The holidays are a time steeped in nostalgia, with memories of Christmases past around every corner. And even though you may have made gingerbread houses, strung lights and sung carols for as long as you can remember, you can always make room for a few new fun traditions to share with your family and friends this year. Here are a few ideas, from our family to yours.
You may already take a holiday picture with the special people in your life. This year, consider taking it up a notch by taking the photo in a location you can return to year after year. Or if you really want to have a laugh, try wearing the same outfits each year (no matter how small they get). Imagine how entertaining it will be to review the timeline of photos when they’re printed out and displayed as the years go on.
Add some healthy competition to your Christmas morning by hiding a decoration in the shape of a pickle somewhere on your tree. The first person to find it wins a special present — and you get a good laugh guessing who will see it first. Legend has it (or is it a myth?) that this custom was started in Germany when Moms and Dads would save the pickle as the last ornament to be hung on the tree. You may stumble on a pickle ornament, but if not, get creative and make one for yourself with construction paper and ribbon!
The folks in Jamaica prefer to spruce up the house over the holidays instead of tackling cleaning in the spring. Consider it: you can take advantage of having all your family in one place and get to work creating a sparkling clean canvas for the year to come. Remember: any task can become fun for the family when the Christmas tunes are cranked and the treats are tasty.
A great idea for a stocking stuffer: a donation to a charity of the recipient’s choice. This could be an especially wonderful tradition to start with the little ones, as it’ll give you a chance to discuss the idea of charity, while they get to take the time to think about what causes interest them. It’s also a simple way to explore what the holiday spirit is all about – giving to those in need without the expectation of anything in return.
If the holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love, why not get them all in one place for a night of merriment? Invite your friends and family to bring along their favourite Christmas dish, while you provide the warm setting. Spend the evening sharing stories, laughs and ideas, and you just may find inspiration for your Christmas list of traditions for years to come.
This is what the holidays are all about – the joy of giving.
This December, London Drugs teamed up with local non-profit organizations like Operation Friendship Seniors Society for Santa for Seniors, an annual holiday donation drive that supports local seniors in Western Canada.
We are so proud of, and grateful to, the London Drugs team in Northern Alberta for leading the way with this heartwarming contribution–and prouder still that the Santa for Seniors campaign is now nation-wide.
We’ve seen an outpouring of support to help thousands of seniors by fulfilling personalized gifts for seniors this Christmas. Customers in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba contributed to the initiative by picking up a wish list tag at participating London Drugs locations and shopping for the desired items, leaving donations at the store to be delivered to a senior for Christmas.
Last Thursday in Edmonton, Sherwood Park and St. Albert., Santa Claus and several volunteers handed out gifts such as slippers, blankets, toothpaste, books and warm gloves, spreading Christmas cheer to over 2,000 seniors in need.
Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming response to the Santa for Seniors initiative, and for bringing joy to so many seniors over the holiday season.
Whether you only have a few items left on your list, or you’ve yet to buy a single gift, here are four shopping tips to keep you sane (and even help you save!) as you wrap-up your holiday shopping this year.
Still haven’t finished your holiday shopping? Don’t sweat it, we’ve collected all our 2016 Gift Guides into one easy-to-shop list.
Starting back in November, London Drugs has posted one new gift guide each week to help you surprise and delight a tricky-to-buy-for group on your list.
In case you missed them, or need a refresher, you’ll find each list below.
A guide for women with schedules full of work, family, and community engagements. She’ll love these gifts, once you slow her down long enough to open them.
Top Tip: Your gift should help her get more done–or at least feel better doing it all. Ideally, both!
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This is a guide for those who can’t resist at least trying out every new gadget that catches their interest. Virtual reality? Smart homes? Tiny computers? They want it all.
Top Tip: Shopping for techies is about more than gadgets; there are also cables, adaptors, cases…
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A guide for those often found either standing in a kitchen or sitting behind a plate. More than a hobby, being a foodie is a mindset saying, “I don’t eat to live, I live to eat.”
Top Tip: Think your foodie has every kitchen tool they need? Trust us, they don’t.
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This one’s a guide for those who see life through a viewfinder, even when not holding a camera. And speaking of cameras … photographers need so many extras that no camera even appears on the list.
Top Tip: If you share a computer, an external hard drive for pictures will help you both.
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Finally: a guide for those whose favourite songs list is about as long as all the songs most of us can name. Young or old, music lovers appreciate good music from any era.
Top Tip: In 2016, music fans want to easily enjoy their tracks anywhere, and wireless earphones and speakers can help a lot.
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For more gift advice, speak to an LD Expert today. To make a purchase, visit London Drugs in-store and online. And to continue your search for that perfect gift, here are more Gift Ideas For Everyone.
Until next year, London Drugs wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas and a truly lovely New Year.
