A Love Letter to the Holidays

A Love Letter to the Holidays

It's never too early to talk about the most wonderful time of the year.

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Dear holidays,

Every year during the early weeks of November, you slowly begin to endure a lingering presence in my mind, though never to my dismay. The impression you've left on me from years past has evolved into an increased appreciation for the contentment you bring me whenever you arrive.

I greatly appreciate the genuinely positive and delightful spirit you impose on me through your arrival. I look forward to you because you radiate a vibe that is so comforting and elated that it saddens me when you suddenly disappear after the new year.

I'd like to thank you for the traditions you've formed in my family over the years. The season wouldn't appear nearly as memorable without our favorite holiday movie, the board game we play solely during the winter and the list of CD's we constantly shuffle on our 90's vintage stereo for two months straight.

And while we're on the topic of CD's, your music is nothing short of heart-warming and never fails to propel me into the seasonal spirit. Nothing absolves my mind of all worries like driving through a snow-covered northeastern Pennsylvania with a highly-select holiday playlist (mainly Michael Bublé's 2012 Christmas album, though, if we're being honest).

I love you for eliciting family gatherings that tend to relieve the inevitable family-oriented drama, even if only for a moment. The laughs and smiles throughout this time are genuine and real, and I hold them close to my heart with each passing moment.

Your style is so memorable, with decorations being a true staple of your demeanor. Decking my home with countless candles, lights, and other holiday trinkets set the cozy mood I most look forward to all year long.

For as long as I can remember, you have been my most beloved time of year. You highlight the best in people by enriching the goodness that can always be found in our society, though it may sometimes fade to what seems like nothing. Although you have been somewhat commercialized and your meaning has been significantly altered over some time, I do my best to remember who you are aside from the shopping, gifts and stresses that our society has imposed upon you.

Anyway, as I write you this letter, while admittedly listening to Michael Bublé serenade me with his top-notch rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," I can sense you creeping into my mind and permeating me with excitement for the months to come. And I have no problem with how early it may seem.

With love and gratitude,

Cameron

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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!
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To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate



Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.


2. Flowers



Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.


3. Giant Teddy Bear



This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.


4. Wine



Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.


5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!


6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.


7. A Movie



Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.


8. A Necklace



I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!


Buy one on Amazon.


9. A Ring



While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.


10. Clothes



Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.


11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel



I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a Hotels.com gift card on Amazon.


12. Personalized Picture Frame



A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.


Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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Holiday Block Leave For The Army Was Just Too Good To Be True

"When something looks too good to be true, it usually is." -Emmy Rossum

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Everyone enjoys the times where their soldier gets to come home. The multitude of dates, romantic gestures, and the simple fact that you get to spend time with your soldier feels like a dream.

You get to finally have your best friend back, and for about two weeks, you don't get that feeling of loneliness. I remember feeling extremely happy seeing my soldier smile and laugh with me over the silliest of things and thinking to myself that I missed moments like this. I also loved getting dolled up and going out to eat at some of our favorite places. Yet again, my heart and stomach were more than satisfied, I caught myself swooning about how the entirety of these events was dreamlike.

The first week flew by so fast. I blinked, and next thing you know he is packing up some of his things. I realized within the two-week time period I had already grown accustomed to him again. I had gotten overly attached, and I honestly did not know how to feel about it. I clearly did not want him to leave, but he had to. I felt myself growing irritated near the end of holiday block leave because I guess I felt there was nothing I could do to keep these insanely wonderful moments going. I knew that once he left it would be back to the routine of never-ending work and stress.

I was not ready for college to start back at this point. He wasn't ready to be brain fried from butt loads of work either, but my soldier has more determination than I sometimes. I am working on my determination and motivation, but I still will forever cry when stressed, or when I feel I have no control over a situation. I tried so hard to hold back the tears this time around, but it just couldn't be done. I did not breakdown I just shed a tear or two, so I can say I have improved.

It's just so hard.

I loved seeing him for those two weeks, but at the same time, it sucks because it's like we're being teased. We get to spend time with our military loved ones, but it's for such a short amount of time. Of course, we lived it to the fullest, but that doesn't make his leaving any easier.

Now, I'm just counting down the days until he gets another leave and I get to spend that time with him again.

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