Special Christmas Presents for Mom

Many times, we find ourselves having difficulties in choosing the best Christmas presents for mom. We want to come up with only the best and most unique present for her so we make sure to think very hard and shop wisely. However, have you ever thought about presents for mom that we need not buy from malls or shops? Isn’t this a more special and unique way to make her happy this Christmas season?

Do you remember how you always gave your mom personalized Christmas cards when you were younger? Well, it might be a great idea to unleash the child in you again so you could come up with gifts that money cannot buy for the most special woman in your life. Here are some ideas that you can consider:

1. Cook a special meal for her – mom always cook for the family so this Christmas season, isn’t it nice if you will cook for her and the rest of the family? Your mommy will surely be proud of you. To make this more special, make sure to choose favourite dishes of your mom and study her taste very well. You should practice your cooking skills discreetly to make this as a surprise for her.

2. Treat her to a salon and Spa – it would be a great to treat your mom this Christmas to a salon and Spa day. This is also a great mother-daughter bonding moment and for sure, your mom will feel happiest this day. This treat is also good to help your mom relax and unwind from her busy schedule.

3. Accompany her to the grocery store – are you the type who doesn’t like to hang-out with your mom in the grocery store because it takes her hours before she completed everything on her list? Well this Christmas maybe it is best to change that attitude and agree to accompany your mom to the grocery store.

4. Clean up the whole house for her – moms are very particular with the cleanliness of the house so this holiday season, it would be a nice gift for her if you will volunteer to clean the whole house just the way she does it.

5. Give her some hugs and kisses – last but not the least, your mom would surely find it wonderful to receive some hugs and kisses from you. Who said ‘kissing and hugging your mom’ is only for kids? Of course not! Your mom will surely feel special with the kind of sweetness from you.

Christmas season is a time to share therefore sharing your love and care for your mother is indeed a wonderful thing that you could do. You should also make sure to say to your mom how happy and grateful you are for having her as your mom.

For sure, your mom will appreciate all these sweet gestures from you. There are still few more days before Christmas, so you should start thinking of the best Christmas presents for mom.

Weak Brazilian Currency Presents an Opportunity to Invest in Brazilian Real Estate Market

Brazil property prices currently present an attractive investment opportunity for foreign investors due to Brazil’s weak currency, particularly if you’re an investors in from Britain or the USA. With Brazil’s currency currently standing very weak against the British pound and the US dollar, investors are enjoying house price bargains that are very rarely seen in Brazil.

It has been widely publicised recently that the Brazilian Real has weakened against the British pound and the US dollar over the last 12 months (June 2011 – June 2012). For instance, during the summer of 2011 foreign investors could get 1.56 Reals for each US dollar, however, in today’s market, investors can expect to get two Reals per dollar.

What this means in terms of house prices in Brazil is that a house that cost approximately 200,000 Reals back in 2011 would have cost $128,205 in US Dollars. In today’s market the value would be around $100,000.

Based on these figures alone, the strength of the British pound compared to the Brazilian Real, means that for British investors looking to invest in Brazil property it is in fact even more affordable and therefore, a much more attractive proposition.

Although many would perceive a weakening currency to be a negative issue, from a positive perspective the declining value of the Brazilian Real means that Brazilian products are much better value for money, which has encouraged phenomenal growth across the Brazilian industry sector.

In turn, the growth of Brazilian industry increases the level of Tourism to Brazil, with tourists attracted to Brazil to buy up cheap products. What this means for the Brazilian Real Estate Market is that commercial property becomes attractive to investors. With tourism comes the need for hotels and holiday homes and foreign investors can snap up bargains on private and commercial properties and land plots in a bid to take advantage of Brazil’s lucrative real estate market.

In 2011 alone, Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism reported 5.4 million visitors to the country, which is a massive increase on numbers from 2010. On the back of this growth, a number of massive hotel chains have bought land and property across Brazil in order to cash in. Tourism levels look set to increase due to major sporting events arriving on Brazilian shores in 2014 and 2016.

This level of investment has meant that Brazil’s construction industry and housing development companies have also seen growth in the levels of work available to them.

Happiness and the Present Moment

This Raymond Carver poem entitled “Happiness” was the opening to my women’s writing group this past week:

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
The are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

It is not a complicated poem — the moment it describes is quite ordinary, really — but this poem generated about an hour of conversation. What is happiness? When do we feel the most happy? Why do we struggle to find, recognize and keep those moments? What are some things we can do to maximize our opportunities for true happiness?

As you might suspect, these are universal questions that extend far beyond one poem, or one class. For many of us, these questions emerge in one form or another almost daily. I heard from some of you last week, and two things really struck me about your thoughts on being present: 1.) Every person associated real happiness with very simple things, and 2.) those flashes of pure joy, pure calm, pure bliss all came from paying attention to and naming the small details in those simple moments.

Those precious experiences included a list of things that would make lovely poems in and of themselves: a morning cup of coffee; a bowl of chocolate ice cream; listening to a cat purr while curled up contentedly on the couch; going for a walk in the evening and watching the sun descend slowly; a mother noticing the warm smell of the top of her baby’s head; and catching the second when friends are seated around the dinner table and noticing three things — the candlelight flickering on people’s faces, the sound of utensils clinking on plates, and the comfort of familiar voices and laughter.

We do not live in a culture that readily acknowledges the urgent value of the present moment. We tend to be obsessed with the past or to fixate on the future — both realms over which we have no control. And of course, it isn’t the things themselves — in the past or future — but our addiction to trying to control or change them that cause the suffering.

The 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi had this to say about recognizing the sacredness of each moment by letting go of what we cannot control and embracing what we can:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty & frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that we often attach an idea of happiness to a quantity of things that could or might happen — I would be more happy if… — but the moments that we recognize as actually making us happy are pedestrian and predictable. The sun sets every night. Cats sleep on couches every day. We eat a meal every day. But we never say stuff like, “I would be truly happy if the sun would set tonight.”

If we did that, then, really, what excuse would we have left for not being content, for not being madly in love with the hours given to us?

So perhaps what we are missing in our quest for happiness is just the willingness to stop and call out the names of the ordinary things that are filling us with true joy. The study of our brain’s chemistry tells us that when we do this, we are simultaneously releasing a whole raft of chemicals that help us to ward off things like depression and anxiety and we are training our brains to think that way again and again by growing new connections that reinforce the activities that bring us pleasure and contentment. Our lives tell us that it isn’t even the moments themselves but our attention to them that really opens us to the experience of happiness.