Capital Advisory Group December 2019

119 Old State Rd., Ellisville, MO 63021 THE WEALTH ZONE And a Few More Christmas Tidings THE ORIGINS OF CANDY CANE LANE DEC 2019

If you find yourself on Murdoch Avenue in south St. Louis after Thanksgiving, you’ll be transported to a winter wonderland. Candy Cane Lane, as it’s come to be known, is a holiday staple for many families, and for good reason.The neighborhood gets decked out in lights, reindeer, sleighs, and other Christmas displays (including a Santa made from sand one year), and of course, good cheer from all the visitors hoping to get a dose of holiday spirit. The whole thing got started thanks to some friendly neighborhood competition, probably not unlike that depicted in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” John Kuehner, a longtime Murdoch Avenue resident, entered a holiday light contest and won. Having had a delightful time creating his display, he was disappointed to find out he couldn’t win the competition again for the next three years. Instead of throwing in the holly, he reached out to neighbors and asked if they’d be interested in putting up a “Display for the Block” award.The group won, and thus started a tradition that St. Louis residents have come to eagerly await. Now, each holiday season, starting just after Thanksgiving and running through New Year’s, Candy Cane Lane attracts thousands of locals and visitors who enjoy the good cheer and spectacular

presentation the residents have created. Families come from all over to see the display. (A visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ted Drewes afterward for some sweet treats). The display isn’t just done for pure aesthetics, either — each year, the residents use the fame and popularity of their neighborhood to raise money for charities.They’ve raised over $10,000 in a year, giving it to organizations like The Salvation Army. This is definitely the right time of year to be thinking about giving. With many families who aren’t as fortunate as we are, we can make an impact with our charitable donations. Many churches

and other organizations in St. Louis feed thousands of families around the holidays, and they make it easy to donate, whether it’s a meal or a monetary contribution. Just remember to hang on to those receipts! As this year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to thank you for a great year. We love working with you and are so grateful you’re part of the Capital Advisory Group family. It’s our blessing to get to serve you and your tax needs. Thank you and Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones and see you next year! -Jeff and John Zufall

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Why Do We Hang Christmas Lights? The Secret to Being a Great Leader LIGHT UP THE NIGHT DELEGATE TO ELEVATE

The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started? The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.” Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the 1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December. Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!

Poor delegation is the Achilles’ heel of most leaders, who often confuse being “involved” with being “essential.”To determine if you’re holding on to work you should delegate out, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommends asking this simple question: “If you had to take an unexpected week off work, would your initiatives and priorities advance in your absence?” If your answer is no or you aren’t sure, then you’re probably too involved. No one person should be the cog that keeps everything in motion, no matter their position in the company. Luckily, HBR has created an audit using the following six T’s to identify which tasks can be delegated. Tiny: Small tasks that stack up can undermine the flow of your work. Registering for a conference, putting it on the calendar, and booking the flight are all small tasks someone else can handle. Tedious: These tasks are straightforward but not the best use of your time. Someone else can input lists into spreadsheets or update key performance indicators for a presentation. Time-Consuming: These important, complex tasks don’t require you to do the first 80% of the work. Identify what they are, pass them to someone else, and step in for the final 20% to give approval. Teachable: Is there a task only you know how to do? If so, teach someone else to do it, and step in for the last quality check when it’s done. Terrible At: It’s okay to be bad at some things. Great leaders know when to pass tasks off to someone who is more skilled than they are.The task will get done faster and at a much higher quality. Time-Sensitive: These tasks need to get done right now but are competing with tasks of a higher priority. Just because it has to get done immediately doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it. Sure, some tasks only you can accomplish, but these are extremely rare. As the Virgin Group founder Richard Branson warns, needlessly resisting delegation is the path to disaster. “You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture,” Branson says. “It’s vital to the success of your business that you learn to hand off those things that you aren’t able to do well.”


WHAT’S THE PERFECT GIFT? Sharing the Good Cheer

TAKE A BREAK fortunate to have in our lives, we would be remiss if we didn’t include our clients at the top of that list. You have been part of making this a great year, and we are so grateful to have you in our lives. Getting If anyone were to ask us to name the best Christmas gift, we’d have our answer ready: It’s all about spending time with our loved ones. As a family business, we understand the value of quality time with the people we love most. Our family members and friends make life richer.Those evenings spent gathered around the table laughing at a story someone told and enjoying good food and company add value to our lives. Let’s make more time for this in the holiday season, shall we? Thinking about the people we are

feedback that we’ve helped make the tax process easier and more beneficial for you truly is one of the best gifts. Plus, getting your feedback and reviews doesn’t just help us; it also helps others who are seeking the same trusted, experienced insight for their taxes.That’s why we really appreciate your referrals. As a small business, your referrals — you telling your friends and family how much we’ve helped, whether through word of mouth, Facebook, or our website — are extremely appreciated. It’s a gift that continues to give. When your loved one realizes their dream of early retirement

or gains the knowledge they need to make smart financial decisions, they feel grateful you sent them our way. We all get to be part of that joy.This plays a big role in why we love what we do — creating connections within our community and helping everyone have an easier, and better, time with taxes. Love working with your Capital Advisory Group team? Let them know! We love working with you, and your referrals are greatly appreciated. Leave your review here: Thank you for taking the time to share the great experience you’ve had!



• 1/2 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing • 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar • 2 large eggs • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped • 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1 tsp baking soda • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/2 tsp ground cloves • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. Grease a loaf pan with canola oil.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1/2 cup canola oil, molasses, brown sugar, eggs, ginger, and cranberries. In a separate bowl, sift and combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until blended. 4. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. 5. Transfer to a rack, let cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve.


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Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine

119 Old State Rd. Ellisville, MO 63021


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Candy Cane Lane and Other Christmas Things The History Behind Christmas Lights What Great Leaders Have in Common

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Sharing the Good Cheer

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Cranberry Gingerbread

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Building Your Own Gingerbread House

Everything You Didn’t Know AboutThis HolidayTradition THE JOY OF A GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Of the many seasonal traditions that sweep our nation, few are as creative, delicious, and satisfying as gingerbread houses. December 12 is Gingerbread House Day, the perfect reason to reflect on some of the highlights of this delightful ritual. THE ORIGINS OF GINGERBREAD Ginger was first cultivated in ancient China, then traded into medieval Europe.There, Europeans incorporated it into culinary traditions and used it to bake cookies into elaborate shapes and works of art, including figures of animals and people. The gingerbread house first appeared in the early 19th century in Germany.

Although historians don’t know an exact date, it’s speculated that it gained popularity around the same time that “Hansel and Gretel,” the popular fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, was published. THE LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE In 2013, the world record for the largest gingerbread house in the world was broken.The house, topping out at 21 feet and covering 2,520 square feet, was built by Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to raise money for a local Level II trauma center. To construct the house, builders created a recipe that required 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, 1,080 ounces of ground ginger, and a few additional ingredients.

BUILD YOUR OWN! While you don’t have to challenge yourself to beat the Guinness World Record, you can still have fun creating your very own gingerbread village. Starting your gingerbread house from scratch can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Give the kids a chance to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and set out plenty of candies and frostings to use, and remember to have fun!


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