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The cold winter months come with a holiday season that warms you right up with nostalgic childhood memories, your mom’s secret recipes and, who could forget, the sweat you work up running to your favorite stores on Black Friday mornings. But it takes a few extra steps to turn your dream Xmas into reality, so here are three tips to get the most bang for your buck this holiday season (and I’m not just talking about the holiday sale section at Bath & Body Works).

Watch nostalgic childhood movies with your loved ones

Ever since high school, it’s been so much harder for me to get into the holiday spirit. It felt like the magic of the winter season was lost amidst all the increasing pressure of academics and I was never relaxed enough to enjoy myself. However, we need to give ourselves breaks and recuperate in order to give our best in the things that we do. The holiday season is the perfect time to indulge your childhood pleasures and one effective way to do that is to watch the movies you grew up on. For me, the holidays are never complete if I haven’t binged at least a few “Harry Potter” movies with a steady supply of hot cocoa and peppermint bark on hand. Following these yearly traditions makes the holidays feel more comforting and relaxing. So, whether your seasonal comfort movie is “Elf,” “Home Alone” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” make sure to share the special moment with those you love and make the most out of this holiday season.

Do something creative

How many times have you told yourself that you’ll pick up an instrument when you have the time to? Or that you’ll try writing poetry whenever you’re done with your classes? We will always have obligations to fulfill in our lives, but it is important to make time for hobbies that we are passionate about whenever possible. The holiday season is a wonderful excuse to come back from your painting hiatus or attempt the difficult singing trend you saw on TikTok. Finding an outlet for your creativity can enrich your holiday season and bring a new type of magic to your Xmas break, so make the most of the time that you are fortunate to have. Don’t feel pressured to publish your first novel or compose your magnum opus, but starting your hobby is half the battle.

Give back to your community

For many of us, we associate the holiday season with shopping for great deals at the mall and exchanging gifts with our friends and family. However, amidst such rampant hyperconsumerism, it is too often that we forget this season is also a time to show generosity to those who cannot afford the same privileges.

One organization you can support is Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City, which is a non-profit that serves children with special needs by hosting volunteer-driven inclusive theater camps, playground events and parties. Harvester Community Food Network is another local Kansas City organization that could always use the extra hands and/or donations. Getting involved with Harvester’s is a phenomenal way to share the warmth and comfort of the holiday season with those in need.

The holiday season means something different to each and every one of us, but it is a time where many of us seek something greater to keep us going through the chilly months. I hope you find that something which sparks joy in yourself and that you share the magic with others this Xmas. Happy holidays!

Hey! I'm a second year in UMKC's BA/MD program I love listening to music, watching Netflix/YouTube, singing, and learning new languages :)
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