December 2018 Soto’s Chronicles
Protecting your most valuable asset — your family
FROM THE DESK OF DeDe Soto
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS
The holiday season is a time of festive joy and an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people closest to you. Inevitably, that includes the folks you work with every day. Only the Grinchiest of business owners keep every semblance of the holiday season from entering the office. Spreading a little cheer and creating a festive environment can help boost morale and end the calendar year on a high — but only when you go about it the right way. Unlike traditions held among your family and closest friends, there are some rules to follow for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at work. It’s important to make sure that you don’t create distractions or allow things to get too rowdy at the office. Striking the right balance can be delicate, but it’s much easier if you remember the following suggestions. SPREADHOLIDAY CHEER ATWORK T hrough G ood D eeds and K indness It is perfectly acceptable to put up a tree, string lights, and adorn your office with Christmas-themed decorations. Heck, you can even invite Santa to stop by if you like. That being said, the holidays should be a time of inclusion and celebration, not a time of leaving people out. If you have members of your team who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year — such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa — be sure to include some nods to their personal and cultural traditions. And it’s just as crucial to ensure that you don’t force anyone to participate in activities that could make them feel uncomfortable. The workplace is not an ideal setting for, say, Nativity reenactments. Focus on aspects of the holiday season that resonate with everyone, and you’ll avoid awkward situations and unneeded controversy. CELEBRATE INCLUSIVELY
I hope you are able to take some time off to spend with your family and friends this holiday season. Here at the Soto Law Group, we will be closing the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so my staff and myself can enjoy the time with our families. If your checklist included estate planning, please call our office prior to the end of the year and we can get started. If you refer your clients our way, make sure to have the them call us prior to December 21st. One of the real joys of the holiday season is the opportunity to say “Thank You” for all your support this year. My wish for all is Health, Happiness and Prosperity in the New Year! May you have a joyful heart this season.
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THANK PEOPLE RELENTLESSLY
Sorry to say it, but nobody on your team is going to remember the cookie-cutter, generically messaged cards you printed off en masse. There’s no use in giving meaningless gifts to employees or colleagues out of a sense of obligation. Put some thought into it, and your staff will be thankful. If you have a small team, you can probably come up with something personalized for each employee. Gift-giving at the office shouldn’t be required, but it shouldn’t be forbidden, either. Again, the key is to create an atmosphere where people can participate in what they want to and opt out of what they don’t. A powerful way to put the spirit of giving to good use is to partner with local charities to provide presents to children in your area who are underprivileged. There are countless organizations that do this sort of work, and it’s a way for your company to give back to the community. That’s a type of shopping even Scrooge could get on board with.
It’s cute when a kindergarten classroom features a hodgepodge of amateur holiday decorations, but it’s less charming at a place of business. You have to create rules to keep decorations to a level below outrageous, especially if you have customers visit your office. In general, it’s a good idea to mark which spaces can and can’t be decorated and set some boundaries in terms of what’s acceptable. You also need to monitor how much time decorating takes away from work. If teams want to make paper stockings at their weekly meetings, you should allow it. However, if somebody wants to spend multiple hours to really get in the spirit — time that could be spent on other tasks — don’t feel bad about asking them to clock out for it. Decorating may be within the purview of the role of office manager, but it’s certainly not what you’re paying salespeople to do.
Gratitude is one of the core values of the holidays, making it the perfect time to express your appreciation to your staff. You should give props and share kind words year- round, but upping your efforts during the holidays will have a huge impact. For some businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. For others, it’s the slowest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, odds are you have employees who are stretched thin and expending extra effort. Maybe they’re covering for others on vacation. Perhaps they’re juggling work and creating a memorable season for their kids. Acknowledging their presence and thanking them for all the work they’ve done this year is bound to put a smile on their faces.
The History of theMagi Wise Men or Sorcerers?
