...because we all have our motley moments!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things... and a Rant About Oprah

Did anyone see Oprah's "Favorite Things" show this week? I found it to be a little depressing. There's nothing like being reminded (repeatedly and relentlessly) that our economy is in trouble and the purse strings are tighter this year..."I'm dreaming of a thrifty Christmas" just doesn't have a nice ring to it. I watch Oprah to escape reality, not to wallow in it, and each year I look forward to seeing that crowd of people go into cardiac arrest as they open their millions of dollars worth of loot during the "Favorite Things" show. The gratitude boxes were nice and thoughtful, I guess, but come on--I just saw cocoa mix in a plastic bag shaped like a cone at Walmart earlier today--give us a little credit, please. And I have it on a higher authority (Donna's MIL) that preparing an excellent turkey is not nearly as hard as and requires far less basting than Ms. Ferrare's method. (By the way--who is Cristina Ferrare? Wasn't she famous for some reason years ago? And why is she suddenly a cook on the Oprah show?)

So, I propose we make a new law: The word "thrifty" is NEVER to be used in the same sentence as the word "Christmas." I mean, really, is anyone else insulted by this? Why must we always put a price tag on a holiday that, at its heart, celebrates something (Someone, rather) that was a free "gift" to us in the first place? I also propose that we all have an extravagant Christmas, and by extravagant I do not mean expensive--one that is so full of joy, love, merriment, and light that when we wake up on the 26th we say, "Whoops! We were having so much fun that we completely forgot to open the gratitude boxes and cocoa cones!" A Christmas so festive that we order pizza because we just don't have time to baste a turkey every fifteen minutes!

You know, as I'm typing this I remembered something--do you remember the scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch has taken all of the town's gifts and he's waiting to see the townspeople's devastation? What happens? They all go hold hands and sing around a Christmas tree. He took their gifts but he couldn't take their spirits nor could he dampen the Spirit of the holiday.

Did you read Karly's blog this week? I totally agree with her--we are trying to re-evaluate our traditions and re-focus our attentions this year, too. For us, we don't want the tone of our holidays to be set by the amount of money we spend (whether it's a lot or a little), and we don't want our son to judge the success of our endeavors by the number of gifts he receives--thrifty or not!


All right, now for the fun stuff. To start this joyous Advent season I'm reflecting on some of my "Favorite Things" during the holidays. Here's my list:
  • Favorite Christmas Movie: The Night They Saved Christmas (Jaclyn Smith plays a mom who lives in Alaska? with her family. Her husband works for a drilling company that is drilling too close to the North Pole for Santa's tastes. Santa invites the family to join him at North Pole City, and the unbelievers--in Santa, of course--learn a little about themselves and the meaning of Christmas along the way. It's a wonderfully cheesy Christmas tale that I would love to watch over and over if they would just release it on DVD!)
  • Favorite Christmas Movie that My Family Wishes Would Disappear: Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (It's really a sad story in the end, but I'm just riveted watching them make those fruit cakes. It was a quite accurate adaptation of one of his short stories.)
  • Favorite Christmas Beverage: Boiled Custard (This may be more popular than eggnog in my neck of the woods, but if you grew up somewhere else you've probably never heard of it. My great-aunt used to make it from scratch every Christmas morning.)
  • Favorite Christmas Song: O Holy Night (Sung by Josh Groban. "Chains shall we break for the slave is our brother, and in His name, all oppression shall cease..." chills)
  • Favorite Christmas Candy: Divinity (My Mom's, of course!)
  • Favorite Christmas Special: "Shrek the Halls" (I can't help it--the Gingerbread Man's story is hilarious--"You weren't there!"lol)
  • Favorite Old Christmas Tradition: I haven't done this is several years, but I used to love driving around with my sister at night with huge cups of coffee and hot chocolate to look at the Christmas lights.
  • Favorite New Christmas Tradition: Turning on the Christmas lights. My Little Guy says, "Whoa!" and grins every time.
Of course this list could continue for days, and I could get very deep and philosophical, but I want to hear your list! Happy Christmas Season!


Donna said...

Some of my favorites:

FAVORITE FOOD: Pork pie and cranberry chutney on Christmas morning (from my French Canadian side of the family! We froze a huge portion of Paul's delicious cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving)

FAVORITE BEVERAGE: Barnie's Santa's White Christmas coffee. Yum! Also a cup of really good homemade hot cocoa.

FAVORITE KIDS' MOVIE: The Polar Express- book, DVD, AND Movie Soundtrack. They're all great and we anticipate breaking these out every year on the day after Thanksgiving. KID 1 LOVES to dance to the music, and his rendition of "When Christmas Comes To Town" is so sweet I want to cry.

FAVORITE GROWNUP MOVIE: Irving Berlin's White Christmas. I love it! Danny Kaye makes me laugh and I love the sound of Bing Crosby's voice.

FAVORITE TRADITION: Putting our lighted garland on the eaves of the house just makes it look so picturesque. I always wish we could keep it up all year. The only thing missing is the snow.

FAVORITE NEW TRADITION: Setting out the kid-friendly wooden nativity set and observing as the children tell and retell the Christmas story (and lots of other stories that never made it into the Good Book!)...the pieces always end up crowded around the baby Jesus to "see" - I love it!

Bryssy said...

I stopped watching Oprah about 2 years ago because I find her condesending. Oprah, I seriously don't want to hear it from you. Whatever it is.

FAMILY TRADITION: We wrap a box (so that it can be opened without damaging the paper and ribbons) each year with the most beautiful paper and ribbons we can find each year. Then we reuse them every year. We write a note and date it. We still use boxes from the year I was born.

FAVORITE TRADITION: Turning on the Christmast tree lights every night. THE Princess is mesmorized.

FAVORITE MUSIC: Harry Connick Jr's Christmas Album. I could listen to this all year.


FAVORITE FOOD: Brandied Cranberries. They seriously melt in your mouth.

I don't have a favorite Christmas movie. But, every year, we do load up in the car and go and look at Christmas lights. We listen to and sing carols in the car. It is nothing short of magical.

Personally, I love to make gifts for everyone. I always make jam or jelly. Sometimes a conserve. I shop mostly over the summer for Christmas and all the birthdays and holidays, and shopping is done by Black Friday.

I love to make my own bows and tags. Just to make each gifts special. I also love to cook.

Rachel said...

I forgot about Santa's White Christmas coffee! See, I had to stop my list because it could go on forever...

We need a kid-friendly nativity scene--where did you find yours Donna? We have a Fisher-Price one in KY at my parents' house, but that doesn't do us much good here!

The perpetual gift box idea is so neat Bryssy! I can't believe you still have boxes from whenever you were little--what a wonderful family history teaching tool! Brandied cranberries--what are they like? Is it a sauce? They sound yummy.

Liz said...

Yeah, Oprah's a B.

Pam said...

Ok - what is Santa's White Christmas coffee, and where do I get it? I loved your post Rachel. I spent most of my evening thinking about my favorite Christmas things!

Donna said...

Oh, I am so going to have to get some and have you girls over for coffee...it's really the best flavored coffee I've ever had.