Will the Real Santa Clause please stand up

Christmas time is special in so many ways, first there are the very important religious reasons, then secondly its a special time of the year for our kids.  When I was a child, I knew there was the real Santa, and there were Santa’s Helpers too.  I knew that most of the time the Santa’s at the mall were just Santa’s Helpers who would ask your name and what you wanted for Christmas.  However, every so often, the REAL Santa would be at the mall.  When saw the real Santa it was exciting!  He never asked me for my name, he knew it.  He wouldn’t ever ask me how old I was, he knew that too.   He would already know I went to the doctor a few days ago, would already know how I was doing in school….he would already know…well… everything!   Honestly!  I knew, I was one of the few lucky kids to actually meet the REAL Santa.

Years went by, and I had no reason not to believe in the big man, after all he knew everything about me to the point it was kinda scary (but not really).  As I got older and began to put two and two together I began to ask more logical questions and figure things out.

How is it possible for Santa enter someones, well everyone’s, home in one night, and deliver all those presents throughout the world?

How is it possible for Santa to know what everyone wants and needs?

How is it possible for Santa to know how good or bad ALL little boys and girls have been all year?

The list can go on and on.  But, since the REAL Santa knew everything about me, how could it not be true?

Although to this day I still believe in Santa (Ill explain below), I eventually came to realize there was something  fishy.  Although I don’t remember how I figured it out, I found out that a cousin of mine on my Moms side was a Santa’s Helper at the mall (aka the REAL Santa).  I also found out that Mom was feeding this REAL Santa information he could tell me so I would believe he was the REAL Santa.  For that, I cannot thank my Mom and Dad enough for making the Santa aspect of the Christmas season an extra special one for me.  While most kids had the chance to go to see Santa, tell him their name and what they wanted, I had the chance to go to a Santa who already knew me, as well as what I was going to ask him for.  How cool was that!

As I said before, I do believe in Santa to this day.  Although I do realize that it is impossible for one individual to deliver all those presents all over the world in one night, to know all about every childs wants, and to keep track of the naughty and nice lists, I  do believe that Santa exists, well, figuratively anyhow.  To understand what I mean, lets define what Santa is:

Definition of Santa (in my opinion):

Someone who cares about someone else so much that they are willing to go to great lengths and do seemingly impossible things with the intentions of filling that person full of joy, while asking for nothing in return.  The Real Santa has little to do with gifts, rather he has everything to do with family, togetherness, and being there for one another.

While this definition may not fit everyone’s idea of Santa, to me, that’s what the idea of Santa is all about.  Bringing joy to others while asking for nothing in return is Santa job or life choice if you will.  Does this sound similar to another choice in life?  I believe it sounds like what a parent does for his or her children.  Parents constantly give of themselves to their children while asking for nothing in return.  So is a parent the REAL Santa?  I believe so (in more ways than one)

Through ups and downs of life, I know my parents have always been and continue to be my REAL Santa’s just as they were when I was a child.  When walking through the mall every year, I am reminded of my experiences with the big man in Red and I find myself being very thankful for the REAL Santa’s in my life.

Merry Christmas!

#BsLabels, Boneless Bananas, Popcorn, and Marketing.

A few weeks ago, the Term “Boneless Bananas” came into my vocabulary for the first time ever thanks to a post on www.thefarmerslife.wordpress.com and its author Brian Scott.

What are boneless bananas?  Well believe it or not, you can purchase them at your local grocery store, market, or even the famous Trader Joes.  They are yellow in color, (sometimes pale green) are usually sold by the bunch (by the pound) or sold individually.  I can even guarantee that if you ever have eaten bananas you have consumed a boneless one at some given time in your life.

Confused? concerned?  I bet you never knew there was a such thing as boneless bananas!  The truth is there is.  That is simply because ALL bananas are boneless.  To say that a banana is “boneless” (according to yahoo answer search) simply describes their shape.  However, if someone (who didn’t know any better) saw a sales sticker in a store such as this:

Someone (again who didn’t know any different) may be more inclined to purchase these vs regularly labeled bananas.  Afterall the sign implies that other bananas have bones right?  And who wants to chip a tooth on a bone when biting into a banana!

