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What I Read and Watched August

Scrolling through my Goodreads, looking at August books, why does the beginning of August feel so long ago (oh, because it’s close to October now).

August was NOT a good reading month.

I only re-read items. Books 3-7 of HP at the beginning of the month and Jane of Lantern Hill towards the middle.

I’m thinking I watched a lot of YouTube like I did this month. I miss good blogs. I started a month of Netflix in August too. VERY disappointing. I’m not sure what things I watched in August and what I watched in September. I think August was mostly “Friends” and rewatching “Parks and Recreation.”

Oh So Sheltered . . . and Clueless

I was watching Blimey Cow (first clue of being home-schooled which is the first clue of being sheltered). I watched their two sheltered videos and took the quiz in this video.

I gave myself a 22.5. But I think the quiz is a sheltered person’s sheltered quiz, meaning that it really should be higher, lol. Other things to add might be the news (we were never allowed to watch, didn’t watch into adulthood, tried, couldn’t sustain it) or electronic devices as a category (my first of my own was a flip-phone at 19, and we had no gaming devices besides the computer until the Wii a while back). Because there were six of us split into two categories, the older ones tended to be more sheltered (one of my sisters took the text, and she was a category down, not unexpectedly) and stay sheltered/ignorant?/naive? for longer.

Also,  mixed together for me (when I was younger, I’m not so clueless now). Some people are sheltered, but they can start to put the information together pretty quickly (all of my younger siblings). Other people aren’t sheltered, but they don’t connect all the dots on certain subjects. And there is obviously a variety of mixes of “sheltered” and “clueless.”

Of course in the Internet age, all that “innocence” is VERY fleeting; trust me, I wish I could have some of it back, I don’t want to understand dirty and words and innuendos jokes so quickly.

Let me give you a rather (in my opinion) hilarious example. The Bible doesn’t fit most of a sheltered person’s parental advisory standards (violence, sexual themes, etc.). I did understand the concept of rape and sex (mainly from the Bible) as a preteen, and those stories that spelled things out, I obviously understood after the age of knowledge, but it wasn’t until near adulthood that I understood some of the stories (although I might have if more obviously different and specific words, like say, “harem” or “concubine” had been used in this particular story).

I thought Esther and co. were being interviewed by the King (Veggie Tales and other childhood versions gave a me a solid background understanding that I didn’t think to question after the age of knowledge); I didn’t understand “women’s quarters” meant “harem” which might, although possibly not, have led me to understand what the “interview” actually was! Let’s be real, that story is pretty horrid; that also, probably assisted in keeping the veil over my eyes, I wouldn’t have dreamed of such a thing being possible.

 

 

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 2, Regency Food and Regency Beauty

Because of a goof on my part, I wasn’t able to sign up for the teas on the first day, and so they sold out, but I put our names on the waiting list as soon as I could and received a call about openings just a few days before, so I was thrilled.

We had four types of teas from Bingley’s teas. I am by no means a tea connoisseur; I don’t often like it, period (I prefer cold, rather plain beverages of the milk, water, and fruit juice/lemonade variety). I have Emma’s Perfect Match and Marianne’s Wild Abandon which I bought at one of the earlier events, and I don’t care for them much (although I think perhaps the blending of the teas has improved since the early days?). I also tend to “need” a lot of sugar to enjoy them which is off-putting; I’d rather have a less-sugary sweet treat I like better.

However, I did enjoy my syrups teas more this time. We tasted Captain Wentworth (least fav, too strong for me), The Dance of the Musgrove Sisters (second fav, I think), The Patience of Miss Price (my favorite and one I want to buy), and one other (a rose, cherry, and green tea blend, I believe). I don’t know if only two of the teas were Bingley’s and the other two were one of the other company’s (Hellinger Kurtz Kaffeehaus or The Blessed Bee Herbals) or if Bingley’s had new blends that aren’t on their site yet. While perusing their site just now, I realized, I found several more I want to try! Although, sacrilege of sacrilege, I’d probably prefer them iced.

