101 Ways to Enjoy Christmas Break

1. Listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” even if you have to play it on the jukebox at your local watering hole. Definitely not a true story…

2. Make a gingerbread house.

3. Read The Polar Express.

4. Go shopping for Christmas presents. Buy a little something for yourself.

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5. Bake some snicker doodles.

6. Watch my all-time favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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7. Wear one of those stupid ties with the Santa Clauses on it.

8. Find the perfect Christmas tree.

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9. Decorate said Christmas tree.

10. Send hand-written Christmas cards.

11. Wear an overwhelming amount of tartan.

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12. Make some peppermint bark.

13. Go see The Nutcracker Ballet live.

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15. Drink some warm apple cider. Fireball optional.

15. Sit on Santa’s lap.

16. Have a snowball fight.

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17. Turn off your television and have a real conversation with someone.

18. Bake a cranberry swirl cheesecake.

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19. Write and send your Christmas wish list.

20. Decorate you home with Christmas lights.

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21. Bake shortbread.

22. Make snow angels.

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23. Hang a wreath on your front door.

24. Watch Frozen. Bonus points if it’s the sing-along version.

25. Attend an ugly sweater party. Because that theme isn’t overdone or anything.

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26. Make Christmas tree ornaments.

27. Listen to Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.”

28. Roast chestnuts on an open fire.

29. Give away unwanted coats, socks, etc. to the less fortunate.

30. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.

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31. Drink egg nog. Whether or not you spike it with bourbon, make sure you don’t buy any of that low-calorie nonsense.

32. Watch Love Actually. Tissues recommended.

33. Take a stroll down Main Street all decked out in holiday décor.

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34. Bake a fruitcake. Realize how disgusting it is. Throw it away. Wonder why that is a Christmas tradition in the first place.

35. Reminisce on Christmases of the past.

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36. Wrap Christmas presents for your loved ones.

37. Cozy up by a fire.

38. Eat a whole box of candy canes.

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39. Go see a nativity play.

40. Listen to Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka” and dream about a holiday on the islands.

41. If you live in New York City, take in all the wonder of Christmas in NYC. If you don’t, just dream about it.

42. If you can, go see the Rockettes live in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Otherwise, watch it online.

43. Watch Home Alone.

44. Watch Home Alone 2. We all know the second one was better, anyway. I mean, how jealous of Kevin McCallister were you during this scene…

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45. Bake some gingerbread men.

46. Give presents to your neighbors, your mailman, your paper boy, the security guard in your office building, and so on. Tis’ the season.

47. Go sledding.

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48. Go to your hometown’s Christmas parade.

49. Bake an apple pie.

50. Wish “Merry Christmas” to everyone.

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51. Play card games and board games with your family, like this Christmas trivia game.

52. Watch A Christmas Story.

53. Catch up with old friends over a drink.

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54. Decorate your home with fresh garland, Christmas decorations, and scented candles.

55. Watch the cartoon version of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas.

56. Drink some hot cocoa.

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57. Attend a white elephant gift exchange party. If you don’t know of any, host one for your friends!

58. Watch Elf.

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59. Drink some Bailey’s Irish Cream.

60. Hang some mistletoe. You never know what could happen…

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61. Dress up your pets in silly holiday attire. Laugh. Snapchat it. Laugh some more.

62. Find a container of these cookies. Eat three before realizing they’re kind of gross. Wonder where they came from. Repeat.

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63. Watch Jingle All the Way. Wonder how Arnold Schwarzenegger ever became a governor.

64. Bake these yummy oatmeal butterscotch cookies from my friend’s blog, Fit Foodie Life.

65. Go ice skating.

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66. Keep an advent calendar countdown unit Christmas.

67. Donate to Toys for Tots or adopt an angel through the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas tree program.

68. Listen to Bobby Helm’s “Jingle Bell Rock.” Do the dance from Mean Girls. Or don’t. Whatever flies your sleigh.

69. Watch the cartoon movie Frosty the Snowman.

70. Build your own snowman.

71. Take embarrassing holiday photos with your family.

72. Pop lots of corn to make popcorn balls and popcorn garland. Try not to snack on the popcorn along the way. Fail miserably.

73. Watch The Santa Clause.

74. Drink a holiday-inspired Starbucks drink from one of their infamous red cups.

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75. Warm up some mulling spices to give your home a cheerful aroma.

76. Find out where Santa Claus is right now!

77. Bake a pecan pie.

78. Watch the black-and-white version of Miracle on 34th Street.

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79. Wear an ugly Christmas sweater. Have no shame in doing so.

80. Hang your stockings by the fireplace.

81. Go Christmas caroling.

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82. Make fudge from scratch.

