Benjamin-ism #6

While driving me home after splitting Christmas day between both our parents’ houses:

Ben: I’m sorry if I took you away from your family for too long today.

Me: It’s okay. I took you away from your family, too.

Ben: No, I was just visiting with my other family.

Me: (swoon.)

…And to all a good night.

The Grinch


In my family, we celebrate BIG on Christmas Eve, and then get together again on Christmas day to discuss what Santa brought, eat copious amounts again, and enjoy each other’s company once more. It’s a tradition much older than I am, and something I greatly fear losing. But this year brought some changes.

First, my sister didn’t wake up with me to walk downstairs and see the Christmas morning tree in all it’s glory, surrounded by gifts. She lives a few towns over now, with her boyfriend of four or five years. They woke up, celebrated their own Christmas before coming to our house to open presents, and eventually moved on to his family’s house in the afternoon. All of which brought a second change: we had another person open presents with my immediate family for the first time ever.

The next change is that I split my time between being with my boyfriend, Benjamin, and my family. On Christmas Eve, I went to brunch with Ben, celebrated with my family, then spent time driving around looking at Christmas lights with Ben, again. Christmas day, he and I ate a dinner with each of our families in turn.

The final change is that my cousins are all growing up. The youngest is now twenty. Instead of buying for everyone, we’re moving toward a Secret Santa path – something I’ve been fighting for a long time. I love the feeling of finding the perfect gift and seeing a family member light up while opening it. To me, that’s a big part of what Christmas is about, making someone you love happy. I’d hate to not be allowed to have that moment with more than one person.

But with all these new and scary changes to age-old traditions, I’ve learned a little something:

1. Just because someone grew up and moved out doesn’t mean they’ve moved on. My sister still gets just as excited. We even bicker a little less.

2. Adding a new family member to your Christmas traditions can be strange at first, but it gets to be really great. Like I said, I love finding that perfect gift, and it just means that I have someone new to make happy.

3. It can be hard to leave family time at Christmas, but it’s so worth it to share the day with the person you love.

4. Even if your traditions are changing, it doesn’t make the day any less Christmasy. It’s about family, friends, love. That’s all. Just remember that.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the season. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year!

The DOs and DON’Ts of Finals


I’m not going to lie, Calvin really understands me. His genius proves that he has a thorough grasp on how the real world handles school work. And so, in light of finals coming up, I’d like to impart some of the wisdom that I’ve gained in the past 3.5 years of college on my readers. Here it is:

The DOs and DON’Ts of Finals:

DO review your notes.
DON’T highlight everything in different colors, pretending that you’re color-coding, but really just making an effort to make your paper look pretty.

DO take the time to make sure each marking you make on your test obviously indicates your selected answer.
DON’T make your scantron sheet look like a Christmas Tree.

DO take short breaks from studying often to refresh your mind.
DON’T take short breaks from facebook to study, then refresh the page again a minute later.

DO have healthy snacks throughout the studying process.
DON’T give yourself a piece of cake as a reward for reading each page.

DO blow off some steam by watching a movie or hanging out with friends until a reasonable hour.
DON’T party with your friends Jose Cuervo and Captain Morgan until 3:00am before beginning your paper.

DO check on youtube for visual examples of some topics you may be studying (works well for science!).
DON’T accidentally click over to the sponsored/featured video of One Direction’s latest hit.

DO tidy up your study area to limit distractions.
DON’T clean the entire apartment, do all your laundry, scrub the floors, rearrange the kitchen, reorganize your desk drawers, etc.

DO schedule out study time or craft a few goals to help keep you on target.
DON’T waste half an hour creating a sticky note or dry erase hourly schedule that you won’t end up following. (As you’ll see, I clearly did both.)


DO find a quiet place to study without music or idle chatter.
DON’T go to the library if you’re just going to put Pandora on your headphones and lipsync to Spice World.

DO get a good night’s sleep.
DON’T take a four hour nap in the middle of the day.

DO get some exercise.
DON’T count jogging between the fridge and your computer as exercise.

DO try meditating or yoga to calm your nerves.
DON’T hurt yourself while pretending you can cross both legs on top of each other like they do in movies about gurus.

DO stay hydrated.
DON’T pretend that Pepsi, coffee or 5 Hour Energy will hydrate you.

DO check out your grades ahead of time to know where you stand.
DON’T panic when you realize that even if you ace the test you can’t get over a B in the class.

DO bring both pencils and pens to the test.
DON’T freak out when it breaks in the middle of the test and you have to bend down and look in your bag to get a new one and you’re petrified that the teacher is going to think you’re cheating and oh my god, you’ve only got forty minutes left and your teacher thinks you’re a cheat and your pencil is still broken OH MY GOD YOU’RE SWEATING SO BADLY. It’ll be okay.

DO actually study.
DON’T waste your time making blog posts that people are too busy studying to read.

Good luck on finals, kids. May the odds be ever in your favor.