My Holiday Checklist

My Holiday Checklist

Staying organized during this hectic season is key.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are any kind of merry celebrator, then you probably have a list or set of requirements in your head that for the majority, needs to be fulfilled in order for you to have some semblance of peace, joy, and happiness during this festive season. Budgets may be pressing, the food too tempting, and your patience trying, but rest assured, with a bout of courage and a continuous practice of saying, "no," you should be fine. However, if you find your checklist remaining unchecked, then also keep in mind that spontaneity makes way for wonderful possibilities. Sometimes, having things go unplanned can bring about better results. So keep your head up, and stay merry!

1. Make my first New Year's Resolution

...and why would I do that so early on in the game, you might ask. Well considering my marvelous, nonexistent aptitude of refraining from devouring every scrumptious dish set on the table - that number on the scale before the Thanksgiving feast will become my weight goal for next year. Doubtlessly, I will be packing on a new pound or ten and that will be okay. It's okay to enjoy the food, because sometimes, some dishes only get served once a year. Therefore, it's okay to gain a few as long as I lose them in time before the next holiday season hits.

2. Check my list & check it twice

Because budgets are a pain and I have to make sure everyone is on that list and no one is left unaccounted for. A sad Aunt Sally is the last thing I would ever want as she might hold it against me, making for a very unwanted - and awkward, family gathering.

3. Get through my book stack (or piles)

If you are like me, you probably have an accumulating pile of books since the semester had begun. With school work and life stealing the spare time I would normally have for reading, I found myself simply adding to, but not depleting, the stack of books shelved into the various caches of my bedroom. Thanksgiving and Christmas break will create just that perfect opportunity to become a literate recluse.

4. Be nice

Not saying that I'm not nice, but sometimes, I find it always good to remember to be more tolerant during the holiday season. I'm not the only one going through the seasonal stress of gift giving/searching and party preparations. The holiday season is the perfect time to practice being more patient with others. Learning to be the first one to apologize or just letting the other person get the gift instead, helps to simply just create a better atmosphere for everyone to enjoy the holidays. (It might even get you some extra presents from Santa too, who knows.) However, if the temper doesn't stop rising - remember, walking away from the situation before it escalates will always do.

5. Avoid family feuds at all costs

No, not the game - but if it helps to diffuse the tension, then by all means - I won't rule out the option of playing it! While this goes with the idea of being nice, I believe that by remembering to respect everyone's opinions, for example - about the recent election, then I can spare everyone from picking up arms, (or culinary), and shouting for their opinion to be heard and accepted. Also, if I'm not the one instigating the argument, then it is also good to make an attempt to keep one from happening. Someone thinks that Trump shouldn't have won the electoral college votes? Well, just casually bring up those Joe Biden memes to detract from that hot subject.

6. Make a schedule/ Plan ahead

So, Martha has her Christmas party on Tuesday and Jim is having one on Thursday. The Secret Santa exchange at work is occurring on Wednesday night, and the team is having a holiday dinner Friday right before the Christmas auction at - !

By calling or sending a text ahead of time to confirm dates and writing it all out on a planner or two - plus adding it onto your cell phone's calendar - makes for a more organized holiday season. Missing out a party or gathering can take a hit to your reputation, and knowing myself, I would rather feel stressed over all the social events rather than forget one was even going to happen on a certain day.

7. Binge watch all the shows I've missed

It is inevitable, but sometimes I will find myself lagging behind a television series or four and am forced to evacuate the dorm room because the subject has been switched to the latest 'Walking Dead' death. So better to catch up now before it gets too far in the game.

8. Get the tree

Sometimes, getting the Christmas tree from the attic or the farm can be a hassle, but it is a necessary duty which has to be fulfilled before December hits the family. Being the one to fetch it creates an inner turmoil, but eventually, I have to push myself to climb that creaking ladder or drive to that frigid farm to fetch the centerpiece of the house. The bright side is, once it lands itself on the living room floor, the holiday music starts blasting and the house becomes enveloped in a festive, colorful mess.

9. Clean

Not entirely sure if this is just exclusive to my family, but once November hits, my mother makes it an obligation to go into a cleaning frenzy before Thanksgiving week drops on our doorstep. For this reason, I find myself having to rise up earlier than usual during break and help out my mom in the fight against everything that is dirty and messy. (Which, in her opinion, includes my room).

10. Enjoy your family and friends

...and remember to breathe. Sometimes, the holiday season is the only time I can see some of my friends and family, so it's important for me to have the time to be able to reach out and enjoy their presence. The holidays has become such a materialized season, so it's important to have the ability to step back from the chaos to reflect and enjoy the people and moments. Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and never lose sight of the real treasures of this season.

Cover Image Credit: Albert Lam

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Don't Waste Your Break Just Lying Around All Day

There are plenty of things that you can do so you don't feel unproductive.


As college students, during break, we all just want to recover all of the energy we lost during the semester. Obviously, this is important, since we only have a few weeks of recuperation before we have to bust our asses all over again. Don't mistake relaxation with unproductivity, though. There are tons of ways to make sure to stay relaxed and stress free during break, but also be able to not waste the days away.

For starters, going to the gym is a perfect way to feel like you are getting stuff done. Even if you literally do nothing else all day but wake up, go to the gym, and go back home and lay around, you are still going to feel like you got something done, and you'll probably feel a lot better to. Break is the best time to get a new routine down, so why not utilize it?

We're all in college and broke, so break is a good time to go back to work and get some extra spending money for the next semester. Even if you only make like $300 in the few weeks you have, that's $300 more you have to spend on food or...the weekends. Also, even though work can be a little stressful, it's only for a little bit of the day, and then you can go home and do nothing like you were planning on anyway. If you're afraid a job will get in the way of hanging out with friends - we're adults, just learn how to plan around it.

Hanging with friends and family is a great way to spend break, though. Make sure to do that as much as possible. Especially if your friends don't go to the same college as you, or if you're going somewhere far from home where you won't see your family as often as they would like to see you.

Finally, I'm not gonna sit here and pretend like laying around and doing nothing isn't the absolute best way to spend break, so if that's how you're gonna spend it, might as well bang out those Netflix series. Personally, a day of laying in bed feels much more productive if I've gotten through 8 episodes of a series rather than just playing around on my phone. So on that note, some series you should check out right now:

-"Narcos" and "Narcos: Mexico"
-"Black Mirror"
-"The Ranch"
-"Mad Men"

These are just some of my top favorite right now, so check them out if you are looking for something good to start watching.

Don't let this break get away from you. You can relax and get stuff done all at the same time.

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