83. Eat peppermint ice cream. Realize how terrible it is. Switch back to candy canes.

84. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

85. Stock up on holiday-inspired beers.

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86. Watch Die Hard, if that’s your thing. I’ve never seen it, but apparently it has some Christmas-y elements?

87. Go skiing or snowboarding.

88. Listen to Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

89. Bake and decorate sugar cookies.

90. Pretend you’re a kid again and leave milk and cookies out for Santa Claus. Believe.

91. Read The Night Before Christmas.

92. Attend a Christmas Eve service.

93. Watch Disney’s Christmas Day Parade on tv.

94. Spend quality time with your family. After all, Christmas is all about togetherness.

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95. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life.

96. Drink some mulled wine.

97. Savor a lovely Christmas dinner with your family.

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98. Score some amazing deals by shopping the day after Christmas.

99. Start planning out your new year’s resolutions.

100. Ring in the new year with good friends, a sparkly dress, a midnight kiss, and lots of champagne.

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101. Relax and enjoy having no homework!

What are your favorite ways to spend Christmas break? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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Crawl, Don’t Walk

For those of you who don’t know, yesterday was, like, a really big deal. First and foremost, it was Queen Taylor’s 25th birthday.

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Second, yesterday was 12-13-14, the last sequential date any of us will ever see in our lifetimes. (Unless you don’t smoke, eat all of your vegetables, and live to be over 100. #Goals).

The most important part of yesterday, however, took place after the sun went down. Yes, yesterday, all over the nation, people suited up and partied down for the annual Santa Crawl. For those of you who live under a rock or somehow don’t know, the Santa Crawl is an annual event in which thousands of people go bar-to-bar in their raunchiest holiday attire and get lit like Christmas trees. Cause, you know…the holidays.

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Reno Santa Crawl 2013

See? I was not lying when I said literally thousands of people attend this annual event. It’s only, like, the biggest event of the year. During the Santa Crawl, it seems that everywhere you turn, you can find nutcrackers, snowmen, and of course, plenty of Santa Clauses, all partaking in a glass of spiked egg nog or three. Ne’er was a merrier time on the tinsel-lined streets of downtown Reno.

This year, over 50 bars in downtown Reno hosted DJs, costume contests, drink specials, and free cover charges in honor of the festivities.

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Trying to stop by each venue is nearly impossible, and with the freezing temperatures and long lines, attempting to do so would essentially ruin the entire night. That’s why it’s best to just stick to one of the designated circuits: Candy Cane Lane (for the uncreative drunks), Santa’s Workshop (pepper spray recommended), Naughty Alley (only if you’re over 30), Elves’ Playground (no height limit), or Reindeer Town (for those who grow their beards organically).

Seeing that it was my last Santa Crawl in Reno (although I do look forward to my first D.C. Santa Crawl), I decided to make last night a memorable one.

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One of the most important decisions one must make when deciding to crawl is, of course, the choice of costume. For my first crawl, when I was “21” I was a present…

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Notice the red satin, which conveniently tied into a bow in the back.

When I was 21, I was a gingerbread girl…

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Pre-people ripping off my gumdrop buttons. Not my gumdrop buttons 💔😭

So this year, as a 6-foot-tall 22-year-old, I decided to go as the tallest elf in history…

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#PenthouseBalconyLife #QuickTakeAPictureBeforeIFreeze

 Besides, maybe, this elf…

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I must say, last night was one for the books. There’s no time like the Santa Crawl to deck the dolls in red and green, get merloaded, and meet someone special under the mistletoe. Thank you to every friend I ever had the chance to crawl with, thank you to my friends with the penthouse balcony for keeping the wine flowing before the real party began, and thank you to the Reno Santa Crawl for giving me three amazing nights during my time here.

Do you have a funny picture from your city’s Santa Crawl? Tweet them to me and I might retweet you!

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The Season of Giving

Tis’ the season! With all the excitement of the holidays, it’s easy to forget what Christmas is really about: giving back to others. Though I love curling up with a peppermint hot cocoa and Christmas movie as much as the next elf, it’s nice to set aside some time during the holiday season to do some good for the community. Here are some ideas for how you can lend a helping hand:

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Clean out your closet and donate unwanted coats, socks, and clothing to drives like One Warm Coat.

Grab a friend and volunteer at your local soup kitchen.

Make a child’s Christmas special by donating to Toys for Tots.

Give a family the holiday meal they deserve by donating to or volunteering at your local food bank.

Play Santa and get someone exactly what they want or need this Christmas by adopting a family through the Salvation Army.

Help deliver holiday meals by volunteering with Meals on Wheels.

There are plenty of other local secular and non-secular organizations that need extra volunteers and donations during the holiday season. Look up one in your community!

