Thanksgiving – a Uniquely American Holiday
The first Thanksgiving celebration was in 1621 in Plymouth Colony, which would later become Massachusetts. The Pilgrim settlers, English refugees fleeing religious persecution, held a feast as an expression of gratitude for a successful harvest and the survival of their community. It was also a celebration of appreciation for the incredible generosity and fullness of spirit shown them by the indigenous Wampanoag people.
The colonists would not have survived the first winter in the new world were it not for the food the tribe shared with the refugees from across the ocean. For those Native American people to display such compassion and kindness to those so different still shines like a beacon of light for almost 400 years! Through the centuries until today, refugees have followed that light-seeking safety and a new life.
A Thanksgiving History Lesson
Thanksgiving did not become an annual celebration until much later. It was not until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln, in an official expression of gratitude for the Union Army victory at Gettysburg, declared the last Thursday of November a national holiday. In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.
As Thanksgiving became increasingly popular through the years it came to be synonymous with parades, football, turkey, and visits to grandma’s house. I recommend taking...
When the Weather is Frightful, Hygge is Delightful
As the cold weather settles across the nation, the holiday season is close behind. There is no better time of year to adopt and practice hygge. Hygge? What? For those unfamiliar with the term, hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a lifestyle that embraces simple pleasures like warmth, coziness, good food, enjoying family, friends, and home. First practiced and identified as a “thing” by our friends in Denmark. It’s no wonder Danes are among the world’s happiest humans on earth.
For we who live in the higher latitudes, or as I like to call it, the arctic tundra, embracing hygge can make us happier as we move through the winter months of biting cold and limited daylight. Even those who have never heard of hygge probably practice it. Do you warm up with a cup of hot cocoa after you shovel snow from the walkway? That’s hygge. When you snuggle under a down comforter on a chilly winter morning, hygge again. Or if you enjoy dinner, a glass of wine and conversation with family and friends, you are practicing hygge.
Good stuff, right? If you are intrigued and want more ways to incorporate hygge into your life, I have 13 great suggestions to inspire you.
The Fourth Quarter Begins
It seems like last week I was still sporting shorts and flip-flops, yet here we are fully ensconced in fall with winter just around the corner. As we focus on Thanksgiving and gratitude, I am thankful for the strength of the Twin Cities housing market.
The cold months may be the slowest time of the year, but partly in thanks to historically low mortgage rates, housing demand remains strong while home values continue to rise. Buyers should take notice and not let the cold weather stop them from following their dream of homeownership.
The Story of Low Inventory and Strong Demand Continues
If you are looking for a home at the lower price points, you do face competition. There are still not enough homes to satisfy the hunger for homeownership. Although we saw a 3.8 percent increase in new listings compared to October of last year, inventory fell short by 5.8 percent. At the higher-priced end of the market, it is either balanced or leaning in favor of the buyer.
The trend for rising home values began in 2011 and continues. For the month of October, sellers enjoyed a 5.7 percent increase in the median sale price...
Getting Acquainted WIth Your Home
You just bought a home! Congratulations! You’re excited and can’t wait to move in, especially if this is your first home. You want to paint and decorate it. Maybe buy some new furniture. Of course, you want to turn your new digs into a home you will appreciate every single minute in the years to come. Kate and I felt the same when we bought our first home.
But in all the enthusiasm, there are some aspects of your home you should familiarize yourself with from your first day, for your safety and peace of mind. There are also a couple of new home chores you want to take care of that need to be on the very top of the to-do list.
Change the Locks
I’m often amazed at how many new homeowners do not change the locks before or as soon as possible after they move in. It would be best if you prepared to do this before you close on your house. Even when you have met the former owners and think they would never hold back a key, you have no idea how many other keys may be circulating...
Let’s be honest. Spending money is fun, and for some, shopping is a sport. But when the packages from Amazon are coming every week, and you’re spending all of your discretionary income, you might want to consider changing the way you handle finances.
No one was born with the saving gene. Saving is a behavior we learn. Many of us have been on the saving path since childhood because our parents encouraged us to save. But if that is not the case, as an adult you can modify your spending patterns and experience the joys of saving.
An excellent starting point is to change how you think and feel about money. Don’t consider saving a sacrifice, but instead think of it as a means to a better future. Once you start practicing some of the savings strategies I’m going to share, you might be surprised to discover how good you are going to feel about having some money in the bank.
1. Reward Yourself
Saving money is like putting your spending on...