Your favorite childhood Holiday tradition?

Jennifer

Ya know the funny thing is Christin and I plan these writing prompts. We know what the question will be. It’s not like it’s a surprise. Yet here, tonight,  I find myself staring at a blank screen. Not for lack of traditions, I just do not know how to narrow it down. They all fit together, neatly wrapped in a pretty red bow. I cannot talk about going to visit the Real Santa, without talking about Coleman’s Nursery. A magical winter wonderland of animated treasures. I cannot talk about visiting Trainland, a collection of trains that would make their way through make-believe neighbourhoods. In the eyes of a little girl, I would picture myself living in the one of the picturesque towns….and I cannot talk about Trainland without talking about the statue of Jesus on the cross, the hot apple cider, Rudolph leaving half of an eaten carrot behind in our living room and Santa taking all the cookies.

For me, there is no specific one tradition. They are all a collective part of each other. Formed perfectly from the magic of the holiday season…and perhaps Santa himself. I had a wonderful childhood. My parents gave me my roots and now I am able to give my children the seeds to plant for their very own magical memories.

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Christin

One of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions involved the family including my grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins jumping in their cars and driving to an area called Scenic Drive. Scenic Drive was lined with all the large mansions and fancy homes overlooking the Yakima Valley. When I was a kid I referred to this place as the “rich houses”. These houses were straight out of MTV cribs. The “rich people” were obviously rich, therefore they did the best Christmas displays around. It was like entering a real life winter wonderland when you drove down the street. So all the family would line up in a convoy and drive up the hill. Oohing and awwing over the lights while enjoying hot chocolate, huddled in our blankets was such a great memory during my childhood. I have since passed this onto my kids, visiting different light displays each year. Although my house is nowhere near as fancy as those on scenic drive, I enjoy decorating my own house with beautiful Christmas lights each year.

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What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Jennifer

I adore Christmas movies. I have been to known to watch Christmas movies all year-long. “Christmas in July” on the Hallmark channel is my second favorite time of the year. With that in mind, two important things to remember. I am well versed in my Christmas movies, and….it was pretty hard for me to narrow it down to just one, yet after much consideration I did.

So, without further ado. Here are my top 5 reasons why “A Christmas Story” is my all time favorite Christmas movie.

  1. The Leg Lamp. I want the Leg Lamp. It is seriously on my bucket list to purchase the full size Leg Lamp, and the crate it comes in.
  2. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” I mean need I say more. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Air Riffle. However, everyone from his mother, his teacher and a department store Santa tells him no. Reason being…..”You’ll shoot your eye out!”
  3. The House. I am in love with their family house. There is just something about it, in an odd way, it just takes me back to my childhood. I love the retro kitchen, I love the decorations, the narrow stairway. I want their house.
  4. Tacky Christmas Tree. Splashed with tinsel and colored lights, it just speaks to me. Every year I try to recreate that tree. Problem is, my cats believe the tinsel is just for them, and well, it never ends well.
  5. The timing. “A Christmas Story” is on for 24 hours, usually beginning Christmas Day. This year is will begin at 8pm on Christmas Eve. It just seems like a perfect ending to the magic of Christmas……and…..puts me in the mood to start preparing for next year.

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Christin

It was hard to narrow down a favorite Christmas movie. Some of the old classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story” came to mind but I think the one that resonates with me the most is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. This funny, light-hearted flick came out when I was about 10 years old. I remember watching it and thinking “well, at least I’m not the only one that has that one crazy relative in the family.” I think we all have a “Cousin Eddie” type family member that doesn’t really mesh with the family. The black sheep if you will. This movie encompasses the madness and mayhem of the holidays including Uncle Lewis who had his toupee’ catch on fire and Catherine who burnt the turkey so bad it deflated upon cutting into it. It really wouldn’t be the holidays without some catastrophic moment.

One that sticks out for me is one year I decided to take the kids out for Christmas breakfast. Well, unfortunately the only place that was open was the China Buffet. So, we got our seats (it was surprisingly busy) and got our food. About halfway through our meal I noticed something crawling on the booth across from us. It was a cockroach! I had 2 choices. 1) Run out screaming and ruin our Christmas brunch or 2) Pray that no bugs were in our food, continue eating and enjoy our Christmas brunch. I chose the latter. But for the record we never went back.

Merry Christmas!

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What is YOUR favorite Christmas movie? Tell us in the comments!

What Holiday tradition do you currently celebrate with your family?

What Holiday tradition do you currently celebrate with your family?

Jennifer

A new tradition, yet one that will stay with us, is Holiday Lights. For the past 4-5 years, Joe, the kids and me have been going to Holiday Lights and Wild Waves.

