What The Holidays Are Really About

These days, holidays are more about the deals you can get on gifts than spending time with your family. In recent years, holidays have become very commercialized, pushing the true meaning further and further away.

Every year, Black Friday sales start earlier than the year before. This year, some stores opened as early as 4pm Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things you are thankful for, and to spend time with the people you love. I like saving money just as much as the next person, but leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to save a few bucks seems a little nuts.

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, many people start preparing for Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza. All of which were originally centered on faith and heritage, not gifts. My family celebrates Christmas, which is my favorite time of year. I get to see family I don’t normally get to and that’s what I love most about it.

Family traditions are another big part as to why I love Christmas so much. Our traditions bring us closer together as a family around this time of year.

“Christmas is the one time a year that my entire family is together since my older brother and sister live far away,” said Emily Lawrence. “I don’t really get to spend much time with them throughout the rest of the year.”

As college students, we don’t get to spend as much time as we used to with our families, especially if they live far from Pullman. Winter break is one of the few times we have the opportunity to visit home which makes the holidays even more special.

“Since my mom moved to Oregon, I really don’t get to see her during the year,” said Myranda Bell. “Christmas has become even more special since it’s one of the few times I can go visit her.”

Since I don’t get to see my family as much as I used to, I’ve really figured out that spending time with them is the best gift I could receive.

 The holidays are really a time to be generous to those less fortunate and be with the people that you love. We really need to go back to the basics this time of year, instead of letting advertisements tell us what we should do this holiday.

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Easy, Affordable DIY Gift Ideas for the Holidays

The holidays are the most challenging time of the year to save money as the thought of spreading Christmas cheer and showering your loved ones with presents taunts your bank account. This year, save money around the holidays by making easy DIY gifts to give to your friends and loved ones!

 

            One gift idea that will capture their favorite memories is making an Instagram picture canvas. Start by going to your local craft store and buying a plain canvas, any size, and mod podge glue. Next, collect your favorite pictures of you and your friend, parent, or loved one off Instagram and mod podge the pictures onto the canvas. Using pictures you have posted on Instagram gives the photos a better look with the use of filters. Finish your project by writing a personal memo on the back of the canvas, and you are done! This project is not only affordable, but is efficient and meaningful at the same time. What better way to show the people in your life you care about them than collecting some of your favorite memories all onto one canvas. This gift is a great idea if your looking to surprise your parents with something special, “I made two of these canvases for my parents last Christmas. I included pictures from their wedding day, and even from when they were young and just started dating. It’s like their life story put into pictures. They absolutely loved it, and I spent less than $20 making them. It is definitely something they will hold on to forever,” said Laura Remy, 20.

 

            The best part about the holidays is that you can smell them in the air. From peppermint hot cocoa to the cozy smell of a Christmas tree, make a candle inspired by their favorite scent over the holidays. Start by buying a plain vanilla candle and using a hot glue gun, glue peppermint candies all around it. When the candle is burning, the smell of peppermint will be in the air!  What is great about this gift idea is that you can glue practically anything on to the sides of a candle and instantly make it festive and unique! Another option is to buy an apple-scented candle and glue cinnamon sticks to the sides, and finish it off by wrapping a nice bow around it! Dress up any candle this holiday season with their favorite scent.

 

            If candles are not their favorite, make them a handcrafted holiday mug. Buy a plain white mug and place stickers with their initials on the mug. Then, using a red sharpie draw dots around the stickers into any shape you prefer, whether it be a heart, a Christmas tree, a snowman, or even a candy cane. Remove the stickers to see your finished product. Include their favorite coffee or cocoa mix, wrap it with a bow, and they are ready to sip cocoa out of their own personalized holiday cup! “Everyone could use their own mug around the holidays, I made one specifically for all four of my sisters last year and they loved it! It was great that I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on it as well, as having four sisters can really put a damper on my wallet,” said Sam Depew, 20. This gift is fun, easy, and affordable.

 

            Instead of stressing about where to find the best holiday deals, get creative this year and make any ordinary object into something unique and special catered specifically to the person you have in mind. Don’t be afraid to test your crafting skills this holiday season! All of these gift ideas are cheaper than buying gifts from the store, and are also gifts they will hold on to forever! This year you can give everybody a gift without draining your bank account, and have fun doing it at the same time. 

By Jessica Monteggia

White elephant gift exchange

Who does not like a holiday party around Christmas time? Christmas parties are one of the best things about the holiday seasons. There are delicious treats and drinks, the house is decorated in elaborate Christmas decorations, people are spreading Christmas cheer, and who can forget about fun Christmas games? One of the most popular games around the holiday season is a white elephant gift exchange.

A white elephant gift exchange is a lighthearted holiday party game where everyone supplies one wrapped gift. White elephant gifts are usually funny and inexpensive. Make sure the rules are clear to everyone about the funny, inexpensive gifts so everything is fair. Everyone places his or her gifts in a centralized location in order for everyone to get a good look at the size and determine which one they want. An easy and fair way to choose the order of the picking is having participants pull a number out of a hat. The participant who chooses number one will go first and gets to choose any gift from the pile and open it for everyone to see. The next person will choose whether they want to steal the previously opened gift or choose an unopened gift from the gift box.  A person who has his or her gift stolen gets to either steal a gift from someone else or choose a replacement gift from the gift box. You cannot immediately steal back the gift that was stolen from you and you must wait at least one round before stealing back a gift that was once in your possession. Also, a gift can only be stolen once. Repeat these steps in order of number. The person with the next-highest number chooses a gift from the gift box or steals a gift from someone else. People who have gifts stolen can choose a gift out of the gift box or steal items that have not yet been stolen that round.

