Friday, 2 December 2022

Ring in the season

The Beginning

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We love the holiday season. The weather is cooling and the nights are drawing in, giving us that Yuletide feeling. We’re getting excited for bright lights, cozy nights, delicious food, and most of all, some well-earned downtime with those we love. In this month’s edition of Your Wealth, we bring you movies, gifts, traditions, activities, and food to put you in the festive mood and make sure you ring in the New Year in style.


Tis’ the season to hunker down with a warm cup of chocolate and a movie. Critics sniff at holiday-themed movies and often with good reason. But as the major streamers have learned, many of us can’t get enough festive content — and they’ve accordingly put on a veritable feast of Christmas corkers this year. Here are our favorite picks for the best new Xmas movies to watch this month.

Lindsay Lohan returns to the small screen with Falling For Christmas, this year’s must-watch holiday rom-com. This Netflix original is all Christmas cheer — with a dash of reality for those youngsters who measure their worth by number of followers. Lohan plays the role of a spoiled heiress to-be who’s married to an influencer. She believes her life is perfect, until — brace yourselves — she gets amnesia from a skiing accident. Forgetting everything including her own name gives Lohan’s character a second chance at life and love. If you think it sounds like hackneyed, sentimental garbage with a Lohan-shaped cherry on top, you’d be right — and that’s why we’ll be glued to our screens.

Spirited is set to be another huge hit this Xmas season. Will Ferrel and Ryan Reynolds bring us a Christmas family comedy musical, capturing the holiday spirit with its winter wonderland-like backdrop and merry carols. Ferrel plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. He takes Reynolds on exciting adventures, through which they learn from each other and develop a new respect for the holidays. You can watch it on Apple TV.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is another merry movie dropping on Netflix. This animated adaptation of Charles Dickens' altogether darker novella brings adventure, comedy, drama, and fantasy. You know the drill: Grumpy miser Ebenezer Scrooge transforms into a wiser and kinder man with the help of a ghost visitor and learns to view Christmas with childlike joy.

The Noel Diary is a Netflix original feat. our favorite This Is Us actor, Justin Hartley. The American rom-com follows Hartley’s famous author Jack Turner as he returns to his childhood home to visit his mother on Christmas. He ends up opening doors from his past in the hopes of helping Rachel, a young woman looking to find her mother. They embark on a journey of self-discovery together, and — not much of a spoiler alert — fall in love in the process.

Groundhog Day meets Workin’ Moms in Christmas on Repeat. Jennifer Taylor plays Andrea, an advertising professional and mother who gets stuck working on Christmas day. In comes Santa to grant Andrea a wish — which turns out to be a nightmare. This workaholic mom finds herself stuck repeating the day over and over again as she struggles to figure out her work-life balance, in a conceit lifted straight out of Tom Hanks’ 1993 classic. But we’ll forgive Hulu for wanting to turn every holiday into Christmas.

Super light holiday romance Christmas With You is soothing fare after a long day at work. Aimee Garcia stars as pop star Angelina, who decides to fly to New York on Christmas to surprise young fan Christina, and gets more than she bargained for. Christina teaches Angelina the blessings of being part of an ordinary, non-famous family — and as chance would have it, Angelina falls slowly but surely in love with Christina’s widowed father.


Strapped for sustainable Secret Santa gift ideas? Our eco-friendly Christmas gift guide has you covered with gifts that impress without destroying the planet in the process.

For the globetrotter: Reform studio’s Rebel Fanny Pack, available in an array of bright colors, is stylish and functional and will help ensure that your belongings stay safe on your sightseeing expeditions. The fanny packs are 100% locally handmade, each one crafted from 48 recycled plastic bags. Reform Studio set out to revive the traditional weaving industry in Egypt, which has been teetering on brink of extinction due to automation. The brand also employs underprivileged women, offering them a steady income as part of its efforts to empower local communities. Another good option is Upfuse’s passport holder, which is made of an undyed material formed from 7-10 recycled plastic bags.

For your party host: Mobikya’s mini mirrors made of tuk-tuk tires are available in a variety of shapes and colors and make the perfect housewarming or party gift. The brand also makes unique floating bookshelves out of the tires.

