8 Ways to get in the Christmas spirit

By Piper Gallivan, Natalie Braga, and Alivia Arredondo

December is here and for all the people who celebrate it, it’s officially time to get into the Christmas spirit. For those who want to immerse themselves into this joyful holiday, here are 8 ways to get into the Christmas spirit!

Christmas Movies
Christmas movies are essential for getting into the Christmas spirit. There’s nothing better than getting all cozy and warm on the couch while watching your favorite Christmas movie. There are a variety of Christmas movies to choose from.

Some are old classic ones like Miracle on 34th Street (1950’s), that really touch the heart and teaches about the true meaning of Christmas, and others are more modern day Christmas movies like Elf and the live action Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that are meant to make people laugh.

Meanwhile, there are the romantic Christmas movies like Love Actually, and family classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and  the cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Overall, Christmas movies are great for gathering around with family and friends, and enjoying each other’s presence while being cozy and comfy.

Decorations
After Thanksgiving it’s time to get the Christmas tree up! Everyone knows the best way to get into the Christmas spirit is decorating. Setting up the Christmas tree with family and other loved ones, while playing Christmas music, can get anyone into the Christmas spirit. There are many ways to decorate for Christmas. Some people get real trees, and others get fake ones, but either way everyone loves decorating their beautiful trees with lights, ornaments, and a center-piece on the top.

Another way to decorate for Christmas is setting up lights around the house, inside and out, so that everywhere you go it feels like Christmas! In some religious households, the manger scene with the birth of Jesus Christ is displayed, which also helps some people to get into the Christmas spirit.

Finally if you’re really into the Christmas spirit, or are really wanting to get into it, some people make huge snow statues and buy huge blow-up Santa Claus’, and other Christmas figurines, like Rudolph. These huge blow-ups will definitely draw attention to your house while you get to proudly show off your Christmas spirit.

Christmas Clothing
To get into the Christmas spirit, you must dress for the occasion. You can do this by pulling out any holiday spirit wear you have, including sweaters, socks, and hats. If you haven’t got any at home, there are many options on sale at stores, all over, including: Target, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s.

Often times, these can be expensive, but luckily, if you stop by your local thrift store, you can usually find some cheap festive sweaters. It may be a simple change from a regular sweater to a Christmas one, however it’s an easy and fun way to feel more connected to the holiday.

Christmas Shopping
A major part of Christmas is being able to give gifts to your friends and family to show your love for them (and also to get some gifts in return). Gift giving is not always the easiest task, and can be overwhelming at times, but by planning ahead you can make sure you not only get all the gifts you need, but also get in the spirit while you’re at it!

Stores, all around town, are showing their festivity, and having many holiday sales you can take advantage of. If you’re buying a gift for someone with a definite list of things they want, we recommend buying off that, however, if not, there are some basic gifts that can be used for anyone. These gifts include: perfume/cologne, books, blankets, small clothing items such as hats or socks, candles, mugs, and more.

Gifts don’t always need to be material goods either; a loving letter, or time well spent, can be just as good, or even better. Christmas Shopping doesn’t need to be difficult, and in the end it is worth it to see your loved ones be surprised with great presents.

Christmas Music
Christmas music is an essential to feeling the Christmas spirit. There are many varieties of music, and you can pick which one based on your preference or your mood. There are the more classic types such as carols like “Deck the Halls” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” those with a rock kinda vibe like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” and there is also the modern-pop style like “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or “Baby Please Come Come.” All are amazing options for getting you in the spirit. You can play these during any Christmas activity like decorating, cooking, baking, or just generally hanging out with your loved ones.

Christmas Parties
Christmas parties are a great way to celebrate and make the most out of the most festive time of year. Whether they are spent with family or friends, they are a great way to spend time with the ones you love. Hosts can decide on the general theme they want for the party, and there are many fun options.

If you wanted a more intimate celebration with your friends, Secret Santa is a great way to do it. It works best with groups of 4-20. If you’re not familiar with Secret Santa, it is when a group of people put their names into a hat or bowl (or more recently electronic versions), and each person picks out 1 other name and buys a gift just for them. This is a simple way to help save money, because you only buy one gift. You can have a party at the end of it, where everyone gives their gift and has a good time.

You can also follow other themes like: an ugly sweater party, where the person wearing the ugliest one wins a prize; or a white elephant party, where everyone brings a random gift and you can steal the ones you like! Whatever you do, we hope you have a great time with all your loved ones!