Wild Waves is an amusement park here in Federal Way. It is the only one in Washington State and I am lucky enough to live about eight minutes up the road. I stay as far away from it as I can in the summer. Not only does it have an array of rides, it also has a water park (assuming you did not figure that out from the name “Wild Waves”)

In the month of December, Wild Waves transforms itself from your summer retreat to a magical winter wonderland. Upon entering the park, you have to cross Candy Cane Lane, which is a nice little walk that takes you over a small bridge into the theme park. Candy Cane Lane is filled with, well, candy canes. Each side of the pathway is lit up, and it’s just perfect. That’s how you know, “This is it, this is what we have waited for.”

Although Santa is usually busy preparing for his upcoming trip, he sends some of his elves to the village to entertain the kids where they can enjoy some snow while writing a letter to Santa. After the village, we always head to the merry-go-round. Gracie Sofia, Vinnie and even Joe mount up on a horse, while I try to keep my balance by taking pictures…..for memories.

You can buy yourself a fried Twinkie or Twix bar. Have a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate, or my personal favorite, pick up some homemade fudge at the candy shop.

When we are ready to leave, Joe and I bribe the kids with dinner out. That’s the only way we can get them to agree to leave without throwing a fit. “Noooo. I do not want to goooooo!” Food always wins. About five minutes up the road from the theme parks is a Shari’s. We always stop there afterwards. As soon as you enter through the double doors, the aroma of homemade cakes and greasy burgers takes over your senses. You cannot get any better than that. 

After dinner, we come home and usually watch some sort of Christmas movie together. We take turns picking out a movie, and this year it is my turn. A bit outside of the box, “The Ref.” it’s one of my all time favorite movies with Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey. I highly recommend it if you have not seen it.

The month of December is so busy. It flies by in a flash. I feel it is important to take a day, to be IN the moment, to create memories. Take a break from all the buying, the cooking, the wrapping, the stressing and be present.

Now…let’s hear about a current holiday tradition that you celebrate with your family!

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Christin

My kids are only 18 months apart. This can be a curse or a blessing, most days it’s a disaster. However, since they were small I’ve always bought them matching pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve. Every year they would gather around and open their neatly, wrapped pajamas and slippers. They would put them on and of course, I would take pictures. A lot of pictures. We’ve kept this tradition up for the last 10 years or so. This happens to be one of my favorite traditions with my kids..until this year. I was kindly informed that I need not buying matching Christmas pajamas for them anymore. My daughter thinks it’s “ridiculous” and my son, well, he thinks it’s “cringy”. Whatever that means. At this point, why am I going to take an hour and nicely wrap and put ribbon on these presents that they 1.)Already know what’s in them 2.)Don’t want to wear them anymore. My days of Christmas Eve pictures of my babies in matching pajamas are over. Guess I’ll just have to dress my cat up and take pictures of her. Feliz Navidad!

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Have Yourself a Vodka Calling Christmas (Day 1)

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and everything in-between!

This is our favorite time of year. Christin and I decided to try to bring the holiday season to our blog. Now, before you get all excited, there will be no give a-ways. We are not one of “those” popular bloggers……yet!

What we will be doing for the next 25 days (and maybe then some) is what we call “Have Yourself a Vodka Calling Christmas”

So pretty much 25 days of CHRISTMAS writing prompts.

It will be fun…..trust me!

Also, it will be more fun if you comment with your own Christmas memory that pertains to our writing prompts……and really, if you made it this far, clearly you have some time to kill, so join in the fun!

December 1st

What is your favorite Christmas song and why?

Jennifer

 

My first memories of Christmas take me back to New York. I was lucky enough to be born in Queens. I also had two sets of grandparents who lived in Manhattan, and a quirky but loveable aunt who remained in Queens. When my family left New York and moved to Maryland, and then Virginia, we would always make the trip back to New York for Christmas. There is nothing more magical than Christmas in New York. Trust me.

The city is lit up in Christmas cheer. I often wondered how the elves not only found time to  make our toys that Santa would be delivering, but also found the time to decorate the city! It was amazing.

Each set of grandparents along with their own traditions gave me memories that I still remember as if it was only yesterday.

One of my favorites.  Lots of shuffling around, to make sure each set of grandparents had the same out of time with my sister and I. The family would be gathered around. Cooking, eating, opening presents, and Christmas music playing in the background. Always Frank Sinatra. As soon as I hear his words “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” I am taken back to those days of Christmas in New York. My eyes get watery,  I am once again sitting in my grandparents apartment, taking it all in. Grandma always keeping a close eye on me. Not because I was a trouble maker, but because I was her favorite. (My siblings do not read my blog, it’s okay for me to say to that.)

The last lines of the song, Franks words, “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas now” were always answered by my family. Usually, they would stop what they were doing, life their glass, while wishing Frank and Merry Christmas as well.

