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5 Fun, Quick, and Challenging Christmas Workouts

Just because it's the holidays does not mean that you need to slack on your workouts. Gym hours may be all over the shop, but that doesn't mean you still can't work out at home. I find workout out during the holidays to be a bit of a struggle. So I've come up with 5 quick but challenging workouts that you can easily fit in, no matter where you are! Maybe you can even convince some family members to join in! Give them a go and let me know what you think. 

Total Body 12 Days of Christmas
This complete body workout is fast, but you'll be sweating by the end. Sing along to the 12 Days of Christmas or just challenge yourself to keep up with the song. That's probably an unrealistic challenge but if you're super fit, let me know if you were able to keep up! Just like the 12 Days of Christmas, complete each exercise in ascending order then work back down, adding on exercise per round. 

1 Push-up
2 Dumbell Rows
3 Tricep Dips
4 Bicep Curls
5 Burpees
6 Mountain Climbers
7 Crunches
8 Russian Twists
9 Glute Bridges
10 Lateral Jumps
11 Tuck Jumps
12 Jump Squats
Congrats! You've survived the 12 Days of Christmas ladder!

Upper Body Carol of the Bells
I always struggle with my upper body workouts. Because of this, I need seriously motivating music to push myself through an upper body workout. During this workout, you'll do six exercises all out for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Since it is such a short workout, go all out for each set. You should be tired by the end of each exercise. If you're doing this workout at the gym, grab a set of dumbells at the weight of your choice. If you're at home, use dumbells (if you have them) and if you don't own any weights get creative! 2L jugs of milk or canned soup are excellent substitutes. Follow below for your Christmas Upper Body Challenge:

20 seconds Bicep Curls
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Tricep Extensions
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Front Arm Raises
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Side Arm Raises
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Upright Row
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Shoulder Press
Congrats! You've made it through the Carols of the Bells workout!

Lower Body Feliz Navidad
I am all about lower body workouts. If I'm ever stuck at the gym, I usually gravitate towards a lower body workout. This year is the year of the booty, so this workout focuses on those booty gains. Feel free to spontaneous start dancing as well because who doesn't want to dance when they hear Feliz Navidad? Remember to go hard for each exercise. You'll be doing 3 exercises, for 30 seconds, with a 10-second rest. 

30 seconds Single Leg Dead Lift 
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Single Leg Dead Lift Opposite Leg
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Jump Squats
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Curtsy Lunge
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Curtsy Lunge Opposite Leg
Congrats! You're finished!

Abdominals Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
Flat stomachs and six packs seem to be what everyone longs for. I may never have a six-pack, but having a strong core is a huge focus of mine. No holiday workout would be complete without a great core workout. For this workout, use your rest period to transition to the next exercise. Don't forget to focus on your breathing and keep your core strong and stable!

30 seconds Plank
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Knee-In Crunches
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Plank
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Reverse Crunches
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Plank
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Bicycle Crunches
10 seconds rest
30 seconds plank
10 seconds rest
20 seconds Sit-Ups
Woohoo! You did it! Congratulations! 

Cardio All I Want For Christmas Is You
For the last Christmas workout, we fit in a little bit of cardio. Every time I hear this song, I can't help but bounce up and down with happiness and joy. This is precisely the type of song you want to listen to while doing a cardio workout. Have fun with this one!

30 seconds Mountain Climbers
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Star Jumps
10 seconds rest
30 seconds High Knees
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Burpees
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Side Ski Hops
10 seconds rest
30 seconds Butt Kickers
And with that, you've finished your Christmas workouts! Great job!

Here's to rocking day 4 of the 12 Days of Blogmas. Wanting a bigger challenge? Try to do these workouts multiple times. That will push you a little bit more and help you finish off the year strong. If you try any of the Christmas workouts, share your thoughts by commenting below or post a picture or video on Instagram or Facebook using #AussielandChristmasWorkouts. Be sure to tag Adventures in Aussieland. I would love to see your photos rocking these workouts! Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for the next instalment of the 12 Days of Blogmas. 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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10 Amazing Christmas Gifts for Any Expat or Jet Setter

