Ten ways to get out the elf

As an advocate for all things Christmas -– I’m believed to be part elf –- I think I have the authority to brighten your holiday cheer and suggest some Rudolph-approved activities.

Now first of all, let’s get it out there in the open: We all know the real reason for the season is the birth of Jesus. That being said, let’s celebrate with our culture -– with a sprig of Mistletoe and a bowl full of jelly.

Here are 10 Christmas activities to bring about the elf in you.

1) Decorate a tree

This is an absolute must! If you can’t afford a 7-foot fir, gather some leaves from Biola’s own Christmas tree. Pop some popcorn and string it around the tree. Cover it in all sorts of ornaments, from homemade ones to intricate glass bulbs handed down from your great-great-grandmother. Once the lights and ornaments have adorned your evergreen, plug it in, and voilà! Now, tree decorating alone can be nice, and your tree will end up exactly how you hoped it would, but adding a few friends into the mix is much more fun.

But, make sure to have Christmas music on.

2) Look at Christmas Lights

Students don’t always get to see the houses surrounding Biola, so here is your chance. Spend your last flex dollars at Common Grounds on a hot chocolate, grab your friend who has a car with seat warmers and drive slower than your grandma who got run over by a reindeer through the streets of La Mirada. Make sure to have the radio programmed to an all-Christmas-all-the-time station. In fact, a few houses in the area have their lights synched to some stations.

3) Have a Christmas movie marathon

Finish out your finals by letting your brain de-frost. Start with “The Santa Clause.” Follow it up with “Muppets Christmas Carol” and “Elf.” After you’ve had all of that fun, get ready to sing along with “White Christmas.” To finish, a Christmas movie marathon wouldn’t be complete without “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you’re still in the mood, TBS will probably be showing “A Christmas Story” over and over and over and over and over again.

4) Have a Christmas Party

The best parties always involve snacks -- and lots of them. Se let your guests eat their way through the holiday with all of the Christmas favorites: White Oreos, peppermint bark and Muddy Buddies. Drink some eggnog, peppermint hot chocolate and hot apple cider to top it off.

If you want to make your own treats for the party, make Christmas cupcakes, cookies and Chex Mix. Basically, color anything red and green and name it something Christmas-like.

5) Christmas Disney

I’ll admit I am a Disneyland fanatic, so I think this is an absolute must-do for the Holidays. The bubble snow on Main Street transports you from the busyness of the land to the North Pole –- sort of. For those without Disney passes or those that don’t feel it’s worth it to splurge on a trip for Christmas, go to Downtown Disney. Christmas music plays everywhere and the whole street along with The Disney Store are full of decorations. Plus, they have kettle corn.

6) Listen to Classic Christmas Music

Remember, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” So pay tribute to Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and the other greats by listening to them croon your favorite Christmas tunes. Wherever you are, make sure to play this music loud and sing in a way that would make Buddy the Elf very proud.

7) Read a Christmas Story by Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Stories like “The Polar Express,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Littlest Angel” resonate with almost any Christmas lover. Sit by a fireside, and read the story aloud and show the pictures to everyone around you like you are their third grade teacher.

8) Attend a Christmas Worship Service

These are not always as common as a traditional Christmas Eve service, but are worth looking for. It may seem odd to change the carols we sing into worship songs, but the meaning is so much stronger once sung in these settings. I attended my first Christmas Eve worship service five years ago, and I plan on stopping only when the service ceases to exist.

9. Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Even though we are stuck in Southern California, where it seems like fall has just begun and winter is a myth, it is time to get out all of your winter dress. Grab your hat, coat, gloves and galoshes and brave that “wintery” air. Whether you are walking to or from the Caf, class or just about anywhere, dress to impress Jack Frost and you may be surprised that the warmer you dress, the more it feels like Christmas!

10. Stuff a Stocking by the Chimney with Care

Stockings are a very fun part of Christmas. To see that stocking filled with candy and toys is a great sight, but it’s even better when you see that stocking given away. Check out on campus ministries, Operation Christmas Child and local churches to see if there are any stockings or boxes you can fill for some kids or families. If you can’t find any of these things, find a Toys for Tots bin in the area. Get a gift for a child to brighten up their holiday. We get plenty around this time of year and giving is a whole lot of fun, too.

(Hint: On a budget this Christmas? Any Dollar Tree is the answer to your stocking stuffing needs.)

So, there you have it. 10 things to do as finals come and go and Christmas approaches. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a stress free 7-week break!

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