Tag Archives: christmas

Holiday Events To Look Out For in Austin

With Halloween and Thanksgiving having passed in the blink of an eye, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are racing towards us. To make the most of this holiday season, you’re going to need some fun and festive events. Here are some of the most exciting holiday events coming up in Austin.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

When: Nov. 19 – Dec. 24

Where: 6100 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752

What: An online and in-person shopping fair where local businesses offer a variety of handmade and unique goods that make great gifts!

Peppermint Parkway

When: Nov. 26 – Dec. 26 

Where: Circuit of The Americas

What: A driving tour filled with synchronized lights and holiday songs that you can view from the comfort of your car!

Austin Trail of Lights

When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 31

Where: Zilker Park

What: Drive through Zilker park which will be fully decked out with decorations and Christmas lights. 

Hanukkah Candle Lighting

When: Dec. 1

Where: View the live stream here!

What: The Temple Beth Shalom will be live streaming their Chanukiyah lighting and invites anyone who wishes to join to watch! 

Downtown Holiday Stroll

When: Dec. 2

Where: Starting location TBD, check out this link for more info!

What: A festive walking tour of downtown Austin complete with live music, caroling, shopping, and the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Texas State Capitol.

“The Nutcracker” by Ballet Austin

When: Dec. 4 – Dec. 23

Where: ZACH Theater

What: Ballet Austin will be putting on performances of “The Nutcracker” with accompaniment from the Austin Symphony Orchestra throughout December.

Austin’s New Year

When: Dec. 31

Where: Auditorium Shores

What: Annual New Years celebration with live music, local food trucks, and fireworks.

If none of these events were quite your speed, there are plenty more happening all throughout November and December! Check out Do 512 for a more comprehensive list! If not, there’s definitely something to be said for cuddling up with a cup of hot cocoa, putting on the fireplace (or maybe the ‘Fireplace For Your Home’ on Netflix if you live on campus) and watching a seasonal movie. Happy holidays! 

Featured image by Morgan Scruggs

Your guide to The Netflix Christmas Universe

Need a new cinematic universe to binge-watch? Well, here’s the Netflix Christmas movie franchise

Are you a fan of cinematic universes? Do you like cheesy Christmas movies? If you answered yes to both, then hold on to your Christmas-themed sweaters, Netflix fans because the media giant has a gift for you!

With Netflix continuing to grow their original films and series on their platform, another section of the repertoire is growing as well, specifically, their holiday films. But, there’s a twist. Get this – apparently the platforms Christmas film are connected to one another. 

Through TV cameos within the movies to mentions of the fictional “Aldovia,” these films have been confirmed to exist within the same universe. Crazy stuff.

Source: Netflix

Netflix announced this universe of connections at the beginning of December 2019 in a Twitter thread. So, the universe is not as secretive as you may think, but most Netflix fans may not have noticed this before. 

Source: Netflix

This concept of an interconnected cinematic universe first began when holiday film concepts began to be created for the 2018 season. The idea of connecting the worlds together came from MPCA Executive Vice President, Amanda Phillips Atkins, according to the Twitter thread on the official Netflix account.

Now, a select number of Netflix Christmas movies are now forever connected to each other. Let’s see how exactly everything is interwoven.

To start, Netflix began fleshing out the idea of the universe by including subtle on-screen cameos from other movies. 

In the 2018 film, “The Holiday Calendar,” the creative team needed to include a movie being played within the movie which resulted in the 2017 movie, “The Christmas Inheritance,” to have an on-screen cameo. “The Christmas Inheritance” also shows up on a TV in the 2018 film, “The Princess Switch” which also featured a cameo from 2017’s “A Christmas Prince.” The 2019 film, “Holiday in the Wild” also gets a cameo in the 2019 movie, “The Knight Before Christmas.”

As time went on, the production staff began to include more obvious references to other films in newer releases. 

In “The Knight Before Christmas,” a character tells her daughter, “Your grandma and grandpa picked this up on their trip to Aldovia.” This line implies that the kingdom featured in “A Christmas Prince” is a real place in the movie’s world. Then, in 2019’s “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby,” a map shows that Aldovia’s nearby neighboring countries include Belgravia, the country from “The Princess Switch.”

In the 2020 sequel, “The Princess Switch: Switched Again,”  the world is once again connected by including the characters Amber, Prince Richard, and their daughter, Princess Elleri, from the Christmas Prince franchise. 

Source: Netflix

While this is all probably really confusing for you, Netflix has a handy graphic that walks you through the connection and cameo details. 

