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4 Small Towns That Should Be Visited Every Christmas

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4 Small Towns That Should Be Visited Every Christmas

Christmas is a perfect ending to a year filled with fun and adventures. For many, Christmas is the time to be with loved ones, family, and friends.

Some say it’s also the perfect time to take a vacation with your loved ones. While most assume that summer is the perfect time for a beautiful vacation, some may not have the time or the opportunity, or they may have overlooked the beautiful season of winter.

This amazing season deserves both celebration and praise especially since it is a part of one of the most commonly celebrated festivities all around the world. So to make your Christmas special; here a few small towns you can visit and have a memorable year end celebration.


    1. North Pole, Alaska

    By the name of the place, you can be certain that it’s definitely going to be a Christmas wonderland. With a whole year of Christmas decorations provided by nature and celebrated by locals, it’s definitely the place to be during a winter season.

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    Take your family members to visit Santa in the exclusive Santa’s factory, or take in the various igloos surrounding the cold region. However, the trademark of Alaska surpasses beyond Santa and igloos. It’s the home to the world’s most spectacular event by nature, the Aurora Borealis.

    Witnessing the Northern Lights in its fine colors could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Therefore, taking your family there during this festive season could be the best gift you can give, taking them away from materialistic possessions and placing true value on family connections and love.

      2. Fusen, Germany

      Fusen is located in the Bavarian part of Germany. Although a huge united land, Germany varies in culture and tradition according to their regions; sometimes even their dialects of German vary, making it rather distinctive. Fusen is often a small town that many fail to notice while traveling through Germany.

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      However, they’re still considered a magical place for Christmas celebrations. This town has been standing strong for about 700 years, and is located at the borders of Austria, at the foot of the Austrian Alps. It has beautiful, scenic nature, as well as historic and untouched monuments proved to be Bavaria’s greatest treasure.

      Their Christmas market, which encompasses both Austrian and German traditions, is definitely a feast for the eyes. So taking your loved ones there to celebrate Christmas could be an opportunity for you to indulge in history, and experience the perfect Christmas in Europe.

      Plus, if you happen to be there, don’t forget to check out the lake formations at the edge of the Alps, as it inspired one of the greatest productions in the artistic world, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. I guarantee it’s a place you would want to visit over and over again.

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        3. Osmington, Dorset, UK

        Osmington in Dorset, United Kingdom, is a small parish town. Unlike other towns, Osmington offers an authentic experience of being in the middle ages. Being a small town with tons of history and stories, it definitely is a town you would want to spend your time in.

        Since social media plays a part in the way we travel, and we tend to follow the best trends and Instagram tags, heading to Osmington would be a way to put yourself in an unique spot light .

        The Osmington White Horse is a carving of King George III riding a horse, made in 1800. This symbolizes the vast knowledge and influence the British monarchy has had in this tiny town. If you and your family are looking for a traditional way to enjoy Christmas, Osmington would be a perfect place to stay, away from all the exterior influences of technology. Immerse yourself in nothing but calm and adventure.

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          4. Kyoto, Japan

          Japan is a land filled with culture and worldly influence. From the outside world, Japanese culture seems as delicate and pristine as the Sakura flowers. Kyoto is one of the best places to enjoy winter in Japan, and offers more than an experience –  it offers a lifestyle.

          From the Onsen Hot Spa, enjoy soaking away in the warm natural waters, releasing all your stress and worries. Most Japanese people prefer “Sentos,” which is a public bath space where you would be able to mingle with the locals. The Public Baths are usually separated for men and women, so you needn’t worry of offending anyone by walking into a unisex bathhouse.

          While their bathing culture is something unique, Japan also has one of the most exquisite food cultures; “Nabo,” or in our terms, “hot pot,” is one of the famous dishes during this winter season. A pot of “Nabo” can keep you warm throughout the day; it’s usually enjoyed in a group of people with friends and family. So avoid all the junk food and unhealthy snacks and binge on this instead.

          Finally, Kyoto is a holy ground for many Japanese people. With a bridge that is claimed to be a direct route to heaven, and various temples that showcase Japan’s beauty and simplicity, you’ll find yourself captivated in a daze of being in a wonderland. So take your time to explore, eat, and breathe Japanese if you find yourself in Kyoto.

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          Christmas is an amazing festival to be celebrated with friends and family; so next year, take the opportunity to do something unique and beautiful to make it one of your most memorable celebrations.

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          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

          Warming up

          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

          Stay hydrated

          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

          Meditate

          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

          2. Focus on your goal

          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

          3. Convert negativity to positivity

          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

          4. Understand your content

          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

          5. Practice makes perfect

          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

          6. Be authentic

          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

          7. Post speech evaluation

          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

          Improve your next speech

          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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          • How did I do?
          • Are there any areas for improvement?
          • Did I sound or look stressed?
          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
          • Was I saying “um” too often?
          • How was the flow of the speech?

          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

          Reference

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