New Relationship’s First Christmas Gift-Giving Tips

Tips for the new love in your life.

A few of us this year switched our Facebook relationship statuses from “Single” to “In A Relationship.” If that’s you, congrats! Love is a nifty thing, and we all should cherish it, especially as the holiday season comes around.

But as the gift-giving season fast approaches, some may be confused at how to treat holiday gifts when the relationship is new. What do you get your new significant other that’s undeniably romantic, but not too much?

Liz Parker, a couple and family therapist based in Maryland, suggests perhaps having a discussion in advance so both of your expectations are known.

“Gifts don’t have to be expensive. You can be creative and thoughtful without spending a lot of money,” Parker told MTV News. “Maybe decide to do a fun activity together. Sharing a mutual experience is a great way to build connection in any relationship!”

Here are other things to consider while buying gifts for brand-spankin’-new relationship.

    1. Put thought into it


      The best gifts are ones that come from a thoughtful place. The best gift I ever received was from someone who bought me this Kiel James Patrick bracelet — and all because I randomly posted it on my Pinterest board months before about how I was dying to have it.

      Pay attention to any problems they’ve talked about and get them something that will help fix it.

    2. Make your gift an experience

      Teen couple skate on lake, boy provides assistance

      If you make your gift an excuse to spend time together, all the better for the relationship. Going ice skating will do — especially if you live close enough to romantic comedy staple Rockefeller Center.

    3. Don’t go overboard


      Psychology Today notes that a too-expensive a gift too early in the relationship can feel like a bribe. It can also seem like you’re coming on too strong.

      Setting a price point with your partner and finding a great gift will actually show how creative you are, too. If he’s mentioned that he’s sick of his shaving cream, get him this kit from The Art of Shaving.


4. But don’t go under-board, either


A good way to find this sweet spot is to discuss it. “This helps avoid awkwardness or disappointment between you and your partner if you have different ideas about holidays and gift giving,” Parker says. “Communication is critical to avoid hurt feelings and disappointment.”

Try getting something reasonable-yet-thoughtful like the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and offer to help make Cauldron Cakes and Butterbeer together.

5. Be unique

lampWorld Market

You don’t need to break the bank to impress someone. If you know that summer is their favorite season, get them something incredibly unique to remind them of that year-round like this firefly lamp.

6. Don’t wait till the last minute

Feeling the kitchen heatGetty

Don’t. ? Buy. ? Them. ? A. ? Gift. ? Certificate. ? Even something universal like a couple’s cooking class would be a great way to spend time together.

7. Don’t stress, either

Portrait of a young couple kissing over their meal at a diner, London, United KingdomGetty

Something small but from the heart like a dinner for two at a restaurant where you shared a moment goes a lot further than you might think.

This is the first Christmas of hopefully many more to come, so don’t stress *too* much over a gift. If the relationship is worth it, it will show in whatever you do.

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Original Article

Get Even Closer Together Doing Good During the Holidays

The reason why Christmas is a national holiday, whether you celebrate it or not, is because it symbolically represents the season of giving. Many of the other religious holidays in December including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are the same way.

Personally, I’m a giver. It’s more fun for me to figure out unique ways to bless someone with a gift than it is to think about what I’m going to receive from other people. Don’t get me wrong. I still act like a little kid on Christmas morning when my wife gets me the gadget I’ve been salivating over the entire year. But, I really enjoy giving to others. It’s a huge motivator and it helps puts life into perspective for me.

I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but think about giving back to the community, especially during the holiday season. Even if you read this article after Christmas or even during the Spring or Summer, it’s never too late. You can be generous any time of the year. In fact, you might put even bigger smiles on people’s faces because you showed generosity during a time when they least expected it.

Here are 4 creative ideas you can use to give back this holiday season.

1. Anonymous Giving

Giving anonymously is great because the recipients won’t know who the gift came from. As a result, they won’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of needing help. If you really want to make someone’s day, seek out that single mother who busts her butt to provide for her kids or that struggling family that works hard but can’t seem to get ahead. Buy a $50 to $75 toy for each kid and a grocery store gift card for a Christmas dinner. If you have a coworker in mind, get to your office or workplace a little early and deliver it anonymously to their desk or locker.

2. Over Tipping

You probably have people in your life who you see regularly throughout the year such as hair stylists, mailmen, dry cleaners, restaurant servers, and garbage men. Some of these people expect tips and some don’t, but during the holidays especially, you can put a smile on their faces by giving them a big tip to show your appreciation. There’s nothing better for people in the service industry than to get a big fat tip.

3. Give Away Your Christmas Decorations

After the holidays, give away your Christmas decorations to your neighbors and other young couples that don’t have much. After all, if you’ve been married for more than a few years, you start realizing how quickly you accumulate Christmas decorations. Decorations are expensive, and you could bless other families by giving yours away and starting fresh the following year.