For the beach bum: Upfuse’s Footprint Slippers, available in both men and women’s sizing, waste no time getting their message across. The slippers clearly state “Nothing is ever wasted,” making them a great gift for someone who is vocal about her support for sustainability. The sandals’ soles are made from old car tires. For those looking for a more subtle look, the Ankle Footprint Sandals are a great option.

For a coworker: These reusable food-grade stainless steel straws from Urban Earthlings are the perfect gift to get your favorite coworker, AKA, the one who goes on coffee runs with you. The straws come with a cotton pouch for storing and a brush for easy cleaning in between uses. Get them a reusable cup to bring along to your go-to coffee joint and cut the guilt that comes from seeing all those plastic cups and straws littering your desk at the end of the day.

For the workaholic: Upfuse has quite the selection of laptop sleeves, from sleek plain minimalist designs to more colorful options. A great gift for that digital nomad / entrepreneur friend who’s always lugging their laptop around.

The gift that keeps on giving: This might not seem like a gift at first, but hear us out — by turning a friend onto GreenPan, you’re giving them a long term present. The service drops off a large container for you to pour your leftover cooking oil into, then collects the oil once you’ve filled it up and gives you points in exchange. You can then trade your points for rewards. GreenPan recycles the used oil, preventing it from going down the drain and contaminating mns of liters of water.


Your top 5 pieces of business and economic news in November 2022:


The holiday path less trodden: Are you sick of the same old holiday season traditions? We have some ideas to mix it up and introduce new ways to celebrate with your family and friends.

Go rollerskating: Ice skating is for cooler climes and pre-climate disaster times. Already a booming pastime here in Cairo, putting on a pair of roller blades (or skates) and going out for a glide with family and friends could be an exhilarating new way to celebrate the holidays this year. And it’s not exactly unheard of: In Caracas, Venezuela, people make their way to the Christmas morning mass on roller skates. The tradition is so popular that roads are closed so that people on rollerskates can safely make it there.

Some early spring-cleaning, anyone? How about ringing in the season by purging your home of unnecessary junk? In Guatemala, cleaning out homes in the weeks before Christmas is fairly common practice. The ritual is called La Quema del Diablo, which means the ‘Burning of the Devil.’ The impetus behind this frankly practical annual tradition is to clear the stage for the coming new year by setting fire to all the junk, dirt and detritus (where the devil hides) from the year past. Get the whole family involved — and who knows, maybe it'll be a chance to dig out an old photo album and enjoy some memories.

A less wholesome — but more delicious — option: Take a cue from the Japanese and order a bucket of wings to ease into the holidays this year. What started off as a promotional campaign devised by KFC in the 1970s to drum up interest in its first Japanese branch has become a national frenzy come the holiday season. The fast-food chain’s explosive popularity at this time of year owes mainly to a fascination with the “Americanness” of it all, some say. So if you’re thinking of ditching a home cooked meal or an elaborate dinner in place of something greasier and more, well, American, you’ll be in good company.

Go for something a little more athletic: In the UK, catching a football match on Boxing Day — 26 December — is a key fixture in the holiday schedule. If you’re looking to shake things up this year, get on the pitch yourself for a friends and family football match. Whether you’re looking to settle some long-standing differences or get your heart rate going before indulging in some delicious food, there’s no better place to duke it out than on the field. If competitive sport isn't your thing, get your friends together for a group yoga class.

Jump headfirst into a movie marathon: Getting together to share meals with loved ones is the best part of any holiday — but we all have a limit when it comes to conversation. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you can always sit everyone down for a movie (or several) instead — and sidestep those tricky debates that leave everyone wondering why they came together in the first place.

Get your gears turning with some trivia: There’s nothing quite like a game of trivia to help fan familial rivalries and find out who your nerdiest friends are. Check out local game developer Makouk’s Baladna for an Egypt-focused board game that quizzes your knowledge of local geography, culture and biodiversity. For the TV aficionados, 2ool Ameme puts your pop-culture knowledge to the test. If your crowd is more international, head over to Random Trivia Generator for a classic (and free) game of trivia.


There's something special about Christmas in Cairo. While most people see snow-laden scenes when they think of the holidays, December weather in Egypt has its own special charm. It’s far from freezing, yet crisp enough to entice us outside to take part in events, bazaars, and festivities to mark the season. Here's a handful of events we don't want to miss this month.

