How To Do Christmas In College

How To Do Christmas In College

It is the thought that counts, right?
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Have you gotten tunnel vision yet? Finals season is fast approaching, the days have grown obscenely short, and now -- given that you celebrate at least one of the many holidays available -- you have to buy thoughtful presents for your friends and family. What to do?! We're all broke and we're all busy, but there are some ways to circumvent the more expensive norms seen around the holiday season while still retaining that sincere, "It's A Wonderful Life" sentimentality.

Give the present of your presence.

It could be with your roommate, your group chat, your pset partner or even a friend! Organize a watch party for a classic Christmas movie or something a little less reverent; as long as you're all together (with drinks and a bag of caramel corn), everyone should leave in high spirits. Suggestions: "Miracle on 34th Street", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Happy Feet", "Love Actually", "Elf", "The Polar Express", "The Santa Clause 2"...

Knock it off.

Don't be afraid to sacrifice brand for wallet and go for knockoffs, like Mossimo over Uggs or Redbubble over the official NBC merch, and hopefully the person you're shopping for is able to appreciate the sentiment over the prestige of a brand name. There are also extensions like Honey, Amazon Assistant, and Swagbucks that can help you get the lowest possible price when shopping online. If you don't want to lug everyone's presents home with you, have them shipped directly to your house, where a trusted sibling can cram them under your bed.

Not-so-Secret Santa

Go ahead, be a little extra and organize a Secret Santa or holiday gift swap between friends or family; this website takes care of everything but the actual shopping. This way you only end up buying one gift but you celebrate the Christmas spirit with a group (hashtag holiday hack). Within family or friend groups, send each other Amazon wishlists to save the time it would take to find something you think they might like.


Substitute materiality with sentimentality

Whatever you do, don't skimp on the card! A well-written, thoughtful card can perfectly complement a small gift or something homemade. Invest in simple but pleasant stationary, and maybe even use candle wax as a fancy way to seal it shut! Check out this manifesto on wax seals if you want to learn more about how to use one.



Get baked...

On sugar! Baked goods are always a surefire way to win over the hearts of friends and casual enemies alike. Allergies aside, it's the one time you can get everyone the same thing without it being tacky, and it shows that you put at least half an hour of work into making something for them, so you can't go wrong!

Rice Krispies Holiday Treats
Rice Krispies Christmas Trees
Christmas Candy Cupcakes
Fig Cookies
Funfetti Shortbread Bites
Peppermint Bark
Hot Chocolate Mix
Don't forget our vegan and gluten-free friends, too!

Let's wrap this up.

Short on wrapping paper and would rather die than step foot into a Papyrus? Find your school's newspaper, pick the most interesting pages, and give your gifts a unique look! If you're getting creative, cut a page into strips and staple them into a ribbon. For gifts that are a little less wrappable, neatly shred your newspaper to fill up a brown paper bag that you got from the school bookstore.

BONUS: Give to charity instead!

If you have a small amount of money set aside but can't bring yourself to choose who to spend it on, give it to someone who, although a stranger you'll likely never meet, will need it more than anyone in your immediate circle. There are tons and tons of charities and nonprofits that need your help, but, whatever you do, please don't support the Salvation Army.

Best of luck!

Cover Image Credit: The Green House

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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
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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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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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