There's Just Something Magical About Christmastime

There's Just Something Magical About Christmastime

It's the glistening sidewalk, the cozy fire, the smiles on the street.
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Name: Aubrey Clark

Profession: Avid lover of snow, holidays, and winter magic

In the words of the great Lorelai Gilmore, "Everything's magical when it snows."

The Christmas season just feels different from other times of the year. Starting at Thanksgiving, the goodness in humanity and peaceful ambiance of the season stand out more. The streets begin to glitter with puffy snowflakes, that melt into a sparkling puddle as they hit the pavement. It begins to feel like we are all living in one of those Christmas town snow globes.

The air gets harsh, frigid, but it makes going inside and getting cozy by the fireplace that much better. Grabbing a blanket, some hot chocolate, and a nice book has never been more satisfying than it is while getting toasty by a fire and watching the snow fall outside. How beautiful and enticing is that scene?

It's not just the light of the fire that soothes the most cold soul on a winter's day. Peaceful white lights line the trees and the streets, beckoning people to look up and grin. The street lamps reflect off of the streets, cars, store windows. Even the darkest night is granted the warmth of the sun with these decorative lights. They are candles, bringing warmth of spirit in the cold evenings.

Apart from the decor -- the wreaths, the tinsel, the mistletoe, the lights, the ornaments -- people can just feel change. There's the smile and satisfaction of a mother buying her kids the perfect toys for Christmas morning, anticipating their stomping feet on the stairs and yells to wake the house up. There's the click-clack of heels headed to the church for a candlelit Christmas Eve vigil. You can hear the carolers spreading the sounds of the holidays on street corners, the clink of coins falling into a donation jar for those who aren't as fortunate during this time of year. There's inspiration to be more charitable, generous, and good. I wish this were always the case.

There are the memories of Christmas that come along with the time of year -- Christmas tunes playing as a family sets up the tree. One year my dad, sister, brother and I went out shopping during the holidays. I saw a baby doll I really wanted, but it was beyond expensive. Instead, my dad bought me a special set of crystal, sparkly, multi-colored, angel ornaments. To this day, seeing them on the tree makes me so grateful for that memory. I love taking each one out the box and spreading them out on the branches.

Each family has their own traditions, whether they be baking cookies, volunteering at the soup kitchen, going Christmas caroling, or having a secret Santa event. Memories of these occasions are always colored warmly in my mind, glowing like the flame of the fire. The smell of Grandma's sugar cookies comes back to me, the taste of minty candy canes stolen off of the tree while Mom wasn't looking, the gingerbread house's scent wafting through the living room. There's the scraping sound from the attic as Dad pulls out the nativity scene, dropping down the plastic statues one by one to my brother, who rushes them out to front yard.

We can't forget about all the laughter -- a giggled out scream as a snowball collides with a puffy jacket, a chuckle as Kevin says another hilarious one-liner in Home Alone, a soft laugh as parents watch their kids build snow forts and igloos out in the freezing cold weather.

There is so much joy surrounding this time of the year -- so much harmony. I can only hope and pray that one of these years that beautiful hope that gleams in humanity during the holidays can be carried forward. To all of Odyssey's wonderful readers, writers, and executives: have an amazing holiday season full of laughter, love, and memories. Celebrate the magic of the season and cherish each moment.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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52 Instagram Captions Perfect For Your Next Beach Vacation

Perfect for those beach daze.
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Summer is officially in full swing. We are all looking forward to the adventures that await us. A lot of us have been dreaming about the day when we finally get to kick our feet up and relax by the ocean. If you find yourself getting ready for a trip to the beach then read these quotes to help get your in the mood for your vacation. Whether you are looking for an Instagram caption or are just trying to settle a bad case of wanderlust, here are 52 quotes on summer:

1. "Hello summer."

2. "I'm happiest when I'm floating in the ocean."

3. "May you always have a shell in your pocket, and sand in your toes."

4. "Life is better with palm trees."

5. "Sandy toes. Sun-kissed nose."

6. "Balmy nights, pink sunsets, and salty air."

7. "Talk to the sand."

8. "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air." -Emerson

9. "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach."

10. "Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure."

11. "The ocean is calling and I must go."

12. "Here comes the sun."

13. "If it requires a bikini, my answer is yes."

14. "I'm just a beachy kinda girl."

15. "As free as the ocean..."

16. "As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides..."

17. "Life's a beach. Enjoy the waves."

18. "A pineapple a day keeps the worries away."

19. "Let the currents guide your heart."

