Staying in Dallas for Thanksgiving Break

November 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kalyn Harper

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays completely dedicated to seeing family, but not this year.

If you are staying in the Dallas area for break, you are not alone.

SMU freshman Jake Higgins stood outside Boaz Hall last week, talking to his friends about the upcoming Thanksgiving break. He listened as they chatted about their anticipation to see their parents and eat homemade meals. Nodding occasionally with a forced smile on his face, he kept thinking about the fact that he will spend Thanksgiving break on campus, away from his family for the first time.

“I’d rather go see my family, but Christmas break will come soon enough,” Higgins said. “I’m not too upset about it.”

A lot of Americans are changing their Thanksgiving travel plans this week because of tough economic conditions. That doesn’t mean students can’t still enjoy the six-day break with reasonably priced turkey dinners and Thanksgiving-inspired events available throughout the metroplex.

Although the travel industry appears to be recovering at a faster pace than the economy, it still has a long way to go.

This year’s predicted increase in Thanksgiving travel doesn’t make up for the 25 percent drop in travel in 2008, according to the American Automobile Association’s annual Thanksgiving survey.

The group said many Americans are in a better financial position than they were last year, but high unemployment and economic uncertainty are still lingering concerns.

Higgins, born and raised in Las Vegas, is staying in Dallas for Thanksgiving because most of his family is traveling to other places instead of staying in Nevada.

“My uncle is coming to Dallas and we’re going to go out to dinner or just order food to go,” said Higgins.

Thanksgiving Meals

This year, Central Market is offering a complete dinner, from gravy to stuffing, made from red quinoa and dried fruit. This gluten-free turkey dinner feeds four for $139.99.

Another option is a vegetarian Thanksgiving with a hazelnut fig roast, sweet potatoes and all the fixings, which is $39.99 for two. To order, call the Central Market Holiday Hotline at 1-877-263-1379.

Here are some suggestions for the college student on a budget, who wants to add cheap, hip ideas to their dinner party:

• Serve your guests Frito chili pie in small Fritos bags with plastic spoons. It’s innovative, simple and chili is great for cold weather.

• If you want your guests to leave with something more personal, give them something you’ve baked- along with the recipe, like a cookies or chocolate mud bars.

• Doniphan Moore of Dallas’ Doniphan Moore Interiors, suggests giving friends a basket of homemade potpourri using cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon peel, cloves and dried cranberries.

Thanksgiving plans are difficult for international SMU students who can’t afford the long trip home since Christmas break is less than three weeks after Thanksgiving.

“I’m not going home because it’s too far and would cost too much so I’m spending Thanksgiving with my fraternity brother,” said SMU senior and Paris native Chris Chauve. “Plus, there’s no point to go home for Thanksgiving because we don’t celebrate it back in Europe.”

Thanksgiving Day Plans

Any sports-loving students can visit the Dallas Cowboys website to raise money for Salvation Army and have a chance to spend Thanksgiving Day at the sold-out Cowboys game.

Keith Urban will show his support with a halftime performance to kick off the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.

If you aren’t able to get tickets to the game, you can serve food to the homeless at Carr P. Collins Social Services Center by Parkland Hospital.

Gloria Brown, a Salvation Army volunteer, said that a large number of young adults volunteered on Thanksgiving day last year and she expects about the same outcome this week.

“We have volunteers come all the time to help throughout the year, but more people volunteer during Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Brown said.

To celebrate Thanksgiving for free, check out Thanks-Giving Square at 1627 Pacific Ave. in Downtown Dallas. Attractions include The Hall of Thanksgiving, which features maps of nations that celebrate Thanksgiving, and a spiraling series of stained glass windows in the Glory Chapel.

Thanksgiving day hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and general admission is free. Call 214-969-1977 or visit their website for more information.

Black Friday Deals

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is infamous for being the best shopping day of the year. Malls and retail shops will open early and even all night long to offer shoppers access to discounted merchandise.

This year, students don’t have to wait until Friday to get holiday bargains. A large number of stores are opening Thursday for shoppers who want to avoid the crowds.

For the first time, Sears is opening on Thursday from 7 a.m. until noon. The Wall Street Journal reported that Kmart, which has opened on Thanksgiving for 19 years, is allowing shoppers to buy online and pick up their purchases at stores on Thanksgiving day this year.

Locally, Black Friday at NorthPark Center is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tory Burch in Highland Park Village will have 40% off their fall collection and Saks Fifth Avenue at Galleria Dallas will have discounts in every department.

There are more deals online and local deals in your city. Get updates on Black Friday sales here.

Whether students are going home or staying in Dallas for the holiday, Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings and be thankful for what you have, a tradition that has remained strong since 1621.

Global News Blog: Cubans Brace for Changing Government

November 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Post by Amanda Lipscomb

Americans have ample reasons for thankfulness during this holiday season. Despite hunger rates being the highest in 15 years, we still have it better than most countries.

