12 Ways To Get Into The Christmas Spirit (Even Through Finals Week)

12 Ways To Get Into The Christmas Spirit (Even Through Finals Week)

Sometimes we get too caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to cherish one of the most magical times of the year.

1. Listening to Christmas carols

Whether it’s in the car on the way to Dunkin' Donuts to take a thirty minute coffee break or while you’re writing that final paper for English 301

Some people have very firm feelings when it comes to Christmas music. You either love it because it fills your childlike heart with wonder, or you hate it because the incessant jingle bells have caused you to develop a nervous twitch an extremely young age. There is no in-between. At least we can all agree that music has a way of lifting our spirits in ways nothing else can; what better way to get your mind off the stresses of finals than to listen to some gentle tunes about a guy in a red suit coming to bring you presents?

2. Baking Christmas cookies

Arguably, one of the best things about the holidays is the excuse to gorge yourself on delectable foods and desserts you don’t get to eat every other day of the year. So, break out the gingerbread men and the green and red sprinkles, and do some bonding while you’re at it. Remember: ‘Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven.'

3. Decorating

Whether it’s the family Christmas tree that you spent hours on the tree lot looking for that perfect one, or hanging multicolored lights over your desk in your college dorm. Just the sheer pleasure of decking the halls is sure to put you in the mood.

4. Watching everything Rankin and Bass ever produced that has anything in the slightest to do with Christmas

Probably the kings of childhood Christmas movies, Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass made countless of your favorite cartoon and Claymation classics. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, A Year without a Santa Claus…you name it, they made it. You can find most of the specials on YouTube, and sometimes the re-runs play on regular cable. And don’t worry – Snow Miser and Heat Miser’s songs will only be stuck in your head for a week tops.

5. Shopping

Do you really need an excuse to shop? Of course not, but it being the holiday season definitely helps. Worry about the money you spend buying your friend that blanket scarf she desperately needed after the holidays are over.

6. Make a List

Check it twice!

It seems every year we talk about our wants and needs incessantly until Christmas is actually upon us and we forget. The wish-list doesn’t even have to be just for yourself. Make a list of presents you want to give your roommates, friends, and family members, full of things that you can make or buy. Not only is it a way to get excited about the holidays, but it’s the simplest way to answer the age-old question: “What do you want for Christmas?”

7. Go see Christmas lights

Take a break – you deserve it – and go downtown or through a few neighborhoods and see all the incredible light displays. Whether it’s the ten foot tree in the town square, or the inflatables and string lights in your neighbor’s yard; the illuminations are sure to fill you with cheer.

8. Make DIY Gifts

One of the greatest gifts man ever received was Pinterest, and luckily for all of us on a low holiday budget, they have countless gift ideas you can do yourself. You don’t have to venture out into the frigid weather or into the bitter crowds of people who waited until the last minute to buy their gifts. Create gifts from the heart that you know your loved ones will adore simply because you made it.

9. Say Hi to the Mall Santa

No one is ever ‘too old’ for Santa Claus. Even if you stopped believing years ago, there’s no need to pass the Christmas Village at the mall where all the little children are taking pictures with Santa, and hang your head as if you do not want to be seen. No one is ever ‘too cool’ for Santa. Just wave from afar as you make your way into Hot Topic or Abercrombie – whatever kids these days like – and I promise you, he will wave back.

10. Wrap Presents

Take the time to put the gifts you worked so hard to make or to buy to put them wrappings of brightly colored paper that would make an elf proud, instead of just putting them in your average plastic bag. Personalizing your gifts with ribbons and bows and fun, Christmas-themed wrapping paper is a great way to get in the giving spirit.

11. Send Christmas Cards

Whether it’s a fun picture you took while out with some friends, or a special tradition your family does every year, sending a Christmas card that you can touch, hang up, and keep means so much more than writing ‘Happy Holidays’ on someone’s Facebook wall.

12. Give to the Bell Ringers

We all see them, the volunteers for the Salvation Army, as we walk into Walmart or Target, and look the other way as if they aren’t even there. Maybe this year, even if it’s just a couple of coins from your pocket, give to those who have less. Besides, it wouldn’t be Christmas if no one gave anything.

Cover Image Credit: Sometimes we get too caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to cherish one of the most magical times of the year.

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33 Basic Summer Bucket List Ideas For College Girls That Don't SUCK

27. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up

The weather is finally getting warmer and summer is just two short months away.

The other day I got my first whiff of food being cooked on the way home and it made me think of all the stuff I want to do this summer and what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months. It also made me think about how I make the same promises to myself every year and don't accomplish half of the things I want. So, this year, I decided to make a summer bucket list. I've heard of people doing this and I always thought it was kind of stupid, but I figure writing it down would motivate me more than just thinking, "That would be a nice thing to do."

