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Posts Tagged ‘December’

We are in the middle of the winter season, and I am counting down the days until spring. As you know, dear reader, I have to work hard to fight off the winter doldrums. This winter season seems particularly harder than past seasons with continuing to deal with COVID conditions and the aftermath of Ida on top of a holiday season that flew by so quickly my face feels chapped from the wind burn. I know, a bit melodramatic. However, the festive season came and went with a flurry of activity, followed by more flurries of activity, leaving Kelsi and I no time to really stop to catch our breath. Hence, why my Christmas Fun List wrap up post is late. I almost decided to scrap it; however, my bestie Shelly encouraged me to write it because, after all, someone might want to read it. Without further ado, this is how I spent my Christmas season.

MOVIES: Classic Christmas

In the month of December, I watch 24 Christmas related films, 12 are Christmas Horror and 12 are what I consider Classic Christmas. Kelsi and I already wrapped our Christmas Horror movies topped nicely with a bow. You can check out my blog post and YouTube chat with Kelsi if you are interested in the horror films we watched earlier in the Christmas season.

I had a terrific time watching the movies on my Classic Christmas list. My top three films were all movies I have seen several times but really, really love. To be fair, I generally watch Love Actually and Elf every Christmas, so I probably should not even include them on my annual fun list. The Holiday is a delightful romantic comedy and was fun to revisit this year, especially because of the dreamy Jude Law. Surprisingly, this year was the first time watching It’s a Wonderful Life. This FABULOUS movie is about being grateful for your blessings, not taking your life for granted, and getting second chances.

All four movies are 5 stars in my book. I could watch them over and over, and it would never get dull. Pottersville: A Magical Life rounded out my Top 5 films with 4 stars. It was my first watch and definitely a good time. The main character Maynard gets mistaken for Bigfoot after he is caught wallowing in moonshine and cavorting around town in the middle of the night. The Holiday Calendar (another Hallmark-esque romantic comedy), right on the heels of Pottersville, is about a magical Advent calendar that shows the main character Abby that dreams can come true in unexpected ways. The Night Before (adult humor), The Christmas Chronicles (kids catching Santa off guard), and Rise of the Guardians (holiday representatives come together to solve a problem) all received 4 stars as well for pure enjoyment. Rise of the Guardians was another rewatch and every bit enjoyable as the first time I watched it with Andrew in the theater many moons ago. My 3-star movies included Holidate (more adult humor mixed with a Hallmark vibe), Surviving Christmas with the Relatives (British comedy), and Unaccompanied Minors (kids catching airport officials off guard). Unaccompanied Minors replaced Almost Christmas since I could not get the DVD in time from Netflix. All of the Classic Christmas movies on my list this year were enjoyable, and I would recommend all twelve of them.

Books/Short Stories

I read my first Fear Street book, Silent Night, by R.L. Stine. Kelsi gifted me a copy for Christmas. I loved the thematic setting at Christmastime blended with a mystery, murder, and mayhem. The other books that I read this season were Robot Santa (sequel to Santa’s Twin) by Dean Koontz, Wraith (prequel to NOS4A2) by Joe Hill, and He Sees You When He’s Creepin’: Tales of Krampus (collection of 12 short stories) edited by Kate Wolford. All of my books received 5 stars

because they are all awesome, in my opinion. What a great reading season! Kelsi and I talk more in depth about our books and movies in our wrap up chat which you can watch at your leisure. I have included our video below for your viewing pleasure.

Thematic Potpourri

In addition to amazing books and several terrific movies, I wore Christmas socks and pins. I added gnome socks and a Grinch t-shirt to my Christmas clothing collection. On the subject of gnomes, I bought a few to add to my Christmas decor. I am officially obsessed with GNOMES. My affinity for these small mythical creatures happened quite by accident when I found a couple of them at Hobby Lobby to add to my autumn decor.

I am also collecting little birds that reflect the season. You will notice them popping up here and there in my pictures. I received one a few Christmases ago, and since this last fall (again shopping for autumn decor), I am noticing them for other holiday seasons. In addition to buying Christmas decor, I bought Christmas cards to send out to my family and friends. I love sending cards to my favorite people for Christmas and for other special occasions. Funny enough, I picked out my cards way before I knew I was joyspotting in 2022.

