Tagged: Christmas

The Beat: The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer
@kebbietot

For many people out there, Christmas music is a year-round genre. They listen to it in July and really pull out the stops come early November. As a self-proclaimed Christmas purist, I believe that the only time you can begin to start celebrating the most wonderful time of the year is after Thanksgiving. Growing up in a household that strictly abided by this rule, I can tell you that Christmas music is a sacred thing that you revere and listen to nonstop until December 26th.

With that being said, here is a list of the 10 greatest Christmas songs ever. Ever.

10. “Christmas Roses” – Frankie Lane and Jo Stafford

Christmas Roses is not as relatively known as some other songs that made this list, but it’s a classic because of how sweet it is – not to mention the idea of roses on Christmas. Bonus points for the fact that Lane and Stafford sound perfect together.

9. “White Christmas” – The Drifters

You might recognize this tune but be unable to place it – this version of “White Christmas” was featured on the Home Alone Soundtrack, the greatest Christmas movie of all time by the way.

8. “Winter Wonderland” – Bing Crosby

A perennial holiday favorite, Christmas season isn’t complete without Bing Crosby’s croon and a listening (or two, or three) of this classic Xmas song.

7. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives

There isn’t a jauntier, catchier, feel-good song than “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” It is always the first and last Christmas tune I listen to. There’s something so infectious about Ives’ tone and the overall message of good cheer and high spirits.

6. “Santa Baby” – Eartha Kitt

Now, Christmas is a time of innocence and good cheer but Eartha Kitt brings something to the table that makes her rendition of “Santa Baby” a little more risque but still sounding of good cheer. “Santa Baby” does not exactly fit the mold of the Christmas carol, but it has stood the test of time and managed to maintain a sense of holiday spirit while being a little different than all the others.

5. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

As one of the first holiday songs I ever heard as a child, I was always attached to this song and it’s rock and roll sound that was so easy to listen to.

4. “Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic. So is the soundtrack and especially this song.

3. “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree – King’s College Choir, Cambridge

While I am not particularly secular in any aspect, this song manages to bring goose bumps every time I listen to it. There is something so pure and innocent about the sound of the King’s Choir singing in harmony with joy over the holiday season.

2. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

No words for this song. None needed.

1. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” – Nat King Cole

The quintessential Christmas song, sung by the one and only Nat King Cole. This song evokes images of fireplaces, garland and wreaths. Images of staying up late for Santa and trying not to nod off. Just the overall feel of being with your family and all the ones you love, a really good meal and that great feeling of being full, but not too full. Also, a light snowfall on Christmas Eve; the smell of pine and must from the old box of ornaments, a warmth inside of your stomach. Just because it’s Christmastime and why not?

Best Places for Ice Skating in Boston!

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

Just another way to de-stress from finals week./PHOTO VIA Flickr user R..D

Winter is here! Even though classes are about to end and we’re about to venture into that dark abyss called study period and finals week, there’s still time for one last hurrah of the semester. Take a study break and go ice skating instead!

Here are some places to go ice skating this winter:

1. Walter Brown Arena at FitRec - As BU students, we have this arena right at our fingertips all year long! All you need to do is head up Commonwealth Avenue.  Admission and skate rentals are free to BU students.

Pros: Everything is free to BU students! Who doesn’t love free things?

Cons: Hours vary and are limited, and recreational skating hours end on the last day of classes. If you rent skates, you are also not guaranteed to find a pair in your size, depending on how busy the arena is when you go.

Pro Tip: Even if you don’t get a chance to go here this semester, this location is definitely one to keep in mind for those first few months of spring semester.

2. Boston Common Frog Pond - The Frog Pond is Boston’s most popular place to ice skate. While you’re in the area, you can go shopping with friends or grab a bite to eat before heading over to the rink! To get here, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street and walk to the Boston Common. Admission is $5, and skate rentals are $9.

Pros: Its location! The Frog Pond is set right in the middle of Boston’s oldest and beautiful park and while you’re skating you have a great view of the State House and Beacon Hill. The Frog Pond is an all-around fantastic place to have a skate date with friends or your significant other.

Cons: The price. If you don’t have your own skates, $9 is a bit of a hefty price, especially if you do explore the surrounding area and spend money elsewhere on your trip to the Common.

Pro Tip: College Nights are on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., where college students can get $2 admission by showing a college ID.

