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Christmas Memes for 2021

By George brings you a series of Christmas memes that reflects the sad realities of 2021 – another year of endurance through the never-ending pandemic.We hope some of these memes may bring a weary smile to your face.

 

And here are last year’s memes for the pandemic season: A dozen 2020 Christmas memes

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

We’re failing “the COVID test”

The three opinion columns below are must-reads to understand Canadians and the country we live in, as it is, today. Collectively (due to the vast majority), we are miserably failing “the COVID test.” 

Your expectations are a problem

We are not owed any particular future, and are not guaranteed more of what we’ve already had.

Matt Gurney / The Line / December 3, 2021

https://theline.substack.com/p/matt-gurney-your-expectations-are

Your expectations are a problem, my friends.

Let’s get a few caveats out of the way: I don’t mean you, personally and exclusively (though someone will undoubtedly take this as a direct insult). This is very much a comment on Canada and the Western world broadly. And I also don’t mean expectations in the sense of what you, as a person, are owed by anyone else, like an employer or a partner — aim for the stars, my friends!

But your expectations are still a problem, as are mine, in this critical and broadly shared way: our understanding of the facts on the ground, the world we live in — how we expect it to be — may be wrong, or at least increasingly outdated. And the longer it takes us to realize this, the more danger we will face.

Some version of this column has been rattling around in my skull for some time, and the overall thesis is certainly in line with much of my work over the years, where I’ve warned of the costs of our complacency, often in the area of national defence. But this one is different — it’s not about a specific problem, per se, so much as it is an attempt to understand a series of problems at their roots. It has not proven an easy one to write. The thesis — that Canadians’ fundamental expectations are increasingly out of step with the current reality — is hard to prove or even investigate. There’s no poll or survey, no collection of data sets, that will make this case.

But there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence, and it simply, on a gut level, feels right. Canadians and the citizens of other comparable countries alive today are, in the main, products of an economic, military, political and public-health winning streak that has continued unabated since the end of the Second World War.

There have been periods of time or incidents that would seem to contradict it — the U.S. lost in Vietnam, for instance, and we’ve had economic slumps and epidemics along the way. But overall, a typical Canadian and many others across the West, born after 1945 or so, has lived in an era where their country was militarily secure, economically prosperous, politically stable and nestled comfortably inside a confident, triumphant liberal-democratic international consensus.

Along the way, we have experienced medical breakthroughs that have continuously both lengthened and improved our time on this earth. Consider my late grandfather as a representative example of the progress contained in a single lifetime: in his youth, he nearly perished of an infection because antibiotics were not yet available; when he did die in his early 80s, stricken by Alzheimer’s, he had two separate forms of cancer, both of which were manageable, chronic conditions due to new drugs and laser surgeries. It’s remarkable. From near-death-from-sepsis-in-childhood to blasting tumours with light in one man’s lifespan.

This is true for all of us, in some way or another. Entire lives have been lived, and entire generations raised, during this multi-generational winning streak — and even though the benefits of it haven’t been shared equally by all our citizens (a sad understatement, alas), it’s been true enough for so many for so long that we have come to accept as normal — to expect — something that is actually quite rare. We are living in the best moment of history, in terms of our security, health and prosperity — or at least we were until early 2020. This winning streak lasted, I fear, just long enough for a critical mass of us to lose perspective on how rare and precious the last few generations have been in the West. We’ve lost the ability to realize that, maybe, we had not embarked on a brave new era of exponential human progress. Rather, perhaps we’ve taken for granted a historical fluke.

What finally brought this column forth was two incidents that, though unrelated, happened within moments of each other earlier in the week. The first was simply a chat with a friend; we were catching up on life when she mentioned that the news about Omicron had hit her hard, because it felt like yet another delay to the return to “normal.” The second was some typically overheated Twitter reaction my Line colleague Jen Gerson received when she noted — entirely correctly — that COVID-19, though devastating, wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, nor as nasty as some plagues throughout history.

Consider my friend’s dread about a delayed return to normal. I expect a return to something functionally comparable to our old normal; my own life is basically there already (with the irritating but tolerable exception of wearing of a mask in many indoor settings). But I have never taken a return to normal as a given. A functional return to a pre-pandemic normal still strikes me as the most likely outcome by a wide margin, but there are a lot of plausible scenarios where our lives remain permanently, negatively changed. This isn’t a prediction. But if you don’t at least grant the possibility that it could be otherwise, you’re kidding yourself. Your expectations of a return to the comfortable old familiar are blinding you to the reality that life can change in ways that are never undone. This has happened to people before, and there is absolutely nothing stopping it from happening to you, or all of us.

And the reaction to Jen’s tweet (which she expanded into a full column on Thursday) was awfully revealing of just how far removed from some harsh realities Canadians have become. COVID-19 might have been the worst shared global experience you’ve ever experienced. That’s true of me, too. But there’s a massive gulf between “worst thing I’ve lived through” and “the worst thing that could plausibly happen.” We don’t even need to ponder hypotheticals. Read about 1918, which, as Jen noted in her column, was vastly more deadly in terms of overall deaths — and it’s not even close.

