A Water-Logged White Christmas

So every year my family goes and cuts down a Christmas tree. And this year, things did not go as expected.

So it rained.

Which was good. California really needed it. But because of fire and storm the place we usually go to was closed.

So we had to drive over an hour away, wait an hour to process for permits (never had to do that before), and then drive another hour away.

When we got there, the snow was super deep. The banks went up to your knees and thighs, depending on the area. It was such hard work. We couldn’t drive up to the tree cutting allowed area, as the snow was so deep, we had to hike in.

NoooooooooooooooS

While it was raining, which turned into sleet-and snow.

So it was hard to look for a tree with the snow, as my family we all wear glasses-so quickly fogged up and covered in rain.

Then the chainsaw broke so we are all sitting out there standing in the snow and getting even more soaked then we already were.

We finally got the tree, but the rest of the group couldn’t help, so my sister and I are trying to drag this huge 14 foot tree through the crazy deep snow.

Ugh

And finally we were ready to go. It was so wet that my gloves were full of water and falling off of me, my jacket so soaked it was drippingly full-the rain had gotten through my coat and on my shirt, pants and leggings, etc. I felt like Marianne Dashwood.

[after Marianne has first met Willoughby]

Elinor: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.

Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.

Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.

But even though it was a lot of work-and we all were soaked it was still fun. Even though after we got home, changed, and ate-all I wanted to do was sleep.

For more stories on cutting down our Christmas tree, go to Winter Wonderland

For more Marianne Dashwood, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

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You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

Day 7) G is for Ghost: Choose a Ghost story

I’m not really a ghost person.

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After all I am a Ghostbuster!

Ghost stories aren’t my thing so I tried to figure out what to do and thought about all the books I like, which one could possibly have a ghost in it?

Thinking Hmm

And then it hit me:

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I know a book I love that has not one, but four ghosts!

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A Christmas Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens

So I love this story.

I love it

Every year I watch a film version of this book: whether A Flintstones Christmas Carol, A Christmas Carol, Muppet Christmas Carol, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, etc.; I’ve been in plays of it, and of course: I enjoy reading it.

I love it!

I love it!

A Christmas Carol was written in the fall of 1843. Originally it didn’t sell well, but became extremely popular through the public readings that Dickens did.

This book also came out at just the right time. Thanks to Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, Christmas culture changed with a whole flurry of new ways to celebrate the holiday, becoming the traditions we currently practice. For instance Christmas trees became something now done in England.

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We now see the jolly old Santa Claus, used later in stories and culture.

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And Christmas cards became a tradition and were sent out in the penny post.

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But not everyone had a nice Christmas. Many had to still work in the factories and poverty was running rampant; very grim indeed.

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A lot of historians actually attribute A Christmas Carol as being the first thing to start the ball rolling. It opened peoples’ hearts and more reforms were adopted; such as the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

Double double yay

Yes like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The JungleA Christmas Carol was more than just a novel but changed the very world we live in.

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So let’s get started with the review!

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

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So the story begins with stating the fact that Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge’s old partner is dead. Without him being dead then we would not have a story.

Marley has been dead for seven years, with Scrooge carrying on the business. Scrooge is a cold-hearted businessman who only cares about money. Everything from appearance, demeanor, and personality is cold, cruel, harsh, and sharp.

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No one liked him and all avoided him, as who wants to poke the angry beast?

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Scrooge is miserly, and one way he is tightfisted is to keep his door open to make sure that his clerk does’t try to add more coal to their fire. Poor clerk, Robert “Bob” Crachit. It is freezing outside and even colder in the presence of Scrooge.

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That evening Scrooge’s nephew Fred comes to call on him. He wants to invite Scrooge to his house for Christmas, but Scrooge refuses. He doesn’t keep Christmas at all and sees no reason to celebrate.

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He also pokes at Ned’s “poor” life and wife.

“What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months, presented dead against you?”

You know I’ve seen a lot of posts lately by my age group saying the same thing. Christmas isn’t anything special but just having us be a year older, poorer, and unhappier. I think it is horribly sad.