3. Kendall Square Community Rink - This is located in Harvard Square in Cambridge. To get here, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street, then switch to the Red Line and take it to the Kendall/MIT Station. Admission is $3 for students, and rentals are $8.

Pros: Great music, friendly staff and rental skates that are in good condition and fit like a glove all make this location one of the best to go to in Boston. It also tends to be less crowded than the Frog Pond.

America’s Most Shoplifted Items

By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
@Brandon_S_Lewis

Shoppers beware this holiday season./PHOTO VIA Flickr user freefotouk

I would like to dedicate this post to all the retail stores out there bracing for the holiday season madness. It is the best time of year for the retail industry because shoppers will be bustling in and out of stores, all hours of the day.

However, since there are more consumers in the stores, retailers should implement loss prevention strategies in order to prevent theft. The National Retail Federation just released its ninth annual Organized Retail Crime Survey, revealing the country’s most shoplifted items.

1. Cell phones

iPhones and Android devices are arguably the most desired holiday gifts. On its release weekend in September, the iPhone 5S and 5C sold over 9 million units, which broke Apple’s sales record for iPhones.  Its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is also doing well. Samsung sold over 5 million units in its release month.

2. Laptops

The lives of college students revolve around one item: their laptops. You can’t really survive college without one. The big debate is whether one wants a PC or a Mac. I prefer the lighter, more stylish MacBook Pro.

3. Weight-loss pills

I’m pretty sure you could end a friendship if you give someone weight-loss pills as a gift. Most of these pills are simply caffeine and diuretics, which results in electrolyte imbalance. Try the old-fashioned way of losing weight before resorting to pills.

4. Handbags

Handbags are a hot item. These accessories are usually expensive but this is the season of sales! So, at some point this holiday season, head over to Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman in the coming weeks to catch handbags at a reduced price.

5. Designer clothing

Designer clothes are also expensive gifts and vulnerable to theft. Therefore I advise anyone to just stay away from designer merchandise if you can not afford it. You don’t want to get attached to a $500 cardigan and then become depressed after looking at the price.

6. LCD televisions

LCD (liquid-crystal display) televisions are the most widely produced television type because it makes everything appear high quality. Like most technology during the holiday season, these items should be on sale. Make a trip to Best Buy or PC Richards.

7. Lotions and creams

Lotion is essential for surviving winter. Nobody wants to leave his or her house with dry skin. It doesn’t really make sense to steal lotion because it’s not expensive at all. But I guess since it’s a necessity (in my opinion), it’s going to be susceptible to theft.

Check out the WBAL-TV article for more info on common shoplifted items.

Life Hacks: 5 Favorite Life Hacks

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Something nice to have in your dorm via Life Hacks./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Adriana Akrap

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break that was ultimately way too short for my tastes. I spent mine with two crazy adorable little girls, so I can’t say it was too bad. Hopefully you all had equally wonderful vacations.

Does anyone else find it annoying that we have to come back for about two weeks? It’s honestly the worst because I can practically feel winter break, but of course, there are the dreaded finals to worry and stress over.

Instead of giving you all tips and tricks to study better (because let’s face it, if you don’t have the skills to study by now…well, good luck), I’ve been inspired to write about the name of this blog.

I find it extremely ironic that I haven’t written about actual life hacks throughout the course of this series of posts. So, without further ado, here are my top five life hacks that I think are worth mentioning:

1. Scrambled eggs 

For freshman, the only way we can even dream of getting scrambled eggs is by either going to the dining hall or going to the McDonald’s down in Kenmore. I offer you a solution that will let you stay within the comfort of your own dorm.

All you need is a coffee mug, eggs, cheese, milk, and non-stick cooking spray and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. The coffee mug is a staple you should already have in your dorm room, and the salt and pepper can be found in packets at the GSU. Yes, you’ll have to buy the eggs, cheese, and milk but scrambled eggs (I feel as though that’s enough of an explanation).

Bon appetit!

2. Make-shift TV

No TV? Never fear. This one is for those of you who have tablets, or iPhones if you can deal with such a small screen.

Remember those nifty little 3M hooks your mom bought you at the beginning of the year? Take two and stick them on the wall so that your tablet can rest on them and voila! Lay back, relax, and enjoy your favorite TV shows on your new makeshift TV.

If you don’t have the hooks, you can buy them at CVS.

