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Hands on with Snapchat's Spectacles — one of the most talked about gadgets of the year

12 gifts the modern gentleman actually wants this year

Second cousin-once removed? Here's what those complicated terms on your family tree mean

Here's how Jesus Christ is depicted in Islam

Here's why people love these L.L.Bean boots that sell out every winter

Here's how much money you need to make to live in the 7 biggest US cities


GoBankingRates conducted a comparison of the cost-of-living in the most populated US cities. They surveyed dollar amounts of major living expenses including rent, groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare.

The total amount for these necessary expenses was then doubled to find how much money a single person needs to earn, in that city, in order to follow a 50-30-20 budget: 50% for necessities, 30% for discretionary funds, and 20% for savings.

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What no woman wants to get for the holidays — and what to buy her instead

How much to tip everyone in your life for the holidays, from your landlord to the mail carrier


UPS holiday delivery

As the holidays approach, it's typical to have questions: What should you get your cousin Katie? Where can you find the perfect sweater for your college roommate's ugly sweater party?

And perhaps most importantly, how much should you tip?

"The holidays are the traditional time to show appreciation for the people who make our lives more pleasant throughout the year," says etiquette expert Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick of The Etiquette School of New York. "Always show your gratitude in some form, whether it's a monetary gift or a handwritten thank you note."

Here are a few best practices when it comes to holiday tipping, according to Napier-Fitzpatrick:

  • If you're going to give cash, it's better to give earlier in the month than later, if possible. The recipients will be using those tips to buy gifts for their own families.
  • You don't want to give less than you did last year, unless you truly can't afford to.
  • If you have a personal relationship with a service provider, such as your regular hairdresser or housekeeper, you might want to give a more personalized gift in addition to a cash tip.
  • If you live in an apartment building and are tipping the building staff, the amount you give depends on how long you've lived there, whether you rent or own, how large your apartment is, and how much you use their services. For instance, if you work from home and get a lot of deliveries, you might want to tip more.

Below, she helped Business Insider outline the appropriate tip amounts for everyone in your life. If you don't see a specific service provider you want to appreciate, a rule of thumb is to tip the cost of one extra service.

Megan Willett contributed to an earlier version of this post.

SEE ALSO: Here's how to split the restaurant bill in any situation

DON'T MISS: 21 do's and don'ts of holiday shopping

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This quiet Brooklyn neighborhood has the best Christmas light display in America


Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 8

The suburban Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights is a quiet and friendly area year-round – that is, until the holidays start. That's when the neighborhood is flooded with thousands of Christmas-light peepers anxious to see the area's famed displays. Countless homes in the neighborhood take part, putting up dazzling and awe-inspiring feats of festivity, and likely producing similarly awe-inspiring electric bills.

I took a trip to Dyker Heights to see the hyped "Dyker Lights" for myself. Keep scrolling to see some lights that would make Clark Griswold die from envy.

SEE ALSO: This New York City restaurant spends more than $60,000 a year getting ready for Christmas — take a look inside

Dyker Heights is a good half-hour drive from downtown Manhattan, and about an hour away on the subway. Luckily, there are Dyker Lights tour buses that will take you there hassle-free — for a price.

You can see most of the best displays between 11th and 13th Avenues around 81st through 86th Streets.

Some of the homes put up stately, elegant arrangements.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

31 of the most bizarre holiday gifts employees have ever received from a coworker


the gift batmen gift

We've given you some dos and don'ts for exchanging gifts at the office

But if you're still undecided on what you should get your coworkers this year, perhaps knowing what not to give is a good place to start.

According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, conducted online by Harris Poll among 3,300 employees and 2,379 HR professionals, about a fifth (22%) of employees say they plan to buy holiday gifts for coworkers, and 21% plan to buy a gift for their boss.

As a general rule, it's the thought that counts when it comes to gift-giving, which means gifting something thoughtless doesn't leave a very good impression. You're better of avoiding gifts that are inappropriate, offensive, or that might leave your coworkers scratching their heads. 