     So how does this relate to popcorn?  While watching the local news the other day, a “heathy food expert” recommended popcorn as a good healthy snack.  Now, I like popcorn, and have actually grown some myself in the past, so she had my attention.  The next thing this “expert” said really caught my ear.  She proceeded to recommend “whole grain popcorn….” such as this…

Now, I’ve always known that corn, or popcorn in this case is considered a whole grain food in its natural state, but didn’t know if it was still considered a whole grain after popping.  A google search lead me to:

 http://www.orville.com/whole-grain-snack.jsp

This site stated that all popcorn is Whole Grain even after it is popped.  Very interesting.  I learned something new.  Taking this intriguing idea to the next step, I began to look around for signs of “Boneless Bananas”  well, similar #BSLablels.  I began to look for popcorn labeled as Whole Grain.  I found that like the picture above, mostly all of Orville’s popcorn (as well as a few other brands) are labeled as Whole Grain.   However many other brands  are not.  The question I had to ask myself is, If I didn’t know about popped popcorn being a whole grain, would I (or other consumers) be more inclined to purchase the package marked Boneless Bananas, (excuse me, sorry)  “Whole Grain” vs one that isn’t marked?  I’ll let you decide that one for yourself.

Since I usually (maybe excessively) try to take a look at the marketing side of labeling and packaging, (which I believe my wife is probably rolling her eyes right now)  I began to see why Boneless Bananas and Whole Grain Popcorn are marketed the way they are.  Its not about providing healthy popcorn or bananas without a hard boney center. It’s about getting you to purchase their product, even if it means stating the plain and simple truths that the consumer may not put much thought into while picking out food items at the store.

Moral of this story,

While the “Boneless Bananas” and “Whole Grain Popcorn” labels are clearly true in nature, they are not necessary because every Banana is Boneless, and Every kernel of Popcorn is Whole Grain.  In a way, that makes these labels #BSLabels

Want more BS Labels?  Search #bslabels on twitter, Facebook or blog sites around the internet today, for today is BS Labels Day!

I hope you enjoyed this post, learned something, and most importantly, it made you smile.  Now, I’m off to eat a boneless banana.  HAHA

Local Everyday Heros

Tonight was a night not much different from any other saturday night, and although we usually go to our local Church for Mass on Sunday, the family and I were headed to Saturday night mass tonight instead. But still, Like I said, tonight wasnt much different from any other saturday night.  That was untill mass was just about over.

At that time, my oldest child (in the pew at church) turned around to pick up her coat, then somehow tripped and fell hitting her head on the way down.  As a parent, you never want to see your kids get hurt or have any kind of pain, however being a Dad of 3 kids under 6, I’ve learned not to get too worried because bumps and bruises happen all the time. This was not one of those times.  Quickly after hitting her head, she began to cry (at this point I’m still not too worried).  After my wife and I reached to pick her up, we realized the back of her head was bleeding, A LOT.  We both quickly rushed her to the church bathroom and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.  Within a few seconds, some good friends came to the rescue (God Bless you Mrs Shultz and family).  She graciously gave my wife and I some quick advice and called 911 for us as well as jumping in and watching over our other kids too (our own and our Youth Group kids who we were with).  She and her family are Local Everyday Heros in my book.

After the 911 call was made, 3 other Local Everyday Heroes arrived.  2 EMTs and one of our towns finest.  The EMTs (one of who also leads the local girl scout troop) came to our aid and quickly and professionally.  They helped us stop the bleeding, helped keep both of us and our daughter calm, and quickly extinguished any fears our daughter had about stitches or worse.  Amongst thoughts and concerns about my little one, another  thought kept coming through.  Do the Local Everyday Heros we are surrounded by really know how much they are appreciated?  Does Mrs. Shultz really know how much she helped us tonight?  Does she know how much we appreciate her and  what she did?  Do the EMT’s know how much they are appreciated for everything they do?  Sadly the answer is probably no.

A few years ago we were in a similar situation when my little guy had a febrile seizure in a restaurant and an unknown local hero (off duty EMT) ran to our side.  I regret that in the hustle and bustle of the moment we found ourselves in, I never had the chance to get his name or simply to stop, shake his hand, and say THANK YOU for everything he did that night.  So tonight, I am taking this time to say THANK YOU to the off duty EMT who helped us back then;  to say THANK YOU to the EMTs and Officer who come to our aid tonight; to say THANK YOU to all of the Mrs. Shultz’s of the world who instinctively run to the aid of others in need, even when they dont have to.

 Tonight I am taking this time to say THANK YOU to all of our Local Everyday Heros who more than likely do not know how much they are appreciated and how much they mean to us as well as everyone around them.

THANK YOU!