No thank youhowaboutno

Let’s not Scrooge around, but be Freds instead.

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After Fred leaves, wishing Bob a merry Christmas, Scrooge is approached by charity workers. They appeal to Scrooge for help, but he refuses. He thinks the workhouse and poorhouse is substantial (I’m sure that sentiment was shared by many others before reading this novel.) He even goes on to say that if people die because of their poverty, than things would be better as less people on the Earth is best.

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Scrooge gives Bob a whole day for Christmas (his question now making sense as I earlier stated that it wasn’t a law to give people Christmas off until 1871), although angry at missing out on the extra work. But even though he is given his day to celebrate, Scrooge warns Bob that he must be in, even earlier the next if he wishes to keep his job.

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Scrooge then heads home that night and that’s when things get…a little creepy. As he goes through the foggy streets

Stay out of the forest!

The door knocker on his home changes until it becomes the face of Marley!

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But then it becomes a knocker again, just a figment of his attention.

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But later that night Marley appears. Scrooge tries to convince himself he isn’t real, but the Marley’s ghost is here!

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Marley has come to him to warn him. Scrooge sees the chains wrapped around Marley and is astonished. Why does he have such horrible things on him.

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

Scrooge tries to console Marley, that while he didn’t help others he was a good businessman. But that is not what life is all about. As the bible says:

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:25

That love of money separates us in our relationships, as the greed consumes our soul.

“Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business…At this time of the rolling year,’ the specter said, ‘I suffer most: why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed star which led the wise men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”

Marley warns Scrooge that he still has time to change. He is to be given the gift of three spirits He leaves and the air is than filled with ghosts, all those he knew in life and all covered in chains.

GHostFantasia

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The first spirit, The Ghost of Christmas Past, comes a young boy but also an old man.

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He has him touch his robe and the two travel back to Scrooge’s boyhood.

Scrooge is at school and alone as everyone else is gone for the Christmas break. As he sits glum and alone, a woman comes in to the room…it is his sister Fanny! He loved his sister dearly, and she him. She has begged her father to bring him home and he has finally agreed. They leave the boarding school to spend a very merry Christmas together.

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But Fanny didn’t live in the world long. She died after giving birth to her son Fred.

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Later they visit his old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; having them stop on Christmas eve and throwing a party for all his employees. It only cost a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

Now as you can tell I love the language of this book, the characters, the moral–but I also love how when you read the book you see how the change starts in him so early in the adventure, transforming him at every step. Looking at the young boys, he wishes he was nicer to a boy singing Christmas carols. And seeing how great Fezziwig was, makes him ashamed of his own conduct with Bob.

Hmm...

Hmm…

But then he is taken on and sees the broken engagement of his fiancé, Belle. She breaks it off, as Scrooge no longer cares about her anymore. All he cares about is money.

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Matthew 16:26

Man, I just think how hard that would be. To give up someone because you know it won’t work, and poor Scrooge. He really missed on a winner.

In the next scene he sees how much he missed out when he sees her, her husband, and the family all gathered in one very happy, merry Christmas bunch.

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On the second hour we have the Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost of Christmas Present is a giant, jolly and dressed in holly chowing down on Christmas treats.

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Scrooge touches his robe and off they journey. It is Christmas morning and many are at work in their shops or readying their homes. Christmas Present has a torch, that when he sees anger, quarrels, or any unhappiness; sprinkles fire from his torch bringing good humor and Christmas cheer.

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They go down to the Cratchit house, a family of eight, very poor, but full of Christmas cheer and happiness. They wear threadbare clothes poorly patched: have limited food and call it a feast; thank Scrooge for providing the feast even though he is cruel; and the youngest, Tiny Tim, is crippled yet is proud that in his body he can remind others of the miracles Jesus did and the true reason for the season.

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Scrooge becomes invested in the scene before him and little Tiny Tim. When he asks about whether he will live, Christmas Present tells him that looking to the future his crutch is the only thing he can see.