4. Take a Homeless Person To Lunch

The majority of homeless people I’ve come across are either mentally ill or just had a tough break in life and don’t know how to turn things around. However, interacting with homeless people can be a wildcard at times, not knowing if they’re going to try and hurt you or be cool. Be sure to take precautions if you do choose to try this tip out. The idea is to get together with a few other people, find a homeless man (or woman), take him out to lunch around the holidays, give him a gift card to a hotel to use for a night’s stay, and buy him a new outfit. You’d be surprised at how receptive they’ll be. They’re not all just looking for booze money.

Seriously, try giving if you haven’t already. If nothing else, it’s pretty fun, and the more creative you get with it, the more memorable it becomes. Also, the more you give back, the more blessings you end up receiving because your eyes are opened to all of the good things you have in your life.

How are you giving this holiday season?

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Original Article

Couples Christmas—Make it Sexy

The festive season is here and you are concerned about what to do with your spouse and what to buy to make Christmas different yet romantic.

Children often shy away from giving sexy gifts to their parents – as if Mom and Pop’s sex life is dead – but they, like the spouses, should really think outside the box and give gifts that are naughty and nice to spark the couple’s sex life. Sex is to be celebrated, especially in a monogamous relationship in which couples have grown together in the union. This provides the basis for selecting very personal gifts which would also fuel sexy activities over the holiday period. It is even more poignant if couples are experiencing the empty nest with children having grown and moved out.

Sexy Christmas for Two

If you are going to spend the holiday season with your loved one, this is an excellent chance to plan a romantic holiday, probably putting some sparkle back into your love life. The cool temperatures already set the stage for twinkling lights and soft carols as part of intimate, steamy evenings of passion.

Hotel ‘nights out’

If you are tired of the home and the efforts it will take to create the magic of the season, you could spend one or two nights in a hotel with full service. With adequate notice, any hotel should be happy to set the stage for you. This is an opportunity for children to pool funds and send parents off to a nice resort with some sexy items in tow. They should take:

  • Sexy lingerie and silk boxer shorts.
  • Scented candles for mood creation.
  • Music of choice to keep it light and easy (include a CD player).
  • Aromatic oils so you can give each other long, sensual massages.
  • Grapes or strawberries which you can feed each other as you soak in a bubble bath.
  • Champagne for sipping as you enjoy the ambience
  • Your gifts which you can open together and share.

Home together

If you are accustomed to trimming your tree, get a small one for both of you to enjoy. Decorate the tree together in a skimpy Christmas outfit and revert to the old practice of kissing under the mistletoe by hanging them around the house. Place all you gifts under the tree for opening on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Home-made dinner for two

A graduate from my cooking course for ‘men only’, boasted that he used his culinary skills to prepare a sensual meal to mesmerise his wife last Christmas, their 10th wedding anniversary. He made plans for lobster dinner, used the rarely-used fine china and best silverware from the breakfront and made sure that his wife and son were busy helping his mother with last-minute baking. They agreed that their son would stay with Grandma that night as the couple would be going out to dinner. When she arrived home to get dressed, she was blown away by the surprise.

Drive out for the Christmas lights

Driving out could be reminiscent of your days of courting. Drive out and look at the Christmas lights and décor in residential and shopping areas, although scaled down this year. You may want to take a blanket and snuggle close in a safe place as you enjoy the lights.

Exchange Gifts

Whether you are at a hotel or at home, exchanging gifts is one of the best parts of Christmas. What gifts can you give for that sex appeal? Naughty gifts are ideal since both of you will be together and no one will see what you got each other.

  • Breakfast in bed is always appreciated and starts foreplay of what is to come later. You can place one exciting gift at breakfast.
  • Sexy robes are easy to slip on and off and they are nice to wrap in as you stroll about the house.
  • You can buy sexy Christmas-themed outfits to wear for the rest of the day while you goof around.
  • Sex games for lovers.
  • Toys are toys, so adult sex toys should not be excluded. These can indulge your fantasies and add variety to your intimacy.
  • Sexy books with a range of topics to suit him or her.

You can search sites online which would provide hundreds of topics you know your partner would like. Also, consider a book for lovers, focusing on how to spice up your love life. It does not have to be explicit or full of photos that make you uncomfortable. Couples can read passionate literature to each other as they may not want to go the mainstream route like watching X-rated movies. Why not give one another passionate books and read passages to one another? You can spice it up by acting out romantic scenes from the descriptive books and you will be able to learn from each other.

Stocking stuffers for her may include:


  • A personal coupon for a one-hour massage.
  • Gourmet chocolates.
  • A gift certificate for her favourite restaurant.
  • Bath products like bubble bath, shower gel and lush soap.
  • Her favourite perfume or body spray.
  • Bath toys for couples.
  • A diamond bracelet, necklace, or ring or some other type of jewellery.