Don’t believe me? Canada’s COVID-19 death toll is currently a bit under 30,000. We lost 50,000 to Spanish Flu, out of a population of eight million. An equally deadly pandemic this time would have killed almost a quarter million of us. That’s every COVID death, plus 200,000-some-odd more.

Consider what would have happened if COVID-19 had been even modestly more contagious or deadly, or consider my nightmare scenario: it attacked the young, the very young, not the old. This could have been so much worse. It could still become so.

This seems lost on many, including some very smart people who ought to know better. I have a very clear memory of chatting with a colleague in the summer of 2020, and mentioning that I was glad the first wave hadn’t proven worse. He was aghast — genuinely confused and shocked. “How could it be worse?” he asked. His question left me equally shocked and confused. I had to ask him if he was being serious. He was.

And many would agree with him: they can’t imagine it having been harder. To them, I say only this: if your imagination can’t conceive of anything worse than the last 20 months, and if your grasp of history is so weak that you think that the last 20 months have been some unprecedented catastrophe, that’s a comment on your imagination and historical literacy, not on the last 20 months. It’s not nice to look back on this pandemic and realize that we were lucky to dodge something worse, but if you truly think it couldn’t have been much nastier, I hope you never have the experience of being proven wrong.

Some of these failures in comprehension, understanding and imagination are on the individual level, some are on the institutional level, and I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg. It’s too easy to simply blame government leaders and officials for these problems — I’m afraid that our politics, on this score, is simply downstream of our collective societal cluelessness about just how fragile and precious our way of life has become.

But here’s the rub, folks: we are not owed any particular future, and are not guaranteed more of what we’ve already had. This is not a defeatist declaration — I believe we can continue to thrive. As a father of young children, I am forced to be an optimist — I have to believe the world will be good for them. But we’re going to have to work for that world, and that starts with understanding that none of what we’ve enjoyed is the natural state of human affairs.

This will be hard for Canadians to grasp. For our entire history, we have been under the protection of the preeminent global power — we had the incredible fortune of sliding out from under the British umbrella right into the protective cover of the American one without getting hit by a single drop of rain. Basic assumptions about our physical security are hardwired into our national concept of everything — but is that concept changing? Are the Americans still a reliable ally? Can we take their own political stability for granted? We expect America to be stable and friendly — but should we? Is the Western alliance system and the “rules-based international order” we hear so much about things that actually still exist, or are they slogans?

Or take health care. The long-understood bargain in Canada has been that we’d tolerate substandard service in many areas, such as long wait times for non-essential procedures, because we had faith the system would be there for us if our lives were really on the line. Health systems across Canada have been overwhelmed by the pandemic. We now have massive backlogs of urgently necessary tests and procedures, and these delays are going to cost lives — they have already cost lives. What we expect from the health-care system, it is no longer able to consistently provide.

Take a gander at B.C. Can we expect the same weather patterns we’ve built our infrastructure around, there and elsewhere? How many of you made a big financial decision in recent years on the expectation that, after a 40-year absence, inflation would continue to remain stable and modest? And Putin isn’t going to really invade Ukraine, is he? Is he?

I could go on. The point is not to descend into panic. I’m not panicked. But I am increasingly convinced that you can explain a lot of Canadian dysfunction — the lack of “state capacity” we are increasingly hearing about — by simply understanding that we have built our government, our entire political class and a horrifying degree of our national collective psychology around a series of deeply held and extremely cheerful assumptions about the world, our safety, our prosperity, our health and the ascendancy of our values that no longer hold true. Our tools are not suited to the jobs newly at hand.

Before we can even begin to respond to these challenges, we have to perceive them, truly see them and accept their reality, and that’s going to require a process of overcoming denial that may take longer than we have.

Because we have about 75 years’ worth of “givens” we need to start interrogating anew, and asking if they still hold, and there’s going to be a massive temptation to reassure ourselves that they do, because to admit otherwise is going to compel a lot of action, a lot of spending and some long, sleepless nights. But we don’t have a choice. We need to do this. Because our expectations have become a problem that we need to start solving.

On COVID restrictions, our governments keep firing up the gaslights and shifting the goalposts

If you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time

Allan Richarz / CBC Opinion / December 3, 2021

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-covid-measures-gaslighting-shifting-goalposts-1.6268380

Listen closely and one might be able to discern the unmistakable sounds of our elected and unelected officials frantically firing up the gaslights and moving the goalposts on COVID restrictions and vaccinations.

It was a precipitous but inevitable shift from “two weeks to flatten the curve” to get the jab or lose your job, and unsurprisingly, there is still more to come.

