Tag Archives: Christmas

Can Science and Religion Save Each Other?

lights

A flurry of controversy surrounded the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson two weeks ago when he took a jab at religion in the name of science. It began Christmas day with a mischievous tweet: “On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.” Then deGrasse Tyson felt that he needed to be more pointed in a follow-up tweet: “QUESTION: This year, what do all the world’s Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday.” Continue reading

Our Holiday Family Movie Recommendations

It’s time for pajamas! Christmas cookies are probably almost done in the oven and we have just a few more hours before we need to settle in so those sugar plums can start dancing. In case you’re looking for something to watch as a family, here are 5 of our favorites: Continue reading

Top 5 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

gift

“Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men.” There’s no shortage of life-affirming mantras to throw around come this time of year, but let’s face it. It’s too easy to get preoccupied with the consumerist aspect of the holiday season. And what’s more — it’s all too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the season: that charity, benevolence, and mankind’s capacity for empathy are our true salvation, and to truly experience a blissful holiday season, we need to be mindful of what we can do to benefit others. 

Here are five ways to give back this holiday season: Continue reading

Be careful what you wish for!

tree

It was just before Christmas in 2006 and my daughter, Elora, had fully realized the meaning of this holiday. The stockings were hung by the chimney with the care (Kind of, I mean she was 3), the tree was up and we were ready for Santa to bring us all our dreams wrapped in shiny sparkly paper with big splendid bows.

Elora had made her list, filled with dolls and Disney princesses and this Mrs. Clause was ready! So when I arrived to pick her up after spending the afternoon with Grandma making Christmas cookies, her newest addition to her wish list was quite a surprise. I had barely made it across the threshold when she blurted out “I want a baby brother for Christmas!” Continue reading

Thursday Morning Melody: Me And You Grandma

It’s entirely possible that with a week left til Christmas, you’re already tired of hearing every version of “Jingle Bells” imaginable on the radio.
We have the solution.

Erin and MeLissa are a pair of comedians who sing songs and tell jokes in Los Angeles by way of Nashville, TN. This Christmas, they released their newest song, “Me and You Grandma”. It is a tribute to the most under appreciated holiday date you can have: your grandmother. She buys you things. She knows a thing or two about costume jewelry. She doesn’t care how many cookies you eat. That’s love.

So pause your Bing Crosby playlist.
Listen to a little bit of Erin and MeLissa.
Call your grandma.

If you need more Erin and MeLissa, visit their website, listen to their songs on Soundcloud, and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. You won’t regret it. (And we’re not just saying do it because MeLissa is part of our team, but because it’s going to make your life better and filled with more joy).

What do you think of the video? Who are you most excited to see this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below! 

From Intent.com: I Intend to Speak Life

rain-shutterstock

We wait all year for those Coca Cola bears.
We want all our friends and family to come over and sit on the couch to drink hot chocolate and watch Elf.
We don’t even have to put on real clothes.
We can just wear footie pajamas all day long.
Everyone is happy and sings songs like the Whos at the end of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

That is what Christmas looks like in my head.
Instead I’m thinking about how much work I need to finish before I catch a plane home on Wednesday.
I’m thinking about how many Christmas presents I still haven’t purchased and how much money is left in my bank account.
Who is dropping me off at the airport? Who is picking me up at the airport?
I GOT YOU A $100 TARGET GIFT CARD AND YOU GOT ME A BACK SCRATCHER?!

The most wonderful time of the year quickly becomes the most stressful time of the year. The time we meant to spend making memories that will last the whole year through are being replaced by little arguments about stupid things, staying up late trying to get all the loose ends at work tied up, trying to get this Pinterest project to look how it did in the picture!

This week, my intent is to speak life.

When I’m frustrated, when I am afraid of failing, I want to choose to lift up the people around me versus tear them down. I don’t want to let words I don’t mean leave a lasting impression on the people I love.

They may not know what do with the reindeer wreath DIY gift I gave them that crashed and burned, but I hope they think of that last. First, I hope they have memories of me telling them that they are loved and important. I hope they have copious stories to tell of me reminding them that they are beautiful and rare, talented and a gift in my life. I hope they know that because I have wasted not a single moment making them feel special. Because THAT is what the holidays are about. Sacrifice and a willingness to give for the sake of love. Taking my mind off myself for a single freaking second to focus on the people I so easily take for granted: friends, acquaintances or strangers.

