Go Homemade For Heartfelt Gifts

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Years ago, my mom started a tradition where everyone our family has to make a homemade Christmas gift for someone. At Thanksgiving, we draw names to see who has who. I didn’t think much of the tradition when I was younger; it was just something extra I had to do. I eventually saw the value in exchanging something homemade, but moving away from home and starting college made me really appreciate it.

Like any student, I always feel short on time. Making gifts can be so time consuming—yet I’ve found I’m always more excited to gift something I made than something I just went out and bought. Plus, knowing how difficult it can be for me to find the time to sit down and make a gift makes me appreciate receiving one all that much more. Money is replaceable, but time isn’t.

When it comes to homemade gifts, there’s no competition. It’s simply the fact that someone is willing to spend their time on making a gift that makes the receiver feel special. On top of that, homemade gifts don’t have to look or be perfect because regardless, you’re giving something away that’s absolutely unique.

Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

This week is Thanksgiving. A time for laughter and cheer, for friends and family, for great food and even better company. A lovely little holiday leading up to The Big One.

But honestly? It’s some pretty terrible timing. Next week is Dead Week here on campus and finals are literally just around the corner. (T-minus 14 days, in fact.) And I know I’m not the only one freaking out about the projects due. It’s stressful. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders tighten, and my stomach curl into a knot.

So, is this the best time to stop working on (or thinking about) those hugely important final projects? Probably not. My suggestion, though? Make the most of the holiday as you possibly can anyway.

Try to parcel the homework assignments out so you can spend time with the family (or friends or whomever you’re spending the holiday with). Take Thanksgiving dinnertime off, or better yet, take all of Thanksgiving Day off. If you’re traveling—like me!—try to do some assignments on the journey. (I know I’ll be writing a paper on my plane ride to the East Coast.)

Make some time for your loved ones. Heck, make some time for yourself.

You deserve the time off before the final push to finals week. Treat yourself, and your friends and family, to some quality time together this Thanksgiving. Trust me, your spirit will thank you later.

It is a wonderful life

By: Sharon Jackson

I absolutely adore this time of year! See expression below.

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Bulky sweaters. Knitted socks. Hot holiday beverages. “I could go on forever baby!”

My dad and I used to pull out several boxes of tangled strings of large light bulbs from the attic and attempt to wrestle them into a straight line.

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After many hours and a few curse words, we would finally attach them ever so precisely to the outline of our home. I am certain we had the best looking house in the neighborhood.

For this reason I get a bit nostalgic on Peacock Lane: a block in Southeast Portland where each vintage Tudor home has been entirely decorated since 1920.

My mother and I would watch A Christmas Story every year [I seriously believe the movie is an accurate representation of her childhood holidays] and laugh hysterically at the leg lamp catastrophe and terrible gifts from distant relatives until we would cry.

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My first holiday in Portland, I started to feel a bit homesick.

For this reason I am always present at Portland’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony in Pioneer Square : the official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 75-foot Douglas fir and a sing-along of all the favorite holiday carols by a family of random strangers, even in the pouring rain!

Turkey, “Tofurkey”, and Gluten-free Stuffing

I hope all you Vikings had a delightfully relaxing and fulfilling holiday weekend! I was definitely thankful for the mini-vacation. But I suspect that if, like me, you spent most of Thanksgiving Day in the kitchen, you may have also had a few holiday-stress-induced breakdowns. At my house, we rarely have the dinner table feuds you see on TV – but I was still tearing my hair out over putting together one meal that met everybody’s dietary needs.

You see, in my extended family, we have strict vegans and die-hard carnivores, pescatarians and picky children, diabetics and dieters, as well as a gluten-free baker. Some of us like to try new recipes for the holidays; others are strict Thanksgiving traditionalists. Even when we do it potluck-style, it takes some very careful menu planning to make sure everyone sits down to a satisfying meal.

The week before the holiday, my phone was constantly buzzing with text messages from my mom and my grandma: “How many people are eating meat this year?” “Is chocolate vegan?” “Should we make all the stuffing gluten-free?”  “Is anybody bringing veggies???”

Everything worked out perfectly in the end, but it got me thinking about all of the holiday entertaining that’s still to come this season. How do you deal with different diets at your holiday gatherings? Do you make something for everyone, or do you let those vegans and paleo-diet devotees fend for themselves?