Secret Santa on a Budget

secret santaHappy Holidays Hoyas!!! Amid studying for your final exams and attempting the impossible task of assembling the perfect course schedule for next semester, you are dead set on getting in the holiday spirit. Your (ugly) Christmas sweaters have made their appearance in your wardrobe, a fake Christmas tree has been erected in your room, peppermint flavored beverages (like hot cocoa) have been purchased and you and your friends are having a Secret Santa gift exchange!

With Corp Gala tickets, other Christmas shopping, impending textbook purchases and the general lack of monetary funds that accompanies being in college, 4E knows that purchasing a reindeer may not be in the cards for you this year. Fear not! Here are some tips for being the best secret Santa, on a budget.

Christmas socks

Is your dorm room heating system not quite working properly? Want to take your socks and sandals game to the next level? Gifting festive holiday socks is a foolproof way to make sure that your friends are broadcasting their holiday spirit properly, thus fulfilling your Secret Santa obligations. These footwear essentials don’t need to be personally hand knit or made of Tibetan llama wool. Your Secret Santa buddy has surely lost a fair share of socks in the laundry room this semester and will gladly welcome any red and green additions to their collection.

Homemade cookies

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Take over the common room kitchen and bake some holiday cookies! Whip out frosting, sprinkles, cookie cutters, icing, edible pearls — whatever you need to make your best edible Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, and dreidels. Bonus points for cleaning common room kitchen as a gift to all of your floor mates (who may or may not have embellished their organizational tendencies on CHARMS).

A Personal Christmas Carol Serenade

Ambush this person in a public place. 4E recommends Leo’s, Red Square or one of the quiet floors of Lau; serenade them with a lovely rendition of all of your favorite Christmas carols. Bonus points for a personal interpretation of the Mean Girls “Jingle Bell Rock” performance.

Other Pro Tips

Dress up like Santa and deliver your gift via chimney to make this experience as realistic and meaningful as possible for your Secret Santa buddy. No worries if your Secret Santa buddy’s dorm room doesn’t have a fireplace; the fireplaces in HSFC were surely designed with Christmas eve present delivery reenactments in mind. Is it really Secret Santa if there are no Santa costumes involved? 4E doesn’t think so either and expects you to act accordingly.

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Gifs: giphy.com

How to Survive Awkward Family Parties

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The holiday season is always the perfect time of year to lounge around binge-watching Netflix, take advantage of home cooked meals and attend as many family holiday parties as can be jammed into three weeks.

What? That last one doesn’t sound too fun.

Admittedly, family parties this time of year can be stressful, as you’ll likely find yourself deflecting questions left and right about your major and life plans from relatives you didn’t even know existed.

The worst thing you can possibly do in such a situation is be unprepared. If you find yourself stumbling over your words as you try and tell your Uncle Jim about Georgetown’s social scene, then you may want to keep reading as 4E presents the best ways to answer relatives’ awkward questions this holiday season.

Imagine this: you’re at a family party, minding your own business, sipping on some non-alcoholic eggnog and enjoying a festive holiday cookie.

Things are going pretty well, you’ve made some rounds and managed to avoid any super uncomfortable encounters so far. You feel like you’re in the clear when all of a sudden you hear your name being called loudly from across the room. Your palms begin to sweat as you slowly turn and see your mom’s third cousin twice removed wildly waving her arms in an attempt to flag you down. Sheer terror crosses your face as you realize it’s too late, she’s spotted you.  After a customary awkward greeting the interrogation begins…

You know, when I was your age, I was already engaged. Any prospects for you?

Yeah, I’m really hitting things off with [insert roommate’s name here]. We’re basically inseparable, so inseparable that we’re living together. We have a lot of the same interests, I mean we both agree that sloths are really weird animals. Plus, no one understands my eternal love of Eat & Joy pizza after a really late night quite like my roomie. I really think I’m in this one for the long haul!

Have you decided on a major yet? You don’t really have a lot of time left to decide!