Met the provincial vaccination targets? Great; but now it’s time for a booster. Ready for the “temporary” vaccine passport system to expire? Sorry, we need to extend it through spring; proving once again that if you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time.

Less than a year ago, government and public health officials touted vaccination as a panacea to end the pandemic. It’s safe, effective and will allow the country to put COVID behind us, we were told. To that end, citizens were encouraged, prodded and eventually threatened to get their shots, with holdouts demonized by politicians at all levels. Yet, in Ontario, even as the province exceeded by weeks its vaccination and case number targets of the government’s phased reopening plan, citizens were offered only breadcrumbs in return: moving up Phase 3 reopening by just a few days, with no plans at the time for a complete reopening.

Goalposts shift again

And now, with new case numbers in Ontario essentially split evenly between the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated and questions about waning vaccine efficacy, the goalposts shift again with the rollout of booster shots elsewhere in the country and calls for expanded eligibility.

One does not need to look hard to guess what the next step will be across Canada. In Israel and France, the definition of fully vaccinated was changed to include boosters; those six months out from their second dose, or first booster, are now considered unvaccinated, and their vaccine passport privileges suspended.

There is, of course, the popular rebuttal that these goalpost shifts are entirely above-board as the “science evolves.” But that exposes the flaw inherent in governments’ COVID response: for nearly two years, debate and dissent from burdensome COVID restrictions has been short-circuited with demands that citizens “trust the science“; a modern take on debate-defusing exhortations to “support our troops” during the War on Terror. Every infringement on citizens’ privacy, mobility, autonomy and conscience rights has been justified by officials in the name of the infallible technocratic might of “the science.”

But when proven wrong – or more importantly, unpopular at the polls – that formerly rock-solid science on which officials acted is simply dismissed out of hand. Policymakers, however, cannot on one hand demand unyielding adherence to science, and then down the road simply hand-wave away their previous demands on the grounds that their knowledge or political fortunes have evolved.

It is for this precise reason that checks and balances exist in governance: to prevent rule through unaccountable technocratic appeals to authority. Debate and dissent in the age of COVID, however, have become four-letter words.

Our public health officials and elected politicians should not at this point expect any benefit of the doubt. Considering that we are still taking our shoes off and binning bottles of water at airport security 20 years after 9/11, that government officials and their unelected mandarins are unwilling to cede their newfound power in an age of COVID should not come as any surprise.

Indeed, officials have shown they are not above apparent falsehoods to further their aims. Last week, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore justified the immunization of children between the ages of five and 11 by claiming hospitalization and case counts for that age group were increasing. Yet, according to Ontario’s own data, there had been zero hospitalizations in that age group in the past two weeks at the time of Moore’s statement.

Always another threat

As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) once knew, “There will always be a new disease, always the threat of a new pandemic.” Accordingly, the number of boosters, or the percentage of fully-vaccinated citizens, needed for a return to normal will always be n+1. Meet one metric, and be met with two more. As the ACLU continues, “If [fear of disease] justifies the suspension of liberties and the institution of an emergency state, then freedom and the rule of law will be permanently suspended.”

Already we see public health officials priming the pump for the next goalpost shift. Even if vaccine uptake is high among five to 11-year-olds, it will still not be good enough. According to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, toddlers under the age of four will be next to need the shots, claiming with an absolute lack of shame that – unlike all the other times we were promised an end to the pandemic – vaccinating that group will be a “turning point.”

The government, of course, will never walk back its emergency powers of its own volition. And why would they? After two years of fomenting terror and division among the population, they have cultivated a solid base of support that combines the post-9/11 see-something-say-something paranoia of a middle-class yuppie with the unctuous 1980s Moral Majority sense of superiority.

Until public opinion turns sharply against government overreach, we will continue to live in an artificially prolonged state of emergency, beholden to the whims of bureaucrats and elected officials.

After 21 months, our leaders are still flying blind through the pandemic

We find ourselves looking towards Christmas 2021, with more imperative edicts as to how we might be allowed to celebrate it

Rex Murphy / The National Post / December 3, 2021

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-after-21-months-our-leaders-are-still-flying-blind-through-the-pandemic

Are governments managing COVID, or is COVID managing governments? I’m going with the latter.

It is almost a feat of memory to recall the early days of the pandemic when the call went out to tolerate restrictions for just “two weeks to flatten the curve.” When two weeks proved insufficient, the lockdowns continued.

Still, in those early days, most people were willing to take the hit, to circumscribe normal interactions, shut their businesses, leave their elderly relatives cloistered and unvisited, and comply with the harsher protocols. Hard it was, but Canadians are sensible and obliging.

Well, a couple of months swelled to several, then to a year, and now here we are 21 months later. What’s changed? More to the point: what’s improved? Well, we now have COVID passports, imperfect vaccines, a flurry of follies on when and where to wear a mask, and absolutely no idea what is next.