Stocking stuffers for him to cater to his fantasies and passions may include:


  • Sexy lingerie for you, with a promise that you will model it for him later.
  • A personal handmade coupon for his favourite sexual activity, to be performed on demand.
  • A gift card to his favourite store, hobby shop, car-parts store, or whatever his interests are.
  • His favourite fragrance.
  • A life-size photo of you in a sexy outfit for the bedroom (G-strings and high-heels are exciting).
  • French tickler condoms to provide added stimulation.

Wrap it sexy

To make your gift sexy, use your imagination and wrap it in a sexy way. For creativity and recycling, you can create your own wrapping paper by using pages from a sexy magazine.

Christmas does not have to be boring for you and your lover. Be creative and get stores and gift shops to help you. Make this Christmas one your spouse will never forget by spicing it up with sexy gifts and activities this holiday season.

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Original Article

For Lovers: Christmas in Japan

Why is Christmas in Japan a time for lovers?

How is Christmas celebrated in Japan?

While on Christmas Eve many in the West might have been sitting down to a family dinner in preparation for an even bigger dinner on December 25, how was Christmas Eve being spent in Japan?

In recent years, particularly for families with young children, Christmas is celebrated in a very similar way to how it is celebrated in Europe or America, with children eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa and presents. But the real way to celebrate Christmas in Japan is with your boyfriend or girlfriend. In Japan, Christmas Eve is a night for lovers.

The article below discusses the phenomenon, along with netizen opinions on the reasons why Christmas should be a lovers’ festival in Japan.

From Yahoo! Netallica:

It’s a theme that is repeated year in year out. The rule that ‘Christmas Eve is for lovers and romance’, though implicit, makes its presence felt. Feeling that I should investigate this mystery, I tried searching for it on Oshiete! goo [a site similar to Yahoo! Answers]:

‘Why Do Japanese Spend Christmas Eve With Their Lover?’

Having asked someone they liked(?) to a party, a netizen, duffyduffyvさん, asked ‘Why do Japanese spend Christmas Eve with their lovers? Although they are Buddhists, why do they celebrate a Christian festival? And why do they spend it with their lovers rather than their family?’, and furthermore they also added ‘I just don’t understand why they’re hung up on December 24.’

However, those responding to the question said things like, ‘If you can win that argument, you may as well have a party!’. Here, I will introduce some of the answers given to the question on Oshite! goo, and I’m going to suppress the feeling of wanting to ignore the respondents as ‘irritating people’.

A typical Japanese Christmas cake

■ Is Your Lover Santa Claus?

‘The ancient Japanese religion was Shinto. Namely, a religion with myriad gods and goddesses. Even Buddha and Christ are no more than one god from a whole host of deities. Therefore, even if we celebrate Christmas, there are no discrepancies.’(hekiyuさん)

‘The point is that we don’t have to get hung up on “Westernness”, or “Learning about the real Christmas”. For Japanese, “Westernness” is not real, […] Christmas has the same appeal as a “matsuri” [festival].’(gldfishさん)

These are the individual perspectives of the respondents, but ‘matsuri’ seems to be a perfectly fitting phrase.

‘It was since Yuuming’s [singer Matsuyoya Yumi] song ‘My Lover Is Santa Clause’ that Christmas Eve became a day to spend with your lover. People became richer, […], hotels, who had their eye on this, offered loads of Christmas plans. […]. It was the natural flow of things that Christmas Eve then became thought of as a day you spend with your lover.’(IDii24さん)

According to Wikipedia, it appears that it was after the Christmas sales wars were waged in the 1900s that Christmas spread to countries across the globe. Even regarding Christmas Eve parties, Wikipedia says that the oldest is recorded as being in the Meiji period, and that the custom of spending Christmas Eve with the opposite sex had already become common by the early Showa period. Still, it seems that even Yuuming’s song, that is played at this time every year, can be said to have played an important part in creating the image of Christmas as a time you spend with your lover.

Many hotels in Japan offer romantic Christmas plans for couples.

And For Those Who Blow Hot and Cold

This writer had some doubts about the hot/cold nature of the questioner’s date. In this case, the comment below might be the correct approach to take.

‘Logically speaking, of course it’s inconsistent that we celebrate Christmas Eve like this, but for me, Christmas Eve is an extremely important day that I spent enjoying with my family or my friends when I was young, so is it wrong to say I want to spend that important day with the one I love?’(alienabiliさん)

Although there was no one was able to give a definitive reason as to why Christmas is celebrated in this way in Japan, there was also the perspective that:

‘(The reason Christmas Eve has spread in Japan’ is most likely because it was the festival of the winter solstice, I think. In Japan, where we have four seasons and winter is generally cold, the joy of the winter solstice […] just seems to work with Christmas Eve.’

