Tag: Christmas

Seven Things I Love (12-21-2020): Christmas Edition

It’s almost Christmas, YIPPEE!!!!

I want to thank my friend Ann who was the person
who shared a few of this week’s ‘Things I Love’ with me. Thanks Ann!

1. This Suffragettes’ Christmas Card – Savvy Twitter users who could read music noticed that the music at the bottom of the card was actually for ‘La Marseillaise,’ the French national anthem. One Twitterer pointed out the song was indeed used by the movement.

In fact it was called “The Women’s Marseillaise‘ and it was the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU.) With words written by Florence Macaulay, the song was sung by suffragettes both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. I don’t think women today can truly grasp how much we owe to the Suffragettes of the early twentieth century.

2. This Netflix Series, ‘The Holiday Movies That Made Us’ – a holiday version of the popular ‘The Movies That Made Us,’ the series covers two films: ‘Elf‘ and “Nightmare Before Christmas.’ (Personally, I enjoyed the ‘Elf‘ one better, even though “Nightmare Before Christmas‘ is one of my Mom’s favorite movies of all-time.)

3. This Excerpt from a Letter from Virginia Woolf to Violet Dickinson. – This excerpt of the letter is from the site ‘Letters of Note (LoN).’ I’m rather obsessed with ‘LoN.’ ‘LoN’ started as a book (I have a personalized copy) and eventually turned into this incredible online museum, all the brainchild of one person named Shaun Usher. Now there are multiple volumes with more on the way. I suggest signing up for the newsletter so you get a handful of letters delivered straight to your inbox daily.

So you know, Violet Dickinson was an old family friend of Virginia Woolf. Here is some information about her from Ellen Moers NYT review of “The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume I: 1888-1912“:

“Violet Dickinson gave far more than affection. She nursed Virginia at her Welwyn home through her suicidal depression in the summer of 1904, and then introduced her to the women’s editor of The Guardian and to Nellie Cecil. The Guardian assigned Virginia books to review and published her first writing; with Nellie Cecil (a professional critic, as will as daughter and wife of peers – her nephew is Lord David Cecil) she collaborated on a literary column for The Cornhill. From then until her marriage, Virginia Woolf was a hard-working literary journalist; she adored it.”

It is Christmas evening, and we are all soporific from the effects of a Christmas tea eaten on top of a Christmas turkey. Sophie never lets us off on Christmas day at all, and when this letter is finished, I shall have to go down and attack the turkeys legs which were left intact. Thoby had such a large helping that another plate had to receive the overflow, and he ate impartially from both. They spent the afternoon in making Rum Punch, which is made half of rum half of brandy, with sugar and lemon and hot water thrown in: the house smells like a public house in consequence, and we shall have a very merry evening. Isn’t this better than your high and dry aristocrats? We all talk at once, and make such brilliant jokes as never were seen.

Virginia Woolf | Letter to Violet Dickinson, Christmas Day 1904

4. This Scatelogical Celebration in Catalonia – I actually wish this was a thing here. These are called “caganers” and they are meant to bring luck. They need to be placed in a Nativity and the idea is that the defecating (caganer supposedly loosely translates to “the defecator”) figure is fertilizing the soil and therefore will bring good crops – basically it’s a symbol of fertility and good fortune. This explains why there are more figures of beloved people/things taking a poop than of ones that are disliked.

People buy a new one every year and they amass quite large collections apparently. I know I would be one of those people.

5. This Map Showing the Favorite Christmas Treat for Each State – if you’d like to see a larger version you can click on this link. Not sure if you agree with the map. I grew up in Iowa and we never had oreo balls. But we were right on the border of Wisconsin & Illinois so we weren’t really typical Iowa. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for the majority of my life (about 37 years,) and I don’t particularly recall seeing a lot of Andes Peppermints around during the holidays.

6. This Special Reading by Neil Gaiman of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and it’s not just because he’s an amazing writer but it’s also because he’s a HUGE advocate for public libraries. There are many Gaiman quotes to choose from about public libraries but his most “famous” in the library world is this one:

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” ~ Neil Gaiman

7. This Collection of Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials that includes the “Vintage” Commercials

https://youtu.be/-2C5B5DpcJg

Another vintage show with original commercials…

https://youtu.be/WzCL3FM9dDc

[Bonus] 8. These Vintage Ceramic Christmas Trees – one of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating and the reason I love it so much is because it takes me back to my childhood. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, when I start to open up the boxes that store all my Christmas decorations I find myself mostly thinking about my Mom. Which is the best part.

I inherited a lot of her Christmas decorations and as I look at them, every one of them makes me think of her and the Christmases we spent together. The memories have become hazy but the feelings haven’t.

