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AVAILABLE EXPERTS: Commenting on the holiday season

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Queen’s University has four experts on hand to comment on Christmas including technology trends, family dynamics, gift giving, eating well and emotional health.

Manager of Campus Computer Sales and Service at Queen’s, Keith McWhirter, is available to comment on holiday technology trends for 2014 and how these current trends show how many consumers are leaning more toward cloud technology.

“The focus remains on mobile computing and the increased use of larger smartphones and lighter and more powerful tablets,” says Mr. McWhirter. “The accessories that personalize this new mobile computing experience are become as popular as the devices themselves.”


Family law expert Nick Bala can discuss issues associated with custody, access and parenting arrangements at this time of year. With the holiday season approaching lawyers, mediators, counselors and judges see a flood of separating and divorced parents attempting to settle a range of issues related to parenting over the holidays.

According to Professor Bala, the parents in front of a judge are often those who have the most difficulty cooperating; questions may be asked whether they are thinking more about their children or themselves? What steps should separated parents take to deal with issues around the holidays, to increase their children's happiness and reduce stress on themselves?   Children’s often wish most for peace between their parents; are their voices being heard?  In some cases, domestic violence may be a concern; are children being adequately protected?


What makes a good gift? Queen’s University consumer behaviour expert Laurence Ashworth is available to discuss gift-giving dynamics around the holidays.

“Research has shown that giving experiences tend to generate more happiness than material gifts.  However, other work has pointed out that Christmas actually yields a deadweight loss,” says Dr. Ashworth, a professor in the Queen’s School of Business. “Gift givers cannot perfectly predict what receivers would most like to receive, the net effect of all that giving is that everyone is worse off than if they had spent the money on themselves.”

Dr. Ashworth is also available to discuss the behavior around receiving cash gifts and giving gifts that were purchased on sale.


Queen’s Family Health Team registered dietitian Allison Little is available to comment on holiday food and what can be done to try and stay healthy during the holiday season. “With holiday parties, potlucks and cookie exchanges in full swing, I share my best advice for making small changes such as watching out for sneaky sugar or using the fork trick to eat better and feel better this holiday season,” says Ms. Little.


Also available for interviews are Tandy Thomas commenting on holiday branding and John Young speaking about the history of Christmas and other religions.

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