No fun list is complete without thematic adult beverages and food. Unfortunately, I did not do any baking this year for Christmas. However, I enjoyed two new cocktails. The first concoction was a Mistletoe Margarita that I made for our family get-together on my husband’s side.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Silver Tequila
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 cups Cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 cup Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to large pitcher.
  • Stir well.
  • Pour into individual glasses over ice.

That is sugar on the rim of the glass.

The second concoction was a Cherry Ripe Martini that Kerry, Shelly’s husband, made for my hubby and me on Christmas evening, one of our favorite drink nights to spend with awesome friends. This year, my two boys came over and hung out with all of us.

Ingredients

  • 30 ml White Creme De Cacoa
  • 30 ml Cherry Liquor
  • 20 ml Vodka
  • 100 ml Coconut Milk

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to large pitcher.
  • Stir well.
  • Pour into individual martini glass over drizzled Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

I also bought a “happy” for myself. OwlCrate, a YA book subscription box I have purchased in the past, offered a 12 Days of OwlMas box for the holiday season, and I ordered one. Starting on Monday, 13 December, I opened one gift each day for twelve days leading up to Christmas Day. I recorded my unboxing each day through pictures on my Instagram account (katherineloyacano). It inspired me to make a 12 Days of Christmas “happy” for Kelsi with all kinds of little gifts related to pop culture that she loves. I had a blast gathering the gifts, wrapping them, and writing out the clues on each tag. I love this project so much that I want to do it again next year and plan to expand it. Plus, I have all year to gather the little gifts instead of just a couple of weeks.

December was a fun-filled month that made my life merry and bright. I spent time with amazing people, participated in awesome activities, and received some great gifts. As I mentioned before, dear reader, creating a fun list for a holiday, a month, or even a season adds a happiness boost to your life. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be, but the goal is to add a little extra fun to your existing plans. Stay warm, dear reader. Happiness!

“Christmas,” says Santa,” is about living your life with love and a spirit of giving, friendship, compassion, peace, and bright hope.” ~ Dean Koontz, Robot Santa: The Further Adventures of Santa’s Twin

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For Catholics, the Christmas season officially ends tomorrow, 10 January, with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, thus marking the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. With that being said, it is time for me to reflect on the festive activities that I participated in throughout the Christmas season, mainly during the month of December. I had a jovial time watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, consuming a mirthful beverage, and so much more as I celebrated the delightful season of Christmas.

As I mentioned in previous posts, dear reader, Christmas is not my favorite holiday; however, creating a Christmas Fun List helped me enjoy the joyous season with good cheer. Kelsi also created a fun list. Similar to Halloween, our lists consisted of movies (horror and classic), books, accessories, treats, and extras. Since we incorporated a Christmas Horror movie marathon and a Christmas Classics movie marathon as part of our fun lists, Kelsi and I had TWO Christmas chats. Again, Kelsi is the mastermind behind the technical aspects of our conversations and does an awesome job of hosting our chat and creating the finished product. I’ve included our Christmas Retrospective in this post.

Without delay, here are my thoughts on how I spent the Christmas season.

Movies

I selected 24 movies, 12 Christmas Horror and 12 Christmas Classics. What an insane amount of movies for me to view in a month! I decided to complete my Christmas Horror Marathon prior to starting my Christmas Classics Marathon. To read more about the Christmas Horror movies that I watched, to listen to the song I wrote about the Twelve Days of Christmas Horror, and to check out my conversation with Kelsi discussing the Christmas Horror movies, please visit my post “The Gift of Christmas Horror” which includes all three components. Unlike a few of the movies on my Christmas Horror list which I didn’t like very much, I loved all the movies chosen on my Christmas Classics list. The movies are ranked in the order of how much I liked them and the stars represent my rating.

My top six movies all received 5 STARS from me. I have seen all six of these films numerous times over the years. My absolute favorite is Love Actually. It is a fantastic romantic comedy full of wonderful characters whose lives intersect while navigating through the chaos caused by love and loss during the Christmas season. I watch Elf every year. It never gets old, and Will Ferrell is hilarious! Next up is How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the brilliant Jim Carrey as the Grinch. The 2009 version of A Christmas Carol is beautifully animated and terrifically terrifying in all the right places.

I had not seen Home Alone in several years, so it was a real treat to revisit. Andrew and I watched it together, and I laughed hysterically throughout the entire movie, especially at the shenanigans of the Wet Bandits. The Polar Express is another visual delight. I’m a fan of the author, Chris Van Allsburg, who wrote and illustrated this beautiful story. I love how well the film captured the heartwarming message of the book.

