Monthly Archives: December 2014

Holiday Cheer and Best Wishes to All!

seasons_greetingsOf all the months of the year, December might just be the very pinnacle of political correctness. We wish a generic ‘Happy Holidays’ to friends and strangers alike, we bake without peanuts or gluten for our allergy-prone loved ones, we toast without tipple with our teetotaling relatives, our holiday meals feature vegetarian and vegan options. We can sum up the month in two words: be have.

We are on our best behavior. And well we should be, there are many important religious, pagan, and secular holidays in December. The following holiday list represents just the frosting on the tip of the iceberg:

Dec 10 – Human Rights Day
Dec 12 – Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec 16 – Hanukkah begins
Dec 17 – Saturnalia
Dec 23 – Festivus
Dec 24 – Yule
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 26 – Kwanzaa
Dec 28 – Guru Govind Singh Jayanti

Given such a list – and this is just a partial one – we run the risk of offending anyone and possibly every one. With this kind of risk in mind, we thought we’d just go ahead and walk that fine line with as many holiday jokes as we could muster.

– It was Hanukkah and the tiny village outside Budapest in Hungary was frightened that they may not have any latkes because they had run out of flour.

Rudi, the Rabbi, was called upon to help solve the problem. He said, ‘Don’t worry, you can substitute matzo meal for the flour, and the latkes will be just as delicious.’

Sarah looks to her husband and says, ‘Samuel, you think it’ll work?’

‘Of course,’ Samuel replies, ‘Everybody knows Rudolph the Rabbi knows grain, dear.’ (

– What did the big candle say to the little candle?
I’m going out tonight!

– Just saw a Pagan worshiping the Winter Solstice. He was dressed in a stag’s skull and animal skins. I thought “Deer God…” (

– Once a person was drowning in sea. He immediately started praying to Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha immediately appeared, looked at him, and then started dancing. The person was confused and angry – “Lord, I am drowning and you are dancing” Lord Ganesh says – “Son, at my immersion, you also danced like this”. (

– Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars?
Because their days are numbered.

– Why should you never invite a team of footballers for Christmas?
Because they are always dribbling.

– What did Adam say the day before Christmas?
It’s Christmas, Eve.

– What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?

– Why does Santa have three gardens?
So he can ‘ho ho ho’!

– Why did Santa’s helper see the doctor?
Because he had a low “elf” esteem!

– My mother once gave me two sweaters for Hanukkah. The next time we visited, I made sure to wear one. As we entered her home, instead of the expected smile, she said, “What’s the matter? You didn’t, like the other one?” (

Wishing you good cheer and the very best for 2015! Happy Holidays!

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Numbers, Lists and New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business

This is the time of year for numbers: top ten lists for 2014, count down to 2015, eight candles of Hanukkah, twelve days of Christmas, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens…you get the picture.

For small business it’s also a time for taking stock and planning ahead. Some of us already have projections far into the future; others of us are just trying to make it to January 1st. Regardless of your degree of business acumen, we all have hopes and plans for the new year. Let’s take a look at some recommended New Year’s resolutions for small business for 2015 – and possible ways to keep them.

Huffington Post encourages, “The New Year is a chance to start fresh and make changes to bsuccessetter your personal and professional life. Start working on your business resolutions right now, adjust them as needed in the New Year, and watch them become a reality in 2015!” and gives the following essential New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Decide how to grow.
  2. Get small business certified (especially if you’re a woman, minority or veteran who owns and operates 51 percent or more of your company)
  3. Make sure your company is loan-ready.
  4. Update your technology.
  5. Have an exit strategy. Here are the details.

Here are recommended New Year’s Resolutions from

  1. Involve others in goal setting and planning.
  2. Keep goals in front of yourself and everyone one else.
  3. Communicate more and in more ways.
  4. Talk less, talk later and listen more.
  5. Focus feedback on the future.
  6. Be a model.

Monster goes on to say that “These resolutions remind you that you are not a just business owner thinking about a new customer, profit margin or monthly P & L — you are also a leader. All of these small business tips, when put into practice, will make you a more effective leader and a more successful business owner too.

Like many New Year’s resolutions, this list may seem a bit daunting. Remember that they don’t necessarily require any special skills. They may require a change in mindset and most likely a change in habits. The effort involved is worth it — for you, your team and ultimately your results.” Here is that Monster article.

Business New Daily gives us these (though they are for 2014, many of them still ring true):

  1. Get the most “bang for your technology buck”
  2. Adopt mobile payments
  3. Get closer to customers
  4. Make customer service a priority
  5. Focus on marketing efforts
  6. Revamp social media strategy
  7. Be SEO- and data-savvy
  8. Perform a security audit
  9. Prevent employee fraud
  10. Become more nimble

You can read the full list details here. Among these three lists of resolutions, this one from Business New Daily gives the best actionable details that include things like organizing your inbox – something you should probably consider before you start counting those five golden rings. The actions you take now will bring you closer to your resolve for 2015.

