Friday, November 30, 2012

The Winter List of Awesome Things!

Suppi helping me decorate the tree

It's time again for Hippy Elf Chick's seasonal list of awesome things.  In case you were not with us last time for the fall list, this is where I share things that put me in the spirit of the season but are a little untraditional (for example, Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys won't be appearing on this list, cause that's too obvious!)  I actually meant to do a part 2 to the Fall list around Halloween, but I swear, it feels like Halloween was yesterday!  So we missed V for Vendetta season, but luckily many of my late fall favorites are just as good in December.

Music: about half of the playlist on my fall list stopped working like 2 weeks after I posted it, so this may have an expiration date, but I haven't found a better way to do it yet. :\

Winter by Christie on Grooveshark

So now let's jump right into Movies and TV, cause a lot of what you're hearing ties into that category!

1. Harry Potters.  I usually break out HP1 on or around Halloween and watch it again around Christmastime.  I say the first one is the best for this, because it has the most time spent on the joy of discovering magical worlds and festivity and fun warm-coziness.  But the best holiday-season song from HP, if you ask me, is Fawkes the Phoenix from The Chamber of Secrets.  Whichever one you choose, whip up some butterbeers, wrap yourself up in your House scarf (Hufflepuff represent!) and soak in the magic of the season.

OTP <3

2. DOCTOR WHO!  I also start Who season around Halloween (Angels make very good scary viewing) and save the Christmas specials for December.  And we get a new one again this year!!  Even if it has stupid new girl and no Ponds and probably no River.  GRUMBLE.


3. LORD OF THE RINGS.  Oh yes. IT IS TIME.  When these movies were being released, I would have a party and bake a cake every summer to watch the new DVD, and in December and January, spend every weekend at the theater.  I think I saw Return of the King 10 times on the big screen.  Technically, if I had to assign each of these movies individually, The Fellowship would belong in early September, Two Towers in December, and Return of the King in March/April.  That's fine for rereading if you take it reeealllly slow, but that would be silly to split up watching the movies that much, and since they all came out right before the holidays (omgomgomg it's happening again this year, PRAISE JACKSON!) I'm left with my brain weirdly associating Gollum's Song with Christmas trees.  It is what it is.  And yes THE HOBBIT IS COMING!  AHHH!

4. Oh, what, you say, Doctor Who, The Hobbit, aren't you dancing around something else?  Obviously.  SHERLOCK!  Tis the season for British geekery, I guess, or maybe it's just that the British love putting Christmas in their TV and movies.  It seems to be perpetually winter at 221B Baker Street but I sure do get the warm fuzzies from Moffat's witty dialogue and endearing bromance.  Watch A Scandal in Belgravia (my favorite of course) and dream that Benedict Cumberbatch will come to your house and play carols on his violin while making snarky socially inappropriate comments.

5. OK, easing off the geekiness a bit but keeping with our British theme: About a Boy.  Loved the book, love the movie, Christmas themes, makes you feel good inside, amazing Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack featured on playlist above, Hugh Grant being snarky, a crazy hippy - wins all around.

6. Also, this is a fine time for a Game of Thrones rewatching, cause you know, WINTER IS COMING.

7.  Sailor Moon - Super S (the TV season and the movie)
I don't know how to adequately explain the importance of Sailor Moon in my life.  Suffice to say, it is very close to my heart, and though I will be SERA JUPITA 4EVA, my favorite character is actually the much-maligned Chibiusa, and my favorite story is the Pegasus arc.  Girl meets magic horse, girl falls in love with magic horse, but it's ok cause unbeknownst to her he's a handsome prince from the kingdom at the center of the Earth and-- okkk you don't even get all that story in the anime.  Fair enough, you might say there's some creepy stuff going on here but LALALA MAGIC AND SPARKLES AND TRUE LOVE I CAN'T HEAR YOU.  Also, in the movie, there's some kinda alternate non-Pegasus reality and she's mackin' on adorable pixie-boy Peruru, and somehow, that's also ok with me.  Because the POWER OF CUTENESS, cookies and candies, sanji no yousei!  Attack of the bonbon babies! Whatever!  And the Super S season has everything you could want.  The Dead Moon Circus brings a wealth of entertainment in the form of The Fabulous Drag Queen Amazon Trio, The Amazoness Quartet (love!), and assorted goofy circus-based monsters, one of whom disrespects Tuxedo Kamen in a most fantastic way.  Also, Diana is there!  And I don't know what it is that puts me in mind of the holiday season - crystal forests in 80s pastel rainbow, the Twinkle Yell bells chiming, WATASHI-TACHI NI NARITAKUTEEEEEE~ -- something just fits.  It's magic.

Books: There is literally a book (or several) for everything listed above. OK, not Doctor Who.  But I think there's a crossover comic where the 11th Doctor meets the crew of the Enterprise in Jean Luc Picard era?  Hey, I couldn't make this stuff up.

 Goodies and treats:

1. Mini "tabletop" trees and rosemary trees from Whole Foods:  I know the sadness of living in a little tiny place and having no room for a holiday tree.  Luckily, you can get the real thing en miniature!  Getting a real tree is better for the environment than plastic trees, they smell wonderful, and they really do bring some of the outdoors in, which is the whole point if you ask me!  You can also get a little rosemary shrub trimmed into the shape of a tree!  It was a struggle for me to choose between the two this year, but I went with the little evergreen cause I'm not sure our apartment gets enough sunlight to sustain the rosemary.  WF also sells some really lovely wreaths and table centerpieces made with real fresh juniper and pine trimmings (see picture.)  Perfect for city-dwelling Yule celebrators who have nowhere to gather their own!

