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.

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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

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I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Romantic Moment #12

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

So exactly one year ago I did another It’s A Wonderful Life post for the Valentine’s Day countdown. I swear I didn’t plan this, I only got the idea for it when I was doing my The Notebook post as Noah wanting to redo a house made me think of how Mary loved that old house and she and George renovate it for their family.

Now this movie holds a special and dear place in my heart. Even though it is now considered a Christmas movie, it is one of my favorites to watch anytime because of the great message. Here is one man who helps and touches so many others, without even realizing the affect he has on everyone. He may not be a famous or a millionaire; but in his kind and quiet way is helping everyone in the town. I also love it because Jimmy Stewart is in it, and he’s my favorite actor. Plus the film is directed by the amazing Frank Capra. He is my second favorite director and I simply adore practically every film he has made.

We start off It’s a Wonderful Life, with all these people praying for George Bailey, (Jimmy Stewart); for God to please help him in his time of need. God decides to send in an angel to help him. We hear all this from Joseph, an angel overseer, who selects Clarence for the job. Joseph fills Clarence in on George’s backstory so he will know what lead George up to this point in his life.

From a young age George was a leader and eager to travel the world. When he was 12, he saved his brother from hypothermia, rescuing him when he fell into some icy water and sacrificing his ear. He works at a pharmacy and saves Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, from jail time when he points out that Mr. Gower accidentaly messed up the dosage on account of him being distraught over his own son’s death. We are also introduced to Mary, a girl a few years younger than George, who declares she will marry him and love him forever.

Fast forward the years and George is now 22, and eager to go off into the world. He was working for his father at the family’s Building, Saving, & Loan; until his brother graduated, and now he is going to use all the money he put aside and go off for college. That night he goes to Harry’s grad party and hijinks ensue. He and Mary fall into the pool and enjoy a romantic moon-filled night.  But unfortunately as George and Mary are getting closer together; George’s father becomes ill and dies. The only way to keep the family business going and save people from evil Mr. Potter is to stay. So George does for another four years, sending Harry off to college instead.

Fast forwarding again, and Harry, George’s brother, is back from college. But instead of staying, he is going to work for his wife’s father. George is distraught at having to stay in the town longer, but after finally admitting his feelings for Mary, is happily and ready to start a life with her.

It is after George and Mary’s wedding, and the two are excited to leave the town for their honeymoon.Once again as George is preparing to leave the town, something happens to get him to stay. (The man just can’t get a break.) There is a run on the bank and to calm everyone down, George and Mary sacrifice all of their honeymoon trip money. That night he goes home, and Mary has taken an old abandoned house and made it their home.

Potter becomes worried about George’s affordable housing project, and tries to hire him, but is turned down by George’s morals. He and Mary start a family.

WWII comes and George still can’t leave, his ear keeps him from enlisting, but Harry makes all kinds of victories and earns all kinds of medals.

On Christmas Eve, the Bailey’s are preparing for a Christmas welcome for Harry. Sadly, forgetful Uncle Billy loses the money is supposed to withdraw. Potter calls in an audit and sicks him on George, hoping to get the Savings and Loan. George looks everywhere but can’t find the money. He even goes to Potter (who secretly has the money) sends the cops over to arrest him for bank fraud.

George is desperate and when Clarence comes he wishes he was never born. Clarence grants his wish and he sees without him, the affordable housing project, and all the things he does to help the people; the town is now full of sleazy nightclubs, stripper joints, bars, pawn shops, etc. Without him Mr. Gower was sent to prison for poisoning the child, as there was no George to stop him. Martini does not own the bar, as he was never granted a loan by George. George’s friend Violet Bick is a stripper and gets arrested as a pickpocket; as George wasn’t around to help her out and she had no other alternative. Ernie is helplessly poor, with his family having forsaken him. Uncle Billy has been in an insane asylum for many years since he lost his brother and the family business. Harry is dead as a result of George not being there to save him from drowning, and the servicemen he would have saved also died. George’s mother is a bitter widow, and Mary is a shy, single, librarian. Clarence then explains how George single-highhandedly prevented this dire fate. He, and he alone, kept Potter in check, preventing the town from descending into squalor and vice.

George wishes to live again and Clarence grants it. He runs home to face the bank examiner, the auditor, and the police. He doesn’t care as he is with his family. Everyone he knows brings money to help pay the $25,000. His brother Harry skips dinner with the President to be home and support George.

Most Romantic Moment:

So this year’s most romantic moment comes right after George had visited Harry’s graduation party. There he ran into his best friend’s sister, Mary, who had also just graduated. Mary has always had a crush on George and he has realized that she is no longer a little girl. The two dance the night away, falling into the pool and getting wet.