We actually never had one of these trees when I was a kid, not that I remember (as I said, hazy) but there is still something very familiar about this tree and I now own one. They are absolutely delightful. There’s a wonderful history of the trees written up here. And here is an article from Taste of Home with advice on how to find a ceramic tree if you are interested in having one for yourself.

via Amazon

Christmas collectibles have great sentimental value. Nowadays there isn’t a lot that gets passed down from generation to generation anymore. Mothers don’t give/leave their children china or silver or antiques. But that treasured tree topper or those favorite Christmas ornaments, well, that is something that any kid of any generation will appreciate.

[Bonus] 9. This Christmas Playlist – and don’t forget to check out the Menopausal Broad Playlist: Christmas Edition. I’ve added some new tunes and I’m sure that I’ll be adding even more music as the week goes on…


Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

(We’ve been at the threshold of hell most of this year but we’re close to being saved!)


Wishing You All a Very Merry & Healthy Christmas

Seven Things I Love (12-14-2020)

1. This H&M Christmas Short Film directed by Wes Anderson – I’m a fanatic when it comes to anything Wes Anderson so it’s rather shocking that I missed this advert from 2016. (Though it is also very possible that I have simply forgotten it. Damned menopausal brain. Though on a bright note, if I did forget it, I am getting to enjoy it all over again.) Either way, it’s wonderful!

Another amazing Christmas advert (I LOVE THEM) – be sure to have some tissue nearby.

2. This Animated Video Series, Rollin’ Wild – What if animals were round? (Or more accurately, what if animals were inflated like balloons?) Makes me laugh every single time I watch them. There are more videos at their channel. Sadly they only made a handful of Rollin’ Wild videos. I wish they’d start making them again, they’re delightful!

And here’s a Christmas video…

3. This Video on Accepting Compliments – so this chap is the husband of a friend of mine. Hearing him talk about his wife is especially wonderful for that reason. But because of the personal connection and his storytelling skills (and marvelous accent) the message really resonated with me. May be some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I probably should have learned this 40 years ago! (And why do we teach our children not to accept compliments????)

4. This Series of Holiday Photos with Stormtroopers – to see all of them you’ll need to click on the date (it says 5 years ago) right below where it says Mr. Llama. HILARIOUS!

5. This A-Frame Cabin for Rent on airbnb – One word – COZY. Click on any of the photos to go to the airbnb site to see interior shots. Next year I’m going to be traveling a LOT.

6. This Iconic London Hotel attached to a Train Station – The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened in 2011 and uses spaces that were once occupied by the Midland Grand Hotel (which officially closed in 1935) and the St. Pancras Chambers which were apartments used as railway offices.

I have stayed at the hotel several times, I LOVE it there. And I especially love it there during the holidays (I am DEFINITELY going to spend a week in London next November). Not only is it convenient to have one of the major train stations right outside the door (and the British Library across the street) but there is shopping in the train station too. I mean, in theory I could go here and not leave a the building except to walk across the street to go to the library. IN THEORY (there are too many other places I have to visit when I’m in London, like my friends most importantly, and Fortnum & Mason, which is my mothership, and the V&A Museum, and Broadway Books in Hackney and of course there may be a show playing that I cannot miss, and, and, and … well, the list is endless!

Well before the St. Pancras opened, even after Midland Grand had been closed to being used as offices, the Spice Girls filmed one of their most famous videos at this location.

There’s an interesting story behind the filming of the video.

One last thing, and I haven’t been able to able to verify this, but I was told a story about how, when the Midland Grand Hotel was first built back in the 1870s, the air was so thick with smog that architect Sir George Gilbert Scott decided to paint the vaulted ceiling above the grand staircase with a night sky since London residents weren’t actually able to see through the haze. Whether that is true or not, it does make sense. Here is more information on the grand staircase.

7. This Banksy – ending the year with a SNEEZE…


Word for the Day


Quote for the Day

Have a
WONDERFUL Week!

The Menopausal Broad’s Guide to the Best Holiday Movies You Can Stream in 2020

These are in no particular order of preference. How many have you seen?

Get Santa (Netflix) – charming Christmas movie with a Paddington-esque quality (they were both released in 2014) where things go quite afoul for Santa. But with a little help from his friends he manages to make his deliveries on time. With Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus.


A Child’s Christmas in Wales (YouTube) – Starring Denholm Elliott and Mathonwy Reeves. This link is to the full film.

Godmothered (Disney+) – Starring Jillian Bell, Isla Fisher, and Jane Curtain.

The Holiday Movies That Made Us (Netflix)

Last Holiday (Peacock TV Premium) – Starring Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, Giancarlo Esposito, Gerard Depardieu, and Susan Kellermann.

