Everyone has a special tradition that their family has had for years that makes the holiday special for them. Every family has different ways of celebrating Christmas and putting their own personal family twist on the classic American celebration. As a little gift from us to you, we thought we’d each share our favorite family holiday tradition to give you a little glimpse into our family celebrations!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Tribe 21 girls!

Every Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve my dad and I play Scrabble. It’s a tradition that started my senior year of high school and has carried on for seven years. The nights always consist of me putting down words that my dad believes aren’t real words, cause he’s not hip enough with the lingo. It’s a tradition of trying to teach my dad how to be hip, but in reality just bonding time.
-Katie (Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief)

While my family celebrates all major holidays, Christmas holds a special place in our hearts, especially mine. Every year we would to my grandma’s house where she would have a beautiful dinner with all the trimmings and an equally beautiful table with her Christmas china she uses only on Christmas. I always wanted to help her, so she gave me the job of setting the table – glasses, silverware, china and napkins. As I got older I would make name cards or put down little Christmas decorations on it and I still do now. While my grandma has gotten too old to host Christmas at her house anymore, we have it at my aunt’s house and every year I tote all of the Christmas plates and silverware over and set it up just like it was when I was a kid. I was 6 when I set the table for the first time and 16 years later I haven’t missed a single one.”
-Samantha (Co-founder and Graphic Designer)

“Every family has a favorite Christmas movie that they watch each year. Some like the classics like White Christmas while others like newer movies like Elf. My family loves the 1998 classic I’ll Be Home for Christmas starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas. We started watching it when I was a little kid on a VHS tape. We used that thing every year like clockwork and many times in-between.  A couple years ago the VHS player ate the tape but my dad was so attached to our tradition that he saved it an extra year always meaning to fix it. Mom knew the tape was toast and bought it on DVD before the next Christmas so we could keep our tradition alive. My husband doesn’t understand why we all love it so much. To him we reply ‘Desert Santa Buzzard Tumbleweed!’ If you don’t understand what we’re talking about, just watch the movie.”
-Heather (Senior Writer and Editor)

“My mom’s side of the family is fairly musically inclined. Every Christmas Eve we all sit around in the living room and sing Christmas carols. My aunt plays the piano and sometimes my cousin plays her violin. My uncle and I usually do a duet and he does an amazing rendition of O Holy Night. It has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions with wonderful memories.”
-Emily (Editor and Social Media)

Every year on our home from my grandparents’ house on Christmas Day, my family takes a short detour about three-fourths of our way home. One of the little towns we drive through sets up a big, drive-through Christmas lights display in the park. No matter how old my sister, brother, and I get, my parents always stop the vehicle outside the park, make sure everyone is awake, then turn up the Christmas music as we begin our roughly three-minute adventure through the park. It’s arguably the most anticipated three-minute span of the holiday season in our family. Sometimes waking up from a food coma nap is worth it.”
-Emilee (Senior Writer)

The wrapping of our family’s Christmas gifts has become more unique each year. Instead of wrapping each gift with one layer of wrapping paper, we have a tendency to wrap with multiple layers. Usually we start with a small gift box adding more layers until the gift is completely unrecognizable. Each gift could be wrapped in upwards of ten boxes. This adds an element of work when it comes to unwrapping the gifts on Christmas morning. There have been years where I have opened layers of paper to find a clue leading me to the actual gift! My favorite year, my brother sent me on a scavenger hunt for the present, which was sitting under the couch I had been sitting on all along! This tradition has certainly added a great deal of humor each Christmas, and has shown how much we want to make each gift special, by putting that much time and energy in to our gift wrapping!”
-Caitlin (Senior Writer)

“My favorite Christmas tradition is what I do with my family on Christmas Eve. We start the day by doing some last minute shopping and getting things we need for our dinner and baking. We go home, cook and eat dinner, then we open some presents that night. Afterwards we go look at Christmas lights in our pajamas (my favorite part of the tradition), come home and bake our favorite cookies, almond kisses, while listening to Christmas music and dancing around the kitchen. We end the night by watching my mom’s favorite Christmas movie, We’re No Angels.”
-Cassie (Social Media Editor and Writer)

Growing up and even still, my grandparents come over first thing in the morning to eat a yummy breakfast and open up presents! I always wake up super early and call them right away. We don’t open anything until they come over! It’s my favorite part of Christmas.”
-Rebekah (Social Media Editor and Writer)

“My favorite holiday tradition is on New Year’s Eve. My family and I typically cook a really nice dinner and all sit down and talk about the year and also do a quick toast to the year to come. It’s something I remember doing since I was pretty young and I think it’s a nice way to end one year and start another!”
-Faith (Social Media Editor and Writer)

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With Christmas being 11 days away (EEEEEK!!!) I thought I’d share my 2016 holiday gift guide! This is for those of you who A) haven’t had time to scour the blogs or Internet for gifts for your loved ones or B) are procrastinating and waiting till the last minute to buy.