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They visit others, and then find themselves at the home of his nephew where he is having a fun Christmas dinner. They have lots of fun laughing, singing, and playing all kinds of games.

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After all:

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself.”

Scrooge would like to stay there, but that spirit’s time is over and he must return, the new one coming next.

The next is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, truly frightening figure in a black cloak that covers him and silent as the grave.

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The first place they go is to a dead man’s home who’s items are stolen by employees in the area. No one liked this man, his funeral had barely anyone and the items stolen went unnoticed. Debtors are happy that he is gone as the next master may be kinder.

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They then stop by the Cratchits, who are mourning the death of Tiny Tim.

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They stop by his old haunts, but he is not there. The spirit takes him to a graveyard where his tombstone lies. The man they all hated that are thrilled is gone, is him.

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He pleads with the spirit for another chance, for time, to be able to be a new person.

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Scrooge awakens to find himself home, in his bed. All the adventures having been done in one night and it being Christmas morning.

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Christmas time

He decides to begin making amends as soon as possible. First he orders the hugest turkey to send to the Cratchit family; he finds the charity workers from the day before and promises to give them a lot of money; and to top it off goes to his nephew’s house for dinner. They spend a wonderful night together.

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The next day he awaits Bob, who comes late to work. At first Scrooge acts angry, like he was going to fire Bob, but then wishes him a Merry Christmas, raises his salary, adds more coal to the fire, and helps all in every way he can.

“He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”

Scrooge becoming a new person

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

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I love this book. From beginning to end, the characters, the language, the writing, the descriptions-oh. Just a fantastic read!

 

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

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For more on Charles Dickens, go to The Taxman Cometh

For more on ghosts, go to They’re Coming for Me Now…And Then They’ll Come for You: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

For more Cassandra Clare, go to Drug of Choice

For more bible verses, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

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So I know the book mentions the Christmas  carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, but I’m not going to talk about that carol as I already reviewed it last year.

So as Queen Victoria adopted her husband’s Christmas traditions, making the tradition of Christmas Trees a global tradition, I decided that is the song I am going to go with.

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Except I’m going to go with the traditional German version, O Tannenbaum.

This is an old song and wasn’t originally it wasn’t a Christmas song as Tannenbaum means fir tree and is instead about its symbol of steadfastness and constantcy. However, in 1824 Ernst Anschütz updated the song, changing the words to make it about Christmas; paired at just the right time when, as said before, Christmas trees were added into the culture of Christmas instead of just Germany.

I choose the version by Celtic Woman as I think this group is extremely talented.

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For more on Celtic Woman, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Christmas Carols, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

 

Winter Wonderland

So do you all remember my post last year on chopping down our Christmas tree? I talked about how hard and heavy it was and the way the tree kind of beat me up.

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Well this year wasn’t as painful, but it was just as interesting.

So every year after Thanksgiving my family drives up to the mountains to chop down our Christmas Tree.

OChristmasTreeOChristmasTreeGrimm

So some of you think that it seems like a ton of trouble but cutting down your tree is way better than buying it off the lot.

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 13 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are given a home. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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So this year we were gearing up to go, when we were called up by some friends of the family, the Nelsons. They’ve seen our trees and wanted one for themselves, so they asked to join us.

Double double yay

30 mins later, another family called, the Salamancas. They also wanted to join us, the more the merrier.

AWESOME!!!

And not too long after that, the Hawkins called and wanted to come too.

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So the next day, the day after Thanksgiving, we headed up the mountain caravan style. When we got there we got one big surprise. Snow!

Now you may recall me stating again and again how California has been in a drought the past few years. I mean, yes, we have had a few rainstorms but no one was expecting this. Of course when we saw it, we were all kinds of excited!

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Now we may only be like an hour or so away from the snow, but where I live it never snows. It may get under 30 degrees, but if it does it will never rain.

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 We never get a white Christmas, the closest we ever come to it is a wet one.

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And after like three years of going to the mountains and getting nothing, we finally had snow once again!

