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LeBron James, Dr. Dre team up to create Powerbeats earphones

Powerbeats earphones are the only Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds that come with two speakers inside each bud. That means users get crystal clear highs and deep, rumbling lows in high definition. Powerbeats earphones are also specially designed to pump clear bass at any volume while letting in ambient noise – making sure athletes stay safe while running on the road.

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Powerbeats earphones

LeBron James has teamed up with Dr. Dre to create Powerbeats earphones, said to be the only earphones designed to deliver premium sound on the court, in the gym, or on the streets.

Boasting flexible earclips designed to secure Powerbeats earphones in the ears no matter how rigorous the workout is, the earphones have sweat-resistant materials, while ear tips of all sizes keep users comfortable always.

Powerbeats earphones are the only Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds that come with two speakers inside each bud. That means users get crystal clear highs and deep, rumbling lows in high definition.

Powerbeats earphones are also specially designed to pump clear bass at any volume while letting in ambient noise – making sure athletes stay safe while running on the road.

Users can adjust their music to find their song choices right from the cord. There is, therefore, no need to fumble with the MP3 player during workout.

The Power Beats is available in neon pink, neon orange, and neon blue at P9,200.

To know more about Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, headsets, Bluetooth speakers and accessories, email marketing@msi-ecs.com.ph or call (+632) 6883180 to 83.

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Why is it that fashion looks to queer icons for inspiration?

The question of gender expression through articles of clothing only scratches the surface of what can be defined as an exploration of identity through style. This is why queer fashion – notable icons in particular – is so crucial.

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It’s about mold-breaking, looking beyond the conformist approach to fashion and seeing how far you can stretch the concept of aesthetics.

Throughout the long and tumultuous history of queer culture, it was predominantly associated with the edge, adventurous creative endeavors on the margin and those who were mired in aesthetics perfectly understood that this is where the ‘cooking pot’ of trends lie. This has been true for far longer than many would care to admit, and it holds today in particular when the cultural landscape has become so eclectic and thrilling.

Photo by Rochelle Brown from Unsplash.com

Blurring the lines

The lines that divide genders have always been a point of great fascination to people around the world – for better or, sometimes, unfortunately, for worse. In the age of consumerism when cheap but fabulous rags are a dime a dozen, and turnover of trends has become dizzyingly fast, it is only natural that such fascinations have become especially inflected.

Unfortunately, a majority still considers that certain fashion markers are sex-coded; but why wouldn’t your average guy experiment with arguably feminine Moon Magic jewelry, or your average gal with decidedly masculine leather shoes if it compliments their overall style and need for self-expression?

It might sound like a trite and banal question, especially if you consider how far our culture has come in embracing queer fashion. The unanimous viewership clamor for new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, when compared to its modest beginnings, is proof enough. It has become, as Matthew Schneier rightly put it in his article, a true niche touchstone.

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However, this is exactly why its visibility is so crucial. It is a testing ground that steers the zeitgeist, and its most lavishing, daring aspects ‘trickle-down’ slowly through the filters of culture until they manage to reach absolutely everyone.

However, the question of gender expression through articles of clothing only scratches the surface of what can be defined as an exploration of identity through style. This is why queer fashion – notable icons in particular – is so crucial.

The historical identity play

Marginalized identities usually have the bravery to rile against the status quo in every conceivable way, clothing included. Furthermore, the threat of encroaching bigotry creates inner friction that encourages daring creative expression.

You need to look no further than the history of notable marginalized individuals from queer culture, starting with Fanny and Stella – which were otherwise known under their birth names of Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton. In 1870s London, the age of rising conservative sentiments and cruel devaluation of individuals through mass-industrialization, these two individuals flaunted their individuality by attending more than a few social events in women’s clothing.

The duo, which was also a theatrical act, ended up prosecuted for ‘sodomy’ and salacious behavior. Still, their story persisted and reverberated through time, encouraging other individuals to express their identity and unique outlook through their clothes.

From Oscar Wilde to Derek Jarman, Chevalier d’Eon to Coccinelle, and further – queer and transgender individuals broke and redefined style across all facets of art and culture. Their unwavering ability to dispel stereotypical views kept people transfixed.

