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The Pack

Holiday survival guide

Photo by Katie Stankard
Photo by Katie Stankard
Photo by Katie Stankard

Katie Stankard

Let’s face it – the holidays are not always the most wonderful time of the year. Between the obscene amounts of family time, terrible holiday traffic, and extra pounds you pack on, a two week vacation can sometimes take a turn for the worst. Here are some sure-fire ways to make the best of your time off.

Last Minute Gifts

There’s always one person that surprises you with an amazing gift – Yay! Downside: you have to reciprocate with a good gift – and fast. Time and your budget are not on your side. If you haven’t stockpiled a few generic gifts from the Black Friday sales, and the latest from CVS won’t cut it, try to remember a small thing the recipient would like or need. New phone case? Book from their favorite author? A hat for that freezing walk to school? These options would cost you $5-$20. If your wallet’s already feeling a bit light, try one of those fancy apps that provides discounts

Crotchety Relatives

The last time they saw you, you were just a little bitty *cue cheek pinch* baby. “Oh my, how you’ve grown!” We can all think of the questions we are asked every day: What colleges are you thinking about? How’s school? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet? The best solution – think of the answers before you’re asked the question. Keep your answers the same, and maybe you will begin to bore your nosy relatives.

Travel Must-Haves

Be it by car, train, or airplane, you will surely find holiday stress and traffic somewhere along the way. To survive, you will need a few essentials that won’t break your budget. In-ear headphones are a must. If you happen to be lacking a pair, give the Sony MDR-EX37Bs a try, which have good sound quality at a fair price ($20.00 on No matter how far you’re traveling, a pillow is necessary. Whether it is your pillow from home, or one specifically for traveling (the Bucky Fuzzy Wuzzy Travel Pillow can be found for $24.95 on, a fluffy pillow can bring you back to the comforts of your home. Through the drowsy relatives or hoards of people at the airport, a nice warm cup of coffee is also important! Starbucks via Ready Brew Coffee makes a warm cup of joe possible almost wherever you go (Starbucks Italian Roast for $6.99 can be found at Wegmans).

Those Pesky Pounds

No, its not a good thing when your body is molded to the couch. If you anticipate a case of the lazys, sign up for an event ahead of time, like the Apple Capital Jingle Bell 5k in Winchester, VA. Not only will you feel energized, but you can help yourself to seconds at dinner guilt free. If you’re not into running, do some chores! Yes, that is the last thing anyone wants to do, but it may just get you up and moving for a little bit, and you will surely get on your parents’ good side.

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