‘Tis the Season: Holiday Movie Edition

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It’s Friday and we are back with one more post to spread some Holiday cheer! We have talked books, food, and music that really gets us in the spirit of Christmas. This week as we bring our December Friday Feature to a close we will be talking about the movies that get us amped up for the Holidays. There are so many amazing Christmas movies to choose from, ranging from the very serious to the completely hilarious. These are a few of our favorites (notice, we said A FEW! This doesn’t mean that because we didn’t say some that we didn’t love them).

Arika

I don’t think it’s possible to only have a few favorites, so here is a chosen few that I know I am not alone in thinking are GREAT! But in all seriousness, there are too many to choose from and this would be the longest post ever if I had to tell you all my favorites…so I will limit it to 3:

I can’t go through a Christmas season without watching The Santa Clause with Tim Allen…it’s a classic that will live on forever in my mind!

One of the classic Rankin/Bass stop motion films that were made back when my parents were young. This is one of my sister’s and my favorites to watch together. Good to sing along too.

If you think of Minnesota during winter/Christmas… at some point Charlie Brown will pop into your head. I love Charlie Brown and the Christmas special is one of my favorites 🙂

I think this is the best classic out there…Nothing beats White Christmas during the holidays! And Bing Crosby’s voice is AMAZING. Anytime I hear that song I think of Christmastime and all things good with Christmas 🙂

Arika is also loves watching It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, etc….

Emily

I honestly am struggling to select just a few favorites. There are so many to pick from, and I don’t even know where to start. So here are 3 trailers or clips from my MANY favorite Christmas movies.

This is a movie I have grown up watching. My grandma owned it and every Christmas season we would watching it multiple times while eating sugar cookies and laughing along. I still absolutely love this movie.

The singing, the dancing, the costumes…another movie I have grown up watching and have grown to love so much. I need to watch this one soon!

A classic favorite from my childhood. Slightly creepy now that I look back on it, but I always LOVED to watch this movie.

Emily is also a big fan of movies like Elf, The Santa Clause, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc…

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite Holiday movies?

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Music!

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It’s Friday and we are back again for a little more Holiday celebration. We have talked about the books that get us into the Holiday spirit and shared why we love those books. We shared what we cook and bake throughout the month as we prepare to get together with our families (and man, did writing that post make us hungry and ready for it to be Christmas RIGHT NOW!). Today we are tackling another oh so important part of getting into the holiday spirit…MUSIC!

I know that some stores have had Christmas music on since the day after Halloween so maybe some of you are tired of it, but there is so much out there that is unique. We only listen to Christmas music once a year, so why not make it enjoyable? Today we will both share a few of our favorite songs that have us wanting to spread all the holiday cheer (and Emily will share her Christmas playlist at the end of the post).  Here are a few of our Christmas favorites…

Arika

Music during the holidays always brighten my mood! I don’t think Christmas would be complete without some good Christmas carols. There are many great songs out there that everyone loves to sing during the holidays and I know I couldn’t pick just a few. So in my best effort to give a little taste of what I listen to during the holidays…here are three songs that always get me in the mood for Christmas:

Straight No Chaser – 12 Days of Christmas

Discovered them when I was in college and I love all their Christmas music!

Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You

Probably my favorite pop Christmas song!

Hudson High School Choir – The First Nowell

(sorry for the bad video but the song is amazing! And my own brother is in the choir singing!)

Emily

I am a big believer in music. Music can change moods, lift spirits, and convey messages that just speaking can’t. Christmas music is some of my favorite, and it is SO hard to pick just a few as my favorites. I will share just a few of my favorites for this year, but I will definitely be including my Christmas playlist at the end of this.

QUESTION: What is some of your favorite music for the Holiday season?

‘Tis the Season: Best Holiday Foods

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We are back again on this awesome Friday (because when is Friday ever not awesome?) to bring you MORE Holiday Cheer! Last week we told you we had so much cheer and one post just could not contain it, so here is post number 2! The holidays are such a fun time. There are so many traditions from family to family, and it is so interesting to see what other people do and maybe even add some of those traditions to your own holiday celebration. Last week we talked about some books that made us think of this time of year. Today…well today we are talking about a VERY important part…FOOD!

It’s so funny how much food made for holiday celebrations can vary between regions. Something that is made up here in the Upper Midwest might not be made down South. So here are some things that we Midwesterners make during the Holiday Season..

