The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is a brief message of hope and fond memories about Christmas and the coming new year.
Tag Archives: holidays
I had an awesome Thanksgiving last week. I really did enjoy spending time with my family, enjoying a hardy feast, and watching plenty of football, both NFL and NCAA.
Unfortunately, those good times do come at a price. I consumed more calories in the span of three days than I usually do over the course of a week. To be fair, that’s common for a lot of people, even those who are very health conscious. For the sake of the Thanksgiving spirit and family, we set aside our diets and just let ourselves gorge for a few days.
Personally, I think I overdid it. Anyone who was with me on Thanksgiving can attest that I ate more than my share of the turkey and deserts. It was a festive environment and we all savored every bite. For that, I have no regrets.
But that does mean the last few days have been particularly arduous when it comes to my exercise routine. I’ve noted before that I go to the gym quite frequently. I actually go more frequently now than I did before the COVID-19 pandemic. I rarely skip workouts, even around holidays. But even when I don’t skip a trip to the gym, I definitely feel it when I eat a lot of calories.
I suspect I’m not the only one dealing with that. I also suspect more than a few people are trying to get back into a healthy routine after all the family, feasts, and desserts. If you are, then I hope you find this helpful because I’d like to share a few tips on post-Thanksgiving workouts. I’m sharing it because there is a right and wrong way to do it. I know because the day after Thanksgiving, I’m pretty sure I did it the wrong way and was very sore for a while because of it.
You don’t need to go through that pain, nor should you.
Also, I always feel inclined to note that I am not a personal trainer. I would never claim to be an expert at exercise, health, or getting into shape. I’m just sharing my experience and strategies in hopes that others will find it useful. I’m not even charging anyone for it. This is completely free advice.
The first tip I’d like to give is that, if you had a regular routine before Thanksgiving, do not try and go straight back to it the day after you’ve consumed so many calories. Your body just went through an abnormal experience that is holiday festivities. You can’t expect it to quickly re-adjust as though it never happened.
You will hurt yourself. I know because I badly strained my quad, chest, and abdominal muscles. It hurt more than I care to admit.
The second tip I’d like to offer is that, when it comes to consume lots of calories, cardio should be a greater priority over weight training. Even if you’re primarily focused on building muscle mass, it’s necessary to do extra cardio after consuming excess calories. That means a bit more time running outdoors, running on a treadmill, or using an exercise bike or elliptical. I’ve done a little of everything in that regard. And even just doing an extra 10 to 15 minutes of cardio makes a huge difference.
It’s primarily a matter of physics. You eat a lot of calories. You need to burn them off. Cardio, in addition to helping with blood flow and heart health, burns more calories than lifting weights. Eating all that turkey just means having to burn extra.
The third and final tip I’d like to offer has to do with how you go about weight training. Depending on your goals, you either try to do a few reps with heavy weights, usually 5 rep sets of 5, or lots of reps with lighter weights. For the most part, I’ve favored doing fewer reps with heavy weights. That’s fairly common for men looking to add muscle mass, whereas the higher reps with lower weights are common for women looking to slim down.
I had to change that recently to ensure I don’t strain my body more than I should. So, in the interest of burning off my holiday calories, I’ve started doing more reps per set with fewer sets. This way, I can emphasize good form and work to strain the muscles more concisely rather than using brute strength with lower reps. I’ve already found this to be quite effective in that I get a good burn going, but with less painful strain.
To illustrate, this is the current workout I’m using for most of my gym trips:
Start off with 35 minutes of cardio, either on an elliptical or running outside.
Do 100 weighted ab crunches (basically a crunch with a free weight on your chest).
Then, I do a the following weight training routine.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps of a butterfly curls (machine or free weights).
Do 3 sets of 20 reps of reverse butterfly curls.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps of bicep curls.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps for tricep extensions.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps of shoulder press.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps of lat pull downs.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps for leg press.
Do 3 sets of 20 reps for leg extensions.
Do 2 sets of 20 reps of pull-ups.
In general, this routine takes me about an hour and 15 minutes. I’ve been doing it for a few days now and I’m already feeling much better in terms of energy, mood, and fitness. I still do my other routine of doing 5 sets of 5 reps with more weight. But I’m thinking of maybe alternating the days when I do that in order to get the most benefits out of my workout.
One general rule of exercise is that if your body gets too used to one particular thing, it ceases to be as effective. That’s why it’s important to mix things up. It keeps the workout interesting and it helps get you better results in the long run.
Chances are I’ll probably tweak this workout as time goes on. If I uncover other useful tips, I’ll be sure to share them and they’ll continue to be free.
We all need to take time to enjoy the holidays with our families and get off our diet for a while. And if the price for doing so is more time at the gym to stay strong, healthy, and sexy, I say that’s a price worth paying.