3. Chip bowl

Imagine you have a bag of chips. You get to the point where you’re coating your arm in flavoring because the chips are at the bottom of the bag. What to do.

Of course, there’s a life hack for that. Simply roll the bottom of the bag so that the bag itself becomes a bowl. You can refer to this infographic for more information.

This eliminates the need to get unnecessarily dirty and the need to get a bowl. A win-win situation.

4. Fairy lights

This hack automatically makes me think of Ellie Goulding’s Lights or Peter Pan due to the whimsical look of the jars.

These jars can act as a night light for when you get back to your dorm late at night, when your roommate is sleeping. This will allow you to see where you’re going without waking up him or her up.

Take a mason jar, glow stick and diamond glitter. Cut open the glow stick into the mason jar and sprinkle the diamond glitter in it. Put the cap back on, and shake thoroughly. That’s all there is to it! This is a great alternative to the Christmas lights that most people put up.

5. Dorm-made coffee

Without the coffee maker. That’s right – it is possible to make coffee without a Keurig. Although it does seem primitive in comparison, when you’re broke, you got to do what you got to do. Am I right?

Here are the instructions. The best part? Absolutely nothing about this can get you in trouble with an RA. Get your coffee fix for cheap. You can even make scrambled eggs and have a full blown dorm breakfast.

If you do decide to try these life hacks, let me know how they go!

And there it is, folks – the last post from yours truly for 2013. It’s been wonderful (hopefully) helping you all become savvier young freshmen at BU. Have a wonderful winter break, and hope to see you all in the new year. Don’t go too crazy!

Life Hacks: How to Survive Thanksgiving at Home

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here/ PHOTO VIA Flikr user Craig Dugas.

It’s that time of year where Halloween decorations may still be up, but advertisements for Christmas gifts are already coming out. It seems as though some forget that we have this holiday during which we celebrate the American Indians and the Pilgrims coming together.

Honestly, I think we should be giving this holiday a bit more credit. Do we get a whole week off for Halloween? Didn’t think so.

I think we all need this break because let’s face it, some of us are losing steam and getting overwhelmed due to a lack of sleep and massive amounts of stress. Luckily, Thanksgiving is the perfect way to rest up and come back stronger than ever for the last month of your fall semester (where did the time go?). But before you go postal, here are a few things to remember:

1. Realize that you don’t have free reign

This especially applies to those of you going home to your immediate families. College is wonderful in that you can do whatever you want (for the most part) because no one is going to tell you “no.” This is your time to be young, wild and free; but remember that your parents are still your parents. Telling them that staying up till 4 a.m. and waking up at 3 p.m. is normal probably isn’t going to fly with them. Do yourself a favor and tone down the independence – they want their baby back too!

2. Adjust to your audience

For those staying with your distant family or friends, remember that they let you in out of the kindness of their hearts. Don’t take advantage of them by being a complete slob. Instead, offer to do the dishes or help cook. After all, it’s the least you can do because, think about it – they’re saving you from spending who knows how much money on BU’s vacation housing. Plus, you get a home-cooked meal. After dealing with dining hall food for almost a full semester, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that very much.

3. Be thankful

It is, after all, Thanksgiving. Appreciate where you are and what you’ve been given. You’re going to one of the best colleges in the Boston area. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so. We’re in such a beautiful place with some of the best people I’ve ever met. There are so many things to do and so many people to meet that it’s almost overwhelming, and it’s something we can easily take for granted. Take the break as a breather from BU and  use it to realize all the opportunities you have. If you haven’t done much here, do something! Get pumped, you still have the rest of the semester to do something awesome.

Cheesiness aside, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great food and loved ones, whether they be your family or your friends.

Black Friday: Ruining Thanksgiving?

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

A little of what you can come to expect on Black Friday./PHOTO VIA Flickr user tshein

The end of November is approaching and that means one thing: it’s almost time to head home and spend some time with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Or is it?

If you’re hardcore enough to participate in Black Friday year after year, then you may be excited to hear this: according to a recent article by the Huffington Post, some retail stores such as Target and Best Buy are planning on opening even earlier this year for Black Friday.

Target plans on opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, an hour earlier than when it opened last year, and Best Buy plans to open even earlier at 6 p.m. The reason for these earlier openings is because of the peculiar way this year’s calendar is set – compared to last year, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas are six days shorter.

Black Friday has traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving, when hundreds upon thousands of shoppers flock to major retail stores at the crack of dawn in order to snag the best deals and kick off the holiday retail season.