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Of course I always dress for the snow, even when there isn’t anything, just because it is cold up there. But my family is the only one who was prepared that way. Everybody else had the wrong shoes, jackets, etc. Oops!

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In fact there was so much snow that we weren’t even able to go to our usual tree cutting spot. The road was just covered in snow and black ice, in fact we almost got stuck at one point.

OMG gasp

So we went back down the mountain, found a spot, and began the search for the perfect tree.

It was hard going, even harder than last time as the snow blinded us and made every tree look amazing. But upon closer examination, they were not quite what we wanted.

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At one point it felt like we were never going to find it.

Reality Sucks

But then we found it. A beautiful 13-footer.

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But then came the problem of cutting it down.

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You see we had forgotten to bring the chain saw, and instead only had a regular saw. A saw which is very hard to cut down the tree with.

We all tried, but it was hard with that sap. However, thanks to our extra help we were able to get it down and to the road.

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When we reached the road, we discovered we had walked really far away from our cars. So my dad went to get our truck while we waited.

Now by this time it wasn’t really snowing, but it had gotten colder and icy. The roads were completely covered in ice.

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My dad drove down the hill, but when he tried to get back up to us, he almost got stuck in the side of the road as he started swirling off the road on the ice.

OMG gasp

Luckily my dad was able to drive in reverse and get out of the ice so we could put the tree in the back of our truck.

When we got home it started raining, and we had to get our tree into the house in the wind, rain, and the dark. But it was all worth it. It looked absolutely beautiful when we put it up in our house and decorated it.

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A absolutely beautiful tree.

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For more on cutting down the Christmas tree, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on White Christmas, go to Sisterly Roles

For more stories from my everyday life, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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So today’s Christmas Carol is not Winter Wonderland as let’s be honest, it’s not even really about Christmas. Instead today’s song is I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. The song was written by Irving Berlin and was sung by Bing Crosby, originaly in Holiday Inn, although at the time it was overshadoed by Be Careful It’s My Heart.

For me this wasn’t the first place I heard the song. The first time I was  introduced to the song was in the Christmas special claymation, The First White Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. In it one of the nuns, Sister Theresa, sings about how she misses the white Christmases from her hometown.

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However my favorite version comes from the film Holiday Inn, the first film to showcase the song.

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I think the way that Bing sings it in this film is much better than the way the group does it in White Christmas. In Holiday Inn it just sounds so much more personal and meaningful.

Plus I like that movie better.

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For more on The First White Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more on Holiday Inn, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

The 25 Carols of Christmas

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Christmas is coming, and you all know how much I love it! The tree…

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The parties!

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The Christmas baking!

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The holiday cheer!

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And of course, the Christmas carols.

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And I have tried to do something every year here on my blog. The only problem is that I get so busy.

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So many things come up around the holidays. My first year I tried to do the 12 posts of Christmas, reviewing a different Christmas film in the 12 days leading up to Christmas. It didn’t go as planned.

You shouldn't have messed with me

Besides all the other Christmas things I was doing, I ended up getting sick doing only 7/12 posts.

Noo!

The next year I tried to do a countdown, but it didn’t work out, so I did a singular post (like my Saint Patrick’s Day ones) in which I talked about 25 of my favorite films that have something to do with Christmas. I repeated it again for last year.

However, this year I decided I would try my best to do another countdown. At first I wanted to do The 25 Episodes of Christmas, reviewing my 25 favorite TV episodes. But when November 18th rolled around and I had yet to review even one, I decided it was best to scratch that idea, at least for this year.

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But then I got another idea. Why not review a Christmas Carol everyday? Do the regular posting as well, but just include a carol at the bottom of the post?

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So that is what I am going to try to do. Fingers crossed that I will accomplish it.

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So get ready for some Christmas songs headed your way!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

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To read the 12 Posts of Christmas, begin with On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For 2013’s Christmas post, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For 2014’s Christmas post, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

It’s a Jolly Holiday

14) Your Favorite Holiday

Your favorite holiday? Oooh that is a hard one to answer. Choose one?

