‘Tis the season (for Christmas books)

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In the book world you can expect certain books to be published at certain times. January is full of self-help, diet, and exercise books for all those people making New Year’s resolutions. Summer sees loads of mysteries and an uptick in fiction for women, books about sisters and friends with images of women on beaches … Continue reading

PopHeart’s Xmas wishlist

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Twas some weeks until Xmas and all through my brain Sweet visions of presents are keeping me sane… Lacoste bathrobe On sale $69.99 at macys.com This gal don’t wear kerchiefs, long nightgowns or caps, I wander in robes and in them I nap. Ron Swanson mug $14 nbcuniversalstore.com And when I arise, my head needs … Continue reading

Homemade chicken and dumplings soup

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It’s strange to string up Christmas lights around a window framing palm trees and sunshine, instead of cloudy skies and snow. Listening to Christmas music on Pandora just felt like a sham. I wonder how parents in San Francisco justify Santa’s sleigh. There’s nothing for his runners to skate over in California but fresh asphalt … Continue reading

Christmas pinnacles

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You had to know it was coming. Jimmy Fallon hosting Saturday Night Live the WEEK before Christmas? You had to know that the show, at some point, would feature the wacky little ditty “I Wish It Was Christmas.” Many years ago the number, written by Fallon and Horatio Sanz, was premiered before the 30 Rock … Continue reading

The war against Christmas music, part 2

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In all the time that I worked in a record store there was generally one genre of music that we never really looked forward to playing: Christmas Music. Well, that isn’t really true. There were lots of things we never looked forward to playing and rarely did, but Christmas music always felt like such a … Continue reading

Cookies roasting on an open fire

Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

The holidays are a time for spending time with your family (if you like them), or trying to get out of spending time with your family (if you don’t), a time for resting, and most of all, a time for eating. If you’re a grown-up like me, the holidays are also a time of obligation. … Continue reading

#1 Christmas music

THE PEANUTS GANG REJOICES IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

This should come as no shock. I mean, when one thinks about classic Christmas records, classic Christmas shows, how can you NOT think of this music? From this classic TV special, now 45 years old, we have Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Everyone, everybody reading this on this site, has seen the … Continue reading

A Bob Clark Christmas

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Little Ralphie just wants a damned BB gun for Christmas and all anyone can say to him is “you’ll shoot your eye out.”  Adults are always shooting a BB into the eye of their children’s hopes and dreams. Odds are you’re at least somewhat familiar with Bob Clark’s holiday classic A Christmas Story (1983).  It … Continue reading

The customer is always right, and this jerk is a customer

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Legendary radio and television comedian Jack Benny has been on my ‘to do’ list of Idler topics for a little while, and what better time of year to highlight what is still the funniest Christmas TV show I have ever seen: the 1960 “Christmas Shopping” episode of The Jack Benny Program. As a child I … Continue reading

Christmas music

What do you remember about Christmas growing up? Do you remember when it started? I was walking through Meijer with my kids the other day, just as the store’s Christmas displays were going up. I said aloud, to nobody in particular, “When I was younger Christmas was in December.” An older couple was walking in … Continue reading