READ:  Brenda (Read if you know her)

And yet, even in the day and age when a culturally astute population has largely embraced queer, non-binary and trans voices, in fashion and otherwise, there is still so much ground to cover and ceilings to breakthrough.

While mainstream design houses do keep a close eye at the queer community for inspiration, a more direct, unfiltered exposition would be of great benefit for queer individuals that aspire to become fashion icons (and no, it is not merely and exclusively about models, but about artists as well). 

In conclusion, your honor!

There is no culture without the margin, and queer fashion is all about pushing the boundaries and buttons in equal measure. As we all know, bigotry and stereotypes have a stubborn habit of suffocating true self-expression, and while we do have a long way to go, this is also an appropriate time to be optimistic.

The visibility of queer, androgynous, trans and non-binary individuals is increasing, and their impact on fashion culture is undeniable. You can’t turn a blind eye on the unadulterated, unapologetic explosion of self-expression.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

How to look like a Steampunk woman

If you love Steampunk, you are a person of specific tastes. This has been a niche genre with a steady stream of followers for decades now, and it appears that the trend will hardly change in the foreseeable future.

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Photo by Noel Nichols from Unsplash.com

If you love Steampunk, you are a person of specific tastes. This has been a niche genre with a steady stream of followers for decades now, and it appears that the trend will hardly change in the foreseeable future. Thankfully, individuals such as yourself get more and more opportunities to share their enthusiasm for Steampunk with other like minded people, and when any such opportunity comes, you’ll want to look the part.

Here’s how to look like a Steampunk woman.

Purists and enthusiasts

Steampunk outfitters can be divided into two groups of people – the purists and enthusiasts. Purists are all about recreating consistent Victorian outfits with a few eye-popping Steampunk embellishments, while purists adore the aesthetic approach and its outlandish, rebellious appeal.

For starters, it would be both fun and financially feasible to go with the second approach. It casts a wider net when it comes to items and accessories you can purchase.

For example, Steampunk clothes have a utilitarian side to them, so it shouldn’t be particularly difficult to seek out items of clothing all around you that have specific purposes.

Truth be told, most of such clothes do not align with the idea of a Steampunk outfit, but you can stumble upon a real gem. Believe it or not, safety metal instep shoes can be a rather impressive part of your Steampunk outfit.

Still, no matter how cool something looks, no matter how well it meshes with the rest of your clothes, you should make an effort to fulfill that basic tenet of Steampunk fashion – stick to the Victorian industrial era as much as possible.

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Victorian appeal – Where to start?

The best place to start is the basic material and fabrics. As a Steampunk lady, you’ll want to steer away from modern blends unless they work well at imitating traditional textures which have been used during Victorian times.

This includes wool, cotton, silk, leather, velvet, corduroy, suede, and lace. When it comes to trinkets, accessories, and paraphernalia: timber, metal (iron, tin, copper, silver, gold), and glass. Avoid lead at all costs, naturally. Denim should be avoided as well since it wasn’t available at that age.

Once again, if you want to save up money before venturing all-in on the style, you can look into items that are already available to you and see if they, in some shape or form, align with the Steampunk aesthetic. Better yet, see what you can do to create your own DIY Steampunk trinkets

The good news is that your closet already contains some materials and garments that have the necessary qualities – especially if you have an opportunity to dig through your grandmother’s old stuff.

Then again, certain items are practically a must, so you’ll ultimately have to splurge on these basic Steampunk garments.

Essentials

If you cannot find an appropriate blouse in your closet, seek out typical Victorian blouses made out of ruffled material, with puffy sleeves and, possibly, a nice collar. If you can, avoid zippers and go for buttons or lace (not the fabric, but a cord for tightening).

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Corset goes over your blouse, and you should count it as an essential – you’ll rarely see a fully-fledged Steampunk outfit without one. Whether it’s underbust or overbust, you can go crazy with styles here, so let your imagination run wild and browse extensively before you hone-in on the purchase.

Waist-down, you’ll either go with a dress, pants or leggings. Victorian-inflected lace works wonders here, and you have just as many choices as you do with corsets. People can be very imaginative when it comes to Victorian garment design and you can easily find very interesting dresses without spending too much.