We find ourselves looking towards Christmas 2021, with more imperative edicts as to how we might be allowed to celebrate it: how many at the festive table, a face shield on baby Jesus in the creche and double-thick masks if plum pudding is to be served.

Every month brings a new “variant.” Are the variants limitless? Are the variants worse than the original? I sometimes wonder, when they run out of letters from the Greek alphabet, will they jump to Cyrillic? It’s hard to pronounce, but as an emphatic typography, it has the stern look our overseeing managers will appreciate.

Even the most obliging citizens continue to respect the advice of municipal, provincial and federal governments, but in private conversation rattle off doubts and frustrations about the policies and pronouncements of health and political authorities.

They don’t believe COVID is under control, or even understood in any fundamental sense, and they certainly do not believe that those in authority have a handle on it. They go along. But the going along is tepid, unconvinced, resentful and certainly not spined with any belief that the maskings and the mandates, the on and off lockdowns, and the waning vaccines are taming COVID.

I’m not speaking of those who go to protests, who reflexively resist government authority or the even more demented faction who talk to trees and expect a reply. I’m talking about average folks — mothers, clerks, taxi drivers and students — who are going along, but in a deeply subdued way.

We must ask some questions. Do our authorities really have an understanding of the problem? Or are they continuing to improvise as they go? If such is the case, governments should say so. Do not give false hope. Will any authority, in health or politics, make a definitive statement about when or how this COVID crisis will end?

What is the end game? Is there one? Will politicians declare the set of conditions that must be present for life to return to normal? What is the current projected timeline? Are we looking at another year? Two? Is this a permanent state of affairs? Is the extremely imperfect COVID “cure” worse than the disease? That is the question.

The normal rhythms of daily life are shot; commerce is desperately ailing; industries are failing; inflation is back and it will cut very deeply in the months ahead; energy supplies are in jeopardy; the supply chain is broken; the health of a multitude of citizens is not being attended to, doctors are on phone lines, surgeries delayed, emergencies rooms have turned into vast waiting halls; young people have lost out on their education; loved ones have been separated; travel is either a pain or a joke; the psychological injuries imposed by COVID regimes are not, and perhaps cannot, be measured. But they are massive and extreme.

And most emphatically: the civil liberties of citizens have been pushed aside, abandoned, violated with scarcely a whimper from parliamentarians and the news media. Our once-celebrated Charter of Rights and Freedoms is shown to be a platitudinous vapour, a shield of fog and foam, most insouciantly violated when it is most needed.

We may accede to the conditions and regulations being laid down for us. But I would ask readers these questions: Do you think our various authorities, medical and political, are competently managing COVID and have a clear plan for a return to normalcy? Do you believe that our politicians — municipal, provincial and federal — really know what they are doing?

And the last one: are you feeling better now, more confident today, than you felt two years ago, when our leaders, so solicitously, asked for your help, just for two weeks mind you, to “flatten the curve?”

 

Have an opinion on where we find ourselves in Canada today? Write and share it: chrisg.goerge@gmail.com

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

‘Justinflation’ and its impact on Canadians

The Niagara Independent, December 3, 2021 – Recall Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s candid admission on the election campaign hustings, “When I think about the biggest, most important economic policy that this government, if re-elected, would move forward, you’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy.”

The PM has no mind for fiscal and economic policies. However, there are an increasing number of financial reports and analyses that suggest the Trudeau government’s lack of attention to its monetary policy is jeopardizing Canadians’ personal financial standing and the country’s future economic prosperity.

Inflation in Canada is at the highest level it has been in decades and this fact, at least in part, is due to Trudeau’s and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s approach to the country’s finances – and their flippant response to current inflationary pressures being increasingly felt by everyone.

In the House of Commons this week, the opposition parties accused Trudeau and Freeland of fueling inflation with continued reckless spending, the printing of money, and failing to provide clear direction to the Bank of Canada. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre coined a new phrase to identify the government’s disregard for rising costs of living: Justinflation. The term has caught on in parliamentary debates and the media – much to the annoyance of the finance minister.

Freeland makes the argument that Canada’s level of inflation is not unlike rates found in the G20. (She cleverly neglects to mention G20 countries are in lockstep with their monetary approach, a page torn out of the globalists’ World Economic Forum playbook – the Forum that Freeland herself is a director.) In debate, the finance minister references economists who state Canada’s inflationary challenges are not of the government’s doing. Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz conducted a series of media interviews to declare inflation in Canada was not caused by federal spending.

Yet, recently there has been financial analysis that concludes the government’s failure to adjust its spending and respond to the rising inflationary pressures is making the matters much worse. Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada, released a report in which he argues the government’s massive pandemic spending program has led to unprecedented public debt and the fact it has no plan to repay that debt is now “pouring fuel on the fire” of inflation.

