Five Tips to Keep Political Peace at the Holiday Table

As eggnog is poured and rolls are served, a looming topic of debate is likely to come up: politics. Especially with midterm elections recently occurring, students at college are more inclined to form independent political views without family pressures. Holiday gatherings – infamous for family arguments – may very well be the first time students will join in on the political debate and share their differing political opinions.

Dr. Carolyn Brodbeck, associate professor in psychology at Chapman, talked to Prowl about coping mechanisms intended to help prepare students for political disagreements that may await them at home. Here are five tips that stood out.


  1. Before heading to dinner, self-reflect.

As students spend a majority of time with peers and professors in a college setting, their beliefs may change or develop to differ from how they were raised. As a result, “a student may perceive their place in the family as changing,” Brodbeck states, which requires a reflection on one’s own beliefs as a separate entity. In the process, it is useful to reflect on the university experience in shaping ideas, as well as your place in the family and in the world. Ask yourself for example, “How would I describe my current relationship with my family? How has my relationship with my family changed since embarking on my Chapman university experience? What do I see as the most important challenges that my family and community are dealing with?” Brodbeck informs.

Self-reflection is important to creating a sense of awareness of the world around an individual, an essential part of the university experience as we learn to become more independent. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. De-escalate the debate.

Instead of lashing out at family members for their differing political views, note contrasting opinions and separate them from your relationship with the individual. “Dad, I can see that we have extremely different perspectives on this political issue. It seems like this is really important to you. I just want to let you know that I will always respect you as my father even if we don’t agree on this or other topics,” Brodbeck uses as an example.

Because many discussions occur at the table, it is useful to simmer down a heated debate with compliments about the food. Photo courtesy of Claire Treu.


  1. Use entertainment to divert debate.

Before heading home for the holidays, look to your favorite games to steer the altercation into a friendlier direction. Plan in advance, having games like “Monopoly” or “Life,” to extinguish a brewing or heated political debate. Just maybe don’t suggest Cards Against Humanity…

Games typically require sole concentration, so it is a good way to steer clear of debate either temporarily or permanently. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. Help out in the kitchen.

Although it is nice to show appreciation directly at the holiday table, a good way to express your gratitude is through helping set, serve, and clean up after the meal. This acts as a good way to escape from argument while earning respect from your family members. “Your grandparent or whoever is heading chef duty will be grateful that you are taking the initiative to help out!” Brodbeck states.

Heading into the kitchen is a good way to contribute help to the table rather than another person to engage in conflict. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. Engage in family tale-telling.

In a heavy discussion, make light of the situation through compliments of a family member. Perhaps ask how holiday dinners were when older family members were growing up. “Your interest shows respect, especially towards courageous ancestors who have made today possible,” Brodbeck informs.

The telling of familial stories promotes bonding as it steers away from a perhaps less than desirable debate. Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels.


 

10 gifts you never thought your pet deserved

7% of pet owners dress their pets on a regular basis, 5% have given their animal a social media account and another 95% of pet owners admitted to having bought a Christmas gift for their pet, according to a recent survey conducted by Rover.com – the nation’s largest network of dog sitters and walkers.  

Make sure your pet isn’t overlooked when the holiday present come out. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous pet gifts we found.


1. Dog High Chair

Say goodbye to setting the table for one. Since the idea of letting your pet be a pet for 20 minutes seems absurd, check out this alternative. This pet high chair keeps your pup from sitting on your lap or at your feet begging for your food when you’re eating. Instead, it can have a chair of its own.

Price: Ranges from $56-$100

Photo Courtesy of Donna Slem.


2. Ceiling Cat Playground

Tired of your house being full of cat toys and scratch pads? Give your cat their own overhead playground to get them out of your hair. Combined with a wall bed to rest, you provide your cat a relaxed retreat.

Price: $102.50

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Botezatu.


3. The Doggy Thong

The Doggy Thong is fashionable and practical. Made of charcoal cloth, designed to neutralize a dog’s anal odors, it will keep Stinky smelling and looking great! We cannot, however, guarantee your dog won’t be bullied.  