Christmas Events
If you are lucky enough to live the Twin Cities, you have access to wonderful events throughout the season to participate in. The Union Depot is known as the “Hub for the Holidays,” and they host may events throughout December. They have multiple movie screenings in their grand hall such as Elf and The Polar Express.

They also host a full re-enactment of the train from Polar Express, with a running train where they decorated it almost exactly as the train from the movie. Then they have employees recreate iconic scenes like the dancing hot chocolate part.

They also have a European Christmas Market up all season, where you can buy everyone on your gift list authentic European gifts, and help support family businesses.

If you want to venture out into Minneapolis, you can go to a classic Minnesota tradition at the Holidazzle parade, and festive events at Loring Park.

If you want a fancy night out, there is nothing better than a nice evening at the Guthrie. Every year they put on A Christmas Carol, and it is a great way to enjoy the arts while getting in the festive spirit.

We hope you have found something to help you enjoy the season around the city!!

Volunteer Work
Not only is Christmas about being surrounded by ones you love, but it is about giving, and one easy way you can give is through volunteer work in your community. People all around the world have little, to nothing, on this holiday, and there are many ways to help them out.

One way to do this is through the Salvation Army by: helping prepare and serve holiday meals, being a bell ringer, and more.

Another way, is through Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Holiday Volunteers where you can prepare and serve meals at their locations in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and deliver to elders who can’t get to the centers.

Neighbors, Inc. helps distribute a large wish list of food items, and gifts, to needy families, and they have a variety of other tasks to do.

These ways and more, are easy to do, and will make you feel the Christmas spirit through helping out those in need.

Sports schedule for: Dec 18-23

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Winter Sports: Co-ed Nordic Ski, Adapted Floor Hockey, Gymnastics, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Wrestling, Girls Hockey, Boys Hockey, Boys Swimming, Danceline, Cheerleading, Alpine Ski

Activities the Week of December 18-23

Monday Dec. 18:

Tuesday Dec.19:

Co-ed Nordic Ski @ Highland Park Nine-Hole GC TBD

Boys Basketball vs. Prairie Seeds Academy @ HP JV 5:30   Varsity @ 7pm

Boys Varsity Hockey @ Mora Civic Center 6pm (Bus 3/8pm)

 Wednesday Dec. 20:
Gymnastics @ HP 6pm  HP/Mpls. So. / Roosevelt and Southwest /Como

Thursday Dec. 21:

Boys Swimming/Dive @ Hopkins North Jr. Hi 5pm (Bus 3/6:45pm)

Wrestling @ Orono 5pm (Bus3/8pm)

Boys Basketball @ Richfield HS  C-Squad & JV 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm (Bus 4:30/8:30)

Friday Dec. 22:

Saturday Dec. 23:

Go Scots!

The Harvey Weinstein effect

Sexual assault has been one of the most heated topics of 2017. Since the initial allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in October, a stream, or rather a torrent, of allegations of sexual misconduct have been leveled at many other significant figures in entertainment, politics, and journalism, including: Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and even Minnesota senator Al Franken, who has now said that he intends to resign from his position (MinnPost). The phenomenon has been dubbed, “The Harvey Weinstein effect” as reported by USA Today.

The allegations have ranged in severity from rape, to sexual assault or abuse, to sexual misconduct, and the reactions to these allegations have been mixed, but dramatic, to say the least. According to a USA Today article, many of the accused have been fired or resigned from their jobs or projects (Weinstein, Spacey, Lauer), more have apologized (C.K., Franken, George H.W. Bush) or denied the allegations (Roy Moore), or a combination of the three.

Republican politician Roy Moore’s case has been particularly controversial as he was, when the allegations were made, running in a Senate election (ABC News). He was accused by eight women, according to a Washington Post article, two of which were 14, below the Alabama age of consent of 16, when they claim the misconduct occurred. Moore specifically denied the allegations of two of his accusers and continued to run despite them, and requests from Democrat and Republican senators, such as John McCain, who said on the Senate Government website, “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” and he should resign.

These allegations, and their outcomes, are enough to give anyone pause. Almost everyone opposes sexual abuse in any form, but it can sometimes be hard to tell whether an allegation is valid, and, if so, how specifically to respond; especially when the allegations are being made at such an alarming rate. This question is of particular importance when it comes to public servants such as Roy Moore or even Donald Trump, who been accused of various degrees of sexual misconduct by 15 different women (CNN Politics).