To help you avoid these gift-giving faux-pas, here are 31 gifts real employees have received from someone in the office during the holiday season, according to CareerBuilder, CooperKatz, and Business Insider survey respondents:

SEE ALSO: 15 things you should never do at the office holiday party

DON'T MISS: 8 ways to get through your office gift exchange without things getting awkward

Thoughtless gifts

• A bunch of stationery from the stationery cupboard

• A broken ornament

• Expired canned food

• Too-small, company-branded apparel

• A pad of paper

Second-hand gifts

• A used Yankee candle

• Used plaid tennis shoe

• Old backpack full of old shoes

• Piece of cake that was already being eaten at the party

Mean gifts

• A bottle of axe and a card that said, "Take a shower."

• Lump of coal

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

25 photos show how people celebrate the holidays around the world


Father Frost, Snow Maiden, Russia Christmas

You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen.

But do you know Father Frost, Snow Maiden, or Krampus?

Holiday traditions are as unique as the countries they're from. Some rituals date back centuries, while other celebrations are only decades old.

To celebrate this time of coming together, we rounded up the most spectacular holiday traditions from around the world.

SEE ALSO: 26 beautiful photos of traditional wedding dresses from around the world

Rovaniemi, Finland, is a gateway to the Arctic north and the "official home town" of Santa Claus. The man in the red suit can be visited 365 days a year.

Source: Rovaniemi

There, children from around the world come to deliver their wish lists in person.

In Croatia, residents release thousands of paper lanterns carrying their Christmas hopes and wishes into the sky at the nation's capital a few days before the holiday.

Source: Croatia Week

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These Siberian swimmers are obsessed with plunging their bodies into freezing cold water

From police-grade cooling vest to $750 beard, here's what it takes to make a living as Santa


Santa Jim Boston

Santa Jim understands the value of a top-notch beard — no straggly, wispy nonsense or anything that could easily get pulled off.

Instead, he imports his beard, which ties on in three places, from Switzerland for a whopping $750.

To Santa Jim, it's worth every penny.

According to this professional, private events Santa Claus — Jim Manning when he's out of the red suit — a lot more goes into playing Santa than simply showing up, finding the nearest couch, and letting kids sit on your lap.

Below, Manning shares more about the business of being Santa:

SEE ALSO: What it's really like to be a professional Santa Claus

DON'T MISS: A man who's played Santa for 13 years shares the 5 most annoying things he wishes parents would stop doing

First: Create an online presence

In 2004 I grabbed the domain name SantaBoston.com, and that's really been what's sent a lot of the Santa Claus traffic to me. The website presence has been important, and I've added social-media presence over the years. I'm now seeing direct social-media results — people see me on Instagram and they're hiring me from that. But the website is still the No. 1 way people contact me.

And having a mobile-friendly website has been huge. My website wasn't mobile-friendly until about three years ago. Now about 78% of people look at my website on their phones or their iPads.

The content that goes on the website is important, too. There are a lot of Santa Clauses who have websites, and fortunately I've had a lot of them helping me in terms of what the site needs.

People want to see ... Do you look good as Santa? Do you seem trustworthy? And what are your prices? And you don't put your prices on your website, because that's just not something you do. But people want all that information, and they want it quickly, and they're going to decide whether to reach out to you from that.

Then, start booking a year in advance

The busy season is December, Thanksgiving to Christmas. We start receiving calls and emails in August to book events. Some people will book from the year before. But the real majority of the requests start coming in October and November. And a lot of last-minute requests come in, too. The real season starts to ramp up after Thanksgiving.

The first week of December is more promotional work — a lot of photo shoots. I did a photo shoot for Legal Sea Foods, where they had me as Santa Claus taking photos of their clam chowder or their lobster. Drug stores, car dealerships — they'll bring me in to set the tone for the season and whatnot.