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big holiday person. I love all holidays, even those that aren’t “real” (November 5th or May 4th?). What can I say?

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So if I had to pick my three favorite holidays? Here we go!

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3) Thanksgiving

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I love Thanksgiving as I love everything it stands for. I know a lot of people want to say how “the first Thanksgiving shouldn’t count” as “it opened a door to genocide” or whatever, but that’s not true. Not all relationships between the Native Americans and pilgrims (pilgrims not Puritans. Huge difference) was bad. In this case, the Native Americans helped those early settlers. If it weren’t for that goodwill, I wouldn’t be born as my family most likely never would have immigrated and met.

I also love how Abraham Lincoln recognized that in all the stress, bumble, and grind of everyday life; time should be given so that all can stop and be thankful for all they have.

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

I also love gathering with family and enjoying each other’s company. And of course, I love to eat until I explode.

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For more on Thanksgiving, go to I Before E, Especially After P

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2) Halloween

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

I know you had to see this coming. What with my Horrorfest I do every year (going on my fourth year and it is going to be good. I promise!), you had to know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

What can I say about this holiday? I love that it is fall and there are dry leaves and pumpkins everywhere. I love the chill in the air and that it is usually the start of rain. I love the candy. I love dressing up in a costume, I only wish I could do that more. And most of all I love the horror films that are showing everywhere and on sale to buy. I just love Halloween.

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For more on Halloween, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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1) Christmas

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I LOVE Christmas! Words cannot describe how much I enjoy when it comes around. I love how almost everyone is trying to be nice and kind, goodwill abounding; people actually going out of their way for others.

Plus I love picking out the perfect gift and wrapping it up and placing it under the tree, just waiting to see their face when they open it!

Going to church, cookie baking, carols, Christmas movies! And the tree, we go every year to chop one down and then decorate with the same decorations we’ve had every year. Pulling out our nativity and retelling the Christmas story again!

I love it, and can’t wait for it to come around!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

For more on Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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For more holidays, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White, & Blue

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

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So I don’t know about you all but my family actually cuts down our Christmas Tree. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to the black friday sales, and then a few hours to the forest to cut down our tree.

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Now some of you may wonder why we would go through so much trouble? Why not buy a fake one? Well I’ll tell you why:

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 12 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

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2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are sold. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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And with cutting down your tree there are always adventures. Three years ago I went with my parents and we brought my two nieces, my nephew, and our dog. We hiked all over the area in the snow looking for the perfect tree.

We finally found it and my dad cut it down using a manpowered saw rather than a chainsaw. I tried to help him but it was hard work and both of us were pooped. He was really tired so I had him rest and had to carry that tree on my own. Let me say, I’m never doing that again. It was sooo heavy! I don’t know how I was able to carry it even for a minute.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

After my dad’s rest we finished moving the tree to the truck. After that I had to carry the three kids as the snow embankments had grown larger, and they wouldn’t be able to make it out. Yep, every time I feel like something is too hard, difficult, or heavy, I just remind myself that I carried a tree down a mountainside. I rule!

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And this year wasn’t any duller. There was no snow as we’ve been suffering some strong dry spells, but we still had a lot of fun hiking up and down the mountainside for that perfect tree. When we found it we cut it down (using a chainsaw this time) and started to head down the mountainside. Now, we’ve been doing this since I was like 13, but this year something happened that had never happened before.

As we started down the hill trying to bring the tree to the truck, my dad yelled at us to turn the tree as he wanted the weaker side pointed to the ground as that side was to lay in the flatbed. As we turned the tree, BAM! SMACK!

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The tree branches kept smacking me in the face. And when I mean kept, I meant it didn’t stop. I guess it was the section of the tree I was in, but I couldn’t see a thing, just branches and branches smacking me in the face.

I felt as if it was like in The Wizard of Oz when the trees come to life and start smacking Dorothy.

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It was almost like it was mad at me for me cutting it down.