When it comes to the holiday, I like to go the extra mile and then some.
Talk to any of my friends, family, or relatives. They’ll attest that I take Christmas a lot more seriously than most. I’m the kind of guy who has his Christmas decorations up by Halloween and finishes his Christmas shopping two weeks before Thanksgiving. They’ll also attest that when it comes to gift giving, I don’t hold back. I’ll gladly spend extra and work a little harder in order to present the perfect gift to my loved ones.
That doesn’t always mean I buy something expensive or fancy. It just means I try to get something that’s memorable, sentimental, and unique. Basically, if you’re on my Christmas list, then you can expect to get an awesome gift at some point. That’s just how I approach the holidays and I make no apologies for that.
In addition to my love of giving awesome gifts, I have a few other smaller Christmas traditions that I genuinely enjoy. They may not sound like much to most people, but they’re a big part of why I love this time of year so much. And one of those traditions is just beginning, but it’s also a tradition that’s worth supplementing.
Like I said, I try to get my Christmas shopping done at least a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. As a result, that usually means I have a lot of things to wrap around this time of year. It’s not unusual for me to spend an entire Saturday or Sunday afternoon wrapping presents. To some, it’s a chore. But to me, it’s one of my favorite holiday activities.
I don’t know why. I just get a special kind of satisfaction whenever I wrap Christmas presents for my friends and family.
One part that adds to that enjoyment has to do with how I go about it. Usually when I have a lot of gifts to wrap, I put on one of my favorite Christmas movies or shows. Sometimes, it’s one of the classics like the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special.” Other times, it’s something newer like “The Christmas Chronicles” or “Klaus.” They’re all great Christmas shows and movies. However, last year I discovered another that I’ve added to my holiday playlist. And it’s one I didn’t expect would be so festive.
It’s the Disney+ series, “Hawkeye.”
Now, that may not seem too surprising. I’ve done plenty to make my love of all things Marvel known on this site and my YouTube channel. And while I was certainly aware of “Hawkeye” when it began airing late last year, I was genuinely surprised by how great it worked as a holiday special.
Even though its primary setting unfolded around the holidays and it had a lot of Christmas imagery, I still didn’t expect it to feel like a true Christmas show. I expected it to be another solid entry in the ever-expanding world that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And in that sense, it certainly was. If its primary goal was to introduce the audience to Kate Bishop, then the show definitely succeeded. Being a solid Christmas show would’ve just been a nice bonus.
But it turned out to be more than just a bonus.
This limited series had genuine heart and spirit to go along with the standard Marvel Studios formula for action, character, and continuity. It wasn’t just about how Kate Bishop became Hawkeye’s young protege. It is very much a show about family and how hard you’re willing to fight to protect them, especially around the holidays. It’s also a show that emphasizes the power of found family and finding a place with people who you might not be related to, but still come to love and cherish.
Yes, there’s still plenty of action and it does build on how much the MCU changed after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”
Yes, it still sets the stage for future stories, especially with Kate Bishop.
But, even without the heroics and action, it’s still a damn good Christmas story. And unlike last year, you don’t have to wait a week for new episodes. The show is up on Disney+ and ready to binge. And I’ve every intention of binging it again in its entirety in the coming days.
Even if you’re not a Marvel fans, the show still stands well enough on its own to enjoy as a typical Christmas special. It has all the right ingredients for a quality Christmas themed show. And it has moments that will get most anyone into the holiday spirit. So, if you’re looking for a different kind of Christmas special to watch this year or have Marvel fans in your family, check out “Hawkeye.”
It has already become a solid entry in my list of beloved holiday specials. Give it a chance and I hope it becomes part of yours.
I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and filling Thanksgiving. I certainly did. For that, I must credit my wonderful family. My parents, especially, organized an incredible feast, complete with a delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I still managed to contribute someone. I’m usually responsible for making desserts, which usually involve cookies. They were still good, but I feel like my parents did most of the heavy lifting.
Now, after spending a good chunk of yesterday and this morning in a food coma, I’m ready for my second favorite holiday tradition for this time of year. And that’s Black Friday shopping.
I know. Black Friday is very much an overly commercialized holiday that’s primarily a marketing gimmick.
Yes, I know it’s meant to cater to those who either make shopping a much bigger deal than it needs to be.
No, I do not care.
I know it’s weird for a straight man, but I genuinely enjoy shopping. I especially enjoy Christmas shopping. I do suspect some of that comes from my mother. She has told me more than once that when I was a baby, one of her favorite things to do was take me shopping at the closest mall. I think that helped prime me for the joys of Black Friday shopping and for that, I am grateful.
But however you feel about shopping or Black Friday, this is a great day to take some of those calories you consumed and spend them in a productive manner. Christmas is just a month away and in my experience, there are no downsides to getting your shopping done as early as possible.
