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Christmas isn't always holly jolly – even some of its best-loved songs are bittersweet

(THE CONVERSATION) In American culture, Christmas is supposed to be synonymous with joy. The familiar carols proclaim this message, with “Joy to the World” resounding in thousands of churches, while its secular counterpart exhorts listeners to have “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”

When the holidays are hard

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” However, for many of us, the holidays are the hardest part of the year. We suffer with loneliness, isolation, depression and grief. Some of us may have lost very close family members, lost a marriage, or lost a job. These losses can lead to extreme loneliness. With such excessive loneliness, we tend to isolate. We avoid holiday parties and making friends. If we make friends, we are scared that we would lose them just like we lost our family members.

Christmas lights: a judgmental guide

One of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas in the 1970’s was riding around in the family station wagon, “Bessie,” to look at Christmas lights while I whined to my parents about needing a snack – again. There was something magical about a familiar evening landscape transformed to a radiant wonderland at the expense of someone’s lumbar spine.

Invasion of the college students

Imagine, if you will, a tranquil late-autumn evening. It’s the first day of your Thanksgiving holiday, and you are reclining in your easy chair, enjoying the warmth and gently dancing flames of your fireplace insert – with semi-realistic gas logs – and sipping a cup of warm tea from your new Keurig machine that Bed Bath & Beyond put on sale for 50% off immediately after your purchase.

Student loan cancellation got blocked. Now what? 3 questions answered

(THE CONVERSATION) When the Biden administration announced in August 2022 that it was canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower, it said the idea was to provide families with “breathing room as they prepare to start repaying loans after the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.” But two federal courts recently blocked President Joe Biden’s student loan relief program, ruling it unconstitutional. Here, William Chittenden, a professor of finance at Texas State University, explains why and what’s next for student loan borrowers still hopeful that their loans can be forgiven.

Get out of bed and breakfast

The whole concept of a bed and breakfast is pretty ingenious and fits almost perfectly with my lifestyle. In fact, the words “bed” and “breakfast” are fair representations of my favorite activities, namely eating, sleeping and eating. I only wish I could reinvent the idea and call it “bed and breakfast food eaten in the early afternoon” since my wife and I both identify as late sleepers and, on most Saturdays, are finishing our pancakes at around 2 p.m.


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