“Merry Christmas Frank! Salute!”

As the years went on, life happened.  Many Christmas’ have passed. The one thing I am pretty certain of, I just know, every time “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is played, my grandparents, and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, are up in Heaven and everything stops.

My grandparents are still wishing him a Merry Christmas…..and this time….this time he can join in with them.

Salute!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

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Christin

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy decorating the house, putting lights up and watching sappy Christmas movies while bawling my eyes out. And music. Christmas music is the best way to get in the Christmas spirit. As a kid, I always enjoyed the classics like “Rudolph, the Red -Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town”. As an adult, it’s hard to narrow down a favorite Christmas song, so I am going to pick two.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

All I Want For Christmas Is You

 

So there you have it!

Now, tell us about your favorite Christmas song…go ahead…..don’t be shy!

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We Gotta Get Out of This Place : The Vodka Calling Road Trip

Allow me to paint the picture for you. I am now being sent to a dark, candle lit room. The wanna be Stevie Nicks has to have about seven different incense’s burning, and I have to say, I do believe they were all different. The scent was pretty over powering in the “living room”, back in this room, I just cannot do it. “Gypsy” moves her arm in a way to where I know she wants me to take a seat. Reluctantly I obliged.

With only a small round cafe sort of table separating us, she brings out crystals, cards, and something that I am guessing is sage. Although at this point, who is to say? Maybe it is sage. She is “cleansing” the cards, as I am trying to take in my surroundings. I see nothing. Between the smoke from the sage, the burning incense, and the faint smell of curry, I could not see a damn thing, other than Gypsy eyeing me a little too closely.

“What is you name?”

And so it begins. This woman is about to do some weird reading for me, because she can predict the future and what-not. Why is she asking me my name? Shouldn’t she already know my name?

“Elizabeth.”

“What questions do you have for me?”

I make myself comfortable. I have a feeling this may take a while.

“Before you start doing whatever it is you are about to do, do you mind if I ask a question?”

I may have seen her roll her eyes, but I cannot be certain.

“Go ahead.”

“Well, I would like to know of you have any reviews, or perhaps credentials handy?”

With a perfect rolling of the tongue, Miss Gypsy looks at me as if I may be her next victim she has displayed on her kitchen entry wall.

“Credentials? I do not understand what you ask?”

She is going to make me work for it.

“You know, like is there some sort of certificate or diploma of sorts? Something that states you are legitimately what you say you are and not some sort of scammer. Or even some reviews by some of your, what do you call them, customers, clients, you know what I mean.”

Gypsy starts laying about 4-5 cards on the table.

“I not understand what you mean? This is free reading.”

“Oh, is it free because you need the practice?”

She looks up at me while flipping a card over. I mean is this her personal version of solitaire or something?

“Elizabeth, you insult Gypsy.”

“No no, not trying to insult. All I am trying to do is get a feel for who you are. I mean if you are about to give me a reading, then I would at least like to know you have something to back up what you are saying. You know, proof.”

Now she flipped a second card over.

“Proof?” Life is not about proof. Life is about purpose.”

Christin is going to owe me big for this one.

“Of course everyone has a purpose. I believe that, I also believe that we are not meant to know our purpose from some stranger that is sitting across a table from us.”

She flips a third card over.

“Why you here wasting my time.”

“I do not know why I am here, Christin made me come here!”

I motion to the room where I had left Christin.

She flips a fourth card.

“I see, this card, this explains everything. Eight of cups you see. Sadness and sense of solitude. This is why, how you say, this is why you a bitch.”

“Excuse me??”

“Ah yes. You have a sense of relentlessness and unhappiness. The other part not matter, this explains so much.”

“Did you just do a reading on me without my permission?”

She looks up and smiles. This would be the first and last time I see her smile.

“I did.”

“You cannot do that. I was not ready, I did not even see your credentials!”

“Again with the credentials.”

She starts packing up her cards.

“Wait a minute. What are you doing? Now you’re packing up, you read these card things when I was not even ready, you mention something about unhappiness, and now you are finished?”

Gypsy stops what she is doing. Stands up from her chair and motions me to the beaded curtain.

“We are finished.”

“Uh, you may be finished, I am not finished!”

I followed her out while listening to her mutter something about credentials. Funny how she magically looses the accent, right?

“That’s fine. I am good. It’s not like you are legit anyways!”

Finally. There’s Christin. Why the hell was she outside? I could have used some backup here.

Gypsy is now ignoring me, while going to give Christin a hug.

“Your friend, Elizabeth, she on spiritual journey, Elizabeth have no satisfaction with world,or things that she familiar with.”

Christin give me “the look” while I ignore both of them while spotting Nicks.

“Whatever, can we go now, and I would like to take your cat with me.”