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (HBO Max) – Starring (the voices of) Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Gilbert Gottfried, Jay Leno, Fred Armisen, and Ed Asner reprising his role as Santa.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney+ and Netflix) – Starring Mackenzie Foy as Clara with Matthew Macfadyen, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Omid Djalili, Richard E. Grant, Keira Knightley, and Misty Copeland.

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (Disney+) – Billy Dee does Lando’s voice!

It’s a Wonderful Life (Prime Video) – Starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.

The Happiest Season (Hulu, begins streaming on November 24th) – Starring Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, and Ana Gasteyer.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix) – Starring Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, and Ricky Martin. (Lisa Davina Phillip, who plays Ms. Johnson, is hilarious!)

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (Netflix) – Starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, and Treat Williams.

Noelle (Disney+) – Starring Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, and Kingsley Ben-Adir.

Holidate (Netflix) – Starring Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, and Frances Fisher.

Miracle on 34th Street (Disney+) – Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood.

The Princess Switch (Netflix) – Starring a double dose of Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, and Nick Sagar. There is a sequel (also on Netflix) that began streaming on November 19th called The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again.

Last Christmas (HBO Max) – Starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, and Michelle Yeoh.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (Hulu) – starring Dan Stevens.

The Holiday Calendar (Netflix) – Starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck, and Ron Cephas Jones.

The Santa Clause (Disney+) – Starring Tim Allen, David Krumholtz, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, and Eric Lloyd. (There are two sequels, also on Disney+, with the same original cast: Santa Clause 2 adds Elizabeth Mitchell as the future Mrs. Claus and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause adds Martin Short as Jack Frost and Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret as the new Mrs. Claus’s parents who don’t have a clue who their son-in-law is.)

The Bishop’s Wife (Prime Video) – Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, and Monty Woolley. (There was a remake with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston called ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ and it was just okay. I mean, I’m a HUGE Cary Grant fan so it’d be difficult for anyone to top him in my book.)

A Bad Mom’s Christmas (Netflix) – Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines. (You can watch this without having seen the original ‘Bad Moms’ but it’s better if you have. Unfortunately the original isn’t streaming for free.)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney+) – Starring Chris Sarandon (Jack Skellington’s speaking voice) and Catherine O’Hara (Sally and Shock’s voice)

White Christmas (Netflix) – Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen.

A Christmas Movie Christmas (Prime Video and Hulu) – Starring Lana McKissack, Kimberly Daugherty, and Brant Daugherty (Kimberly’s real-life husband.) (FYI, little Cleary Herzlinger, who plays London, steals every scene she’s in.)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (Disney+) – Starring (the voices of) Jim Carrey (who not only does Scrooge at all ages but all three Ghosts as well), Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, and Molly Quinn.

A Christmas Prince (Netflix) – Starring Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, and Sarah Douglas. There are two, count ’em TWO sequels (also on Netflix): A Christmas Prince 2: The Royal Wedding and A Christmas Prince 3: The Royal Baby.

Santa Claus: The Movie (Peacock) – Starring David Huddleston, Burgess Meredith, Judy Cornwell, Dudley Moore (if someone else had been cast in Moore’s role this movie would have been so much better) and John Lithgow.

Holiday in the Wild (Netflix) – Starring Kristin Davis and Rob Lowe (I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I did but between the African scenery and the elephants, well, the baby elephants totally put it over the top)

Klaus (Netflix) – Starring (the voices of) Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Apple TV+ and PBS)
To complement its release on Apple TV+ this holiday season, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will air on PBS and PBS KIDS on December 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT (check local listings). And it will also stream in HD on Apple TV+ from December 11 through December 13 for free.

The Knight Before Christmas (Netflix) – Starring Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse.

Home Alone (Disney+) – Starring Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci, and of course our beloved John Candy. (There is also two sequels (both available on Disney+) but only Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is worth it. Tim Curry, Dana Ivey and Rob Schneider are fantastic in HA2 as staff at the Plaza Hotel. Sadly, the Orange Monster owned the real Plaza Hotel at the time the film was made and makes a brief cameo, so be forewarned.)

Dash & Lily (Netflix) – Starring Austin Abrams and Midori Francis note: this is an eight-episode series based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan but it definitely is Christmas-centric. And if you love bookstores, particularly the Strand in NYC, you’re gonna wanna watch this.

And of course….

Die Hard (HBO Max) – Starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, and Alan Rickman.

Course a lot of the best Christmas movies aren’t available on a streaming service for free:

Elf – Ed Asner is definitely one of the best Santas ever and Bob Newhart as an elf is pure genius. (Also, how many of you knew that Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ was in this movie???? That’s him standing next to Buddy in the photo below. He played Ming Ming.)

Will Ferrell (left) as Buddy the Elf with Peter Billingsley as Ming Ming.

