Why I Will Never Buy A Real Christmas Tree

Why I Will Never Buy A Real Christmas Tree

It's probably not why you think

I will never buy a real Christmas tree. I know, I know, that sounds like a harsh statement, maybe even a challenge against the spirit of the Christmas season. But, as terrible as it sounds, I do have a legitimate reason for my Christmas tree abstinence. It’s not because of the prices, or because I believe cutting the trees down is a sin against nature. It’s not because I hate Christmas, or because I don’t want to have the hassle of cleaning up tiny, sticky pine needles for a month. I don’t have an opinion on tree prices or cutting or clean up. And I certainly don’t hate Christmas. My reason for refusing to ever buy a tree is simple. I am allergic to them.

Yes, you read write. This poor, unfortunate soul is allergic to Christmas trees. When I was growing up, picking out a tree from the local grocery store (I know, real classy) and then keeping it alive and watered for the next month was a tradition. We decorated it with different colored lights and Hallmark ornaments and regularly vacuumed up pine needles from around the base. And every year, without fail, I got walking pneumonia. At first, it was a coincidence, then a concern, and finally, a realization: maybe there was a reason I couldn’t breathe normally for the majority of December.

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was eleven, after a very long and scary attack during which I lost enough oxygen to make my lips and fingers turn blue. It was not fun. 10 out of 10 would not do again. While my diagnosis meant a rather strict medication regime for a while, it also meant my family got some understanding about my annual walking pneumonia crisis. My doctor ran an extensive allergy test to find out what things could trigger my asthma attacks. Along with physical activity and smoke, tree pollen—specifically pine—was one of my biggest triggers. Since it would often take days or weeks of exposure to the tree for my asthma to get bad enough to lead to pneumonia, the correlation wasn’t clear before. But after that simple test, it was hello oxygen, good-bye Christmas trees.

So I will never buy a real Christmas tree. Call me crazy, but breathing is a little important to me. My family has invested in a somewhat realistic fake tree that sits in our sunroom year round. Not because we’re super excited about Christmas all the time; we’re just too lazy to take it apart and put it in the attic every year. In the end, I guess I get the better end of the deal. Christmas tree scented candles don’t bother me, so I can enjoy the scent without the mess or price. And I get to do it all year long. While breathing. It’s really not such a bad trade.

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10 Secret Santa Gifts Any Girl Would Love

What are some things on every girl's wish list?

So we get added to a secret santa group and we are given a budget and the ability to ask for anything we want. But what do we want? Trying to think of things that I want for secret santa is probably the most difficult thing ever. Here are some things that most girls would want for secret santa, including yourself!

1. Fuzzy Socks

Every girl loves fuzzy socks, no questions asked. Get her a pair or two of fuzzy socks and she will be so happy. They are universal and on almost every girl's Secret Santa list. Not to mention, they are affordable and will definitely fit in your budget.

2. Eyeshadow Palettes or Highlight

There are so many good quality eyeshadow palettes that are less than $20 from Colourpop that she will absolutely love. There are many that you can find at the drugstore as well, from brands such as NYX or e.l.f., that are very pigmented and versatile. Any girl will appreciate getting a quality highlighter as well. Some good ones are: Wet n Wild Mega Glo Highlighting Powder and e.l.f. Baked Highlight.

3. Lipsticks

A girl can never have too many lipsticks, especially matte liquid lipsticks. Some good shades that she would appreciate include: mauve, red, plum, dark burgundy, dark magenta, nude. These shades are so versatile and will definitely make her happy. Some good matte lipstick brands under a budget include: Wet n Wild Catsuit, NYX soft matte lip cream, and Colourpop.

4. Dainty Rings

Girls love to wear rings, especially dainty ones. You can find packs of these at any women's apparel and accessories store. Just a couple of rings with small gems, flower patterns, intricate designs, or just plain simple bands will do the trick. The best ones are the silver and gold colored ones. Also, make sure to find out her ring size beforehand so that the dainty rings actually fit her fingers!

5. Chocolate

Chocolate is always a great addition to a gift. Usually chocolate is not the only thing you would give someone as a Secret Santa gift, but adding some good chocolate bars along with the main gift is definitely appreciated. Toblerone and Hershey bars, as well as Lindt chocolate truffles are perfect for this.