I’m actually more of a free spirit so I don’t really think it’s necessary to make such definitive plans. I’ll just go with the direction of the wind and see where I end up. Nothing is really permanent anyway. You should understand where I’m coming from, right? Weren’t you at Woodstock?

How’s the social scene? I remember all my crazy times back in college!

When I’m not in the library studying, I sit quietly in my room all day waiting for my professors to assign more work. There’s really no time to be crazy in college anymore these days, things must have really changed…

So do you know what you plan on doing after graduation?

Yup, I know exactly what I’m going to be doing. After finding the cure for cancer, I plan on personally building a spaceship to take me to Mars. I’ll then use my new spaceship to get off of this planet in order to avoid any future awkward encounters with you. And hey, if this plan ever fails, I’ve always got my parents’ basement as a backup!

[Insert any question that takes you by surprise].

Quickly shove as many holiday cookies as possible into your mouth and start mumbling a response.  Pretend to choke on the cookies so you can quickly excuse yourself and hide for the remainder of the party. 

Best of luck this holiday season, Hoyas!

Photos/Gifs: survivingcollege.com, howlatthemoon.com, tumblr.com; kanyetothe.com

How Soon Is Too Soon For Holiday Music?

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If their killer holiday music playlist is any indication, our friends at the Guide clearly think that holiday music is fair game after Thanksgiving. Some eager beavers demand their Christmas carols months in advance, and some scrooges don’t want to hear Dominic the Donkey on his holiday rampage until December 24th. So I wanted to ask some of my blogging staff, when is it acceptable to listen to holiday music?

Leila Ali It’s simple. After Black Friday, it’s appropriate to display Christmas decorations/festivities and listen to Christmas music because it’s the next upcoming holiday. Plus it’s more meaningful listening to Christmas hymns and carols when it’s the season to be jolly as opposed to any other time of the year. Then, it’s just weird, and you don’t feel the Christmas jitters and joy as you would when it’s leading up to Christmas.

That’s true. I personally don’t feel that it’s the season to be jolly until I see some snow…but then again, I’m from Albany, New York, so that happens a lot earlier and more frequently there than it does here. I guess I’ll just have to learn to deal.

Karl Pielmeier (KP) – Deputy Editor
It is my humble opinion that there is no wrong time for Christmas music. Sometimes, in the middle of an April shower, or in the soft breeze of an August morning, the only thing I want to hear is Mariah Carey begging me to “make her wish come true,” or telling that “Santa Claus is coming to town.” Christmas music is clearly acceptable at all times of the year. And even if it isn’t, I’m still listening to it when I want to.

Well… that’s just because KP does what he wants whenever he wants.

Marlene Cox Because the spirit of Christmas is better than the fact that Sweet Brown is my distant third cousin*, I would have to say Christmas music is always in season. For the people who say, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat” well my cousin*, Sweet Brown, and I would like to say “Ain’t you a ho ho ho.”
*Skeptical

I’m not sure how to respond to any of this… but to use Marlene’s token adverb, I think my Christmas spirit would be a little “shambly” if I listened to holiday music year-round.

Michelle Cassidy – Contributing Editor
Call me a curmudgeon, but I don’t want to be hearing Christmas music 24/7 until I’m done with finals and sitting at home double fisting Christmas cookies. I’ll only make an exception for the new Backstreet Boys Christmas song, but that’s only because I have a crush on Nick Carter.

I have a strong allegiance to the younger of the Carter brothers, so I’ll be listening to this song while I stuff my face full of these.

Anna Goldberg If there’s no snow, I say no. I’m with you Lindsay!

Yes. Gold stars for Anna.

Kate Wellde – Deputy Editor
When the leftovers are gone. That’s when you can start playing Mariah Carey.

Mmh, preach. This is officially my new stance on this topic. Case closed. 

So fellow Hoyas, when do you think it’s acceptable to break out the Michael Bublé Christmas? (Well actually…any Michael Bublé is always acceptable, but you get my point)

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