There are a lot of variations to the white elephant gift exchange and if you’re the one throwing the party, make up your own rules to make sure the process runs smoothly! For example, the game could go on for hours if everyone keeps stealing gifts. Make it a rule that an item that is stolen becomes frozen after it has been exchanged three times. You can experiment with different rules and change it to your liking.

A white elephant gift exchange is a great way to keep everyone entertained and keep the party alive! “I love going to holiday parties with a white elephant gift exchange. After awhile, holiday parties tend to die down but a white elephant exchange is a great way to liven up the party. Also, who doesn’t love gifts?!” said, Morgan Alfrejd, 21. No one likes a party where you’re looking at your phone every two minutes to see if it is finally an appropriate time to leave.  A white elephant gift exchange is also a great way for everyone to blow off steam and have a good laugh. “Nothing is worse than an awkward, boring Christmas party where everyone is standing around making small talk just to stay some-what entertained,” said Peyton Halstead, 20.

A white elephant gift exchange is not meant to be stressful or overwhelming. Have fun while coming up with your gift ideas and add any rules you may like to make it more fun. Also, if you’re hosting a party with all your close friends, tell them to bring gifts they think the majority of the group will like.

I know, some of you are thinking, “what do I buy for my gift?” Here are some great ideas for white elephant gifts that every girl could use!  Candles, wine glasses, gift cards, lotion, bubble bath kit, picture frames, nail polish,  the list goes on and on! Also, Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas. They have so many creative ideas that you can buy or make yourself if you’re feeling up for it!

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, stress free and entertaining holiday party game, a white elephant gift exchange is perfect. After you have been slaving around the house for hours making it look perfect for you guests, the gift exchange will be a perfect addition to your party! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

By Sarah Quigley

Tips To Make Your Holiday Shopping Stress-Free

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for shoppers! Throughout the holidays is the best time to go shopping, whether it is for gifts for others or gifts for yourself. With Christmas fast approaching, many people have begun making their lists and checking them twice. Here are some great tips to help you save money and get all your shopping done effectively before the holiday arrives without all the stress!

The first important thing to do before you begin shopping is to make a list of what you need to buy and do your research. Once you know what those who you’re shopping for want or need, start checking different stores online and advertisements to see where you can find what you’re looking for at the best price. Include a maximum price you want to spend on each gift on your list and be sure you stick to your planned budget.

Once you have figured out everything you need to find, how much you want to spend, and all the places that have what you’re looking for, start your spree! One of the best things to do when Christmas shopping is to start early, that way you don’t feel rushed when you’re looking around and you won’t forget about something last minute and panic. It’s always better to allow yourself time when shopping, no matter what season it is, but especially during the holidays.

Not only do you want to start early and allow yourself time, but you want to choose the best days to go when there won’t be too many people around. Avoid weekends if you can; try to go on a weekday during the morning or afternoon. This will avoid the chaos of your community frantically scrambling around the mall and little kids running around, barely giving you room to walk by, yet alone breathe. Also, it will keep you much safer and will avoid any injuries that a crowded store is capable of causing.

The biggest tip of all that I can give to you is to avoid Black Friday. I know it’s a huge fad and is supposed to have the best sales and deals, but stores have deals all month long. Also, Black Friday has made it’s way into Thanksgiving day, which is a day to be thankful for what you have, not to race to a store during dinner just to save $100 on a flat screen TV. It isn’t worth giving up family time, waking up at the crack of dawn, or risking your safety. “This year, the week before Thanksgiving, most stores were having better sales than they did on actual Black Friday,” said Mackenzie Fischer, 21. “I got most of my shopping done then and didn’t have to miss any time with my family at all! It was great.”

Cyber Monday is a much safer and easier day to go crazy and knock things off your list. Most stores have just as good of deals online this day than they do in stores on Black Friday. Plus, you don’t have to leave your house at all and can stay in your pajamas—it’s a win-win! Online shopping has become much more popular in this day and age. Kenzie Johnson, 20, says “I online shop for everything. It’s easier, less-stressful, and most stores have more sizes and higher quantity of items available online.” I am just like Kenzie; I try to do all my shopping online, and if there is something I can’t find or can find cheaper in a store, then I make my way out of the house.

Holiday shopping is exciting and fun, and sometimes people like going just for the experience. If that is you, then go out and have a blast! If you like to get stuff done quick and avoid the stress and hassle of making your way to the mall, then use the online shopping method. Either way, I hope these tips will come in handy as you prepare for another happy holiday!

By: Haley Kennedy

New Releases of 2013

https://soundcloud.com/haleyykennedyy/final-project-new-releases-of

By: Rachel Escalle

For the final project, I chose audio becuase I felt that was my strongest platform. I decided to use 3 sources and make it over 3 minutes (3:45) in order to make the project a little harder to edit and stronger for the final. I also editted out sound bits I thought were unnecessary and any “um”s or “like”s that muddled up the audio.

Sources: Michelle Collison, Natalie Evangelisti, Anna Tremblay

Music: Epic Cinematic Movie Intro Trailer Music – Royalty Free Orchestral Music

Rock Star Spa Bar

Sarah Quigley and Jessica Monteggia interviewed employees and customers of the recently opened Rock Star Spa Bar here in Pullman. Check it out to see what services the spa has to offer!