Friday Thoughts: Eugenia Cooney Has Got To Go

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If you are someone who is sensitive to discussions of eating disorders or a fan of Eugenia Cooney, this one isn’t for you. Happy New Year, blah, blah, blah – 2021 is shaping up to be just as weird as 2020. Yay 😉 Anyway, a couple of nights ago I am rolling through YouTube trying to find something to watch, I don’t subscribe to a ton of channels & will find myself down the odd rabbit hole on occasion. My recommended videos are a variety of everything & nothing since I will watch anything excluding diet, weight loss, exercise channels, etc. because as someone who manages an eating disorder, this content can be tricky to ingest. Now & again, the YouTube algorithm will throw me the odd health channel probably because I watch a lot of lifestyle channels & it’s fine but I found myself absolutely disgusted when Eugenia’s most recent video popped up in my feed.

I don’t watch her, I did watch the Shane Dawson video, just never her specifically but she has been a name within the community for a long time. Unfortunately, her images are often used as inspiration or encouragement for people looking to fuel their disorders. It’s like – if she can be that skinny & not dead then I can too. She is stupid & blind to her disorder at best, dangerous & fully in control of what she is doing at worst. I personally believe that it’s the latter, she full well knows that her content is pro-ana, thinspo & fodder for perverts or the morbidly curious. By allowing her to have a monetized channel, YouTube is allowing her more accessibility to people of all ages & basically paying her to kill herself. What is even more twisted is that to my knowledge, she has never admitted that she has a problem which is incredibly misleading to her following, young people especially. Not only can she not admit that she has a problem, she probably never shares the graphic details of what her disorder is doing to her body. Instead, she presents herself as this cutesy, terminally delightful, childlike being who just wants to live her life. That’s fine, that’s complete bullshit but it’s fine – take it offline then & stop monetizing your mental illness.

Is she providing tips or commentary on how she maintains her outrageously low body weight? No, probably not but she is presenting this everything is fine façade that is dangerous. She is showcasing her illness, this glamorizes it & could encourage others to try & do the same. To me, it’s no different than watching your favorite beauty guru & wanting to become really good at makeup application so that you can be the next big guru. Since she won’t be honest about what’s actually going on, I can provide some insight into the physical toll that a long term eating disorder can take on a body – the shit they don’t tell you in school.

I was actively bulimic from 17 to 26 years old, I say actively because it’s something that I manage each day & choose not to engage in. I was never a binge & purge person, I would eat a regular meal & then expel it. I have occasional slip ups, going vegan has definitely been tricky because it puts a lot of emphasis on food & this can feel unhealthily obsessive but hasn’t caused any major issues. Eugenia is 26 now, when I finally started treatment at the same age, it was only after being fitted for a partial denture because many of my back teeth were falling out or so severely decayed that they had to be pulled. I didn’t care that I was freakishly thin, I liked the way that I looked, for some reason the denture thing really triggered me & finding out that my dentist was a recovering anorexic that encouraged me to take the next step. Thankfully now, I have been able to replace my teeth with individual dental implants on posts which was as an extremely painful (and expensive) procedure. Forcing yourself to throw up consistently also causes bizarre issues with the throat muscles & can lead to years of involuntary puking. I am 34 now, I cannot brush my teeth without throwing up or dry heaving. It’s embarrassing, not as embarrassing as some of the instances that occurred earlier in my recovery but it still sucks. Chronic acid reflux & bouts of IBS are other digestive issues that I experience on the regular. I have arthritis in my back, ribs & deteriorated bone density in one hip that could necessitate a hip replacement by age 40. The thing is, you can recover from an eating disorder but you’ll never be quite the same. It isn’t a game, it’s not just simply wanting to be thin & then being able to go back to a normal existence once you’ve attained your goal. There really isn’t a goal aside from wanting to be thinner & wanting others to notice that you are thinner. I’m not even considered an extreme case, long term but not extreme & this shit has plagued me for decades. It will always have an impact on my day to day life & seeing some little brat on the internet glamorizing a deadly lifestyle is infuriating.

