Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Holiday Entertainment

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. While we're in the midst of the holiday season, we've decided to keep it light and talk about our favorite holiday themed books, movies, and TV show episodes.

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Melissa Amster:                                                                                                        
I don't really watch holiday movies all that often. Just a handful of them here and there. My all-time favorites are Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, While You Were Sleeping, and Love, Actually. I saw Last Christmas a while ago and while some parts were cute, I felt like it dragged a bit until it got to the climax, and then I needed a lot of tissues. There are some holiday movies I'd like to see this year, like Single All the Way, A Castle for Christmas, and 8-Bit Christmas. There aren't really any Hanukkah movies except for the occasional one tossed onto the Hallmark Channel, which I do not have anyway. I found this list of Christmas movies and saw Mixed Nuts on there. I still remember seeing that in college and laughing so hard the whole time. I think it was the first time I saw Adam Sandler in anything and he was so funny with his songs.

Two of my favorite TV shows have great Christmas episodes: Schitt's Creek and Ted Lasso. I've seen both more than once and they're really cute and funny. Last winter, I watched Dash & Lily on Netflix and that whole show is Christmas themed. I'm sad to hear that it's not getting a second season. Back in the day, I enjoyed the South Park Christmas episodes, especially the first one they ever did with Mr. Hanky. Full House and Friends had some fun Christmas episodes too.

I've only read a few holiday books this year and enjoyed them all: The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox (review), The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (review), and The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman. The latter wasn't really about the winter holidays, but it had that feel with the constant snowy weather and overall cozy feeling. I also don't read a lot of holiday books in general. Just a few every now and then. I'm trying to remember books of holidays past and keep landing on Wrapped Up in You by Carole Matthews (review), which I think of because of 90 Day FiancĂ©. Another great holiday book of hers is The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas (review)I love that whole series though. I also enjoyed Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (review). Sara will be sharing her review of Mistle Text by Whitney Dineen and Melanie Summers tomorrow, but I read it a while ago and really enjoyed it. Everything she says is exactly what I would have said. Finally, I want to give a shout-out to The Holiday Detour by Jane Kolven (review), which was also a sweet read and even had some Jewish aspects. 

Sara Steven:                                                                                                                                         
I can still remember when television station TBS would have their 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. Having Ralphie on in the background during Christmas day festivities became part of our holiday routine, as much as anything else we’d do on December 25th. It certainly contributed to our yearly traditions. When asked what my favorite holiday-themed movies, tv shows, and books might be, it was the first thing I’d thought of. When I think of Christmas, I think of: "I want an Official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle."

For me, this time of year wouldn’t be complete without A Christmas Story, and:

Love Actually

Watching Hugh Grant dance to The Pointer Sisters’ “Jump (For My Love)” will forever live in infamy. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I imagine many of us will still refer to scant, wispy trees as “Charlie Brown trees.” I know I have at times. And I still hold out hope that with a lot of love, commitment, and faith, we can turn the downtrodden tree into something beautiful. 

The Santa Clause

When my kids were little, they were convinced The Santa Clause was truly about Santa himself. They believed in the spirit of the holidays back then, and I feel like there’s so little magic left in the world nowadays. It encouraged me to leave presents under the tree wrapped up in special Kris Kringle wrapping paper, and they were convinced it really had come from Santa.  

Home Alone

I added this one primarily for my boys. I think we’ve seen it twice this month, so far. It’s not a favorite of mine, but I know it means a lot to them, and I don’t mind hanging out and watching it too.


Mistle Text, by Whitney Dineen

I recently finished this holiday masterpiece, and it was well worth the read! It was a little bit Scrooged, mixed in with Pretty in Pink–two characters who come from opposite sides of the track, finding their way despite their own viewpoints and the viewpoints from others. (Stay tuned for my review and a giveaway!)

All the Lonely People, by Jess Riley

I read All the Lonely People many years back, but it has still stuck with me, even now. I loved the unique premise–if you don’t like who you’re related to, find people you actually want to spend the holidays with!

Murder at Mistletoe Manor, by Holly Tierney-Bedord

There’s nothing like a good murder mystery. Throw in some holiday accents, and you’ve got a murdery mystery that keeps you guessing, every step of the way.

Miracle on 5th Avenue, by Sarah Morgan

A woman who loves everything about Christmas. A man who is a bestselling crime writer. It seems their personalities would be too conflicting, yet in this story, opposites attract.

Fool Me Twice at Christmas, by Camilla Isley

I had so much fun with this one. A once loving couple go home and put on an act for their families around the holidays. Could life begin to imitate art? 

White Wedding, by Carla Luna

It took me all of one day to read White Wedding. There were remnants of love from the wrong side of the tracks in this one, too, with an extension of family members who get in on the debate. 

What are your favorite holiday movies, TV shows, and books?

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