Weekend Reads: Christmas, resolutions, and Star Wars
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Was an all-Christmas Weekend Reads on your list to Santa this year? We sure hope so! This week, find out how to get your financial resolutions in order and why socks are still the best gift to give.Plus, how to budget for traveling with your pet this holiday, tips on throwing the best office party, why your boss should be on your Christmas card list, and 'tis the season for Star Wars.Also: no, it's not quite the weekend yet. But we're on a holiday schedule this week, so read it early, wait until the weekend, or sneak off and enjoy the links when you need an escape from the family!
Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around either healthfulness or money. Maybe you have a specific goal, or are just trying to get into better habits in general. Either way, it’s hard to do something different if you don’t recognize where you’re coming from. After all, how will you know what to change? That’s why, if your goal is to make better choices with your money, you should take a look at Financial Samurai’s end-of-year checklist. Find out where you’re at, what you can be doing better, and what you want to focus on next year with this guide so you’re in good shape once 2016 rolls around.
If you want to give a present that’s sure to please this Christmas, you can’t go wrong with either a streaming service subscription, so the recipient can finally start contributing to water cooler conversations about Orange is the New Black, or something handmade. If you want to be a better gift-giver than Santa Claus himself, why not kill two birds with one stone? A nice pair of handknit socks, complete with Netflix series-inspired designs...that also know when you fall asleep so your movie or show will pause automatically. Netflix gives instructions for both the socks and the electronics required to wire them up. They’ll certainly be a unique gift, and they’ll be useful from cold winter nights all the way through the next season of Daredevil.
A lot of people travel for the holidays. I know, that’s the type of hard-hitting insight you read this blog for. But some people might want to travel with their pets, and don’t realize how incredibly expensive that can be. If you’re considering taking Fido with you to visit the in-laws, make sure you budget for that extra expense. And if you aren’t taking them with you, a pet sitter or kennel can cost just as much. Your best bet? Have a friend come over while you’re gone, and give them a nice pair of Netflix socks for their trouble.
Company holiday parties span the spectrum between "extravagant party where at least one person gets unprofessionally drunk" to "a pizza and some sad-looking decorations in the breakroom." Claire Zulkey at Fast Company has some tips for throwing an office party that will actually get people excited. Whether it involves charity, a small, intimate meal, or giving employees the next day off so they can cut loose, there are a lot of ways to celebrate Christmas that don’t involve awkward white elephant gifts.
So you’ve written out your holiday cards – one of the only times you’ll ever actually write something by hand – and sent them out to your parents, siblings, grandmother, and...boss? Yes, that’s right, you should dig into that address book and send nice notes to current and former co-workers. Is it a bit unexpected? Maybe. But that’s what will make you stick out! As any real professional can tell you, building and maintaining a network is the very best thing you can do when you’re looking for a change in careers. Whether or not it’s on your resolution list to get a new job, keeping in touch with old acquaintances is a useful exercise, and sending holiday cards around your current workplace can help build relationships that will make the rest of the year go by a little more smoothly.
I know, you were promised an all-Christmas Weekend Reads, but you’re crazy if you don’t think Star Wars is factoring heavily into this holiday season (and you must not have followed all of our Star Wars tweets). You probably have one of a trillion different pieces of Star Wars merchandise on your Christmas list – either to give or receive – and for those who like to go to the movies on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, Star Wars is likely the number one choice. And you’ll be joining a big club: The Force Awakens now has the highest worldwide debut ever, a bar previously set this past summer by Jurassic World. Does this mean we’re all out of ideas and the only movies we’re going to be able to enjoy are franchise reboots and sequels? Um...yeah, probably. But BB-8, right, guys? Buy it!
Image: Paul Hadsall
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