So here are some things on my summer bucket list and hopefully they inspire you to go out and have the best summer of your life.

1. Find and do a summer exercise challenge

2. Go on a road trip

3. Visit a water park

4. Make fresh-squeezed lemonade

5. Have a water fight

6. Attend at least one outdoor concert

7. Research and apply to internships

8. Start journaling

9. Sign up for a class

10. Spend an afternoon on a boat

11. Read a new book every month of the summer

12. Eat fried dough

13. Attend a fair

14. Spend the day at a beach

15. Roast a marshmallow and make s’mores

16. Host an awesome summer party

17. Go to a drive-in movie

18. Cook something you never cooked before

19. Have an epic movie marathon with friends

20. Go river tubing

21. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while

22. Eat lunch on a dock

23. Order a new flavor of ice cream

24. Go bowling

25. Take pictures in a photo booth

26. Go shopping on a boardwalk

27. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up

28. Eat pizza by a pool

29. Do a Pinterest craft

30. Ride a four wheeler

31. Big an epic blanket fort

32. Go to an aquarium

33. Lay in the back of a pickup truck

Cover Image Credit: footsloggers_outdoors//Instagram

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Do Not Waste Your Summer Away

Just because your summer fantasy isn't reality does not mean it is a waste.

With summer quickly approaching, it is quite easy to fall in the trap of perpetual laziness and idle daily routine. God knows I am guilty of having my lazy summers. Of course, summer days when you decide to not go out and stay inside to watch Netflix or spend all day on your phone are welcomed. However, it is super important to not waste your precious summer days away.

The months of June, July, and August are the three quickest months of the year. I try my best to cherish every single day of the summer months because before you know it, they are gone. As I'm growing older, summers are going by even faster. It has allowed me to realize how much I wish to make every day count. To do something productive — no matter how big or small — each day is essential.

With having no school and no homework or projects, it is very easy to lose motivation to do, well, quite frankly, anything. As I said, I have had my fair share of lazy days. They are okay to have here and there, but I have also learned it is all too easy to fall victim to this vicious cycle of an unproductive routine. Once you have had one lazy day, it progresses into two lazy days, then five lazy days, and so on. DO NOT LET THIS BECOME YOUR SUMMER. Take control of your summer and make the most of it because (sadly) it does not last forever.

If you are anything like me, you have always held a dream of what your summer should be. My summer fantasy consists of living at the beach, working at an ice cream shop, visiting the beach every single day, being tan, and having a summer fling. Unfortunately, this fantasy summer has never become reality. Maybe it will someday, but not this year at least. It's vital to keep yourself grounded as well. I've learned that this might never become reality, and that's okay. Maybe some aspects of it may come true, but just because your summer does not consist of all of your fantasies, does not mean it is a waste.

I believed in this notion for a long time: that because I wasn't at the beach every day, because I wasn't tan, because I didn't have a "bikini body," because I wasn't traveling somewhere every day, that my summer was invaluable. That I wasted three months doing nothing important. But this wasn't truly the case. I just believed that since I wasn't doing something considered "fun" every day, that I wasted three whole months of my life. What I now realize is that I just wasn't making the most of the situations I was given. One of the most painful realizations of growing up is that you are not going to be able to do something fun all the time. This lesson was much to my dismay. When you're little, summer consists of no school and doing something fun every day. There's no work... and then you get older.

In addition to working A LOT this summer, I'm planning to also go to the gym, write an article for Odyssey every week, read plenty of books, lose weight, and attempt to grow my hair out. These are all practical goals, and it is important to set goals and not lose sight of them. It's summer and we don't want to even think about setting goals, but we must always be striving to better ourselves. This notion applies even during our days, weeks, or months off.

A few years ago, just reading that list of goals would've made me say, "no." I want my summer to be my summer. I don't want to have to work all the time, I want to hang out with my friends, go to the beach, go to the park and everything else in between. I don't want to be expected anywhere. However, I've grown up in the past few years and realized that I have to work, whether I like it or not, and just because I'm working does not mean I won't have time for my friends and doing other fun things. And if I work a lot, the more money I will have, and the more things I will be able to do.

I mean yeah, it's disappointing, I guess. Everyone wants to be able to do whatever they want with their summer, but that's just life. This allows us to appreciate fun times with friends and family more. So, set your goals. You'll feel great once you achieve them, and don't forget to have fun in between those goals.

Always strive for balance! Have a great summer, everyone :)

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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