5 Days ‘Til Christmas: To Do Right Now


December 20 2014 // Posted in Holidays


Is everyone scrambling yet? With less than a week left, hopefully meals are planned, presents wrapped… What else gets people stressing this time of year?

If you’d rather look at the glass half full, there’s still almost a week(ish) left until Christmas, so why not squeeze in a more festive activities if you haven’t already. Here are a few things I’m looking forward to doing:

Build a gingerbread house. For the first time in both of our lives, my best friend and I will finally be making a gingerbread house! Granted, neither of us are particularly DIY-inclined, so we decided forego dreams of a beautiful Hansel and Gretel-type cottage. Instead, we’ve set our sights low and got the Trader Joe’s Gingerbread House Kit for only $8. It seems fairly idiot proof!

Outdoor ice skating. Even though it’ll be a balmy high-60’s to mid-70’s from now until Christmas, we still can have this winter activity here in Los Angeles with the Downtown on Ice rink at Pershing Square, and the LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink.

Touring neighborhoods with holiday light displays. Ever since finishing the second of my half-marathons this year, I’ve made it a point to go running more regularly and exploring different routes. I’ve seen some darling holiday displays in various neighborhoods this way, and I look forward to visiting a few more. Though maybe I’ll also take a stroll with a Peppermint Mocha in hand in some of the most festive neighborhoods.

Go to the mall and watch other people scramble. For the first time in years, perhaps ever, all of my holiday shopping is done way ahead of schedule! I don’t mind the commotion of the malls when I’m not pressed for time or looking for something, so I might make one more “just in case I see one last special gift” stop and just enjoy the decked out storefronts. As crazy as it gets, you still have to take some time to appreciate the beautiful displays.

Stroll around Downtown Disney, because nobody does Christmas like Disney. Admittedly I’m still missing Disney World something fierce, but when it comes to crowd pleasing and holiday celebrations, there’s no better place to be than Disney. And even if I’m not planning a park visit for now, with a giant Christmas tree, good food, and another ice skating rink, there’s still enough festivities in Downtown Disney for a jolly celebration.

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6 Days ‘Til Christmas: TV Holiday Episodes


December 19 2014 // Posted in Entertainment & MediaHolidays


It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and a DVD/Netflix/Hulu marathon is the perfect accompaniment to cooking, baking, or gift wrapping. Since I collect DVDs of some of my all-time favorite shows, I thought I’d share a few of the episodes I like to rewatch during this time of year. I’m sticking with my counting theme by choosing six, so unfortunately many favorites are missing. But here’s what I’m watching this week:

“Friends”: The One With the Routine (season 6, episodes 10). How awesome are our “Friends” for providing plot points right there in the episodes titles so that, when searching for my favorite of all their holiday episodes, I immediately honed in on this one. Because The Routine bumps it up at least five points ahead of the other Christmas episodes (if we’re keeping score… which we’re not).

“Downton Abbey” Christmas Special (series 2, episode 9). Christmas with the Crawleys. I’ll immerse myself in this melodrama all day, everyday, any time of year. There’s something about seeing Mary, the beautiful ice queen, and Matthew, he of the bright eyes and floppy hair, finally begin their happily ever after. But we’ll not speak of the series 3 Christmas Special — none of that nonsense here.

“Veronica Mars”: An Echolls Family Christmas (season 1, episode 10). A poker game gone awry mixed with some murderous intent and, of course, Veronica’s trademark sass. For those who love a little neo-noir to balance out the tooth-aching sweetness of the holidays.

“Psych”: Gus’s Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy (season 2, episode 10). Even though this was the first Christmas episode when the show had only just started, I already felt like I’d known Shawn and Gus for years and looked forward to spending Christmas with them. We all need a little laughter and levity after finding a dead body and having our best friend’s dad accused of the murder, and a little mayhem and fake-psychic shenanigans never hurt anyone.

“Pushing Daisies”: Corpsicle (season 1, episode 9). Yet another whodunit, but “Pushing Daisies” was probably one of the loveliest shows ever on network television, and the cancellation of this gem stung far more than most other shows in recent memory. Ned brings his magic to Christmas as we romp through the fantastically beautiful world of the pie maker and company… in search of a murderer, of course.

“Lost”: The Constant (season 4, episode 5): This might be here because I just watched this less than a month ago, but it’s with good reason I include it because it’s one of the best episodes of one of the best TV shows. It’s the holidays, and whether you’re on break from school or get a few extra days off work, it’s the perfect time to go back to the island.

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7 Days ‘Til Christmas: Books to Read… Maybe Next Year


December 18 2014 // Posted in HolidaysLiterature


I’ve only ever read a few Christmas books. While I enjoyed them, reading holiday stories ranks pretty low on my list of priorities, especially if I’m already in the middle of another book. With all the movies, constant barrage of tunes, and TV specials — there’s only so much jolly a person can take. Thus I have an extremely short list, considering all the offerings there are out there to choose from. Two I’ve read, one I’m listening to, and the rest I’d like to get around to… maybe next year!

1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
2. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Agatha Christie
3. The Christmas Chronicles, Jeff Guinn
4. Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
5. Jacob T. Marley, R. William Bennett
6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
7. Christmas Tales of Terror, Chris Priestley

Do you have favorites you reread? Or are you like me and too distracted by the rest of the holiday bustle?

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