20. "Happiness comes in waves."

21. "Let's go somewhere where the stars kiss the ocean."

22. "My favorite color is sunset."

23. "I lost my heart to the sea."

24. "Sun, sand, and surf."

25. "Salt in the air. Sand in my hair."

26. "Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly." -Van Morrison

27. "High tides and good vibes."

28. "Mermaid kisses and starfish wishes."

29. "Stop and smell the ocean."

30. "I'm happy anywhere I can see the ocean."

31. "Tropical state of mind."

32. "Forever chasing the sun."

33. "Girls just wanna have sun."

34. "Some of the best memories are made in flip flops." -Kellie Elmore

35. "Good times and tan lines."

36. "Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun-kissed hair, endless summer, take me there."

37. "The ocean is calling."

38. "Love you to the beach and back."

39. "Paradise found."

40. "Seas the day."

41. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

42. "Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat."

43. "I never met a sunset I didn't like."

44. "Beach daze always."

45. "Catch me by the sea."

46. "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair." -Zac Brown Band

47. "Stay salty."

48. "Done adulating- let's be mermaids."

49. "Find me under the palm trees."

50. "Sea you soon."

51. "Hello sunshine."

52. "Don't mind me... I'm just chasing the sun."

Cover Image Credit: Jakob Owens // Unsplash

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Forget The Beach, Do These Things Instead

These 25 thing won't break your bank this summer.

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When you think of summertime you think of the beach. Going to the beach usually involves a lot of driving and necessary spending. These 25 activities are perfect for summer and will not break your bank.

1. Take A Walk.

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As simple as it sounds, take a walk. Walk around your town or neighborhood; you'll be amazed at all of the little things you normally miss whenever you're driving by.

2. Have A Picnic.

Nothing says summer like a picnic. It can be at your local park or even in your backyard; just don't forget the watermelon!

3. Roast s'mores!

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Everyone loves a good s'more, and the nostalgic smell of the campfire.

4. Make your own ice cream.

Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on the hot summer day, but it can also break your budget. Homemade ice cream is fun, delicious, and will not hurt your wallet.

Here is a sweet recipe!

5. Blow bubbles.

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I mean come on, who doesn't love blowing bubbles.

6. Watch the clouds

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Whenever you're having a stressful or sad day grab a blanket and head outside and watch the clouds blow by. Make a game out of how many different shapes you can identify.

7. Pick some berries.

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Find a local strawberry or blueberry field that allows customers to pick their own berries, it is a lot more fun than it sounds trust me.

8. Go to a minor league baseball game.

Hot dogs, ice cream, and fun memories are all to be had at a local baseball game.

9. Go to a parade.

Your town or a neighboring town most likely has a holiday parade on Memorial Day, 4th of July, or labor day. Go to these parades, you'll get to see all of the local youth organizations, support your community, and maybe even get some candy thrown your way.

10. Watch the fireworks.

Really watch the fireworks, don't try to take pictures that will come out blurry. Live in the moment.

11. Watch the sunrise

It may involve an earlier bedtime the night before, but it will be worth it.

12. Watch the sunset.

Megan Adair

13. Make a slip & slide

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Tarp+water+soap=endless fun

14. Paint with bubbles.

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This takes blowing bubbles to a whole new level. Add your favorite colors of food coloring to your bubbles grab a piece of paper and blow onto the paper; you'll come away with a masterpiece.

15. Make a bird feeder.

Give back to mother nature by building a bird feeder.

16. Catch lightning bugs.

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AND THEN LET THEM GO!

17. Build a fort.

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Let's be real, everybody loves a good fort.

18. Tye-Dye something.

Shirt, socks, blankets, it doesn't matter what it is as long as you have fun.

19. Read.

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Go to a local bookstore, run your fingers along the spines of all the books and pick the one that calls to you.

20. Color with chalk.

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Unleash your inner artist on your driveway and/or sidewalk.

21. Pick up litter.

Go outside and help clean mother earth, it will not only benefit you but everybody around you as well.

22. Have an absolutely epic water gun battle.

Swim Pool Boy Water Swimming Summer Water Gun

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Grab your friend, enemy, kid, neighbor, parents, whoever you can find and challenge them to a water gun battle.

23. Go camping.

Get back into nature in your backyard, or at a free campsite.

24. Volunteer.

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Many of us have extra time in the summer so volunteer your time in your community!

(Dog walking at the local animal shelter is always a great choice)

25. Find joy.

https://www.pexels.com/search/happiness/

Find what makes you happy, and never stop doing it.

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