Steven Globerman, professor emeritus at Western Washington University, concluded in a Fraser Institute report that the Trudeau government will prolong higher rates of inflation without providing clear direction to the Bank of Canada. Globerman writes central banks “need to stop injecting unprecedented amounts of money into the economy and return to a more measured monetary policy”; or “higher inflation could persist even after the pandemic subsides.”

Today, Justinflation is Canadians’ greatest concern, far greater than the pandemic, climate change, or any other political issue. The skyrocketing cost of living and, specifically, the costs of gas and food is keeping people awake at night, according to the latest Global News Ipsos poll taken in mid-November. One in three Canadians are worried about their finances through the winter months and just 23 per cent of respondents are confident that the government will make progress on cost of living and affordability issues.

So, how bad is it? Statistics Canada recorded the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) at 4.7 per cent for October (year-over-year). That is the quickest pace set since February 2003 – and a far greater pace than it was a year ago when the CPI was 0.7 per cent. It is well above the Bank of Canada’s target CPI range of 1-3 per cent – the seventh consecutive month it has exceeded the target.

Prices have risen year-over-year in all of Stats Can’s categories:

  • 10.1 per cent in transportation costs, driven by a 42 per cent jump for gas at the pumps
  • 26 per cent in energy costs, with natural gas prices rising 19 per cent
  • 13.5 per cent rise in new home prices
  • 6.1 per cent rise in costs of passenger vehicles
  • 10 per cent rise in meat products, with increases for fresh or frozen beef (14 per cent) and bacon (20 per cent).

This inflationary pressure in Canada is accompanied by troubling economic and social data.

BUSINESS CLOSURES: Statistics Canada reported that in the month of August there were more businesses closed than opened (Ontario suffering the biggest net decline). This was the first time this monthly net loss occurred since May 2020, when the business community was managing lockdowns and evolving public-health directives.

MORTGAGE DEBT: The Superintendent of Financial Institutions, a Canadian federal bank regulator, provided a dire warning in its annual report based on the fact mortgage debt is equivalent to 85 per cent of Canada’s entire economy. The Superintendent forecasted: “Household indebtedness posed the largest risk for many federally-regulated financial institutions…and [it] may indicate vulnerability in the Canadian economy and the financial system.”

LOW CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: The Conference Board of Canada reported in November that its consumer confidence index dropped and is now 10 per cent below its pre-pandemic (February 2020) level. The combination of household mortgages, supply chain disruptions, and inflationary pressures are impacting confidence. Less than one in five believe now is a good time to purchase any large-ticket item.

FOOD BANK DEPENDENCE UP: Feed Ontario released 2021 statistics that indicate food bank usage in the province is up 10 per cent with almost 600,000 adults and children accessing food bank services this year.

JOB LOSS AND JOBLESSNESS: A survey on employment by the Environics Institute for Survey Research found that during the pandemic 70 per cent of younger Canadians under the age of 35 reported their life has been adversely impacted: 50 per cent experienced job loss or reduction of hours; and 19 per cent became unemployed without finding a new job.

In a private meeting last week, the finance minister and department officials conferred with private-sector economists and financiers who expressed their concerns for the government’s spending plans and impact they will have on inflation. The concern was shared that continued inflationary pressures will create increased economic uncertainty. The thrust of the expert advice was to defer any federal government spending increases for as much as two years.

In a media scrum held earlier in the week, Minister Freeland was noncommittal about the counsel the government is providing the Bank of Canada, which soon must announce the banks’ five-year inflation-targeting mandate. The bank’s target is important as a key factor in setting interest rates in the country.  A higher target will permit maintaining lower interest rates, which in turn will cause a prolonged period of inflation. In this manner, a country’s monetary policy can ease or add to the financial burdens of businesses and individuals.

A news flash from Ottawa on Thursday announced that Minister Freeland will release her Fall Economic and Fiscal Update on Dec. 14. Perhaps then Canadians will learn how the Trudeau government plans to manage its monetary policy and address the country’s Justinflation.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/justinflation-and-its-impact-on-canadians/

Photo credit: The Canadian Press – Sean Kilpatrick / PM Justin Trudeau speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.

Visualizing Global Per Capita CO2 Emissions

This amazing graphic is from the Visual Capitalist website — www.visualcapitalist.com. It clearly illustrates the amounts of carbon emissions Canadians are responsible for globally. Green advocates wish to make the point that per capita Canadians are the second worst polluters on the plant. But that statistic is moot when considering the actual amount of CO2 pollutants Canadians are responsible for — especially comparing the country to China, U.S., Russia, and India.

