12 Days of Blogmas: Winter Activities

Just for Fun

Winter is subjective around here. We’ve had a few days that were approaching 80° this week and heat and humidity to boot. We’re not feeling the winter vibes so much. But just because it doesn’t feel like winter, our calendar is still full of fun doings for the winter season here in Thomasville, GA.


Downtown Christmas Parade

We almost missed it this year as it seemed so early (the Monday after Thanksgiving), and the parade units line up on our street up through our block (which meant we had to do some serious circumnavigating to even get home that night), but we hustled up to Broad Street in time to catch the second half of the parade this year. The stand-out this year was definitely the synchronized lawn mower maneuvers.

(Direct link for the feed readers: Lawnmower Maneuvers)

Golf Cart Parade in Boston, GA

I wanted to try to make this one but it just didn’t happen. The same community that puts on Witch’s Night Out hosts a parade of decked out golf carts. Hopefully we can make it to this one next year!

Victorian Christmas


Scenes from Victorian Christmas 2015, Thomasville, GA

This and the Rose Festival in April make up the two big festivals Thomasville hosts each year. For two nights there’s a big block party downtown with a living nativity, a performance stage, and vendors of food or other goodies. This year featured the World’s Largest Rocking Horse as well as stilt walkers, Santa, and horse drawn carriage rides.

Flowers Foods Driver-Through Christmas Lights Display

You may be familiar with the Flowers Foods lines that started right here in Thomasville in the early 1900s and makes breads, pastries and other yummy goodies. Walk downtown on any given day and you can partake of the heavenly smell of bread dough rising or cinnamon rolls baking. It’s amazing. Anyway! This year on the radio we heard about their annual light display that runs through New Year’s Eve. We haven’t made it yet, but I’m hoping to make some hot chocolate for two and take in the sights this weekend.

Holly Springs Subdivision Luminary Light Display

This popped up in the weekly visitor’s center email and it looks like another fun drive-through light event. It’s one night only, December 20th at 6pm, so it’ll depend on if we get back from our monthly meet-up in Tallahassee in time or not, but I want to check it out. I love the idea of a neighborhood getting together for something like this (I just hope they’re not like the one in Christmas with the Kranks!).

Of course, we’re still only a short drive from Tallahassee, and they have their own share of holiday festivities that we’ve enjoyed in the past.

Winter Festival

Usually the first weekend of December, it starts with the official turning on of the lights down Park Ave and includes multiple stages set up downtown for all sorts of performances and then a parade. Santa’s there, of course, and they usually do a great job of decorating the queuing area for Santa. For several years Lofty Pursuits has been out there making and handing out candy canes.

Dorthy B Oven Park Lights

Oven park is beautiful any time of the year but at Christmas the whole place just sparkles with lighted displays you can walk through. They even designate one night during December as Elf Night with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves in attendance. It’s definitely one of the must-see displays in Tallahassee this time of year!

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

12 Days of Blogmas: Holiday Movies

Just for Fun

There are a LOT of holiday movies out there and I thought I’d actually have trouble narrowing it down to just 6 for today’s post, but it turns out that I’m pickier about movies than I thought and coming up with 6 strong favorites actually took a little thought!


Classic Holiday Movies

The first movie I watched this holiday season was White Christmas. It’s one of my favorites because of the comedic elements as well as the overall message: doing something good for an old friend just because it’s the right thing to do. Bing Crosby is always a pleasure to listen to, after all, and the movie is just so beautiful to watch. I always get choked up at the end.

My other classic favorite is Meet Me In St. Louis. Now, it might not seem like a true Christmas movie since it covers an entire year of the Smith family and lacks a lot of the holiday movie hallmarks, but the Christmas/Winter arc is really the meat of the story, so I consider it a Christmas movie. It also happens to be great Victorian home eye-candy and a fabulous Judy Garland musical.