In the church calendar, it seems that it is Christmas from nightfall (the evening of December 24). So there is also the explanation, just as the previous response says, ‘the festival of the winter solstice that celebrates the reappearance of the sun’. In Japan, where harmony is respected, then isn’t it alright if we cast it as an ‘annual occurrence in which we feel the passage of the seasons’? After all, Japan is a country that has respect for the cultures of other nations…

Leaving aside the issue of whether the netizen who asked the original question was able to win the argument, and enjoy Christmas Eve, I think I’d like to end by representing the Christmas Loners’ Alliance, with the words: ‘Stop rubbing my face in it, you bastard.’

Irie Neco

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Spending Holidays Apart as Husband and Wife

Last Christmas Eve, my wife Kim and I performed our annual holiday ritual. No stockings were hung, no champagne was toasted, no duet of “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” was sung, no gifts were exchanged, just a couple of simple “I love yous” before drifting off to sleep — 270 miles apart.

For ten years running, we’ve spent the holidays apart. And it’s not just Christmas. We usually go our separate ways for Thanksgiving, too.

Kim heads north to join her family in suburban Boston; I go south to sit in my mom’s dank living room in her urban Philadelphia neighborhood. Why, you ask?

Isn’t it obvious?

We adhere to a foolproof system for reducing the holiday-related torture known as in-laws.

No, not really. Yes, that’s the standing laugh line we use when people look at us like we’ve just told them that we’re swingers with a “Hey, what’re you doing this weekend?” look, but chronic familial avoidance was actually never a major factor for us.

It seemed logical, reasonable, and economical in 1999, so we did it. And kept on doing it year after year. At this point, the reason we split up on the two biggest holidays of the year is that it’s become a tradition.

Some people have their big dinner Christmas Eve, others on Christmas Day. And some people’s time-honored Christmas ritual includes holding hands in the cold on 8th Avenue in Manhattan before tearily boarding Bolt buses headed in opposite directions on I-95.

That’s a slight exaggeration. Kim gets up much much earlier than I do, so our parting is usually a kiss on the slumbering cheek and an unrequited, “Tell your Mom I said ‘Merry Christmas.'”

To us, it seems like no big deal, but last year when I started a new job, some of the women in my office found this whole thing truly remarkable. One thought it a perfect synthesis of modern marriage; another an interesting precedent to look into; another couldn’t believe either mother-in-law would allow it; while a fourth simply looked at me with sad eyes and said in a muted tone, as if our puppy had just perished, “Wow, that’s too bad.”

The thing is, though, it’s not. From our perspective, the idea of the importance of holidays trumps the actual events of the day itself.

We don’t have any kids (yet), so it’s not like we’re missing out on the joys of watching our footie-pajama-clad-brood roll around in shiny wrapping paper. And we have spent a few Thanksgivings together at home in New York City, but only when there were special extenuating circumstances, like West Coast visitors or being tasked to march with Barney in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As for Christmas, well, it works out for the best. Kim’s family celebrates traditionally with a big tree, a big meal, and a big discussion on how early they should get up to work out on Dec. 26.

Mom and I, we spend a lot of time on her couch. She lives alone in a ramshackle rowhouse in a decaying neighborhood, so decorating isn’t all that high on her holiday priority list. We watch TV; we talk about the old days; we call my brothers; and then I get drunk with my cousins. This isn’t to say that we don’t have a fine time together; it just lacks 95 percent of the typical holiday hullabaloo.

Quick! Outside of some major food catastrophe or bizarre visitor, try to remember a specific Thanksgiving dinner. Pleasant? Absolutely. Memorable? Meh.

Except for the year my dad made cold pumpkin soup. (Three decades later, I still shudder.)

My Uncle John always cooks up a nice prime rib on Christmas Day, and the night before, Mom and I go out to eat. One year, the only place we could find open was a Shula’s Steakhouse. Their menu comes on a football, an actual leather football. God bless us, everyone!

Kim’s experience is a little more Bedford Falls to my Pottersville, which suits us both just fine. Her upside is the Christmas-y feel of hot cocoa in her pajamas; mine is that Mom no longer has the desire to attend Christmas Mass.

The most important part is that it works for Kim and me. If there was ever any in-law badgering about the standing arrangement, it went by the wayside as soon as a lack of grandchildren rendered us more or less irrelevant.

At the dawn of a new decade, however, our perfect holiday system may have run its course. When we met back up at home, Kim announced that she didn’t want to split up for both Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore. And as much as I enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal and forgotten family trivia served up at the Palm in Philly (FYI: It’s housed in the same building where my mom’s high school prom took place), it may be time for Kim and me to start our own damn traditions.

Or not.

Nothing wrong with celebrating the second Monday in November, or the holy day of Dec. 28.

After all, it’s not the calendar, it’s the company.

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Spot Your Soulmate this Holiday in a Crowd

It is now officially the season of love, light and laughter. This is the best time to be with someone special and snuggle up together.

Many of us are open to finding that special soul mate that will complete us. With the romantic backdrop of glistening Christmas lights and the undeniable power of mistletoe, anything is possible.