We are blessed with a vast number of opportunities for jobs and resources in times of need. Our government makes an effort to help us and constitutionally provides us with the right to have a voice to speak up.

After 50 years of Fidel Castro’s regime, the Cuban government is trying to give their citizens opportunities. Major policy changes come unexpectedly and with mounds of pressure. Censorship and the lack of freedom of speech are hurting citizens in efforts to help themselves.

Cuba is currently known as the only country in the world where a person does not have to work for a living. The government subsidizes salaries and requires very little of its people.

Cuba is known for suppressing their people in order for the government to remain in control. Currently, almost all jobs and companies are owned or regulated by the government. A few months ago, the government announced they would be laying off jobs and ending their handouts. The intent is to allow people to own their own businesses and create their own work force for better opportunities since they recognize their system is not working. President Raul Castro is also hoping that these changes will bring in more foreign business.

Cubans earn on average $20 a month, mainly from subsidized income. Before the new announcement, families were already going without basic necessities.

A strong black market provides what the government cannot or refuses to give them, including everything from socks to apple juice to car parts. With the announcement bringing doom and layoffs to exceed 500 million jobs, pockets will be empty and people will go unfed, unclothed and unsheltered. Cubans have few places to go for help and now that the government is unwilling to subsidize, they have no way to start their own businesses. Loans are not optional, media is censored and public relations is practically nonexistent.

The government feels that changing their system of labor will provide their people and nation with many opportunities. The people are very worried about their livelihood but have no choice in the matter and must make do with the hardships. The pressure is strengthening family and friendship bonds to help each other survive these major lifestyle changes. The people are prideful about their Cuban heritage, vowing not to relinquish their love for their nation.

Arts Blog: 2010 Thanksgiving Airfare Travel Sees a Spike from 2009

November 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kassi Schmitt

Thanksgiving break is officially less than three weeks away.  And for many SMU students, that means they’ll be packing their bags and heading to the airports to return home to visit family and friends.

 The holiday season is bouncing back this year from a rough 2009 when people cut back on airline tickets to save money in the tough economy.  For 2010, the Air Transport Association (ATA) expects over 24 million people to be traveling during a 12 day window around the holiday.  That would be a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in terms of passengers from last year.

 But although this is good news for airlines, it brings some not-so-good news for passengers. Why?

  • With an average of 1.3 to 2.5 million people flying everyday there are going to be some pretty crowded airports.  (Airlines are encouraging fliers to get there extra early)
  • Planes are also going to be running close to capacity, with load factors approaching 90 percent. They will be holding about 10 percent less than in 2008 so get ready for some majorly minimal leg space.
  • Fares are increasing.  In addition to airlines rising prices for round trip tickets (the average ticket is going at $385 this year!), they are tacking on extra fees for travel goods and checked bags.

 In order to reduce the cost of flights, airline experts say that it would be best to fly out on Thanksgiving Day and return the Tuesday or Wednesday after.  It’s also better to order your tickets as soon as you can. The later you wait, the more expensive fares will be!

 I would also suggest using FareCompare’s Thanksgiving Flight Finder.  Just type in where you’re flying to and from and it will give you the cheapest option of which days to travel and which flights to book.  

Happy traveling!

Big D Blog: Turkey Day Preparation

November 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Estela Nunez

It’s hard to believe but Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Whether you’re staying in town to celebrate with friends or going back home to your family, preparation time is now.

First, decide if this year’s turkey will be roasted, smoked, or even fried.

Next, look for the right recipes of appetizers, entrées, and desserts that will satisfy even the pickiest of your family members.

Then, figure out the numbers. How many people are expected to come and how big of an appetite your family members have.

Lastly, take your grocery list and pick up all the needed ingredients for your turkey day festivities.

A little word of advice to my fellow procrastinators’, waiting till the last minute is not the best idea. Due to the recession people will be quick to look for the best prices before others beat them to the punch.

Voila! Your will be ahead of the pack and can rest easy till the big day.

Oh and for those who weren’t blessed with the greatest of culinary skills like myself, and need a little more help don’t fret. Holiday cooking hotlines and websites are available.

Students ‘Give Thanks’ at ABS Dinner

November 24, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Read more

Keep Calm During Stressful Finals Season

November 23, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Donnie Wyar

As deadlines for semester-long research projects appear much closer than they once did and with final exams looming right after Thanksgiving break, now is the perfect time to get some tips on stress management.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend an hour-long Brown Bag Presentation on Stress Management in SMU’s Memorial Health Center at noon Monday, Nov. 24.

Attendees of the event, which is located in the Counseling and Psychiatric Services office on the second floor (room 205) of the Health Center, will be given information about the effects of stress and tools to deal with it.

Enough with the mounting pressures of finishing the semester on a strong note and wanting to do well on exams. Prepare yourself for exams with helpful tips from the Health Center.

Relax. You can do this.