Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Better than Erik Estrada

What are your favourite Christmas movies? Chances are, they include It's A Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, classics that make us smile and appreciate what we take for granted the rest of the year. I have some favourites, too, ranging from the kitschy (clay-mation Rudolph narrated by Burl Ives, which we watched over and over from the recorded-from-tv tape my grandma made for us) to the remake of The Preacher's Wife (with Denzel Washington in that amazing grey suit) to The Family Man with Tea Leoni and Nicholas Cage. Recently, I have been more and more appreciative of Home Alone. As a kid, I thought the antics were funny, but now I love the sacrifice of family, the story of reconciliation between the "scary" neighbor and his son, and the character development as Kevin realizes maybe what he really wanted was what he had all along. I guess that would be the theme of all those movies I just mentioned. Contentment is a lifelong theme for me, too,  and Christmas is a time when being grateful for your blessings is frequently brought to mind as you are surrounded by friends and family. 

One holiday favourite you probably don't share with me is X-files. The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas episode is my now ritualistic Christmas Eve tradition. Spencer is slightly nauseated by how many times I can watch this particular episode, and this year I am determined to get to it in order since we've been watching the whole series chronologically (only season 5 and the first movie to get through in 3 weeks!). For those of you not acquainted (ok, obsessed) with Skully and Mulder, this is a gem of writing and character analysis. And with Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner playing the star-crossed lover ghosts, it's comedic genius, too. 

Anyway, I bring up xfiles only as background for another holiday tradition: the other night we decorated gingerbread cookies with Stuart, Nicole and Isabella. It was so much fun- I don't think I've ever actually done this. Between Isabella's licking all the decorating utensils and eating more cookies than she decorated, and the boys' frustration at their lack of illustrative skills (hey, you can't be good at everything), it was a really great evening. And it was something I could do with one hand!

Here are some photos of our edible art: 

my El Chupacabra xfiles episode cookie (if you are laughing, you are a nerd)
"Maria! Maria!" "This guy is better than Erik Estrada."

Our (apparently Austrian) gingerbread couple

Isabella's cookies

Spencer's first cookie. Nice mustache. 

my cast (arm is in no pain, now)

Spencer's Millenium Falcon. He wins "most improved" for the evening.

What are your favourite Christmas/holiday traditions? Movies? Music? Maybe I will do my giveaway for the holidays. Ok people: If you leave a comment with your favourite holiday tradition or movie and why, you will be entered to win the tea traveler mug: 

If you blog about the giveaway, leave a facebook or twitter comment about it, leave a link for an extra chance to win. Giveaway will start today and end on December 15th! 

Happy holiday prepping and good luck!


  1. Well my all time favorite holiday movie would have to be A Year Without a Santa Clause. I can remember many times throughout my childhood in which I would sit in front of my grandmother's refrigerator, with a mixer full of frosting in each hand, peeking around the corner to watch Heat Miser and Freeze Miser sing their songs... Although my grandmother no longer makes her famous Pumpkin Roll for the holidays, and I'm not a young child, I will always remember these times.

    ~~Antonio Mendoza

  2. I have two new favorite holiday traditions. One is making my colored Christmas candy in flavors like butter rum and cinnamon. The candy flavoring fills the house with the smell of Christmas!
    My other favorite tradition is decorating. I know that's general but specifically it's the making of popcorn and cranberry garland for the tree and paper snowflakes to hang from the ceiling. Both these things take time; time that I can spend with Michael watching our favorite holiday movies like Harry Potter :). There is Christmas in them so they count!

  3. I thought I was going to be unique, but Jenny beat me to it. The Harry Potter movies are so "Christmas" to me. Apart from the Scottish chill, the argyle and tweed, and the jolly man with the white beard, the stories themselves carry the same epic pregnancy of Christmas. The promise of one who is just a child but also more than a child. When I have children, reading the Harry Potter books will be a holiday tradition. Though they are rather long, so it may be one of those traditions that actually only happens once...

  4. My all time favorite Christmas movie is the 1960s version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.The Grinch is so much like all of us before Christs love is poured into us.He's hard hearted, self-focused and unloving. The transformation he goes through with the love and guidance of a small child that changes his heart. (sound familiar?)This also coinsides with loving memories of my Mom, stringing popcorn/cranberries on thread, making sugar cookies(and messes on the floor).The 1st year I remember watching the movie, I had made a prized ceramic bear for my Dad.Which i dropped and broke his leg.Mom glued it together and saved the day.

  5. Lady and the Tramp is my favorite Christmas movie. It was the first video I owned that was all mine, and I wore it out in addition to forcing my family to watch it during the holidays. I can pretty much quote the whole thing. "Her name is Rosita Chiquita Juanita Chihuahua... I think."

    My favorite tradition is the use of the advent calendar my grandma made. Although, does it count if it's a tradition that died? I'm planning to resurrect it for my kids. That reminds me, I've got to request it from my mom before any of my brothers have babies.

  6. STOCKINGS! <---- fave holiday tradition every
    We all get up and do our stockings before breakfast in our jammies. It's a bit of pandemonium before we all settle down for a big breakfast together.