Gypsy makes her way back into her dungeon, while turning back.

“Take him, he not belong to me.”

That’s all I needed to hear. I made my way to the car, with Nicks in tow and Christin closely following. Nicks sprawled out in the backseat, most likely aware of the fact that I just saved him from this crazy broad. Christin got situated behind the wheel, and I knew what was coming.

“Jen, why was she calling you Elizabeth? And before you go into some long explanation, I need you to find the closest Wal-Mart.”

“Wal-Mart? Why are we going to Wal-Mart, you owe me a drink!”

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Shining Star : The Vodka Calling Road Trip

Jen joined the Stevie Nicks look-alike in the other room as I looked down at my phone. A text message from Freddie…I was scared to see what it said. Our last communication was pretty much me not returning his calls or messages. I had my own reasons to not want to talk to him. That was a year ago, and now here I was getting ready to open Pandora’s Box…again.

“Who is this?” the text message read. I wasn’t surprised. I had changed my number in the midst of ghosting him last year. “It’s Christin”, I typed. I wasn’t really sure what to say beyond that. I put my phone away, not wanting to deal with this complex, drawn out situation at the moment. I had bigger, more urgent issues to worry about, like how I was going to have pry that black cat out of Jen’s arms when she came out of the Patchouli room.

I stepped outside for a moment, inhaling the salty, cool air. The sky was clear this night. You could see every star in the sky. I spotted Cassiopeia and the big dipper amongst the maze of lights. For just a moment, my thought returned to Freddie. What was that? I heard something. Loud voices were coming from the house. I walked back in to hear something about credentials. Oh great, Jen was debating with the psychic about her credentials and legitimacy. I listened closely, making sure Gypsy wasn’t putting performing some kind of weird ritual on Jen, while checking out the weird art on the walls. Gothic animal shapes and bizarre pictures of Egyptians filled the walls, top to bottom. . The only exception was a picture of a handsome young man standing in front of the house that was neatly tucked into this collage of bizarreness. I heard voices and footsteps coming towards the front of the house and suddenly Jen and Gypsy appeared through the barrage of beads.

“I don’t believe this is legit, I want to see your credentials!”

“My credentials? What are you talking about?”

At this point I had one foot out the door, but this innocent visit with the psychic took a turn, that Gypsy the psychic nor I could not have foreseen.

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Nicks and Stevie : The Vodka Calling Roadtrip

I cannot believe Christin. As she is back in some sort of dark patchouli smelling room, that I am pretty confident at one time or another was used for a torture chamber, getting some psychic reading from a throw back to Stevie Nicks “person”, I am here in….well…I do not even know where I am. Perhaps the living room?

The incense is so overpowering I feel like I may be at stage two lung cancer status, and I cannot see a damn thing other than weird shape animal pictures oddly displayed on the wall. You better believe that I have 911 on speed dial ready to go at the first sound of an animal sacrifice. Only Christin. Somewhere along the way Christin and I turned into the ghetto Lucy and Ethel.

I wonder if the Stevie Nicks throw back has any credentials displayed anywhere on her animal wall. I mean when I am in my doctor’s office, his credentials are easily found. Hell, even when I get a cheap 10.99 haircut at Supercuts, their credentials are displayed. This place? Not so much.

Wait…..did I just see a cat???

I did see a cat, I hope it is a cat……it has to be a cat. He just ran under the sofa. Seriously, how many Afghans can one person have?

“Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”

A beautiful black cat with a huge patch of white on his neck, peeked around from behind the sofa. “Awwwww, a cat! Come here kitty!”

I named him Nicks. Nicks came out, just purring away. Hmmmm, I wonder how Christin would feel about Nicks joining us on our trip? I scooped Nicks up while holding him in the way one holds a newborn. I am in love.

As I basking in the moment of meeting my new friend, I decided to look around. What was with all the weird animal pictures? I don’t get it. My worst fear that sooner than later Nicks would be an image on the wall. “Well, we cannot allow that to happen now can we?”

Wait. What is that? An actual normal picture of a person? Nicks jumped out of my arms as I make my way to the wall right next to the kitchen entry. A black and white picture of a young twenty something year old guy caught my attention. The picture was completely centered , surrounded by, what else, weird animal shapes. This young guy is standing in what looked like to be the front yard of this house…..and his eyes……there was something about his eyes. There is definitely a story here. Who is he? Maybe Gypsy’s son?

I glanced back at the dungeon that held Christin and the Stevie Nicks wanna be, nothing. I wonder, hmmmm, let me just see if there is anything on the back of the picture………”Jen your turn!”

Dammit Christin! Is she really going to make me go back there? Ugh! I gave her “the look” while following the scent patchouli, and figured, since I decided that Nicks would now be joining us, the least I can do is have a reading done.

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