We've made it to day 3 of the 12 Days of Blogmas! Keeping on track with buying gifts for people, I thought today would be a great day to tackle gifts for the jet setter or expat in your life. Being away from family and friends during the holidays can often feel very isolating. Personally, this time of year I always tend to get a little homesick. Christmas is a massive celebration in my family. My dad always went all out decorating the entire house. When we would go back to Michigan, we got a white Christmas. Being in Australia, the way I've celebrated Christmas has drastically changed. I miss my old traditions, and I miss being with my family. As I'm sure many other expats and jet-setters feel the same, I've compiled a list of some great holiday gifts they're sure to love: 

*This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission from any purchases with no additional costs to you. All opinions are 100% my own.*

1. Home Sick Candles
This is one of the only times throughout the year I feel homesick. I long for things that will remind me of home. A while back, I saw these fantastic candles and had to have one. They are the perfect gift for any homesick immigrant wanting a little slice of home. 

2. The Carry On Cocktail Kit
For the frequent flyer in your life, this may be the perfect gift. Especially if this jet-setter frequents budget airline travel. Sometimes long-haul flights can be less than glamorous. That extra little something can help you bounce off the plane with a bit of extra pep in your step. 

3. Snacks from Around the World 
Sometimes the perfect thing for any homesick individual are some yummy treats from their home country. I often find myself craving Cheetos and Taco Bell when I start to get a bit homesick. These snack boxes are a great treat for any homesick traveller or a great way to try different snacks from around the world. 

4. Adventure Throw Pillows
When you're an avid traveller, you want your house to reflect your lifestyle. Having various travel related items around the house can help inspiration and wanderlust at any instance. 

5. Instant Print Camera
I know the last thing a traveller wants to do is add more items to their travel bag. However, being able to instantly print photos is an excellent way to share memories with new friends or mail back cards to family back home. It may seem old school, but I always send friends and family cards from the countries I've travelled to. It's a little bit more special than sending back some random tchotchke you bought at a random market. 

6. Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog
Yes, this may be a children's book, but that doesn't make it any less amazing. It's a great book to read when you've first moved to a new country or when you're feeling a little homesick. 

7. Anti-Theft Backpack
I am super paranoid when I travel, especially when I stay in hostels. This backpack is a fantastic way to remove a little bit of worry one might have about having their belongings stolen. At the very minimum, you can go to the bathroom on the plane in peace not stressing about your passport or money going missing.

8. Photo Calendar
There is nothing better than looking back at old photos of your friends and loved ones back home. Sending them a photo calendar of all the happy memories is a great way for your loved ones to remember home. It may also inflict some tears when they're feeling a little homesick, but it will nonetheless be greatly appreciated. 

9. Coffee Mugs
Just like the photo calendar, having your morning cup of Joe in a mug adorned with your hometown or country, tugs at any expats heartstrings. Creating magical home memories right in their new house is something that will be greatly appreciated. It can also be a good conversation starter when people come over to visit. 

10. Posters of Home
Posters and prints of photos from back home are other lovely gifts for any expat. Decorating a room with little pieces the home can help make a new, strange country a little less foreign. 

Was anything missing from the list? If you missed out on the first two days of blogmas, just click here or here to get caught up. And be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post!
And until next time...
Stay curious!

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10 Amazing Gifts for the Gym Junkie in Your Life

Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 Days of Blogmas! If you missed out on day one, click here to read it before you start on today's post. I tend to be the person who leaves gift shopping until the last minute. This breeds some panic as I also always try to get people the perfect gift. Luckily, I've compiled three different gift-giving lists to help you with any last minute gift giving ideas. Today, it's all about finding the perfect gift for the fitness buff in your life. 

*This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission off any purchase at no additional cost to you. All opinions are 100% my own.*

1. Hydration Pack
One of the most significant challenges one will face while working out is dehydration. If you love running for long distances outdoors, hydration packs are a massive life saver. I used to run outside only stopping when I would see a drinking fountain. Do you know how frequently drinking fountains are found when you're running outside? ALMOST NEVER! Since getting my hydration pack, I've found my runs are more consistent, I've increased my pace, and I'm never thirsty. It's also been beneficial to carry any medications I may need. Because adult asthma is bull sh*t. 

