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Editor’s Note, December 2013, and November 2013

January 14, 2014

From Garden City Times, Volume 2, Issue 12:

December is a time to reconnect, using your media of choice. December 9th is National Christmas Card Day. This year, my cards were in the mail in time for them to be delivered by Christmas! More greetings and messages went out via email.

The tradition of sending messages at Christmas has a long history, which predates the introduction of the first Christmas card in England in 1843. Numerous internet sources refer to a letter, written by an (unidentified) English Admiral in 1699, which included the words “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” Penny postage and Christmas cards made it easier to send holiday greetings. Who gets the most letters at Christmas? Santa Claus! Canada Post employees began answering letters to Santa Claus in 1974, and in 1983 the post office established a program to respond to the letters, along with an address: Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada. Santa receives upwards of one million letters each Christmas, and all letters are answered.

Christmas and New Year’s Day are times when many world figures release annual messages. In 1932, George V delivered the first royal Christmas message via radio. Sir John Reith, head of the BBC, suggested the message as a way to introduce the Empire (later the World) News Service. In 1957, Queen Elizabeth II gave the first televised royal Christmas message. Other monarchs adopted this practice. Many politicians and church leaders deliver Christmas messages, while others prefer New Year’s. The Governor-General, the Lieutenant-Governors, and mayors in cities across the country hold levees on New Year’s Day.

Whether by print or electronic media, in person, on air, or on TV, Christmas and New Year’s are special times when we reconnect. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From Garden City Times, Volume 2, Issue 11:

What is a Toastmasters meeting all about? If I had to give a one-word answer to this question, I might respond with Speeches. People. Support. Esteem. Roles. Confidence. Contests. All would be correct. How about “ideas”? A Toastmasters club functions as a first-class “ideas group.”

We describe ideas as good, bad, bright, fresh, new, old, or tried-and-true ….much like how we describe a recipe, and like a recipe, we may be apprehensive trying something new.

Here’s the Toastmasters recipe for ideas that I plan to try soon: Put a few people in a room, with an agenda, roles, speeches, evaluations. Next, take a blank paper, and a pen, and write down the ideas that come to mind during the two hours of a meeting. My guess is the paper would be filled with ideas for speeches, reflections, comments, and maybe other projects, even what colour to paint the bathroom, the perfect gift for a friend, or what to bake on the weekend. Some people may find writing opens them to ideas. (“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” ―William Makepeace Thackeray). Others may find working on something – washing the car, baking cookies, or raking leaves opens them up to ideas.

If I wonder what to do with all the ideas, I’ll get more blank paper, some coloured pencils, and draw a bubble-map. Garden City Toastmasters recently had the benefit of a presentation on Mind-Mapping (aka “Bubble-Mapping’) to learn how to develop an idea. Not only do I get ideas from Toastmasters but clear direction on how to work with ideas.

This issue features several “ideas” quotes. Here they are:

  • “The greatest speakers have usually been remarkable for the abundance of their ideas and their economy of words” –Ralph C. Smedley
  • “Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.” –Mark Twain
  • “The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret of outward success.” –Henry Ward Beecher
  • “Ideas come from everything.” –Alfred Hitchcock
  • “Words are but the signs of ideas.” –Samuel Johnson
  • “The more words you know, the more clearly and powerfully you will think…and the more ideas you will invite into your mind.” –Wilfred Funk
  • “Every idea is my last. I feel sure of it. So, I try to do the best with each as it comes and that’s where my responsibility ends. But I just don’t wait for ideas. I look for them. Constantly. And if I don’t use the ideas that I find, they’re going to quit showing up.” –Peg Bracken
  • “If you want your dreams to come true, you must have confidence in yourself and your abilities. A Toastmasters club can give you that confidence. Make your dreams a reality. Join a Toastmasters club.” –Les Brown, Live Your Dreams
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