Putting Away Christmas

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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5 Reasons Why Your Siblings Are Your Lifeline During the Holidays

The holiday season can get stressful but no worries because your siblings will be by your side to help you get though it.
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The holidays are a time when you get together with the whole family. No matter if you're related or not when you get a good amount of people together for any amount of time there is bound to be a fight and personality clashes. In the holiday season, stress levels are high which makes for an, even more, trickier situation and sometimes you just need someone who knows what you are going through and can relate. My twin brother is the one who keeps me sane during my time at home at the holidays and I am sure your sibling is too and here's how...

1. They are the ones who know to save you a seat at the Christmas dinner table.


So that you don't have to sit by anyone you might not want to sit by.

2. They can always save you when your family members keep asking your significant other (or lack of) and you just can't take it anymore.


3. They can be you're best friend when you're back home and off your normal college schedule.


4. They can help you shop for family Christmas gifts so that you don't have to do it all on your own.


5. They are there to annoy you because at the end of the day they are your sibling and that's their job.


It is the best time of the year and being with family is great but when the season greetings become too much to handle on your own you can always count on your siblings to help you get through it or at least where you don't have to suffer through it on your own. So, give your siblings an extra hug this holiday season and be grateful you don't have to go through this crazy world alone.

Cover Image Credit: Emma Grace Mayfield

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10 Secret Santa Gifts Any Girl Would Love

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