I’ve rounded up 100+ items that range from less than $20 to under $200, with a lot of them being on sale, for everyone on your list from your mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, grandma, grandpa, godmother/father, aunt, uncle, boyfriend, best friend, nephew, niece, co-worker, teacher, etc. There is something for everyone in this gift guide! 

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The Traveler: 1) Luggage// 2) Cocktail kit// 3) Passport holder// 4) Red eye kit// 5) Luggage tag// 6) Headphones//7) Weekender//   
The Fashionista: 8) Coffee till Cocktails sweater// 9) Puffer vest// 10) Nike shoes// 11) Slippers// 12)  Watch//13) Statement necklace// 14) Tassel earrings// 15) Camel scarf// (Not pictured: love this for the college girl to remember home and one of my favorites!) 

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The Beauty Guru: 11) Makeup bag// 12) Tula skincare kit// 13) Light mask// 14) Hair towel// 15) Naked palette// 16)Philosophy set// 17) Makeup brushes 1234// 18) Tarte eyeshadow palette// 19) Brush cleaning mat//

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The Fitness Fan: 1) Pinch Provisions fitness kit// 2) Fitbit// 3) Wireless headphones// 4) Yoga pants// 5) Black backpack// 6) Swell bottle// 7) Backpack// 
The Parents: 8) Mom picture frame// 9) Best Mom Ever mug// 10) Philosophy set// 11) Wristlet// 12) Candle set//13) Earrings// 14)  Shaver// 15) Corckcicle// 16) Slippers// 17) Facial set// (Not pictured but I  love this too for mom or dad// 

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The Newlyweds: 1) Thank you cards// 2) Wifey tee// 3) Groom minimergency kit// 4) Mr. Mrs. pillow// 5) Mug set// 6)Luggage tags// 7) Mrs. necklace// 8) Bridal planner// 
The Home Lover: 9) Champagne for breakfast towel// 10) Cookbook// 11) Pineapple bookends/ (gold version)// 12) Blanket// 13) Monogram stirrers// 14) Doormat// 15)  Gold pouf// 16) Marble tray// 17) Measuring cups (matching measuring spoons)// 18) Big cups wall art// (Not pictured but the most darling pineapple tumbler
Here are a few extra goodies I found that would be perfect for stocking stuffers or in a gift basket of little things! College survival kit// I can’t adult today mug // Brunch money card case// 

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The Gentleman: 1) Socks// 2) Scarf// 3) Sweater// 4) JFK print// 5) Facial set// 6) Pajamas// 7) Bar glasses//8) Cocktail book// (Not pictured but perfect for guys who live in cold climates)

The College Guy: 9) Nikes// 10) Fitbit// 11) Patagonia// 12) Raybans// 13) Flask// 14) Backpack//

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The Traveler: 1) Passport cover// 2) Weekender// 3) Luggage tag// 4) Tech case// 5) Toiletry case//The Music Lover: 6) Phone DJ mixer// 7) Bose speaker// 8) Record bookends//The Business Man: 9) Briefcase// 10) Moleskin// 11) Wooden pen// 12) Phone case//The Sports Fan: 13) Customizable sports book (baseball and football)// 14) Baseball blueprint// 15) Cufflinks// (Not pictured but is really cool for the beer lover/traveler

I know everyone has different tastes, styles and personalities but think of this as a starting point, an inspiration to help guide you on your gift giving way. 

Some great places to also look for gifts are Marshall’s/HomeGoods/TJ Maxx, Target, Kirkland’s Home, Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s, Francesca’s, Forever21, H&M, ASOS, Ulta, Sephora, Old Navy and J.Crew as they might have more things in store than online.I hope this helps everyone this holiday season! If a link is not working please let me know and I’l fix it ASAP! What are you buying for your loved ones this year? Where do you shop? Share in the comments below!

