The Inevitable Stages Of Decking The Halls

The Inevitable Stages Of Decking The Halls

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

IT’S OFFICIALLY THE HOLIDAY SEASON!! That means ugly Christmas sweaters, peppermint everything, holiday baking and decking the halls with boughs of holly, lights, wreaths, trees, stockings and anything else that can light up/is sparkly/festive. Decorating, in theory, is a fun, exciting time... until you actually unpack the boxes of holiday decorations. From then, it can get... overwhelming. For example:

1. Unloading the boxes and boxes and BOXES of decorations

If your family is anything like mine, they’re stored away in the garage, behind the bikes, lawn equipment, motorcycles and other miscellaneous things that are too precious to throw out yet have been forgotten over the years. Good luck trying to navigate and carrying all those heavy boxes that are probably holding incredibly fragile ornaments that have been passed down in your family from generation to generation. You tell yourself that it’s worth it in the end...or is it?

2. Untangling the lights

Light duty. The most stressful job ever. Also, how bizarre is it that you swear that you put away the lights away NEATLY last year and now they’re all tangled this year?? But Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the lights so you, roll up your sleeves and suck it up. It’s worth it in the end...or is it?

3. Hanging the lights

Now that you ~finally~ untangled those son of a grinch lights, you have to hang them! And you’re going to want to hang them high and in hard to reach places. And why is it that you always get light duty when your sister gets to decorate the gingerbread houses?? Also, you hate heights and that step ladder is from like the 6th century so it can’t be trusted to hold your weight as you go from to tree to the roof to another tree, etc. Then, once you finally got the lights up either it decides to all fall down or your family wants them placed in a different location. But it’s worth it in the end...or is it?

4. Putting up the tree

My family gets a real tree every year because we don’t deal with #FakeBirches (tree pun...I know that Christmas trees are evergreen). But it’s a drama...we have to go to pick out the tree, fight over seven different trees, negotiate the Treaty of the Christmas Tree War, secure the tree on top of the car, unpack the tree and haul it inside just to find out the one thing we didn’t take out of the garage was the tree stand so we go and search for the tree holder for two hours, dad gets fed up and goes out to buy a new one just to come back to realize that we did unpack the stand and my sister just didn’t tell anyone. We argue about the stand. We finally set up the tree. We tell ourselves it’s worth it in the end...or is it?

5. Decorating the tree

Now that the tree is up, we get to decorate it. Mom likes to play Christmas music but of course that leads to my sister playing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” 30+ times in a row. We untangle more lights and hang the ornaments. Peace is achieved for a while until it’s time to put the star on top. We argue whose turn it is to put the star on top of the tree this year. We’re all short so my dad, being the tallest, is usually always to one to put the topper on. It’s worth it in the end...or is it?

6. Everything else

Christmas villages, stockings, candles, debating about whether we put up the tacky blow-up lawn snowman this year, ribbons, tinsel, wrapping paper, keeping the cat away from the tree so he doesn’t climb it, keeping the dogs away from the tree so they don’t mark their territory, setting up nativity scenes just to realize we lost the Baby Jesus last year. It’s worth it in the end... OR IS IT??

It is worth it in the end. Because in the end, the holiday season is a bit brighter with all the decoration and there’s no better feeling than sitting in your decorated house, eating the broken gingerbread house that your sister struggled to make (gingerbread house making is a whole different can of worms).

‘Tis the season, y'all.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Whitfield

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19 Struggles Only Girls With The 'Looks Thin In Clothes But Not In A Bikini' Body Type Will Understand

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided one-pieces were cool again.

We grew up thinking the world was black and white. There's tall people and short people. There's old people and young people.

There's fat people and skinny people.

But as you get older, you realize there is a lot more in between those two ends of the spectrum than you ever thought possible. Especially when it comes to weight. And you do a lot more realizing if you're in an awkward position on that scale... Literally.

1. People always tell you to stop saying you are fat

Obviously, your friends SHOULD prevent you from talking negatively about yourself. And if you only saw you when you were fully dressed, you'd probably tell yourself to stop saying you're fat, too.

2. And are kind of surprised by your actual weight

You've definitely had friends who are shocked by the number on your scale because you can carry it pretty well when you are fully dressed.

3. Sometimes you feel like a catfish

Have you ever changed out of your super cute, flattering outfit and looked at yourself in the mirror and thought... Wow, am I lying to people?

4. But you know this is probably true for most people

When you're wearing clothes, typically the parts of a body that bring about insecurities (stomach, namely) are covered. No matter the body type, you realize most people are more comfortable in clothes than out of them.

5. Your confidence is often contingent on the month

November? Yep, won't need to be in shorts or a bikini for about 7-8 months. I am good to go.

February? I'll need to be in a bikini soon.. I could use some work.

6. You are thrilled by the one-piece bathing suit making a fashion come back

A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided it was time to give one-pieces a try again. The stomachs of us in-between gals are appreciative.

7. Crop tops are 95% of the time not your top of choice

Yeah, okay, clothes are supposed to work for me and not against me.

8. You honestly don't understand jean sizes

I have fluctuated in weight a lot of my life, most recently losing 25lbs, and I still did not budge in jean sizes.

9. You wonder what other people think when they see you

Do other people see me as thin in clothing? Or fat in a bikini? What size am I perceived as?

10. Shopping is kind of a nightmare

Have you ever found about 27 items you liked, added the prices and thought, ah, it is going to be so tough to choose from all of these items? Only to go into the fitting room and realize only 2 of the items fit you well? Yep, me every single time I go to the store.

SEE ALSO: 7 Struggles Of Being The Girl Who Is "Not Skinny" But Also "Not Fat"

11. You're thankful that at least you've got boobs

You can kind of hide them in clothes, and then let them steal the show away from your tummy in a swimsuit.

12. You have a hard time setting weight-loss goals

You aren't really sure how overweight you are (if you are, at all) and you don't want to be at an unhealthy weight on either side of the spectrum.

13. Body positivity comes and goes

There are days, weeks or even months when you feel like the most beautiful person on the planet, and then something happens (old jeans don't fit, you try on a new bathing suit, etc.) and you convince yourself that all of that confidence was wrong and undeserved.

14. You always try on the biggest size first

Either this or you're in a weird limbo between the smallest plus sizes size and the biggest generic sizes size.

15. Half of you knows every body is a bikini body, and half of you is convinced that yours is not

You know that your body is worthy of wearing whatever you want to wear, but looking at yourself and seeing what society (and you) sometimes deem as unattractive can eat away at that knowledge.

16. But you also know self-love and confidence are key to beauty

Even if you have to fake it, you know that feeling confident is going to carry you pretty far.

17. Being in a bathing suit is a constant game of readjustment

Okay, I am sitting. Pull the bottoms up to cover as much as my stomach as possible and the back of the top down to cover any back rolls.

18. You've avoided the mirror after a shower before

You know that you are just going to lose all the comfort you felt in your body during the day when you see yourself, so sometimes it is best to just avoid it.

19. Ultimately, you know your beauty is not contingent on what you are wearing

The goal for everyone should be to get to a point where it doesn't matter if you're in a snowsuit, a bathing suit or a birthday suit... You can see your beauty no matter what and feel confident despite what you have on. It'll take time, but falling in love with the way you look is worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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