The XBox 1 and PS4 may be all the rave this year, but back in 1996 there was only one system every geek dreamed of for Christmas.
The Nintendo 64.
The XBox 1 and PS4 may be all the rave this year, but back in 1996 there was only one system every geek dreamed of for Christmas.
The Nintendo 64.
Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, every year we are afforded the opportunity to annually enjoy the holiday season.
It’s a time when college students can let out that big sigh of relief they were holding in from the hellish fury of finals week.
It’s a time when the 9-to-5-ers, if graced with days off, can escape the endless meetings, grueling Mondays and annoying coworkers. It’s a time when parents can be parents again, and daughters and sons can feel like kids again.
As we get older, however, we realize home isn’t quite the same. We enjoy ourselves, as well as the time we spend with family, but leaving becomes easier as we start to realize that home lacks a certain charm it once had when we were younger.
As we get older, we see that home is great, but is best seen as a getaway. Here are four reasons why:
Isn’t it funny how our parents stay the same? It seems like no matter how old we get, what we accomplish and who we become, they will always remind us who the boss is.
Of course, it’s why we love them and why they’re great, but as we mature into adults, the transformation is sometimes hard for our parents to see. When we reach a certain age, we need relationship meddling and involvement to become relationship advice.
At a certain point, telling us what to do should become more of giving us advice on what to do, and respecting if we take the advice or not.
As adults, we still respect our parents, but we need them to be more of advisers rather than instructors, which is a process that can be hard for them.
I always know my stay for the holidays has been fulfilled when when my parents start asking me what time I will be home and reprimanding me for sleeping in on Sunday mornings.
They can’t help but be parents, but demands such as taking out the trash are so much easier when it’s your own trash and you can take it out whenever you want. Not to mention, having company is, well, hard at your parents’ crib.
I love my parents, but being home makes me grateful for the life I have away from their place.
To say something is truly and unequivocally yours is a beautiful thing. Your car, your living room, your stove and kitchen are always superior to anyone else’s.
When you are home, it tends to feel like things that were once yours aren’t anymore, and even if they do feel like yours, you find yourself no longer wanting these things. When your room becomes an office, you know your stay has to be a visit and nothing more.
The same goes for appliances; you’ll find yourself looking for the Xbox that usually sits in your living room or asking your mom if she has Netflix installed somewhere. It’s just not the same as your own place.
Being an adult comes with taxing responsibilities that are more than grueling at times. But, in turn, these responsibilities come with the rewards of owning your own property and providing for yourself.
There is a point in life where handouts become embarrassing and even borderline insulting. There is this innate feeling that you must prove yourself, not only to yourself, but to your parents to show them they did a good job raising you.
Sometimes, when we’re home for the holidays, we see the lives our parents have made and how well they’ve made it, and it makes us anxious to go out and make one of our own.
Being home then becomes a great getaway for a couple of days in the last month of the year, and then, it’s back to the grind.
Like many things, friends change. The people we knew before going off to college and starting lives of our own inevitably become different people. And, because of this, coming home has a completely different meaning.
There will be a time when going back to where you were born will only mean seeing one or two people outside of your family.
When the places you went to high school, prom and worked your first job suddenly become barren wastelands where you don’t recognize anything or anybody, it’s hard to envision that place you used to know.
As we get older and begin to live our lives, we get engrossed in what’s relevant. The jobs, school work and activities we must focus on to maintain a life become priorities that, unless mutual effort on both parties is made, will unfortunately erase people out of your life completely.
When you find that the core group of your friends has shifted from your hometown to your college friends, and from your college friends to your work friends, you truly have outgrown the place that was once your home.
A good friend of mine always says, “When people get busy, relationships get sticky,” and I find that statement to be true.
Ultimately, home is not home anymore because we’ve become different people.
As young adults, we’ve come to realize our own truths and how to find things out our own way. This may make us completely different people compared to who we were the last time we visited home.
The experiences we face while away not only opened our eyes to a new world, but let us unpack, set up shop and get cozy in this new world, as well. The jobs we have and the people we have met all play a part in making us realize how much the definition of home has changed.
What was once a place we ran to for refuge is now a time capsule; you can still feel at home, but it’s more of a reminder of where you come from than a place in which to settle.
A trip down memory lane brings perspective, and the second helpings of mama’s cooking serve as a nice change to the steady pizza diet we have been maintaining during the duration of our time away.
But, almost as consistent as the changing leaves and December cold, the stay at mom and dad’s during the holidays never fails to run its course. We will always feel a call back to the madness of our lives: the madness of never-ending phone calls, deadlines and rent.