Happy Christmas – not free anywhere but it only costs $4.99 to buy from AppleTV or Prime, which is a dollar more than it costs to rent. I still don’t understand why anyone would rent a movie that only costs a buck more to buy. I love a realistic, dysfunctional, midwestern Christmas, don’t you? (Plus, Melanie Lynskey, damn I love her.)

Cast members including Anna Kendrick (center) and Lena Dunham (left), seen here with filmmaker Joe Swanberg’s son Jude (right), improvised many of the film’s scenes.

The Holiday – Oh to live in Rosehill Cottage. Sigh. (For photos of the interior, click here.)

The exterior shots of Rosehill Cottage in ‘The Holiday’ were filmed at Honeysuckle Cottage in Holmbury St Mary.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – “Hurry up Clark, I’m freezing my baguettes off.”

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, Johnny Galecki, Beverly D’Angelo, Chevy Chase, Juliette Lewis, 1989

Love, Actually – I mean really though, this movie is worth an investment. Surely you watch it every year?

Hugh Grant (as The Prime Minister), Billy Campbell (as Natalie’s octopus brother) and Martine McCutcheon (as Natalie)

Polar Express – I really liked this movie but similar to the Disney Christmas Carol it takes some adjusting to get used to seeing the animations where the voices are completely familiar (Tom Hanks) but the face looks a little off. You’ll see what I mean.

Scrooged – a classic.

Frank Cross (Bill Murray) sees the light after being visited by three ghosts.

A Christmas Story – so quotable.

Ralphie right before being devastated by having Santa tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – god I miss John Candy. But at least we still have his movies!

Christmas in Connecticut – I adore Barbara Stanwyck. And if you like the combination of Frank Capra and Barbara Stanwyck you should try Meet John Doe. Technically it’s not a Christmas movie but it has a climatic ending on Christmas Eve so I always think of it as a holiday film. It’s one of my favorites.

Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan in ‘Christmas in Connecticut’.

Arthur Christmas – from the Wallace & Gromit people!

Miracle on 34th Street – this is the 1994 version. I don’t think it’s fair to try to compare a black & white film to a color remake. The tone and mood and atmosphere of a b&w film is going to always be different, simply because of the lack of color – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just, it’s like trying to compare oranges and limes, they are both citrus but they are not completely interchangeable. I hope that this makes sense (I’m doing my rambling thing now). The bottom line is, I love both versions.

Richard Attenborough is an excellent Santa Claus and Mara Wilson was a marvelous child actor (remember her from Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda?)

Joyeux Noel – you may not have heard of this French film but most likely you have heard the story of the truce that took place for one night on Christmas eve during World War I. This is the story of that event. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

The Oscar-nominated French film “Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)” is based on a real incident during the early days of World War I.

The Ref – if you can handle watching a movie with Kevin Spacey (sadly so many things are ruined for me now, but he does get terrorized for a while so that helps,) Dennis Leary is freaking brilliant. So are Judy Davis and Christine Baranski. (And if you happen to click on the photo below it’ll link you to a great review but ignore where it says it’s currently streaming on Netflix. The review is from 2016 and the movie has been pulled since then.)

Wishing everyone a very Safe, Healthy and


Five Things I Love (12/16/19)

1. This article on McSweeney’s* about Sensible Hairstyles for Women Over 50 (by Laura Winther Galaviz). I like the first one best, (a) because I am pretty sure I could pull it off, (b) I can actually crochet and (c) it’s just too spot on. –

Procure a fine purple yarn and crochet yourself a wig as thin and fragile as your waning relevance in American society.

2. This video of puppies walking to Stayin’ Alive…

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive …

3. The number of public libraries that are eliminating late fees/fines for overdue materials. The latest major municipality to do so is Los Angeles. Studies have shown that fines do not actually affect patrons willingness to return materials on time. If someone wants to keep a book past the due date, they’ll do so, fine or no fine. All fines/late fees really accomplish is preventing lower income individuals access to materials. That’s not what public libraries are about!

Sadly many libraries/municipalities have become so dependent on the revenue generated from the fines/fees it may take time for some of them to eliminate the fines. As a solution, some libraries in this dilemma have begun phasing the process in – for example, first eliminating fines/fees on children’s materials, then YA materials, then all materials. We’ll get there!

Mayor Eric Garcetti reads to children at the Central Library after announcing the city’s plan to end fines for overdue books and other materials.
(David Zahniser / Los Angeles Times)

4. The sense of humor of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation!!!

5. These candles (I know you probably have a zillion candles in your house, as do I) but when the holidays come around these candles really put me into the Christmas spirit.)

Aglow Candle Company – Merry and Bright
Thymes – Frasier Fir Collection

*If you haven’t heard about McSweeney’s, it’s a hilarious humor website. I think that most people will figure this out fairly quickly but I always like to be clear about a site when I post humor/satirical items because, well, you know…