When we got home we got it out of the truck and was taking it into the house and had to turn the tree again. Now this time I had stood on the opposite side of the tree, hoping that would keep it from hitting me, but now once again tree slap.

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Hair everywhere, I can’t see a thing, I’m afraid my glasses might get knocked off and go flying, and I am praying so hard that I do not fall in our pool.

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Luckily we get it in the stand and straighten it out. And boy does it look lovely. It kind of makes up for the abuse it gave me.

Now my abuse from the tree branches doesn’t end there. Oh, no! You see after I graduated and interned this summer; I moved back home. I’ve been trying to find a job, but this is pretty much what it is like.

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So to fill the time until I am hopefully hired, I am volunteering at quite a few places. One of which is my local museum. So last week I headed down there as it was my turn to work the desk. I brought with me some pine clippings from our tree as the museum was decorating for Christmas. Well it turned out that they didn’t have as many volunteers as they hoped, so they asked me to help with the decorating. I thought okay, it will be fun.

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So I thought decorating meant we were going to hang ornaments on the tree.

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We were making these giant wreaths.

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So I was paired with one of the volunteers and let me just stop and share something with you. Most of the volunteers at the museum are older, like 60+. So the woman I had wasn’t the most helpful. You see you take branches of the tree and put them on a plastic doughnut, tying them down with string or wire as you go along. Adding more and more branches until it is filled. However, that’s not what happened here. My helper laid tons of branches down and then sat down as she couldn’t tie them on. I tried to tie the branches down, but the wreath slipped and they all went crashing to the floor.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yep, I had to do everything over, but this time I did it right. As I continued, more people came and helped out which was nice. It was a really hard process though as it had rained for the past three days, and all their tree clippings were soaked, making the already hard job of trying to tie them down even harder!

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Finally we had completed it and I was tired. It’s a lot of bending over and being pricked/stabbed by the wire and tree branches. I sat down for a bit but then had to move on to making garland.

Stupid, stupid

OMG it was so hard. You have a piece of rope and have to twist tie the branch to the rope. Yep, those flimsy little twisty ties. IT TAKES FOREVER! You keep placing branches over and over each other to make it fuller and until you cover the rope. This is extremely hard. At times I was trying to use one of those flimsy things to tie three branches together! And because a lot of people had to leave, I had to do it all on my own. By one fourth of the way I wanted to burn the thing.

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We had a time limit to this as at noon the county was sending over free labor and the right machine to hang this things high up on the walls. So when every team completed theirs and saw I wasn’t even at the halfway point they all descended on me to help out.

Now you think this would have been nice, and it would have if it was one or two, but there were like five trying to take over the tying or telling me what to do. It made me feel kind of surly:

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

But I just kept to myself, trying to be professional.

After that my shift was over and I headed home, bearing more battle wounds that those brought on by the slapping tree. My hands were covered in cuts and they hurt sooo bad, my back was aching from bending over, my feet were sore from standing, etc. But hey beauty is pain, and the place sure did look amazing!

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Merry Christmas!

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For more on Christmas trees, go to On the  7th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Christmas, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more moments of my every day life, go to How Can This Be?

For more on the Wizard of Oz, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more of my favorite songs, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt

On the 8th Day ‘Til Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

On the 8th day ’til Christmas  my blogger gave to me

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Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

This film is another one of those that goes under the cliché of two people who can’t stand each other being stuck together for a period of time; and then end up falling in love. This copies the film, It Happened One NightThat is such an influential film that I promise you I will do a review on it.

So this film was made by abc family, a part of their 25 Days of Christmas. It stars the amazing Melissa Joan Hart; sparking her return to acting; along with the very handsome Mario Lopez. I had the biggest crush on Mario Lopez when he was A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell. (Although he was my second, my heart first belonged to Mark-Paul Gosselaar).

So the film starts out with Trudy, (MJH), being ragged on by her parents. In everything she’s been in lately, she always has mean parents, it makes you wonder if they are really like that.

