This was an unusual Christmas for many reasons. First of all, it was nearly 70 degrees on Long Island (about 30 degrees above normal) and we were out walking in T-shirts. Secondly, we received shocking news that a close friend had passed away. Finally, I did our Christmas shopping almost entirely online, so I completely avoided the retail hype that gets me in the Christmas spirit.
Our gifts this year were modest and, since my kids are now adults, there wasn’t any excitement as they waited for Santa to show up..
Growing up in Canada, our Christmas gifts were limited and practical, with stockings filled with socks and underwear. The best gift I received was the Anne of Green Gables book trilogy. I was the same age (11-years-old) as the fictional Anne and was captivated by the story of this young orphan being sent to a farm on Prince Edward Island. Always a bookworm, I remember retreating to my bedroom and blissfully devouring all three books.
I’ve known about the Pomodoro Technique for a few years. (If you’re not familiar with it, you can click here for more information. It’s a way to focus your mind so that you spend 25 minutes working on a task, followed by a 5-minute break. After the fourth work/break cycle, you take a 30-minute break.) Despite rave reviews from colleagues, I’ve been reluctant to try the Pomodoro technique because I felt it was too rigid.
With the holidays approaching and my motivation to work declining, I decided to try the Pomodoro technique. I was astounded at how well it works. Not only was I getting my work done more quickly, I was also a whole lot less tired. Forcing myself to take a five minute break surprisingly rejuvenating and a chance to drink some water or do some quick stretching. It also found that working in “poms” gave my day more structure, as I limited my coffee and snack breaks to the formal break times.
The Pomodoro Technique: A 10 Step Action Plan for Increasing Your Productivitydescribes how to use the Pomodoro technique, including ways to adapt it to your work style and what to do during breaks. Like me, the author is a writer who works from home, so I found his suggestions especially applicable. This is a great introduction to the Pomodoro technique, as well as other time management techniques and software that may help in your Pomodoro journey.
“Facing the music” means to accept the consequences of your actions. This expression was first used in the 1850’s and its origins are uncertain. Some people believe the expression comes from musical theater. In this case, an inexperienced actor would need to summon his courage to face the audience – which required also facing the more critical musicians in the orchestra pit.
Another explanation is that “face the music” has a military origin, when a disgraced soldier was dismissed from the regiment to the sound of drums. (Source)
National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on December 26.
Candy canes have a long history. In 1670, the choirmaster at Germany’s Cologne Cathedral gave children sticks of sugar candy, bent into the shape of a shepherd’s crook. This crook symbolized how Jesus, the Good Sheppard, watched over children like little lambs. This tradition spread throughout Europe and people realized that the upside-down crook looked like a “J” for Jesus.
In 1844, a recipe was created for a white candy cane with red stripes. Candy canes were used as tree decorations starting in the late 1800s. By then there were many explanations for how the candy cane represented Jesus – including that the white color represents his Virgin birth and the red represents God’s love. Today, more than 2 billion candy canes are sold in the four weeks preceding Christmas and Hanukkah. (Source)
Candy Maker: Describe how to make home-made candy canes.
Food blogger: Share your favorite recipes that use candy-canes.
Interior Designer: Show how to use candy canes to decorate your tree.
Engineer: Write about the technology involved in making candy canes. Describe the first candy cane making machine, which was created by the Bunte Brothers in Chicago in the 1920’s.