As I pulled my cart into the shortest lane at Walmart I looked up at the clock. It was a few minutes to 2:00, which meant that I had finished my Christmas shopping well before previous years, where I have found myself pawing through the dregs close to closing time at the local Shopper's Drug Mart on Christmas Eve. Making my way to the check-out, pushing my cart as aggressively as possible without being rude, the Christmas shopping syndrome started to set into the muscles between my shoulder blades. It was time to go. Once in line, I focused my attention on the customers ahead of me who seemed to take an inordinate amount of time getting their money out or their PIN numbers entered. I could feel my stress levels starting to rise, asking myself how much time these simple steps could possibly take. When my turn finally came, the cashier looked at me and said "You just want to get out of here, don't you", very intuitive of her to offer this greeting as opposed to the company standard "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" Truth be told, Walmart was a last resort in my search for one particular gift that I was unable to find anywhere else. I did most of my shopping at the downtown stores in Cobourg, where I found some great gifts, free gift wrapping and no line-ups. I'm writing this blog from a family Christmas party in North Toronto that was supposed to have started an hour ago, but as of this moment most of the guests haven't arrived. Patience, I tell myself, is a virtue I need to work on. Last weekend I met up with another spa owner/friend to do one of the tougher parts of our jobs, a competitive analysis at Hotel Sacacomie in Quebec - located about 1 1/2 hours outside of Montreal in an absolutely stunning setting. We went to check out their newly opened Nordic Spa - fabulous, but as yet pretty much undiscovered. Apparently the construction budget for this geo-thermal facility was $3.4 million, but it ended up costing $6.8. I wonder what the bank thought about that? We spent a couple of hours in and out of the hot tubs, sauna, steam room and ice cold water fall and were completely invigorated. Take some time and check this place out. I've just had my first empanada, food, oh glorious food to calm the nerves and bring out the Christmas spirit. Blessings to you, your family and friends in this festive season.