Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire

The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire (free on Freevee via Amazon Prime or on Tubi or via YouTube embedded below) is a 2002 non-canonical Sherlock Holmes film starring Matt Frewer as Holmes. I hold Jeremy Brett as the matchless representation of Sherlock Holmes, but this version is enjoyable enough. This takes place during the Christmas season.

via YouTube:

A Christmas present this year:

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Reckless (1995)

Reckless is a 1995 American dark comedy film starring Mia Farrow. If you're looking for something different, look no further.

via YouTube:

A Christmas present this year:

Friday, December 29, 2023

7 Women and a Murder

7 Women and a Murder (Netflix) is a 2021 Italian comedy mystery film. I watched it dubbed in English. I can only find a trailer in Hindi, which seems strange. Hmmm... The image above is from the Netflix site.


More little trees. The one in the front center came from The Metal Museum and was bought at the annual arts and crafts fair our Natural History museum puts on every year. I had my eye on it for years before I finally bought one. The one on the left came from Target, and the one on the right came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester

The Stalls of Barchester (1971) is the first of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas series. Based on the story "The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral" from the 1911 collection More Ghost Stories by M. R. James.

via YouTube:

More little trees. The elves were a Christmas present from a maternal aunt when I was a child.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Carol (2015)

Carol (Netflix) is a 2015 romantic period drama based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a budding relationship between an aspiring female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce. It has received over 290 industry and critic nominations, and over 100 awards and honours. I don't know how I missed it until now and am happy to have remedied that loss. I say that as someone who avoids romance films like the plague. Even if you don't favor -or even if you particularly despise- a particular genre, there will always be a few movies that you'll like if you are willing to give them a chance. The movie begins during the Christmas holiday season.


More little trees. The cloth one on the left was made by Mother one year when we gave these as Christmas presents. The metal one in the back was a gift from The Daughter. The tree on the right came from Target. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas tells the story of a Bohemian king who goes on a journey, braving harsh winter weather, to give aid to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen. The Feast of Stephen is today, December 26.

lyric excerpt for T Tuesday:

Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I shall see him dine
When we bear them thither.

Please join us for the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.


A few more little trees. The doll's name is Betty.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!

I bought this nativity scene from Sears when I was a child back in the day when you could buy one piece at a time. We add the baby Jesus on Christmas Day (I'll go do that now) and begin moving the Wise Men (ours are men) towards the manger. They are added to the scene on Epiphany. I've forgotten where the star came from, but it was associated with a different nativity scene when my kids were little. I've also forgotten where the tree came from, but it's a recent addition.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Eve (1820)

Christmas Eve is an 1820 short story by Washington Irving. Interesting Literature says,
Before Charles Dickens became the literary laureate of Christmas, Washington Irving was introducing American readers to a whole host of now ubiquitous Christmas traditions, including Christmas carols on people’s doorsteps, mistletoe, and the famous Yule log – traditions which Irving had to explain in footnotes, so unfamiliar were they to his original readers in 1820.
You can read it online here or have it read to you at the bottom of the post. It begins,
It was a brilliant moonlight night, but extremely cold; our chaise whirled rapidly over the frozen ground; the postboy smacked his whip incessantly, and a part of the time his horses were on a gallop. “He knows where he is going,” said my companion, laughing, “and is eager to arrive in time for some of the merriment and good cheer of the servants’ hall. My father, you must know, is a bigoted devotee of the old school, and prides himself upon keeping up something of old English hospitality. He is a tolerable specimen of what you will rarely meet with nowadays in its purity, the old English country gentleman; for our men of fortune spend so much of their time in town, and fashion is carried so much into the country, that the strong rich peculiarities of ancient rural life are almost polished away. My father, however, from early years, took honest Peacham for his textbook, instead of Chesterfield; he determined in his own mind that there was no condition more truly honorable and enviable than that of a country gentleman on his paternal lands, and therefore passes the whole of his time on his estate. He is a strenuous advocate for the revival of the old rural games and holiday observances, and is deeply read in the writers, ancient and modern, who have treated on the subject. Indeed, his favorite range of reading is among the authors who flourished at least two centuries since, who, he insists, wrote and thought more like true Englishmen than any of their successors. He even regrets sometimes that he had not been born a few centuries earlier, when England was itself and had its peculiar manners and customs. As he lives at some distance from the main road, in rather a lonely part of the country, without any rival gentry near him, he has that most enviable of all blessings to an Englishman—an opportunity of indulging the bent of his own humor without molestation. Being representative of the oldest family in the neighborhood, and a great part of the peasantry being his tenants, he is much looked up to, and in general is known simply by the appellation of ‘The Squire’—a title which has been accorded to the head of the family since time immemorial. I think it best to give you these hints about my worthy old father, to prepare you for any eccentricities that might otherwise appear absurd.”