Animated Holiday Movies

There are tons of retellings of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but my favorite version, hands down, is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Todd and I were chatting last night and I wondered aloud about whether Scrooge McDuck was created first for Mickey’s Christmas Carol but, no, he first appeared in “Christmas on Bear Mountain” though he was, yes, created in the image of Ebeneezer Scrooge. I remember we’d taped it off television back when I was a kid (so there’s a nostalgia angle) and would watch it frequently over the holidays and then I had to hunt down, as an adult, which Christmas set it was part of in the days of DVDs. Plus it’s Disney and, say what you may about some of their practices, they make pretty movies. Even the short ones.

Nightmare Before Christmas is another favorite; though some argue whether it’s a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. We consider it both, actually, but since it specifically deals with the ruining (even if through good intentions) and rescue of Christmas, I think it meets the benchmarks of a holiday movie. It’s fun, quirky, a little dark at times, with amazing music and a pretty good message, too (let’s not cross the holiday streams, it doesn’t end well).

And while I’d really love to have 2, 2, and 2, I just couldn’t NOT include How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I mean, really, I couldn’t. While I actually don’t mind the Jim Carey, live-action version (he was well-suited to the role and I appreciated the delving into the Grinch’s backstory), there’s something about the classic cartoon with the iconic song.

Holiday Rom-Com

Finally, a more modern (though it’s 12 years old, now–what?!) holiday movie favorite is definitely Love, Actually. Between the charm of the interwoven stories, the amazing characters, and the intelligent humor of it all, it is an often-watched movie at our house (and not just at Christmas).


Last week the fine folks at Casper (the foam mattress company, not the ghost) reach out and offered a custom movie night essentials checklist. I’m not being compensated for posting this (though if they wanted to send me a queen-sized mattress to review, I’d be hard-pressed to say no), it’s just something fun that I can totally get behind. Granted, most of our movie nights are spent on the sofa, but the idea of cuddling up and watching Love, Actually in bed with cookies and cocoa? Doesn’t sound too shabby, now does it?

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

12 Days of Blogmas: Golden Memories

Just for Fun

Today we’re visiting with the ghosts of Christmases past today on the 12 Days of Blogmas.

1979892_10101414172064854_7744281058639567229_nChristmas Stockings

When I was younger (ages 3-6 or so) we lived at my grandmother’s house. There was a rule that I couldn’t wake up the grown-ups on Christmas morning but I could go and get my stocking off the banister and play with whatever was inside while I waited for them. The one Christmas that really stands out in that house, I remember getting up when the house was quiet, getting my stocking, and bringing it back to bed (with my Bambi blanket with the white fringe). On the top of my stocking was an envelope with my name on it and inside were a couple sets of plastic barrettes. I don’t remember what else was in there (though there was probably an orange in the toe–does anyone else have that tradition, too?), but I remember the barrettes.

When I mentioned this to Aunt M a few years back, she told me that she was the one responsible for getting those stockings made and hung up each year; I learned something new!

There’s also a story about the banister, itself. See, this was my grandmother’s dream home and she was adamant that it would be single story. But my grandfather, apparently, couldn’t pass up a good deal, and as he was driving through town they were tearing down a bank and this sweeping staircase was just sitting there. So he bought it and had it hauled to their property and added to the house. It was a very impressive staircase that went up to two, small attic rooms that were never really meant to be. Aunt M used one as a study area when she was still in school and my little cousins used one of the rooms as a bedroom when they stayed there.

I like to think that I’d do the same as my grandfather… it’s a shame to let good architectural salvage go to waste.

* * *

The Great Rum Ball Caper

Another memory from that same time period involves holiday baking. I was too young to really help with all the older cousins, aunts, and everyone in the kitchen, but I could watch from the kitchen table as they make cookies, date loaf, candies, and–my favorite–rum balls. I was allowed one or two when they were made but then they were put away into a stainless steel canister and placed in the pantry.

I was not, apparently, content to settle for the rum balls I was previously allotted, so I took matters into my own hands. At some point later Mom found me, in the dark, walk-in pantry, with the canister of rum balls in my lap as I munched away.

I remember this every time I make rum balls at home.

