3 Winter Break Alternatives

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Winter is not just for relaxing after finals (although that’s all you’ll be thinking about after finals week!). There’s a lot of great opportunities to fill your winter break, but you have to start planning them now! Everything from plane seats to movie tickets sells out quickly during the holiday season, and especially if you’re going to try to coordinate a group effort on a college kid’s budget, you need to start planning … yesterday.

Study Abroad!

Many programs offer small “winter session” programs that you can do over the holidays. Yes, you could probably do this at your own university, but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. If you do study somewhere else over winter, it can be a great way to both be productive and travel.

It’ll also cost significantly less than a whole semester abroad. There are definitely benefits to spending half a year in a foreign place; most importantly, you have more time to learn about the culture, the people, the language, and just explore. However, not every place is for every person. Maybe you can’t stand to be cold or hate humidity, or just don’t want to be away from home for that long. Studying abroad during winter intersession can be a great alternative.

Additionally, just because it’s cold in the US doesn’t mean it’s cold everywhere else. The seasons are flipped in the Southern Hemisphere, so places like New Zealand are 50-75 degrees during December. That’ll seem like heaven after going through winter at school! Take advantage of the time and go somewhere a little warmer than where you are at.

Something like traveling abroad takes a lot of planning and precautions.  You need to get your passport, apply for the correct program, and get your health affairs all situated.  It takes time to get your vaccines up to date and verify your insurance coverage.  So it’s important to get started as early as possible if this is something you’re interested in! Go down to your study abroad office now and get this started, even if you have to wait until spring break or next year!

Travel in the US

There are plenty of great places in travel in the US as well. This has the benefit of not being quite so plan-intensive or expensive. Sure, you’re unlikely to practice a new language while you’re traveling locally, but you will still learn something! Depending on the snowfall where you live, a road trip might not be possible, but you can still travel in the nearby area or by plane.

And because you know the country, you might have a better idea of what’s available to do in each location. Lots of universities have community service programs over winter intersession, and they are hosted in nearby communities or across the nation! If this sounds more up your alley than just planning a relaxing trip willy-nilly, then ask your student council if they offer any programs like this.

Job Shadowing

What? Who wants to work over winter break? That’s why it’s a break, right?

That’s true, and you can certainly spend the entire three or four weeks sleeping in and watching Netflix. If that sounds appealing to you, then this section might not be very useful to you. However, if you want to get ahead in your future career or just get a better idea of what you might be getting into, then consider interning for a company briefly or just shadowing one of their employees.

Now, obviously, not all companies offer these sorts of programs, so it’ll behoove you to call well ahead of winter break and set that up. Not only will this give you a definite plan, but it will also give the company some time to consider what to showcase. It’ll give you a great experience, and it will look stellar on your resume. Winter break might not be when you want to think about resume building, but the sooner you start thinking about it, the better. No one wants to submit only a few lines as a resume.

Winter break is the perfect time to relax, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accomplish anything over those few weeks. Whether it’s discovering someplace new, helping out your community, or even gaining career experience, you shouldn’t waste the whole break. The only part of it— make sure to sleep in a little!

Last Minute Christmas Gifts on a Budget

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Between wrapping up finals and the usual scramble to pack and get home for the holidays, it can be tough to make Christmas shopping a priority. And now that you’re home (if you’re like most college students around this time of year), you’ve probably discovered a bit of a bank account shortage as well.

Now you’re stuck trying to find the perfect gifts — on time and on budget. But no worries, because I’m here to help! Take a look at these cheap, quick, yet thoughtful gift ideas below:

1.) Baked Treats

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Some homemade Christmas cookies wrapped up in a cute bag or jar make a great last minute Christmas gift. You’ll only spend a couple of hours in the kitchen for little to no cost, and homemade is always impressive and well-received!

2.) Cookie/Cake Mixes

Add the dry ingredients for your favorite Christmas cookie or cake to a jar and attach a card listing wet ingredients to add and other instructions for an even quicker version of the aforementioned idea!

3.) Holiday Movie Night Kit

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Make a quick trip to the store for some microwave popcorn, Christmas candies and a favorite holiday classic on DVD! Your lucky gift recipient will have all the components for a perfect holiday movie night on hand.

 

Happy gifting to all, and to all a very merry Christmas!

 

 

The Holiday Season is Upon us! Need the Perfect Gift?

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It’s about that time to start checking all those very special elves off your list. December marks the beginning of a fun and festive month filled with great food, loving family & friends and a whole lot of presents! If you’re anything like me, you start planning your gift-lists two months in advance. But let’s face it, sometimes those last minute gifts are a necessity when you don’t know what to buy. With thousands of technological gadgets, sports team memorabilia, house furnishing desires and more, it can sometimes be hard to pick just the right thing. This year, we’re introducing our very first ‘Holiday Gift Guide’ to help you get everything you need all in one place. From thousands of wall art, canvases and decals to choose from to holiday decorations, pro-sports gear and more, we’re stocking up the market to make your holiday gifting a breeze! Here’s a sneak peek of what you can find at our home.

1) Wall Art GALORE: We’re not kidding when we say you’ll spend hours trying to pick which posters, canvases and wall decals you want. We even have larger-than-human size wall decals of your loved one’s favorite sports players. And, with our posters running from just $8.00 and up, you don’t have to pick just one! Big Bang Theory, Godfather, Family Guy, Old School, Twilight, Game of Thrones and more – we’ve got the entire selection, right here.

