UBC experts offer advice for the holidays

Ready or not, here come the holidays. During the festive weeks
ahead, faculty experts from the University of British Columbia are
standing by to offer the gift of their knowledge and advice. Ask
them about choosing the best Christmas tree, keeping that New Year’s
resolution or how Hanukkah is observed.

Get real when choosing a Christmas tree

Are you really doing the environment a favour by opting for an
artificial Christmas tree over the real McCoy? Peter Sanders, director
of UBC’s Research Forests, thinks not. Despite the advantages of
a reusable tree, Sanders says that when it comes to the environment,
opting for a real tree has some definite advantages.

  • Contact: Peter Sanders, director, UBC Research Forests,

Star of wonder still has them guessing

Science is full of suggestions as to what might have caused the
Star of Bethlehem to burn so brightly that night 2,000 years ago.
Was it a coming together of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Venus? There
was such an inter-galactic gathering around 7 A.D. Or was it a supernova
that illuminated the sky at that time?

  • Contact: Jaymie Matthews, lecturer, Physics and Astronomy
    Dept., 604.822.2696

Have a happy, happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, begins this
year on Dec. 24 and lasts until Dec. 31. Gabe Meranda of UBC’s Hillel
House can discuss the significance of Hanukkah and its role in the
lives of Jewish people today. He will be unavailable Dec. 14-18.

  • Contact: Gabe Meranda, executive director, Hillel House,

Viva la resolution!

Every year on New Year’s Eve thousands of Canadians vow to get
in shape in the new year. Thousands more decide to settle for just
shedding the few extra pounds gained during the festive season.
Bonnie Gordon, an assistant professor of Human Kinetics, has sound
advice for fitness fledglings to get them started on a fitness path
that is fun and injury-free.

  • Contact: Asst. Prof. Bonnie Gordon, School of Human Kinetics,

Bargain hunters — what are they really looking for?

Sales, sales, sales! Pre-Christmas, post-Christmas, Boxing Day,
hundreds of opportunities to save! But do bargain hunters really
come out on top? Peter Darke, a marketing professor in UBC’s Faculty
of Commerce and Business Administration, has some thoughts on what
motivates people to shop for the best bargains and whether the rewards
are really worth the effort. Are bargain hunters really trying to
save money, or do they just want a fair deal?

  • Contact: Asst. Prof. Peter Darke, Faculty of Commerce
    and Business Administration, 604.822.8362

Less is more with kids’ toys

Many kids’ toys offer a complex array of lights, sound and action.
But simple gifts can be an investment in your child’s creativity,
says Charles Ungerleider, a professor in the Faculty of Education.
If you’re tired of moulded plastic and batteries, maybe it’s time
to seek out Christmas toys — many of them traditional favourites
— that can fuel your child’s imagination.

  • Contact: Prof. Charles Ungerleider, associate dean, Faculty
    of Education, 604.822.5244