This is The Husband's Christmas stocking on the left with the stocking I've always had and used that was made for me by a maternal aunt when I was a baby.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Cash on Demand

Cash on Demand (Tubi) is a 1961 British Hammer Film Productions film noir starring Peter Cushing. It takes place during the Christmas season. It seems little known now but is well-reviewed.

via Daily Motion:


I have accumulated quite a few little trees through the years. Some stay out all year while some get put away with Christmas decorations. Here are some of them:

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Cowboy and the Indians

The Cowboy and the Indians (Tubi) is a 1949 Western film directed by John English and starring Gene Autry and Jay Silverheels. Clayton Moore also has a part. This film takes a sympathetic approach to the native American plight. Part of this movie takes place during the Christmas season.

via YouTube:


Various pillows I've kept from years past:


Last night's solstice fire:

Thursday, December 21, 2023


Happy Yule! from Wikipedia:
In present times adherents of some new religious movements (such as Modern Germanic paganism) celebrate Yule independently of the Christian festival.

As contemporary pagan religions differ in both origin and practice, these representations of Yule can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some Heathens, for example, celebrate in a way as close as possible to how they believe ancient Germanic pagans observed the tradition, while others observe the holiday with rituals "assembled from different sources." Heathen celebrations of Yule can also include sharing a meal and gift-giving.

In most forms of Wicca, this holiday is celebrated at the winter solstice as the rebirth of the Great horned hunter god, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. The method of gathering for this sabbat varies by practitioner. Some have private ceremonies at home, while others do so with their covens

Or Happy Winter Solstice. The date of the Winter Solstice is not the same from year to year and is the shortest day of the year. From the date of this solstice onwards the light grows and Spring draws nearer. from
This year the Winter Solstice will occur on Dec. 21/22. 2023.

The Winter Solstice, or the December Solstice, is the point at which the path of the sun in the sky is farthest south. At the Winter Solstice, the sun travels the shortest path through the sky resulting in the day of the year with the least sunlight and therefore, the longest night.

In the lead-up to the Winter Solstice, the days become shorter and shorter, then on the evening of the solstice  —  in the Northern Hemisphere occurs annually on the 21st or 22nd of December —  [Astronomical] winter begins, according to a NASA resource. From then onwards the days become increasingly long leading up to the Summer Solstice, or the June Solstice, and the longest day of the year.

This year the Winter Solstice will occur on Dec. 21/22. During the day, the Northern Hemisphere will have about 7 hours and 14 minutes of daylight, marking the shortest day of the year. Then at 10:27 p.m. ET (0327 GMT on Dec. 22), Earth's axis will be tilted the farthest away from the sun.

To be precise, the Winter Solstice marks what is known as the "astronomical winter" —  but don't worry, this doesn’t mean it will be colder than any other winter. The moniker is simply adopted to distinguish it from the meteorological winter.

While the astronomical change of seasons is related to Earth's position around the sun and its axis, the meteorological seasons are marked by the first day of a particular month [and aligned with average temperatures across the seasons].

I observe meteorological seasons, and Winter begins in that reckoning on the first day of December. Waiting until Midwinter to acknowledge the presence of winter never made sense to me.


The Santa here is made like a matryoshka doll, with identical nested Santas. The candle holder was made by my parents one year when I was a child. They often made Christmas presents and always kept one for us. Back then there was a pine cone on the base, but when it failed over time I replaced it with the yarn bit.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas Auld Lang Syne

Christmas Auld Lang Syne:

by Bobby Darin, who was only 37 when he died on this date in 1973. His life-long heart issues finally caught up with him.


The first image is of a Christmas card in a frame where one of our wedding invitations was displayed early in our married life.