So how do you participate?
Speak life.
When you get the opportunity to gripe or yell or cry, choose to speak life.
Uplift. Encourage. Love.

Get into the Spirit: Acts of Holiday Kindness

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of overflowing schedules, maxing out credit cards to fulfill wish lists, and feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep up with it all.Gift

But, it’s important to step back and remember the true meaning of the season. The holidays are a time where we can honor traditions and create new memories, attend festive parties, spend more time with our loved ones, and rejoice in the energy of the pending new year with boundless opportunities ahead.

One of the most beautiful and heartwarming things about the holiday season is that it inspires many to be a little nicer, more giving, more social, and generally overall better to one other.

To gain some perspective on holiday giving, I reached out to a couple of kindness gurus for their take on the gooey heartwarming goodness of the season.

Kris Wittenberg, Founder & CEO of Be Good to People, a movement that’s changing the world one person, one kind act at a time notes, “People are full of good cheer, looking for ways to spread it to others and carry it on into the New Year ahead. There is a sense of altruism brought about by the holiday season. I think people oftentimes are exhausted at the end of the year. They have been running in the rat race, making their way in the world, and as the year ends, they let down their walls a bit and share a common humanity. People are thinking of others as they shop for special gifts, put together their holiday card distribution lists, attend holiday festivities together and spend time with family and friends. It’s just a jovial time.”

Elle Lanning, Senior Director of Communications at Do the KIND Thing: Projects, a program which crowd sources socially impactful ideas and gives away $10k to a winning project every month, adds “when people get in that holiday spirit, they feel compelled to go beyond giving just gifts but also their time, their kind words, and more. Spreading kindness or holiday cheer during this time can be as simple as giving a dollar to the homeless you encounter on your commute every morning, to volunteering, to distributing holiday meals to those in need, to treating a close friend to dinner. The possibilities are endless.”

The holiday season can be a dark time for those who are missing loved ones in their lives or who are struggling to make ends meet. How can one give back this season? It’s a time where we can open up our hearts to those in need while teaching the younger generations that there is more to this time of year than just receiving the latest tech gadget.

Kris Wittenberg gave a few great ideas on how to pay-it-forward over the holidays stating, “there are so many wonderful options for any budget or schedule.” She truly knows what it means to Be Good to People as she offered up these wonderful ideas:

  • Shovel the neighbor’s walk or clear their car of snow before they come out in the morning
  • Offer an elderly person, busy single mom, or someone fighting a debilitating illness help wrapping gifts or decorate the house for the holidays
  • Deliver homemade holiday goodies to a homeless shelter, women’s shelter or nursing home
  • Offer to read holiday stories to kids at the library or to residents at a nursing home
  • Adopt a family (check with your local social services, church or shelter) and surprise them with meals and gifts that fill needs and wants
  • Remember the people who serve with special gifts or notes of appreciation: the mail carrier, the garbage collector, the minister or choir director at your church, the crossing guard, librarian, lunch ladies or janitor at school, the first responders – anyone who makes your neighborhood run. And don’t forget your neighbors!
  • Host a holiday open house and ask that no one bring dishes or drinks but instead bring a new toy wrapped and labeled or a donation that will go to a local charity
  • Instead of just signing holiday cards and mailing them, write a personal note in each – come on, make time! What a difference that makes to the recipient!
  • Deliver warm clothes, socks, shoes, mittens, hats, scarves, and jackets to homeless people – include a warm meal or a gift certificate

While kindness knows no seasonal boundaries, the good holiday vibes, unfortunately, don’t always last forever. KINDS’s Elle Lanning explains, “most people get into the spirit and somewhat inherently fall out when the new year and busy schedules pick up again.” When asked about keeping the spirit alive she says, “The most important thing to remember is that it is simple to be kind and to do it all year round. People often think to do something good, they have to volunteer or write a check. Doing good for others could be simple daily tasks such as holding the door open for a stranger or buying coffee for your colleague.” By signing up for one of her local food bank’s newsletter, she stays in the know of everything they are working on or in need of throughout the year. Signing up for updates on causes you feel in alignment with is a good way to stay inspired and involved with your community as well.

There are so many ways to spread a little love and holiday cheer. Better yet, keep it going all year! What about you? In what ways do you and your family perform acts of holiday kindness? How might you keep the inspiration going year round? Please share with us in the comments below!

