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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

by Libby Malin

It's "st" time--best, worst, funniest, sweetest Christmas gifts, experiences--I want to hear them, so 'fess up!

Most annoying experience this year--finding out that my square Christmas cards would require extra postage--after I'd already put them in the mail. Grrr. . . and I really liked those cards, too. I got some back from the helpful-ahem-post office, telling me I needed to smack on more stamps. But I don't know about the rest.

Best Christmas gifts-- well, that's a toughie. I'd have to say that getting a Chanel perfume I adore every year is a big upper. A lovely Italian shawl last year was wonderful--I wore it around the house during the bleak and cold midwinter.

Almost worst gift -- when I suspected my husband had bought me an exercise bike (do I even need to go into how that would have made me feel?), when in reality he'd purchased a more comfortable desk chair for me. Now, that was a thoughtful gift, considering how much time I spend at the computer.

Funniest gift -- the big fat rubber frog my sister- and brother-in-law sent me last year. I had fun putting him in different places, snapping photos on my phone, and sending the pix to them.

Worst recipe -- a fig, sausage, cornbread stuffing I tried two years ago. Yuck, ick, ack! Run, do not walk, away from this concoction!

Best recipe -- a pumpkin cheesecake pie in graham cracker crust. Yum. want some now.

Sweetest Christmas moments -- there are many, but here's one this past week: hearing my son on the phone, telling me he was in New York after traveling from Hong Kong.

Funniest moment -- playing charades several years ago after Christmas dinner and having my beloved sister-in-law try to act out "the whole thing" for Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot. (This still brings a smile to my face, and will live in family lore for decades.)

Most-loved Christmas song -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung by Rosemary Clooney.

Most-loved Christmas hymn -- O Come, All Ye Faithful, with the soaring descant on the "Sing, choirs of angels" verse, and the pull-out-all-the-stops organ harmonization on the last verse.

Most-loathed Christmas task -- wrapping gifts. I'm a horrible wrapper. Really bad. Can never fold the corners neatly enough. Too impatient.

Best Christmas movies -- The Christmas Story, of course (love the dinner in the Chinese restaurant!) as well as the Bing Crosby classic White Christmas (favorite number: Choreography with Danny Kaye).

Happy Holidays to All!


  1. Best Christmas gift - the massage chair Hubs bought me last year.

    Worst gift - the massage chair Hubs bought me last year. Because the manufacturer kept shipping the wrong one, then they upped the price by several hundred dollars so we had to cancel it.


    But he's very good at massage... ;)

  2. Best Christmas gift~ My husband called all my friends in Idaho and scheduled a trip for me (getting promises from my friends that they would use bodily force if necessary to get me to return home).

    The only present for me under the tree that year and I knew from the shape of the package it was a calendar. I was doing a great job of imitating my then three-year-old daughter. I was pouting, big time. I opened the calendar which was Mary Engelbreit's Friends calendar and a plane ticket fell out with a note saying my present was to go visit all my friends. I still tear up when I think about it.

  3. Favorite Christmas memory:

    Our tiny choir--there were no more than eight or nine of us--got up the courage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Most of us were untrained. We knew it was impossible to do the music justice, but we wanted to do it, and we were determined to give it all we had.

    I don't remember what we sounded like. I just remember being caught up by the music and absorbed into the joy of singing together.

    Afterward, people swore they had looked around to see where the music was coming from. It sounded like twenty or thirty people singing.

  4. Best Christmas Gift--Last year, our family went to Vegas for my Grandma's 80th bday (she lives out there) and Mama J loves to gamble--3 card poker. I am not a gambler, but she told me if she won enough money, she'd give me the chips to buy us both new laptops. Lady Luck was on our side :)

    Most Love Christmas Song--a tie between "All I Want For Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" sung by Whitney Houston.

    Best Christmas Moves--I agree 100% with The Christmas Story, but I also love Home Alone 1 and 2, and Love Actually.

    Fun post Libby!!!!

  5. These are great stories, all! Thanks for sharing them. (And I'm glad that square card arrived, Danielle! LOL!)

  6. Worst Christmas experiences--To numerous to count, but here's a list:
    My DH's mother dying right before Christmas.
    Two dogs who have had to have major surgery during the holidays, one of whom is at the vet as I write this.
    Locking the keys in the truck on a very cold Christmas Eve while visiting my son's grave.
    And one of my horses died within a few days of my mother-in-law.

    Best Christmas gift: My first dressage saddle. My husband said he didn't feel comfortable ordering it, though I had been very specific, but later on he brought it in from the garage saying, "Since the UPS guy left this here, I figured I ought to give it to you."

    Favorite Christmas song: The Judy Garland version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

    Favorite Christmas carol: O Holy Night, sung by anyone who can hit those last few notes.

    Favorite Christmas movie: Scrooge. It makes me cry every single time.

    Favorite Christmas recipe: The truffles my sister-in-law made for Christmas this year. Delicious!

  7. Best Christmas gift, My Cat Smoky, even though she was an abandoned kitty, we found her right after Thanksgiving 10 years ago. She's fat and sassy just like me. So we do get along.
    Worst gift...can't remember anything, sorry I'm getting!!
    Favorite Christmas song...all of them...
    So Marry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year....
    By the way, really can't get away with tell us about the pumpkin cheesecake pie and NOT give out the recipe!! Please!!!!

  8. Cheryl, So sorry to hear about your pets, and also about the holiday passing. We've had those, too -- both my parents passed away in December (not the same year) and I didn't list them as "worst" years because, frankly, it's still painful to think about.

  9. Jessica,

    Here 'tis -- the recipe:

    Make a graham cracker crust according to recipe on box.

    For filling:

    Mix 2 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla.

    Add 2 eggs, mixing until blended.

    In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup canned pumpkin with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a dash each of ground cloves and nutmeg.

    Stir 1 cup of cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

    Pour remaining cream cheese mixture into crust. Top with pumpkin mixture. This creates two layers, pumpkin on top.

    Bake at 350 for 40 min or until center is almost set.

    Chill and serve.

  10. Wonderful post, Libby, and I loved reading all the comments, although some made me tear up.
    I am making my favorite holiday dish today, chicken poprikosh (an old Hungarian dish from my grandma)which is homemade noodles smothered in a sour-cream and chicken gravy spiced with paprika. It's orange, so it's Christmasy. :} I'm also making my DH's favorite fudge, an old See's Candy recipe.
    A yummy holiday to all!


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