Mother used to hang this next piece on her wall. When she moved to a retirement community she used this as a door decoration.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Artworks That Define Christmas

This Guardian article includes some beautiful images but not a single depiction of a drink.

I'll be having espresso in this sweet cup The Daughter gave me. Please post your own drink reference and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

This is our Advent calendar, made for us by Mother when the kids were little:

Monday, December 18, 2023

Christmas in the Woods

Christmas in the Woods:

by Dallas Lore Sharp, who became known through his charming magazine articles on native birds and small mammals.

I've never heard the word "persimmon" pronounced the way this reader pronounces it.


Mother made these for Christmas presents back in the day:

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Queen's Square

The Queen's Square is a 1933 Lord Peter Wimsey story by Dorothy Sayers in which Wimsey attends a fancy dress ball during the Christmas season. Sayers died on this date in 1957 at the age of 64. You can read this story online at this link. It begins,
"You Jack o' Di'monds, you Jack o' Di'monds," said Mark Sambourne, shaking a reproachful head, "I know you of old." He rummaged beneath the white satin of his costume, panelled with gigantic oblongs and spotted to represent a set of dominoes. "Hang this fancy rig! Where the blazes has the fellow put my pockets? You rob my pocket, yes, you rob-a my pocket, you rob my pocket of silver and go-ho-hold. How much do you make it?" He extracted a fountain-pen and a cheque-book.

"Five-seventeen-six," said Lord Peter Wimsey. "That's right, isn't it, partner?" His huge blue-and-scarlet sleeves rustled as he turned to Lady Hermione Creethorpe, who, in her Queen of Clubs costume, looked a very redoubtable virgin, as, indeed, she was.

"Quite right," said the old lady, "and I consider that very cheap."

"We haven't been playing long," said Wimsey apologetically.

"It would have been more, Auntie," observed Mrs. Wrayburn, "if you hadn't been greedy. You shouldn't have doubled those four spades of mine."

Lady Hermione snorted, and Wimsey hastily cut in:

"It's a pity we've got to stop, but Deverill will never forgive us if we're not there to dance Sir Roger. He feels strongly about it. What's the time? Twenty past one. Sir Roger is timed to start sharp at half-past. I suppose we'd better tootle back to the ballroom."

"I suppose we had," agreed Mrs. Wrayburn. She stood up, displaying her dress, boldly patterned with the red and black points of a backgammon board. "It's very good of you," she added, as Lady Hermione's voluminous skirts swept through the hall ahead of them, "to chuck your dancing to give Auntie her bridge. She does so hate to miss it."

"Not at all," replied Wimsey. "It's a pleasure. And in any case I was jolly glad of a rest. These costumes are dashed hot for dancing in."


A few years ago I started gathering small trees for Christmas. Two of them are shown below along with a decoration my parents made when I was a child.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Christmas Music

This is the Advent/Christmas playlist I keep at Spotify. I've never had any luck using Spotify on my phone, but signing in on my laptop gives me a fine experience. There are commercials, of course, but I think of it as radio.


Friday, December 15, 2023

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog:

by Rufus Thomas, who died on this date in 2001 in Memphis

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Violent Night

Violent Night (Amazon Prime) is a 2022 Christmas action comedy film about Santa Claus (portrayed by David Harbour) fighting a heavily armed group who have taken a wealthy family hostage in their home. This is surprisingly heartwarming. I'd watch it again.



The past 5 years The Husband has only been home on weekends, and I used a tabletop tree here while he put up the 7-foot tree where he was. He dearly loves the larger tree, so we put it up here this year.


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Girl with Hyacinths

Girl with Hyacinths is a 1950 Swedish drama film. Some of it takes place during the Christmas holiday season. This is a brilliant movie, and I'm sorry I'm just now discovering it.

via YouTube:

A few years ago I wanted a bit of sparkle on the patio, so I bought tinsel and wrapped it around forms I already had:

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in Saint Louis (on Max) is an award-winning 1944 musical film starring Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, Marjorie Main, June Lockhart and Joan Carroll. It takes place over the course of a year, and one section of the film takes place during the Christmas season.