2. Some Awesome Activewear
I don't know about you, but I always feel better if I have some incredible activewear on. For some reason when I feel good and confident in what I'm wearing, I'm able to absolutely slay my workout. Help your friends or loved ones slay their workout with some awesome new activewear. 

3. Gym Gloves
These are perfect for the obstacle course racer or heavy lifter in your life. I never realised how beat up my hands would get until I started lifting. I was the one who would low key judge people at the gym for wearing gloves. Now, I don't know how in the world people lift day in and day out without them! 

4. Hands-Free Leads
I love running with my dog, but sometimes it can be a bit of a pain. Archer somehow lacks the ability to be able to run in a straight line. He likes making sure I'm keeping up the pace while doing a sweep of the road ahead. I have yet to purchase a hands-free lead, but I envy every runner I see with one. It gives them the freedom to focus on the running posture and not frequently trip over the lead or yell at their dog to run straight. 

5. Dice Yoga
I feel like these go against everything yoga is supposed to stand for, but I love using these for stretching. I'm a person that tires quickly from the same routine day in and day out. Unless I've pre-planned my workouts, trying to wing it at the gym makes me look like a lost puppy. I love that I'm able to switch up my stretching and balance exercises with these dice. No need to write a plan, just roll the dice!

6. Gadgets
Being able to track your runs is always a good thing. I have the cheapest FitBit on the market. While its good for monitoring the number of steps I've taken that day, I wish I would have been able to track the distances during my Spartan races. It is, for this reason, I would recommend a tracker a bit higher on the market. I've heard fantastic things about the Gramin trackers and will probably make this my next purchase. These make for great holiday gifts as they can be a little pricey. 

7. Accuroller
Recovery is just as important as the workout itself. I never understood why people used foam rollers until I started to use them. It does wonders for your muscles! I use mine daily now to make sure I'm taking the best care of my body possible. This is the perfect gift to show your active buddy that you care. 

8. Running Belt
There is nothing worse than finishing a run or a race to find your car is broken into with all your valuables missing. Or going for a run and having to shove your house keys in your sports bra. It's uncomfortable and annoying. Running belts are enormous lifesavers. You're able to keep all your valuables on your person and not worry about potential theft or loss. This allows you to relax even more while at the gym or running. 

9. Medal Display Rack
After a while, you start to wonder where in the heck you're going to put all your medals. Shoving them in a drawer just makes them seem a little less special. I've been going the broke girl route of hanging them off a multi pants hanger, but I've been eyeing a medal display rack for a while. This is a fantastic gift to show your support and an excellent way for them to show off all their hard work. 

10. Active Wipes
There is nothing better after a long race than being able to clean the sweat from yourself. I've been to many races and even gyms where there weren't any showers. I workout twice a day so not being able to shower after my morning workout before going to work is just not an option. These wipes are a massive life saver. They give you the ability to clean off enough to pass as functional in the world for the day. 

What do you think of the gift ideas? Did I miss anything? If you missed day 1, make sure you go back and give it a read. Be sure to check in daily so you don't miss any of the blogmas posts!

And until next time...
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5 Differences Between Australian and US Christmas Traditions

Welcome to the 12 Days of Blogmas, Day 1! For the next 12 days, Adventures in Aussieland will be sharing holiday travel and health and wellness posts to help you enjoy this holiday season. Today, we're tackling the differences of Christmas in Australia vs Christmas in the US. Often, being away from family during the holidays can make Christmas feel a little less magical. Sometimes, homesickness can rear its ugly head when one experiences subtle differences in how holidays are celebrated. This will be my 4th or 5th Christmas in Australia, and throughout the years, I've noticed some subtle and not so subtle differences in how Australians celebrate Christmas. Here are the five most significant differences between Christmas in Australia and Christmas in the USA. 

1. Christmas Lunch vs Christmas Dinner
In the US, Christmas dinner is a huge staple in many family's traditions in celebrating Christmas. Feasts similar to Thanksgiving are prepared and enjoyed by the family. Turkey, ham, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, chocolate mud pie, and other goodies are served for everyone to enjoy. We usually spend the mornings with our immediate family (mum, dad, siblings) and later treck over to another family members house to enjoy Christmas dinner. Some families celebrate their Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. No matter the day celebrated, it is rare that you'll find a family that celebrates a Christmas lunch. 