On our early wanderings we discovered the Half-Crown Bakehouse (Mom went back later and bought some bread for Sunday) which featured foods with names that were a blast from my childhood past such as Sally Lunn bread and Queen’s Cakes (Felicity cookbook anyone?!). I’m in the mood to research about historical foods after discovering The Townsends, a historical food YouTube channel, via Brijee Pattern’s post.

I really appreciate the delving into historical aspects beyond fashion. My mother mentioned that this time it reminded her of Colonial Williamsburg (I adore that place, I’m wanting to go again, but I’d like to go for an event in historical dress now). The Living History feeling.

Another aspect to that was the beauty/apothecary place: LBCC Historical. Historical beauty recipes . . . sans heavy metals, lol.

Since I’m decidedly Marianne, I bought the Marianne set although I’d love the Jane one (rose!) as well; I hope they make the sets again, they were a special thing for the festival, I think.

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 1, My Festival Background

Because I apparently don’t document anything, I had to rely on a comment I left on another blog to determine my festival attendance. I attended 2010-2013 festivals.

Some aspects of the earliest festivals

  • Contained to the back yard (I think the porch is the back side of the house)
  • Only two days
  • Smaller (and it was more local/regional while now it is THE national JA event, I think; according to this year’s handout, the first year had 660 and last year over 2400, and I’m assuming this year was even larger?)
  • Fewer venders
  • Less serious costuming (I know some people dressed in regency at the earlier ones, but my grandmother says not the majority while in 2018 it was the opposite; and the quality of the “regency” outfits tended to be far lower earlier while now it seems to be far more accurate and detailed)
  • The majority of the activities were the teas and the talks in the big tent

I feel that around 2013 the size and attention started to explode, and I got overwhelmed plus rather done with the event (too often plus waning interest in the era and author).

Here are some posts from bloggers who attended some of the earlier festivals: 2012 (one and two) and 2013 (one, two, and three).

What I’ve Watched Recently

YouTube Highlights

The Bucket List Family on YouTube. Super cute family traveling the world. I also love their collaboration on the Home Love channel for their Hawaii house.

I was trying to find some goal and planning resources and happened across Lavendaire. I love her aesthetic, it is so feminine and soothing; sometimes planning resources can be more hardcore and masculine seeming with bold fonts and colors. I’m absolutely buying her Artist of Life book for next year.

Television

Clips from Friends. I’m not a television person, but since I have a huge diatribe below, I keep this short. I just wanted to watch the highlights after I started looking up Chandler who is definitely my soulmate. I remembered I’d got him when I took a Friends quiz ages back, and I think one my siblings said I was Monica. So I’m like him and should marry him?

Movies

The Greatest Showman. Fun for one watch, but the music and some scenes (belong to certain songs) are worth re-watching. But the sound seemed weird, reminiscent of La La Land; to me it sounded like some of the voices were suppressed in comparison to the music. I also didn’t feel that most of the singers were the best chosen (especially Hugh Jackman, ugh, although he wasn’t as bad as in Les Mis because Les Mis weirdly has everything sung/chanted), I want super strong voices, although with what seemed to me the technical suppression, it was hard to tell what full intensity could be. Also, I felt that when I listened to “Rewrite the Stars” Zendaya’s voice was more suppressed than Zach’s. I’ve only heard her in in Disney’s Shake It Up, but for some reason I had the impression her voice was stronger than that. I felt that the actress who played Jenny Lind had the best voice or at least wasn’t suppressed/auto-tuned to the same degree the others were. The inconsistency in voice quality, auto-tuning, and sound balance irritates me in modern musical film (e.g. the ludicrous difference between the soaring voices of Raoul and Christine in Phantom and Gerard Butler’s pitiful “singing” which I was totally judging against Ramin Karimloo, no one could win against him I know, but Butler’s singing was excruciating). I don’t like when huge stars are chosen for essential who cannot sing (Emma Watson, Gerard Butler), but the film-makers will. not. use voice-overs. You will shorten songs (in a iconic musical?!) and auto-tune (again, in an iconic musical?!), but using a real singer’s voice is just too, what? Good of an idea? End of musicals rant.