Now, boots are important, and this is where a lot of your budget will go. Avoid open toes and stick with buckles and cords for fastening. Zippers are a no-go here as well, and while it is true that this was technically invented by 1901, they simply didn’t look as modern.  

Now, since hats were in style during this era, it also wouldn’t go amiss to own one – a top hat, bonnet, wedding hat, church hat, Kentucky Derby variant, the more era-appropriate yet over the top – the better. Aviator glasses are a popular accessory as well, and they often go hand-in-hand with hats.   

Conclusion

As you may have gathered, Steampunk is too broad a notion to cover in a singular article. As a cultural phenomenon that crosses media, culture and – indeed – fashion, there’s just too much to take in. And you know what: that is the beauty of Steampunk!

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Discovering every facet of this niche genre is an adventure in and of itself, and the community is thankfully accommodating, inclusive and pleasant. At the end of the day, should you feel as if you’ve hit a dead end with your Steampunk outfit, you can always turn to the community that is willing to share their experience and knowledge.

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6 Christmas gifts for your partner that aren’t underwear

Check out some of our ideas on how you can give that special someone a truly creative and unforgettable gift this festive season.

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Photo by @benwhitephotography from Unsplash.com

Buying the perfect gift for your partner can be tough, and it’s easy to fall back on something boring and unoriginal like chocolates, alcohol or lingerie, but there are so many unique options out there that can help you show your love and originality. For those keen to share their pride in their sexuality with others, there are now so many cool gifts you can buy that will help you show your love for your partner and incredible sense of style and taste.

Check out some of our ideas on how you can give that special someone a truly creative and unforgettable gift this festive season.

MAKEUP THAT WILL SHOW THEIR PRIDE

For your makeup loving partner, consider buying an eyeshadow palette that supports the community and leaves them looking beautiful and sparkly. This stunning selection of shades will give them bright, bold looks that they’ll be truly proud of. 

A SEX TOY FOR THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

You can put some spice into your relationship and give your partner a gift that you can both benefit from by selecting the perfect sex toy. Check out the range of lesbian sex toys from Wet For Her to find the perfect toy you’ll both be able to enjoy well into the New Year.

A RAINBOW DRESS THAT’LL STAND OUT

The rainbow is the accepted symbol of pride, so why not show your partner how proud you are by buying them a stunning rainbow dress this Christmas? There are numerous styles on offer so that you can pick something that will flatter them and fit in with their style.

For your makeup loving partner, consider buying an eyeshadow palette that supports the community and leaves them looking beautiful and sparkly.

PRIDE PET ACCESSORIES SO EVERYONE CAN SHOW THE LOVE

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If they’re an animal lover then give them a beautiful pride accessory for their furry friend this Christmas. This gift will allow them to show their pride in a unique way and involve their beloved pet in a way that most other gifts just don’t. 

JEWELRY WITH A NAUGHTY SECRET

For the woman who wants to wear her heart, and other parts of her anatomy, on her sleeve, consider jewelry that doubles as restraints and naughty toys. There are loads of styles and types to choose from so that you can get something that’ll look good and feel great.

A MUG TO SHOW OFF THEIR WIT

Funny mugs with cute slogans are an office staple, so for Christmas this year buy the love of your life a witty mug that will show their pride in their sexuality and hilarious sense of humor.

Whatever you choose to buy, remember that it’s the thought that counts. Your partner will appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into choosing their gift, as opposed to the money you spent, so even if it’s not expensive remember that a thoughtful gift will be appreciated and make them happy. Christmas is a time for joy and goodwill, so don’t stress over your gift giving and instead enjoy spending the festive season with those you love.

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Fashion for men: Creating your perfect winter style

For men it can be a hard to find clothes that are practical, hardwearing and still look great, but brands are beginning to come around to needs of fashion-conscious men, so with a little perseverance you can easily put together the perfect winter wardrobe.

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Unsplash.com

As the seasons change it’s important that you start wearing warmer clothes to keep out the chill. Staying stylish and cosy can be tough, but with the right wardrobe staples and accessories you can create looks that will really stand out from the crowd. For men it can be a hard to find clothes that are practical, hardwearing and still look great, but brands are beginning to come around to needs of fashion-conscious men, so with a little perseverance you can easily put together the perfect winter wardrobe.