We like the Huffington post list for newbies. This is great advice for small businesses just starting out. We love the Monster list for the way it recommends you involve (even recruit) your employees in goals, planning, and communication (we love our employees).

We wish you the very best for the holidays and 2015!


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Shelving the Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is a fairly recent phenomenon. Depending on your age and whether or not you have small children (or nieces and nephews) you may not have even heard of this delightful little…well how shall we say it? The Elf on the Shelf is something between a home wrecker and a spark of inspiration.

According to Wikipedia “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a 2005 children’s picture book… The book tells a Christmas-themed story, written in rhyme, that explains how Santa Claus knows who is naughty and who is nice, and describes elves visiting children between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, after which they return to the North Pole until the next holiday season. The Elf on the Shelf comes in a keepsake box that features a hardbound picture book and a small soft toy in the form of a pixie scout elf.”

elfSeems harmless enough. But let’s look at both the home-wrecking and the inspirational aspects of this little creature. For many, the Elf on the Shelf is just plain creepy (he’s naughty and manipulative). He is a little spy for Santa, and spies, even great spies like Philip Seymour Hoffman in his swan song, A Most Wanted Man, are a little creepy. We don’t always know or understand their intentions, which are not always good.

Matt Pelc writes in HuffpostParents about a villainous invader in “How the Elf on the Shelf Ruined Our Christmas” (you can read it here). “The elf is always watching” has a creepy Orwellian Big Brother feel to it. The modern equivalent might be The Capitol spying on our favorite characters in the Hunger Games (as much as we love Donald Sutherland, President Snow is not exactly the quintessence of holiday spirit). Yahoo News calls the Elf on the Shelf  “the greatest fraud ever pulled on children” (here).

And certainly if you look with the perspective of caring parents trying to rear their children in today’s society, the thought of using Big Brother or President Snow in the guise of a plastic toy does not bode well for the next generation of parents – or kids. For many,  permanently shelving the Elf on the Shelf might be a good idea.

But in terms of inspiring young minds and nurturing the holiday spirit of wonder, the Elf of the Shelf is a winner. The game of hiding the elf is fun, it inspires creativity and maybe even good behavior, if you’re lucky. But we trolled the Internet for good things about the Elf, and  found all kinds of compromising images of…well, this article is G-rated, so let’s just switch to the Polar Express shall we?

The Polar Express is an award-winning children’s book written in 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. It is the story of a doubting young boy, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery (to the North Pole, of course) and finds that the beauty and wonder of life never fade for those who believe. This message of belief seems somehow preferable to the Big Brother thing.

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Small Business Saturday – Buy Local, Buy Small

Here at Comfort Colors, we are all about the weekend. The clothing we sell is primarily the comfy casual garb of laid-back weekend afternoons. Saturday is one of our top two favorite days of the week. And Small Business Saturday is fast on its way to becoming our favorite out of a month of Saturdays.

Only in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday, even wedged as it is between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is starting to hold its own. As a small business, we are pretty pleased with the way this wonderful weekend day is shaping up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet’s take a look at the super holiday shopping sandwich: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Friday shopping was plagued by tech problems and massive outages. According to, “The top 50 ecommerce websites were slower overall this year compared to last, suggesting customers were frustrated even if they could get to their favorite shopping site.” (

Cyber Monday, the other slice of bread in the sandwich, broke all previous single-day spending records. CBS News reports: “E-commerce sales hit a record $2.68 billion on the first business day following the Thanksgiving Day weekend, up 17 percent from the previous year, according to data from Adobe Systems and confirmed by Forrester Research.” ( reports online spending was up by as much as 15.7% over last year. (

Now let’s get to the meat in this sandwich. Regarding Small Business Saturday, Forbes writes: “A report from the the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” on the day, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago. According to the survey, more than two-thirds of the U.S. population were aware of Small Business Saturday (67%). Additionally, of the U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday, a reported $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on the day – an increase of 2.1 percent from $14 billion in 2013″(

This is what we like to see. Small Business Saturday stimulates locally-owned shops that create jobs and nurture growth in our communities. For every $100 spent at a national chain store, more than half of that money leaves the community. But for every $100 spent at an independent locally-owned shop, almost three quarters of that money gets reinvested into the community. (source:

“Small businesses are critical to the stability of our local communities and growth of our national economy. We are confident that the broad national support for these businesses will continue well beyond November 29th.” (

And national awareness is growing! American Express, the originator of Small Business Saturday and leader in the Shop Small movement, offers some pretty great tips for helping your small business jump on this small-is-beautiful band wagon. You can read them here and start to make plans for your own local impact in the future.


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