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This Is How To Have A Quiet & Romantic Christmas At Home

A romantic Christmas staycation may be just what Santa ordered.

Love & Relationships

Not too long ago, I saw an article that had a title that made me chuckle—"Eighty-Four Percent of Families Plan to Be Together this Christmas, even Though Two-thirds Predict an Argument with Relatives, According to New International Survey". Goodness. If you just read that and shook your head because you can totally relate, perhaps, "This Will Keep Your Family Off Of Your LAST Nerve This Holiday Season" might be the better read for you than this one (good luck and hang in there).

On the other hand, if you're someone who has decided to totally buck the system and forego all of the holiday travel, family bonding and potential drama so that you can have a nice quiet time at home with you and your boo—first of all, congrats. I salute anyone who chooses to do the holidays their own way. Secondly, I've got a few ideas the two of you can do together; things that will help to turn your home into an unforgettable romantic winter wonderland for you and yours—whether it snows outside or not this year or not.

Decorate Your Tree (or Go with a Tree Alternative)

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As far as decorating your tree goes, this is probably already something that the two of you do. But the reason why it tops the list is because, what I mean is, to make a ritual out of it. Turn on some of your favorite music; break open a bottle of wine; once the lights are on the tree, dim your overhead lighting; turn off the television and silence your smartphone—shoot, put on some sexy lingerie and then decorate the tree. Maybe even take out this time to make a couple of ornaments; it's a great way to have fun with your partner and create memories at the same time (check out some DIY links here, here and here).

Or, if you'd prefer to spare a live tree this year or you want to go with more of an avant-garde look in your home, you could make—a tree display out of copper and wood (here); a wooden tree to display your Christmas greeting cards from (here); a wall-mounted tree out of velvet fabric (here); a tree that's made from yarn (here), or you can get a couple of faux tabletop trees to put on your nightstands and call it a day.

Cook (or Bake) Christmas Childhood Favorites

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As a marriage life coach, something that I think can help couples to understand each other more is to discuss their childhoods more often. For instance, there is someone I know who doesn't miss a Christmas without watching The Wizard of Oz; like they get low-key irate if they miss it. When I finally asked them why, they explained that while growing up with an alcoholic parent, watching that movie was the only time when there seemed to be peace in the house. Someone else told me that big Christmas breakfasts are a must-do tradition because it reminds them of their home before their parents broke up.

Cooking with your partner is already a wonderful (and effective) way to spend quality time with them. But if you both are intentional about preparing some Christmas childhood favorites, the stories that you both share can shed some enlightenment and, in turn, bring the both of you closer together too.

Watch Your Favorite Throwback Christmas Episodes

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Pretty much any throwback program that you can think of has a Christmas episode. If you can't find them on your favorite streaming service, sites like Dailymotion and YouTube may have them. It could be a lot of fun to watch a Christmas episode of A Different World, Living Single or Moesha in between some of those sappy Christmas movies that are in heavy rotation right about now. I know I always dig them when I see them.

Slow Drag—then Make Out—to Christmas Classics

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In this ever-shifting culture, one thing that never gets old is slow dragging. I think it's because, whether you can actually dance or not, it's something that you can pull off. Plus, you're able to get all close 'n cuddly with your partner. Yeah, the slow drag continues to be undefeated. That's why I say that, in between all of the things on this list, take out at least 30 minutes to put on some of your favorite Black Christmas music classics while slow dragging underneath a mistletoe. If you do it right, the dance could turn into a make out session and…who knows what that could lead to?

Make S’mores in Your Fireplace

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Dark chocolate is quite the aphrodisiac. If you're fortunate enough to have a fireplace, create your own mini bonfire by making some s'mores in it. You can find a classic recipe, along with over a dozen more creative ones, here. Or, if you still like the s'mores idea but all you've got is an oven, you can still make some bomb ones by following this recipe.

Have an Indoor (or Outdoor) Picnic

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Something that couples can actually have year-round are picnics; it doesn't have to be indoors either. Yeah, I already know that some of y'all are looking at me like I am crazy, but I personally know some couples—yes, Black ones—who have had some really romantic Valentine's Day picnics outdoors with the help of some chicken noodle soup, hot chocolate and chunky knitted blankets.

Anyway, if you totally dig the picnic concept but indoor is more your speed, here are some of the things that you will need to totally set it off:

After a little time in an indoor picnic tent, there's no telling how much you might end up prefer it to your own bed (if you know what I mean).

Play a Christmas Music or Movies Drinking Game

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So, earlier this year, I read an article that addressed if sex when you're drunk or high is better, strictly from a scientific perspective. Long story short, if you wanna take more sexual risks, get drunk; if you want sex to feel better, get high. But if, for whatever the reason, weed ain't your thing, go with red wine. It's proven to boost the libido of men and especially women which can make for a really good time.

Make the drinking even more enjoyable by having your own Christmas pop culture drinking game. Ask each other questions about some classic Black Christmas movies and music and take a shot every time you get an answer wrong. Shoot, take the game up a notch by also taking off a piece of clothing too. A game that ends with some red wine-induced sex is a game worth playing (a few times), if you ask me.

Give Each Other a Love Language Present

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Over this past year, we touched on the importance of love languages in relationships quite a bit (check out "I Discovered My Husband's Love Language ...And It Changed Everything", "Your Love Language, According To Your Zodiac Sign", "Knowing Your Partner's Love Language Can Transform Your Relationship" and "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language").

One way to convey to your partner that you not only know what their love language is, but you understand how to speak it is to give them a Christmas present that is based on their love language.

For instance, if their love language is quality time, give them a reservation to a bed and breakfast in the next city. Or, if their love language is acts of service, offer to use your gifts and talents to help them get an idea off of the ground in the new year. Love language gifts are cool because, not only are they thoughtful, they can make you and your partner feel seen, heard and felt which is always a really beautiful and beneficial thing.

Also, Give Each Other a “12 Dates of Christmas” Date Jar

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Speaking of spending quality time together, if you and yours have big plans in 2021, make sure that the romance in your relationship doesn't fall by the wayside. One way to avoid that is to plan ahead when it comes to going on future dates. One way to do that is by giving each other a "12 Dates of Christmas" Date Jar (not to be mistaken by the sex jar that every long-term committed couple also should have in their possession as well). In it, put pieces of paper that have cool date ideas for the next 12 months. Both of you hand each other a jar come Christmas morning. It can be exciting to see what the two of you have come up with. Plus, you can both have the assurance that you'll be going on at least two dates a month until 2022 rolls around.

TOTALLY UNPLUG

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If you and yours are serious about having a quiet and romantic Christmas, let those close to you know that you'll be falling totally off of the grid, at least from December 24 thru December 26. Then put your cell phones on vibrate and in a room where you won't be spending a ton of time. Keep your computers off, period and only have your television on to watch movies and television programs—no news (including entertainment news).

When you make a point to totally disconnect from technology, a day away can seem like an entire week. Plus, it can give you and yours time to really relax and reconnect with one another. Out of all of the suggestions I've shared, this is what could end up being the very thing that could result in you having the very best Christmas yet!

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Originally published on December 12, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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