* * *

Cabbage Patch Madness

Oh, man, when Cabbage Patch kids first came out they were the Tickle Me Elmo of our generation (or, well, Tickle Me Elmo was the Cabbage Patch Kids of the next generation, since they came first, but you know what I mean). They were the It Toy and sold out as soon as they arrived in stores. And, of course, I wanted one just like every girl my age. I remember going to Service Merchandise (does anyone else remember that store?) and seeing the barest aisles where the CPK were supposed to be.

That year was one of the few we went back to Louisiana for Christmas, to visit Mom’s family. And I remember many things from that trip: the sleepover with the distant cousins while they gossiped about Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton; the dance party that my uncle filmed on his Camcorder with various cousins doing the worm, the snake, and the highly questionable dance that simulated cracking an egg on one’s head (and, yes, that video got trotted out every time we’d go home to visit for years); and the grown-ups making us little ones Shirley Temples while they had their beer and cocktails in the other room.

And, of course, I remember getting up on Christmas morning and seeing Cabbage Patch Kids under the tree. It was the first time I’d seen Santa gifts left unwrapped and on display.

My first Cabbage Patch had green eyes and orange hair and was named Eva Eleanor. My cousins had entire nurseries full of CBK, I topped out at two, but I was still giddy to visit the Cabbage Patch Museum in northern Georgia in 2006 when we were nearby visiting friends. (They gave our CPKs Visitor name badges–probably to make sure they didn’t try to charge us when we left, lol.)

* * *

Walking on Thin Ice

One year Mom wanted to get my brothers a swing set for Christmas, but she wanted it to just magically appear in the yard, all put together on Christmas morning. So she had a neighbor put it together in their yard and the plan was that we’d go over and get it after the boys went to bed on Christmas Eve.

That was one of the coldest Christmases I can remember. There was ice on the ground and the steel of the swing set was bitterly cold. But we “walked” the set across three yards, trying not to slip and bust our asses on the ice, in pajamas and robes, in the middle of the night.

Granted, the swing set still couldn’t be played on until holes were dug for the legs and concrete anchors poured, but we pulled off the surprise.

* * *

Bricks Instead of Coal

Growing up it was always Mom who took care of stocking stuffers and, in past relationships, I would take over buying little things for the stockings for others as well as myself. By the time Todd and I got together I’d gotten better at asking for what I wanted as opposed to just waiting for someone to read my mind and step up, so I asked that we include the stockings as part of our Christmas gifts–that he would fill mine and I would fill his. And Todd was cool with that.

(See, folks, when you communicate things get a lot simpler!)

One year in particular we both went a little overboard with the stocking stuffers to the point that the stocking were pulling over the weighted stocking hangers sitting on the mantle. We would each sneak into the living room at different times to fill the stockings and I’d already had to grab a brick from the yard (which I wrapped in foil to make it, uh, festive) to keep Todd’s from tipping over when I heard him having the same sort of trouble from the other room!

It always amuses me when we end up on the same page–be it both wanting froyo on the same night or over-stuffing the stockings the same year.

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!


12 Days of Blogmas: Holiday Quotes

Just for Fun

When you just can’t think of the right thing to say or write inside a card, it never hurts to fall back on some tried and true wisdom from others. (Incidentally, this goes well with Art 33.)


I’m sure this one will find its way on a lot of lists in today’s blog theme.

It came without ribbons!… it came without tags!… it came without packages, boxes, or bags!…Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

–How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss

I mean, really, if that doesn’t sum up the best parts of Christmas I don’t know what does.

My next favorite holiday quote is actually a song lyric, but still counts!

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He’ll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

–Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy, David Bowie et al.

It’s my favorite version of my least favorite song, all because of the counterpoint. But, really, with all the stress and strife and violence in the world right now, these lyrics really go deep into the core issue: men of good will, that’s what we need now more than ever. Men and women who want more than anything peace and good will to reign instead of terror and fear.

…if you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you?