Then toward the middle of December, that's when I start getting into more corporate parties, private parties. And then as we get closer to Christmas Eve, the majority of my events are parties in people's homes.

Christmas Eve is the busiest day. I'll do 10 appearances. This year, my first visit is at 11 a.m. and my last visit is scheduled for 9 p.m.

Most weekdays are two to three visits. Weekends are much busier. Sunday I did eight different visits. I'll have five or six days off somewhere in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Santa Jim charges $499 for a visit, and does upwards of 80 visits during the season.

Be sure to suit up

I've also got a lot of my own costs. This isn't a part-time thing for me — this is my full-time gig. So I have an operations manager, and a lot of money goes into advertising and promotions.

I spend over a hundred dollars on gloves every year. My dry-cleaning bills are pretty expensive.

The gloves I wear are band gloves that have little grips on them. Why do they have grips on them? Because when I'm turning the pages of "The Night Before Christmas" I don't have to fumble around. To me, details like this are super important.

The wigs and beards and mustaches? A friend of mine imports them from Switzerland. One wig, beard, mustache set costs me about $750, and I have five of them, which I've built up over the course of a few years.

My beard is tied on in three different spots. It's really beautiful, and children under the age of 8 have a tough time distinguishing between my beard and a real beard. 

 The belt cost me $400 — that was handmade from a leather maker in Montana, which a big, gold-brass buckle.

I've got a cooling vest, which law-enforcement officers use to stay cool, because I'm playing Santa Claus for upwards of 10 hours. I've got the fat suit

I spend over $300 a year on dry cleaning with all my suits. I've got five suits that I keep in regular rotation. So pretty much as soon as I wear a suit I'm dropping it off at the dry cleaners and I'm keeping them on a constant rotation because I want to look as fresh as possible.

Driving-wise, this year I'm driving 75 hours, probably over 3,000 miles. So there's gas, tolls, and so forth.

Then there's food. Normally I cook for myself and my wife, but I don't have time for the month of December, so I end up eating out a lot, doing take-out. I tried finding a meal-delivery service. But at the end of the day, it's a lot of grab-and-go.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A relationship expert reveals how to keep the spark in a long-term relationship

What you should know before grabbing a protein bar, according to health experts


The variety of nutritional supplements on the market seems endless and overwhelming. Every nutrition bar claims it has the best ingredients and is the best for you. We spoke with several nutrition experts to better understand what to look for when grabbing a protein bar.

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15 of the most fun American cities that are actually affordable



Whether you're looking for a celebratory weekend getaway or planning to relocate permanently, it's likely that you'll want to find a city that offers plenty of fun activities, but doesn't break the bank.

With the help of WalletHub's 2016 Most fun cities in America ranking, we've come up with a list of 15 cities that are both fun and affordable.

To determine it's original ranking, WalletHub compared the 150 largest US cities based on 51 key metrics, ranging from number of fitness centers per capita to movie costs to number of music venues per capita. Each city was scored on three categories: entertainment and recreation, nightlife and parties, and costs. (Read more about their methodology here.)

To compile our ranking, we averaged the cities' overall score and costs score — a category made up of 10 metrics, including average beer price, average food price, movie costs, and bowling costs. The cities with the lowest averages made it to the top of our list.

Below, check out 15 US cities where you can have a blast on the cheap.

SEE ALSO: The 25 cities with the best quality of life in the US

DON'T MISS: The 25 best cities for millennials in America

14. Kansas City, Missouri

Average beer price (6-pack): $8.04

Average pizza price: $8.16

Average movie ticket: $9.15

Price for a 3-star hotel room: $60

(TIE) 13. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Average beer price (6-pack): $8

Average pizza price: $9

Average movie ticket: $10.18

Price for a 3-star hotel room: $82

(TIE) 13. Buffalo, New York

Average beer price (6-pack): $7.99

Average pizza price: $8.66

Average movie ticket: $10.16

Price for a 3-star hotel room: $93

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I've taken AncestryDNA and 23andMe genetics tests — here's what I tell people when they ask me which one is best


spit 23andMe test

I've sent my spit off for more genetics tests than I can count.