There is no shame in admitting that you have an eating disorder even if you aren’t ready to deal with it. At the least, she could admit her issue & be honest that she doesn’t feel the need to seek treatment but be honest about it. Tell young viewers that it’s a shitty existence that makes you feel like shit all of the time. Tell them that your bones ache, that you can’t sleep, that it doesn’t truly make you happy. Tell them that it’s an existence that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Let them know the risks; heart failure, organ failure, mood swings, chronic headaches, blindness, seizures, death – just to name a few. Eugenia Cooney is not living, she is dying. If she can’t admit this & censor her content then YouTube & other platforms need to step in & do it for her, I’m still so disgusted that I’m considering boycotting YouTube altogether. Parents can only do so much to protect their kids online & sometimes, thinspo content isn’t easily spotted, it can seem like a harmless inspirational quote if you aren’t wise to the community.

I don’t pity her, just like I don’t pity myself – eating disorders are mental health disorders but it’s something we can choose to deal with. I would encourage anyone struggling with an eating disorder to at least stop & really consider what’s going on, even if you aren’t ready to seek treatment – just stop & think for a moment. Consider a life that isn’t consumed by an eating disorder. It’s a much more beautiful existence. Sure, I am a bit fat now & feel about 80 years old sometimes but overall am much healthier & happier for seeking treatment. I hope that you are happy, healthy & just doing the best that you can ❤

On The 25th Day of Blogmas: And to All, A Goodnight

Blogmas

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & if you don’t celebrate, I hope you at least got a day off 😊 It was a quiet day here with some cookie baking, two virtual gift unwrappings, cleaning & spiced wine 🎅 Being one of those individuals who experiences a lot of anxiety over expressing enough appreciation, it’s somehow even more stressful over video 😂 Am I smiling enough? Am I overdoing it? Probably…it was fun though, gift giving is my favorite part of Christmas.

This will be the final Blogmas post, taking it all the way to the new year sounds exhausting but I hope you enjoyed the festive content. I certainly had a lot of fun & will be getting back to my regularly scheduled Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts.

Let me know what you were up to today. Did you get everything you wanted? Are you planning any after Christmas shopping? I’m debating a LUSH order but simply cannot endure another Candle Day debacle 😂 However you spent the day, I hope it was wonderful ❤

On The 24th Day of Blogmas: Merry Christmas Eve 🎅

Blogmas

Merry Christmas Eve, I hope this blog finds you well & safe at home. The recent weather event always reminds me how lucky I am to have a warm home & roof over my head. The temperatures have plummeted & there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on my couch, watching holiday specials. This time of year tends to make me a little melancholy, when the lights come down, the tinsel is packed away & the tree at the curbside – the world looks a little sad. I leave my decor up through my birthday but the holiday feeling markedly dissipates after Christmas.

Anyway, I have two hours until mass & am watching my favorite holiday specials which of course begins with A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) an all around classic. A jaded Charlie Brown is on a mission to discover the true meaning of Christmas which he feels has been hijacked by consumerism.

Next, A Garfield Christmas Special (1987) with Garfield & Odie headed to the Arbuckle family farm for a good ol’ fashioned Christmas. I love Garfield, the old cartoons especially for the dry humor. This one is very sweet & endearing, another true meaning of Christmas trope but I still enjoy it.

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without watching a bitter Grinch breaking & entering then committing grand larceny 😂 Honestly though, when one stops to really consider the plot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) it is a bit nutty. How were the Whos just so chill when the Grinch admitted to robbing them?!

Occasionally, I will watch the old clay animation specials that we watched as kids but those make me a little sad too. It’s such an odd time of year, while it’s wonderful to reminisce, it always makes me blue. Also, I cannot do another Zoom anything. I was telling my sister that I’m not sad about being alone on Christmas because I’m a homebody but it’s hard for me to see the strain & sadness in other people’s faces. We’re unwrapping a few gifts tomorrow via Zoom but I’m Zoomed out.

I hope that you’re happy, healthy & just doing the best you can. Merry Christmas Eve ❄

On The 22nd Day of Blogmas: A Holiday Would You Rather

Blogmas

I did this one last year & it was a lot of so I figured that I would revisit the questions this year!

Amilya Regular

A grandparent which, I will never be but I enjoy shopping for kids and checking out all of the new toys..