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Now that the holidays have arrived, so have the beautiful decorations and Christmas activities! There are so many ways to get out and enjoy the Spirit of the Season with your friends, many of which are sure to bring about good memories and maybe even create traditions for years to come. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what you could do to celebrate the Holiday season with the people closest to you!

1. Ice Skating
Ice Skating is always magical, even if it’s a small rink set up outside under some twinkling Christmas lights. Find a local rink, whether that’s indoor or outdoor, and grab some friends. Make an evening out of it and skate to your heart’s content. Afterwards, grab some hot chocolate at a café or coffee shop. Make sure you bring your camera!

2. Gingerbread Houses
Whether you are one to labor over making gingerbread itself or opt for some graham crackers and frosting, host a Gingerbread House making party! You provide the frosting and graham crackers and tell each guest to bring their favorite candy to decorate with. Have awards for the end of the evening for “Most Creative House”, “Most Instagram Worthy House” to hand out to each guest.

3. White Elephant gift exchange
Instead of spending money on your tribe, opt to wrap up any item to re-gift. Play music while you sit in a circle and pass around the gifts from one person to another until the music stops. When it stops each person opens the gift in their lap. Each person can choose to trade or keep their gift. White elephant parties are the perfect place for gag gifts as well!

4. Go Caroling
Who says caroling has to only be for professionals? Bundle up in some cute winter gear and go caroling around your campus or local mall/businesses. You could hand out candy canes as you go as well!  Round up some friends so you have a whole chorus of people. You could print off lyrics to your selection of songs so each person has a copy. Another way to carol would be to go to a retirement home and sing for some senior citizens! This could be a great way to make a difference and hang out with your Tribe.

5. See the Christmas lights
If you really want to see the Christmas lights, you could always decide to drive around and look at the lights from the warmth of your car! Bring some popcorn and hot chocolate in a thermos and drive around some of the neighborhoods nearby.

6. PJ Party and Movie Night!
Invite all your gals over for a movie night with strict dress code: PJ’s only! Choose a lineup of holiday movies and spend the evening in holiday goodness. Pop some popcorn, chow down on holiday Chex Mix and candy canes or other holiday treats and watch your favorite Christmas movies.

7. Christmas Cards
Dress up in all your favorite Christmas-y gear and plan a photo shoot. Find a cute place to take pictures on campus or somewhere near home. Brick walls, cutely decorated door frames, and lighted Christmas trees all make wonderful backgrounds for photos. You could find someone to take your pictures, or put your phone/camera on a tripod or rest it somewhere on self-timer. Throw snow in the air and smile! Afterwards, you and your tribe can then create a photo collage online and have it printed out. Many businesses offer a timely turn around on getting your pictures printed out! Collect addresses of family and friends and send them out. Include a short Christmas Letter update about what each of you and your friends are up to and your hopes for the holiday season.

8. Reach Out!
Many organizations offer different ways to help out in the community this time of year. You and your friends could shovel an elderly person’s driveway, help collect winter gear, or help out with a food drive. Making a world of difference in your community would be a great way to bond with your gang.

The holidays are a pretty special time of year. Make sure you get out and make some memories with your Tribe!

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The prospect of graduating high school and heading off to college is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Luckily, there are lots of people who have done it before that can give you advice.

1. Work Hard Your Last Year of High School
You finally made it to senior year, and you’re already looking forward to graduation and starting life as a college student. But your work isn’t over. As tempting as it may be to fully embrace the “Senior Slide” or catch “Senioritis” there are two big reasons you should work just as hard, if not harder, your senior year than the rest of high school.

First, your senior year of academics is still graded, which means it goes on your transcript.  Some colleges are in the habit of checking in on your senior year grades. And some groups that give out scholarships tend to check in on your senior year academics. While it might be fun to glide through your last year of high school, you still need to stay committed to your academics in order to impress the people who might be looking.

Another, more tangible, reason to stay focused is because it keeps you ready for the more intense workload you’ll be hit with in college.  College homework is different than high school homework. You have to be much more independently organized, because you don’t have the same class schedule every single day. Beyond that, college professors are much less likely to continually remind you to do your homework or accept it if it’s late. If you allow yourself to take an academic break for a year, it becomes that much more difficult to get back in the swing of it, especially when the homework is harder.