Each one I've tried so far has offered a different experience, a different approach to how they present the data, or what information they provide — whether it's my great-grand relative or how much Neanderthal DNA I have. 

Every so often someone asks me which test I would recommend.

Genetic testing companies have proprietary sets of data and different ways they analyze the data, which can also play a role in decision-making, but to me it all boils down to one question: What do you want to get out of the test? 

Let's take the two direct-to-consumer ones I've tried out: AncestryDNA and 23andMe. 


23andMe kit

23andMe currently offers two versions of its tests:

  • The $199 version, which comes with both the health and ancestry components.
  • The $99 version, which will just have the ancestry test.

Its health reports can tell you information about traits, (such as if you're likely to have dimples or curly hair), wellness (how well you metabolize caffeine and if you're a sprinter), as well reports on carrier status. These reports can tell you if you carry a mutation for certain conditions that you could pass down to your children. Currently, 23andMe has 41 of these tests, up from the 36 tests it had when it launched in October 2015.

With 23andMe's ancestry reports, users have access to reports that break down the Ancestry Composition (which regions your genes most closely align with), haplogroups (a genetic population that shares a common ancestor), and a person's Neanderthal ancestry. They also get access to something called a DNA Relatives tool, which 23andMe users can opt into to connect them with other users. It also shows if they have close or distant relatives in the system. 23andMe is big on research and getting users to engage in its research.

Screen Shot 2015 12 17 at 5.54.33 PM

Verdict: If you're looking at this as more of a science experiment, or a way to get involved in research (most recently I got asked to participate in asthma research), and you aren't as interested in retracing your ancestry, this is the test for you. Or, if all you really want to know is your ancestry percentages and how much Neanderthal variants you have, the $99 version is also a good bet.  

AncestryDNAAncestryDNA test box

Ancestry's test, as the name suggests, is all about family histories and genealogy. You won't find health and wellness reports in its $99 test. 

What you will find is information about where your family comes from, and how that connects you to other potential ancestors. Ancestry also helps you link up the DNA test to your self-reported family tree. 

There's a lot to discover within that ancestry data — for example, I was matched up with ancestors dating back to the 18th century, and could explore just how I connected with that ancestor. 

Screen Shot 2016 03 30 at 4.41.49 PM

Ancestry's site is situated in such a way that if all you want are the percentage estimates, it's easy to focus on those, too.

But if you want to dig deep into your family tree, you can. I would definitely consider purchasing this test for a relative who enjoys researching our family tree.

Verdict: If the idea of tracing back your family tree for generations and connecting with distant relatives gets you incredibly excited — and less interested in getting health information back — this is the test for you. 

Other ancestry tests:

Although these are the only two I've tried out so far, there are, of course, other tests out there.

  • National Geographic has an ancestry test called Geno 2.0 through Helix an Illumina spin-off that's kind of like the "app store for genetics." The test — which is currently $149.99 but originally $199.95 — is different from the others in that it's using next-generation sequencing, instead of the genotyping technology that AncestryDNA and 23andMe use. The test gives a report on ancestry and telling ancestral stories. 
  • MyHeritage, for example just launched a DNA test that's currently going for $79 (originally $99). Its tests, like Ancestry's, are focused on building out family connections and trees. 
  • Others, like FamilyTree DNA (which offers tests from $59) are geared toward those wanting to find genetic links to others and find family members.

Conclusion: All the genetics tests on the market today come in at around the same price point. And, as I found after taking both tests, the reports can slightly differ a bit, since each company has slightly different methods, algorithms, and data that they're using. So go with the test that will answer the questions you have. Have fun!

