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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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Merry Christmas Horror! I successfully completed my 12 Days of Christmas Horror movie marathon a couple of days before Christmas. What a thrilling experience! This movie marathon was part of my Christmas fun list for the month of December.

Out of the twelve horror movies I watched this month, three of them revolve around Krampus, the half-goat/half-demon who is believed to have emerged from German folklore. His role is basically to punish the naughty children. The first time I had heard of Krampus was back in 2015 when the film Krampus, starring Toni Collette and Adam Scott, hit the movie theaters. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it in the theater and essentially tucked it away in the back of my mind until this year. Out of all the Christmas horror movies that I watched for my marathon, this was my absolute favorite. 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 with my first three favorite films featuring Krampus. Out of my top six movies, five were new watches with one being a superb rewatch (Gremlins) that I had not seen in decades. Better Watch Out is a rollercoaster of a ride with many twists and turns and an ending that keeps you wondering long after the ending credits. Anna and the Apocalypse was a pleasant musical zombie surprise. Think High School Musical meets Shaun of the Dead. I would highly recommend all six movies to anyone who is a fan of horror or dark comedy.

Out of the remaining six movies on my list, five were new watches with one being a rewatch (Scrooged) that I had not seen in decades. The Children and Black Christmas were both wonderful surprises. They were disturbing in their own right and left you, the viewer, to decide the ending. Scrooged was surprisingly a bit of a disappointment because I recalled liking it much more when I first watched it. Wind Chill was slightly dull, Christmas Evil was moderately creepy and somewhat over the top, and Saint was simply awful.

I would highly recommend The Children and Black Christmas (1974 version). Even though I was a little disappointed with Scrooged, I would definitely recommend it. It is more of a dark comedy/fantasy than a horror movie; however, it features the delightful Bill Murray in the role of Scrooge and the hilarious Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present. As for Wind Chill, I would bypass it unless you are a fan of Emily Blunt and want to see her earlier work. I half-heartedly recommend Christmas Evil (Kelsi would disagree), and I definitely do NOT recommend Saint. Shockingly, the last two movies were recommended on Christmas Horror movie lists and rated well on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Not only did I get to watch horror movies related to the Christmas season, but I also had the opportunity to talk about them with my good friend Kelsi. We had an entertaining conversation about our likes and dislikes, surprises, my introduction to Krampus, and much more. While we generally have similar tastes regarding the horror genre and agreed for the most part on many of the films we mutually watched, there were a couple of films that we did not see eye to eye. I invite you to watch our conversation to learn more about the horror movies we watched this season. And, if you have any suggestions for future Christmas horror movies that we should watch next year, please share in the comments of our chat or this blog post.

Finally, I teased in my “12 Days of Christmas Horror” post back in November that I was working on a piece of writing to complement my Christmas Horror movie marathon. Well, I wrote a song called “The Twelve Days of Christmas Horror” using the music from “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It features many of the elements in the horror movies that I chose to watch this month. On a whim, I contacted my voice coach Laura to see if it was even possible for me to sing it, much less record it. We only had three sessions together to practice and record it in the midst of work, commitments, and Christmas hullabaloo. Laura graciously edited it for me, so I could include it in today’s post. While it’s not perfect, I am pretty proud of it. And, I can always tweak it. After all, I am a work in progress.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Horror

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, dear reader. As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed my 12 Days of Christmas Horror. The rest of my holiday festivities for the month of December have been less creepy and more classically Christmas. I am wrapping up my Classic Christmas movie marathon and reading my last Christmas related book which is all about Krampus. Soon, Kelsi and I will have a conversation discussing all of the other items we completed on our Christmas fun lists, and I will post a recap after the first of the year. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Happiness!

“Moments later, from the orphanage roof, a creature made of Christmas nightmares and holding a bulging sack that looked to hold doll-shaped toys made its escape through the silhouette of the city, not to be seen for another year.”Sebastian Gregory

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