Take advantage of all the festivities and parties to maximize your chances of meeting the right person for you. However you could have a close encounter of the soul mate kind at the cheese counter in the Supermarket, anything could happen! If you are open to meeting your soul mate it is more than likely it will happen. If you are serious about meeting your soul mate make sure you take the following action:

  1. Send out a message to the Universe that you are ready for a soul mate experience. Do this by meditating and visualizing how it would feel to be totally in love. Ask Archangel Chamuel to manifest the perfect partner for you.
  2. Make sure that your confidence levels are high and that you feel good about yourself.
  3. Don’t allow preconceived ideas about your perfect partner ruin your chances of meeting them. Be open to all possibilities. Love doesn’t have trivial tick boxes.
  4. Believing is seeing, know that it will happen!

So what is a soul mate and how do we identify them?

A soul mate is someone that has shared previous lives with you. They are from the same soul group. They make your heart sing, challenge your preconceived ideas and allow spiritual growth. Many soul mates meet again because they were not able to fulfill their destiny together in previous lives.

Here is the lowdown on identifying a true soul mate

  • It is an incredible instant attraction that pales any other romantic encounter into insignificance. The instant chemistry between you is magnetic and undeniable.
  • There is instant soul recognition by one or both parties.
  • They feel so familiar, you know that you have been with them before
  • Look into their eyes (preferably when sober) and feel the special connection.
  • The physical chemistry is so much stronger than an every day relationship. When you know them well enough to get intimate, sex takes you to another level, its magic.

Give yourself the best Christmas present ever by asking our psychics when you will meet the love of your life. Have a cracking Christmas!

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Original Article

Celebrating Christmas Eve as a Single

It’s that time of year. And we’re *so* glad we’re singletons…

Now, don’t get us wrong. We all know that there can be some amazing perks to being in a relationship.

Romantic mini-breaks, someone to share the hoovering with, comforting cuddles in the sofa and your own personal chef on tap (if you’re lucky).

But at the same time, isn’t there just something truly magical about being a single lady? Especially at Christmas…

Here are 17 reasons why being single at this festive time of year is the best thing ever…

1) You can lie in bed watching Home Alone and Elf with mince pie crumbs in your cleavage ALL day Christmas Eve and nobody will judge you.

2) Haven’t shaved your legs since December 1st? Literally no one cares.

3) You can spend as much money as you want in the Boxing Day without anyone branding you ‘reckless’.

4) You can set your desktop background as Tom Hardy in a Santa hat (and occasionally gaze wistfully at it) without anyone getting jealous.

5) Let’s be honest. M&S two dine in for £10 goes a lot further without a boyfriend. Think of all the extra pigs in blankets you’ll get…

6) You can rock that amazing mesh bodysuit to your work Christmas party without being asked why you’ve chosen to step out in a pair of fishnet tights. Er, because I look AMAZING?

Christmas Proposals: Private or Public

Planning a marriage proposal is awesome, especially if it’s on Christmas Eve.

While holidays can be special times to become engaged, Christmas proposals must be carefully orchestrated to avoid hurt feelings and awkward embarrassment no matter what the woman’s answer may be. When planning a Christmas proposal, the first consideration is which day to pop the big question.

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day

Man Presenting Golden Ring In Box Against Decorated Christmas TrFor some families, the majority of the celebration occurs on Christmas Eve with a traditional dinner, gift exchange, church service, or other annual ritual. In other families, the true holiday begins on Christmas morning. If you want a private proposal, the best bet is to opt for the day without the larger celebration, while a public proposal necessitates the day when everyone is gathered. Another consideration is where you will be that day – traditionally, a public proposal should occur with the bride-to-be’s family, and that consideration should take precedence over which day you propose. If your beloved is not close to her family, however, other arrangements are acceptable.

The Proposal: Public or Private?

Christmas celebrations invariably involve family and friends. If you want to propose during the holiday season, specifically near either Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, you must consider whether a public or private proposal would be more suitable.

Public Christmas Proposals

A public proposal is one that involves family members who may or may not be in on the secret. There are several ways to make a public proposal around family members and future in-laws:

  • A holiday toast asking the important question
  • Opening a gift that contains the engagement ring
  • Dressing up as Santa Claus but giving an engagement ring instead of a candy cane
  • Opening an “anonymous” holiday card with the question inside
  • Visiting Santa at the mall together to ask for your Christmas wish

If you do opt for a public proposal, be sure you have carefully judged your sweetheart’s reaction before asking the question. She may prefer a more private, intimate proposal followed by a public revelation. Furthermore, while a new engagement can add more significance and joy to a holiday celebration, a public rejection can awkwardly taint the holidays for everyone present.