However, in Australia, many families celebrate with a Christmas lunch. Instead of a turkey, feasts consist of seafood and prawns, maybe some bbq food, and pavlova for dessert. As the weather is entirely different to that in the Northern Hemisphere, many families enjoy their Christmas lunch outside. Many of my friend's families actually go to the beach for Christmas lunch. 

Both Christmas lunch and dinner have their positives and drawbacks. I've begun to notice that the reason Aussies may not make a Christmas dinner is because of the excellent weather and the fact they're slightly less religious than in the US. Many families in the US will go to church on Christmas Day so a lunch may not be feasible. When you're looking forward to ending your day with loved ones, a Christmas lunch can be a little bit of a letdown. 

2. Caroling vs Carols by Candlelight
In Australia, they hold Carols by Candlelight. This has been a huge tradition in Australia for roughly 70 years. Families and friends will gather together in a park, sing carols, and watch various performances. Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight is the largest Carols held in Melbourne each year on Christmas Eve. While I've never attended a Carols, it is a must do Aussie Christmas tradition. 

In the US, they carol in a slightly different way. People will often group together and go door to door singing various Christmas songs. Everyone is bundled up nice and warm, sipping hot cocoa and spreading Christmas cheer. At school, our choir would go carolling from class to class. My family would sometimes carol around the neighbourhood. It was always a great way to create a sense of unity and peace in an area. Plus singing Christmas songs is always a good time! Try not to smile singing "Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer". 

3. Decorations vs Lack of Decorations
I've really struggled with this since moving to Australia. Yes, there are some areas where people decorate their houses with lights and other decorations. However, I've found, for the most part, this is not the case. Back homes, various neighbourhoods enforce their occupants to decorate for Christmas. And not just string a thing of lights up decorate, I mean full out, put some of those Youtube videos to shame. I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea and not every family celebrates Christmas, but it would be nice to see a little more holiday cheer in Australia. The shops sure do an excellent job of shoving it down your throat here. 

4. Nativity Sets vs Surfing Santa
Back home in the US, many families adorn their houses with nativity sets. In my house, we were not allowed to display the Baby Jesus in the nativity set until Christmas day. Each year, we would fight over who would be the one to place him into the nativity. All my friends also had various nativity sets in their house. To be fair, I grew up in a Catholic household with most of my close friends coming from a Catholic background. This may not be the case for most of the US, but in my collective circle, everyone did. Along with our advent calendars, we anxiously counted down the days until Christmas.

Christmas in Australia definitely has a more laid-back vibe. In combination with the excellent weather and the chilled nature of most Australians, it's no wonder that Santa would also be a bit more relaxed in his holiday festivities. Before Santa delivers all the toys to the good little boys and girls of the world, he takes a quick holiday and surfs on Christmas Eve morning. Honestly, this is probably the coolest Christmas tradition I've ever heard. I'm all for Santa taking a holiday and surfing before going to work. 

5. Cold Weather vs Warm Weather
This should be a pronounced difference in celebrating the two. Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere so during December it's warm and sunny. There is no such thing as a white Christmas in Oz (unless Tassie gets the odd snowstorm). I grew up almost always experiencing a white Christmas. My granny's house was in the middle of BFE Michigan and was the closest thing to a real-life Disney movie one could get. It was picturesque, with the house blanketed in white, fluffy snow. You would see deer running through the snow-covered meadow throughout the day. Our family, running and yelling throughout the house. It was a blessed miracle no one perished during our family Christmas'. 35+ people packed into one house. That's the beginning of a horror movie. Here in Australia, we're greeted with warm sunny days, sand castles instead of snow angels, and a generally more pleasant mood because people aren't about to lose a toe due to the cold. 

Overall, the differences between celebrating the holidays in Australia and the US are not that different. I guess it boils down to whether or not you're celebrating the holiday with people you care about. It can be challenging celebrating the holidays in a different country. What are some of the Christmas traditions in your country? Have you ever celebrated the holidays in a different country? How did you fair? 

Want to keep up with the 12 Days of Blogmas? Here's what we'll be covering over the next 12 days. 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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