Amilya Regular

Elf ears, no question because though I like the look of beards, I’m sure that they are a pain to upkeep. Also, talk about an instant Halloween costume accessory each year.

Amilya Regular

Useful, I received a cold weather kit a few years ago and I still have it in my trunk and have used it many times. It has everything you need for a Minnesota winter; jump pack, cat litter, emergency blanket, water – it’s awesome.

Amilya Regular

How about neither? 2100 is going to be Water World and everything probably smelled rancid in 1700 but at least global warming wasn’t a thing and human population growth wasn’t out of control. Fine, 1700, I guess…

Amilya Regular

I think it depends, both are equally important. I would have to consider what would be more beneficial to the recipient.

Amilya Regular

The White House, just once. It’s one of few historical places in the US and I think it would be cool to see outside of a public tour.

Amilya Regular

I have done both and equally enjoyed both, honestly. It can be nice to stay home and not worry about bad weather or traffic but it’s also nice to go somewhere and not have to be the one who cooks, cleans and organizes everything.

Amilya Regular

None at all, I’m not crazy about parties in general but holiday parties are especially exhausting. Often times, it’s a bunch of people who might only see each other 1-2 times a year and there’s this obligation to care about what everyone has been up to. The question is, does anyone really care!? If we did, wouldn’t we hang out more? I much prefer holiday parties with close friends who I see often but could skip those too 😛

Amilya Regular

Snow! What is Christmas without snow? Although, if it could stop raining before it snowed, that would be great. Thank you, global warming.

Amilya Regular

I’ve never tried a fruitcake, that I can recall but I am assuming that it really is as bad as everyone claims and will just skip dessert altogether.

Thanks for reading, I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday week ❄

On The 21st Day of Blogmas: Least Favorite Holiday Things

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I post something along these lines each year and most of it is hyperbole, I know and love that the holidays mean something different to everyone!

Forgiven Script

I know that it’s not raw eggs but I can’t with the texture of eggnog, the flavor or the smell. Why does it always taste and smell like there is booze in it when there isn’t? It’s milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs, I can’t even. Also, booze doesn’t make it better.

Forgiven Script

I think that popcorn garland looks lovely but stringing it is a nightmare. I was terrible at stringing popcorn when I was a kid and repeatedly stabbed myself with the needle, I would never subject myself or others to this activity.

Forgiven Script

It’s creepy & everyone knows it, lets all collectively stop doing it.

Forgiven Script

I’m probably overthinking this but it’s odd to me that children everywhere are excited about their homes being invaded. I much prefer the kindly, charitable Saint Nicholas as opposed to the modern day, breaking & entering Santa. Who, by the way, doesn’t even eat the cookies that are left for him.

Forgiven Script

The milk and cookies thing – what a waste.

Forgiven Script

When I was a kid, it literally took my mom like 16 hours to cook a turkey. I have no idea why but it was Christmas Eve tradition that she would be up all night basting this stupid turkey. In my adulthood, I have found out that it does not take that long to cook a turkey – even a big one. I’ll never know why she cooked that thing so long.

Forgiven Script

Have you ever really listened to some of the lyrics to popular Christmas songs? Some are really bizarre, Winter Wonderland comes to mind. First of all, who is Parson Brown? Second, that whole are you married bit and the part time husband thing. Again, probably overthinking it but can someone write some new Christmas songs for the love of Parson Brown?!

Let me know what holiday traditions you could do without & thanks for stopping by🎄

On The 20th Day of Blogmas: Winter Wonderland Tag

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Another tag you say? Listen, I’m tired & lazy. Enjoy 😂

Amilya Regular

The snow! I love snow, it makes the world so crisp and clean and quiet. I hate driving in the snow but I’m that person who will head out right after a storm when the roads are mostly clear but not clear enough for the city slickers and enjoy the mostly deserted city. I do get stressed out living in such a densely populated area, I much prefer cruising around small towns or country roads in the snow because there are less SUV driving jackasses. I love snowboarding, snowshoeing, running on snowy trails – I think you get the point.

