10 Things I Can't Wait To Do This Holiday Season!

10 Things I Can't Wait To Do This Holiday Season!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Starbucks Red Cups released and Christmas decorations for sale in every department store, its hard not to get excited about this Holiday season!

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Starbucks Red Cups released and Christmas decorations for sale in every department store, its hard not to get excited about this Holiday season! I cannot wait to go home next week and spend quality time with my family and stuff my face with delicious Thanksgiving dinner...(well, the pie, who am I kidding?). Then, its Christmas time, which is a HUGE tradition in my household and hands down, my favorite time of year. I love the lights, decorations, the joy and spirit of Christmas! Here are 10 things I cannot wait to do this holiday season:

1. Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, Starbucks Gingerbread Latte....literally any holiday drink on the Starbucks menu is enough to insinuate it's Christmas Time!

2. Decorating the Christmas tree has been something I do with my family every year since I was born! Not to mention, my mom has her ornament placement organized down to a tee!

3. Ok, if you don't watch Elf or A Christmas Story every Christmas time, what are you doing?!

4. Holiday parties!! Every year I have an ornament exchange with my friends and we have a gingerbread house contest based on who can create the more unique house! My mom has a cookie exchange with her friends every Christmas as well, except by the time Santa comes around, there are none left!

5. Christmas Eve. Every Christmas Eve my family all goes to church and then we come home and have a big family dinner featuring our favorite pizza! We're not the most traditional family when it comes to Holiday grubs, but I wouldn't want it any other way!

6. The Holiday season means time off of school, which means I have 4 uninterrupted weeks to enjoy spending time with my family! Family is the most important thing in my life and I am blessed that a majority of my family lives close by!

7. According to my mom, it wouldn't be Christmas morning if she didn't videotape my brother and I walking down the stairs in our pjs. It was a lot cuter when we were younger and more energetic at 8 in the morning.

8. Every single year, my brother and I get a new nutcracker. I mean, they're really to add to my mom's collection, but it's fun when Matt and I get to open them together. This is no exaggeration, I think we are coming on at least 30 nutcrackers this Christmas!

9. It isn't Christmas morning in my house unless there's cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and orange juice. My family all likes to have breakfast together and lounge and enjoy each other's company after we open Santa's presents, but BEFORE we open our other gifts from friends and family.

10. Most of all, I can't wait to play Christmas music, sing and dance with my family and friends and embrace all of the joy this Holiday season has to offer!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Valentine's Day Shouldn't Be a Celebration

Reflections on the social obligations of Valentine's Day.

I think that Valentine's Day is a little too much. Don't get me wrong, V-Day is amazing for couples who are in happy and healthy relationships, but it adds an unnecessary pressure to conform to societal standards. This is mostly why I decided to wear a headband with the words "Girls Rule" on the top, in which people thought was a tiara. I mostly decided to hang out with gal friends and had an amazing day nonetheless. Valentine's day is a pretty dreaded day for people who aren't creative with it, and although it can be a great way of spreading love awareness, what I want to touch base with is this: why it has become so sensationalized today.

Some people really hate Valentines day--maybe because they have had bad relationships, horrible memories, are perpetually single, or even, because they feel an obligation or pressure to conform to the societal construct of the day.

The history of this loving day starts with the legend of St. Valentine. "Valentine’s Day, in fact, originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr," as stated from the Smithsonian. During his time period, marriage was arranged, not out of love. The priest (and many others after him) married couples who were in love in secret through the church. St. Valentine and his reputation since then has always been of spreading love through faith.

In modern day, this sense of traditional love is lost. Just like any other holiday in the U.S., the advertisements for Valentine's Day start staggeringly early. You roam the halls of the drug store in mid-January and find aisles loaded with flower bouquets and chocolate boxes. No matter how early or late it is, this is a visual reminder of the day, or your perpetual singleness, or anything you affiliate with it, no matter how hard you try and tell yourself that it isn't. Even if you are in a relationship, it puts an unwanted weight on your shoulders, and you think: What should I get for my partner? Will the gift be too much or too little?

Let's compare Valentines Day to other celebrations, such as Christmas, or Birthdays. Obviously, these are all substantially different in many ways, but one thing persists: presents. Gifts have been the main way of displaying affection. Our ways of gift-giving has been sensationalized by the media, and constant stimulation of gift-giving in the media.

Of course, it is nice to be given a gift, but there are other ways of displaying affection as opposed to gift-giving, which I think is not emphasized enough in our culture. For example, taking someone to do an activity instead of giving them a materialistic gift. Giving someone you care about the gift of an amazing memory with you. Or, displaying our feelings for each other in our daily lives in the little smiles and jokes with them.

If everyone expresses love and appreciation for people they care about in their lives every day, Valentine's day will no longer be the only day you express love, but an added bonus.

For me, I expressed my thorough love for chocolate and gal pals, and couldn't be happier.

Cover Image Credit: Original Photo

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Why I Am Taking Lent Seriously This Year

I epically failed last year, but this year I will do better.

So February is here before I even knew it, which means my favorite month of the year is here! As many of you know, Valentine's Day is February 14th but so is Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent. Last year, I was less than careful when it came to Lent and ended up giving up halfway through. I started Lent on a bad note last year when I decided that I was too busy to go to church for Ash Wednesday. The streak continued as I was terrible at not eating meat and fasting on Fridays and gave up quickly on my decision to give up soda. This year I'm deciding to do better; I need to do better this year. So this is how I'm going to take Lent seriously this year.

Lent was always a time that I dreaded as a kid. I hated the idea of having to give something that I enjoyed up, but now that I've gotten older I recognize the importance of Lent. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and they ingrained into us the fact that Lent is supposed to mirror Jesus' sacrifice spending 40 days in the desert, but I honestly think that it is more than that. I definitely think that last year being my first year being away from the hold of Catholic school, I rebelled a little bit with my new found freedom of not being forced to participate in Lent. I didn't handle it in the right way, and so this year, I am seeing Lent as an opportunity for growth and to challenge my self-control a little. I am thinking about challenging myself and going vegetarian for Lent to try to better my health as well as trying to do more acts of service and to build upon my New Year's Resolution of positivity.

So this year I am definitely going to take Lent seriously to further and strengthen my faith. I know that I will probably stumble and make mistakes throughout, but I am confident that it will be a beneficial experience.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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