The 12 Smells Of Christmas

The 12 Smells Of Christmas

3 Cinnamon sticks, 2 evergreens and some wrapping paper under the tree.
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Presents, family, snow, lights, smells...? All these are words that come to mind when Christmas is mentioned. While the last one is usually overlooked, smells are very important to enrich the holiday experience. Between dinner cooking in the kitchen, the fire in the living room, and the gingerbread cookies for dessert, all the smells create the perfect backdrop for family fun. In the spirit of the holiday season, I present the 12 Smells of Christmas.

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a cool smell because it can be associated with the fall AND winter. From Pumpkin Spice Lattes to cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, cinnamon always means something tasty.

2. Peppermint

This scent goes with Christmas just like marshmallows in hot cocoa. Candy canes are a holiday season essential.

3. Freshly Baked Cookies

Cookies are quite the two-for-one deal: a great smell with an even better taste.

4. Evergreen Trees

Any house with a **real** Christmas tree understands, and it makes people with fake trees (like myself) pretty jealous. It's a decoration and an air freshener.

5. Newly Opened Wrapping Paper

My roommate says she likes this smell during the holidays. I don't really understand it, but I'm assuming it has to do with the gratification that comes with wrapping all those presents that you bought for your friends and family.

6. Ham

As someone who hosts Christmas Day every year with my family, the scent of dinner cooking in the kitchen is one of the best parts of celebrating. Whether you actually eat ham or not, everyone has that dish that represents festivity to them.

7. Plastic

Okay, this one may be a stretch, but hear me out. All those presents are either made of plastic or wrapped in it. The tape? Plastic. The trash bags for all the wrapping paper and tape? Also plastic. Do you see where I'm coming from?

8. Candles

Candles are the best Christmas decoration because the flicker of lights creates such a warm atmosphere. The smells are good, too.

9. Firewood

If the candles don't do it for you, the fireplace is like a really big one that smells like a woody winter wonderland.

10. Eggnog

While not the most popular drink, its hard to deny the fact that it smells delicious. Whether you're a fan or not, eggnog is a Christmas staple. I mean, does anyone drink it when it's NOT Christmas? I don't think so.

11. Wine

There's always at least one bottle of wine on the dinner table at all the Christmas celebrations I attend throughout the season. When there's good wine, there usually means there's great food on the way.

12. Gingerbread

And last but most certainly not least -- gingerbread. Probably the MOST popular Christmastime smell. It is so distinct and can draw in even the biggest Grinch in seconds. I would never dare to go a Christmas without it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chaffing. So much chaffing.
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Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chaffing. So much chaffing

No better feeling than 4 minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's #1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swim suit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chaffing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one size fits all" for plus-sized women. As if there's just one way to be plus-sized. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Putting Away Christmas

It sometimes feels like the end, but it's not.
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It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.

But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.

First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.

Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.

Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.

And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.

But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.

Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Corso

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