Strange holidays

USA! USA! USA!
Is there something inherently chauvinistic about pointing out how bizarre, strange or singular the holiday celebrations of others seem? Probably.

We wish you a smelly Christmas

How odor activates memories and holiday spirit
Pumpkin pie. Pine. Cinnamon. Peppermint. Roast turkey. Clove-covered oranges. All of these smells most likely elicit fond memories of opening presents by the Christmas tree when you were a kid or gorging yourself on a second helping of Grandma’s pumpkin pie.

What kids don’t want from Santa

A handy guide to what not to buy kids for christmas
For those of you who need to buy gifts for nieces, nephews, significantly younger siblings or the children of friends, the holidays can be a very difficult time for shopping. Even parents can be at a loss. Every child is different, but there are certain toys that no child wants—period. Take our word for it. Here’s some help for steering clear of this year’s least popular kids’ gifts.

Naughty Santa

Perfectly paired holiday cocktails and cookies
If you want to be on the “nice list,” it’s a good idea to leave Santa his favorite snack of milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. If you’d rather join the cool kids on the naughty side— where they serve booze—try these delectable pairings of adult holiday beverages and delicious cookies.

Boozy holiday cheer for $30

how to host a festive cocktail party
For many students, $30 has a lot of potential.An extra $30 could mean eating real vegetables or represent three happy-hour outings. In extreme cases, the entire fate of a friendship could rest upon an unpaid $30 debt.

Deckin’ the halls with bells and ribbons

Throwing a holiday party on a college-student budget
Fall term is almost over and the Black Friday bell has rung, marking the beginning of the Christmas holiday season and shot nerves, broken banks, a glut of generosity and overwhelming gift-giving decisions. What’s left to do but to take the edge off the holiday craziness by throwing a small party?

Mistletoe misuse

Hardly the romance you had in mind
The image of a couple in love (or simply in close proximity) kissing under the mistletoe is an iconic one. It’s a revered winter tradition and a highlight of the season for every hopeless romantic during the month of December. As is the case with many of our most-beloved seasonal institutions, mistletoe starts out with the best of intentions but can quickly devolve into the low point of a holiday gathering.

Give the gift of time

Get involved this holiday season by volunteering for those in need
For many in our community, the holidays are not a festive time of year but a period of deep anxiety and distress. Thankfully, there are many resources for those people in need of a little help this season. But with the higher demand during these frigid winter months, many of the organizations that provide essential services to the disadvantaged become overwhelmed. These organizations rely on the time and effort of volunteers and can always use an extra helping hand.

Do donation right

Ignore the red-aproned ringers this year and show local support
It’s always tempting to drop a dollar or two into one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles. Frequently located right outside your holiday shopping spots, the easy access provides an instant sensation of altruism that’s hard to beat.

White elephant

A holiday tradition of give and take
The term “white elephant” originates from tales of ancient kings in Thailand who were in the habit of giving away the rare animals as presents to those who had become a nuisance to them. The idea was that the gift would be more trouble than it was worth to the recipient, since the cost of its upkeep and maintenance would drastically outweigh the seeming generosity of the gesture.

Caroling to the MAX

Spreading holiday cheer by singing on public transit
It all started with a group of dejected fans after a loss by the Portland Trail Blazers. In the winter of 2005, former Portland State student Jenny Wright boarded the westbound MAX after a night class. The Blazers had just lost a game, and she found herself surrounded by sullen fans. Feeling uncomfortable and a bit sullen herself, she started to quietly whistle “Jingle Bells.”In the winter of 2005, former Portland State student Jenny Wright boarded the westbound MAX after a night class. The Blazers had just lost a game, and she found herself surrounded by sullen fans. Feeling uncomfortable and a bit sullen herself, she started to quietly whistle “Jingle Bells.”

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Arts & Culture

On-campus events calendar: Oct. 17–23

FEATURED EVENT FILM The Devil Probably (1977) Oct. 20–21, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 3 p.m. 5th Avenue Cinema $4–5 (free w/PSU ID), all ages From the copy: "think La...

ART ‘Caught’ review

Opinion

Forget your identity; transcend your identity

Last year, I took the University Studies sophomore inquiry course, American Identities. On the first day of class, the professor requested that students introduce...