Out of the remaining six movies on my list, three of them were new watches. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a marvelously magical musical that gave me a holiday happiness boost. The young actress Madalen Mills who portrays Journey is pure delight. I hope to see her in other productions in the near future. Klaus is an amazing animated breath of fresh air with a heartfelt message and a new spin on the legend of Santa Claus. It is not a musical, but it has a lovely soundtrack. And, Rashida Jones, alum of The Office and Parks and Recreation, is the voice of Alva.

My third new watch, He Sees You When You’re Sleeping is an enjoyable movie-of-the week based on a mystery novel by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. I’m a fan of both authors. In fact, I’ve been reading Mary Higgins Clark since I was 18 years old. This movie isn’t exactly a Christmas movie, but it takes place during the Christmas season. The acting isn’t stellar and there are some cheesy scenes, but it does have a decent plot. As for the final three movies, which were all rewatches, it was lovely to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite scene is when all of the children are dancing on stage. Of course, Snoopy steals the show with his endless imagination and sense of humor. It has been over 20 years since I’ve seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. Luckily, I was able to see it with my hubby in the theatre. It is a lovely musical starring the talented Michael Caine as Scrooge alongside the fabulous Muppets. Last but not least, A Christmas Story. I know I have seen this movie quite a few times and in recent years; however, there were many scenes I did not remember, so I’m guessing I had it playing in the background while engaged in other activities. It’s not my favorite, but it has plenty of entertaining moments that make it worth the watch.

Books/Short Stories

I picked out two books to read throughout the month, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Santa’s Twin written by Dean Koontz and illustrated by Phil Parks. Even though I have seen a variety of cinematic versions of A Christmas Carol over the course of my lifetime, I have never read the classic novella. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a superb piece of literature that I highly recommend to everyone. Santa’s Twin is another equally enjoyable read. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book with an endearing story featuring two charming and spunky little girls.

Initially, I was only planning to read those two books. Shortly after I finished them, I read four more terrific books. Two of them are picture books, The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg and The Animals’ Santa written and illustrated by Jan Brett. One of them is a splendid children’s lit selection that features a debonair mouse, Merry Christmas, Geronimo. The final one is an anthology, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus edited by Kate Wolford. I think anyone who is a fan of Krampus will enjoy this collection.

Thematic Potpourri

Besides watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies and reading holly and some not so jolly stories, there were several other thematic activities that I engaged in throughout the month. I wore a pair of Christmas socks a few times during the month. Every day at work, I wore different Christmas pins. Although I did not buy a Christmas sweater (the only item on my fun list I did not complete), I bought a Christmas mask to wear at work. I sent out Christmas cards to family and friends which included flying wish paper. Kelsi and I both included flying wish paper demonstrations in our chat.

I made a sweet and salty Christmas treat. It is super easy to make and only requires three ingredients (a bag of Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels, a bag of Hershey’s Hugs, and a bag of red and green M&M’s). I used my toaster oven and set it for about 275 degrees. Put a piece of aluminum foil on a pan (you can also do it without aluminum foil). Place pretzels on the pan first. Place a Hershey’s Hug on each pretzel. Put the pan in the oven for two minutes to make the Hug soft. Take it out the oven after two minutes and press an M&M on each Hug. I carefully take the aluminum foil with the treats and place it in the refrigerator to harden. Voila! You can basically make this treat anytime and for any holiday just by changing the colors of the M&M’s.

On Christmas evening, my hubby and I went over to Shelly and Kerry’s house for our annual Christmas visit. We generally have a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy leftovers from lunch. What a perfect time to try a Christmas cocktail! Kerry, who is our designated bartender, mixed the Grinch Cocktail for us. Instead of using Ginger Ale, he used Sprite. He also did not get the simple syrup or the green/red sanding sugar to decorate the rim of the glass. It was a yummy cocktail that I would definitely drink again. Afterwards, we enjoyed a glass of 19 Crimes Cali Red, featuring Snoop Dogg. With that, my Christmas Fun List is complete!

December was an amazingly merry month thanks to having a Christmas Fun list. Seeing Christmas decorations lit up in the evenings when I’d drive through the subdivision, reading thematic stories, and watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies added so much joy to my life. I will definitely be doing this again next year although with fewer movies on my list. What did you do to celebrate the Christmas season? I hope you will take a look at my conversation with Kelsi, dear reader. We’d love to get some feedback on our conversation and what we might consider for next year. Happiness!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss

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