SOURCE:  https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-global-per-capita-co2-emissions/

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The American history of modern day Christmas

Here are facts of some traditions of our modern day Christmas celebrations as they have developed in the United States in the 1800’s. You may be surprise to know that many of our traditions, from gift-giving to Santa Claus, are less than 200 years old. The facts below are from an informative article in The Economist entitled,  Knock yourself out, Fox: Americans have vied over Christmas for centuries

  • Between 1659 and 1681 it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts, as it was in England around the same time. The Puritans of the Plymouth Colony considered it wasteful, illicit and heathen as Christmas was timed to match the winter solstice and Roman Saturnalia. It had ancient pagan attributes, including gorging, licentiousness and role reversal.
  • Christmas was a regular working day everywhere until Alabama, in 1836, made it a public holiday.
  • The wealthy bourgeoisie that emerged in New York during the early 19th century feared Christmas for more selfish reasons. Its members disliked the drunken revellers who, each wild Christmastide, claimed a subversive right to their provisions and hearth.
  • New Yorkers set about domesticating the Christmastide festival, out of which effort came America’s biggest contribution to it: Santa Claus. The modern standard was set in 1822 by a rich slave owner called Clement Clarke Moore, author of “The Night before Christmas”. Where the historical St Nicholas was a lofty Greek bishop, his version was a jovial proletarian figure. Instead of demanding gifts, as the wassailers at Moore’s gate did, however, he delivered them. Stephen Nissenbaum, a historian of the American Christmas, sees this as an inversion of propertied New Yorkers’ fears of the festive mob. It was an exercise in taming Christmas.
  • A festival long associated with excess, now rededicated to spoiling close relatives in America’s richest city, Christmas rapidly became commercialized. Coca-Cola is often said to have established the fur-clad image of Santa Claus in a famous series of adverts in the 1930s.
  • The adoption of the Germanic Christmas tree in the 1830s was, for its promoters in New England, an effort to return the festival to a more innocent folk tradition. The attempt was later encouraged by Queen Victoria’s Anglo-German festivities.
  • The classic American Christmas has changed relatively little since the 1850s and its core ideas have been defined by both America and Britain. America contributed its most famous poem and Santa Claus; Britain its most famous novel—Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.”
  • After Thomas Edison’s business partner strung electric bulbs around a tree in New York in 1882, tree lights were soon being mass-produced.
  • The Hall Brothers (now Hallmark) produced the first folded Christmas card in 1915.
  • Towns up and down the country rebranded themselves as seasonal theme parks (“It’s Christmas all year round here in Bethlehem,” goes the slogan for that Pennsylvanian town).
  • Since the publication in 2005 of “Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition”, over 13m households have been persuaded to “adopt” a toy elf (with the book, it can be yours for $32.95).

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

The By George Virtual Eggnog Bowl

For this Christmas season the By George elves are provided merry quotes, seasonal facts and interesting trivia to add frothy cheer to your days. Enjoy diving into our virtual eggnog bowl.

Take up a glass and join the party. 

With Eggnog, you know the holiday season is upon us! 

Eggnog has a rather rich history

Conversations over the (virtual) eggnog bowl

10 interesting Christmas facts

10 more interesting Christmas facts 

Even more interesting Christmas facts

A total of 40 Christmas facts to get us started 

Here’s to a punny Christmas

The hustle & bustle of Christmas shopping 

Top 10 Christmas Record Breakers

Christmas facts from around the world (1) 

Christmas facts from around the world (2) 

Greek Kourambiedes – “The” Christmas Cookie 

O Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree- quotes for the season

5 Must-Knows about It’s a Wonderful Life

10 Favourite Lines from It’s a Wonderful Life 

Facts about “The Real” Bedford Falls 

The iconic “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Our top 10 Christmas movie list

10 facts about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

The Folded Napkin

“Beware Revelers” the season of memes

BGJ’s Christmas Memes

Canadian Christmas Memes

Elf-on-the-Shelf (Ho-Oh-No) Memes

A Dozen 2020 Christmas Memes

Gift-receiving – the pessimist and the optimist

Humourous Christmas Quotes

10 Guffaws to start the Christmas Partying

Holiday Cookie Rules

25 Favourite Christmas Puns

Our Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

Top-10 Things to Say about a Christmas Gift You Don’t Like

Some Christmas Humour

This just in… Christmas is to be Downsized

#FakeChristmasSongFacts

“I’d rather be cycling.” – Santa

#1 Christmas Movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life” 

A Canadian Christmas Carol

Christmas Toasts

Thoughts to infuse the spirit of Christmas

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

Our elves will be refilling the bowl through the coming weeks. We plan on scooping out refreshments daily in social media, on the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal — so you can enjoy a steady stream of creative yule time content. Cheers!

Conversing over the eggnog bowl

The American history of modern day Christmas

3 Most-Popular Symbols of a Traditional Christmas 

Some of the funniest Christmas memes!

A Chess History Lesson

A Canadian Christmas Carol (published December 25, 2020)

With its holiday deceptions, Trudeau government is Canada’s “Grinch”  (published December 24, 2021)

Christmas Memes for 2021

Our 2021 Christmas Wish ~ By George

Hilarious 2022 New Year’s Memes

New Year’s Toasts, Quotes and Verse

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

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From all of us at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS, we wish you the best through the holidays. Have a very Merry Christmas and we hope we will all have a much better 2022!

