Tagged: holidays

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.

How to deal with your family’s awkward questions

By Olivia DeFrances, Staff Writer
@abstractinspire

It’s time for the holidays! Which means peace, joy, good will, food, parties and oh, those awkward encounters with your relatives!
Relatives like to give squishy, uncomfortable hugs and ask lots of questions.  What kind of questions do you get asked when you visit home for the holidays?

Still single

This is not a conversation starter, family / IMAGE VIA boundless.org

Here are some of the classically awkward:
1)    “Are you seeing anyone? Why are you still single?”
2)    “Do you have a job yet?”
3)    “You’ll come stay with us over the summer, won’t you?”
4)    “Why don’t you call me anymore?”
5)    “What are your grades like?”
6)    “When did you get that tattoo?”
7)    “What do you do on the weekends?”

And here are some of the awkward and weird that I’ve heard:
1)    “So, I suppose all that money I’m sending you is going to pizza and beer, right?”
Answer: “Uhh.” (Is this supposed to be a condescending or funny?)
2)    “How’s the party scene?”
Answer: “Oh, I study on the weekends!”
3)    “You haven’t gone and become a communist on me, have you?”
Answer: Weird glare. (Liberal arts doesn’t mean communism, family.)
4)    “I miss college. I want to go back and take some classes. What would you think of that?”
Answer: Yeah, no.
5)    “Can I read your papers?”
Answer: I’ve already had them criticized enough, thanks!

Tattoo

Probably not the best response to the question about your tattoo / IMAGE VIA critink.tumblr.com

I’m sure there are many more awkward questions we all get each time we go home. When these questions arise, you typically have three options:

-Be honest. But that might get you into a lot of trouble, unless you have answers that are generally agreeable with your family, which isn’t usually the case.
-Lie. But that involves thinking on your toes, which you might not be able to do. In fact, after finals, you might not be able to think at all.
-Dodge around the question. “Oh, Aunt Sue, did you bring your green bean casserole today? It looks awesome.” “How’s Mr. Snuggles doing?” Or just laugh, smile and nod. They will be satisfied, and you won’t have answered the question.

Protip! Talk about school stuff. That way, it’ll be relevant, you won’t be lying and best of all, you can avoid talking about your personal life!

Here’s wishing you the best of the holidays and a smooth route out of those awkward holiday questions.

Tips for a healthy holiday season

By Olivia DeFrances, Staff Writer
@abstractinspire

OMG Pie

No need to be this guy! Moderation is key at holiday feasts / IMAGE VIA funnyjunk.com

So Thanksgiving has come and gone, and while stuffing your face seemed a good idea at the moment, you might have woken up from your food coma with just a twinge of regret. Well, here’ s the rub: you can still attend all of those holiday parties and eat healthy and in moderation, so you never have to deal with the 5 to 10 pounds that most people gain over the holiday season (and never shed—yes, it’s been proven). Here’s how to eat healthy during this holiday season without depriving yourself:

Eat appetizers, but go for the good ones:
Eating fruits or vegetables before your meal can curb overeating at meal time, which is an especially good thing given how rich many holiday meals are. Just don’t reach for chips and dip! Go for the veggies for the same satisfactory crunch. Or have some fruit from a fruit and cheese platter. Have just a chunk or two of cheese or a few tablespoons of hummus to score some extra protein that will help keep you satisfied so that you aren’t ravenous at meal time.

Know portion sizes:
Many people are clueless as to what a proper portion size is. For starchy sides such as mashed potatoes or rice pilaf, it’s half a cup, or about the size of your fist. For meats, most dieticians recommend a portion about the size of your palm, or roughly three to 4 ounces. Go heavy on the veggies, as long as you choose ones that aren’t swimming in butter. A healthy portion of vegetables should be about one cup. Use the plate eyeballing rule to keep your meal balanced: half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, a quarter proteins and a quarter starchy foods like a roll and some potatoes.

If you’re hosting, find some ways to slim down your favorite dishes:
Instead of loading up your green beans with butter, saute them with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Use fat free condensed milk when making your pumpkin pie. Sub low fat dairy for regular. Try a new dish that’s high in nutritional value—like mashed parsnip. It’s got the same comforting feel of mashed potatoes with about half the calories. Add interesting new spices that will be sure to wow your family and friends and your pallet—foods with new and unique flavors help us to process them better and feel full longer. Plus, you score bonus antioxidants. Try cinnamon or ginger in deserts or invade your spice cabinets for flavorful ways to dress up your main dishes. Spicy chipotle rubbed roast beef? Lemon pepper green beans? Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla sweet potatoes? Yum. Cooking Light’s Holiday Page has more delicious and healthy recipes than you could ever want.

Watch your drinks:
Many people do not think about the calories that their drinks have. But an 8 ounce glass of soda can pack up to 120 calories. Those holiday lattes and hot chocolates can have up to 300. A standard 12 ounce beer has between 120 and 150, and a glass of wine 90 to 110. So limit yourself to one drink and go for water, or water down your drinks or have a lighter version. Normally diet versions of drinks aren’t recommended for daily life because of chemical additives that can negatively affect your health. While you should generally avoid these types of drinks, going for the diet coke if you know you’re having several glasses might be smarter at a party—it’s only one night. Better, have coffee or tea with low-fat milk and Splenda. Both have almost zero calories yet are warm and satisfying. Keep a few packets of sweetener on hand.

