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Santa Says Stick It

angel There are a lot of Christmas traditions. Have you ever wondered where they come from?

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marylynnMom had this old cardboard fireplace that we’d put up every year, even though the thing was practically falling apart. From the time my sister and I were little, to young adults, you always see pictures with that cardboard fireplace. It was a family tradition.

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georgeMy mom made noodles every Christmas; I’ve never had noodles like my mom’s noodles. Except for my grandma’s noodles, which is how mom learned to make her noodles. I’m sure my great grandma made the same noodles.

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Well, we were wondering about how these traditions get started. As we talked with Santa a few days ago, he told a story about the origin of one Christmas tradition.

One day long ago, as the North Pole prepared for the bigg Christmas Eve event, things weren’t going so well.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainee elves did their best, but they couldn’t make toys as fast as the regulars.

Santa began to feel the pressure as they got behind schedule and the deadline loomed ever larger.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

Finally, the bigg day was here. Santa went out to harness the reindeer, but he found out that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence, no where to be found.

More stress.

When he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

So frustrated was Santa that he went into the house for a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. With hot chocolate in hand, he went to the refrigerator and discovered that the elves had eaten all the whipped cream.

In his frustration, he accidentally dropped his cup full of hot chocolate and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from.

Just then the doorbell rang. When Santa opened the door, there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said, very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas Santa. Isn't it just a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

Well, Santa did tell the angel where to stick it and that’s how the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree began! 

Happy Holidays!

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Santa Shares Some Jolly Good Tips

(Image in today's post by weirdvis)

A Visit with Santa

santa-claus We had a very special guest on The Bigg Success Show today. Straight from the reindeer farm at the North Pole, we welcomed Santa Claus! Here’s a summary of the conversation:

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marylynn
Welcome to The Bigg Success Show, Santa.

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santa_tiny
Oh, thank you Mary-Lynn. It’s always a pleasure visiting with you.

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george
We’re so happy that you make time for us. We’re amazed at that actually.

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santa_tiny
Well I try to make time for all my favorite fans.

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marylynn
Are you on schedule? Is everything going according to plan?

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santa_tiny
We are right on schedule. We will be ready on the 24th.

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george
Alright, that’s what we wanted to hear. All the boys and girls will be very happy.

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marylynn
How do you stay awake all night?

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santa_tinyWell, Mrs. Claus would tell you it’s all the coffee. However, there are a few chocolates that kind of keep me buzzed up too … especially dark chocolate!

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georgeSo chocolate is the key! We have that straight from Santa’s mouth. Now, Santa … do you ever confuse the reindeer droppings for chocolate?

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santa_tiny
Not yet … it hasn’t happened in hundreds of years. Ho! Ho! Ho!

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marylynn
And Santa, how do you avoid getting a cold at this time of year?

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santa_tiny
Lots of Vitamin C – a glass of juice every morning.

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marylynn
Yeah, because you can’t be drowsy from Sudafed when you’re out delivering toys!

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santa_tinyNo, I have one elf who is responsible for squeezing all my fruit drinks – lemonade and orange juice – every morning.

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marylynn
That sounds like maid service.

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santa_tiny
Well you don’t need to tell him that. Ho! Ho! Ho!

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george
So that elf really can make lemonade out of lemons!

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santa_tiny
Oh absolutely, and there have been plenty of those this year.

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georgeLast year, you taught us how to be jolly and I have to tell you it really has come in handy in 2008.

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santa_tinyOh, I’m glad to hear that. Finding ways to stay jolly is an excellent thing to do in these times.

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marylynnWell, what is your message to people this year – who are going through tough times, who are finding it hard to stay jolly?

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santa_tinyThat’s a difficult thing. There are financial problems; the entire world is suffering really. But if you keep in mind the simple things, the things that matter the most – your family and friends – that will help get you through.

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marylynn
I can’t think of any better advice than that.

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georgeNow Santa, we always hear about Rudolph’s red nose, but I notice that your nose is often red too.

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santa_tiny
Oh yes … it’s frequently very cold outside.

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george
So that’s the reason?

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santa_tiny
Of course, are you insinuating something?

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george
Santa, I would insinuate nothing with you! That wouldn’t be nice!