Check out our ideas on how you can look good and stay wrapped up warm this winter.

WHEN SHOPPING, THINK ABOUT HOW EACH PIECE WILL FIT INTO AN OUTFIT

The key to styling your winter wear is to try to combine statement pieces with classics, such as a classic black shirt from Hugo Boss, which will quickly become a wardrobe staple. Timeless classics will make you look smart and neat, so make sure that they form the bulk of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping for new clothes it can be easy to have your head turned by lots of brightly coloured pieces, but these are often hard to style and will only go with certain specific outfits. Have lots of flexible, classic clothes in your wardrobe so that you can create unique looks every day. Remember that your clothes will be worn both in smart situations, such as company board meetings, and more casual events like nights out at the pub, so buy classic clothing you can style to suit your needs and mood.

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THINK ABOUT THE FIT YOU WANT

Whenever you choose a new item of clothing, think about how you want it to fit your body. In summer you might be wearing baggy t-shirts to stay cool, but in winter you will want your t-shirts to fit closer to your body so that they keep you warm and hide well underneath multiple layers. To avoid buying the wrong fit make sure that you try on every item of clothing before you buy it, or, if you’re shopping online, check the company’s return policy so that you know you can send back anything that isn’t right. When trying on clothes, consider how you will be wearing them and try to work out if they fit properly in all areas so that you can buy the perfect garment.

SET OFF YOUR OUTFIT WITH BOLD ACCESSORIES

Just because your look is timeless and classic, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Offset your look and really stand out with a statement accessory. This can be something small and discreet, like a signet ring, or larger and more obvious, like an eye-catching Christian Louboutin bag. Whatever you choose, make sure that you team it with a classic style so that it really stands out and makes an impact.

Shoes can make or break an outfit, so make sure you find the perfect pair that will show your unique style and keep your feet warm as you trudge through the winter weather.

PATTERNS AND MOTIFS NEED TO BE WINTER THEMED

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If you’re a fan of patterns then you can still rock them even in winter, just make sure that they suit the season. You’ll look out of place in a Hawaiian shirt standing in the snow, but a casual checked shirt will look great and keep you warm. For smarter occasions consider a classic striped shirt so that you can showcase your creativity and flair whilst still looking presentable and neat.

INVEST IN A QUALITY COAT

In the cold weather a coat will be worn daily, so make sure that you invest in a quality item that will last you for years and can be styled with any outfit or for any occasion. When shopping for a coat, think about where you are going to wear it and how cold you’re going to be. You might consider buying a rugged, outdoor coat from a brand like Canada Goose, or you might want something trendier from Dior. The key considerations should be comfort, warmth, fit and style. Pockets, hoods and other aspects need to be thought about too, so that you come away with the perfect coat to see you through many winters. 

FINISH YOUR LOOK WITH THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR

Shoes can make or break an outfit, so make sure you find the perfect pair that will show your unique style and keep your feet warm as you trudge through the winter weather. Try to find a stylish pair of shoes that are timelessly classic, such as this selection of gorgeous Givenchy trainers from SSENSE, so that you can wear them time and again and still look stylish.

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There’s so much choice out there that it can be overwhelming, but by following these tips you will be able to craft the perfect warm wardrobe to see you through to spring. Remember that comfort is crucial, and if in doubt go with your initial gut feeling: you were probably right the first time.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

A POC queer superhero? Ylva Publishing says ‘Why not?’

Ylva Publishing – a small indie publishing house – decided to turn into a graphic novel “The Power of Mercy”, a lesbian book by Fiona Zedde, about a black queer superhero.

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LGBTQIA superheroes are finally – FINALLY – getting some opportunities to shine, even if by doing so, they face even more scrutiny. I’m thinking of the likes of lesbian-identifying Batwoman, of course, who – described as the highest-profile gay superhero to appear in comics (and then TV show) – may be as effective in kicking villains’ butts, but are also dissected because of who they are/sleep with/choose to love.