I’ve had most of my shopping done since the first week of November. However, I still go out on Black Friday because every now and then, I’ll come across something I feel will be the perfect gift for a friend or family member. Even if I’ve already bought that person a gift, I’ll still get it to make Christmas morning that much more special.
I hope to continue that tradition today. And after the events of the past two years, I hope the Black Friday festivities are back at full strength. Even with the rise of online shopping, there’s just something special about going to a mall or retail outlet to take in the ambience. I’ve always enjoyed it. I hope to continue enjoying it. And I encourage others to embrace that spirit.
Happy Black Friday!
I hope everyone reading this uses today to get those you care about something extra special.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is just a brief message of thanks to friends, family, and those who have supported me and this this channel in the spirit of the holidays. Enjoy!
Today is Easter Sunday.
I know it’s not the most elaborate holiday. I also know it is founded in certain religious traditions, which may or may not apply to familiar festivities. It may not be a holiday on the same level as Christmas, Halloween, or even Arbor Day in terms of profile, but it’s still special holiday to many.
For me, personally, Easter has always had some unique connotations. For a family like mine, we never need too many excuses to get together and celebrate. We’ll use any excuse to just craft an elaborate feast and invite everyone we can to a certain location. It’s just how we connect, celebrate one another, and enjoy one another’s company.
Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate that. I have some genuinely fond memories of Easter Sundays with my family. When I was a kid, it usually involved a big Easter Egg hunt with me, my siblings, and my many cousins. As an adult, it usually involves a nice feast that gives me a good excuse to cook fancy deserts that my friends and family love and cherish. The religious connotations are secondary. It’s the family moments we create that matter.
After the past two years, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting every single tradition we hold dear, I’ve come to appreciate those moments even more. This year will mark the first time my family has been able to enjoy a proper Easter Sunday gathering. For that, I am grateful and I intend to cherish it.
So, regardless of how you view this day, I hope everyone has a chance to do something special today. Even if it’s just something as simple as eating Easter themed candy, use today to celebrate. You don’t have to be religious or understand the elaborate history of the day. You just have to be willing to share a special moment with friends and loved ones. That’s what makes any holiday special.
With all that being said, I wish everyone a safe and happy Easter Sunday.
Every year, once the holidays come around, I make it a point to check out at least one new Christmas special. Regardless of whether it’s a TV show or movie, I think it’s important to supplement your holiday collection.
There will always be a place for classics like “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” but we can’t be afraid to give other holiday specials a chance. Otherwise, we wouldn’t experience unexpected gems like “The Christmas Chronicles,” a wonderful Christmas movie from Netflix that I recommended last year.
I can attest that those who have seen this movie are grateful for that recommendation. My mother even checked it out and she thought it was delightful.
In that same spirit, I’d like to recommend another holiday gem that really flew under the radar. I actually watched it last year, but it kind of got overshadowed by “The Christmas Chronicles.” However, in re-watching it again recently, while I was wrapping presents no less, only made me realize how great it was.
That movie is called “Klaus,” an animated feature that’s also on Netflix and one that you’d never expect to be so great. That’s despite the rather impressive voice cast, which include the likes of J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, and the late Norm MacDonald.
It’s one of those movies that, if you just saw the trailer, you’d think it’s just some sub-par Pixar or Dreamworks wannabe. You know it’s a Christmas movie, but it’s not clear what kind of Christmas movie it’s supposed to be. I remember putting it on because I just wanted to have something on in the background while I wrapped presents.
Much to my surprise and delight, “Klaus” turned out to be so much more. What starts as a somewhat quirky story about a lazy, self-centered, self-absorbed postal worker quickly evolves into a unique kind of Christmas story, one that captures the spirit of the holidays in all the right ways.
The story begins with Jesper, the aforementioned postal worker who has largely coaxed his way through life because he was born in a privileged family. Then, his father decided to teach him a lesson and sends him to the postal station in Smeerensburg, one of the least jolly places in the world. It’s a harsh lesson and one he resents to the utmost.
While there, he meets Klaus, a mysterious recluse from the woods who makes toys in his spare time. His reasons for doing so aren’t clear at first. He even seems menacing, as tends to be the case with characters who sound like J. K. Simmons. However, as we learn more about him, we also learn the tragic nature of his story.
I won’t spoil it. I’ll just say that it’s one of those tragedies that serves as the foundation for something that’s genuinely heartwarming. It doesn’t happen all at once. The motivations involved aren’t even that noble at first. Then, as the story unfolds, the true spirit of the movie becomes clear.
You see selfish, arrogant people eventually become selfless, sincere, and genuine.
You see someone go from a liar and a fraud to someone willing to sacrifice all his comforts to do the right thing.
You also see someone turn their loss and heartbreak into something positive and beautiful.
