Simple Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

Simple Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

A little goes a long way.
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With the holiday season now upon us, it is important to remember the magic in giving back. It is so easy to get wrapped up (lol) in making lengthy wish lists or hoping Santa will get you the right size sneakers this year. Individuals and/or families in need are often forgotten because of the chaos surrounding this time of year. It is important to make a conscious effort to remember the real meaning of the holiday season. The warm embrace of family, togetherness, and love are not always facets of everybody’s lives.

Sometimes, it is easy to feel as though you cannot make a difference. In the midst of this busy season of planning, shopping, and decorating, take time out of your day to give back to your local communities in one (or more) of these simple ways.

Donate to a Toy Drive

Whether you add a toy to a donation box or supply a family with multiple gifts for their kids, your contribution will make a difference. Not all families have the financial ability to provide their kids with several toys on Christmas morning. Your donation will help a family in need and provide a child with a fun-filled holiday experience.

Create Care Packages for the Homeless

Homelessness is a problem all over the United States. If you happen to see it in your area, care packages are an easy way to help out. You can fill a plastic bag with a few snacks or go as far as adding gloves, socks, blankets, and other necessities for bracing the cold during this time of year. These are easy to put together and are guaranteed to not only help out, but put a smile on the face of someone in need.

Bake for a Lonely Neighbor

Not everybody is surrounded by family during the holidays. Whether they live far from their relatives or don’t have much family to begin with, taking the time to make and deliver a baked good can help them feel loved and thought of.

Organize a Holiday Meal Drive

Set up a drive for people to donate food items that can be used for holiday dinners. Create full packages and drop them off to families in need so they’re able to have a delicious holiday meal. You can even prepare the meals and deliver them!

Visit with a Hospital

Spending time with the sick or injured during the holidays is a great way to show people that they are in your thoughts. Whether you visit a hospital, rehabilitation facility, or a senior center, taking the time out to talk with a patient or spend time with the elderly can make a huge difference in their happiness.

Small Acts of Kindness

Tip the pizza guy extra, buy a coffee for the person behind you in line, tell the drive through worker how much you appreciate them. Small acts of kindness brighten people’s days and inspire them to pay it forward to someone else. Smile at a stranger, thank a veteran. A little encouragement goes a long way during the stress of the holiday season.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiBopPfp-TJAhXCXh4KHbDUBbIQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmiami.hubdin.com%2Fjobs%2Fgiving-back-volunteer-jobs-can-october%2F&bvm=bv.110151844,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNGzdJ0je_lpw8SdyHHhi-p4Vh6SHw&ust=1450490333338701

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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You're Not Crazy, Your Seasonal Allergies ARE Worse Than They Normally Are

Between all of these symptoms, I've felt miserable the last week.

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We've all been waiting for summer to come, and it's finally on its way. I started putting away my jackets and heavy clothes, and I'm so excited to take out my dresses and bathing suits. Classes are ending for students and we can start the beach trips on these warm, sunny days. What could possibly be wrong with summer coming?

If you have seasonal allergies, specifically to pollen and tree-related allergens, you may be in for a real problem.

In certain states, especially in the northern and eastern US areas, the pollen count is at drastically high levels. So much so that people with only minimal seasonal allergies are having intense reactions, and people who didn't even know they had allergies are having their first reactions.

I've only ever had an itchy nose when seasons change, and only when standing in the middle of lots of plants that would aggravate it. I never suspected my allergies would be making me so sick right now until my physician told me what's going on with this season's allergens.

Since the pollen levels are so dramatic in New York right now, I've had sinus congestion so bad it turned into sinusitis, and a sore throat so swollen and painful I swore it had to be strep. The sinusitis was giving me fevers, aches, and chills, making me feel like I had the flu — all of this traced back to allergies. Between all of these symptoms, I've felt miserable the last week.

Once I started asking around about what my doctor said, several people have told me they're having the same problem with their allergies now. If you're suspicious you may have allergies, get tested and ask your doctor's opinion. It's best to be well-informed on your medical issues so that you'll be prepared if a bad allergy season comes along (like this summer).

If you want to know what the pollen count looks like in your area, go to Pollen.com and allow access to your location — it'll show you a map of the states and their current pollen levels, as well as a specific analysis of the town you live.

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