The Hollywood Reporter in its review from the film's release:
It is a bit difficult to classify Meet Me in St. Louis. It isn’t exactly a musical, although it has some outstanding musical numbers in it. It isn’t exactly a comedy, although there is a vast deal of comedy in it. Nor is it exactly drama, although it has moving dramatic passages. However, there is no difficulty at all in describing it. Meet Me in St. Louis is completely delightful, homey, warmly human entertainment which has captured a nostalgic charm rarely if ever equalled on the screen.
Slant Magazine says it "remains one of the most vital of musical films." Time Out gives it 5 out of 5 stars and calls it a "musical masterpiece". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Share a drink-related post and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. My "ticket" is a screenshot from the movie showing Judy Garland bringing a tray of drinks in to the party:

Monday, December 11, 2023

A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come:

by Sam Cooke, who died on this date in 1964. from LCSun-news:
Later in his career, Cooke led a refusal to play a segregated show in Memphis. Many of the other artists on the bill showed up to play, but Sam stayed in his motel room — at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed just a few years later.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Home for the Holidays (1972)

Home for the Holidays is a 1972 made-for-television horror film that takes place during the Christmas holiday season. It stars Sally Field, Jessica Walter, Eleanor Parker, Julie Harris, and Walter Brennan.

via YouTube:

I remember these ball trees from my childhood, although my family never had one. I'd been on the lookout at the antique malls and thrift stores and finally found one. I picked up the balls during an after-Christmas sale at Michael's a few years later. The little snow guy is another antique mall find from a few years back. These days I still sometimes go to antique malls, but I never buy anything. If only I had more room or less stuff... 🤣

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix) is a 2020 Christmas musical fantasy film. It's cute enough holiday fare. Sometimes we just want some pretty bit of fluff for the season, and this was sweet.


i have several pair of Christmas footies, each pair a gift from The Daughter through the years. Non-slip footies are harder to find than they used to be. 

Friday, December 08, 2023

A Boy Called Christmas

A Boy Called Christmas (Netflix) is a 2021 British Christmas fantasy film. The cast includes Toby Jones and Maggie Smith. This is a charming and delightful movie.


I found this sweet little pink tree complete with ornaments for $2 at a local antique mall a few years ago. I replaced the tinsel, rearranged the balls a bit, and made the star. The angel -I've always called her Singing Angel- is decades old. I can't remember now where I got her. These are on the kitchen counter.

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Beware, My Lovely

Beware, My Lovely is a 1952 film noir starring Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan. It takes place during the Christmas holiday season. Available on YouTube or embedded below.

via Internet Archive:


I have in the past framed a few Christmas cards to use as decorations, and this is one of those. The angels were bought in a local gift shop back in the early 1990s. This year I have these on the buffet in our dining room.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

The Christmas Chronicles 2

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (Netflix) is a 2020 Christmas comedy film, a sequel to the 2018 movie, directed by Chris Columbus. It stars Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Malcolm McDowell is also in this. Most reviews are positive, and we like it. It won't be one of those we watch every year, but we do enjoy having at least one new-to-us holiday movie every year.


Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Judy Garland Christmas Special

The Judy Garland Christmas Special is the 1963 Christmas episode of this show. I actually feel sad watching Judy Garland as she aged. What a tragic life, and dead at 47. That said, the Christmas special can be enjoyed anyway, right?

Join me in a cozy cuppa:

That mug on the left was broken long ago, but we remember it fondly. Share your own drink reference with the T Stands for Tuesday bloggers.

Monday, December 04, 2023

The Christmas Wife

The Christmas Wife (on Tubi) is a 1988 American drama film starring Jason Robards and Julie Harris. A bit of a tear-jerker, this.

via YouTube:

Sunday, December 03, 2023

The Day of the Beast (1995)

The Day of the Beast (on on Tubi or on Amazon Prime's Freevee or embedded below) is an award-winning 1995 Spanish-Italian black comedy film with horror elements that takes place over the Christmas holidays. This is great fun. It features a Basque priest, and I have always been fascinated by the Basques.

via YouTube:


Friday, December 01, 2023

The Unholy Three (1930)

The Unholy Three is a 1930 pre-code crime drama film, a remake of the silent 1925 film by the same name. This movie takes place during the Christmas season. This was Lon Chaney's last film and his only talkie. He died at age 47 one month after this film's release.

But oh, dear, there's a ventriloquist dummy. I didn't finish watching.

via Dailymotion: