News, Reviews & Resources   ||   Issue 123 December 2015 Dear Reader, With this final issue of Starlink for 2015 I'm sending you warmest wishes for


News, Reviews & Resources   ||   Issue 123 December 2015


Dear Reader,

With this final issue of Starlink for 2015 I'm sending you warmest wishes for a wonderful festive season and a great start for 2016!

With the holiday period looming, as well as the summer break here downunder, I'm facing the scramble that no doubt many Starlink readers are also experiencing: to finalise all that needs to be finished before the year's end.

Items this month mainly focus on approaching festivities - with a few tips and tools as well as snippets to make you smile.

Whether you are taking a few weeks over a southern summer or just a few days during a northern winter, may you enjoy a restful and rejuvenating holiday break!

BJ Seminars International

"Jingle Bells" in Germany


Germany's largest supermarket chain, Edeka, surprised customers with a special treat last year.

It took a coordinated team of cashiers, 13 hidden cameras and some special light effects - but the result was a wonderful treat for shoppers who joined enthusiastically into the spirit of the occasion.

A Multicultural December


For many people, December means Christmas. But there are a number of other celebrations that take place around this time of year for people of different cultures or faiths. Here are some other December celebrations, with links to further information about them.

Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)

Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)

St. Lucia Day (Swedish)

Hanukkah (Jewish)

Kwanzaa (African American)

Omisoka (Japanese)

Yule (Pagan)

Saturnalia (Pagan)

8 Tips for Supporting People with Dementia
this Christmas


Though Christmas should be a happy time for everyone, for those living with dementia it can be an isolating or lonely experience.

These eight tips from ECH, an aged care provider in Adelaide, are a useful checklist of things that can help make a difference.

Running Late for Gifts this Year?


Some folk are so well organised that their Christmas shopping is done by October ... :)

However for many of us, there's a last minute panic and we rush to battle the shopping centre crowds .. if we can find a parking spot!

So for the late and lamenting last-minuters, here are some ideas that may help to save your sanity.

Popsugar suggests 26 quick and easy DIY gifts that can be whipped up in no time. And from Buzzfeed Life comes a similar list of 31 ideas.

Go Green This Christmas


Biome has some eco-friendly gift guides to share. It's also an online shop, but delivery times may now be too tight to reach you for Christmas. Still, their guides may still give you some handy ideas for last-minute gifts that you can source locally as well.

And from Earth First comes a list of Christmas gift ideas that won't hurt the planet.

And from yet another website, here are some ideas that are not only planet-friendly but also won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Planning for 2016?


You may already have organised dates for various things in 2016. And often a commercial calendar on the wall is a handy asset. But for those who'd like to combine computer input with pen or pencil, these printable calendars may be useful.

Time and Date allows you to create your own calendar - for any year and country - that will include designated holidays already marked in for you.

Printable 2016 Calendars are available in Word or PDF format - and the site also has links to a huge range of other printables including invoice templates, resumé templates, to do lists and labels.

And finally, Alli of Scattered Squirrel offers her own collection of created printable calendars. Her site also offers other printables covering personal planners, time management, home management, kitchen binders, holiday planners and 'move management' for when you move house

Out and About on the Web

chart in brain

Three Words to Help Retrain Your Brain


3 Most Effective Tools for Community Engagement


Kids Under Cover: Donate A Car Program


Guides to Social Policy Law

Parenting Tips for the Holiday Season


Parenting Squad has some handy articles and tips for parents and families to help things go smoothly without stress during the festivities. Here are a few of them:

How to NOT Overdo it this Holiday Season

Holiday Traveling Tips for Families of Children With Special Needs

Start Your Own Holiday Family Traditions

5 Simple Ways to Teach Your Children Etiquette for the Holidays

And finally some handy information for a few people perhaps, though with tongue firmly in cheek I think ... :)
How to Survive Your Mother-in-Law at the Holidays

Holly, by Golly!


Many Christmas cards and decorations include the deep green and bright red of holly leaves and berries. But why? And where did this tradition originate?

Celtic Holly Origins explains some of the history of this phenomenon. I particularly like the fancy of providing shelter for tree fairies.

And from the New Forest in the UK, comes this articleby Andy Byfield, which provides some fascinating facts about the holly plant - incuding it's capacity to make birds fall intoxicated from their perches!

In spite of its symbolism and beauty though, holly is considered a noxious weed across much of Australia, because it threatens our indigenous flora. In Tasmania and Victoria it's a particularly significant danger. There are community groups dedicated to its eradication - including the Friends of Sherbrooke Forest in my own neighbourhood. They host 'weeding parties' to do battle with 'the enemy' - a list of weeds that includes holly!

But finally let's return to 'Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly'. An oldie but goodie to make you smile. :)

Six White Boomers


A favourite song of mine when I was little was "Six White Boomers" - such a wonderful explanation of how Santa's sleigh could travel in a country such as Australia, where there is certainly no snow in summer!

For the nostalgic among Aussie Starlink readers, or for those who come from other parts of the world and haven't heard it, here are two renditions of the song ...

The first version is sung by the Kwinana Children's Choir, which is a group of about 20 children (aged between 6 and 12) from Kwinana, a township about 38 kilometers south of Perth in Western Australia.

The second version is by Greg Champion and Colin Buchanan, known in classic Aussie style as "Bucko and Champs". These two are obviously enjoying themselves with the song ... and they ad lib some extra lines that may make also you smile.

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