Black Panther. Rather boring.

27 Dresses. This was fun for one watch but quite shallow.

To Kill a Mockingbird. I missed a bit and as with many older or more serious movies, I need to watch again to soak in everything. I want to re-read the book too.

My sisters found a set of the first four Thin Man movies at Barnes and Noble, so we have been re-watching those and introduced my married sister and her husband to them. Nick and Nora are just a scream sometimes.

Art Fair Haul

For the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve attended a local arts festival with my grandparents (I don’t have a single photos of us there, hello, lady, document some memories). I do remember to take photos of what I get (so important) after though.

I bought a clutch from a refurbished leather jacket. A handwoven towel (I would probably use as table runner) from the historical part. Various bath and body goodies. Sterling silver necklace and earrings (peridot, my birthstone). Three beautiful mugs. A poppy bowl.

What I’ve Watched Recently

I have fallen off watching Hallmark mostly because Mom stopped, thank goodness. I would come home from work with no motivation and will-power and just agree every time she asked. I hope this lasts.

For my third free streaming trial recently, I tried Netflix again. When I had Amazon Prime and Netflix ages ago (maybe at the same time for a short period, I’m not sure), I always thought Netflix had more choices, but I don’t think they do anymore, maybe because they are focusing on their own films and shows. Anyway, definitely not for me either, most of what I would watch was stuff I’d already seen, and I didn’t try to look up old movies (my list is intimidatingly long). I did luck out on Thor.

New Watches

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Rather like a dirtier Hallmark movie.

13 Going on 30. This was cute although I wish Mark Ruffalo’s (he was so adorkable) character was in it more and there were more romantic scenes.

Part of Doctor Srange. Cumberbatch drew me in, but then I got bored.

Part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I wasn’t super inspired to finish and Netflix shut down or shut down on me on my last day. I do want to finish, but I doubt it will be a favorite. Ken, I mean Paul while handsome, isn’t Peter O’Toole or Gregory Peck, and I prefer Hepburn’s more innocent characters.

Thor Ragnarok. I hated the preview. While by this time, I wasn’t expecting to hate it, I didn’t think I’d like it. These low expectations probably made way for me really enjoying it. I rewatched it in the same week.

Re-Watches

Leap Year. I love this movie, but I need to stop watching it for awhile. I’ve watched it three times in the last two years.

I re-watched Sherlock and then rage quite before the fourth season (which I’ve never seen). I’m not besotted with Benedict Cumberbatch like I was when I first watched the first two seasons. I don’t think they are near as clever nor as subtle and understated (yes, I thought they were subtle and understated and refined and all that jazz; I was early twenties and so very un-subtle and awkward myself, I think I can be excused). However, they ARE clever (the first two seasons) in such a quotable way.

Before the third season, I had fun re-watching them and looking at them through cooler adult eyes. I can also understand more (the first two seasons clearly weren’t marketed toward U.S. audiences and although I’d seen many period dramas, I had trouble understanding modern British speech as I suppose they weren’t making an effort to be understood). I understanding why I fell so hard for Sherlock/Cumberbatch (in Doctor Strange, he could draw me, the old magic was still there, but it didn’t last; partially probably because his horrible American accent (not his job at it, just the accent he had)

The third season is as bad as a remember although not quite the shock to my senses it was when I first watched it. Because I’m thoroughly over the lure of the series, and I’m not sure I was quite then or I hadn’t re-watched the first two seasons to awake a bit more to the reality of the drama, meaning the contrast between the first two and the third is not as great, unfortunately, as I thought then. The first and last episode of the third series are truly dreadful in the mediocre, melodramatic, abysmal ludicrousness. I remember reading a blogger describe how in the fourth Pirates Jack is a caricature of himself (how much more so in the fifth then?!), well that describes Sherlock in this season. The second episode has a good bit of a mystery, but not enough.