Ice skating

Stay festive and in shape by participating in wintertime activities / IMAGE VIA abetterbagofgroceries.com

Stick to a workout schedule, or at least work out in sneaky ways:
Sign up for a holiday fun run. It’s great motivation and nothing gets you feeling like a kid on Christmas more than running around in an elf costume. Go to dance parties. Dancing is one of the best calorie burning activities out there, and you won’t even notice you’re working out because you’re having so much fun on the floor. Schedule a cute winter date with your love interest. Ice skating or snow shoeing are both a good workout and exceptionally romantic. Bonus: cuddling with a hot mug of tea after.  Going holiday shopping? Park far away from the mall or walk to the nearest boutiques—you’ll get a work out and a fun day out. Make plans to meet up with a friend at the gym, and you’re way less likely to bail. Keep some fun winter outdoor gear on hand so you can never use the excuse that it’s too cold, or motivate yourself with a hot bath afterward. All of these are fun ways to keep in shape during this holiday season.

Let yourself indulge!:
If you pick one favorite food to indulge in, it will likely satisfy your cravings and keep you from loading up on all that food that’s good but not heavenly good later on. If you focus really hard on avoiding foods that you love, you’re likely to be thinking about them so much that you’ll break down at some point and just binge. Aqnd you’ll have worried so much about eating them that you don’t get the same satisfaction as you would have if you had just had what you wanted and been done with it.

The main idea of the holidays is to relax. So trust some basic common sense nutritional values, and everything else should turn out fine. Don’t obsess about food. Just keep a healthy balance in your life, and you will have a happy and successful holiday season.

Ten Boston holiday hot spots

By Seline Jung, Staff Writer
@SelineJung

Boston during the winter holiday season is as bright, cheery and traditional as it gets, but there is so much more for those of us with an eclectic taste. From horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Beacon Hill to 24-hour improv comedy shows to half- naked Santa runs, the next few weeks in the Hub is jam-packed with activity. Below are ten holiday happening picks around town:

Ice skating at the Boston Common. PHOTO BY HIDEKI ITAKURA

The Boston Common – Provided itʼs not too freezing outside the park is a lovely place to sit with a hot drink and get away from city life for a bit, and this Thursday, Nov. 29, there will be a big tree lighting spectacle. The Frog Pond is now also officially open for ice skating.

The Revere Hotel – Right by the Common is the Revere Hotel, where there is currently a gourmet hot chocolate pop-up store, “Pop It Like Itʼs Hot.” Grab a friend and a free cup of hot choco on a Friday afternoon and find a nice spot at the Frog Pond to watch some ice skaters fail.

Downtown Crossing – Not only is Downtown Crossing always usually a premier shopping spot, the largest holiday market in the area is happening every day until Dec. 24. Need last-minute holiday gifts? Find one-of-a-kind handmade goods from local artists, including homeware, clothing, jewelry and photos.

Newbury Street – Bostonʼs chicest street is packed with holiday activity this season. Dec. 8 will be a particularly busy day, with approximately 500 men and women expected to run down the street as a part of the Santa Speedo Run. The same day is also the annual “Holiday Stroll” in which retailers will be hosting events, giveaways and discount deals among free food, drink and entertainment.

Harvard Square – The annual Harvard Square Holiday Crafts Fair is not like any other crafts market. Apparently it is “more like a party where you can buy stuff,” according to its official website. The fair runs from Dec. 1 until the 23. It is open every Saturday and Sunday, as well as Friday’s starting Dec. 7 and weekdays beginning Dec. 18.

Boston Ballet – No holiday season is complete without a good show or two. The classic ballet “The Nutcracker” opens at the Boston Ballet, and runs until Dec. 31. For an adult alternative check out “The Slutcracker” at the Somerville Theatre, a burlesque retelling of Tchaikovskyʼs story. It has consistently sold out shows and scandalized audiences since it first started in 2008.

Royale Nightclub – Bostonʼs biggest night club is hosting an alternative music concert festival, “A Very GK! Holiday Festival.”

Improv Asylum Theatre – If you havenʼt been to this comedy club yet, you must this holiday season. Check out the official site for all event listings – a big one is the 24-hour improv show to benefit Globe Santa. There will apparently be celebrity guests throughout the night as well as live auctions. Laugh for a good cause on Dec. 7.

IMAGE VIA Citi Performing Arts Center

Citi Performing Arts Center – Feeling like a Grinch this holiday season? How about visiting Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Citi Wang Theatre. The musical runs until Dec. 9.

Beacon Hill – This streets in this historic neighborhood will close for a few hours on Dec. 8 for the annual “Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll.” A perfect outing for time with family, there will be plenty of free music, horse-carriage rides, refreshments and even a tree lighting.

You can follow all of these Holiday Happenings in Boston via The Daily Free Press Foursquare account.