The Weekly Word: Dec. 19th, 2011

We love the holidays. Who doesn’t? But the added cholesterol and tense family dinners add stress. By the end of the month, things aren’t always snowflakes and sugar plums (we don’t even think these exist anymore).

We have a few tips to help keep this season sane:

Shmoop Holiday Tips

  • Tip #1: Don’t go to the mall. At all. Shop online, naked (just not outside your room).
  • Tip #2: Take joy in the small things. A smile or a story, for example, that only your grandfather could possibly tell well.
  • Tip #3: Get into games* with family. It’s better than discussing everybody’s favorite sibling.
  • Tip #4: Enjoy some relaxing Shmoop by an open fire…or, you know, in close proximity to some kind of controlled burn. Our picks?

Movie Madness: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson’s thriller is a book that became a movie that became another movie, so you know it has to be good.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2: Made in Sweden but with Americans and Also James Bond** flies into theaters tomorrow, so check out our guide for a little preview of what goes down.

Friend of Shmoop: Bake Some Apple into Your Holiday Pie

Macbook Pro: A gift with the power to fulfill any holiday wish. Save with Apple Education Pricing plus free 2-3 day shipping. Shop now.

This Week in History: You Get New Orleans! You Get New Orleans! Dec. 20, 1803

The treaty for the Louisiana Purchase was signed in April of 1803 (for the low, low price of $15 million, or something along the lines of 3 cents an acre), but the actual transfer didn’t happen until months later.

There ain’t no party like a New Orleans party. Find out more about one of the best holiday bargains ever here.

Every 2400 Begins with Shmoop

No matter what you’re celebrating this time of year, Shmoop is the perfect gift for all ages. Yes, it’s corny, but at least we don’t threaten you with simple spelling exercises or murder scenarios. And we’re a lot less expensive than diamonds.

Give the gift of a well-lived life. Our guides are here to help you unlock your potential now…and in the future. Peruse our selection here.

Birthday: Colo the Gorilla, Dec. 22, 1956

You might think that celebrating a gorilla’s birthday is a little strange, but 1) we love a good gorilla birthday party, and 2) Colo isn’t just any gorilla—she was the first gorilla born in captivity.

And, at 55, she’s the oldest gorilla in the world, although we here at Shmoop do have a couple of hairy relatives we swear might be primates (hi, Burt). Also, her parents were named Millie Christina and Baron Macombo, which are way cooler than our parents’ names. Happy birthday, Colo***!

Shmoop Shout Out: Vaclav Havel, Leader of the Velvet Revolution

Vaclav Havel is kind of our hero (or our kind of hero). He was a playwright who became heavily involved in politics, ultimately leading the movement to overthrow communism in Czechoslovakia.

Basically, this dude was fantastic at everything, and he changed the lives of millions. Rest in peace, Mr. Havel.

Shmoop Shout Out 2.0: Army Sandwich

Shmoop paradox: We here at Shmoop HQ love all kinds of sandwiches, from roast beef to turkey and Swiss cheese to Cheddar. However, all of us have had our fair share of cold cuts sprout mold and perish in our fridges, uneaten and unenjoyed, when we’re grinding the late night gears.

Solution: The U.S. Army has developed a sandwich that stays fresh for two years. Yes, that’s 730 and one half days of tastiness. We don’t know how to get our hands on one yet, but we will find a way. Let your stomach read on here.

Have a safe and sane holiday,

The Shmoop Elves

*We recommend Settlers of Catan.

**Not its actual title.

***Also, happy birthday to Sophie!

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