Christmas Movie Marathon

I can - and do - watch Christmas movies year-round.  

Once November arrives, however, said films are in constant rotation on TV (thank you, Hallmark Channel!).  So - in addition to popping up on our Netflix and Amazon Prime pages - they fill up our DVR until I get a chance to watch them.

Here are a few of my favorites - which I may or may not have already caught more than once this season:

"The Holiday" - All I want for Christmas is Kate Winslet's cottage.  Happily, its presence on American Airlines' entertainment system this month fulfilled my obsession with watching it multiple times during the holiday season.

"Love Actually" - Christmas Is All Around...and I love it!  This movie is also all around my iPad.  I like to watch it while working out in hotel gyms, as it makes the time fly by.

"Disney's A Christmas Carol" - The Jim Carrey version is the best.  Dickensian London never looked so good.

"Christmas Vacation" - I haven't gotten to watch it yet this year, but can always count on my husband and his siblings to work quotes from this movie into pretty much any conversation around the breakfast table at Christmas.

"Desk Set" - It's not necessarily a holiday movie, but much of this delightful 1957 Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy film is set during the holiday season. 

"The Preacher's Wife" - Beautiful movie with amazing gospel music.

Finally, not listed here, because the lengthy list merits its own separate blog post: a ridiculous number of Hallmark and Lifetime movies - especially cheesy, modernized versions of "A Christmas Carol" featuring female Scrooge characters portrayed by everyone from Susan Lucci to Tori Spelling.

Okay - your turn to chime in.  What are your holiday favorites? 

On-the-Air: San Antonio

I love doing TV segments any time of year - and especially during the holidays!

TV studios are decked out for the season, I get to bling out the table with holiday decorations, and everyone is in a festive mood.  And sometimes - as in the case of this segment at "San Antonio Living" last week - they give me a little soundtrack of Christmas music as a background during the segment.

Doesn't that make you feel just a tiny bit more festive?  Check out the the full segment here!

Tour O' Trees

If you know me, or have spent more than five minutes reading this blog, you know that my heart beats for Christmas trees.

So, as I trek around the country doing holiday TV segments - I pay extra attention to the trees that decorate airports, hotels, and TV studios.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Admirals Club at LaGuardia Airport is always totally decked out for Christmas - and gets my award for "most festive airport lounge."

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The Indianapolis airport always has a fabulous display.  This photo is from 2015, but this year's is similarly spectacular.

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The tree in the American Airlines terminal at LAX is always a favorite - and even includes a (very loud) train with lots of bells and whistles that continually circles the base of that rotunda.  It is always one of my favorites - if for no other reason than whenever I see it, I am probably on my way home.

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Just imagine the warm, cozy lobby of this hotel in Seattle with a roaring fire in that fireplace - accompanied by a soundtrack of holiday classics from Andy Williams and Nat King Cole.

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One of my favorite studio trees this year, on the set of KATU-TV in Portland.

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See the trees in the background of my segment at the "Daytime" show?  I brought in a forest of these "pop-up trees" from BrylaneHome for a holiday segment four years ago - and they still use them to decorate the set each year.

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Christmas in NYC: Holiday Windows

Growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, we had exactly one holiday store window to visit each Christmas.

Every year on Thanksgiving night, after the turkey had been eaten, Mom's homemade rolls devoured and - most important - the Christmas tree was up, we piled into the car and headed downtown to Hutson's Furniture on Main Street.  I looked forward to seeing their holiday displays so much, and get a bit nostalgic just thinking about it. (Happily, I hear that the store windows are still going strong all these years later!)

Not surprisingly, one of the things I love about living in New York during the holidays is taking in all of the gorgeous Christmas windows in department stores.

Most windows are revealed - to much media fanfare - about a week before Thanksgiving.  In past years, Scott and I might get up early on Thanksgiving, grab a Starbucks, and hit the empty city streets by 6 a.m. to stroll and enjoy.

This year, since we were working that weekend - followed by me traveling the week after Thanksgiving - we had to wait until the following Saturday morning for our annual adventure.

We bundled up, headed down to 34th Street, and started at Macy's - which decorates windows on both the 34th Street and Broadway sides of the store (check out the videos at right and below).

All videos below were taken by Scott, who is a much better photographer than I am.  (Being eight inches taller than me, he also has a serious height advantage when taking photos in crowds.)

Then, we headed east over to Fifth Avenue, and up to 39th Street to Lord & Taylor.

In my opinion - with all of the holiday greenery and thousands of tiny clear lights covering the scaffolding along Fifth Avenue - they win the award for "best use of construction scaffolding" in their holiday design.  At right - take a walk through the the Lord & Taylor windows.

Next, we continued up Fifth Avenue to 49th Street to check out the scene at Rockefeller Center.  During the holidays, Rock Center is usually wall-to-wall people from mid-morning until well past midnight - but at 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning, there was plenty of room to move (and even snag a few pics beneath that famous tree).

Finally, it was across Fifth Avenue to the "Land of 1000 Delights" at Saks - and their own interpretation of               The Nutcracker "Sweet."

Before the clock struck 9 a.m., it was time to scurry back uptown and grab breakfast at one of our neighborhood diners before the rest of the camera-wielding crowds arrived in Midtown.

Christmas trees, light displays, holiday windows - what are your favorite holiday traditions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Beyond" Great Gifts