Whether you decide to watch one or all of the films that are in the Netflix Christmas universe, you are sure to enjoy the little easter eggs along the way.

Christmas Without Santa

Everyone’s favorite time of the year has finally arrived! Christmas, a time with beautiful lights, cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, and Mariah Carey reclaiming her “Queen of Christmas” crown once again. Yet, especially for children, it’s also a time of approaching the day of the 25th, where the magical Santa Claus enters your home, eats a questionable amount of sweets, and brings toys for all the little children across the world. Many can agree that the big man with the beard is iconic, yet many can also concur that this fictional figure and the holiday itself is highly commercialized. With every passing year, this jolly holiday has unfortunately become a profitable frenzy.  From getting your lights and decorations out as soon as possible to any store business taking the opportunity to establish “Crazy Sales”, Christmas has transformed Santa Claus simply into a logo who carries a coke bottle as well as merely an encouragement to buy what you desire. This leads to an intriguing question; Can one have Christmas without Santa Claus?

Well, certainly yes, it’s indeed possible and I should know that because as a child, I was told that he didn’t exist. To elaborate, no, I was not deprived of a childhood and banned from believing, but due to financial troubles, we couldn’t afford to have that many gifts. In my household, my single mother was balancing between two jobs and taking care of 5 children, leading to not being able to have the joy of waking up to many toys. Yet, I always have been thankful to never have had that privilege as not only has it humbled me but it as well as allowed my family to develop our own merry little Christmas. As my siblings and I began to grow up, we started to give each other little gifts that focused on sentimental value. Before being able to get jobs and make money, we would give one another handmade gifts (i.e. My sister loved making jewelry and I loved writing poetry or drawing pictures) or offer to do each other chores for a week or so by giving little “home coupons.” Although gifts weren’t as extravagant in my household growing up, we would take advantage of having our mother not working by having our own little Christmas party. We would drink hot chocolate and eat food in our pajamas, spending the whole holiday watching “A Christmas Story” on its’ 24 hour marathon, seeing who can last the longest (I usually win). These small traditions continued on till this day, allowing me to truly see that Christmas is a time of family, and appreciating all you have.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This holiday has also allowed me to see that the value of gratitude is important. Growing up, I started to help out in my community to those have also been unfortunate in the holiday season. Doing so has enabled me to truly focus on the real meaning of Christmas, which is to bring goodwill to all people, especially those in need. So, how can one be able to give a little holiday spirit? Well, one can donate toys and other gifts to organizations such as Orange Santa (A UT based tradition), Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, or any toy drive at a local market/shopping mall. Rather than gift giving, one can also go into their local nursing home or women’s shelter and simply spend your time making their day a little special by caroling, giving food, and other good deeds.

Amanda Landa, author, Christmas 2002.

Overall, although Christmas has been about gift giving, it’s also about giving your time and grace to others. Have a Happy Holidays!

Want to help out this holiday season? Here’s more information on the following;

Orange Santa: https://orangesanta.utexas.edu/

Toys For Tots: https://www.toysfortots.org/

St. Jude’s: https://www.stjude.org/give

Salvation Army :https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ways-to-give/

Featured image courtesy of Jill Wellington from Pixabay

New Traditions to Richen Your Holiday Season

As the sun stirs into another cold morning, the holiday season can be felt in the air. Business’ fill their stores with red wreaths and lace green garland along their tables. Tiny lights are wrapped around trees and the charming ring of a bell excites the hearts of people young and old. Carols, cookies and community fill you with warmth and gratitude. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year spent with family, friends and full stomachs. But before you know it trees that were once trimmed are taken down, and the warm crackling of a fire turns to ashes. In the blink of an eye, the holiday magic disappears.

For many people, traditions make the holiday season richer and slower. Whether it is baking grandma’s famous cookies the night before Christmas, or buying a new ornament to decorate the tree traditions add to all the enchantment. If you are looking to delve deep into the holiday cheer this winter, here are some traditions to begin with family, friends and loved ones. 

Make Festive Food, Ciders and Desserts

Cooking is a great way to have fun with your loved ones and start a new tradition or family recipe. Cooking is also a great way to incorporate your family’s individual culture into the holidays.

Deck the Halls and Decorate 

Decorations enhance the Christmas magic more than anything. Make decorating an event in your household. Invite over friends, play Christmas carols and make your home festive. Also consider homemade decor options to spend more time creating with loved ones. 

