Category Archives: Fun Ideas

Alternative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
Tags: , ,

BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

The holidays in the fall and winter are my favorite holidays. As I thought about why that is, I realized that gift-giving is low on the list of things I love about the holidays. I think the number one thing that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa so special is the emotion. Maybe it’s the years of Christmas advertisements burned into my mind, but there’s something in the air that just seems to make everything more joyful.

My family celebrates Christmas. We get our Christmas tree a day or two after Thanksgiving, decorate it together as a family, buy gifts for each other, go to my Aunt’s annual Christmas Eve party, and then open presents Christmas morning and eat a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash-browns, and toast. This year we decided a change was needed. Instead of our traditional Christmas activities, we decided to scrap the gift-giving, forgo the Christmas tree, and forget the feasts.

These are some unconventional ideas for alternative ways to celebrate the holidays:

1. Family Outing

My family and I went on a vacation. Going on a trip with loved ones is a great way to get closer as you share new and exciting experiences together and create memories to last for years to come. I know I cannot wait to be lounging on the beach in the Virgin Islands with my family, soaking up the sun and fishing by day and having dinner by night.

Family on vacation at the beach

Photo © Birds Paradise Travel

2. More Than A Gift

My friend’s family has a pretty interesting tradition as well. They also celebrate Christmas, so they buy a tree, invite lots of people over for a pot-luck dinner, and they give each other gifts. However, these gifts are deeply personal and often take more effort than just going to a store and buying something. Some gift examples include a photo album consisting of pictures of the giver and receiver over the years, or a song written and recorded by the giver, or a playlist of songs that the giver knows the receiver loves. All these gifts are different but have one thing in common: they transcend consumerism and touch people on a deeper level.

Looking At Photo Album Christmas Gift

Photo © She Knows

3. Pay It Forward

Another idea for an alternative holiday is to “pay it forward” by giving the gift of a charitable donation in the name of the person you would normally just go buy the newest gadget for. Think of the good you’ll be doing if, instead of buying your 70 year old grandmother a smartphone that she will never completely understand, donate the money to Alzheimer’s research. Instead of buying dad a new tie, you could buy a months’ worth of dinner for a family less fortunate. If you are having difficulty coming up with a charity, the local food pantries always need help this time of year. I’m sure they would be more than happy to have volunteers.

Pay It Forward Holiday Donation Giving Back

Photo © Marion Online

Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember the true meaning is about celebrating with family, friends, and even the community. It’s about giving back and doing something special. If you could celebrate the holidays differently, what would you do?

Add a Comment



Giving Back This Season

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
Tags: , , ,

Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Holiday break is always a great time filled with family, food, fun, and presents! During your holiday break, don’t forget to take some time to give back to the community! Whether you donate to a food drive, donate clothes, or help out a local soup kitchen, you can spread the holiday cheer and remember what the holidays are truly about.

1. Coat Drive

Take a look into your closet and see which coats you no longer wear. If you are feeling like you can part with it, donate it to a local charity drive! There are a ton of coat charity drives that reward people for their generous donations. For instance, some restaurants and coffee shops give donors a free dessert, appetizer, or coffee for every X amount of jackets they bring. Some places even give gift cards in exchange for some coats. So, clean out that closet, donate your coat to someone in need, and maybe even get rewarded! Check your local businesses for coat charity drives.

Winter Charity Coat Drive

Photo © trend-kid

2, Toys For Tots

If you have extra cash to spare, then donate some new toys to Toys for Tots! This wonderful organization gives toys to kids who are less fortunate. Their parents request toys for their holiday gifts and donated toys will fulfill the child’s wishlist. If you don’t have any extra cash to purchase gifts, you can also host your own Toys For Tots event to donate to the charity.

Toys for Tots Charity

Photo © Toys For Tots

3. Volunteer

Looking to give back, but have no way of donating items? No problem! You can volunteer at local shelters, church parishes, and soup kitchens. You can volunteer to help serve food to those in need or simply help set-up. No task is too small and they are always welcoming new volunteers. Find places to volunteer: http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

Soup Kitchen Holiday Volunteer Work

Photo © WHL Consulting

Happy Holidays! How are you planning to give back?

Add a Comment



Staying In Touch For The Holidays

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
Tags: , , ,

Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

If you’re like me, and most college students, you can’t afford to fly everywhere to see the people you love during the holidays. The holidays are a time to share love with the people in your life that you care about, and sometimes if you’re not able to be with them, you have to be creative on how you show them you love them! Here are a few very simple ways that I have shown love and stayed in touch with family and friends during the holiday season, and you can too!

1. Christmas Cards

Websites like Vista Print, Shutterfly, etc. are cheap and allow you to design your own card. Or, just make your own! Sending cards are a fun, easy, and quick way to say hello to friends and family. My last Christmas card had a picture of me and three of my pets. On the back, I gave a brief description of how I was doing in school and how my pets were doing. This makes the people you send the card to, feel updated and loved by you!