–Natalie’s Christmas Card, Love, Actually

This one is just so sweet and earnest, it stands out among some truly incredible lines from one of my favorite movies. But it also makes me think a bit, what is actually being said here. Is Christmas a more honest time? Or is it that, with everyone all full of warm holiday thoughts and fuzzy on Christmas cheer, it makes spilling secrets from your heart easier? Is it that the twinkle of Christmas lights gives us hope that our feelings won’t be summarily crushed and that we can trust the person on the other end to at least receive it nicely, even if they can’t or don’t want to reciprocate?

Now, I’d normally stop there because I’m a fan of trios, but it’s the 4th day of Blogmas so four quotes there shall be!

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.

–Edna Ferber

Obviously I’ve got a theme running, here. Christmas, to me, isn’t about religion.* It isn’t about the commercialization of sales and presents or one-upping the neighbors light display. And it’s not even about family gathering together (we just did that, after all, for Thanksgiving). It’s the spirit of Christmas, the kindness, the smiles, the peace and joy, the hope for better tomorrows, that means the most to me.

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

The 12 Days of Blogmas is a link-up hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs. Check out either of their blogs to see what everyone else has to say on today’s topic!

*Just a note: many Christmas traditions pre-date Christianity and were co-opted by the Church to make conversion more appealing to the reluctant converts. So when I say Christmas isn’t about religion, I’m not trying to negate the religious aspects of it that so many prize, I’m just taking a more historic view of the various winter celebrations across several cultures that have all mixed in to create our modern Christmas. 

12 Days of Blogmas: Holiday Traditions

Just for Fun

Ho ho ho! It’s the first day of Blogmas* and we’re talking traditions.


Looking back, we didn’t really have set traditions for the holidays growing up other than being a Christmas Day family (by which I mean we didn’t open a present on Christmas Eve or read a special Christmas story or watch a particular movie, etc.). Everything was done for Christmas Day.

That bears mentioning only because our tradition, these days, is to gather at Mom’s on Christmas Eve for dinner and opening gifts. This came about mostly by accident back in 2006.

Aunt M had invited us all for Christmas to her house in New Jersey and on Christmas Eve, after dinner, we started a game of Cranium that we didn’t finish until after midnight. Someone remarked that it was actually Christmas, now, and someone else proposed we could exchange presents then and be able to sleep in in the morning.

Everyone scattered to collect presents, still unwrapped, from luggage and other hidey-holes, stuffing things in pillow cases or throwing blankets over larger items before reconvening in the living room. It was a silly, giggly moment of chaos and totally without pretension or pomp. We loved it!

And we most certainly slept in on Christmas morning before making a big birthday breakfast for K and then a lovely supper later that day.

The next year, when trying to decide when we were getting together for Christmas dinner, we thought back to how much fun our “Midnight Christmas” had been and decided to do it again. Only without the midnight part, since Mom wasn’t really keen on being up that late. This worked out incredibly well for my brother and sister-in-law as her birthday is Christmas day and they have to make a lot of stops with various family members that day.

We’ve continued the tradition of having Christmas Eve dinner and opening presents with the family for the last several years, and then Todd and I get a nice, quiet, and calm Christmas Day to ourselves where we exchange gifts and open our stockings. We used to host Christmas Eve as well as Thanksgiving, but when we moved to Thomasville there was a grumble about family having to travel so far (30 miles) for both, so Mom took back Christmas Eve.

Maybe the only thing I don’t like about this tradition is how it makes Christmas Day into a virtual non-event for us. With just Todd and I it seems silly to worry about when we get up or when we eat dinner that day or any specific events (Todd’s family is in Nebraska, so we don’t have the yours/mine/ours holiday shuffle to contend with). It also puts far less pressure on me to get the house all nice and decorated (which sometimes leads to a lack of motivation). Still, the downtime can be nice, and I’m sure we’ll make the most of it like we do every year. If nothing else it’s more time to play with our new toys–just because we’re adults doesn’t mean we don’t want toys for Christmas!

* * *

As part of Blogmas* I’ll be posting every week day (!!!) leading up to Christmas. Make sure you check back and also check out some of the other participants who link up over on the host blogs!


*What’s Blogmas? It’s a blogging event hosted by The Coastie Couple and The Petite Mrs.