It’s halfway through December, which means the window for holiday shopping is closing fast. Have a few gifts left to buy? We can help with the music lovers on your list!
This week, it’s our gift guide for music lovers. Whether you’re shopping for a musician, an audiophile, or mainly a fan, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our guide to pitch-perfect gifts for the music lover on your Christmas list.
The need for a good pair of headphones is nothing new. But if there’s one 2016 tech trend music fans can agree on, it’s the shift to wireless audio.
Still, even the most active music lovers will likely also want a pair that places superior sound quality above every other consideration. This can only be achieved by a quality pair of over-ear headphones.
No matter what type of wireless earphones they receive, they’ll be thrilled to no longer have a wire snaking between their music and their ears.
In 2016, as music streaming gained in popularity, single album sales on compact disc and even in digital formats struggled. Meanwhile, vinyl LP sales hit sales levels unseen since 1988, the year George Michaels’ Faith topped the charts.
Audiophiles often claim that nothing sounds better than vinyl, which may be true. But the vinyl resurgence is also driven by the search for deeper connections to the music we love.
These days, chart-topping new releases are once again available on vinyl. But many music lovers also use the format to catch up on classic albums released before their time. This makes vinyl the ultimate bridge between music lovers of all ages.
At London Drugs, we carry LPs from every genre and era. Of course, we also have record players, in case the music lover in your life is just starting out or needs an upgrade.
Improvements in data transfer technology have made today’s wireless speakers better than ever. So it’s no surprise powerful portable speakers took 2016 by storm.
Unlike stationary home audio systems of the past, wireless speakers allow music lovers to leave the living room in peace, moving the party elsewhere as needed. They are also much easier to set up than traditional sound systems. And compared to an old-school boombox, these modern marvels are lighter and smaller with longer battery life.
The result is that music fans have finally been set free. They can now easily share and enjoy quality sound in any room of the house, or really, anywhere in the world.
More Info: 5 Ways To Enjoy Wireless Audio
For many music lovers, no gathering is complete until the karaoke machine comes out. This is especially true during the holidays. The only problem? Not everyone’s pipes are quite ready for a public showcase.
That’s where the Singtrix Home Karaoke system comes in. Created by the team behind Guitar Hero, it uses advanced studio sound mixing technology to make any singer sound they way they’ve always dreamed they could. That is, like a total pro.
You can harmonize with yourself, apply incredible voice effects, and even sing your favourite extreme guitar solo. Of course, the brave can still perform unfiltered.
The possibilities are as endless as the laughs. It also works with your smartphone or tablet to display lyrics. Descriptions really can’t do this amazing gadget any justice.
Hear it in action below:
We’ll be back next week with a 2016 gift guide wrap-up. See you then!
The Christmas season is the most wonderful time of year, but it can also be jolly stressful. Here are 10 ways to give stress the cold shoulder over the holidays.
Good news! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America a 10-minute walk is just as good as 45 minutes of aerobic activity at combatting stress and worry. Don your snow boots and mittens and enjoy a brisk view of your neighbourhood Christmas lights.
Try a new sport that helps you honour (rather than endure) peaceful, snow-drifted winter. Snow-shoeing burns 45% more calories than running on a treadmill, and is charmingly quiet compared to wilder downhill sports. Most Western Canadian cities and mountain towns have rentals and workshops. The Calgary Ski Club offers loads of group trips to Kananaskis, Canmore and Banff, if you don’t want to go it alone.
If you’re more indoors-y, try an exercise class that challenges the mind as well as major muscle groups. Tap-dancing calls on stamina as well as those little neurons responsible for keeping a beat, wherever they are. Here are nine unique workouts in Edmonton, Alberta, from trampolining to surfing. Look for equivalents in your nearest town.
Breathing comes naturally, it’s true–but it’s deep, conscious breathing that truly does your body and mind good. And thankfully, it’s simple. When you don’t get the Christmas cookies baked or the cards mailed, just stop and breathe. Or, try a routine: set a timer for five minutes per session to start. Just stop what you’re doing, pay attention to your breath, inhale and exhale deeply, and before you know it you’ll be relaxed and worry-free.
The downside of living so close to Santa’s workshop is lack of winter sunlight. Many of us commute in the dark or stay indoors to avoid frigid temperatures. The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends taking a noon-hour walk and trimming tree branches near windows that may be blocking your light. Why not take those tips many steps further – right into the woods to chop your own Christmas tree! You’ll be exercising, soaking up vitamin D and proving that you are not a Christmas Grinch, after all. Check this website for a list of U-Cut tree farms in BC.
Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Or Christmas with the Kranks. Or whatever holiday comedy turns your crank. Research shows that laughter reduces stress hormones in the bloodstream, thus allowing more immunity-boosters, such as T and B cells, to make short work of viruses. Belly laughs also strengthen your diaphragm, heart, larynx, back and stomach muscles – no wonder you feel exhausted after a good giggle. Studies also show that laughter provides a safe release for intense pent-up emotions, such as fear or anger. So forgo the after dinner chats with bickering siblings and turn on the laugh tracks instead.