Despicable Me 2. We did a family pool night Saturday and watched a movie/by in the pool. We were going to watch Captain America: Civil War, but because we were impatient we wanted to start a movie before it was truly dark enough to see the screen properly and choose the animated movie to see better. This was a really fun experience. Then my youngest sisters and Dad almost immediately watched Thor: Ragnarok, inside though.

T.V. Shows I’ve Watched Recently

I’ve watched way more television than normal in part because I had a free trial of Hulu. I’ve watched old favorites like Drake and Josh and Sonny with a Chance, plus Fixer Upper and Jeopardy, but I thought I’d feature the most notable items.

Boy Meets World . . . and this is why I don’t usually like television series. Can you get any more repetitive?!!! So, after making myself sick of Parks and Rec (whenever I watched that, two years ago?), I thought that I’d do better, so I planned to selectively binge, picking what I wanted from each season based on the Wikipedia summary. Yeah, that didn’t work for this show. The same types of events happened every season: Cory and Topanga break-up (and these break-ups followed the same one or two formulas), Shawn has drama (again, a few formulaic types), etc. Also, Shawn’s life mimicked Cory’s in a boring, pathetic, generic way. Come on, he’s got a totally different situation and personality, why does he have to do everything Cory does? Eric was my favorite character (actually favorite part of the show, really) later on; he was the only person who I wasn’t totally sick of (and he’s hilarious). I actually disliked Shawn by the end. Anyway, the writing/plot etc. of the show is really repetitive to the point of disbelief plus it’s not as funny (at least at the end) as I was expecting (which always seems to be the case, since I learn about a lot of television shows from highlights).

Full House. I decided to pare down my watching even further for this show by looking at some best episode lists, so basically I just watched few episodes per season (and none for the last, I think), and sometimes I didn’t even watch all of the episode. I quickly realized that this show isn’t all that interesting (and Joey is simply awful) although it has a ton of sweet moments (Uncle Jesse moments). I was essentially watching it for Jesse (John Stamos) who is all around gorgeous (especially after Stephanie cuts his horrible mullet off) and has such and attractive voice and attitude. A super attractive man with his cute ways with kids?!!! I mean, wow.

The Olympics. Well, we thought we had a handle on recording (we are not the most tech-savvy people), but we didn’t really. So I missed a lot of ice-skating (which is the main/only event I care about), and I just kind of wasn’t really feeling it. I did get some of the skating, but really, it isn’t as interesting when almost all of the American skaters are terrible (except for the Shibsibs).

Movies I’ve Watched Recently

Since I must have sickened myself on Hallmark, I haven’t watched many since Christmas (thankfully). The last year or two had an embarrassingly large percentage of these movies. I have too big a TBW list to waste time like that. On to the new-to-me movies of recent months:

Star Wars. On a whim Dad took Flowerchild and I to see this the day after our last family Christmas celebration. I’m still not a Star Wars fan-girl (I’m not sure I really am a fan-girl on much period, I usually get sick of things that I over-watch/over-read and hear too much about) although I left rather infatuated with Kylo Ren for a time (and no, it wasn’t solely on account of the shirtless scene; he was the only whole MAN in the film: complex, confident, intriguing). The Kylo-Rey parts were the only good parts to the movie. The rest was decidedly dull, manufactured, and absurd. Mom asked Dad and I if we liked it and when we said we thought it was “okay,” she asked why we went, and we decided we’d fallen for the Star Wars hype (Dad was a Star Wars nerd in his day, and I think he’s embarrassed about that, lol).

