Keeping Christmas Affordable As Told By Kevin McCallister

Keeping Christmas Affordable As Told By Kevin McCallister

6 tips and tricks for a Merry Christmas on a budget.

The holidays are coming and you have a balance of -7.26 dollars in your bank account. What are you going to do?

You have five siblings, three sets of grandparents, six aunts and uncles, and two nephews. (Wait, did I forget anyone?) The point is, it can be overwhelming. Especially for college students. Here are 6 tips to save the bank and still have a Merry Christmas, as told by none other than "Home Alone" protagonist Kevin McCallister.

1. Don't wait until last minute!

Shop for Christmas all year long! Don’t start 2 weeks before Christmas when prices are raised. Grab that toy from the dollar tree when you come across one your nephew will love, it doesn’t matter is it’s April. Wow, these winter coats are on sale? It’s July but winter will be back, and Aunt Judy loves blue! Shopping lightly year round will lighten the burden, come Christmas time. You’ll turn around and realize you’ve done half of your shopping without even thinking about it.

2. Pay attention to the little things.

You go to your moms house and realize she has to wash more coffee cups every time you visit. There’s an idea, a brand new set will do nicely! It will be very thoughtful, yet affordable. You notice your older brother has mismatched sock with holes in the toes, there you go, a nice package from Walmart will do the trick. It’s not the Xbox One he wanted, but he’ll appreciate it anyway; no one likes buying their own socks.

3. Get crafty.

Those old wine bottles downstairs can make an excellent set of tike torches for Grandma’s patio. Buy some wicks and citronella fluid and you’re golden. Grandmas love homemade stuff. Get on Pinterest and get to work! “It’s the thought that counts” she always says.

4. Give an experience.

You don’t know Uncle Mike very well, but you know he is a truck driver. He loves country music and coffee. Get him a CD from one of his favorite artists and a Tim Horton’s gift card. Practical, thoughtful, affordable. Your stepmom is a homebody, she would love a couple chick flicks and comedies to watch on her nights off. Get her that new one with Adam Sandler and don’t forget a package of popcorn. “How cute are you” she’ll say.

5. Buy some laughter.

Dad is going through some sort of midlife crisis. He died his hair blonde and started reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”. Buy him a package of adult diapers and one of those walkers with the horn on it. He loves a good joke. Through in a Christmas card and some of his favorite childhood candies and he will have a swell time. Maybe he will even forget about those grey hairs peeking through for a moment. Your stepdad is a gambler. Buy him a stack of lottery tickets to try his luck. Be sure to throw in a fake one or two to get him going. Don’t forget your camera to capture the moment he thought he became a millionaire.

6. Get a group gift.

Don’t forget the in laws. Maybe money is tight but you know your spouse's parents could use some time together. Grab them some scented candles, a bottle of wine, cheese, and crackers for a romantic date night at home. They will definitely appreciate the sentiment. Maybe you cannot get all six of your husband’s siblings individual gifts. Go big on one gift for the whole family. They love throwing family reunions at Tim’s camp and could really use a nice outdoor grill.

So despite your financial woes, Christmas can be affordable. A few tips and tricks can be all it takes to make shopping for loved ones fun, easy, and inexpensive. We’ve all been there. The struggle may be real, but the holidays are a time for happiness, not stress. Family and friends will be thankful for any sign of effort. Go out and show them you care. Merry Christmas everyone!

Cover Image Credit: Fanpop

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)


I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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