When it comes to certain things in life, I'm personally more interested in the origin than the motive. I'll explain:
Take the holiday Thanksgiving, for example. Although Boston Celtics baller Kyrie Irving caught some heat for not having great things to say, publicly, about Thanksgiving this year, I get why. Reportedly, his late mother is a descendant of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the origin of Thanksgiving? I'll put it to you this way—an interesting and informative read is "The Truth About Thanksgiving: What They Never Taught You in School".
And Christmas? I know a lot of Christians say that Jesus is the reason for the season; however, while that might be their motive for observing it, that's certainly not Christmas's origin. It's more about "the holiday of Saturnalia," a week-long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25, and Christians back in the day wanting to get in on the festivities so badly that they "tacked" Christ's birthday on the end of it in order to justify becoming a part of Saturnalia. Christ's birthday is actually more around late spring, or early summer because (Hello!) that's when it's wintertime in the Middle East/Africa (Matthew 2, Luke 2).
Why is the New Year celebrated on January 1? Basically, Julius Caesar decided to switch up the calendar (you can read more about that here). I could go on, but I think you get where I'm going with this.
For me, it's knowing this kind of information that has brought me to a place of no longer observing/celebrating the holiday season. Now that doesn't mean I'm a low key Grinch who's plotting to take your Christmas trees in the middle of the night. It just means that when someone says, "So, what are you doing for the holidays?" with their faces beaming, my answer is simply, "I don't observe them," with the still-useful Kanye shrug. Then I go about the holiday season like I would any other day. And honestly, since I've been doing that, life has been less stressful, more peaceful, and yes, financially stable. I have no regrets. Not one.
While I know there are dozens of reasons why others may not observe the holiday season; maybe it's for religious reasons, maybe something else, the reason I'm penning this is because of the thing we have in common, which is we tend to be the exception and not the rule. Because of that, there's not nearly enough info out in cyberspace about how to get through this time of year—or all year if you're someone who doesn't celebrate any holiday at all.
If you can relate to where I'm coming from because, for whatever the reason, you don't do holidays either, here are some tips that get me through every time this time of year rolls around.
Decide What You Will—And Will Not—Do Beforehand.
I don't have any children, but I do have a goddaughter. I don't buy her Christmas gifts. She knows why, plus she gets enough stuff from me throughout the year that she's fine with it. One of my closest friends takes Christmas décor to a disturbing level, but I'm not gonna go over to her house and roll my eyes the entire time.
I usually swing by before she puts everything up or after Christmas is over, just so my lack of enthusiasm doesn't rain on her parade. My immediate family lives overseas, so that's not an issue and relatives who are close by respect that I'm not feeling lonely if I don't wanna swing by.
My point? Things only get "weird" when you're not clear. Once you are firm in your decisions and express to others what you want to do and don't want to do well before Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, even if the first couple of years are uncomfortable or odd for them, eventually they will catch on. And usually, it becomes not that big of a deal—both ways.
Share Because They Ask, Not Because You’re Being An Anti-Holiday Bully.
Before I got to the personal place of not observing holidays (although I do have a thing for Valentine's Day, but not for the reasons you think; St. Valentine was pretty gangster), I always admired how Jewish and Muslim people I knew handled Christmas. They didn't observe it, but they didn't berate me with their reasons why either.
At the same time, whenever I asked them for their take on the day, they were more than happy to share; they were also really well-versed in what they were talking about. I'm grateful for those kinds of convos because they taught me to be knowledgeable about my stance while still being respectful of other people's positions. If someone asks what my deal is, I share. If they don't, a simple "I don't observe" will suffice.
There's a couple I know who have the greatest Christmas hustle around. They don't observe/celebrate Christmas, so they don't bring gifts to their family members' homes. Cool. Do you. Oh, but guess what they will do—accept presents. Is it just me or does that sound more selfish than anything else?
I'm not saying you should turn down grandma's $5 in her annual Christmas card just because you chose not to get her anything. But if you do decide to spend the actual holiday DAY with others, be gracious and bring a bottle of wine or a dessert or something. You would do that for Sunday dinner on a "regular" day, right? (Right?!?)
Create Your Own Traditions.
I really like going to the movies, so on Thanksgiving, it's bliss to be able to sit in a theatre and just binge-watch. Christmas? Since I work from home, it's amazing how much I can get done (online and off) since most people are focused on family stuff. New Years? I personally observe Rosh Hashanah so, it doesn't feel like I'm missing out on anything (I already had my new year). When you create your own traditions, it makes not observing the holidays in the way that others do basically a non-issue. They can do them while you do you and it's all good—both ways.
Acknowledge The Spirit Of The Season If Nothing Else.
A few years back, I interviewed a Jewish woman who is married to a Christian man. They celebrate "Christmahanukkah" at their house. Although she isn't big on Christmas, she said something about it that has stayed with me – "If this is the one time of year when everyone can act like they've got some sense and be loving to family, friends, and strangers alike, I can appreciate that." Yeah. Me too.
Pardon the pun, but we can wrap this up in a pretty red bow with that beautiful point. Whether you observe the holiday season or not, if every day is looked at as an opportunity to bring peace and goodwill to others, it shouldn't be an issue whether that day is a random Monday or a holiday. I think we all can get on the same page about that.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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