The Alabama Senate elections results were officially released by The New York Times on Thursday, December 14. Roy Moore lost by a narrow margin to Doug Jones, 49.9% to 48.4%, with the rest of the votes being write-ins. The loss is still surprising, however, as Doug Jones was considered an outsider and a long shot in Alabama, a state which hadn’t had a Democratic senator in 20 years, before eight women came out against Moore.

TIME Magazine has awarded “The Silence Breakers” (those who came out against sexual abusers), the distinction of “People of the Year.” Without a doubt, the unraveling of the Harvey Weinstein effect will come to be seen as a defining event of our contemporary epoch in later years.

Christmas around the world

Christmas is one of the most known and celebrated holidays with all age groups. Christmas mostly comes from Christianity, and is celebrated each year, but what’s to stop it from being celebrated in other countries around the world? Each place celebrates Christmas differently: from the decorations, to how long Christmas lasts, to when it starts. While most celebrate Christmas over a week, or two days, some celebrate it as a month longer festival which starts on November 26, and goes to January 6.; Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and other countries follow this tradition.

In Russian, Grandfather Frost (known in Russia as Ded Moroz) brings forth presents to the children while being accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka. On Christmas Eve, people in Russia don’t eat until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat a traditional porridge called “Sochivo” or “Kutia” made of wheat or rice mixed with honey, poppy seeds, and fruit. People don’t eat fish or meat during their Christmas Eve feast. They eat Sochivo from a special common bowl, which symbolizes unity. Sometimes, families throw a spoonful of Sochivo onto the ceiling and if it sticks then that would mean a good harvest and good luck in their future. On Christmas Day, the meal consists of 12 meals representing the 12 disciples of Jesus. After the feast, and attendance to church, the kids go out caroling, and wishing a happy new year, which they’re usually rewarded with cookies, sweets and money.

In Mexico, on December 16, through Christmas Eve, children often perform “Posadas” which is Spanish for inn or lodging. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary went looking from somewhere to stay. The children sing to the baby Jesus for all the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Each night a different house holds a Posada party and at the end, the last house they set out the baby Jesus in the manger and everyone gathers there to go to the midnight church service. After the church service, there is an arrangement of fireworks to celebrate the coming of Christmas. The outside of houses are typically decorated with evergreens, moss, and paper lanterns. A game often played at Posada parties is pinata, where the kids gather around and hit it with a stick while being blindfolded. The pinata is often decorated with seven peaks and spikes to represent “The seven deadly sins.” A nativity scene, or in Mexico called “nacimiento,” which is a scene with clay figures, represents the gathering of Jesus’s birth. Poinsettia are known as the flowers of Christmas Eve and are bought at stores or even grown. On “el Dia de los Reyes” (Day of the three kings) kids often get gifts left by the three kings which are put into shoes left by the children. Presents can also be left by El Ninito Dios ( Baby Jesus) or Santa Clos (Santa Claus).

Everywhere, around the world, Christmas is celebrated differently and often brings family and friends closer together whether it comes from just sitting down and eating together, to just celebrating this holiday which is important to them. Each different place has its unique way to celebrate; if its from food, to decorations, or ways the people give gifts, it’s all special, and a way to celebrate the Christmas spirit.

For more information, please visit:

  1. https://www.momondo.com/inspiration/christmas-traditions-around-the-world/
  2. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/russia.shtml
  3. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/mexico.shtml
  4. 4. http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/worldxmas/

Hiway Federal Credit Union

Near the end of the 2016 school year, Highland Park created a partnership with Hiway Federal Credit Union, and built a branch inside the school. Now, some people mistake a credit union for a bank, as they both have members and handle money. A credit union is different from a normal bank though, because:

Not – for – profit > Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher saving rates and lower loan rates.

Member owned > At credit unions, depositors are called members. Each member is an IMG_4253 (Edited)owner of the credit union. Since credit union members are owners, each member, regardless of how much money they have on deposit, has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.

Better rates & Fewer fees > Credit unions focus on consumer loans and member savings, as well as services needed by the membership. Fees, such as overdraft and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees and ATM fees, tend to be lower at credit unions than banks. Membership requires a deposit of as little as $5, and most do not require a minimum daily balance to avoid fees.

There are many banks and credit unions spread throughout Saint Paul and Minneapolis. IMG_4251Students and teachers of Highland ask many questions like: What do the students do? Why should I join Hiway? How do I become a member? — If you’d like to learn more, stop by the Scots branch during lunch and chat with one of our students, or Hiway associates.