2. TURKEY JOINTS. What the heck is a turkey joint, you say?  Is it actually a turkey bone?!  No.  Well, it's weird looking!, you say.  True.  This does not matter, because it's DELICIOUS.  I grew up eating these on Christmas at my grandparents' house.  I think they got them in a basket from friends every year and didn't like them (madness!) so they fell to the kids to eat.  And I could polish off a jar in a sitting if I was allowed.  Just trust me- you need to try them and make them part of your holiday tradition!  I know $20 for a jar of candy looks a little steep, but if my limited dabblings in candy-making have taught me anything, it's that handmade candy can never be overpriced.  Because the cost of the high-quality ingredients needed to make the chemical processes work and the flavor not taste cheap, combined with the enormous amount of time, effort, and praying for the damn chocolate to just work with you and not jump 10 degrees and untemper as you attempt to slowly bring it up 3 degrees after you've been stirring it for an hour to cool it - basically makes handmade candy priceless.

3. Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark So, that little meltdown I just had?  That was because I DO know how to make peppermint bark that tastes like Williams Sonoma.  And yes, if all goes well, you'll be seeing the recipe soon.  Do I recommend trying it?  If you want to keep it in the freezer, by all means, yes, don't pay $25 for a tin of it, it will be easy and delicious!  But if you want to temper the chocolate so it will stay snappy out of the fridge and you can present it as gifts?  I don't know, man.  I leave that choice up to you.  I keep making it because when it comes to matters of the kitchen, I'm proud and stubborn.  But I've lost more than a few night's sleep tempering and re-tempering chocolate into the wee hours of the morning, pleading with my candy thermometer not to betray me, so I certainly will not judge anyone who buys it.

4. Killer Pecans. Another delectable snack I used to get from my grandparents, these things are beyond addictive. Sweet, salty, and maybe just a little too spicy for me, but that definitely didn't stop me from shoveling them in my mouth.  You can find something similar sold at Trader Joes as Sweet and Spicy Pecans.  And if you don't feel like shelling out much to try these, well let's just say I have a 32oz bag of pecans and a wealth of spices just waiting to be experimented with. 

5. Lush Bath Bombs. So I got myself a seasonal gig at Lush this year (eee!) and there is a TON of amazing holiday stuff there that you need to go check out right now.  But my absolute favorites?  Two bath bombs called Father Christmas and Golden Wonder.  They are MADE OF MAGIC!  Just trust me on that.

6. If I can take a minute to self-plug... you can purchase this lovely masala chai blend at the Hippy Elf Chick Etsy Shop tab just under the blog header!  Well, usually you can.  I am in the process of getting more supplies and I'll post an update when I have more for sale.

Things to do:

Christmas 2004

1. See the Christmas display at Longwood Gardens
We used to live closer to Longwood (located in Kennet Square, PA), but since we've moved to the NY area my membership is going unused.  I really really hope we get to visit before Christmas this year, because it is an amazingly beautiful sight!  All the lights, the ENORMOUS Christmas trees, and of course plants and flowers going on forever, what more could a hippy want?  The smell of jasmine and lilies reminds me of Christmas because of my memories at Longwood.  And when you plan your trip, you MUST make reservations at the 1906 restaurant.  It's definitely not a cheap meal, but if I had to pick one fancy restaurant to go to all year, believe it or not, that would be the one.  Their menu is constantly changing but the one constant is the wonderfully soft, sweet, hot from the oven "flower pot bread," which I have dreams about and still haven't been able to replicate.  Kennet Square is also known for its superb wild mushrooms, and 1906 makes a killer soup with them.  And one time I got a drink there (me! getting a regular-strength adult beverage outside of the house!) that involved hot cider and buttershots.  Heaven.

2. Play the original Spyro the Dragon.  BAM! NOSTALGIA ATTACK!  Once upon a time, a tween girl got her very first game system on Christmas day, and beautiful fantastical adventures ensued with pastel castles and endless swirling skies, crystal dragons and groovin' Stewart Copeland tunes.  Basically, please don't talk to me about any of the new, stumpy, ugly Spyro wannabes since the franchise has changed hands like 5 times.  Even the two subsequent games with the original company, though they certainly are fun and have plenty of high points, don't compare to the simple beauty of the first one.  Because you are an adorable dragon traveling through pretty dragon worlds!  There is no need to improve upon this concept.  Ray guns, skateboarding and kung fu (that was later, ugh) need not be applied to a DRAGON.  Dragons do dragony things.  And that is plenty.  The only good choice anyone made after Insomniac was casting Elijah Wood as Spyro, but they also cast David Spade as the previously silent Sparx, so that kinda cancelled it out.  Anyway, this game reminds me so much of winter, playing it on snow days, getting kisses from the magic fire fairy on Valentines day while I ate redhot heart candies.  I still turn it on sometimes and just lope around Dream Weavers looking at the scenery.  How can something so blocky be so beautiful?

So that's about it, kiddos!  Please share your favorite Decemberween traditions and things!


  1. HP1 is ALWAYS my Christmastime movie!!

    1. Excellent choice :) I must ask, I know a lot of Emilys, are you one of mine or a new Emily? :D