There comes that gracious time of year where the snow piles down, and the temperatures drop, but the Christmas cheer rises. Ah, Christmas. The only 2 sacred days of the year where you rely on Santa Claus to make your entire year complete. The only 2 days that you spend with your house decorated with Christmas lights, bake a dish of cookies and milk for Santa’s pleasure, and you anxiously come downstairs in the morning to find what presents await you. You could get the items you’ve been itching for all winter, or you could get a lump of charcoal if you’ve been bad. But hey, at least the coal can act as something to get your patties nice and grilled! Santa Claus has been part of Christmas lore for as long as I can remember, and I remember when artists used to go through all the trouble to record their holiday albums: Mariah Carey with Merry Christmas (1994), Big Time Rush with Holiday Bundle (2010), Aly & AJ with Acoustic Hearts of Winter (2006), and more. Even Nintendo Power is suiting up for the holidays with their “holiday special” magazine, as well as their December 2011 issue. Check out these super-swank covers!
And the news I should’ve told you at the start of the post: we are celebrating our “second” annual Sammwak holiday special! Last year, I was barely doing a good job of giving you the Christmas cheer. But now I’m going to make it a fun time that will be remembered for years if not centuries to come! I’m going to tell what movies are good for the holidays, guides on a great Christmas, and more! But first, we need to sing our first Christmas-friendly number. SpongeBob, Patrick, take it away!
Now, anyway, I should probably tell you how to have a sweet Christmas party, Sammwak-fueled!
- Book a date. As December moves, people get busier by the second, so it’s good to have a date ready.
- Send out invitations in late November or early December. This way you can drain out how many people to expect, and remember that this is RSVP only.
- Plan your eateries in advance. Are you gonna host a relaxed buffet, or a more sit-down meal? Scrawl down your ideas on the shopping list and stick to them. Prepare as much as possible the day before the party, and make things easy and simple—-the last thing you’d want to do is be slaving your own self in the kitchen while guests are having a good time. Some good recommendations to fulfill hungers are cookies, cookies, and more cookies.
- Welcome guests upon arrival. Be sure to make your guests feel good, and greet them at the door. Take their coats and escort them to the party area. Make introductions if guests aren’t acquainted with one another and strike the conversation. Arrange drinks to hand out to your guests, and the real icebreaker comes for shy guests.
- Play music. The perfect formula to setting moods fast. Be sure to cook up a few CDs beforehand, but play it at a sustainable volume, since people will want to chat.
- Host games (optional decision). The most classic party games in the book, like charades, are perfect for Christmas parties. More sophisticated get-togethers can host adult games, but just in case, have plenty of writing utensils, papers, and balloons.
- Have fun! Don’t feel uncomfortable at the party. Your guests will be looking at you to set the mood, you being the host/hostess. If you lead the way of a fun time, all will follow.
- Give the kids something to enjoy! Especially if you have children at your party, let them have friends invited. Give the kids something to do that will keep them entertained for a sustainable duration, so keep them busy.
Are those some good party recommendations? Well, if those don’t work, let’s try these recommended holiday movies!
“…full of adventure and positive messages” – Common Sense Media, 4 stars out of 5
The Polar Express has to be the most classic holiday movie in the book. An amazing 2004 motion-captured film that even ended up in the Guinness World Records 2006 book for being the first “all-digital” motion-capture film, this book was actually an adaptation of the award-winning children’s book of the same name by Chris van Allsburg. It tells about a young boy residing in a city an elapsed hour away from ours, Grand Rapids, who hopes for the true spirit of Christmas. Upon a budget of $165 million, this young boy, one we know as Hero Boy, finds a mysterious and magical train called the Polar Express after he hears rumbling from his bedroom. The conductor convinces him to board the Express, considering that this year is the year, and so he indeed embarks on a snowy adventure to Santa’s own home in the North Pole which teaches that the wonders of life never fade for those who believe.
“Dark yet sweet underdog tale for older kids” – Common Sense Media, 4 stars out of 5
It may not seem like a holiday movie, but it was released in the December of 1990. And how could you not feel bad for a poor guy like Edward Scissorhands? Really portrayed by the film legend Johnny Depp, this movie revolves around an artificially created man named Edward who ends up using pairs of scissors as substitutes for hands after his inventor unfortunately got heart attacked before he could make him real hands. He is then taken in by a family of the suburbs and finds love with their teenage daughter Kim. But he finds neighbors’ interests when he shows his unnecessary mastery of hedge-trimming and hair-cutting. One of 20th Century Fox’s most heartwarming creations, this movie has been acclaimed for its new meaning to “beauty is only skin deep”, its darkly sweet portraying of adolescent angst, and humorous powers to soften the sharpest appendages…you know what I mean by that.
