Brooks & Crowley - December 2021

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Review Brooks & Crowley

December 2021


439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

*Services Throughout Massachusetts

What Makes a Meaningful Gift? CLOCKS, CARDS, AND A TWITTER RANT

When it comes to Christmas gifts, I enjoy giving gifts rather than receiving gifts, but it can be hard to find a unique gift anymore. Now with Amazon, Christmas comes every day. Why wait for Christmas when you can get it tomorrow? To this day, I still say “I like that — I’ll put that on my Christmas list.” I don’t think many people do that anymore.

going up, all the way to $110. I watched as the price climbed and climbed, but I placed a bid at the last minute and I got it. When I went to pick it up, the auctioneer said that a sportswriter from The Boston Globe was the other guy who was bidding against me. The Boston sportswriter wrote all over Twitter about

I still like to give something meaningful and special to someone. I want my kids to remember: Every gift is attached to someone.

the home office he’d been decorating with just the right items for decades, and the single spot left on his office wall was meant for the Butch Hobson picture. He called him “his favorite player from his favorite team.”

You can find a meaningful gift in different ways. Maybe you were talking to someone and they told you, in passing, that they would like a certain item. If you know that person well, you could also get them something you think they would like.

He wasn’t happy about it. He later found out it was me and we had a lively email exchange before agreeing to meet for a beer at a Red Sox or Celtics game. When I gave the picture to my brother, I wrapped it with the Twitter rants people were posting about the auction. He is a big sports fan and he knew all the writers and journalists who were involved in the Twitter rant.

Or, it can be a pure coincidence! Recently, I was

with one of my brothers and we were talking about the Four’s, a restaurant where we had both worked that closed recently due to the pandemic. There had been an auction of various memorabelia and items, and I asked Marty if he had bought any of the Items. He said no and that the only thing he would have wanted was the clock from the second floor bar because he had seen it so many times. I told him, “Funny you say that ... I bought it, and it’s in the trunk of my car. You will go home with it today.” He was thrilled to get it. I’m covered for this Christmas! One of the other auction items was a picture of Butch Hobson; he was one of my other brother’s favorite Red Sox players. The picture wasn’t autographed, but I thought my brother would like it for Christmas. I joined the online bid, and the picture originally cost $15. Suddenly, it kept

If you’re lucky like me, your family knows you so well that when they give you a gift, you use it right away. Or maybe I don’t shop enough so what I need is that obvious. Either way, it works for me!

Every gift is attached to someone, and that person is likely attached to memories and stories that come with their favorite gifts. I love that my mother re-gifted me her glass punch bowl that I gave her for Christmas 35 years earlier. I bought that gift with my paper route money. She knew I would use it more than she would. The gift doesn’t have to be anything special, but the meaning behind it is what can create stories we will never forget.

–Neil Crowley


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Creating a Holiday Masterpiece How to Decorate Your Gingerbread House Like a Pro

One of the most popular holiday traditions has become making and decorating gingerbread houses. The tradition began in Germany in the early 1800s and originated from Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel.” Some shy away from the idea of making their own gingerbread house, but have no fear — if the Germans did it in the early 1800s, so can you! To simplify things, many gingerbread houses come with baked pieces and a full decorating kit. This helps you have more time for the best part: the actual decorating! Each kit usually comes with fun candy and icing, so you can make something really kick-butt for the holidays! Icing will be your best friend. Think of it as the yummy glue that holds everything together while also acting as a colorful trim for your

gingerbread house. However, because it’ll keep the house from falling, be sure to use a lot! Spice drops also make for a great trim and “roofing,” just use icing to hold them in place. Alternate between colors or use a variety to make your house really pop. M&Ms are certainly a must-have for anyone decorating their gingerbread house. Not only are they delicious, but they also make cute little accents all over the house and yard. Mini cookies of your choice may also make a deliciously good-looking roof. Try layering them up for a dimensional look! And, for extra pizazz, strategically place mini candy canes throughout the yard and on either side of the front doors and windows. If you want to get really detailed, try using actual candy bars as fire logs in the fireplace. Just be sure to store your gingerbread house in a cool area so nothing will melt! Whether you prefer a simple gingerbread house or a flashy one, any and ALL candy can be used! Get decorating and be sure to have a bite of candy along the way!

Why Take Pictures of a Car Accident?

Car accidents are scary, and the aftermath of one can be overwhelming. In the chaos, it may slip your mind to take pictures of the accident. But this is more important than you may think. Many people fail to take pictures after an accident because they are in shock. Others may fail to take pictures because they do not know how powerful these photographs are as evidence. Photos from the scene can show proof of the cause of the accident, what factors may have had a role, and the damages sustained. Having car accident photos can make the difference between successful and unsuccessful insurance claims. Consider these suggestions on how to capture the most valuable evidence after a car accident. Property Damage and Surrounding Areas These include internal and external damage to any vehicles, buildings, or signs. Be sure to take photos of skid marks, debris, and any other evidence that shows the accident occurred.