Private Christmas Proposals

If you are uncertain of her answer, or if your girlfriend prefers a more intimate setting, a private proposal is the best option, followed by sharing the news with family and friends to add to the celebration. When proposing privately during the holidays, there are many ways to infuse the joy of the season with the romance of the ultimate question:

  • Viewing holiday light displays and asking for her hand amid their twinkling glow
  • Offering a private “special” gift that you want her to open early
  • Hanging the engagement ring on the Christmas tree and pointing it out so that she finds it
  • Arranging a unique seasonal excursion, such as a sleigh ride or ice skating
  • Watching a snowfall and remarking that not all ice is cold as you give her a diamond ring

A private proposal will not likely remain private for long because friends and family are visiting during the holidays. You can quickly spread the news of your engagement and add to the seasonal joy. If, however, the proposal is rejected or she needs time to consider her answer, a private proposal spares both individuals the embarrassment and awkwardness of public pressure.

Telling Friends and Family

Once you have proposed and she has accepted your offer, it is time to spread the news to family and friends with engagement announcements. Of course, a public proposal does this automatically, but you still need to contact the absent relatives via telephone, e-mail, or written note before they find out from other people. If you do choose to spread the word through the mail, never send a formal announcement, particularly to close relatives or friends. Formal wording will seem cold and distant, particularly during the holiday season when they were not privileged to be a part of the event.

After a private proposal, you can inform people of your new engagement through a holiday toast at dinner, or simply by making the announcement at a party. If you are not able to make a group announcement, sending holiday thank you cards is the perfect way to inform everyone of the change in your relationship. Likewise, telephone calls and e-mails are also perfect announcements.

The holiday season is filled with magic, wonder, and joy. Many couples choose to add romance to that special feeling by becoming engaged during the season. Whether you choose a public or private Christmas proposal, the special moment when she says “yes” will always be a treasured holiday memory.

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Original Article

These Christmas Cookies Increase Sexual Appetite

Ever wondered how these Christmas cookies increase your sexual drive?

Christmas cookies have multiple advantages. (Photo: Clara from Austria / Wikimedia Commons)

Not only do they taste good – they also have a special effect on your brain’s reward system. Therefore, this year you can eat as many Christmas cookies you want without feeling guilty.

During Christmas, we eat a lot of good food and gingerbread, sirupsnipper (syrup collars) and spiced cakes are common in Norwegian homes. However, researchers have found that the taste can give you more pleasure than just good coffee bread.

– Because of the spices, the cookies increase your sex drive, says Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Tromsø, Aina W. Ravna to

Affects the Brain

Many of the spices used in traditional Christmas cookies such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg contain substances that increases your libido. It also has an affect against depression.

The brain has a reward system where the molecule dopamine plays an important role. When you have a positive experience the level of dopamine increases. This also happens when you eat food containing the typical Christmas spices.

– The spices contain substances that affects the dopamine levels. This means that gingerbread can get you in a better mood and increase your sex drive, Ravna continues.

Moreover, in combination with chocolate the effect is even better.

– Chocolate contains a substance similar to dopamine that makes you feel horny and in love, she smiles.

Cinnamon Is the Winner

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde – a substance with chemical structure similar to the body’s own dopamine where low doses stimulates and high doses makes you sedative. Modern research confirms that cinnamon boosts the sexual appetite.

– Research shows that freshly baked cinnamon buns was the smell that had the most effect on men’s libido, Ravna tells.

Good for Depression and Colds

The Christmas spices are also beneficial for those affected by the dark season, and for people with a cold.

– Mexican hot chocolate is brilliant. It is common cocoa added cinnamon and cardamom among other. It is a very good drink for the season, she concludes.

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Original Article

A Workaholic’s Guide to Not Hide and Have a Happy Holiday

The holidays can be triggering for many reasons. It’s tempting to fall back into work mode, and hide there. But don’t give up!

It’s hard for me to stop working.

I’m a passionate person, and highly driven. When things go well, I’m on top of the world. When projects go badly, I triple my efforts in trying to fix them. 2016 has been a garbage year, for a lot of people. I am no exception. There’s too much to do, too much to fix, and not enough time.

Now, the holidays are here. The candles are lit, Christmas cards are arriving, lights go up on surrounding houses, carols drift by with each passing car…and I’m working. I’m typing furiously, checking boxes off of my to-do list, and fighting a heavy cold. Now is not the time for rest. My hustle is unstoppable.

Everyone around me is hunkering down in cozy sweaters and sipping egg nog with loved ones. Why are all my friends so relaxed? It’s both mystifying and enviable. I’d love to lounge around and feel merry. But the very thought of doing nothing makes me feel anxious. Why?

I guess I’m just not ready for the year to end. With so many projects up in the air, and a mountain of unfinished messes on my desk, I simply can’t stop working. My goals are huge, and I’m never going to reach them if I stop working.

It’s been this way for nearly every holiday that I can remember.

I’m scared that if I stop working, success will pass me by. I’m worried that if I don’t have achievements to show my friends and family, then I won’t be making them proud. And if I’m not making my family proud, they aren’t going to love me.