For our season’s greetings, we present ‘Toasts, Quotes and Verse for the holidays.’ Below you will find toasts, quotes, terrific sayings, and verse for both Christmas and New Year’s. We hope you can use this collection of sayings to make that holiday toast a memorable one, to use as inscriptions in those special cards, or to spice up your conversations at family and social gatherings.

The best of the season! Cheers!

TOASTS, QUOTES AND VERSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

CHRISTMAS TOASTS

— Let the special memories of Christmases past bring new joy and delight to your heart this Christmas!
— May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love. – Ada V. Hendricks
— I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. –Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!–Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie
— Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind. – Mary Ellen Chase
— A Christmas Cheer: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
— From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other –Emily Matthews
— May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
— May peace be more than a season, may it be a way of life!

CHRISTMAS QUOTES

— Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.–Norman Vincent Peale
— Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.–Calvin Coolidge
— Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.–William Parks
— Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.–Augusta E. Rundel
— Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.–Washington Irving
— Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.–George F. McDougall
— The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.–Burton Hillis
— There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions –Bill McKibben
— Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white”.–Bing Crosby
— Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.–Anonymous
— It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.–W. T. Ellis
— I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.–Harlan Miller
— The three stages of man: He believes in Santa Claus. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. He is Santa Claus.
— Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete –Charles Dickens

CHRISTMAS VERSE

— “But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

— Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
It’s poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
— Grace Noll Crowell, Let Us Keep Christmas

— I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The word repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas Bells

— When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Christmas Fancies

NEW YEAR TOASTS

— Here’s to a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to things that are yet to come and to the memories that we hold.
— As we start the New Year, let’s get down on our knees to thank God we’re on our feet.
— May all your troubles in the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.
— May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.
— May the road rise up before you, and the wind be always at your back, and the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hands.
— May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.
— Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.
— Welcome are those that are here; welcome all, and make good cheer; welcome all, another year.

NEW YEAR QUOTES

— No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. — Charles Lamb
— Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.
— A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
— The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows.– George William Curtis
— New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. — Charles Lamb
— Each age has deemed the new-born year, the fittest time for festal cheer — Sir Walter Scott
— The merry year is born, like the bright berry from the naked thorn. — Hartley Coleridge
— Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. — Brooks Atkinson
— Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. — Thomas Mann
— An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. — Bill Vaughan
— Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve – middle age is when you’re forced to. — Bill Vaughn

NEW YEAR VERSE

— We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
And Thee for the opening one.
— John Greenleaf Whittier

— Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,
With never a thought of sorrow;
The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow.
— Emily Miller

— New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. — Hamilton Wright Mabie

— Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. — Henry Ward Beecher

— The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! — Edward P. Powell

— And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury –
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
— Thomas Hood

— Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Again, Merry Christmas and the very best through 2022!

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

#1 Christmas Movie : “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Through the years, By George Journal has featured “It’s a Wonderful Life”, well, it’s the best Christmas movie we have – a moving account of a caring, community-minded, family man who struggles with inner-doubt and comes to fully appreciate the love of family and friends. In our crazy, mixed-up world, it doesn’t get better than this.

Here are quick links to our Journal’s posts on this must-rewatch-this-holiday film. 

Drop us a note and let us know when you view “It’s a Wonderful Life” this Christmas season. Enjoy!

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

“I’d rather be cycling.” – Santa

Here is a shout out to all our cycling friends. Did you know that I overheard Santa the other day say to Mrs. Claus: “I’d rather be cycling.” So, that gave me an idea….

By George presents a dozen Christmas images of Santa and his bike for all who can’t wait for spring thaw and dry roads.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for any religious reasons.  They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Humourous Christmas Quotes

  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit. — Unknown
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included — Bernard Manning
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband. — Joan Rivers
  • I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. — Shirley Temple
  • Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. — Dennis Miller
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. — Johnny Carson
  • Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. — Larry Wilde
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

A dozen 2020 Christmas Memes

By  George brings you a special set of Christmas memes to commemorate this extraordinary year that was…. We hope you might save and share these dozen memes to help spread the realities of our 2020 holiday season.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Elf-on-the-Shelf (Ho-Oh-No) Memes

By George Journal brings you some rather non-traditional memes feature that ever-annoying Elf-on-the-Shelf.

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(ed. – Apologies to all Elf-on-the-Shelf admirers.) 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Canadian Christmas Memes

For the third installment of By George’s Christmas memes, we are providing a few that are uniquely Canadian. Enjoy eh!  (Right click on the meme below. Like , eh, you can copy or save it and then share it to help spread the joy of the season.)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

BGJ’s Christmas Memes

These half-dozen guffaws are the second installment of By George’s Christmas memes – posts that we have enjoyed with followers on our Facebook page. (You can find our first installment of memes – clicking here.)