There’s just so much more I could say about this movie. The last few minutes alone will bring a tear to your eye while enriching your Christmas spirit. While I still think “The Christmas Chronicles” is the better Christmas movie, “Klaus” is not that far behind.
If you’re going to try another Christmas movie this year, make it this one. It’s a uniquely heartwarming story that perfectly embodies the spirit of the season. After the past couple years, we could all use more of that.
It’s December! Here Are Some Holiday Themed Background Ambience Videos To Relax And Invigorate Your Christmas Spirit
We’ve made it to December! That means 2021 is in the home stretch. It also means that the holidays are here and Christmas is just around the corner. As kids, it can’t come soon enough. As adults, it always seems to come faster than we expect.
I’ve already made my love for the holidays known, so I won’t belabor that. Instead, I’d like to offer something to improve the holiday ambience.
For a couple years now, I’ve grown quite fond of using YouTube Ambience videos to play in the background while I work. Whether I’m editing a YouTube video for my channel or writing a sexy story, I often find it helpful to play something in the background.
Certain music can be distracting, but other sounds and imagery can be very relaxing. During certain times of the year, I like to have videos of thunderstorms and rain falling in the background. During others, I like to have videos of blizzards and wind. It really does depend on the mood I’m in.
For this time of year, though, I go heavy on the holiday themes. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of YouTube ambience videos that offer amazing holiday imagery and soothing background noise. Some even play soft holiday themes. They both relax me and get me into the Christmas spirit.
Regardless of the work you do or what you do to de-stress, I encourage that you try playing these videos in the background. They’ll help you relax and embolden your Christmas spirit. Enjoy!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Some of you may still be emerging from your food coma, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That just means you had a damn good meal. That’s exactly what Thanksgiving is all about.
Now, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. For some, it’s just another day after a holiday. It usually involves cleaning up the messes your relatives made, giving your stomach a much-deserved rest, and sleeping off a hangover, if necessary. There’s certainly a place for that sort of thing, especially after a holiday like Thanksgiving.
For me, though, the Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday. It’s all about Christmas shopping. I know it’s weird for a straight guy like me to say this, but I love Black Friday Christmas shopping. Even when I was a broke college student with no car, I still loved it. There’s just something about it that puts me in the holiday spirit.
I know that’s not a feeling shared by everyone. I don’t doubt that Black Friday is a joke to a lot of people. I also don’t deny that the commercials for Black Friday deals are annoying as hell. I don’t like them, either. I still tolerate them because just getting out there and enjoying the Black Friday experience is worth it.
That experience used to be a lot more pragmatic. As I’ve noted before, I take Christmas gifts very seriously. I’m one of those guys who has his decorations up by Halloween and does as much of his shopping as possible before Thanksgiving. Before the days of reliable internet shopping, that was a lot more challenging.
I actually needed to go out on Black Friday in order to complete my shopping list, picking up whatever I couldn’t find online. It could be stressful at times, especially for certain relatives who are hard to shop for. I also needed some of those Black Friday deals because for years, I had to be very careful with my shopping budget.
Believe me. You learn how to stretch a budget when you try to buy gifts when you’re still in college or just graduated with a sizable amount of loan debt.
Say what you will about those annoying commercials, but some of those Black Friday deals ensured I could get quality gifts for my loved ones that didn’t look overly cheap. It made Christmas morning that much more rewarding. It showed the people I love that I’m willing to go the extra mile for them on the holidays.
These days, I’m not quite as broke. I’m not rich, but I have a somewhat larger budget to work with and that has helped make my holiday shopping a lot more efficient. Thanks to a bunch of lists I maintain on Amazon, I’m usually able to get at least 80 percent of my shopping done before Black Friday. On rare occasions, I get all of it done.
Even so, I gladly venture out on Black Friday. Even if I don’t buy much, I just love taking in the holiday spirit and décor at every mall and shopping center I go to. Plus, going out and actually shopping is very different from just browsing online. When you’re walking around in a mall, it’s a lot easier to randomly come across something that would make a perfect gift that you never would’ve found otherwise.
Some of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever gotten for my family were a direct result of me just randomly browsing stores at the mall. I see them as small Christmas miracles. Last year, it was a lot harder to find those kinds of gifts because of the pandemic. This year, it’s still not completely back to normal, but I genuinely look forward to having a more traditional Black Friday shopping experience.
Hopefully, I find another special gift to give to a friend or loved one.
Even if I don’t, I’m just going to enjoy the holiday ambience that comes with Black Friday. I hope others do the same.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas is coming up fast. Today is one of the best possible days to get started on your holiday shopping or finish it. That way, you can spend the rest of December just enjoying the holidays.
In that spirit, Happy Black Friday shopping, everyone! I hope you find something special for someone you love.