In typing this, I realize just how f*cked up that sounds.

My name is Rachel, and I’m a workaholic.

…At least, that’s what my family, friends and therapist tell me.

But how reliable can their opinions be, really? For the sake of this article, I’ve decided to turn to the real expert in my life: Google.

Searching: “Signs You Might Be A Workaholic.”


  1. “You may be a workaholic if… you devalue self-care and personal priorities in favor of professional goals.”
  2. “The thought of not working is more stressful than actually working.”
  3. “You don’t take real vacations. You sneak in work wherever you can.”
  4. “You rarely tell your bosses ‘no,’ but your friends and family rarely hear ‘yes.’”

Uh….sure, I display all of these qualities, but I think there’s a difference between ‘workaholism’ and a successful mindset. I thought passion and persistence were good things. I work hard, so I can play hard…someday.

After all, this isn’t an addiction. It’s dedication and drive!

I want everyone to see me as ambitious, busy, and on the way to something great, because that’s who I want to be. I’m terrified of sitting still, because I’m not a lazy person. I’ve got important things to do.

…That said, I should be working on my dreams, not Googling made-up diseases.

So screw you, Google. I’m fine.

  1. “You never call yourself a workaholic.”


Mental illness is no stranger to me. I’m not exactly hiding that I’ve struggled with depression, OCD and CPTSD for most of my life. I don’t need – or want – to add one more label to my long list of problems.

That said, the problem is already there. Becoming aware of it and adding a handy label doesn’t add fuel to the fire. Noticing a rainstorm is the first step to finding an umbrella.

So, I’m coming up with a plan. Perhaps there’s a way to trick my workaholic brain into seeing the impending holiday as an opportunity, instead of a drag on my momentum. I’m making this list of tips for myself to follow as the holidays unfold. I invite you all to join me!

A Workaholic’s Guide to a Happy Holiday

Week 1. Pre-Game!

In the week leading up to your holiday plans, you can maximize your productivity in a final year-end push. Tying up loose ends in this way can help to diminish your guilt and stress while you’re away.

A: Schedule your final week of work with the most intense tasks, first.

Then in the last few days of this workweek, give yourself more time in the evenings to relax. This will help you practice ‘putting it down’ and focusing on what’s important.

B: Give yourself a year-end review.

Go over your calendars, notes and milestones from the year and make a list of your biggest accomplishments. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve done in the last 365 days.

C: Don’t plan what’s next.

Take your list of accomplishments with you for the holidays, and skim over it once a day if that makes you feel better. The holidays are a time to celebrate what’s important, and you are worth celebrating. You’ve worked hard to get here, so stop and appreciate it for a week or two. Every business needs to take a little time out for inventory, and you are no different. Celebrate what you’ve got!

Week 2. Merry Christmas!

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, this time of year is about family and friends. If you’ve cut them out of your life, now is the time to reconnect. If being around family overwhelms you, remember to squeeze in some ‘you’ time. The holidays can be triggering for many reasons. It’s tempting to fall back into work mode, and hide there. But don’t give up! The following steps will help you make the most of this time away from work.

A: Get lost in activities.

Play scrabble, go skiing, build a snowman. Engage in a long conversation with your grandma, and ask her what life was like for her at your age. Whatever your family and friends like to do for the holidays, jump in. Putting work down is surprisingly productive for your general sense of well-being, health, and clarity of mind. Life is happening in front of you. Don’t miss it.

B: Give yourself five minutes (every other day) to scan your emails.

Don’t analyze or reply to any of them, just skim through subject lines. It’ll give your peace of mind in knowing that nothing’s caught on fire while you’re away, and lower your anxiety. That said…make sure to set a timer, so you don’t get sucked in.

C: Put down your Smartphone.

Everyone around you is taking pictures, and they’ll be there when the holidays are over. Social media can be a one-way ticket to comparison, competition, emotional triggers and conflict. Do your professional spirit a favor and unplug for the holidays. You’ll come back to your work refreshed and ready to rock, without any extra baggage.

Week 3. Have a Happy New Year.

A: Remember that list of last year’s accomplishments?

Keep it. When you’re on the plane back from your holiday travels, pull out that list and think about how far you’ve come. Add “enjoyed the holidays” to the end of that list, and decide to do even better next year. Now that the holidays are over, you can jump into goal-setting and evaluating your priorities for the new year. Enjoy the brainstorm, but don’t burn out.

B: Set aside time to examine what you missed (and didn’t miss) over the holidays, organizing emails by priority and responding in little chunks.

Pace yourself and ease back into your routine. Don’t work late. Instead, use your evenings to relax (like you did before the holidays). Implementing a healthy balance will make you even more productive in the long run.

C: Take time to review what just happened.