Amilya Regular

Definitely scarves, I think they work more as an accessory than a hat. A hat means business, I’m probably going to be outside for a prolonged period of time and don’t care what I look like. But a scarf can be dressed up or down while still serving a practical purpose. Also, I have a huge head and most hats squeeze my forehead which is stressful.

Amilya Regular

Just one?! If I had to pick, it would definitely be Home Alone because it’s a classic. It’s one movie from my childhood that I distinctly recall watching with my family and it always puts me in a Christmas mood when I watch it. Hell, if I am feeling down or homesick in the dead of July I will put it on 🙂 I love the house, the setting, the very plausible 90’s plot line – it’s just so good.

Amilya Regular

Probably red or gold sparkle or both.

Amilya Regular

I hate them all! None of them taste like they have an ounce of coffee, they are all sugar and syrup – yuck. Back in my early 20’s they had a drink that I really enjoyed but I don’t think they make it and I can’t recall what was in it. I like black coffee with a shot of cinnamon and splash of coconut whipped cream as my festive drink. The Starbucks holiday blend is very good too…I usually buy about ten bags so I have it year round.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees lip balm, it’s the only lip product that keeps the sides of my mouth from splitting. My snowflake coffee mug that makes all coffee taste 100 times better and I swear keeps it hotter. My black lounging cardigan that’s actually just a regular cardigan that I wore so often that the elbows wore out and I can’t wear it in public anymore. It’s so thin and worn and soft, I am going to be totally bummed when it just disintegrates 😀

Amilya Regular

A robot vacuum!

Amilya Regular

Otis Redding’s White Christmas ❄

Amilya Regular

Nope – never do, never will.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees Original lip balm for day time and the Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask at night. Can we talk about lip fillers though? I have these little lines that look like smoker lines but I’ve never smoked, they are from pursing my lips when I am reading or writing or driving – I don’t know why I do it but you know how your granny would tell you that if you made ugly faces that it would get stuck that way? Wrinkles, she was talking about wrinkles and she was right. So, I’ve been doing some research on lip filler and did you know that a risk of this procedure is that the filler can be injected into a blood vessel and your lip will literally fall off? If you know of any potent lip line products, let me know.

Amilya Regular

Not really, I have a festive turtleneck that doesn’t really look that idiotic. I just can’t purchase something with such a specific purpose that I can only wear once a year and don’t actually need.

Amilya Regular

Most every year and I cannot imagine living somewhere that doesn’t get snow. Also, update, still no snow here.

Amilya Regular

Tree Farm but really, pine scented anything 🎄

Amilya Regular

Same as usual, snowboarding – if South Dakota pulls through with some snow!

I hope you are having a beautiful day and if you do this tag, be sure to let me know ❄

On The 18th Day of Blogmas: Office Christmas Décor ❄

Blogmas

That’s it’s it, that’s the post 😛 Those little gelatinous window decals are the extent of the holiday décor in almost the entire building. Another admin at the opposite of the building has a lone Santa on her window. Usually, we all decorate our windows with lights & garlands but with so few people being in the building, it felt kind of pointless this year. I spotted these little decals for a $1 at the grocery store & figured they were better than nothing. The pack actually came with two snowmen but I wasn’t being careful & decapitated the other one when I was peeling it off the backing. That pretty much sums up how I feel about it 😛 But couldn’t let the holiday pass without doing something.

It does make me little sad to not see any lights twinkling throughout the hallway or a grand tree in the lobby. I think it’s actually about a 10 year old tree that was donated by a former employee but it does look lovely when it’s all decked out. Ah well, next year’s display will just have to be twice as good!

People keep commenting on how clean my desk is, I’m only here three days a week & I wipe it down every time. But also I am very particular about my work area, it’s easier to focus. Did you decorate your workspace? I think retailers knew we all had plexi-glass to work with so they churned out all of these jelly stickers. Obviously, I had about another 10-feet to work with but I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I will get a few more snowflakes for January, or I will just get back from vacation and rip them all down. Bring on Valentine’s Day! Could we possible be out of quarantine for the single worst day of the year? Wouldn’t that just make complete sense, finally, restaurants are fully open for you & your non-existent partner to enjoy a romantic dinner. I jest, I love Valentine’s day & am actually looking forward to it.