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santa_tiny
Ho! Ho! Ho!

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marylynnOf course, if you need a little jolt on Christmas Eve, you can stop by the Bigg Success Studio. We’ll leave something special out for you!

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santa_tiny
I will certainly make an effort to stop by there!

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marylynnSanta, thank you so much for joining us on The Bigg Success Show. We know how busy you are and how crazy things are this time of year. But boy, it makes us jolly just to be able to talk with you!

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santa_tiny
It’s always a pleasure, Mary-Lynn and George … always a pleasure.

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george
Well, we’ll look forward to seeing you on Christmas Eve!

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santa_tiny
I will see you even if you don’t see me!

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marylynn
We’ll be tracking you on the Santa radar!

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santa_tiny
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

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Play at Work

play child’s play: something that’s easy to do.

We often don’t think about it, but play is actually child’s work. It’s all we had to do as kids and we learned essential skills by doing it.

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Then we grew up. Work becomes work. Play is what we do after all the work is done.

We see it as a trade-off. We work at our jobs. We get home and work on our chores. Maybe we’ll get some time to just have fun this weekend … or next … or when we take a vacation … but who has the time to do that these days? Oh well. That’s life.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We have a choice. We can integrate our work and play.

We can hear the objections already …

  • I need more play time. I don’t need to try to make work fun.
    Here’s where we need to learn a lesson from kids. If you can make your work feel like play, then you can play all the time.
  • No way. I can’t have fun at work. It’s just a job, not my dream job.
    We all have the power to choose. When we were kids, if we got tired or bored with whatever activity we were doing, we would do something else.
  • Times are tough. I’m happy just to have a job.
    This is a good point. As adults, we have responsibilities we didn’t have as kids. But just because we can’t change our situation instantly doesn’t mean we have to be stuck in it for the rest of our lives.

3 tips to make work seem like play

  • Love what you do
    We hear this all the time. You should do what you’re passionate about. We agree – it’s great if you can get paid to do what you love. That’s the ideal way to integrate work and play.

But we also think that passion is overrated. Instead, you may love why you do what you do. Perhaps your job gives you the income and the time away to pursue what you’re truly passionate about. You can still love your work because it’s the means to do what you really love.

  • Love who you work with
    Kids don’t play with kids they don’t like. Why should we? You may be in the right job in the right industry, but you’re in the wrong place. So change departments. Or companies. Granted you may not be able to make this happen overnight. But you can love what you do while you look for the right group to do it with.

  • Love the process
    This may be the main lesson we can learn from child’s play. They’re not worried about the result. They enjoy the process. In that process, they learn. They express their creativity. They socialize. They have fun. We put so much focus on the result that we forget the journey is the part that’s fun!

If you don’t love what you do, who you do it with, and the process of doing it, then how can you ever be happy? How will you grow? Where will you find meaning in your life?

If you do love what you do, who you do it with, and the process of doing it, then your work is your play. What could be better than playing all day? Better get back to it … another kid’s eyeing your toys!

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We really appreciate you spending some time with us today. Join us next time when we’ll discuss mania in the markets and rising above the crowd. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by DoortenJ)

When A Saver and a Spender Become a Couple

opposites_attractWe’re told that opposites attract. We also hear that money is one of the most frequent things couples argue about.

In a lot of relationships, there’s a saver and a spender. Or maybe both people are spenders, but they spend differently. One likes to buy bigg ticket items infrequently while the other spends a little bit of money on daily extravagances.

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marylynn We’re both pretty frugal, but I have to admit I do like my gadgets. We were at a conference recently and there was a microphone I just had to have! And of course, I do like my clothes.

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georgeAnd I like to go out for dinner more often than Mary-Lynn. Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that I’m the one who usually cooks dinner?

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How to come to an agreement on the family finances

We’ve found a good way to reach an agreement, on how your household saves and spends money, is to hold a summit! Heads of state do it; why shouldn’t you?

This summit has a three-fold purpose:

#1 – Values
You each need to fully understand where the other person is coming from. What’s important to him or her? By knowing each other’s values when it comes to money, you’ll be more flexible in your own financial decisions.