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Arika

With my family, it’s a smorgasbord of food. We have at least one nice dinner on Christmas Eve and then a lot of appetizers at parties and Christmas night. And we even do a big breakfast on Christmas morning. We also do lots and lots of cookies and sweets. Whether that be my aunt’s homemade caramels that melt in your mouth or the simple spritz cookies that my dad absolutely loves. There is always some type of food that even the pickiest of eaters will like! Here are some typical foods you’ll find at my house during the holidays:

  • Cookies: These are my weakness! I love all the sweets we have at this time of year. Whether it’s gingersnaps, peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookie cut outs, or spritz cookies, there is always some cookies at my mom’s house. Though one thing I love is what people call Oreo balls, we call reindeer poop. Haha we always thought that was funny as kids 🙂 .  This year is the first time I will be doing cookies without my mom but I am excited for the challenge! And of course I get to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer…it is so amazing!
  • Venison Sausage: If you have hunters in the family you know that this time of year calls for a lot of hunting. Both up in the Midwest and down here in the South, hunting in the fall is a big deal and a way to stock your freezer for the year. My husband is a big hunter and he just recently killed his first deer of the season and man did we get a lot of meat. It’s cool all the things you can do with venison when you process your own deer. We have made breakfast sausage, cheddar summer sausage, and smoked sausage. And when you grind up all your deer meat, you can use it just like ground hamburger and it’s a lot leaner too! Great for chili’s and tacos, YUM!
  • Wild Rice Soup: I don’t know about you but on a cold winter day my favorite thing to eat is a nice big bowl of soup! And if your from Minnesota you know Wild Rice Soup is a popular one to have on a cozy day at home. Wild rice is one of the most popular rices in the state of Minnesota (it’s the official state grain!) and Minnesota is one of the biggest producers of wild rice in the United States. Wild Rice Soup is a nice creamy soup that can either have chicken or ham and bits of carrots. One of my favorite recipes is from Byerlys, which you can find here.

Emily

We are big into baking at my home. Yes, we have your typical meal of Ham and potatoes and such, but we are definitely a fan of the sweets and whatever we can eat easiest while visiting with friends and family. We tend to do appetizers a lot. A meat and cheese tray, cocktail weiners, sometimes chicken sandwiches and such. Having appetizers leaves room for…SWEETS! And what do we make at my house…..

  • Lefse: Oooh ya I am super Scandinavian dontcha know!? It’s described as a flatbread here and can be topped with whatever your little heart desires. But at my house…butter and brown sugar. That’s all we every put on it and it’s all we will ever need. If you haven’t had lefse then you NEED to get on it!
  • Cookies: I know right!? How stereotypical of us. We make lots and lots of cookies. At our get-togethers we have thumbprints, hershey’s kiss cookies, gingerbread, and…cut out sugar cookies. And not to toot my own horn, but I make a pretty mean sugar cookie. My grandma used to do all this baking, so when she passed the job was handed to me essentially. It took YEARS to get it to be just like hers, but a couple years ago I FINALLY mastered it and it has been smooth sailing ever since. I have also made spiced sugar cookies (they are actually pictured in our graphic above), oreo balls, and a chocolate cookie with peanut butter filling. I am ALWAYS looking for new cookie recipes, so send them on over!
  • Krumkake: I told you I was very Scandinavian right? This is another treat that we sometimes make (though it’s been awhile). I love when they are just a little warm. A sweet treat that has never made me feel full (which can be a bad thing..). If you are unsure what it is you can find it here.

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QUESTION: What are some holiday treats and food that you prepare each year?

 

‘Tis the Season: Holiday/Winter Reading

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We are getting into the Christmas spirit here at Midwestern Book Nerd and have been brainstorming ways to share this love and joy with you all. How is it even possible to get all of these feelings and this cheeriness into a post!? Answer… it’s not. So instead of 1 holiday themed post we are doing 5! Every Friday throughout the month of December we will be sharing with you different things that we love about the holidays, from books to actual stories from holiday seasons.

So…let’s get this started by giving you some book titles we have enjoyed reading during the Holidays that really get us in the spirit of things!

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Arika’s Picks

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  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This is one of the first chapter books I read on my own and I always remember the Christmas scenes in this book. The simple means of Christmas back in the earlier years of America and how great Wilder describes snow and winter in the Midwest. (I think that winter is one of the prettiest times of the year!) It isn’t all about Christmas but a great classic to read at this time of the year!
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Another classic that I know most people probably read while they were in grade school. This was one of my favorite books that got me into the fantasy type world. The first time I read it and saw the play was right before Christmas, so it always makes me think of the holiday season. And the best part is that Father Christmas himself makes an appearance in the book!
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – Ok, so I wanted to put in a book that doesn’t really have Christmas or any type of holiday in it but was a great book to read during the winter. I love all of what Sarah J. Maas writes and I think this book was good but the second book of the series was an even better read (which normally doesn’t happen for me). The winter scenes in the beginning make you want to snuggle under a blanket and finish the book with a hot cup of cocoa or tea.

Emily’s Picks

  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan – I know most of you have read this one, but if you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s a non-cheesy Christmas book in which two teens spend their break passing a notebook back and forth and getting to know each other (starting off as almost strangers). It was unique and definitely a book I would read again.
  • My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories – Though I only read SOME of the stories, I love that this is a book of short stories that are all holiday themed and that I can just pick one up whenever I feel like it. There were some amazing stories in here that I just wished could have gone on forever! Definitely a fun read, and great during the busy holiday season.
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I always get sucked into a fantasy during this time of year, and the past few years it has been this particular series. There is nothing cozier during the running around of the holidays and the dropping temps than curling up and getting lost in another world entirely. This one just always makes me think of winter (to the point where I can’t read it during any other season).

QUESTION: What are some books you enjoy during the holiday season?