SEE ALSO: I shipped my spit to AncestryDNA to see how much I could learn from my genes — and found out my family history is more complex than I thought

DON'T MISS: I tried 23andMe's new genetics test — and now I know why the company caused such a stir

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: NASA just spotted a massive hole growing on the sun — here’s what it means

Here's what people eat on Christmas in 21 countries around the globe


GettyImages 3162676 2

Christmas is a special time for people all over the world.

While the holiday can be celebrated in many different ways, perhaps no custom is more important than the time-honored Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal.

Still, these meals vary greatly in different parts of the world.

Inspired by this BookTable post by Rob Rebelo, we took a look at some typical Christmas meals from countries across the globe.

Christian Storm contributed reporting to a previous version of this article.

SEE ALSO: HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: See the presidents' Christmas cards, from Coolidge to Obama

Germans often serve fruity Stollen cake, along with a mulled wine called Gluehwein. Stollen is traditionally baked to have a hump, symbolizing the humps of the camels that carried the wise men to see Jesus.

Many Bulgarians fast before Christmas, so on Christmas they nosh on stuffed vegetables, soups, and cakes.

In Fiji, locals dine on banana leaf-wrapped fish, stuffed chicken, and pork made with a "Lovo," an earth oven made with heavy stones, like the one seen below.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How to make peace with close friends and family who backed the other candidate


Toasting drinking wine champagne out to dinner

This year's US presidential election has caused enormous strains on relationships of all sorts, from friendships to families to marriages.

According to a Monmouth University poll, 7% of voters report having lost or ended a friendship because of this year's divisive presidential race. Despite party affiliations, one thing most voters could agree on was that this election brought out the worst in people.

As The New York Times and The Atlantic both reported, for the first time in US election history, the 2016 presidential race even divided married couples, who, in elections past, tended to band together when it came to voting.

"Part of the problem is not just preference," Republican pollster Whit Ayers explained to The Atlantic. "It's that if you're not for Trump, you have a hard time understanding how any rational human being could be. And the same is true for Clinton."

But while we know this vitriolic election will have a number of long-term effects, will your bruised and battered relationships be one of them?

Making peace with close friends and family who backed the other candidate is possible according to the experts, but it won't be easy.

"Reconciling with those you sparred with and continuing the discussion feel more complicated because so much uncertainty surrounds life after the presidential election," Dr. Michael McNulty, a master trainer from The Gottman Institute and founder of the Chicago Relationship Center, tells Business Insider.

He says that, since few thought Donald Trump would be elected president, no one really knows what a Trump presidency will look like and we face an uncertain future.

"Uncertainty is very stressful," he says, which can cause people to lash out and have much more impassioned, sometimes hurtful, debates.

The road to recovering relationships after hurtful things were said shouldn't be all that unfamiliar, but that doesn't make it any easier to navigate.

"If conversations got heated and you were out of line, apologize," McNulty says. "If someone apologizes to you, accept the apology." It's as simple as that.

It's also helpful to know when to have these conciliatory discussions. Perhaps waiting until everyone is seated at the dinner table to eat is not the most tactful approach. Instead, try blocking out some time or even setting up an appointment so that the problem can be handled with much more care.

"This year, a lot was at stake," McNulty says. "This left people extremely passionate about the issues and candidates. If you or your family member crossed a line beyond debating into poor behavior, try to repair and set a more positive tone. Competitive athletes do this every day."

SEE ALSO: A relationship expert explains how successful couples handle their biggest fights

DON'T MISS: What it's really like to be a professional Santa Claus

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NOW WATCH: Never include these 9 résumé-killers on any job application

How the Bible has been rewritten over the past 2,000 years


Many people don’t realize that over the past 2,000 years, this sacred text has changed a great deal. No "first edition" exists.  What we have are copies, the first of which were made hundreds of years after the events supposedly took place.

For the first 100 to 200 years, copies of the Bible were made by hand … and not by professionals. This led to many errors, omissions, and — most importantly — changes.

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