But with the increasing pressure on retailers to open even earlier than usual, some say the tradition is ruining Thanksgiving. These earlier openings mean less time to spend with family on a day meant for filling our bellies with delicious food, watching football and staying as far away as possible from that weird cousin lurking in the corner.

For some die-hard shoppers, the excitement of Black Friday is wearing off.

“Now that there is no longer that stress factor of having to plan out the best time to start lining up at stores, Black Friday isn’t as fun as it used to be. One year, I lined up at 4 a.m. at J.C. Penny with my mom in fifth grade. We even waited in the snow. But now that stores are opening sooner, the adrenaline rush is not really there.” Elly Hu, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences said.

“Black Friday shouldn’t get in the way of Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to share with family,” Hu added.

While it may seem like consumerism is taking over the holiday season, fret not. There is still some good in the world. Some retailers, such as Costco and Nordstrom, are choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Not everyone may feel the need to go shopping on turkey day, but the option is there for those who do. The lines between holidays are blurring, whether we like it or not.

Christmas is wherever home is

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

Despite finals week quickly approaching, I cannot help but constantly think about my winter break back home. As a transfer student, this is my first time away from my family, and yes, I may slightly sound like a baby, but okay, fine―I do sound like a baby, but baby it’s cold outside, and I’m so ready to go back to my 80-degree weather and palm trees. Things that I have despised about my former city of Miami have now become characteristics of a place I’ve longed to be apart of again.

Miami Christmas

Chirstmas in Miami / IMAGE VIA imaginelifestyles.com

I’ll admit, Christmas in Boston is probably more of a classic white Christmas. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but never experienced, and this cold weather really is wonderful. When it does snow, I feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, but home is home. Wouldn’t you agree? No matter where home is, that’s where your Christmas is as well. It doesn’t have to be snowing where I’m going, and I don’t have to walk by bare trees, either.

What is getting me through these final weeks of school is the image of walking off the airplane ramp, collecting my luggage and being embraced by home. The Spanish of Miami, the warm wind, the carefree atmosphere, my mothers’ hug. It’s home.
I think going home for the holidays is keeping everyone as sane as possible. Unlike Thanksgiving vacation, not everyone was able to fly home either because of ridiculously expensive flight tickets or living internationally, but for this one time, Boston’s student population will desert this city and fly back to the coop.

So while I’m stuck in my room wearing baggy sweats with my hair disheveled, a textbook in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other, my mind drifts back to the homeland. I just keep reminding myself there’s only ten more days till I return home. Wherever home is for you, it will have cheerful, holly feel, filled with chess nuts, candy canes, mistletoe, home cooked meals (yum!) and an ever-present love for your loved ones and love for your hometown. Keep that in mind to keep you going.

Holiday shopping on a college student’s budget

By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
@HeatherGoldin

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Kind of hard to believe with the stress of finishing up class and studying for finals. And on top of finals season, there’s the stress of holiday shopping for friends and family. Whether it’s a white elephant gift exchange with friends, a gift for your roomie or shopping for your family at home for when you finally get to see them after the semester ends, the amount of people you get gifts for adds up

Christmas present

It’s gift giving season / PHOTO VIA kidfocus.com

along with the price. How are we supposed to afford buying gifts when we spend all of our money on coffee and comfort food? Fear not, there are options.

The closest supermarket: 

Think Shaw’s or an equivalent. What is your friend’s favorite candy? Make a study snack pack for your roommate. One year I got a hot chocolate mug that came complete with hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was stoked. Your fellow college students understand what it means to be a broke college student. Try having a gift exchange with a low budget set so one feels obligated to spend a large sum of money.  Note: This might not work for bringing home in your suitcase because most food is perishable, obviously.

Goodwill:

Good for more than funny costumes and ugly sweater holiday parties, thrift shops of any sort are sure to have the perfect present at a low price. The key to Goodwill is shopping when there are good donations. It can be hit or miss, but when you do find a great gift for your sibling you can be sure no one else will get them the same thing. Check out Goodwill’s website  for the location nearest you! Just remember that one man’s trash is a college student’s potential gift idea.

Dollar Tree: 

It’s in the name; the dollar store is a college student’s best friend when it comes to the shopping season. Obviously you get what you pay for, so you probably won’t find high quality gifts here. However, think about the dollar store as the finishing touch to your gift. Wrapping paper, bows, the whole nine yards. You might even find a cute key chain or stickers to make your gift even better. Everyone loves stickers.

