What Christmas Means To Me: An Atypical Prayer

What Christmas Means To Me: An Atypical Prayer

You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.
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This last Christmas, my grandfather gave me the opportunity to write the grace and prayer that is read before Christmas Dinner. Though it may not sound much like a typical prayer or a traditional grace, it sounded a little something like this:

"When I think of Christmas, I think of this moment right here. The one where we are all gathered together, bound together by love in a place where so many memories have been made. It’s the time that we get to spend together that makes Christmas so special, not the presents, not the food (though it is delicious and I’ll never say no to another one of Grandma’s cookies), but instead the bond that we continue to strengthen each and every year when we come together.

So this Christmas, I am thankful to be surrounded by a family that loves me. As I said in an article of mine that came out earlier this week, “never is the love in my house one-sided”, and that rings true here today. God has given us this holiday not only to celebrate Christ’s birth but also to remind us that the love of this family is never one-sided. It reminds us how special this family is, and how lucky we are to have one another.

I could not ask for better people to have in my life. I could not ask for better grandparents to teach me so many life lessons and to be there whenever I needed someone to turn to, parents that raised me into the strong, independent, and loving young woman that I am today, and a sister that I’ve become so much closer to this year and am proud to call my best friend. I could not ask for a better aunt and uncle that have never failed to make me feel loved and are always there to support me in everything that I do, and cousins that always take time to make sure I’m ok and give life advice that has helped shape who I am as I grow up. I could not ask for better little boys to be my little boys and bring joy and laughter to my life, and a dog that makes me happy to come home and I can always count on for kisses.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but not for the reasons many people may think. It’s not because of the presents, or the cookies (though I do love them so please make as many as you can Grandma), but because of the love, I get to experience on this day. Family is where life starts and the love never ends, and in this family, this rings true. You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never-ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.

Merry Christmas, I love you all with all my heart."

Christmas may be over, but the words in this prayer still ring true. Though people change and every holiday is different in its own way, these words will forever ring true.

Cover Image Credit: Nancy Summer

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11 Feminist Halloween Costumes You Don't Need Cleavage To Feel Sexy In

If you’re looking for the most scandalous outfits to wear this Halloween, this may not be it.
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If you're a socially conscious f eminist, you'll know sexy shouldn't be defined by anything other than what you make of it.

However, when most people type in "sexy Halloween costumes" into their search engine, they might be looking for tight bodysuits or something that shows a little more cleavage. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not knocking out bunny ears or mesh tights. However, it might be time to stretch what that definition means.

I've gathered a few costume ideas that are sure to make a statement this Halloween while representing some of the most iconic women of our time. So, here are the ten best Halloween costumes for forward-thinking women like us!

1. Rosie the Riveter

Who better to show that we are equal and can do a “man’s job” just as good (or better) than Rosie the Riveter? This outfit is bold and inexpensive. You may even have this in your closet!

2. Marilyn Monroe

"I am very definitely a woman and I enjoy it.”

More proof that you can be beautiful in pants or a dress. Embrace the beauty within.

3. Taylor Swift

“I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life,” Taylor Swift said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

Enough said.

4. Hillary Clinton

President or not I’m still with her. Just like feminists and activists before her, she has paved the way for modern women to stand up for themselves and have a voice.

5. Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony proved any woman could turn her dreams into a reality. She helped remove limitations and showed women to be fearless. Fast forward 97 years and women can achieve even more than. Yes, we still have more to accomplish, but we’re definitely nearing the horizon!

6. Amelia Earhart

Not only was she an American aviator, she was also the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Talk about goals. This Halloween, you can defy gender norms just like Amelia did.

7. Frida Kahlo

Surrealist painter Frida Kahlo explored the depths of her identity, culture, gender, class, love, and loss. Through her persona and her artwork, she defied feminine beauty and gender stereotypes in a time where women had few rights and were viewed as submissive. Who ever said you had to get your brows waxed anyway?