It’s a sideways look at the season — and go ahead and right click on any of the memes below. You can copy or save them and then share them to help spread the joy of the season!

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

“Beware Revelers” the season of memes

By  George launches its season of Christmas memes with a warning that the endless deluge of Christmas posters and gifs are seldom funny and often in bad taste. Still, our hope is to unearth a few striking memes that you will want to share. We begin with this set of 5 which we entitle “Beware Revelers”.

(Go ahead – right click on the meme below. You can copy or save it and then share it to help spread the joy of the season…)

 

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Folded Napkin

(A story forwarded from a friend to pass along.) 

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counsellor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down’s Syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The ones who concerned me were the mouthy college kids travelling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded ‘truck stop germ’; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a breadcrumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down’s Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. ‘OK, Frannie, what was that all about?’ he asked.

‘We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.’

‘I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?’

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery then sighed: ‘Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,’ she said. ‘But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.’ Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

‘What’s up?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,’ she said. ‘This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.’

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed ‘Something For Stevie’.

‘Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,’ she said, ‘so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.’

She handed me another paper napkin that had ‘Something For Stevie’ scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: ‘Truckers!!’

That was three months ago. Today is a week before Christmas, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.

His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

‘Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,’ I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. ‘Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!’
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.

I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins ‘First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,’ I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had ‘Something for Stevie’ printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. ‘There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. ‘Merry Christmas.’

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes
from the table…. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it, fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person. So, send this story on and share the joy. 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

10 facts about ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’

rudolph-rednosed-reindeer-facts-0Did you know that 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the beloved Christmas show “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” To celebrate the longevity of this wonderful story, the By George Journal presents ten facts you should know about the timeless classic favourite.

  1. On Dec. 6, 1964, television audiences across North America watched ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ for the first time. The made-for-TV special was created in Japan by MOM Production Studios, led by Tadahito “Tad” Mochinaga, a pioneer in Japanese stop-motion animation.
  2. The show took about 18 months, 22 room-size sets and hundreds of puppets to complete. It took 24 frames to create one second of filmed animation.
  3. Animators spent days observing deer to create Rudolph. Mochinaga, the chief animator, and his assistant Hiroshi Tabata spent two days at Nara National Park studying thousands of wild deer to observe the movement for their animation and to inspire their image of Rudolph and his setting.
  4. The Rudolph puppet measured a mere 4-inches high and Santa stood just 8-inches. And though he appears relatively large on screen, the Bumble figurine stood only 14-inches tall.
  5. More than 200 puppets were carved for the production of Rudolph. Puppet maker Ichiro Komuro explained that each character’s puppet was re-carved by hand for various movements and expressions, rather than using plaster and a mold, because it wouldn’t have been exact, “and the plaster head is very heavy for animation.” All of the characters were built with joints, which allowed any part of puppets’ bodies to be moved, including their eyes, ears and mouth.
  6. The puppets were not meant to last forever – and, in fact, are no longer. Despite their best efforts not to soil the puppets (only the animator and puppet maker were allowed to touch them in the studio, and they wore gloves when working on them) the figures were sprayed with magnetic flock to diffuse reflective light from the cameras. The spray contained acidity which contributed to the puppets’ deterioration over time.
  7. Before Burl Ives was corralled to narrate, Larry Mann (the voice of Yukon Cornelius) performed the narration. Mann’s version has never been heard publicly, but those who have listened to the recordings say Mann put on a Brooklyn-like accent that was less than gentle on the ears. And “Silver and Gold” was also originally sung by Larry Mann, recorded 28 times in Cornelius’ voice, including multiple takes that end with comic sobs. Both narration and the song were reassigned to Burl Ives to complete the show.
  8. Hermey, the elf who aspired to be a dentist, has left fans in question over his real name. In 1998, some merchandise marketed the elf with the name Herbie instead. However, the elf is named Hermey.
  9. For decades, fans have focused attention on the little doll on Misfit Island because there was nothing visibly wrong with her. Though some wondered if it was her lack of a real nose, Arthur Rankin has said that she was depressed because her owner didn’t want her anymore and she felt unlovable.
  10. In the original special that aired in 1964, Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius promise to return to visit Misfit Island, however, then never do so. This set fans into an angry frenzy and the studio responded to their bitter letters by changing the script. In 1965, the special added a new short scene at the very end of the show in which Santa and the reindeer deliver the Misfits to new homes.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our top 10 Christmas movie list

Here is By George‘s humble opinion of the top ten movies – “the must sees” – at this special time of year (listed in order from the best – but this should not dissuade you from watching all of them!).

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life

2. White Christmas

3. A Christmas Carol (1938 or 1951)

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

6. Miracle on 34th Street

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas

8. A Christmas Story (1983)

9. Elf

10. Fred Claus

Pass the popcorn and egg nog!

For more on the By George #1 selection “It’s a Wonderful Life”, dip into the virtual egg nog bowl for movie facts and memorable quotes.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.