Handmade the old-fashioned way:

This one is for your dear parents. They of all people should understand the financial situation you are currently in. It is certainly a great gift just to have you home for the holiday season, so why complain? It’s the thought that counts, so give mom and dad a heartfelt card made with love. Put a little humor into it and draw a picture of what you wish you could afford to buy them this holiday season.

‘Tis the season for gift giving and finishing off the semester strong!

Check out what people had to say about about shopping on a budget on Storify.

The real lessons behind holiday classics

By Jasmine Ferrell, Staff Writer
@JasmineInBoston

Hundreds of movies have been made to celebrate the holidays. Many are timeless classics that are intended to teach young children great lessons on the true meaning of Christmas. Whether a movie focuses on generosity, selflessness or the importance of family, it highlights the best of human nature. But then there is another set of lessons taught from these movies that are often neglected: the literal lessons. These are the lessons that no one ever considers because they are so obvious.

The Santa Clause: This movie contains many lessons that concern the business aspects of life. For one thing, it’s never a good idea to put on someone else’s clothes. It will most likely lead to vigorous weight gain and a new home completely isolated by mountains of snow.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Now, if you didn’t realize this before, this movie teaches you that one should never trust and try to befriend a giant, green hairy man because nothing good will come from it. In fact, he’ll probably steal your favorite holiday… which kind of sucks.

Rudolph: Don’t judge others based on their appearances, especially if they happen to have a very bright nose. More often than not, that person you picked on will become some big hot shot and while they get a whole song dedicated to them, you become the generalized enemy.

Frosty the Snowman: Whenever you see a snowman, talk to it. That day could be that snowman’s last and just like anyone else they probably want some company. So feel free to sing with it, throw a broom at it, and you know, just treat it like your best friend. It’s completely legit. And not weird at all.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: If you’re feeling bored and want to shake things up a bit, try not to rob someone of his or her stuff. Even if it’s a really flashy holiday that is as tempting as Las Vegas. The general populace isn’t going to respond well to change, and it’ll only get worse once they see that you’re a skeleton giving out killer toys.



These lessons should be taken seriously and kept close to your heart, because they are as vital to to a happy life as knowing how to decorate a Christmas tree. Or you know, pretty close to that vital.

Letter writing remains a holiday tradition

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

Each year, around this time, my mailbox begins to fill more than usual. Dozens of letters and cheesy photo cards pile in from many people I haven’t spoken to in months to wish me a happy holiday! But why partake in this yearly tradition of holiday cheer?

Holiday mail

Sending letters brings holiday cheer / IMAGE VIA bigpictureclasses.com

Well, for one, I am obsessed with buying holiday stationary. What? You thought grandma was the only one who stalked the aisles of Barnes and Noble to find the perfect stationary? Snail mail isn’t only for the elderly, and it’s not only for the holidays either.
Snail mail has been a tradition I’ve had with friends who moved away or I didn’t get to see as often. Now that I’ve transferred from the tropics of Miami to the wintery Boston, writing letters has become more prominent in my ways of communicating.

In this ever advancing world of technology where everything is becoming so instant, it’s kind of hard to keep hold of reality. Yes, sure, it can be extremely hard to write out a letter to my friend about what is going on in my life, school, love interests and stresses and have to wait weeks for a response when I know I can just text or call her. But that’s the beauty of it. I’m one of those people who want things instantly, but with writing letters, I force myself to regain some patience that many of us have lost with technology.

And while I wait for a response, I manage to do other things instead of being glued to my phone, like I usually am. I’m sure (I hope) I’m not the only one who takes pleasure in sliding a hand over the handwritten scribbles on a page or actually spraying perfume on the pages being sent. I love mailing little things such as nail polish, CDs, photos and even the New England leaves. It’s something I’ve gathered and put together for my friends before I mail it, and a lot goes into what I send. Anyone can send an e-card for Christmas, but you can’t really do much with it or remember someone by it.

Getting the mail becomes so much more fun throughout the year because I have something to look forward to, something tangible and real. It reminds me of home and the loved ones who never stopped loving me while I was away. So yes, snail mail brings me joy―joy during the jolly holidays, joy during a random week in December and joy even during finals week. It’s possible.