8. Birth Control

Hands off my birth control!

This might be sound a little kooky, but isn't that what Halloween is all about? This year, make it a point to express how you feel through your costume. Women need to stick together! So, let's dress up as birth control to remind the GOP we will not accept another restriction.

9. Wonder Woman

Adding Wonder Woman to our list was a no-brainer. She’s a crowd favorite, especially the way Gal Gadot represented her in the new movie.

Overall, Wonder Woman is a symbolic character that reminds us anyone can be a hero. The days when only little boys looked up to their favorite superhero are long gone. Now, kids and adults of any gender have a badass female superhero to fawn over.

10. Madonna

More than 30 years ago Madonna broke the barriers of what men wanted women to be. In a time where women were expected to follow certain rules, her attitude and bravery overcame those norms. Shoutout to "Hocus Pocus" for the inspo.

11. Rey from "Star Wars"

In "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Han Solo's new protégé Rey is loaded with martial skills anyone would admire. Daisy Ridley plays the franchise's first female protagonist with a strong feminist persona. Rey refuses to be defined as "just a woman" and is definitely no damsel in distress. Instead, she is a fighter, survivor, and all around badass.

This Halloween, don't just be brave. Be Rey.

Cover Image Credit: Beyoncé's Facebook Profile

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It Might Be October, But I’m Already Counting Down The Days Until Christmas For These 9 Reasons

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

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Fall is such a great time of year typically. But when the weather cannot make up its mind and hayrides and pumpkin patches close due to rain it is hard to enjoy this time of year. Meanwhile, the Christmas season has so many wonderful things to offer and I am already counting down the days. Here is why the Christmas season is so much better than fall.

1. Peppermint hot chocolate is way better then pumpkin spiced latte.  

Maybe its due to the fact that I am not the biggest fan of college but its really hard to enjoy a hot drink in the fall when somedays mid-October it is still reaching a high of 80 in PA.

2. Two words - Black Friday. 

Everyone knows that Black Friday is the official/unofficial start to the Christmas season. Whether you have a Black Friday shopping tradition like me or you're just excited to be allowed to listen to Christmas music and not be judged it is definitely the day all the fun starts.

3. Consistent weather. 

Although ideal fall weather is perfect, it is typically never ideal. Once you get into December, just about every day is a similar temperature. Even though it may be cold, at least you can wear a sweatshirt in the morning and not die from overheating midafternoon.

4. Present shopping. 

While some people see this as an annoying task, I love to shop for friends and family at Christmas time! It may be a little stressful at first trying to figure out what to get for everyone but once you do it is so fun picking out the perfect gift that you know they'll love. It is a great time to show your loved ones how much you care about them and pay attention to the little things.

5. Crafting! 

I don't know about you but I love crafting and DIY projects. Christmas is the absolute best time to do all of this because who doesn't love a handmade gift. It is even a great time to make cute signs or decorations for all around your house.

6. Christmas light are way better than Jack-O-Lanterns.

Driving around at night is so beautiful at Christmas time. Seeing almost every house decked out in lights is so magical compared to a few scattered Jack-O-Lanterns on front porches that you can barely see from the street.

7. You are out of school. 

After finals are over, most schools let out mid-December so you have so much more time to enjoy the festive season without being overly stressed.

8. The movies and songs are way better. 

Christmas movies and music is some of the best. Most mainstream artists have their own Christmas albums and almost every major TV network is consistently playing Christmas movies. Even though Freeform did 31 days of Halloween I haven't cared to watch one of the movies although when its 25 days of Christmas I check the schedule almost every day so I don't miss my favorite films.

9. The meaning of Christmas. 

Whether you are religious or not, Christmas has such a deeper meaning than all of the presents. If you are celebrating Jesus's Birthday or just all the love surrounding your family, Christmas is always a holiday filled with so much love and happiness and you can't beat that.

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