Because you’re college students and I know you need an incentive, remember that volunteer work looks good on a résumé, and can count toward class credits or service hours for your sorority or fraternity. More than that, however, giving back makes you feel good, and reminds you what this season is all about. You may never know how your service touched someone else’s life, but they will, and you’ll both be glad you did it.

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Where do you like to volunteer? Send me a picture of you volunteering this holiday season and I might retweet you!

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Why Black Friday is the Most Underrated Holiday of the Year

IT’S HEEEERRRREEEEE!

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For those of you who missed my last post, I explained that Black Friday marks the official start of the Christmas season. Although yesterday was filled with turkey, football, and all things Autumn, today, it is entirely acceptable to blast Christmas music, hang Christmas lights, and begin your Christmas shopping. And since we all know that Christmas is not so much a single day as it is an entire season, we can infer that today, truthfully, is Christmas.

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Let’s set the mood, shall we?

Ahhh, nothing sounds quite as sweet as the sound of Christmas. Before today, it would have been socially unacceptable to listen to such music. Today, however, is all about indulging in all things Christmas, while still reaping the benefits of Thanksgiving leftovers.

And let’s not forget about the shopping.

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Black Friday is teeming with incredible deals from practically every store you could possibly think of. Smart shoppers know that today is the absolute best day of the year to save money on Christmas gifts for all of your friends and family. What could be better than a holiday based on shopping? That’s why I believe that Black Friday is the most significantly underrated holiday of the year.

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In fact, Black Friday gets a pretty bad rap. We’ve all heard stories of Black Friday shoppers trampling each other at midnight when the doors open at Wal Mart. Believe me, I think that is awful, just as I think it’s awful that some stores now open on Thanksgiving day, rather than Black Friday. People should spend time at home with their families on Thanksgiving day, and should leave the shopping for after the tryptophan has worn off.

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The reason this whole holiday started was because people who had Thursday through Sunday off for Thanksgiving needed something to do after the real holiday ended. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered from all over the country to spend one turkey-filled day together, only to be struck with boredom the following day. So, the brave forward-thinkers of the inaugural Black Friday buttoned up their coats, grabbed their credit cards with the highest spending limits, and hauled their family members to the mall for some quality Christmas shopping.

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I invite you to do the same! For a list of incredible deals, check out TheBlackFriday.com, and don’t forget to shop local this Small Business Saturday, and online this Cyber Monday! May your Black Friday be filled with all the merriment and joy of the Christmas season, and may you save big on amazing deals!

Where is your favorite place to shop on Black Friday? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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I’m Thankful For…

Last year, I decided that Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. Compared to Christmas or Valentine’s Day, which each come with unrealistic expectations perpetuated by Hollywood blockbusters, Thanksgiving has relatively low expectations. Still, everyone in the nation is given anywhere from four to ten days off of work or school to relax over this All-American holiday weekend.

For college students, the day before Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” is all about reconnecting with high school friends at hometown bars we used to only dream about getting into.

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And let’s not forgot that the day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas season.

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But today, Thanksgiving day, is all about a few things: food, football, and family. Oh yeah, and giving thanks.

Being it my last year in college, I am thankful for the wonderful time I have spent at my amazing university, which I have come to love so dearly. I am thankful for this brief moment in time that I will one day view in hindsight as my college years. I am thankful for the here and now. I am thankful for the opportunity to actually be in college, furthering my education in pursuit of a career. I am thankful for all the doors that college has opened for me. I am thankful for everything I’ve gotten to do in college, and for getting to experience it all one last time.

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I am thankful for the friends I’ve made, the incredibly wise professors who have supported me, and for all the things I’ve learned from each of them. I’m thankful for those things I’ve learned outside of the classroom, which have helped me mature into the woman I am today. I’m thankful for each of the little ups, downs, twists, and turns that college has thrown at me because they taught me that I was strong enough to survive them.

Mostly, I am thankful for my parents, and all that they have given me. I am thankful for them providing me the means necessary to receive a higher education. I am thankful that they have always believed in my dreams, and that their dream is for me to be happy. I am thankful for the times they pushed me to keep going when I didn’t believe I could. I am thankful that they’ve always known I could. I am thankful for them answering my late-night phone calls, for helping me through my mental breakdowns, for proofreading my essays, and for helping move me in and out of my dorm room, sorority house, and very first apartment. I am thankful for the occasional Sunday morning money transfer. I am thankful that I can tell my parents anything, that I’ve always known that I am loved, and that my parents are proud of me, no matter what.

I am thankful that, for now, home is only a four-hour drive away, and that my agenda for the rest of the day consists only of cheering on the Niners and helping Momma Collins in the kitchen. Do you think she’ll like this turkey recipe I found?

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What are you thankful for this year? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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