7 Ways To Make Your Christmas Break Count

7 Ways To Make Your Christmas Break Count

Don't let Christmas break go to waste!
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Christmas break is always a sweet retreat that's much needed from school. As soon as I completed my last final, I just wanted to forget about the entire semester I'd just experienced, even though I like school. I always make plans to organize and purge my material things or see all the people that I don't get as much of a chance to see during the semester. I tell myself I'm going to be productive. In reality, whenever I'm on break, I savor it and just want to relax. At the same time, somehow I blink and it's gone! It always goes by way too quickly. Start thinking now about the best ways to maximize the time you have on the break and make it count.

1. Set yourself up with some sort of income stream.

Scandal

Definitely get a Christmas break job that will help you keep that extra little cash. If you don't already have one, maybe your local Starbucks is hiring. Try scouring online for freelance gigs at websites like Freelancer or advertising your babysitting or dogs sitting services. Maybe you could start an Etsy shop? There are plenty of ways to make that extra side hustle.

2. Don't stop using your planner just because you're on break, maybe even make a to-do list of things you want to accomplish.

Spongebob Squarepants

It's so tempting to put away the planner and just relish in the freedom of break. Keep on using the planner so you know what you're doing and when you're doing it.

3. Go somewhere that you've been wanting to go forever.

I'm not saying go to Europe (though a girl can dream, right?). Take a quick road trip with a friend to a nearby city that's a few hours away. You never know what experiences you might end up finding. Plus, if it's only a day trip all you have to absolutely have to manage is food and gas costs!

4. Plan on starting that project you've been wanting to start.

Leslie Knope

That closet that you need to go through? That novel you want to start writing? Christmas break is the time to do it! Spend less thinking about it, and more doing it!

5. Network.

ScandalTake the time over Christmas break to intentionally reconnect with people and hear about what they're doing in their lives.

6. Purge your belongings.

Cleaning

If you really want to get into the Christmas spirit and give, then purging your belongings is an awesome thing to do. Separate your clothes and other items into boxes to throw out and give away. Gently used clothes and toys can be treasured by someone else.

7. Relax and renew.

Michael Scott

Self-care and taking a mental break is just as important as working toward any goals you want to accomplish. You are a human being. Take a break from working hard.

When all is said and done, you should absolutely enjoy your time on break. Definitely, enjoy the holiday time you have with friends and family and binge that Netflix series you've been putting off. Just don't miss out on opportunities that you could take advantage of!

Cover Image Credit: Toa Heftiba

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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10 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Is Especially Awesome Around The Holidays

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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A date for looking at Christmas lights is on the top of the list, for sure.

1. You have someone to do all of the activities with

He's like your built-in partner for everything. Wanna watch a movie? Take a nap? Need someone to help you clean your room? You've got your person.

2. You can steal his hoodies when its chilly outside

It doesn't even have to be cold for you to want to. Chances are its a size or two bigger than you need and his cologne is all over it.

3. Chances are he's more willing to drive in the snow than you are 

Guys typically have a little more of a heavy duty vehicle. If you've got a good man, he might even rescue you an hour away in a blizzard if you think you're tougher than the weather.

4. Christmas movie partner!!

Do I need to add more?

5. He can always keep you warm

Bear hugs. Cuddles. His trucks dual air 90 degree heat on your side. He'll find a way to keep you warm.

6. Your family holiday events partner

Multiple Thanksgivings and Christmas' are a breeze with your favorite person by your side. Plus, no one to ask you where your plus one is or why you're single.

7. Matching Christmas pajamas

I don't know about you, but my family has matching Christmas jammies every year. You can even get your favorite person in on them too for a cute insta picture.

8. Your errand running partner

He's your built-in Christmas shopping partner so you aren't bored standing in line forever or while you're still shopping and he can act as your place holder.

9. You aren't the only single one in your family on Christmas Eve anymore. 

It's awkward when all of your siblings are taking pictures with their others, but when you've found your person, you can do all the same things, including looking forward to your new year's kiss.

10. Making more memories

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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