We can only understand the object of our addiction once it is taken away. So how were the holidays for you, really? Do your shame-based feelings suggest that a deeper healing needs to take place? Call your friends and family to check in, now that the holidays are over. Ask them what they think. Remember where your support system is, and use it. There are many ways to achieve a healthy balance in life, so figure out what’s best for you. Perhaps you can commit to reading relevant books (like Daring Greatly) and implement their teachings. Maybe therapy is a good option.

The new year is a great time to commit to your success – and a healthy mindset is key to success in all areas.

I’ll be working to follow my own advice this holiday season, and I hope you’ll join me in the journey. Are there any tips that work (or don’t) for you? Share with us in the comments below!

New Relationship? Take This Quiz to See If You’re Ready to Spend the Holidays with Your Significant Other

With the holidays fast approaching, you’re probably wondering if you and your new honey are ready to spend the season together. But going to your partner’s family home over the holidays can be a big deal.

Not only is there the stress of getting to know your partner’s whole family, but there’s the added pressure of what it means to take this momentous step. For some, bringing a partner to their home for the holidays is a way of saying you’re “serious,” some might even see it as a sort of pre-engagement. It’s a big deal.

So, how do you know if you’re ready?

Answer the questions below to find out if you should spend the holidays with your sweetie.

1. Do you see yourself spending the next year together?

It’s a simple question, but at the same time, not so simple. There’s no relationship crystal ball. You can’t know for sure if you’re going to be together in a year, six months, or even a month from now. Especially in new relationships, it’s hard to anticipate what will happen next.

But two things you can track is how you feel and what your intentions are. Start asking yourself how the relationship has been going so far. Have you seen any red flags? Or has everything been smooth sailing? Do you want to be with this person in the long term, or do you see it as just a fling?

Just because a relationship is new doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. If you find yourself wanting to be together 6 months from now, or even a year from now, go ahead and spend the holidays together. You might even end up feeling closer over the holiday season, and bonding even more.

If, on the other hand, your not sure if you see each other together in the coming months, if things are already rocky and you’re not sure if this person is a potential for, say, marriage—maybe skip it. Spending time with a partner’s family probably isn’t going to make a relationship better, so don’t waste your (or your partner’s) time.

2. Do you talk about your families all the time, but haven’t met them?

For some people, family is a big deal.

Have you noticed your partner talks about family often? Does he or she mention the crazy things their sister does or the sweet things their dad used to do when they were growing up? Do they look forward to visits with their nieces and nephews?

If this sounds like your partner (or even if it sounds like you!) meeting the family might be a bigger deal than you think.

If family is a big deal to one, or both of you, meeting the family may be a make-or-break scenario. Some people consider it a “deal breaker” if their family doesn’t like, or get along with, a partner. While this certainly isn’t the case with everyone (I once had a friend who more or less stopped talking to his entire  family because they were rude to his wife) if your partner really cares about their family’s opinion, it could affect your relationship.

If this is the case, meeting the family (and seeing how you get along) is probably a good thing to do sooner rather than later.

Happy multiethnic couple on christmas holidays.

3. Do you want to move forward in your relationship?

Maybe you, or your partner, aren’t particularly close with your families. Maybe you’ve been out on your own for a while and whether or not your family “approves” of your partner isn’t that big of a deal to you. And yet, meeting family over the holiday might still be a big deal to both of you.

Meeting family doesn’t have to be a big to-do or have underpinnings of a “test.” Spending time with family doesn’t have to be about whether or not the family likes a new partner. Sometimes, it’s just about you two, and wanting to show each other  that you’re serious about your relationship.

Going to a partner’s house for the holidays can be a big step, and being willing to do that together can mean a lot to some couples.

Of course, spending the holidays together shouldn’t be a way to “prove” your commitment, and agreeing to go to Christmas at your partner’s family home doesn’t take the place of having that good old fashion “where are we?” talk. But spending the holidays together, and with each other’s families, can be a good way to show each other that you’re really taking the relationship seriously.

4. Do you want to go for it?

Perhaps you simply want to go to your partner’s family home for the holidays.

Spending time together doesn’t have to have an ulterior motive—like moving forward in a relationship. Maybe you want your relationship to stay the same. Maybe you just don’t have anywhere else to go for the holidays. Or maybe you simply think it would be fun.

While some couples think spending the holidays together is a big step, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Talk about it beforehand, and if you both seem like you’re on the same page, go for it. Even if you’re not thinking your relationship is very “serious” now, maybe you two have the makings for something more. No matter what, wanting to spend time with your partner is a good sign.

On the other hand, it’s when you’re feeling a sense of dread about going to his or her home for the holidays, that you have to look out for.

If your partner asked you if you to come over for the holidays, and your immediate reaction was panic, you may want to consider the possibility that this may not be the right relationship for you.

Whether you’re hoping to take your relationship to the next level this season, or are just hoping for great company over the holidays, spending time with your new partner’s family can be fun and exciting. But before you pack your bags, make sure you’re ready for this big step.