Penelope. This is quite funny. And baby James McAvoy is SO cute. However, part of the end freaks me out (kind of like when I look too closely at the Beauty and Beast story). Comparing perhaps ugly (unusual I think, unless a person makes themselves ugly, most people are plain, rather than ugly) people to animals with this inside/outside beauty plot, um, NO. A PIG okay!!!!!

I am Dragon. This blogger reviewed this movie and mentioned that it was on Amazon Prime (I also had a free Prime trial recently). Because I was having trouble finding much on Prime to watch and because I thought the movie sounded intriguing, I watched it. It started out scarier (I’m a baby) than I anticipated but then didn’t end up being as scary as the beginning led me to expect. The plot and feel is like an old folktale or fairytale which is really fascinating. All the elements are so foreign (it’s a Russian film) and it all works together to evoke that aforementioned feel (except for some jarringly modern music in one part, and I thought that some of the scenery looked tropical, which didn’t fit at all although it was beautiful), to a Westerner anyway. These elements include: the archaic, guttural sounding Russian language; the old, un-Western clothing, fabric, and music; the look of the landscape and colors; the look of the people, especially Arman. The film is hauntingly lovely and mysteriously foreign (also, Russia is just so . . . strange . . . and rather disturbing, even the very few less disturbing periods; I’m reading Brothers Karamazov as of this typing, btw).

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I keep forgetting that I watched this . . . and I think the film deserves that. Whoever has written and directed these latter two of the PotC series has been severely lacking in the genius of the writer/directors of the first three films. The fourth I thought far too dark and not as interesting as the former three, and Jack is not himself, he isn’t in this one either. I anticipated this one being terribly frightening, but it was ludicrously not so. The bad guy was played and talked about as being terrifying, but he clearly wasn’t. And the British were knocked off like a joke. The girl seemed more of a main character and Will’s son (WILL’S son) nothing, and she was stereotyped, one-dimensional, and obnoxious. Actually, so many characters were trivial, as were the various plot threads, and yet the first three movies had multiple characters and plots lines and all of them were well-developed and none developed at the expense of others. A disappointing film.

This Beautiful Fantastic. I’d read about this on two blogs which got me interested. I found this movie on Hulu during my trial, so I watched it then. Both reviewers mentioned shipping Vernon and Bella (so I was prepared to do this as well especially since I didn’t care for the looks of the actor who played Billy), so I expected a love triangle. The movie didn’t have one (which is good, these are almost never done well); Bella and Vernon (who was almost old enough to be Bella’s father) didn’t flirt, had no chemistry, and no displayed no interest (expect I thought I saw a flicker of what I thought was hurt, possibly only because I was looking for it, on Vernon’s face after he learns of Billy, and this look could be interpreted many ways), and Vernon was fatherly, older brotherly in manner. I didn’t ship them, you can’t when there is nothing to ship. However, I didn’t care for the love story. The way the filmmakers handled it, I felt took away from the movie, from Bella’s journey. And it didn’t fit. The relationship between the main three characters, the setting, Bella, etc. were all complex and intertwined and quirky. The library life didn’t seem as “real” or as solid a part of Bella’s life. Billy didn’t fit in the inner circle, didn’t come into it; that would’ve needed a sequel to feel finished and right. He was not a full participant, so that either should have been developed in another movie or the filmmakers should have lengthened this movie to include it. That was my loquacious explanation of issue #1 with the love story. #2 is the absolutely absurd stock drama of seeing Billy with another woman. Come on, come up with something that that is 1) Fitting to Bella personally (the rest of the story is unique, Bella is different, why such a stock storyline that would be terrible for a movie with a more average character?), 2) More fitting to the timeline and situation (she barely knows him), and 3) More believable and believably forgivable (“I’m a triplet” Are you serious? Don’t be absurd, don’t come up with ludicrous, cheap, tricky twists). This is terrible, cheap plot manipulation. I just felt that this was so out of sync with the rest of the movie. I’m not even sure that romance fit at all with the time frame of the film. I loved the development, plot, resolution, and depth of the rest of the film and characters. I definitely think it is worth watching.