For example, a saver may value being debt-free. A spender may think it’s important to “live a little” now. Both positions can easily be defended. If you understand why it’s so important to your spouse, you’ll be more willing to accommodate his or her desires. You’ll find that you’re more flexible in looking for solutions.

#2 – Goals
Now that you have a good grasp of your respective values, you can discuss mutual goals. Only now you can both work to help each other get what’s important. So the spender will try to find ways to reduce debt. And the saver will see that buying a toy once in a while makes the spender more committed to saving. It’s win – win!

#3 – Strategies

You can’t stop now. With your goals in mind, develop specific strategies. For example, you may each set aside a certain amount from each of your paychecks for debt reduction and that certain toy. You’re working together to get more than you could get working alone!

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Next time, we’ll talk about the energy crisis … only it has nothing to do with oil. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Work – Life Balance Lessons From Stretch Armstrong

By Bigg Success Staff
02-20-08

Work – Life Balance

stretch_armstrong 

The year was 1976. A small group of experts, with the toymaker Kenner, met to discuss new ideas for toys. Time was ticking by. Few good ideas had been suggested.

Then, a soft-spoken gentleman stepped up with an idea for a new super hero.

Stretch Armstrong was born!

Children could stretch, for lack of a better word, his limbs up to four times the width of his body.

Stretch was a huge hit with kids who tested him daily to see just how far he could stretch.

In fact, Stretch is a hit again. Only now it’s collectors who seek this flexible super hero.

Why are collectors so interested in Stretch Armstrong?

Because so few dolls survived!

You see, with all the stretching, Stretch’s limbs started to harden and crack. When that happened, the “secret sauce” that allowed him to stretch so far leaked out. Stretch Armstrong couldn’t stretch anymore.

We can learn a lesson from Stretch Armstrong:

If you stretch yourself too far, too often, you may crack.

We all want to live a full life. We want a rewarding career and a robust personal life. In our quest for those goals, we spread ourselves very thin. We have to be careful, though, not to stretch ourselves too far, too often. Here are 6 tips to do just that:

  • Accept that you can’t have it all.
    It all begins with being honest – you can’t have it all. You’re only human. You only have 24 hours in a day. There is only so much you can do. You should seek to achieve balance for your own sake as well as those who depend on you. But you shouldn’t try to be all things to all people.
  • Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
    Having accepted that you can’t have it all, now you can decide what’s most important to you. Look at everything you do – your work, your family commitments, your personal activities – and think about your vision of your dream life.

    Take a zero-base approach to each activity – assume that you don’t need to do it. Now ask yourself what impact it would make if you didn’t do it. This will help you start to eliminate clutter in your schedule.

  • Schedule everything.
    Speaking of schedules, make it a habit to schedule everything. Plan what you need to do and how long it will take. Allow yourself some cushion – a lot of us think we’re a super hero. You’re only human. You can’t work at break-neck speed all the time.

    By scheduling everything, you’ll allow enough time for those things that are most important to you. That will include things you do just for fun. Most of us schedule everything but down time. So what happens – no down time!

  • Learn to say “no”.
    This is one of the most important tools in your work – life balance tool kit. You’ve gone to all the trouble to prioritize what’s most important to you. Don’t put yourself back in the same position by taking on new activities that don’t fit your vision of your dream life.

    Kindly consider any opportunities that come your way and then politely decline anything that doesn’t fit. Just say “no”!

  • Communicate what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T.
    Your life touches a lot of other people. They may be affected by your efforts to get things under control. Make sure you help them understand the reasons behind what you’re doing.

    But here’s a mistake people often make. Don’t concentrate on what you can’t do any longer. Focus on what you can and will do. Accentuate the positive!

  • Don’t worry about getting it perfect.
    A lot of people want to get it perfect. They carry this attitude into everything they do. While it is admirable, it is also a recipe for always being stretched too thin.

    Focus on getting it perfectly satisfactory. Get it satisfactory … then work on it just a little more. Now you can be perfectly satisfied with it. It may not be perfect, but it’s close enough. Any more effort would yield minimal improvements.

Stretch Armstrong couldn’t keep stretching – he cracked. Follow these 6 tips and you’ll avoid finding yourself in Stretch’s predicament.

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