Price: $15

Photo courtesy of Imgur.


4. Cat Music

Teyus Music, by musician David Teie from a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, has created a playlist specifically for cats. Teie bases his sounds on cats’ physiological traits and instincts. Incorporating feline-centric sounds – like the suckling for milk – can help cats relax, according to Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Price: $15-$20 per album

Photo courtesy of Imgur.


5. Portable Fishbowl

Need to take your fish on a walk? Of course you do! Check out the stylish backpacks and handbags with built-in fish bowls that allow you and your pet to hit the town.

Price: $25.00

Photos from Michal Shibitali on Flikr.


6. Non-alcoholic wine for your cat

After a long day of work, sometimes you just need to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. Why drink alone when your furry friend can join you? Infused with salmon oil and organic catnip!

Price: $5 for one bottle

Photos by Steve Heap on Pixabay & @pandabearsermahgerd on Imgur.


7. Petcube Camera – The Pet Equivalent of Skype

The Petcube camera lets you see and hear your pet in an HD wide angle lens when you’re out of the house. The product is also equipped with an interactive laser so you can play with your pet even when Snickers is home and you’re in Minsk.

Price: Ranges from $150-$179

Photo by @iceburg99 on Imgur.


8. Pawdicure Polish Pen

Look good, feel good. This non-toxic polish pen allows you to decorate your dog’s nails in a rainbow of colors. Do you still wonder why dogs bite people?

Price: $7.99

Photo courtesy of @tinyCartoonBeats on Imgur & @AjKaramba on Imgur.


9. Marry your pet

Are you in love with your pet? Well the two of you can share the same living quarters, enjoy tax benefits, and the sanctity of marriage. Just sign the marriage certificate – oh yeah – and pay.

The price: $230.00 for the “biggest” option, which includes an ‘I married my pet’ t-shirt, a certificate and a hand embroidered, personalized wall plaque to always remind you of your special day.

Photo by Amber Lou on Imgur & Michelle Geer on Imgur.


10. Kitty tunnel

Keep your kitty in the holiday spirit by giving him a soft and warm place to cuddle – or hide while being chased away from the Christmas decorations or holiday roast.

Price: $16.99

Photo courtesy of Claire Treu.


From putting your pooch in a high chair to getting married to them, you never know how far some pet owners will go for their pet.

Sleigh the Holiday Season at Your College Home Away From Home

End of semester stress may have you feeling like the Grinch, but don’t let that crush your holiday spirit. You may have gotten into the groove of family traditions leading up to winter holidays in the past, but between finals and Southern California’s less-than-wintery weather, it can be easy to lose the holiday spirit. Here are five ways to celebrate the holiday season in your college home.


1. Deck The Hall

Many students take to decorating the inside of their dorms for the holiday season. Whip out the wrapping paper and the ribbons to include your dorm doors in the holiday spirit.

The welcome area in Argyros Forum has loads of butcher paper for free. Photo courtesy of Veronica Millison.

To make a tree:
  1. Cut about five feet of butcher paper into several small pointed strips.
  2. Fold the strips into a tube and tape the back, leaving the pointed edges on the outside.
  3. Flatten the taped strips and pull the outer point to create a raised effect.
  4. Tape the strips to the door, adding more as you work your way down to the stump.
  5. To create the stump, cut a small piece of butcher paper and put it on the bottom of the tree.
  6. You can also cut out ornaments of your desire or hang real ones using mini Command hooks.
To make a snowman:
  1. Cut enough butcher paper to make three circles of varying sizes, small, medium, and large.
  2. Tape onto the door the smallest circle on the top and largest on the bottom, connecting each one.
  3. Add a cutout hat, scarf and facial features – or draw them directly onto the circles.
  4. Cut small white circles and tape them sporadically on the door to create snow.