DIY Holiday Christmas Cards

Photo © Guru Koala

2. Skype

Skype is one of the best ways to keep in touch with anyone, anywhere. I love it because it feels like you’re sitting across from the person you are talking to. A few years ago, I was cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner and my dad walked me through the whole thing on Skype! It made us both feel lucky to have that kind of technology. It felt like we were cooking together. Video chatting is one of the best things to do if you’re distant from your friends and family.

Skype Video Chat

Photo © Skype

3. Surprise Gifts

This one may require you to save a few bucks, but it’s totally worth it for the people you love. Last year, we said we wouldn’t exchange gifts, but I sent my dad and step mom flowers and Christmas cupcakes that were delivered to the house. They felt so much love from the gesture, even though I was miles away. If you can’t afford much, then get creative! Send them a framed picture that you love of the two of you, write them a song, or whatever you’re talented at – use it as a surprise gift that will surely brighten their day!

Christmas Cookies

Photo © goodtaste

Distance is hard all the time, but it is especially hard during the holidays. Tackle the sadness of distance and be proactive by showing the people you love how much they mean to you, no matter how far away they are!

Add a Comment



5 Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

Filed under: DIY & Crafts, Fashion, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
Tags: , ,

Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

It’s the season of colorful crunchy leaves underfoot, tart apple cider, cozy sweaters, and of course, the great Halloween debate: what can I dress up as that won’t break the bank Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to be creative (and original) when it comes to costumes, and all of them can be easily put together yourself.

1. Marionette Doll

All you need for this one is a steady hand with a makeup brush, and an old dress or suit and tie. Not good free handing makeup? Check out a YouTube tutorial. For more inspiration, see the newest scary movie Annabelle.

2. Sims

There are plenty of templates for that neon little diamond shape above a Sim’s head. The rest of the costume is just your normal clothes!

3. Bunch of Grapes

Pick a color, any color! Blow up a bunch of purple, green, or red balloons and then pin them to your clothes (which should be the same color as whatever color balloons you choose).

4. Lego

Find an old cardboard box and spray paint it the color Lego you want to be. When it’s dry, cut out the holes for your arms and head. Grab six plastic cups and paint them if necessary, give them a trim, and then glue them to the box.

5. Risky Business

Easiest costume ever, right? All you need for this classic is an oversized white dress shirt, white socks, and a pair of sunglasses! Classy and comfortable!

Still stuck on ideas? Check out your local thrift store as sometimes they have costumes put together in the window displays. Whatever your choice, it doesn’t have to be expensive!

Have you already decided what to be for Halloween? Share your idea with us in the comments!

Add a Comment



3 Apple-icious Fall Baking Recipes

Filed under: Food, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
Tags: , ,

Sylwia Baran Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

When I think of baked goods in the fall, I automatically think of one key ingredient – apples! This is the season of apple crumb cakes, hot cider, and most important of all, apple pie. So head on out to your local super market and pick up a pound of your favorite apples. Or better yet, if you’re really in the Autumn spirit, drive out to your nearest pick-your-own farm and pick your own fresh apples to try out these three delicious fall recipes!

1. Apple Pie

Homemade apple pie is the best fall dessert! If you are really skilled, you can do a homemade pie crust, or you can buy a frozen pre-made 9-inch pie crust instead. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a pan and stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well, then add 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Pour in 1/4 cup water and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside to cool. Peel, core, and slice about 6 apples. Place the apples inside the prepared pie crust, then cover the mound of apples with your top crust and pour the liquid moisture over it. Bake for 50 minutes.

Homemade Apple Pie Fall Dessert

Photo © 2teaspoons

2. Soft Apple Cake

An alternative to apple pie, is soft apple cake. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the egg yolks from 5 eggs and beat the egg whites until a white foam forms. Slowly mix in 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of vanilla sugar. Add the egg yolks back into the mixture slowly, one-by-one while continuously mixing. Add in 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. After completely mixing, pour the batter onto a greased baking pan and place the apple slices of 5 apples on top of the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Apple Cake Fall Dessert

Photo © The Goddess’s Kitchen

3. Homemade Apple Sauce

Although not a baking recipe, this homemade apple sauce is a great addition to any baked good whether it be a muffin or a piece of cake. Place 8 apples peeled, cored, and cut into cubes in a pan with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover the pan and leave it to simmer on low heat. The apples will begin to soften as they are stirred continuously with all of the ingredients. Completely soften the apples until it becomes apple sauce – simple enough!

Homemade Apple Sauce Fall DessertHomemade Apple Sauce Fall Dessert

Photo © Baked Bree

Do you have any fall dessert favorites? Tell us in a comment below!

Add a Comment