6. Perfume/Body Mist

A girl always needs her yummy scented perfumes and body sprays. Any body mist from Bath and Body Works is perfect, especially the travel sized ones because every girl considers it an essential. Some perfumes from Victoria Secret also smell really nice and the person you are giving it to for Secret Santa is sure to love it.

7. Scarf or Hat

Since Secret Santa gifts are exchanged in the winter, scarves, and hats are often at the top of the list for girls. Any cute infinity scarf or knit beanie will not only keep a girl warm, but also act as a cute accessory in the winter time. It would be a perfect Secret Santa gift, and the beanies and scarves are very affordable.

8. Cute Tops

A girl will always appreciate getting more clothes. There are so many different kinds of shirts that a girl would want, including: a blouse, a chiffon shirt, loose t-shirt, cute crop top, etc. Based on her usual wardrobe choices, you can find a shirt that fits her style and give that to her as a gift. If she likes to go out a lot, get her one or more crop tops. If she wears simple clothes, get her a loose, comfy t-shirt.

9. Face Masks

Skincare is so important: everyone wants smooth skin! A face mask is a perfect gift because chances are she probably was going to buy a skincare product anyway. Getting it for her as a gift will make her happy and save her from having to go find one. Any charcoal, peel-off, clay, or hydrating face masks will be a great Secret Santa gift.

10. Earrings

Get her a pair of earrings! Make sure to know whether she would like to wear any dangly earrings before buying them. If she usually wear studs (and has multiple ear piercings) and likes to wear dangly, fancy earrings to a party, getting her a set of earrings might be your best option. Stores like Forever 21 have sets of earrings that include a couple pairs of different stud earrings, and some dangly (or hoop) earrings that would be perfect. Or you can get her one or the other: either a pair of very fancy dangly earrings, or a pair of very nice stud earrings.

With this list of generic yet amazing gifts to give for secret Santa, you won't have any trouble trying to find a gift for a friend or even think of gifts you might want for yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Why College Students Don't Like Going Home For The Holidays

Maybe it's the change in our daily routines or the non-stop visits from family, but going home for the holidays is a hassle.

Spending time with the family back home for the holidays might seem like something most college students look forward to, but for others, it's one of their least favorite parts of the holidays.

For some, it's seeing family that they don't always get along with. Maybe it's that cousin that's always bullied you, or a grandparent that's too ignorant for the times. Or, it's the empty seat at the dinner table for a family member that passed on. It's that stocking on the mantle that won't be eagerly emptied on Christmas morning.

Some college students don't like coming back to their hometown for the holidays because they've grown as a person, while everyone else back home has seemed to stay the same. I've always thought that coming back to my hometown is a waste of my time. I don't do anything when I'm home, except spend time with my parents. They're usually working or running around taking care of errands.

My sisters have their own plans, and I've cut ties with all "friends" that I had, so I sit around and watch TV or scroll through my social media for hours at a time.

As great as it is to see my family, I wish they'd decide to go somewhere else for the holidays. I don't mean an extravagant ski trip in the mountains, but anywhere else but home. Home isn't home to me anymore. I'm not the same person I was when I lived here, which means my habits and interests have changed, and I am easily bored.

Home for the holidays for a lot of students also means catching up on doctors appointments, dentist appointments, errands, household chores, and any other duties your parents need getting done. There isn't much time to enjoy your break, especially when you have to drive around and take care of last-minute things for your parents.

Coming home for the holidays means reminders of your past, whether it's driving by the place where you had your first heartbreak or the parking lot where you munched on fast food with friends before racing home for curfew. For me, it's reminders of every stupid mistake I've ever made and the consequences that followed. It's the nagging feeling that everyone is talking about me when I'm home for the holidays.

Some students have to go back home to their small towns for the holidays, and it's the overwhelming boredom that consumes their hometown. For them, the only excitement is the news that their town is getting a Publix or going to a pool hall on the other side of town to get a drink with friends. There isn't the option of going to the mall and spending hours shopping, or heading to the newest art museum, so they have to make the most out of their small town.

One thing college students can agree on is how nice it is to go back to their college home once the holidays are over. Sleeping in your bed and having your daily routine, uninterrupted, isn't appreciated until you're away from home for a few weeks. Although the spring semester begins too soon and the amount of schoolwork is far too overwhelming, it's just nice to get back to the routine.


Cover Image Credit: Elisa Nunez-Rodriguez

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