Do you decorate at work? I promise, we usually do a better job than this ❄

On The 16th Day of Blogmas: Stella’s Favorite Things

Blogmas

Every year I am excited to read through Oprah’s Favorite Things list, unfortunately, even though she now partners with Amazon – the items aren’t that easy to get your hands on. I know that she curates items from small businesses, indie brands & big box retailers but the items go fast. This year, I am putting together my own Favorite Things list & most of the items are in stock because obviously I am not Oprah 😛 Enjoy

BOGS BOMC Wool Snow BootsThe geometric pattern that I have is actually sold out but it’s not my fault 😀 I wouldn’t say that these are perhaps the best boots if you are going to be out for an extended amount of time in some serious snow. However, they are great for pretty much any other winter activity you are planning on doing. They are waterproof however, if you are walking through slush then they will stain. They are really warm, very comfy & the soles are great for slick surfaces.

Sapadilla Grapefruit & Bergamot Biodegradable Countertop SprayThis is a plant based line of household cleaners that smell amazing. This one smells like fresh cut oranges & it’s the perfect pick me up scent for winter. You can find Sapadilla refill stations in some grocery stores which is also eco friendly!

Greenlife Pots & Pans SetI actually own the teal set but I have supplemented them with a couple of the pinks pans as well. Ceramic cookware is the superior cooking medium, it cooks everything so evenly. Now, they do require some maintenance, I give them a good scrub with Bar Keeper’s Friend about once a month to remove any staining but they are great otherwise. I do still cook with oil but the nonstick does work & has so far been very durable.

UO Amped Fleece Throw BlanketThese blankets are so soft, I have one in every room – they come in tons of colors to match any décor & they hold up to consistent washing & drying.

Threshold Bath BasketI think that most everyone went through a hyper-cleaning/organizing phase at the start of lockdown. I purchased a handful of these small baskets to organize all of the little bits hanging out in my bathroom & closets. They are the perfect size to hold any odds & ends, they aren’t terribly expensive & are pretty well made.

Pioneer Woman Pasta Bowl SetI eat most anything but pasta out of these, pasta isn’t something I make a lot. However, these are great for Buddha bowls, cereal, fruits & yogurt, chopped veggies & dip – pretty much anything that you can heap into a pile can go in these bowls. I was never one of those kids who worried about my food touching, I’m a fan of meals that have numerous ingredients that just get chucked together. These are very pretty bowls that fancy up just about whatever you put into them!

Old Navy Balance Yoga LeggingsThese are my favorite black leggings, they aren’t that really suffocating compression material but do provide enough support to be worn as workout attire or casual clothing. They aren’t necessarily comfortable enough to sleep in but very soft with good stretch.

Old Navy Oversized Funnel CoatThis is a very nice coat that is on an incredible sale right now! I purchased it about a month ago for a dressier coat that I could wear to work, this one does the trick. Does anyone else get closter phobic in their winter coat? I have a big duffel coat in my car trunk for emergencies but I can’t drive in it or wear it too long because I feel restrained. This sounds ridiculous, this coat is chic & comfortable to wear.

GAP Modern Crewneck T-ShirtHave you ever found the perfect shirt, not too thick but not too thin, fits right in all places, can be worn anywhere – this is that shirt for me. It’s just a cotton top but I love these, they are a staple in my wardrobe, I hope that GAP never stops carrying them. Also though, I think they are struggling right now & I should probably start searching for cotton tops elsewhere…

OUAI Melrose Place Body Crème – Not the original scent, this one specifically & I think it’s limited edition for the holidays. The ingredients in this crème are pretty standard, it is nicely moisturizing but it is the scent that I really enjoy. It’s a light floral that pairs well with just about any fragrance I am wearing. I think Tree Hut has a whipped body butter that is very similar but I will have to do a thorough comparison before this one runs out.

Opalhouse Stoneware Monogram MugI have already purchased a few of these as gifts & gifted myself one too. Remember when monogram was all the rage? I remember walking into JC Penney with my mom when I was in middle school & there was this table full of teenie purses with hot pink initials on them. I had to have one but my mom said that I didn’t need a purse and well, she was correct. These mugs are so fun & actually well-made. I find that Target mugs tend to be on the thin side & my coffee cools too fast in them. This is a hefty mug that holds a hearty amount of coffee. Back to my Secret Santa recommendations, I filled one of these with assorted hot chocolates & chocolate spoons as an office gift.