2. Make a Holiday Treat

Nothing says “Hello holidays!” like good food. No matter what you’re celebrating, ask for the family recipe to your favorite dish and share it with your roommates and professors. Bake with your friends in the fully stocked Morlan Hall kitchen – just bring your own ingredients and clean up when you are done.

Many students take to coffee to push through finals. Spice it up and treat yourself with a side of a holiday inspired coffee cake. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe – inspired by and courtesy of Kristyn Merkley, from Lil’ Luna.

You will need:
  • A 9×13 inch pan (or proportional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the pan and set it aside.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, milk, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Pour the content of the dry bowl into the larger mixing bowl and whisk to create the batter
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan so that the top is even.
  7. To create the topping, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  9. Using a butter knife, create swirls on top of the batter to blend the topping in.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool for two minutes, and enjoy!

3. Set the Winter Scene in SoCal

Although Southern California is not a winter wonderland, create the ambience yourself and make use of what SoCal has to offer. The fire pit at the dorm pool is open until 9 p.m. – giving you plenty of time to enjoy a night under the string lights roasting chestnuts and making s’mores.

If you don’t mind going off campus, the sand is SoCal’s snow. The beach is a great place to have a bonfire and roast your holiday treats.
Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash.


4. Join the Community

Grab your friends and go to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Choir Procession in the Orange Circle. This year, the ceremony will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t miss the tree lighting and music starting at 5:15 p.m. 

Shops and restaurants will be open for you to grab a bite while you enjoy the event. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


5. Gather Your Friends For a Gift Exchange

No matter what you celebrate, gift exchanging has been made a large part of the holiday season. Additionally, it’s a great way to get together with your friends before the end of the year.

There are several options to gift-giving, perhaps the most common being Secret Santa and White Elephant. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


 

Eight Random Holidays You Probably Didn’t Know Are Coming Up

There is a holiday for anything if you dream it. We found these random holidays on Holiday Insights and thought, there is always a reason to celebrate. Check out these eight upcoming holidays and come up with the ultimate excuse to treat yourself.


1: November 3rd – Sandwich Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Sandwiches are a staple in North America, from a PB&J to the Elvis Presley (peanut butter, bacon, and banana). Celebrate this day by branching out and making a unique sandwich you can call your own. Consider a mac & grilled cheese, B.L.T.A., or adding peanut butter on your burger.


2: November 12 – Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

This is a day to give back to yourself. It’s a celebration of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. We suggest doing things that make you feel like the best version of yourself, like taking a bubble bath, eating your favorite foods, or spending time alone.


3: November 13th – World Kindness Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Celebrate this day by donating your time to local charities. We sometimes forget how lucky we are to go to such an amazing school, so let’s put some gratitude in our attitudes and help others in need. Here are some volunteer ideas around Orange: 4Life Animal Rescue, Mary’s Kitchen, Surfrider Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House.


4: November 16th – Button Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Buttons can be underrated; they come in all different shapes, colors, textures, and styles. Celebrate this day by jazzing up an old sweater or jacket with some buttons for a fun new look.


5: November 17th – Take A Hike Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Celebrate this day by literally taking a hike. Go down to Laguna and do the Top Of The World hike or road trip to LA for the day and hike the Hollywood sign. Any way you celebrate, grab some friends and get outside for that perfect Instagram worthy picture.


6: November 23rd – National Espresso Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Because there’s no such thing as too much caffeine. Go to Starbucks to get your fix, or venture beyond Chapman and explore some of the coffee spots in the Orange Circle. Just make sure not to say “ex-presso.”


7: November 26th – Shopping Reminder Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

You know it’s going to be a good day when someone wants you to shop. This day falls on Cyber Monday, so put this one in your calendar to snatch up all those online steals and deals.


8: November 28th – French Toast Day

Photo courtesy of giphy.com.

Best. Day. Ever. This day gives attention to an often forgotten breakfast food. Celebrate by adding fun ingredients to your french toast to spice it up – consider cocoa pebbles, peanut butter and jelly, Nutella, or sprinkles.