Even if the traffic signs and buildings aren’t damaged, you should still take a picture of them. It can help reconstruct how the accident happened. Context is important because the surrounding areas can be used as evidence, even if you don’t think they are relevant. Injuries This is one of the most important things you can capture. Take pictures of your injuries when they first occur and also the days following your accident. For example, if you need stitches, take a picture before the stitches and as you heal. Witnesses and Police Officers You may not recall all the people present during the accident, so it is helpful to know who was there should you need to talk to them later. Try to snap photos of people on the scene. Vehicle Information Although it is important to take pictures of your car and its damages, you should also record the

make, model, and license plate numbers. It may also be helpful to ask law enforcement to record the driver’s license, insurance, and registration information of the other driver. Take any additional pictures you think you may need or you believe are relevant. These photos will come in handy while talking to insurance companies and working with your attorney. Do you have any questions about gathering evidence after an accident or need any assistance related to a car accident? Allow Brooks & Crowley to help you! Give us a call at 781-251-0555. Our firm would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Think Better With Adam Grant’s ‘Think Again’ A Better Mindset for Growth

Think about the sting you feel when you are proven wrong. It hurts, doesn’t it?

of human nature, but as we gain more accessibility to information, we must be willing to do two things: rethink and unlearn. Grant challenges readers to stand in the discomfort of being wrong, celebrate that there is something new to learn, and challenge themselves to interact with those who propose a new way of thinking. By doing so, Grant asserts that we can speak and argue with conviction while actually engaging and listening to arguments as if we are wrong. This allows us to learn, engage, and grow.

But what if it didn’t have to? Better yet, what if it shouldn’t?

Regardless of our attempts at humility, humans’ egos have inflated, and we are all conditioned to believe that being wrong somehow equates to being a bad person. However, renowned author and psychologist Adam Grant challenges this notion in his New York Times bestseller, “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.”

In “Think Again,” Grant asks readers to consider better ways to approach their steadfast beliefs. Readers will find amusement in Grant’s real-world examples of turning skeptics into believers within a variety of topics. And, through these examples, readers will discover new ways to listen so they can gain a greater understanding of the world around them. You can pick up your copy of “Think Again” and other books by Grant from an independent book retailer or by visiting

With today’s divisive climate, Grant argues that we hold our beliefs up like a badge, illuminating them so brightly that we become blind to other truths or realities. Far too often, our mindsets focus on what is black and white, rather than understanding the gray nuances found in between. In “Think Again,” Grant’s third book, he argues that as rapidly as we get information in today’s digital world, we cannot be expected to fully know all of it. Being wrong is part



Making your own eggnog is easier than you think! This creamy, delicious drink will be a hit with your holiday guests. Ingredients

• • • • •

6 egg yolks

• • •

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract Cinnamon and whipped cream, for garnish

1 cup heavy whipping cream


2 cups milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Set aside. 2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a simmer. 3. Add a spoonful of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously and repeat, one spoonful at a time. 4. When most of the milk is whisked in, add the egg mixture to the saucepan. 5. Whisk until the liquid thickens slightly or reaches 160 F. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. 6. Pour the eggnog into a glass container and cover. Refrigerate. 7. When the eggnog has thickened, pour it into glasses, garnish, and enjoy! directions

Get Neil Crowley’s comprehensive guide to Massachusetts car accident claims and expert advice you need to get your life back on track. Go to to request your free copy!

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439 Washington St. • Dedham, MA 02026 Inside THIS ISSUE 1 Meaningful Gifts Create Smiles and Memories 2 Decorate Your Gingerbread House Like a Pro Don’t Overthink It, Just Take a Picture 3 Embrace Being Wrong With Adam Grant’s Help

DIY Holiday Eggnog 4 How Rudolph Became a TV Institution


You know Dasher and Dancer, and you definitely know Rudolph. Everyone’s favorite red-nosed reindeer was first born as a 1939 short story, but he truly shot to fame when his tale was adapted into a song by Gene Autry in 1949. Rivaling even the song’s fame is the Rankin/Bass stop-motion special that airs like clockwork every year around Christmas. Generations have now grown up with Rudolph, so it may be surprising to learn that his journey to the small screen started as a General Electric promotion. The company had a running television special on NBC called the “GE Fantasy Hour,” which they used to market their products directly to viewers. The better the story they told, the more viewers they got — and the more toasters they could sell. The script introduced crucial new characters like Hermey the elf, Yukon Cornelius the

prospector, and of course, Bumble the abominable snowman. GE hired innovative Japanese animators to create the film using stop-motion techniques that were highly advanced for the time. GE invested the modern equivalent of $4.5 million into the production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and the special first aired in 1964. Those who are familiar with the film know that it ends with Rudolph enlisting Santa to save the Misfit Toys from earlier in the movie — but it didn’t originally. The version that aired in 1964 concludes with Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh but forgetting all about his homeless friends. The backlash was swift, and viewers wrote in to express displeasure at the heartless resolution. GE decided the special had to be corrected and played again with the proper ending in 1965. And so, a tradition of annual airings was born.

Today, “Rudolph” is the longest-running Christmas special in history, and our favorite misfit deer shows no signs of slowing down after 57 years. The movie has transformed into a marketing bonanza, with new Christmas decorations, figurines, and toys being produced each year. Though it’s somewhat shocking to our modern sensibilities to see Santa bullying his reindeer employees and their children, fond childhood memories mean that parents continue to pass the special down to their kids. Even as we recognize its flaws, the dazzling animation and famous songs continue to bring joy and Christmas spirit to households around the country. Just as sure as Santa comes every year, so does Rudolph.


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