A New Day Velvet Twist HeadbandsAdmittedly, a headband with the face mask & then an ear piece is tricky but these are my go-to for adding a little festivity to my all black work wardrobe. They’re just cute, I love that these bulky headbands are making a come back.

Stars Above Kora Moccasin SlipperYou already know that Stars Above has become a fast favorite for pajamas & loungewear, these slippers are pretty great too! They are more of a structured slipper since the sole is hard but the inside is so soft. They match these sleep cardigans that I am constantly including in my monthly favorites posts.

Baby Foot PeelListen, I have not had a pedicure since February and I miss having soft feet. I don’t know what salons use but it seems like nothing gets my feet quite as smooth as a trip to the salon. These come close, they are plastic booties filled with various chemical exfoliants that really take care of tough, cracked feet. They are on the spendy side if you ask me but I use them about once a month & figure that’s less than the cost of a monthly pedicure by far.

Dashing Diva Nail StripsI also have not stopped in for a manicure since February & my nails are still pretty brittle from acrylics. They tend to get really stained when I paint them, I have switched over to these gel nail strips that aren’t too shabby. A couple of recommendations, definitely purchase the base coat unlike myself who didn’t realize that there was a base coat & thought these sucked. They do not in fact suck, I just can’t follow directions. Also, I recommend using a crystal/glass file to fit them to your nail, that makes the cleanest edge – they last about 10 days even with all of the extra hand washing & everything. Plus, look at these little heart prints!

David’s Tea 12 Tea Sampler – These make great gifts but they are also a way to try a bunch of teas! Each little container has a screw top lid to keep your tea fresh & you get about two cups from each one. I have discovered quite a few new favorites from these samplers & who doesn’t love tea?

Bombas SocksWhen I first saw ads for these socks, I was like – that’s outrageous. Then, they released Sesame Street socks & I was like – I need those. They are very nice socks, I have since ordered the ankle socks for my dress shoes, also very nice. I can’t say that I wear a pair everyday but I really enjoy the quality of them when I do.

Pela Case – Unfortunately, these cases do not fit my new phone but they’re still pretty great. It’s a phone case made from plants! They’re extremely durable, I had my old phone case for at least 2 years & it still looks fine. I have the original yellow one that I think was for a save the bees campaign which is another cool thing about this company, they donate to various environmental protection efforts.

I think that does it for my favorite things list, I tried to include a little home, a little beauty & fashion. What things made your favorites list this year? Also, let me know if you get excited about Oprah’s list too – I’m the only one in my friend group who is like – OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS LIST COMES OUT TODAY. Listen, she has taste – she recommended Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie one year & my life has never been the same. Also, she just seems so classy & looks like she smells great. This is getting weird 🙂 Thanks for reading, have wonderful Wednesday!

On The 15th Day of Blogmas: S is for Santa…?

Blogmas

Can you believe that Christmas is only ten days away?! It never ceases to amaze me how the first half of the year feels like an eternity & the latter half like two weeks. Not even just this year either with all of the COVID stuff going on, the holidays just fly by. Kids around the world are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, Babbo Natale or whatever holiday entity they believe in. But what about the kids who don’t celebrate Santa – we get to hang out in the gymnasium with the Jehova’s Witness kids 😛

It’s true, my siblings & I didn’t grow up believing in Santa. I think I was in first or second grade when I heard talk of this mysterious character & asked my mom about him to which her response was; It’s how non-believers celebrate Christmas. She also made it abundantly clear that I should not tell the other kids that Santa wasn’t real. This didn’t answer all of my questions but I did come to the conclusion that all of my friends were going straight to hell which was a bummer. After this discussion my mother penned a note to my teacher stating that I could not participate in any Santa related activities because we didn’t do the whole Santa thing. In fact, I could not participate in any Christmas activities that weren’t religious. My school was fairly diverse but even with numerous other ethnicities & races, most everyone celebrated Christmas. Except the Jehova’s Witness kids & a handful of Native American kids.