The story of the three wise men visiting Jesus is a focal point in the Judeo-Christian telling of the birth of the Christ. Their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh demonstrate reverence for the child through symbolism: Gold symbolized kingship; frankincense was commonly burned in temples and represented the spiritual stature that Jesus would hold; and myrrh was used in preparing bodies for burial, foreshadowing his eventual crucifixion. While the Magi’s role in the birth of Jesus is well-known, not much is understood about the men themselves and their connection to the baby in the manger. Historically known as Magi, the three “wise men” are known for their study of the stars. The Magi were some of the earliest astrologers. Until the 17th century, astrology and astronomy weren’t separate fields of study. Astrology included both the study of
how the stars and planets affect human life and the position and motion of the cosmic bodies. In the Persian Empire, Magi were known as astrologer-priests, delineating the fate of men they saw written in the stars. But while they are known for interpreting the significance of planetary movements for human life, many historians suggest there could have been more to their jobs than astrology. “Magi” comes from the Greek word “magos,” which means magic. Early interpretations of magos included alchemy and sorcery along with astronomy. Speculations swirl among many biblical scholars about the true nature of the Magi, as some tellings portray them as illusionists or fortune-tellers.
knowledge, they had stature and wealth that allowed them to bestow gifts upon those they deemed important. The act of giving presents to a child wasn’t a regular practice for the Magi, and thus the event was significant for the time. While only three Magi are portrayed in the familiar nativity story, the real event would have included many servants. As a matter of fact, the Bible never mentions the number of Magi who visited Jesus, leaving interpretations open as to how many Magi traveled to Bethlehem. In the early seventh century, the Magi were pushed to the outer rims of Africa and India due to the rising popularity of Islam. Since someone could only be considered Magi by birth, it is widely accepted that the line of succession eventually ended, and the Magi faded into history.
In a cultural context, the Magi were revered across the Middle East. Along with their
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One Company You Wouldn’t Want to Run Business Logistics of the North Pole
If you think running your business is tough, try thinking about how Santa operates the North Pole. From least tomost complex, here are the four hardest aspects of running an operation that delivers gifts to 7 billion people. 1. REAL ESTATE Finding an office space that can facilitate your business operations is a challenging undertaking for anyone. You need to provide an optimal workspace that offers room to grow. If you run a production operation like Santa’s Workshop, you also need adequate space to house your products. Just think how big the warehouses up North need to be. If you thought Nike or Google had big campuses, Santa’s must cover the entire Arctic. 2. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION A frequent business killer for most of us is probably a smooth-sailing process for Santa — surely the North Pole doesn’t have any challenges creating a positive work culture. Elves are often depicted as cheerful and consistent team players. They whistle while they work and enjoy Christmas candy, and every toy is ready by Christmas Eve. 3. LABOR Finding skilled labor in America is a challenge, but in the North Pole, it has to be even more challenging. Since Santa can’t hire new workers or offer moving incentives, the amount of available labor is directly proportional
to the number of elf births. On top of that, Santa has to consider the worker-to-production ratio when factoring in new employees. The number of new hires and how much they can produce has to outpace the population increase of the world. For example, if Santa has 100,000 workers, each employee needs to create at least 70,000 toys so they can supply the world’s human population. If elf births go down, then production has to increase to make up for the difference. 4. MATERIALS Since Santa can’t gather raw materials from the barren wasteland of the North Pole, he is required to import or artificially grow the necessary supplies and equipment to produce toys. The number of shipments needed would be a nearly impossible feat, so Santa would need a facility that could produce synthetic materials and greenhouses that could grow organic materials. These facilities alone would be impossible to keep hidden from explorers or satellites, so he would need shrinking capabilities via a laser, or perhaps he’d have to go underground, which is the more commonly accepted explanation.
We don’t know how it happens each year, but somehow, Christmas goes off without a hitch. It’s the greatest feat in the world of business. Move over, Jeff Bezos, because Santa is coming to town!
Take a Break!
BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2–3 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute. 5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top.
6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of DeDe PAGE 1 Holiday Spirit at the Office PAGE 1 The History of the 3 Wise Men PAGE 2 How Does Santa Do It? PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Buttery Roasted Chestnuts PAGE 3 Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas PAGE 4
UGLY SWEATER PARTIES A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow!
It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly- sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here a few things to keep in mind.
sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore.
ugly-sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN UGLY SWEATER PARTY?
YOUR VERY OWN UGLY SWEATER
It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few
Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a
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