Hmm

Hmm

Anyways, her mom is complaining about Trudy. Everything about her and she does is wrong. In fact, one thing her mother always complains about is Trudy’s hair, so she decided she would get a perm “to fix” it. It doesn’t turn out as planned as she completely wrecks her hair.

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Because she was distracted by her hair and a phone call from her mother she also misses a job interview.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

When she gets to work, Raj’s Diner, her boyfriend stops by. Instead of going with her to her Christmas Family Reunion, he dumps her.

mary_bennetCan't get a break

Trudy has a complete breakdown, kidnapping the next guy she sees, David (Mario Lopez), and takes him with her. She has a 19th century gun, but David manages to slip on some ice making it much easier for Trudy to lug him in her car.

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Trudy ties him up with pantyhose and her scarf. She explains the situation and starts to tell him a little bit about herself. She runs out of gas and has to go get some, but the attendant comes out to pump her gas and sees David tied up. Trudy hurriedly explains that he’s her bf and they are going away for a weekend of “fun”. He runs back to his store and Trudy hurries to pump the gas before he gets back, worried he is going to call the cops. As the attendant comes out, he gives her free furry handcuffs for her “weekend”.

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So every Christmas Trudy’s family rents out a place for Christmas where they can be away from the world. No cellphones, phones, or any electronics are allowed. This year they are going to a cabin far out in the middle of nowhere. She takes David there, but first goes into the cabin to tell her parents that “Nick”, (as she is pretending David is Nick ), likes to pretend that he is kidnapped and doesn’t want to be there. When she brings David in, he starts yelling about him being kidnapped but all Trudy’s parents do is laugh. When her brother and sister also come in, they have the same result. Trudy also becomes the key-master, in charge of  hiding the phones and keys from everyone.

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Trudy also keeps an eye on David, by having him share the room with her; telling her mom that she’s old enough to sleep in the same room as her bf. They end up sharing a room with bunk beds. That night David tries to escape, and Trudy catches him, bringing him back to the cabin.

I don't think so

The next day, David catches Trudy on the phone, and the two fight over it until Trudy crushes it with a meat mallet. The mom lends David some of the dad’s old clothes, which are too small, causing him to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. When the mom needs something from the store, he and Trudy’s dad go out to get it. Trudy tries to stop them, but everyone convinces her it will be great “bonding time”. While the guys are gone, Trudy’s sister helps her with her hair; straightening it out.

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David and the dad drive out to the closest store,  which happens to be the same gas station that Trudy had stopped at before. When David tries to convince him that he was kidnapped and needs help; the man brings out a shotgun and tells him to go back to the pretty lady. David complies. As he and the dad are driving back; David tries to take the wheel, almost crashing them. The dad puts David in a chokehold and calms them down. When they get back, David is so bummed that he is still stuck there he flings himself down upon a chair. When he does that, his too-tight pants rip, and Trudy’s older brother comes to his rescue by lending him some of his clothes.

When he goes to get the clothes, David discovers that Trudy’s brother Jake has a phone. He borrows it and runs into the bathroom to hurriedly call his girlfriend, Jessica. When he reaches her, he can say nothing; because she is too busy yelling at him for standing her up.

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I am not pleased

David is finally able to explain by bursting out that he was going to propose. Now this part made no sense to me. Jessica is the daughter of David’s boss, and used to the high life. And he was going to propose to her in a diner?

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That makes no sense! You think he would pick something a little more classy than Raj’s Diner.

Anyways, he tells Jessica that he’s been kidnapped and to send help asap. Jessica promises to help, eagerly thinking of the ring she will be receiving.

By this time Trudy has figured out what is going on, and picks the lock on the door. She grabs the phone and tosses it in the toilet, but it’s too late by then. David laughs at her, and promises that he will be the best bf ever, just to make things worse when her family finds out what she did. He proves to be as her family tells him of all of Trudy’s secrets, has him put the angel on the top of the tree, make Trudy fetch David pie, and has him read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Trudy becomes extremely upset the way that her family seems to like David more than her.