Back in the 90’s especially in rural communities, there probably weren’t a lot of discussions around diversity happening. There weren’t separate activities organized for the non-Christmas kids because like I said, most everyone celebrated your traditional Christmas & there wasn’t a need to recognize anything else. As kids, I don’t recall this being a big deal – I mean, we thought that the Jehova’s kids were a little unique but we all got along. Instead of practicing for the holiday pageant, we played kickball & made reading forts under the library tables. We didn’t feel left out because we had our little anti-Christmas gang 😀 I don’t remember Christmas being any less magical without Santa, didn’t everyone find out that he didn’t exist anyway?

This experience definitely shaped how I handled Christmas in my classroom, it still amazes me that many teachers forget that a Santa-centric Christmas or any Christmas isn’t celebrated by all students. In all honesty, given the religious overtones of the the holiday, I think that it should be phased out along with Halloween but nobody consulted me. My mom had very black & white beliefs, you were Catholic or you were wrong 😛 But, she also raised me to respect other people’s beliefs because they were just as important as our beliefs were to us. I guess my point is that the holidays can be a wonderful time for everyone no matter what you celebrate!

Were you a Santa kid? Or, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas? I’m curious to know, thanks for stopping by!

On The 14th Day of Blogmas: How to Not Suck at Secret Santa 🎅

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I am not the biggest fan of Secret Santa, giving gifts is the best part of Christmas for me however, I find the Secret Santa gift exchange quite stressful. This year, I am being a total Grinch & sitting the office gift exchange out – also, I won’t be here for it anyway so I don’t think that anyone will notice. It’s tricky to do Secret Santa with people that you don’t know really well, it takes some reconnaissance. I always want to give something I know they will be sure to like but also not make it seem like I know too much about them. I once received a very nice tea steeping mug because my Secret Santa saw me making tea, it’s personal enough but not in a creepy way. Is this making sense? Does anyone else worry about this? Anyway, if you are not a fan of Secret Santa but also don’t want to suck at it, here are some of my tried & true tips.

Dreameyes Regular

Some people say that gift cards are lazy, I say that gift cards are one size fits all & the perfect gift if you do it right. First, make sure that the gift card is from a merchant that you know they will like or use. Target gift cards, gas cards, coffee shop gift cards are ones that I enjoy giving/receiving. Listen, my boss gave me a gas card a couple of years ago & it was amazing not having to spend money on gas for a few months. I like to pair the gift card with something else like a hand cream, candle or mug just to let them know that some thought did go into the gift. If the limit is $10 or so, then a gift card will do the trick, in my opinion.

Dreameyes Regular

Stick to the agreed upon spend limit but don’t go for the cheapest thing you can find. If you forget, someone will notice if you gift something you found on your desk. If you don’t have a lot to spend, DIY something thoughtful or get creative with gift wrapping. Don’t overspend either, it makes everyone uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be the Michael Scott of the office.

Dreameyes Regular

Humor, yes. Gag gifts, no. I have given Poo-Pourri at least twice at different gift exchanges, it’s a hit. Everyone can use it & it’s a bit funny. Toilet paper, isn’t funny – not even in 2020. This is a totally unrelated PSA but if anyone gives me a mask this year…I swear to God. A funny calendar or cheeky set of sticky notes – all useful but funny. Whoopee cushions, not funny & not useful.

Dreameyes Regular

Everyone may not agree with this one but I once received some cat toys & I thought it was awesome. It showed that they knew something about me & we still have the toys. Or, use treats/toys as a supplementary gift to add a little something extra.

I am of two minds about giving food, if you struggle with disordered eating like yours truly – food can be tricky. If it’s something that can be shared, then I will bust it out for everyone to enjoy. Baked goods tend to be crowd pleasers for most people & do require quite a bit of time & effort to put together. To me, it’s definitely the thought that counts just don’t get too intimate & you’ll be fine. Also, if we never found out the identity of our Santa, that would be just fine with me – I never know if I am acting grateful enough or overdoing it.

Honestly, just give it your best shot & I think it most cases that will be perfect. Are you into the Secret Santa thing, let me know what your tips are for making it a success ❄