Retail therapy – buying a little something new when you’re blue – sometimes does make you feel better. Running out of money does not. Another pair of ill-fitting jeans: also, not. Some suggest buying a new lipstick is a better solution, because makeup is generally cheaper, and you get that flash of happiness every time you look in the mirror. “The daily pick-me-up you’ll get from it will be more satisfying than clothes or accessories, which you’ll only wear every once in a while,” says Prevention magazine.
If you tend to lose your cool on the road, you might benefit from this Mindful Holiday Driving exercise. Instead of swearing at every red light, think: “Another chance to practice my breathing!” Sounds corny, but re-framing common triggers as opportunities is like positivity weight-training for your brain. Breathe slowly in and slowly out for as long as the delay lasts, noticing sensations in your body, emotions and destructive thoughts. Notice what you can’t control – poor weather or inconsiderate drivers – and focus on breathing instead.
Were you brought up to believe that Christmas cards have to be homemade and include a long family memoir about your year? So much pressure. No wonder some of us never even get started. The idea for Gratitude cards might work for you instead. Whether you make or buy the cards, personalization can come from writing one short but specific message of thanks. Just zero-in on family members’ good points, rather than their annoying habits. It’s a bit like that cocktail party trick for getting through small talk: focus on the other person and they’ll remember the conversation fondly.
We’ve all been there: overwhelmed with gift planning. How to choose – and afford – a great gift for spouses, kids, immediate family and in-laws? Try the old trick of just giving one gift, to the person whose name you’ve drawn from a hat, but–and here’s the twist–make it yourself. Indeed, not all of us are natural “makers” so it’s a real creativity challenge, often with hilarious results. Think: spicy pickled beans one year. Learn to knit and make a toque. Or scarves. Try a yoga-mat bag. Or hang printed photos from spray-painted tree branches to make your mom a “family tree.” You and your family will likely far more enjoy bumbling through your secret projects in the garage to grumbling through the mall.
These are some of the tricks that have worked for our extended London Drugs family. But if you still feel like cancelling Christmas and hiding under the duvet ‘til January, we say: do it. It’s your wonderful life, after all.
There’s snow on the ground and cheer in the air. But wait, you still haven’t finished your holiday shopping? Don’t worry, we can help.
This week, it’s our gift guide for photographers. At London Drugs, photography is one of our specialties. So if it’s a passion for someone on your list, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our guide to buying picture-perfect gifts for the shutterbug on your list.
And you’ll find Photolab gift ideas here: Giving Gifts They’ll Actually Love
As the old saying goes, “wherever there is light, one can photograph.” It’s true. But “brighter light, well directed, makes those pictures crisper” could easily be added.
For a hobbyist, the opportunity to take portraits, product shots, or really any posed photos using softbox lighting could be a dream come true. For an aspiring professional, it’s essential. You may also need an independent flash for certain shots, depending on if you’re adding light or simply redirecting it.
Then again, there is more than one way to achieve superior lighting. A light reflector, filter, or a flash diffuser are great tools to have. And even the right light bulb and a directable lamp can provide an edge.
For digital photographers, capturing the shot is just the beginning. Next, it’s time to upload, sort, edit, and ultimately store the image files.
But high-quality photo files are notoriously large. One detailed JPEG can be over five megabytes. So one gigabyte holds only about 200 good images. Meanwhile, moving groups of photos can take a long time. This is especially troublesome on a multi-use hard drive, like a laptop or family computer.
The solution is an external hard drive used only for images. Many hold one terabyte of data, enough for about 200,000 quality shots. Now that’s more like it! Some, like the Canon Connect Station, are custom-designed for use by photographers.
Most cameras come with a carrying case. But many photographers–especially nature photographers and frequent travellers–require more space to carry their whole toolkit. They need a dedicated camera bag.
But not just any backpack or saddle bag will do. A true photographer’s bag is specially designed to hold a camera, plus additional lenses, film, and more. Many have dedicated pouches for laptops or tablets, as well as rain guards to protect the valuable contents.
Exactly which bag is best for the photographer on your list depends on their unique needs. Luckily, we carry dozens of camera bag options, so chances are you’ll find just what you need.
A regular strap, the kind that usually comes with a camera, keeps the unit resting on your chest. This is safe, but not always convenient. A great accessory strap keeps it out of the way, while also helping you capture the perfect shot.
So what should you look for? A great camera strap is comfortable, durable, adjustable, and ambidextrous. One of the most important features, though, is that it allows the wearer to quickly draw the camera to capture fleeting images in the blink of an eye.
We’ll be back next week with a top gift guide for music lovers. See you then!