It’s the madness of staying out way later than we were suppose to, but making it to the 7 am meeting the next day. It’s managing your money like a boss in order to catch your favorite band coming into town with your friends.
This madness has not only become your life, but more importantly, a life you created.
Christmas – whether you’re religious or not – is a time when people gather their families together to reinforce the bonds that make us human.
In the era of modern telecommunications, distance no longer separates people the way it once did. Whether you’re on another continent, another planet, or floating out in space, satellites enable us to talk to and see each other, to feel connected.
And speaking of Christmas and space, it turns out the two have a bit of a history.
Space travel would explain how Santa can get around the world in one night. Kennedy Space Centre
An Apollo Christmas
Apollo 8 was a Christmas mission, the only one of all the Apollo missions. On December 21, 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a Saturn V rocket.
Their Christmas gift to the world was an extraordinary photograph that became one of the icons of the 20th century.
As they orbited the moon a few days after launch, an unscheduled change in orientation suddenly brought the earth into their view. The astronauts scrambled to get their cameras working, and Bill Anders took the famous shot of the Earth rising over the lunar horizon.
For the first time we saw our whole world from the outside. The fragility and beauty of the blue-and-white globe floating in the sea of darkness ignited an awareness of how interconnected the people of Earth are.
The nascent environmental movement drew inspiration from this vision and people really began to appreciate that we are only a small part of a rather large universe.
The Apollo program provided more concrete presents as well. The crew of Apollo 17, the last men on the moon, made a December 19 splashdown loaded with a 100kg-Santa’s-sack-worth of lunar rocks – our biggest collection so far. Many of these moon rocks were given as goodwill gestures to other nations.
They’re now the most valuable rocks in the world; each lump may be worth millions, as we have no idea when we’ll have the opportunity to get some more. Unbelievably, quite a few of these precious rocks have gone missing!
Home And Away
The Apollo missions demonstrated that humans could survive in space; what they couldn’t tell us was whether it was possible to actually live for an extended amount of time in space. This was the purpose of Skylab – the first US spacecraft to be designed as a living space, a home away from home.
Skylab was launched in 1973 and hosted three crews (Skylab 1 was unmanned) during its short working life. While in the space station, the astronauts enjoyed showers, a special dining area, and a sadly punishing toilet routine – everything that left their bodies had to be kept for future analysis.
The crew of the Skylab 4 mission celebrated Christmas in 1973 with a crafty piece of improvisation. Astronauts Gerald Carr, William Pogue and Edward Gibson made this charming Christmas tree out of empty food cans.
Skylab 4 tin can Christmas tree. NASA
Wasting valuable mission time to make the tree may have been a passive act of resistance to having every minute of their waking days overplanned. Later in the three-month mission, the exhausted crew allegedly “mutinied” and chucked the first sickie in space.
On Earth and on the moon, space was quickly incorporated into Christmas traditions.
In 1947, Woomera in South Australia became the location of one of the earliest rocket launch sites in the world. The card shown below, with a Christmas greeting inside, depicts a V2-like rocket being launched over the desert.
Germany developed the V2 in WWII and it became the basis of Cold War space programs in the US, UK, France and Russia. Two ended up in Australia and are now at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The card seems to send a rather mixed message about war and peace …
Woomera Christmas card, likely from the late 1940s or early 1950s. Martin Wimmer
Soviet Russia also got into the Christmas card action though not officially – the celebration of Christmas was not encouraged during the Soviet era.
That said, the card below, which depicts St Nicholas and three USSR spacecraft, leaves no doubt that the spirit of Christmas nonetheless endured. (Bonus points if you can identify the spacecraft!)
Soviet rocket Christmas card. Mazaika
Not to be outdone on either the space or Christmas card race, NASA responded in style. In the shot below, the Apollo 14 crew of Alan Shepard, Ed Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, receive a Christmas card from James Loy, Chief, Protocol Branch for the KSC Public Affairs Office.
Note the crew peeping out from behind the Christmas tree on the card.
Every NASA mission generates merchandise and memorabilia – patches, t-shirts, mugs, etc. But did you know you could give your own Christmas tree a NASA makeover?
The image below, and the one above of Santa and an Apollo capsule, show souvenir Christmas tree ornaments from the Kennedy Space Centre.
2012 Christmas In Space
This Christmas will be a quiet one in space. That said, on December 19 a crew of three flight engineers did launch from Kazakhstan to complete expedition 34 on the International Space Station.
