Cheers to the Season!

The classic movie "Desk Set" is one of my all-time favorites, especially during the holiday season (love the office Christmas party scenes!)

This 1957 comedy is set at a fictitious TV network housed in Rockefeller Center.  It has the usual witty banter and tension between characters that you see whenever those characters are played by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  (Need I say more?)

There is a scene where Miss Hepburn's character, Bunny Watson, describes herself to Tracy's Richard Sumner as someone who "only drinks champagne when I am lucky enough to get it."

This holiday season, I am lucky enough to work with Taittinger to feature their Champagnes on several TV shows.  They are sponsoring these segments and this post, and have a Champagne to suit any taste, from the signature dry Brut La Francaise ($60 - and my favorite) to the sweeter Nocturne "City Lights" ($82).  They even have a Prestige Rose ($84) for all of those rose lovers on your list. 

Taittinger.jpg

Cheers to the season!

My Christmas Routine: Walmart Run

Every Christmas, Scott and I fly to Tennessee to spend the week with family.  After a lunch stop at Martin's BBQ in Nashville, during the two-plus hour drive to his parents' house, we drive by about a zillion Walmart stores. 

MartinsBBQ.jpg

When we are about half an hour away, we always check in with his mom to see if there are any last-minute groceries to pick up.  And throughout the week, one of us generally heads to Walmart or Sam's Club every single day to pick up eggs for breakfast casseroles, provisions for dinner for 14, wrapping paper, batteries, or a few last-minute gifts.

If you are familiar with New York City, you know that Walmart does not exist there.  Having gone to university in Arkansas - the Land of Walmart - I get very excited about these shopping trips.  So, I was very happy this holiday season to partner with Gillette, SheaMoisture, and Keurig to share a few holiday gifts and essentials you can pick up in the store.  They are sponsoring this post and several of my TV segments.

For guys who like gifts they can actually use - which is pretty much every guy in my life - Justice League Gillette Gift Packs are affordable and practical.  They are just $9.88 for an entire package that includes a razor, shaving gel, deodorant, and body wash - you pay two to three times that to buy the same items separately.  Since there are several designs featuring different characters, a friend of mine bought a different set for each of their teenage sons.

Batman.JPG

For those of us who need a bit of extra effort in fighting dry skin in the rough winter weather, SheaMoisture Holiday Gift Trios feature popular body washes and lotions like 100 percent Virgin Coconut Oil, African Black Soap, or Raw Shea Butter with Frankincense and Myrrh.  They also have hair gift trios of their Coconut & Hibiscus or Raw Shea Butter products.  

Last, but not least, K-Cup pods are a holiday - and for me, everyday - essential.  Since my in-laws have a Keurig, we stock up on hot cocoa for the kids, decaf coffee for me, Earl Grey tea for Scott's parents, and plenty of extra bold, dark roast coffee for everyone else.  

Are you already checking items off your holiday list, or do you tend to be a last-minute holiday shopper?

Happy Holidays from NYC!

Since I get into the Christmas spirit well before Halloween costumes go on sale, I love that by the day after Thanksgiving, most of the country is draped in festive trees and holiday bling. 

As magical as New York is at Christmas, the Monday after Thanksgiving always marks the beginning of several weeks of busy travel.  So, for the next few weeks, I'll share thoughts about the season and, of course, festive trees that I spot in airports, TV studios, and other places around the country.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from New York City!

RockefellerCenter.jpg

Holiday Tables: Bring on the Bling!

If you know me, you know I have a bit of an obsession with tablescapes and holiday decor.

I come by this honestly.  My mom loved to entertain, and was always prepared to host dinner for four or 40, even on short notice.  For our Thanksgiving dinner this evening, I will layer a tablecloth with beaded place mats, sequined charger plates, crystal stemware, and other bling - basically, as much as I can fit in and still have room for the roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower rice, homemade yeast rolls, and more!

So, I always get excited during the holiday season to showcase easy holiday table ideas on TV.  The super-talented designers I work with at Bed Bath & Beyond, which is sponsoring this post and segment, set up these gorgeous tables for a recent holiday segment I did at KCAL9 in Los Angeles.  You can take a look at the full segment here!

Write Your Own Hallmark Movie

Last holiday season, when speaking to a university class from my alma mater, two students asked if I had been in Hallmark Christmas movies.

I thanked them and said that while I have been on the "Home & Family" talk show on the network - I have not been in any movies.  We then figured out which actress they thought I was (maybe it's the red hair?) - and bonded over our mutual obsession with these movies.

If you look at the list of recordings on our DVR from November 1 throughout the holidays. it is jam-packed with Hallmark movies.  Scott's DVR habits are bit more upscale and intellectual, and he sweetly tolerates having to scroll through titles such as "It's Christmas, Carol," "Christmas Under Wraps," and "Broadcasting Christmas" to get to his shows.  I am also weirdly happy when I am on business travel during the holidays, and discover my hotel has Hallmark on their TV system - something that is about as rare as a sad ending on one of these holiday movies.

Two other girlfriends and I recently chatted about the "formula" for Hallmark movies, and how there must be machine that turns these things out.  Choose one from each category, add some snowy, idyllic holiday scenery, and voila!  You have a Hallmark Christmas movie.  If you're not familiar, here are your basic story options:

A single, super-successful woman, who is a:

  • News anchor/talk show host
  • PR/advertising/publishing executive
  • Holiday parade/Christmas window coordinator
  • Physician

Played by:

  • Candace Cameron Bure
  • Alicia Witt
  • Lori Loughlin
  • Lacey Chabert

Who lives and works in:

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco
  • Unnamed large metropolitan area resembling any of the above

Who, just before the holiday season:

  • Makes a huge, career-damaging mistake
  • Is dumped by her boyfriend
  • Lost or never had the Christmas spirit (sad)
  • Any combination of the above

And, through a weird series of events, is forced to move to or spend the holiday season in a small town in:

  • Alaska
  • North Dakota
  • Montana
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont

Where she meets or spends the holiday with a guy (frequently named Nick) who is a:

  • Firefighter
  • Christmas tree stand owner
  • Factory owner
  • Ex-boyfriend
  • Son of Santa Claus

Who:

  • Turns out to be her soul mate.
  • Helps her rediscover the spirit of Christmas.
  • Causes her to realize that small town was where she was meant to be all along.
  • All of the above.

And they live happily ever after.

The end.

The main alternate theme?  A zillion variations of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."  Why watch classic versions when you can see female Scrooges, played by everyone from Tori Spelling to Susan Lucci?  Bonus: spirits played by Carrie Fisher (my favorite), William Shatner, or Gary Coleman.

Lest you think I am making fun of this: I Love This Stuff.  And apparently, so do millions of other people.

I once saw an interview with director Rob Reiner, in which he observed that all of his movies, at their heart, really have the same theme.  He said he keeps making the same movie over and over, because it works.

That is what Hallmark does - and it totally works.

We'll be watching!

Your turn to chime in.  What holiday movies do you love to watch?  This is a judgement free zone.