Spider Man: Homecoming. When I first heard that The Amazing Spider Man series was ending, I was disappointed because I enjoyed those movies, and I wasn’t happy with the new actor or his portrayal in Civil War. Eventually, I got over my pique, but I didn’t know what to expect/didn’t have expectations except that it was good because it had been so long since most bloggers mentioned it (and I don’t like reading reviews of movies I intend to watch until after watching them). Musicalmiss, Flowerchild, and I watched it one day in February. I LOVED it. Later that week Flowerchild, Babysister, and I watched it again. I want to own it, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out. Whispers, I think I might like it better than The Amazing Spider ManThis movie is SO well-written and well acted. So much cuteness and hilarity. I can like both this story line and The Amazing Spider Man; actually, I think that the Spider Man/Peter Parker story line is simply my favorite superhero story line. I loved that Peter always did the right thing despite all his temptation to cheaply try to win attention; I hope that never changes. Peter is so precious and adorkable, and his friend is hilarious, and I love the hints of M.J.’s interest (won’t they make an awesome couple?!). I didn’t like Peter with Liz, and I didn’t know the other girl WAS M.J. until the very end, and I couldn’t really tell that she liked him the first viewing, but I definitely saw it the second time around; I like that she isn’t puppy-dog pining for him, and that he isn’t being an insensitive jerk, he just doesn’t really know her plus he is such a baby, plus his little fan-boy crush on Liz. Oh, and that prom pick-up scene, what ACTING!!!! Oh, I could watch that movie again.

Link Love: Culture Clips

Strategies for using social media well.

This short film (I can only recommend this particular one; there is another I don’t recommend)

This and this. These are poetry videos (I can only recommend these I post here; there are others I don’t recommend). I really struggle with poetry, perhaps I should see if mixed media poetry forms will help me. These are the same people who did the above video and Kissing in the Rain (which, if you need a semi-sweet respite, is just the thing). I just love their work.

Perhaps we need to be more interesting (otherwise known as “having a life”).

And because I’m contrary, here and here are humorous takes on essential oils (though to be honest my main issue is . . . I don’t really like smells, like almost NONE).

Ten Lesser Known/Lesser Loved Couples from Movies

I’m writing this as part of Cordy’s A Lovely Blog Party.

1. Nick and Nora from The Thin Man mysteries (murder mysteries made in the 30’s and 40’s centered around a “retired” detective and his heiress wife and their escapades). Oh, my. Another blogger mentioned the films and the two protagonists and their chemistry, and I knew I had to see them . . . and now my sisters and I are hooked. Nick and Nora are so perfect; I love their constant banter that covers their deep caring, how he always tries to protect her in the goofiest ways, how she always tries to tag along on his mysteries, and I love their total trust and confidence in each other. #Relationshipgoals as one sister said.

2. Simon and Nicole in How to Steal a Million (a hysterical 1960’s movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole; I know the film is famous or it used to be, but I haven’t heard much about it from my blog groups). From their first half-joking, half-real kiss to his insistence on irritating her and his pretended aloofness to his clear jealousy of the art connoisseur oaf to her “aha” moment which leads to their broom closet romantic moment, I love every bit of this romantic, absurd, adventure. Their chemistry and comedic timing are perfect.

3. Guard and Mattie in Friendly Persuasion (a 50’s movie about Quaker life in Civil War era Indiana starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire as the parents). These two are but a part of the entire adorable story of this movie, but such a cute, funny part. Mattie is very young and absurdly sentimental and childish, and Guard is older, suave, and manly and yet he loves her so genuinely.

4. Ingrid and Zeke from That Darn Cat (a 1960’s mystery/comedy; it is a scream). So they are barely a couple, but they start off so hilariously badly while he is so much more amazing than her joke of a first boyfriend that it is amazing to see the small steps to the start of what you know will be a romance.

