52 Photos ~ Holiday traditions

Holiday tradtions

Between an early Hanukkah, a late Thanksgiving, and Christmas arriving spot on time, haven’t we been observing holiday traditions for months now?

So it feels.

We have a handful of holiday traditions, but we’re just as apt to throw tradition out the window, paring the celebration down to a few essentials to mark the day as significant.

For instance, for Hanukkah, we light the menorah every night. Well, most nights. And sometimes more than one menorah, depending on our moods. And we make at least one batch of latkes during the week, sometimes eating most of them just as they come out of the pan, after they’ve cooled slightly on paper towels. Since the days of H’s tiny childhood, every night we hide a blue plastic dreidel (which conceals a few chocolate coins) somewhere in the house for her to find.

Most years for Christmas, we make candied orange peels and beef jerky to give to our friends and family. Some years we make jam, or cajeta, or cookies, or granola, or candy, or bread, or pickles, or applesauce, or membrillo. Some years everyone gets some. Some years, only family.

Without fail, we cut our Christmas tree with old friends every year. Most years we take the dogs. Some years, it seems a bother.

What doesn’t seem to change are the holiday movies. Somewhere in late November, we start singing, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas…” and then we debate if it’s too early to start watching Christmas movies.

Nope. How can be it too early?

We watch a variety every year, but the three that we always seem to return to are the classic, singable “White Christmas,” the gloriously moody (and funny) 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” (or “Scrooge”), starring Alistair Sim, and the gentle, light-hearted “We’re No Angels” (the original 1955, thank you very much).

Maybe one or all of these are your family’s favorites, too. Just in case you haven’t seen them, here are a couple excerpts to give you a taste.

First, one of our family’s favorite scene from any movie, the part in “We’re No Angels” where Bogart, Ustinov, and Ray debate how and when to tell Cousin Andre that he’s just taken a box with Adolf, the poisonous snake, into his room.

“He knows already.”

That line is like a perfectly baked little cookie we eat only once a year, crisp and full of flavor.

Second, the delightfully fun ending to “Scrooge,” after Ebenezer has been transformed by his visits from the spirits of Christmas. I’m particularly partial to the scene that takes place on the staircase, around 3:40:

If Ebenezer’s rebirth doesn’t bring your heart some holiday cheer, I don’t know what will.

What are your favorite holiday movies (or songs, or books)?

Whatever your traditions, or the holidays you celebrate, the people you are with, or the people you are missing, the foods you eat, the movies you watch, the stories you tell, we wish you all a beautiful week, and if it applies, a very Merry Christmas!


This photo and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.

Thanksgiving is all about traditions

It’s that time of year again, when we gather with those we love for a long weekend of overeating, marathon dish washing sessions, playing board games, taking dogs on long walks, drinking margaritas, and revealing embarrassing secrets (usually after drinking the aforementioned margaritas).

Last year’s theme was guilty pleasure songs. This year, we’re sharing our guilty pleasure movies.

How well do you know us? We challenge you to figure out which guilty pleasure belongs to which of us (Laurel, Hyla, Michael, Rebecca, Adam, or Liz). Make just two correct guesses and we’ll send you your choice of either some homemade goat cheese from us or some caramels from Sweet Lolo’s. And while you’re at it, let us know your guilty pleasure movies.

Are any of these on your list?

The Abominable Dr. Phibes
(1971), starring Vincent Price

(1980), starring Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
(1954), starring Howard Keel, Jane Powell, seven brides and seven brothers

Thoroughly Modern Millie
(1967), starring Julie Andrews, James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore, John Gavin, Carol Channing, and Beatrice Lillie

Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery
(1997), starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, and Michael York

Mr. Holland’s Opus
(1995), starring Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, and Jay Thomas