(For more from Dawn Gluskin, visit Dawnsense.com to sign up for her weekly love letters and join the inspiring Dawnsense Facebook community.)

photo by: asenat29

Dreaming of a Green Christmas : 3 Ways to Make Your Holiday Environmentally Friendly

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.10.28 AMBy: Elizabeth Eckhart

The holidays are a time of family celebrations, reconnecting with old friends, and celebrating all that we’re thankful for. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of stress, busy schedules, and worse of all, excess. No matter how frugal you may be, chances are you’re finding that extra cold weather and party hosting costs are eating into your budget. And perhaps, if you’re like many other Intent Blog readers, the idea of so much waste, with food and energy, may bother you quite a bit. In order to both keep our habits clean and green, and save some costs, we’ve put together a list of energy saving holiday tricks to get you through the season.

Decorating Tips

If you haven’t already, consider replacing all your holiday lights with energy efficient LEDs, which actually perform better in cold weather. For larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, and place all your lights on a timer or just unplug, ensuring that they won’t be left on during the day when no one can enjoy them. When shopping for outdoor decorations for yourself or others, keep in mind the wide availability of solar powered options.

If you’re really feeling green, you can also decorate with candles. Many families already use luminaries along outdoor walkways on special nights. Consider holiday scented candles, which are a beautiful addition to any home. You can also turn off the lights inside when your brightly decorated tree is on and lit. This will not only save energy; it will immediately make your home feel full of holiday spirit.

Hosting Tips

It may go against holiday tradition, but you can cook some party dishes in the microwave. The typical microwave uses 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven, so even one dish can make a large difference. Using the same reasoning, look up recipes you can create using a slow cooker. Since you’ll still be using the oven for trickier dishes, check progress through the window instead of cracking open the door (which can make the temperature drop 25 degrees in less than a minute!), and feel free to turn the oven off before the food is fully cooked. As long as the door stays shut, your food will finish perfectly and on time. Using glass or ceramic pans also means your dish will cook more quickly, so turn the oven down 20 degrees to save costs.

To keep your fridge running efficiently no matter the number of guests, keep it as stocked as possible — an easy task if feeding a large group of people! You can also defrost items in the fridge instead of a watery sink. Both tips will result in the fridge keeping cooler with less energy.

If you do happen to find your fridge is full, hold off from hauling out the spare fridge, and instead keep extra beverages and holiday leftovers cold by storing them in the garage or in the backyard. And as much as you’d like to clean up quickly following a large holiday meal, your fridge will thank you if you wait until all the food has cooled to room temperature before storing it away.

On the day of your party, turn down the thermostat to 66 degrees. Most people will find this is a comfortable range in a holiday sweater, and the increased body heat should take care of the rest. Keep a few blankets handy for older guests and chronically cold friends. If you plan on setting the mood by using the fireplace, install a tight-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a window nearby. Open-hearth fireplaces actually draw in the heated air from your home and send it straight up the chimney — a problem glass doors can stop. With increased holiday lights on top of heat usage, your bills may still come out higher than expected. If you haven’t already, start monitoring your light usage and reevaluate your energy plan using sites like Energize Connecticut and TexasElectricityProviders.com. Not only can you switch to less expensive plans, you can also choose to have most or all of your energy generated from green sources such as wind or solar.

Gift Giving and Shopping

Although many of us enjoy wandering around decorated stores during the holidays, perhaps even stopping to see Santa, before the perfect gift emerges on its own, you can save time and costs by planning out the gifts necessary for each person. Make use of outlets and strip malls, which mean you have less driving to do from store to store. You can also shop for products made locally or buy materials to craft gifts on your own, which not only supports local businesses but detracts overall from the amount of overseas transit costs and pollution that trucks, boats, and planes cause. The same goes for shopping online  — if you buy your gifts from one store instead of three, you’ll have lower costs associated with packaging and transit.

Regarding the actual gift, aim to buy fewer gifts that use electricity and batteries. An amazing 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season, which means a lot of energy is used. If you must buy electronic gifts, definitely opt for the energy efficient versions, and maybe even throw in rechargeable batteries instead of singular usage batteries.

The holidays are the perfect time to show appreciation for those around you. Whether it be through gifts, parties, or decorations, the holidays can be exciting, albeit expensive. But, if you plan accordingly and shop wisely, you’ll find the damage to your wallet and the earth can be greatly reduced.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...