Tag Archives: holidays

Alternative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

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

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Staying In Touch For The Holidays

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

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Preparing For The Stuffing

Filed under: Food, Health & Fitness, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

We all know Thanksgiving is infamous for making us feel sluggish and bloated. We may even incidentally gain a few pounds from holiday meals and then feel guilty for eating all of that wonderfully delicious food. For the past couple of years, I discovered a way to make my Thanksgiving meals more enjoyable by preparing for a giant feast. About two weeks prior, I have done a small “almost diet” to balance out the weight gain. I want to share the four steps I take to prepare my body before I hit that huge bowl of stuffing!

1. No Soda

UGH, I know, this isn’t easy. Soda has become a dominant drink for our consumption, especially for college students. I’m a huge diet coke drinker, and even though it is diet, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a ton of sugar. I cut it out completely and stuck to sparkling water. I always lose a few pounds just from that alone!

Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Cans

Photo © TLC

2. No Fast Food

Again, as a college student, fast food is sometimes the answer to all my problems, but a few weeks before turkey day, I lay off. Even if you get a prepared salad, it will have twice as many calories as if you were to prepare it yourself at home.

Fast Food Hamburger Fries

Photo © MegaLife

3. Drink Water

I’m a pretty decent water drinker on a regular basis, but during this season I quick it up a notch. I drink about 8 bottles a day, and I add lemon because it is an amazing natural detox.

Glass of Water

Photo © jesusmeca

4. Add Some Exercise

I go up and down through phases of exercise, and definitely around midterms I hit a lull. So, for the few weeks before the holidays I make sure that I at least walk 1 mile, do 50 pushups, sit-ups, and a plank every day. It really doesn’t take that long at all, and it’s amazing how great your body feels just from that small amount of exercise!

Girl Doing Sit Ups Exercise

Photo © mujer

I encourage you to tweek this list and make it your own, but I promise it will make your Thanksgiving meal (and the following upcoming holiday meals) that much more enjoyable knowing that you are aware of your body’s limits and that you are taking care of it!

Just remember that it is normal for everyone to add a couple of pounds during the colder season, especially when big heavy meals

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Holiday Happiness

Filed under: College Life, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

It’s the holidays, which for most of us doesn’t just mean sipping hot chocolate with a red sweater on. For most of us, it means crazy schedules, empty wallets, and stress. Holidays can be a little overwhelming, especially when we also have finals to worry about. Instead of telling you how to de-stress your holiday, I’m going to remind you of a few things you can be grateful for this holiday season.

1. Education

Pat yourself on the back because you’ve either made it through your first semester of college OR you’ve made it through another semester without completely losing your mind (hopefully). After meeting someone who couldn’t go to college because she had to work to support her family, I started to be more thankful for my education. It shouldn’t take hearing something like that to be thankful, but sometimes it does. Just remember, if you’re in school, no matter how you got there, that is something to be thankful for.

2. Family

Deep down, everyone loves their family. It’s just hard to remember that when you’re home for a month and your mom tries to give you a 10 o’clock curfew. That used to REALLY frustrate me, but now that my mom has passed away I look back and laugh at those times. The things that bother you the most about your family members, are usually what you end up missing the most. Even though you’re going to feel annoyed, take a second, and just be thankful for who you have in your life.

3. National Pride

Even though our country seems to be going through some rough times right now and although it feels like we are divided by politics, it’s so important to remember the beauty in our country. As much as we may be angry with our government, trust me, we’ve got it good here. We are blessed to be free, and it is definitely something that millions of us take for granted. Recognize how great it is to live in this country.

College girl happy and smiling about Christmas holiday

There are so many things that each of us can be grateful for during this holiday season. If you turn your focus onto what is good in your life, the holiday stress will decrease. So instead of just making yourself crazy with all you have to get done, just take a breather, and remember what the holidays are truly about.

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How to Write the Perfect Thank You Card

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Kelsey Bradshaw
Kelsey is a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in Journalism and Facebook (wait, that’s not a real major?!). Originally a track star from Medford, Oregon, she now enjoys going for runs with her friends and working out at Eugene Crossfit. She also enjoys visiting National Parks, playing in the snow, and hanging out at the beach…double points if they’re all at the same time.

Thank you cards are something I always plan on doing really extravagantly in my head (I’m going to write them on Christmas! As I unwrap! And when the recipients open them, confetti and a miniature poodle will jump out!)…but procrastinate until it’s next Christmas and I still haven’t sent a single thank you note.

Photo by Roger Carr

Getting started is the hardest part, but once you sit down and do them they’re not as hard as previously imagined. Start with a basic thank you for their gift.

Dear Aunt Sally,

Thank you so much for the stripper pole!

If the gift was money, don’t write “money,” but rather a phrase such as “Thank you for your generosity” or “Your kindness will be much appreciated.”

Now, describe why their present was amazing. Tell them how and why you will use it in everyday life. If you don’t like it, don’t exaggerate or ignore it–instead, find something basic you like about it, like the color. Try to find a way to compliment the person while doing this.

…I just heard about a fitness class that uses these poles for exercise! You’re always so on top of the trends, Aunt Sal. I really like the way the pole shines in the light.

If you were given money, explain what the money will go to or how it will help you. No matter how much it was for, make it sound like it was an extravagant gift that could make all of your wildest dreams come true.

Your generosity will help buy me that lava lamp I’ve had my eye on for a while!

Now that you have sufficiently thanked your relative, write a line about how it was great seeing them at a specific time or how you can’t wait to see them again. If it’s not someone you are close with, use a line like “I hope you’re doing well” or “I hear you got rid of your little problem! Congrats“; and with both parties, thank them one last time before you sign your name.

…It was so nice seeing you at the reunion in May! I hear you’re still making your peanut brittle, hope you don’t glue too many jaws shut maybe you can send me the recipe! I can’t wait to see you again in March for Spring Break.

Thank you again for the stripper pole and gift card!

See, that wasn’t that hard, now was it? Let’s review:

1. Name

2. Thank you for….

3. I’ll use it when….

4. Personal reference

5. Thanks again!

6. Name

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some miniature poodles.

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