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How to Take Christmas to a Whole New Level

How to Take Christmas to a Whole New Level

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    Our children love certain toys or brands and they make their lists for sure, however, I suggest that we parents do something a little extra special at Christmas.

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    Christmas is such an exciting time. Family and friends gather together to laugh, eat great food and share gifts with each other. What could be better? There is one way parents can make Christmas even better and that is by giving their children a present that is a tradition.

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    My parents always gave us presents that we had asked for however my mother always bought us a new pair of pajamas. We were just as excited to see what type or color we would be getting that year. It gave warmth to our Christmas celebration and deepened the connection we had with our mother. My father saw how happy we became, even as teenagers when we opened the special gift from “MOM”, so he decided to start his own tradition. He bought five different types of Scratch n’ Win Lotto tickets for each of us and after all the other presents were opened we sat at the dinner table and used pennies to scratch away. We have continued this tradition throughout boyfriends and now husbands.

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    It is really wonderful to watch our faces after we have opened the gifts because we all know what is coming next! One year, during the last recession, we lost the two restaurants that my family owned. There were no presents under the tree that year, dinner was tapered down, and there were no Scratch n’ Wins to scratch. Going without the presents was easy, and eating a little less was fine. The one thing we all felt melancholy about was the fact that we could no longer do our special tradition after dinner. It’s silly, really. We never win much, maybe ten dollars, but it was the consistency we missed and the hollers of, “Whoo hoo, I won a dollar!” that we missed. Of course we had other traditions that we continued like playing board games until the wee hours of the night, but it just goes to show how special and cherished traditions are for people and children especially.

    So, here are some gift ideas that you can use to begin a family tradition and add more warmth to your family’s Christmas experience.

    1. Books, novels
    2. Calendars
    3. Funny or colorful socks
    4. Crafty toys
    5. Scientific toys
    6. Bookmarks
    7. Slippers
    8. Christmas ornaments
    9. Wallets
    10. Something with the 1st letter of your child’s name (pens, pads of paper, notebooks, pencils, books, socks, picture frames, calendar, key chain, wallet) The ideas are endless and will always keep your child guessing!

    Christmas is a magical time where family is the focus. Deepen the bonds you share with your children by adding a special tradition. I promise you that when your child remembers holidays past, in ten years time, it won’t be the toy they asked for that they will remember, it will be the one that their mom or dad always gave them.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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