivered a prayer and message and thereafter turned on all the beautiful lights which sat beautifully next to the cotton-wool snow.  He then inaugurated the “Gourmandises,” their version of a Ginger Bread House.  It looks like it is going to be a very merry Christmas for guests in Chennai.

Avoiding Bloat This Holiday Season

Holiday season is now advancing in full throttle. You have outfits picked out for every occasion, new shoes, and have even managed to maintain that diet (for the most part). Why, then, do your clothes only seem to sit well on some days, while on others you feel and look so bloated?

Don’t panic. A bloated stomach is almost never related to weight gain, and it is often easily remedied. First, cut back on salty foods before your event. This does not only mean avoid adding salt to your dish; sodium is a primary ingredient in most processed foods. Salt is the number one cause of bloating in an otherwise healthy body, because it triggers water retention throughout the system. When your body retains water, it will inevitably look and feel bloated. To avoid such retention, cut back on salt intake. Other ‘diuretic’ substances also dehydrate your body, encouraging it to retain water. These include alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and even fruit juice.

The best way to avoid the bloated feeling is to avoid too much of any of these substances. Try eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead, at least for the day or two before your big event. Make sure to avoid sprouts and vegetables like broccoli though, as those also contribute to bloating. Milk products are also a common irritant in the human digestive system, and can linger in the stomach for hours.