After they read the book, the mom has them write out their Christmas lists and leaves Oreos and milk out for Santa. Here Trudy and David have a heart-to-heart. Trudy tells him that she is a disappointment to her parents and David tries to console her.

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The next day is Christmas, and in the morning Trudy and David spend the day out having fun. They play hockey and take a walk out in the snow. They both learn more about each other as David reveals that his parents died when he was about six, and was raised by his grandpa. He worked his way through college and studied architecture, becoming a developer only  because there was more money in it. Trudy realizes that while her family isn’t perfect there is plenty to be thankful for. She also tells David about the best Christmas she’s ever had. One year she was supposed to be in an ice-skating performance and it was canceled because of snow. She was so disappointed, that her father sprayed water over the patio, icing it up and decorated the whole area with lights so she could perform for them there.

Later, they go inside and play chess where they have some more heart-to-hearts and David realizes how sorry Trudy is for kidnapping him. They also just happen to walk under some mistletoe, causing the two to share a kiss and start up some feelings between the two.

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Later when David is cleaning up, he finds an album with photos of Trudy’s artwork. She does a lot of portraiture; very post-impressionism style. Trudy finds her mom, and discovers that not everything is perfect in her parent’s marriage.

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When present time comes around nobody gets what they want. Trudy receives a pink sweater, as her mom buys her one every year; Jake gets a tie; the Dad gets underwear; the mom a case of socket wrenches; and the grandma a mug that says “World’s Greatest Grandma”.  David got a backscratcher and Katie (Trudy’s sister) a book of all the law firms in the nation. Trudy is also given a briefcase, which starts another argument about Trudy’s need to get a “real job”. David can’t watch her parents be so cruel to Trudy, and interrupts telling them that her artwork is amazing. He also pulls out his ring for Jessica and proposes. It’s so sweet and romantic.

Double double yay

Meanwhile Jessica and the cops have tracked down Trudy’s friend and coworker to find out where Trudy is. They interrupt her and her boyfriend, and when the cops threaten her, she spills all.

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Back at the cabin, all are getting ready for Christmas dinner. In fact Trudy walks in on David getting ready, getting a great look at his bod. All I can say is I greatly appreciated the writers creating this scene.

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Right before dinner, David gets Trudy and tells her he has a Christmas surprise. He has recreated her prefect Christmas. He sprayed the patio so it was icy, and put lights up everywhere; and asks her to show him her ice-skating routine. She does and the two’s love for each other is cemented, but neither has realized it.

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Christmas dinner arrives, and all hell breaks loose. Katie tells her parents that she dropped out of school and has used the tuition to start a pilates studio in CA. Jake reveals that he is gay and has been seeing a man for a long time. The parents tell all about their marital problems. Just as all is revealed, the cops break in arresting everyone and letting the cat out of the bag about the kidnapping.

ouch Hermione

Everyone spends the night in jail. The next day they are all released as David chooses to not press charges.

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Trudy realizes that she is in love with David, but puts herself into her painting, creating a piece about David’s Christmas surprise.

Meanwhile David is starting to see that Jessica isn’t the right person for him. He starts to reevaluate what his life is going to be like with her, and not quite pleased with what it will be like.

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As all this is happening, one of Trudy’s pieces is picked to be in a show. She invites her brother to come to it, and he brings along his boyfriend. At the show Trudy is surprised to see the rest of the family. The parents have been in counseling and all have promised to be more open with each other. Trudy’s piece also gets sold. However, her happiness is short-lived as she is heartbroken over David, he got married the Saturday before.

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Trudy leaves the show by herself, and is kidnapped. She is blindfolded and taken somewhere by………….David! David is the one who had purchased her picture and came to tell her he couldn’t marry Jessica. That not only is he in love with her, but she inspired him to create his own architectural firm. The film ends with the two being together; happily ever after!

Holiday in handcuffs kiss

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12 Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

For the previous post, go to On the 9th Day ’til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts

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For more on two who hate each other falling in love, go to I Don’t Want the Money