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!

A Tree for Every Room: Gilded Dining Room Tree

In The Studio


Last year I had a goal to really do up the house for Christmas, including (as the title suggests) a decorated tree for each room. Between a convention in Mississippi in the middle the month and sheer end of the year exhaustion, it didn’t happen. I got 2 trees decorated and Todd put the lights on the big tree on the landing, but that’s as far as I got.

I did, however, order supplies for the dining room tree, so I was set to get started this year! Over on the Helmar blog I have step-by-step instructions of how I made the kitchen-themed garland for the centerpiece of my tablescape. Here’s the rest of the story, as it were.

I started with a simple artificial tree from Big Lots. It was the right size, but it was green, and the picture in my head was of a white and gold scene. So I used a tip from Jen over at EPBOT to flock our tree with spackling. Only thing was, all the spackle we could find was the heavier stuff, but there was spray spackle on the shelf and we decided to give that a shot. It worked perfectly and didn’t even take a full bottle to cover the little tree. If I find the second tree we bought (but is currently buried in the Christmas closet) it will be no problem to do it up as well.

Once flocked and the garland made, it was time to add a few more items. I didn’t want to overwhelm the tiny tree, so I added a single strand of white LED lights and a strand of small pearls to balance the heavier wood and gold garland. And it’s the dining room, it’s okay to dress up!


Finally, I made some ornaments from a set of metal chocolate molds. I used an awl to punch small holes in the top and bottom of each mold and wired a loop at the top with gold wire to attach a hook. From the bottom hangs a large faux pearl.

I still need more to really fill out the tablescape–one tree isn’t going to cut it–but for now this is a really good start. I love seeing the tree on our dining room table when I walk through the room and I’m really excited to go get our big tree for upstairs this weekend!


Random Acts Radio Rewind: Songs that Go Bump in the Night


Friday is Halloween and it’s my absolute favorite holiday, bar none. In honor of that, I want to take you back in time–4 years ago, to be exact–when the first incarnation of Random Acts Radio was still going strong and I put together a truly awesome holiday podcast. If I do say so myself (obviously I do). It’s my old (read as: talkative) format, and I thought about redoing it to get rid of all that but I think it really holds up, so we’re going to leave it as-is. I’m even leaving in the short story by yours truly just before the 1 hour mark.

And since this episode has fallen off the iTunes playlist, you could almost consider this re-cast a public service. Or something like that..

In this episode:

Happy Halloween–Ben Twisted
Costume Party–CAMIL
What Should I Be on Halloween–Eric Strom
PC Halloween–Devo Spice
Married a Magician–Dust Poets
A Rabbit for Halloween–Marc Gunn
Halloween (remix)–The Coffinshakers
Midnight Spookshow–Calabrese
Monsters–Common Ground
Vampire in My Town–Elsinore
Skeletons and Spirits–Allison Crowe
Madam Fright–The Hamsteaks
Zombie Werewolf Alien Vampire Monsters—The Volume Brothers
Vampires–The Wet Darlings
The Witching Hour–Robin Brock
The Howl–Thee Merry Widows
Halloween Girl–Ghosts on the Radio
Howl at the Moon–Devi
Halloween–Fishing for Comets
Halloween Mistake–Cantrip
Gallows Hill–Josh Woodward
The Bottom of the Grave–Bryan Scary

Hope you have a fabulous Halloween and remember to play safe out there!

Episode #8: Belated


Better late than never, right, folks?

Just because this episode is holiday-themed, I don’t see why you can’t give it a listen now or any other time of the year you need a bit of twisted Christmas cheer!

On this podcast we have

Cool Yule–Chris Daniels & The Kings
Soulstice–Gentlemen Prefer Bombs
Carol of the Bells–Admiral Twain
Joy–Charlie Crowe
Jingle Thrash–Emily Jones
I Have a Little Dreidel–Rockosaurus Rex
Cumbia de Tannenbaum–Juan Oskar
O Come, O Come Emmanuel–Cat Jahnke
A Cheerful Song–Christian Hoffman
A Pirate Christmas–Tom Smith
Funky Xmas–Modern Science
Drinking Up Christmas–The Dwarves
Regifting for the Holidays–The Alice Project
Don’t Lose Your Mind–The Banana Sessions
Black Patent and Sparkles–Post Orgasmic Trauma
I Tricked Nick–Lynn Julian aka Cookie Cutter Girl
You & Me This Christmas–Deni Bonet
Give Me a Second Chance For Christmas–Candy Butchers
Fruitcake–Lynn Julian aka Cookie Cutter Girl
Santa Claus is Freaking Me Out–Lord Weatherby
Christmas in the Sun–Joel Kopischke
The Fourth But Not-So-Wise Man–Darrell Smith
The Party–8 Ball
Hey Holiday–Atomsplit
Festival of Lights–Alicia Bay Laurel
Christmas! Of Course!–Bill deRome
Christmas Elf Conscription Song–Marc Gunn
Winter Slay Ride–The FuMP/Consortium of Genius
Death By Holiday–The Vanished
Christmas Here on Mars–Bubble
Chiron Beta Prime–Jonathan Coulton

Thank you for listening in 2010 and here’s to an awesome 2011!