Give Back 

The holiday season is also a time of reflection. Many families chose this time of the year to express gratitude for one another through gifts and service. Make it a tradition in you family to buy toys for children in hospitals, donate to the homeless or give gifts to your neighbors. 

Have Cozy Nights In

Make a festive Christmas cider, like wassail, and host your loved ones at your house. Put on your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie and start a fire. Share laughs, hugs and quality time with your family.

Go See Christmas Lights

Christmas lights and Christmas decor can be elaborate and impressive. Go see a light show local Christmas light show and take pictures of all the beauty.

Holiday traditions are unique and special ways to make this season full of  joy, gratitude and love. Be creative with your traditions and celebrate with people you love because it isn’t about what you do, it’s about who you do it with.

Featured image courtesy of : Creative Commons; “Christmas Tale” by Alexandr Ignatiev

Gift guide for the memes of 2018

Tis’ the season to be jolly, and what better way is there really to bring holiday cheer than to celebrate the memes of 2018?

Trying to find low budget, memeingful gifts for loved ones can be a challenge for many people come the holiday season. Let’s face it; the fabric of millennial society is made of memes. These funny, nonsensical images and references to popular culture solidify friendships and bring people together – and that’s what the holiday season is all about.

In the spirit of the holidays I have taken the time to compile a gift guide of 2018 meme themed gifts so that your friends can nostalgically gaze upon the memes of Christmas past. Perhaps they will one day pass these gifts along to their children as relics of a great age. You’ll thank me later.

Kylo Ren Pants

This iconic scene from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” had audiences shook when villain Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) hops up on the scene with these incredibly high-waisted pants that were not at all villainous. Although the movie was released at the end of 2017, the look soon became a meme shortly after in 2018 with the Kylo Ren challenge.

Get your friend the stretchiest black jogging pants you can find and sew in an extra strip of fabric for a more emphasized Ren effect. Who knows, they may be the perfect pants to walk around campus in come laundry day.

Tide Pod Ornaments

Okay so I’ll admit that the Tide Pod challenge was a dark time for us all, but nevertheless it was an iconic meme of 2018. Tide Pods have a “keep out of reach of children” label because their alluring scent and texture may prompt toddlers to consume the poisonous detergent product. At some point college students, the children of the adult world, began to post videos devouring the product. In 2017, two hundred and twenty-seven teenagers were rushed to the emergency room after eating the forbidden fruit.

Attach a paper clip and some string to a few tide pods and voila! A scrumptious holiday hanging decoration for your friends.

Matching Moth-Lightbulb Friendship Pins

Somewhere towards the end of 2018 the Internet decreed that she loved moths. We relate to everything now, chanting “same” when we see a trashcan, an overturned Lime, or a campus squirrel ravenously devouring some Chick-Fila-a. That same “same” principle was applied to moths and their love of lamps, because let’s face it, we all want someone to look at us the way a moth looks at a lamp.

Get your person a cute moth enamel pin and yourself a light bulb pin to commemorate your love and a fantastic meme.

A reminder of their “BDE”

When Ariana Grande revealed some – ahem – intimate information about her then fiancé Pete Davidson’s anatomy, the Internet went wild, spawning the term “Big D**k Energy” into existence. Determining whether someone had BDE became the next big thing. (Pun intended)

Everyone wants to feel like as if they have that BDE silent confidence, so go grab your bomb af friend a laptop sticker to remind them of it.

Motivational Gym Kardashian Water Bottle

Gym Kardashian took Twitter by storm when someone with too much time on their hands released photoshopped images of Kardashians with killer biceps.

Slap a few gym Kardashian stickers on a water bottle and you have the perfect motivational gift for those New Year’s fitness resolutions that we only keep for the first two weeks of the year.

A Spicy Walmart Yodel Kid Mixtape

I’m still shook that Mason Ramsey was here for a UT football game. This 12 year old boy became an Internet sensation after a video of him yodeling in a Walmart went viral. He is now signed to a record label and hit the charts with his debut single “famous.” Memes really can take you places in life.

Compile your sweet daAaAaddy a hot mixtape of all the Walmart Yodel Kid remixes you can find. Trust me, the possibilities are endless.

Yanny or Laurel Friendship Bracelets

Yanny or Laurel, an important world issue much like the what color was the dress controversy, left people questioning their sanity. Some heard the word “Yanny” in the recording while others clearly heard “Laurel.”

As a reminder of this event, you can gift your friend a set of Yanny/Laurel friendship bracelets.