All Saints’ Cathedral Christmas Bazaar in Zamalek today: Nothing quite gets you into the holiday spirit like shopping for gifts and giving back to your community. Lucky for us, one of Cairo's most prominent churches is holding their annual Christmas Bazaar today. From 10:30am til 4pm, visitors will have a chance to play the raffle, shop at stalls featuring unique handmade crafts and jewelry, enjoy food and beverages from local vendors, and listen to some festive music. The entrance ticket is EGP 25, and it all goes to charity — making the shopping even more rewarding.

Osana Christmas Bazaar in Maadi today and tomorrow: This year, Osana is spreading the love over two days so everyone can enjoy their Christmas bazaar. With a diverse range of vendors selling handcrafted items, gifts, and locally-made clothing from 11am til 6pm, you're sure to find something special. Some of our favorite food vendors will be joining, so we suggest you go hungry. And if you have children in tow, don't worry — Osana’s got them covered. Kids will be entertained with a range of activities.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Extravaganza at Arkan Plaza next Wednesday, 7 December. Head over to Arkan Plaza in Sheikh Zayed for a festive evening at the annual Christmas tree lighting extravaganza. This popular event brings joy with its dazzling displays of colorful lights and a festive fireworks show. Live music is provided by renowned local jazz artist Harfoush, who will take the stage in front of the towering tree and perform some of the classic Xmas hits we all know and love.

Swiss Club Cairo will host an exquisite bazaar next Friday, 9 December from 10am until 7pm. Despite being virtually in the center of Cairo, it remains an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a relaxing, festive day.

Ho Ho Ho… Santa’s Factory Christmas Carnival is around the corner. On 23 December from 12pm til 8pm, Family Park in New Cairo hosts a Christmas carnival with a philanthropic twist. Kids become “little elves” and help pack gifts for less fortunate children. This way, they can enjoy a lovely day with delicious food and hot drinks, while also helping families in need.


Xmas food from around the world: Widen your culinary horizons this year with weird and wonderful holiday season dishes from different countries.

Scoop up loads of flavor with some Ethiopian cuisine: In Ethiopia, Christmas Day (which is celebrated on 7 January) means a platter of spicy meats and vegetables served on injera flatbread to break the fast. Colorful and packed with loads of flavor, Ethiopian cuisine rarely disappoints. Injera has almost the same consistency as a crepe, making it the perfect edible spoon for your meal.

Or a whole lot of sweet and savory out of Brazil: Brazilians are known to decorate their Christmas turkeys with local fruits and sweet garnishes. Garlic kale, salted cod, salada de maionese (a variation on potato salad with raisins and apple slices), rice, and nuts are also paired with the bird for a sweet and savory overload. For dessert, panettone and a Brazilian French toast known as rabanada are also favorites.

Christmas in Iceland means lots of delicious baked goods: Icelandic baking around Christmastime is fit to drool over. The thinly sliced wafer bread known as laufabrauð (meaning leaf bread) is a standout in Icelandic Christmas cuisine. For mains, hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and rjúpa (a type of seabird) are staples.

Try some meat-free Polish cuisine: In Poland, a 12-dish dinner including beetroot soup, carp, pierogi (filled dumplings), and a selection of fruit and poppy seed desserts are typically on the menu on Christmas eve.

Bibingka is the star on the night before Christmas in the Philippines. The doughy rice-flour cake is typically prepared over hot coal after midnight mass on christmas. The most basic version of this cake consists of coconut milk, butter, and eggs, but in its more decadent form it can be served with melted cheese, salted duck egg, and coconut shavings.

In Venezuela, an age-old food tradition runs strong during the holiday season. Hallacas, which combine indigenous, European, and African cuisine into one steamed package of goodness, are made by combining meat, raisins, capers and olives in cornmeal dough and wrapping it all inside plantain leaves.

Some more eccentric holiday foods: In Lithuania, a dessert dish known as spit cake is popular over Christmas. The cakes — which do not, in fact, contain saliva — are made by layering batter on a skewer spinning over an open flame, kind of like a horizontal shawarma. The outcome is a pastry that resembles an icy Christmas tree. There’s also the Portuguese Lampreia de Ovos — a centuries-old recipe for cake made with no less than 50 egg yolks, molded in the shape of a horrifying yellow eel. Then there’s the Belgian Christmas bread, Cougnou, which is basically your average brioche, but comes either shaped like a baby or with a baby figurine made of sugar stuffed inside.

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