George is walking Mary home and throws a rock at an old house (something everyone does in the town). If you hit a window, then your wish will come true. George throws the rock and hits the window. When Mary asks about his wish, George tells Mary about how he wants to leave Bedford Falls. Mary listens, picks up a rock and throws it herself, hitting the window. George tries to get her to tell her what the wish was, but she won’t say anything. George tries to get more out of her asking what she wants.

George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

It is sooooo romantic!!!! Here he is telling Mary that anything she wants he will try and get for her. That nothing is too much for her, even the moon is not too far out of reach! Anything is possible when they are together. He would do anything for her, anything.  I would love it if a guy said that to me. Class A pick up line! 🙂

For more on It’s a Wonderful Life check out the 25 Films of Christmas

Bringing the World to Your Backyard: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Romantic Moment #12

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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Now this movie holds a special and dear place in my heart. Even though it is now considered a Christmas movie, it is one of my favorites to watch anytime because of the great message. Here is one man who helps and touches so many others, without even realizing the affect he has on everyone. He may not be a famous or a millionaire; but in his kind and quiet way is helping everyone in the town. I also love it because Jimmy Stewart is in it, and he’s my favorite actor. Plus we also have the film directed by the amazing Frank Capra. He is my second favorite director and I simply adore practically every film he has made.

Iloveit love

Now this may come as quite a shock, but I am not choosing the “Lasso the Moon” scene as my romantic moment. I know, I know; it’s a great scene and I absolutely love it, as I do every scene, but I thought I’d move us into a different direction.

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We start off It’s a Wonderful Life, with all these people praying for George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart); for God to please help him in his time of need. God decides to send in an angel to help him. We hear all this from Joseph, an angel overseer, who selects Clarence for the job. Joseph fills Clarence in on George’s backstory so he will know what lead George up to this point in his life.

Flashback

Flashback

From a young age George was a leader and eager to travel the world. When he was 12, he saved his brother from hypothermia, rescuing him when he fell into some icy water and sacrificing his ear. He works at a pharmacy and saves Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, from jail time when he points out that Mr. Gower accidentally messed up the dosage in  draught on account of him being distraught over his own son’s death. We are also introduced to Mary, a girl a few years younger than George, who declares she will marry him and love him forever.

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Fast forward the years and George is now 22, and eager to go off into the world. He was working for his father at the family’s Building, Saving, & Loan; until his brother graduated, and now he is going to use all the money he put aside and go off for college. That night he goes to Harry’s grad party and hijinks ensue. This is where we have the famous pool scene and moon scene. Both are awesome! But unfortunately as George and Mary are getting closer together; George’s father becomes ill and dies. The only way to keep the family business going and save people from evil Mr. Potter is to stay. So George does for another four years.

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Fast forwarding again, and Harry, George’s brother, is back from college. But instead of staying, he is going to work for his wife’s father. George is distraught at having to stay in the town longer, but after finally admitting his feelings for Mary, is happily ready to start a life together.

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Yes every time George tries to leave the town forever, he is just sucked back in. He doesn’t even get to go off in WWII on account of his ear. But he enjoys his life with his growing family. However, everything goes sour when an account of money is misplaced. If George doesn’t have it soon, then he will go to jail and they will lose everything. As he starts contemplating suicide, Clarence comes and stops him.

No killing yourself on my watch

No killing yourself on my watch

George then wishes he was never born, and sets off to see what the town and people would look like without him. Will they be better? Or worse?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Want You to “See” the World

It is after George and Mary’s wedding, and the two are excited to leave the town for their honeymoon. Once again as George is preparing to leave the town, something happens to get him to stay. (The man just can’t get a break.) There is a run on the bank and to calm everyone down, George and Mary sacrifice all of their honeymoon trip money.

Here’s the romantic part!

George was so busy trying to help everyone that he hasn’t even realized Mary left the building. He gets a call from Mrs. Bailey (Mary)  who asks him to come home. George doesn’t know what home she is speaking of, but heads off to the address she provided him. When he gets there, it turns out to be the old house on the block, the one that everyone throws rocks at to “get wishes”. Mary has fixed up the whole place with posters of far away places, she has a record playing tropical music, and a chicken rotissering over the fire.

It’s so romantic because Mary knows how much George has longed to leave Bedford Falls, and how many chances he has sacrificed for others. While she can’t take him around the world, she decides to bring those far off places he loves and dreams of, here. She even has Bert and Ernie, the cop and cabdriver (not muppets), serenade them. How romantic is that?

 

So romantic

So romantic

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To start Romance is in the Air from the beginning, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For the previous post, go to I’m Sorry Sounds Better in a Song: Music and Lyrics (2007)

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For more on It’s A Wonderful Life, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Mary Bailey, go to I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

For more George Bailey, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to Hunk-a-Thon

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