And we’re not even talking about the race of the superhero yet, which is another layer that – apparently – merits scrutiny if one is a superhero; and even a fictional one at that…

At least for Ylva Publishing’s CEO, Astrid Ohletz: “We certainly need more women of color and lesbian superheroes represented in popular culture.”

And this is why Ylva Publishing – a small indie publishing house – decided to turn into a graphic novel “The Power of Mercy”, a lesbian book by Fiona Zedde, about a black queer superhero.

The Power of Mercy” tells the story of Mai Redstone. To her family, she is weak. But when she dons a mask and becomes Mercy, a rooftop-climbing chameleon with at least nine lives, she finds her power. But when Mercy is called in by police to a murder case, her whole world threatens to crumble. The dead man made her childhood a hell. She is torn between giving the murderer a medal and finding the killer for her family. Amid it all is enigmatic Xóchitl, awoman with dangerous secrets who claws her way into Mai’s life.

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Forty-three-year-old Zedde, a Jamaican-born, award-winning author of over 20 novels, splits her time between Atlanta and Madrid. How readers interacted with her book inspired the graphic novel.

“After The Power of Mercy was published as a novella with its very cool illustrated cover, a few readers wrote wanting to know if there were plans to make it a graphic novel,” Zedde recalled. “They were so eager to devour the story again in a new form. When I mentioned these responses to my publisher, she didn’t immediately laugh them off. A few days later, she gave me one of the best surprises I’ve had in a long time.”

“I thought, why not?” Ylva Publishing’s Ohletz said. “It’s a brilliant story and it really lends itself to being told in art. We certainly need more women of color and lesbian superheroes represented in popular culture. And it’s great we have an ‘own voice’ author who brings us amazing women of color lesbian superhero. This is so important because even though the ice has started to melt for these kinds of superheroes in our entertainment, we are not nearly where we need to be.”

The graphic novel will be created by the team at Streetlight Graphics, under artist Glendon Haddix.

Zedde hopes her book will inspire readers to seek out more stories like “The Power of Mercy”.

“I want to leave the readers with a hunger for more graphic novels and stories like this that reflect people of color and powerful queer women. My biggest wish-list take-away: that these types of stories are not only valid and wonderful but they also sell well.”

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So for now, move just a little, Batwoman (and LGBTQIA characters) to give space for more characters made for and by LGBTQIA people…

Check out “The Power of Mercy” graphic novel from Ylva Publishing.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

5 Ways to feel the holiday spirit

It’s that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is all around us. And I say: Why not make the most of it by enjoying it?

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Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is all around us. In a country like the Philippines, it – in fact – started as early as September (when what is called the -ber months started, covering September-December) and won’t end until mid-January, when Filipinos mark the Feast of the Three Kings. So the holiday spirit is really inescapable, as malls are decked in Christmas-related decors, kids start their door-to-door caroling (for a fee), offices hold once-a-year parties (as bosses hand out annual bonuses to employees), and DJs in radio stations/TV anchors keep counting the days left before we all mark Christmas and the start of the New Year.

This is not to say that everyone is touched by the holiday spirit. Because there are some who feel the stress brought by the season instead of the joys it brings. And so for these people, partaking in the festivities isn’t necessarily easy.

Worry not, though: With the belief that this season should be enjoyed by everyone (not just kids), we have here five ways to help get you in the festive spirit.

1.  Play the right music.

There’s a running joke in the Philippines – i.e. that the moment you hear Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas in Our Hearts being played on air, it must already be Christmas. This makes Chan adored… and admittedly hated by some.

But the thing is, you don’t have to just stick to Chan’s songs because there’s more to Christmas music than Chan and, yes, jingle bells and reindeer. And many of the popularly played music for the holidays are chart-toppers.

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There’s more to Christmas music than Jose Mari Chan and, yes, jingle bells and reindeer.
Photo by Mohammad Metri from Unsplash.com

In the UK, the modern fascination with the race for the festive No. 1 started in 1973, thanks to glam rock bands Slade and Wizzard. Not surprisingly, the Christmas No. 1 has been a feature of the UK Singles Chart since 1952, after the week’s best-selling singles was first published in the New Music Express.