Santa on the Moon. Kennedy Space Centre
NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will get to celebrate Christmas twice – once on December 25, and again for the Russian Orthodox feast on January 7.
Like many modern families, the Mars Rover family – Curiosity, Opportunity and Spirit – will spend the Christmas period far from each other, albeit on the red planet. (For Santa to include them in his rounds, he may need to battle the Martians – or so they thought in this classic 1964 film).
Similarly, the twin Voyager spacecraft are moving ever further apart from each other on their missions to interstellar space.
But it’s not all bad. The same technologies which created the Mars Rover family and the Voyager twins led to our modern telecommunications network.
Human and robot alike are linked in a web of electromagnetic waves that keep us communicating and connected. In space, no-one need feel alone, particularly at Christmas.
Bowser is one of those characters whose mere appearance screams, “I am the embodiment of everything evil,” and even if you don’t know the first thing about video games, you’d probably be able to guess that the fire-breathing monster covered in spikes is one of the bad guys.
You can see Santa’s sleigh in the icy, penguin-filled level that probably cost you too many lives in Super Mario 64, and if he does indeed exist in the Mario universe, there’s a pretty good chance he’s not stopping by Bowser’s place on Christmas Eve (kidnapping princesses is usually enough to put you on the Naughty List).
One kid decided to see if he could change Santa’s mind this year and wrote a letter from the green-shelled antagonist to the man at the North Pole.
Someone has a bright future in public relations.
Black Friday is the most important shopping day of the year. Online shopping is great, but Entrepreneur.com maintains that in-person sales are the best place to start, and that’s been the jumping point for retailers and consumers for years.
However, sometimes said consumers get too caught up in the shopping madness to realize what type of shopper they become in the eyes of a retail service employee.
Here are five types of shoppers you’ll meet on Black Friday — hope you’re not one of them!
Yes, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but no one expects you to know about all the deals. Staff members will more than likely be happy to help you out — if you aren’t screaming and yelling at their faces, that is.
But, then there’s always the shopper who seems to be completely unaware of what is happening upon entering a store.
These shoppers expect to be provided with top-notch service and granted 20-minute question and answer sessions all about Black Friday during the madness.
Just take a moment here to pause and imagine being in the veritable war zone that is the shopping mall on Black Friday and having someone ask you if there’s some sort of sale happening. Observe your surroundings and be a good samaritan by escorting these clueless innocents out of the danger zone.
Many customers grow angry when certain companies don’t following through on what they advertised for Black Friday. Usually, this feels like just another day on the Internet — until it happens offline.
Most customers have something in mind before heading into Black Friday shopping. A lot the times, it won’t be completely clear, but they have a good idea of what they expect from the promotional ads they saw.
The reality is, most ads will show you the lowest price of the bunch, but that doesn’t necessarily encompass the specific product you want. While disappointed customers demand answers for why the ads were deceiving at the store on Black Friday, the rest of us just might be a little bit frustrated that you’re holding up the line.
Unfortunately, this shopper doesn’t only reveal him or herself on Black Friday. This shopper is everywhere and if you work or have worked in retail, then you already know you can run, but you definitely cannot hide.
You can fold all the shirts you want, stack all the boxes perfectly, side to side, but you just know this shopper will come along and undo all your hard work. He or she might not even be interested in purchasing the product, but will “just want to look.”
Worse yet, this customer makes you wonder if the plates at the bottom of the pile really are better than the ones on top. There has to be a reason for this kind of behavior, right?
If there is a good deal, chances are, many people will be interested. As with most awesome things in life, these items come with a little price tag.
Between the nightmare of parking and checkout line, there will always be someone with “places to be,” trying to cut in front. This shopper always makes a big fuss about having to wait when he or she has better things to do.
The fact that these shoppers miss is that if they actually had better things to do than wait in line, the opportunity cost for purchasing those products on sale would technically be not worth it.
USA Today reports this year’s holiday shopping season started prior to Halloween, so this kind of short-tempered shopper may be able to find what he or she wants, far before the big day and save a lot of hassle. But really, can people honestly say they didn’t expect long lines on Black Friday?
We’ve got nothing against shoppers who go out with their entire families. Sometimes, it’s kind of endearing to see that shopping on Black Friday can be family time, as well.
However, every now and then, there’s a small clan with half a dozen kids under the age of 15, who stop in the video games, and suddenly, you’re a babysitter. Oops.
Are you guilty of being one of the shoppers above? Are you ready to change your ways before Black Friday rolls around, or would you rather take the day as it comes?