5. Derek and Odette from Swan Princess. I only occasionally hear or read people mentioning this movie, but it is one of my family’s favorite animated movies. Ok, grown-up Derek and Odette are a bit boring, but the build-up to their relationship is wonderful, and they have a such a beautiful love song. And the movies is worth watching for all the parts, although the comedy is the best.

6. Nancy and Nick in Nancy Drew. This movie is so cute, and Nancy and Nick’s relationship made up of their teenage shyness and insecurity with Corky’s absurdity thrown in is hilarious and adorable.

7. Ray and Livvy from The Magic of Ordinary Days (a Hallmark Hall of Fame WWII era historical fiction). This is so sweet, he is especially sweet and selfless; the story is about a temporary arranged marriage to save the woman’s character, but they end up falling in love (he falls in love first which adds some bittersweet moments). I haven’t seen this in too long.

8. Algie and Cecily from The Importance of Being Earnest (and In Earnest which is an awesome, under–appreciated web series). I know the play is pretty famous, but I don’t think these two get enough attention. I love their bantering chemistry.

9. Mira and Arman from I am Dragon. I first heard about this film from this blog review. It is so unique, and the story is very much a fairytale that mixes a bit of the old traditional dark with a bit of the modern happiness.

10. Belle and Mr. Davinier from Belle (18th century historical film loosely based on the story behind a real painting of a biracial girl and her cousin). I love their relationship: the rocky beginning, the secrecy, the friendship, but oh the best part is when he is shouting, with tears in his eyes, “I love her!” to her adoptive father.

Many of these aren’t from proper romances. I do love romances, but I also love when stories that aren’t categorized as romances have romance in them.

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day One: Beginning Christmas

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here. I divided my list into 6 days.

~Do you send Christmas cards?
Sometimes, the pretty ones that come in sets, not the ones with family photos. I like getting those from friends who we’ve not seen in awhile, but I like sending the elegant artistic ones.
~When does Christmas start?
Well, my family starts with Hallmark right after Halloween. This year I didn’t start watching until after Thanksgiving. I’d prefer it to start in December and then end on the 12th day of Christmas January 6th. I think we have plenty of autumn holidays and few of winter, so there is no need to rush into and then rush out of Christmas.

~Do you have an advent calendar?
I outgrew our family one. The three youngest still attached the stuffed decorations on the fabric tree. I kind of did a Christmas activity countdown this year, but its a mix of that and a fun list, so I haven’t followed it exactly. I’d like to find or make one I can make into a tradition.
~What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
All of them.
~What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I’m not sure I’d really ever prefer to travel on a holiday, but perhaps after or before when people still have the decorations up. Some traditional village or city with lovely decorations maybe?
~What is your most memorable holiday moment?
Right now, I cannot really think of a moment. We had two memorable Christmases recently, once when my brother got engaged, three years ago, and then when he got married a few days before Christmas two years ago.
~What makes the holidays special for you?
Family, traditions, the sensory experience, Hallmark, gifts, I love the entire experience!!!!!
~How did you grow up thinking about Santa?
My dad is the Grinch, Scrooge, and the Christmas Corrector, and I don’t think Mom loved the Santa myth. We weren’t taught to believe in Santa, we just enjoyed the various Christmas stories. I never cared overmuch for Santa himself, I just loved all the stories about Christmas.
~Can you name all his reindeer?
Nope. Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blizen, Rudolph. Are there 13 with Rudolph or 11? I should look that up.
~Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

There is nothing wrong with “Happy Holidays,” except it is incredibly generic and boring. “Merry Christmas” is fun to say plus far more specific. And “merry” is quite expressive of Christmas specifically.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Questions for day one if you want to participate:
Beginning Christmas
~Do you send Christmas cards?
~When does Christmas start?
~Do you have an advent calendar?
~What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
~What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
~What is your most memorable holiday moment?
~What makes the holidays special for you?
~How did you grow up thinking about Santa?
~Can you name all his reindeer?