Here are some interesting FYIs:

  • 35% of all Christmas No. 1s are cover songs – meaning originality isn’t always the best way to go when it comes to Christmas singles, given that covers account for 23 of the 66 festive number ones
  • Four acts have ever had multiple Christmas No. 1s: The Beatles, Queen, Cliff Richard and Spice Girls
  • Just 12 out of 66 number ones are actually about Christmas; surprisingly, 33% of Christmas No. 1s are actually about love

But there are numerous holiday-related songs to enjoy.

There’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (released in 1984), which has gone on to sell over three million copies – more than any other Christmas single. 

There’s Last Christmas by Wham! (released in 1984), the best-selling UK single that actually never reached number one.

Fairytale of New York by The Pogues (recorded in 1987 and released in 1988), which reached the top 20 on 15 separate occasions since losing out to Always On My Mind by the Pet Shop Boys in 1987.

And there’s Cliff Richard’s festive-themed chart-topper Saviour’s Day (released in 1990).

Incidentally, more pop songs (30 chart-toppers) than any other genre scooped Christmas number one. In fact, Ariana Grande (4/9) is the current favorite in the online betting this year. So you may want to consider other genres, too.

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Rock songs account for 11 Christmas number ones, including Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which took the title in 1975 and 1991 and is the UK’s third-best selling single of all time with 2.53 million sales.

Easy listening, with crooners claiming number one seven times between 1952 and 1976, the most recent of which being Johnny Mathis’ When A Child Is Born.

Choral songs, which are also chart-toppers, most recently A Bridge Over You by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir in 2015.

Or you can even consider soul (with two chart-toppers), dance (also with two chart-toppers), instrumental, folk, disco and a cappella.

The point is, if it gets you in the groove, play it/listen to it. This way, you may finally ease into the holiday mode.

2.  Deck the halls… no, make that the whole house.

Put up the Christmas tree. If you manage to get a fresh one (by ditching the plastic trees), so much the better. Because once set up, staying near that tree, sniffing that pine aroma, is certainly going to pull some strings in you and make you feel… Christmassy.

Bring out those flickering lights, hang the parol (Christmas lantern), place that wreath up, ready the poinsettias, hang the stockings…
Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash.com

But don’t stop there: bring out those flickering lights, hang the parol (Christmas lantern), place that wreath up, ready the poinsettias, hang the stockings…

All these help make you anticipate that something special is bound to – and will – happen.

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3.  Watch some classics.

Particularly if you’re – say – Netflix- or HOOQ-crazy or is a couch potato, opt to watch some flicks that will remind you why this season is special.

If you’re not keen on a movie that is hard-selling Christmas, there are other holiday-linked films worth considering.
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier from Unsplash.com

Off the head, must-consider include: Meet Me in St. Louis (1944); It’s a Wonderful Life (1946); Miracle on 34th Street (1947); White Christmas (1954); Home Alone (1990); The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992); The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993); and Love Actually (2003).

If you’re not keen on a movie that is hard-selling Christmas, there are other holiday-linked films worth considering, including: Gremlins (1984); Die Hard (1988); The Family Stone (2005); Edward Scissorhands (1990); and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).

4.  Join the parties.

There’s nothing wrong with flying solo; but the holiday season is really about togetherness. So try to get out of your shell and/or comfort zone and mingle. Consider this as an opportunity to party and not be judged for being overly festive (meaning, yes, you can drink and party all you want).

The holiday season is really about togetherness.
Photo by Mel Poole from Unsplash.com

5.  Share the spirit.

There are many who may not be as fortunate as you and be unable to celebrate the holidays – e.g. forgotten seniors in old-age homes, kids in orphanages, sick kids in – say – a cancer ward in some hospital, homeless families, et cetera.

As someone who may be in a better position, give some joy by reaching out to them. Maybe – just maybe – by seeing that you’re actually in a far, far better position than many others, you’d understand that there are actually things to be thankful for this season.

As someone who may be in a better position, give some joy by reaching out to them.
Photo by David Everett Strickler from Unsplash.com

So, yes, it’s that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is all around us. And I say: Why not make the most of it by enjoying it?

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