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2) The All New FAN ZONE! Sports Lovers, UNITE: From leather recliners, director’s chairs, wall pennants, to garden gnomes and beyond, we’ve got a large selection of items in all your favorite teams. From NFL to NHL, MLB and more!

1230525__dteg7e4nxklwfrbqpujczixrnrm3) Holiday Decorations You Can Really STICK to: Decorating for the holidays is always fun and exciting. You get the tree, decorate it with ornaments and hang the lights. The holiday plate-ware makes it’s appearance for the first time in the season, and the mistletoe comes out. Now you can spruce up your festive decorations with holiday decor at the market. Our large holiday themed wall decals make a statement and are hassle-free to remove!

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Want to see more? Check out our Gift Guide and make all your seasons bright!

5 Holiday Treats to Bring to Gatherings!

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As Christmas is just a few days away, we know you’re preparing for some festive parties full of friends and family. As a college student, we also understand that you may not exactly be the best chef. (Let’s face it: Your microwave chili-mac and cheese is the bee’s knees but it doesn’t exactly warrant a 5 star rating at Red Lobster). If you have a few gatherings lined up but nothing to bring, don’t you worry your little carrot nose. We’ve found 5 of the cutest trays and dishes to bring along for the fun. Your friends and family will love your creativity and appreciate the gesture (don’t worry, we won’t tell where you got your recipes). If you’re interested in 5 easy and delicious holiday treats you can bring to gatherings or even to meet your roomie’s family for the first time, read on!

1) Frosty The Snow Man on a Stick/Stirrers- These are adorable to bring along to a party and are easy and inexpensive to make. Both kids and parents alike can appreciate and enjoy Ol Frosty on a stick: Use them as hot cocoa stirrers or simply give them to the kids to take a bite. Either way, they’ll be a hit! Making them is simple! All you need is a few wooden kabob sticks, a jumbo bag of large marshmallows, some chocolate sprinkles, gummy candy and junior mints! This brilliant recipe idea came from this cute website of ideas. Click through to find out step by step instructions!

Snowman Stirrers

2) Eggnogg Cupcakes- I know plenty of people who love the hearty taste of Eggnogg for the holidays. Pair that with a deliciously sweet cupcake and you’ve got yourself an explosion of deliciousness that everyone will enjoy! Most college students know how to at least make a pan of cookies or cupcakes, so this recipe should be easy-peasy! Experiment with the ingredients to get the taste just how you like it. You can always experiment and change it up to cinnamon cupcakes, too! We’re sure these delicious baby cakes will be a sellout at whatever gathering you go to, just make sure you store them carefully for the ride to the party! (and save yourself one, too!) Interested in baking these guys? Head here for directions!

Eggnog Cupcakes! | Party Cupcake Ideas - actuall recipe is on http://www.annies-eats.com/2010/12/17/eggnog-cupcakes-2/

3) Christmas Popcorn- Who doesn’t love popcorn? Caramel, cheese, extra butter, salted – the list goes on. The best part about popcorn is that it’s perfect for every occasion- including holidays. We stumbled upon this adorable recipe for Christmas Popcorn that looks good enough to eat. AND the best part? It’s extremely simple to make and serve. There’s a no- bake period either, so you can make it last minute for a fresh treat to bring to a party. All you need for this treat is a bag of popcorn kernels, some festive sprinkles (pick your favorite shapes or colors), some nestle melting chocolate chips, and some iodized sea salt. Also make sure you have a popcorn popper handy! If you want to just use normal microwave popcorn, this works too – as long as it’s flavor free and not coated in butter! Once your kernels are popped, melt your chocolate and pour it over your popped kernels and coat generously in sprinkles. Make sure you let it cool and dry before trying to eat it! If you want get really creative, mix in some MnMs and pretzels to the mix for a sweet and salty surprise! More detailed instructions can be found here.

Christmas Popcorn

4) Gluten Free Holiday Reindeer Treats- This is a perfect choice to bring to any holiday gathering. Gluten free products are a big hit this year, with many people realizing they may have food allergies or for dietary reasons. You can’t go wrong with bringing a treat no one has to second guess, and it might be fun for you to make something you’ve never tried before! And, how can you resist making these adorable little reindeer faces? You can decorate them however you’d like which gives you creative leeway for how you want them to look. For these reindeer sticks you’re going to need some gluten free rice crisps cereal, melting chocolate, some pretzels, and some other sweet treats to decorate your sticks! If you’re interested in the full recipe, this website has the full deets! (You can make this in your dorm if you have a microwave!)

5) Peppermint Pretzel Rings- Treats don’t get any simpler to make than these adorable and festive pretzel rings. The best part about them is that they are fairly easy to make and make a large quantity at one time! You can split them up into different baggies for a goody-bag type treat or lay them in a bowl for a snag and grab feast! These would make for great roomie gifts or little goody bags for professors! For these treats you’ll need pretzel rings, unwrapped festive Hershey Kisses and green/red or blue/white nestle chocolate chips. Baking couldn’t be faster- place a parchment paper over a baking sheet and lay out your pretzel rings. Place a Hershey Kiss and nestle chocolate chip in the center of each and bake at 200 for 4 minutes. Let them cool and treats are finished! If you want more detailed instructions, check them out here!

 

Wherever you go for the holidays, you’ll be sure to have the most decadent and festive treats arriving with you. Remember that you don’t need to spend a lot of money or spend hours baking and cooking just to prepare delicious treats for your guests or parties. These 5 easy to make and inexpensive treat options are perfect examples of easy and yummy treats everyone will love!