(Side note: You might be able to tell I’m a teacher by how much I care about this.)

2. It’s Okay if You and Your Friends Go to Different Colleges
It may not seem like it, but it’s going to be okay. One of my biggest pieces of advice to high school students looking at colleges is don’t choose a school based on the people who are or are not going there. That applies to friends and significant others alike. Advice everyone gives you, I know. But it’s advice everyone gives because it’s true. The prospect of being miles away from the people closest to you can be utterly petrifying. But that’s what college is all about. Venturing into the unknown with your head held high, ready to make the best of whatever life throws at you.

When you go to college, that is where you are going to be able to meet some of the best people in your life.  They didn’t see you at your awkward stages growing up, so all they have to go on is who you are now.  If you choose a college based on a bestie or significant other, you may miss out on these amazing people.  While I totally understand how nice it would be to have a person you are comfortable with at your side all the time, it can limit you from really branching out and trying to meet new people.  However, this isn’t saying you can’t be friends with your high school group if you do end up at the same college, I’m just saying, don’t make your choices based off of them.

3. You Don’t Have to Know What You Want to Be
I can guarantee that you will get sick of people asking you what you’re going to school for. You’ll feel an overwhelming pressure to know, and you might, but you might not. And that’s okay. Deciding what to study in college is a huge decision, and you don’t want to rush in to something you aren’t passionate about. Don’t feel like you need to know going in, you still have time to decide. When you start college, a lot of the classes are general classes that everyone has to take, so you have a built-in time buffer.

Your passions might change in your first year of college.  I have so many friends who changed their major going into their second year of school because who they thought they were, and what they thought they wanted totally changed.  And that is perfectly okay, normal even. So if you aren’t sure what you want to do, don’t stress.

I know that as a high school senior the last thing you want is another person who’s older than you giving you advice. But if I could give you one last thing to think about, it would be to take it. You may not think you need it now, but someday you’ll be glad to have it.

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It wasn’t until my sister entered high school and I was in middle school that we became close.Up until then, we could hardly be in the same room without a fight breaking out. What was I thinking? I was missing out on such a wonderful human being. Here are a few things I’ve learned when my sister became my best friend. 

1. It is much easier to borrow clothes instead of stealing them.
Before, I always tried to be sneaky and steal my sister’s clothes from her closet when she wasn’t home, but that never ended well. Now, it is so much easier (for both of us) to ask, because the answer is always yes—and now since we are both grown, we can share both ways.

2. You gain a bunch of new cool friends.
Becoming friends with my sister eventually led to becoming friends with all of her friends because we spent so much time together. And because I think my sister is cool (now), the same goes for all of her friends. Plus, since they are all older it is like having an abundance of big sisters, which is fantastic.

3. There is always someone to listen to your problems.
And let me tell you, I have a lot of them. Yes, I have friends who listen to me, but nobody really listens like my sister. She sits there and just lets me vent out everything I’m thinking (bless her heart) and doesn’t stop me. I am a person who feels every single little thing, and she knows that, so she also isn’t afraid to let me know when I’m being silly.

4. You can be your complete true self with no judgement.
After spending the day pretending to be a decent human being, it’s nice to be able to let your crazy out with someone who isn’t surprised by it. I go about my day trying to behave like a functional member of society, and it’s hard. My sister lets me be myself, no judgement. For example, I narrate my driving, strange I know, and she just goes along with it.

5. There is someone there constantly rooting for you.
Have exciting news? She is the first person who I tell. Sometimes I think she gets more excited about my successes than I do. She always has faith in me. She believes that I can do anything, and that makes me believe I really can.

6. You have a person who truly understands you.
I’m not kidding when I say my sister knows me better than I know myself. She understands all of my moods (of which I have many). I don’t know how she does it, but I suppose after spending the majority of your life with a person, you get to really know them. Since she is older, she has already had so many experiences, so when it’s my turn to go through something, she is the first one I run to because she just knows.

7. Even when you are mad at each other, she is still your go-to person.
Like I’ve said, I am an emotional person, and I take things personally (even when I know I shouldn’t). This being so, there are times when our friendship hits some waves but she is still the first person to pull me out of the water.

8. She won’t lie to make you feel good.
Tough love. It may not always feel like a good thing, but it is. My sister isn’t afraid to tell me how it is, which sometimes I really hate, but I know it’s for the best. She is really good at telling me when I’m doing something wrong, but even better at telling me when I’m doing something right. Because of this, she makes me into a better person and has helped shape me into who I am today.

