The Great Holiday Debate

The Great Holiday Debate

Why Happy Holidays is more than enough

The first time I ever heard about the “Great Holiday Debate” I was 13 years old and shopping for Christmas Gifts with my grandmother.

We were checking out at a department store and the lady behind the counter politely said, “Happy Holidays” while handing my grandmother the receipt.

“Say what you really want to say” My grandmother antagonized the poor cashier. The employee stared at my grandma blankly, not sure where this was going. I almost die of embarrassment because I am 13 and everything is awkward.

“It’s not ‘Happy Holidays’. It’s ‘Merry Christmas’” my grandmother snaps as she grabs the receipt and hurries me out of the store before I can turn around and apologize.

I block this traumatically embarrassing incident out of my mind until it manifests again in the form of red Starbucks cups and whining adults who can’t seem to handle that their religion may not be the only one in existence.

We live in a world where people are literally afraid for their lives because they want to marry someone of the same gender and instead people are focused on the “War on Christmas”. This may seem appalling, seeing as there actually have been wars waged on the basis of religion and the Christian faith has rarely, if ever, been the victim.

The number one thing that I find so absolutely absurd about this argument is the fact that most of the symbols related to Christmas that people want to see on a coffee cup, come from the Pagan faith. Bells, wreaths, candles, and even Santa Clause himself are descendants of a long line of Yule traditions, a Pagan holiday.

I struggle to find the validity of this argument as it appears to be the desperate boo-hooing of a generation of people so afraid to lose something that never belonged to them in the first place. Yule traditions were stolen and sold for profit in shiny red and green paper. Coffee companies are not out to get your religion. There is no Christ in “soy iced-mocha latte with extra whip” and there never was.

Neutral seasonal greetings, like Happy Holidays, are usually imposed by the companies that require their employees to say them. Susie the checkout girl at Target is not burning bibles in her free time. Telling the barista at Starbucks that your name is Merry Christmas, just to prove some imaginary point that you have made up, is childish and takes attention away from the actual problems of our time.

If someone is offering you Happy Holidays, there is no reason to be upset because they are simply wishing you joy and happiness in whatever you celebrate. There are so many holidays that fall within this small time-frame and there is no way of telling who celebrates what. "Happy Holidays" appropriately acknowledges that people may celebrate more than one winter holiday or that they may only celebrate days like New Years. If someone offers you the wrong holiday greeting, smile and say thank you, like an adult. Someone is sharing their culture with you, and that is such an incredible, beautiful thing.

Every school in America, every restaurant, every store closes for Christian holidays. Jewish and Muslim students have to miss classes in order to properly celebrate their faith. I am failing to see how that is fair, and yet no Jewish classmate ever told me that Santa wasn’t real. No one has ever called me a derogatory name for having a Christmas tree in the window.

So before you get up in arms about seasonal greetings that you are offered, think about what Jesus would want you to do. Now, I don’t have any way of contacting him to ask him for clarification, but I’m pretty sure a decent summary of the New Testament is to treat others as you would want to be treated, love your neighbors, and be kind to all regardless of faith.

Tis the Season to love one another and treat each other with respect. So happy holidays to one and all.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun


To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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