9. You have someone to love you unconditionally forever.
As sisters, we have a deeper bond than normal friendships. There really is nothing that could make me stop loving my sister for one minute.

What have you learned from your sister becoming your best friend? Share in the comments below! 

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The reality of choosing a college is sometimes it is a truly daunting task. There are so many programs to choose from, schools to pick, or even alternative programs if you decide not to go to a university.

Choosing a college to attend after my senior year of high Shhool was a challenge. I know I wasn’t alone in this decision as many of my friends and I would have in depth conversations over lunch about which schools would best fit us. Maybe you’re caught in trying to figure out where to attend as well. Never fear, you are not alone!

However, there are a several things you can do to make this monumental task easier.

1. Start by picking a program or major you are interested in
Find a program or area of study you are interested in and look for college’s which have a program that matches. Since college is expensive, it is worth it to choose a school which you can successfully graduate from to do something you love. It will also narrow down the amount of schools to chose from. 

In high school I chose to follow a pre-physical therapy track as well as looking at schools with an education program. (Two very different programs) While I was looking around for colleges, I was amazed at how many schools didn’t have both of those programs. This helped me to eliminate many schools and narrow down my search.

2. Figure out your budget
Now that you’ve narrowed down your pool of schools, the next step is to figure out if your budget fits any of them. Discuss with anyone who may be helping you with college or look at your own bank account to figure out what your budget may be. Make sure you choose a school which fits your budget and that you can attend that makes sense financially. 

By determining your budget, this should also help you narrow down what you are looking for. There will be some schools you may not be able to afford, and that is okay. Eliminate them from your list of schools.

3. Determine Whether to Stay In-State, or Attend Out-of-State.
This was a huge deciding factor of mine. Some of the schools I was interested in were on the other side of the country and at least three times zones away. I decided because of that, they would have to be eliminated from the list. Others were less than an hour from home. As much as I love my parents, I did want my college experience to be a little further away, so I ended up eliminating the schools closest to home. I decided because of Colorado (my home) was similar to the Midwest and not too far away, I’d limit myself to schools in the Central US.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with going to school out of state whatsoever, so you limit yourself to schools in-state. Maybe you don’t want to go to a school in-state which can also narrow down your list. Make sure you factor in transportation to school from home as you make your decision.

4. College Visit
When you have a few schools on your list you are serious about, consider going on college visits to each school. As a former Admissions Ambassador for my school, I cannot stress this enough. The top school on my list I idolized. It was my dream school even when I hadn’t been there before. When my parents took me to visit the school I was shocked to find everyone I came in to contact with was rude and cold-shouldered. I was so disappointed until I realized how much of a blessing going on that college visit had been. Had I gone ahead with attending school there without visiting first, I cannot see myself happy for long.

Visiting a college can give you a good feel as to what the school is like; how the campus feels, who the people that attend are, and how the classes go. I would recommend staying overnight in the dorms if the college allows it, and even attending a few classes. Get a good feel for the school with the whole intent of trying to understand, “Does this college fit me?”

5. Apply
Don’t delay too long in applying for schools. Apply for more than one or two schools just in case something doesn’t work out with your top choice. Make sure you proofread your application essays and have other friends read through them as well to make sure they best fit you. I even asked my teachers in high school to read through them to make sure they sounded strong. 

6. Look for Scholarships
Once you have applied, maybe received a few college offers, start looking and applying for scholarships. There are so many out there. Sites such as Scholarship.com or even googling “Scholarships” can bring up a wealth of resources. Or ask your guidance counselor because chances are they have a list of various scholarships to apply for. Often, churches or small clubs and organizations offer scholarships which few people know about. Take a look around, I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. 

7. Talk about your college decision
The best thing you can do is talk about your college decision. Getting others’ input can be incredibly helpful, whether it’s your parents, teachers, guidance counselor, best friend, other family members or someone you trust.  By talking things through you can often make sense of the right path for yourself. This isn’t a decision to take lightly and it helps to have your tribe on board.

8. Make the decision that best fits you
In the end, your decision is up to you. Choose the college which best fits yourself, and celebrate when you decide! This is an exciting time in life and now all that’s left is to go enjoy it!

How did you pick your college? Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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