“Spectacular book adaptation is great for tweens and up” – Common Sense Media, 5 stars out of 5
There are lots of books famous enough to become movies that turn to the big screen instead of the print presses. These movies are known as “film adaptations.” These include Ramona and Beezus from last year, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) as well as its sequel (2011), Charlotte’s Web from 1973 or 2007, and more. But the most anticipated film adaptation of the year had to go to an adapting of the first-ever novel to have more than half of its pages shrouded in picturing (even winning a picture book-usual Caldecott Medal in the process), The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It has now been adapted into the movie with the name that confused even me, Hugo. Since it was called just Hugo, instead of something like Hugo Cabret, I had no clue that this even had a relationship with the novel. When I did find out, I was…let’s just say a mix of ticked off and surprised. This movie goes back to 1931 at a Paris railway station, revolving around the namesake Hugo Cabret, whose mother has died and is sentenced to life with his clock-making master father. He is bound to see films with his dad a lot, who adores the works of Georges Méliès most of all. Hugo’s second parent dies in a museum fire, forcing Hugo to then live with his uncle, who also makes watches, and also has interests in alcohol. But let’s get to the point of the movie: Hugo’s house is now in the walls of a train station, and Cabret then becomes wrapped in a mystery about his late father and an automaton. No, not an autotune. An automaton. Concerning about dream-chasing, everything having a purpose, and film importance.
Tim Burton has given us the weirdest creations, like last year’s reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, Beetlejuice, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and more. But one of his most odd creations had to date back to 1993 with The Nightmare Before Christmas. A stop-motion musical horrifically comedic fantasy movie, this chronicles the events of Jack Skellington who serves as the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, a dream world inhabited with every kid’s terror, and who accidentally opens a portal to Christmas Town. It also tells about Jack’s love for a rag-doll creature named Sally, as well as the heartwarming holiday spirit that brought them together. Still one of the world’s most classic stop-motion movies, it has been quoted as “Tim Burton magic”, been rewarded with a rare approval rating of 100% on the Tomatometer, and lots more, especially the messages of being grateful for your possessions.
“Wonderful antidote to cutesy holiday tales” – Common Sense Media, 5 stars out of 5
Bawdy and naughty? Yes. Still a Christmas movie? Uh, duh. A Christmas Story is one of the most original holiday films in the book. Based off of author/raconteur Jean Shepherd’s short stories like In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, this movie is about a young nine-year old named Ralphie Parker in the 1930’s/40’s of the fictional Hohman, Indiana. He wants only one thing for the holidays: a Red Ryder BB gun. Although he schemes frequently to change his parent’s minds, he keeps running into phrases like “You’ll shoot your eye out.” He also has to deal with a seemingly endless wait for his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, a nasty bully, and an overworked department-store Santa, but it still ends up in a very merry Christmas celebration, and that alone has gotten it into the book of legendary Christmas movies in mine.
And finally, let’s start celebrating the nearing of 2012! Hopefully director Roland Emmerich’s 2009 predictions weren’t true, and that the world’s roads will not collapse into deep, maybe endless, chasms, and that the White House and its president will not be destroyed by the impact of the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy. (Sorry for any obscene images there.) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re totally fine under the protection of God our Lord.
So, what is our New Year half of this special going to be about? First, I’ll guide you through a couple of famous YouTubers that you should definitely learn about for 2012’s arrivals. Alas, we must start!
Toby Turner, aka Tobuscus, has ranked as one of YouTube’s most famed in comedy ever since summer 2006 (27th on the big, bad, besties’ list!)! 6 solid years! No one can top that! Well, maybe except Rebecca Black and a lot of other people, but the point is! Toby’s had almost 300 million upload views to date, with 1.5 million subscribers to support (one of them being moi :D). He is known for his “Literal” game/movie trailer lyricizing, or his entries in his “Cute Win Fail” series. He also not only supports the channels TobyTurner (for lazy vlogging) and TobyGames (for his game commentary), but he has also gone on adventures in the world of animation along with his much smarter pal, Gabuscus (or, as he likes it, Gabe-uscus). Whether he’s singing about safety torches, proposing the new idea of a “nugget in a biscuit”, or aiming for a portal gun as a Christmas present, this buscus will always be a very good buscus.
The Gregory Brothers (made up of Sarah, Andrew, Michael, and Evan Gregory), also known as schmoyoho, may be only the forty-second on the most-subscribed list, but they managed to shimmy up to number fourteen on the list of directors, and believe me, if there was a list called “Auto-Tune”, it would’ve already topped it faster than you could say “Whoa, slow down, man!” Created in 2007, this foursome has stuck together like a family (which they pretty much are) and Auto-Tuned anything you imagine: the Bed Intruder song, Chuck Testa, Amir [of Jake and Amir]’s constant pleas for Jake to poke him [via Facebook], and more. These have ended up in almost 400 million upload views in accumulation, and I bet they’re still waiting for another viral video. And if you can’t wait, then go on and make your life sound better with the free (did I say free? I meant “FREE FREE!”) iPhone app that instantly Auto-Tunes your voice. Now, what mechanism could do that?
Well, anyway, what’s your New Year resolution, and what’s on the top of your list for Christmas? Tell me below, and make sure to have a dynamic Christmas and New Year! Well, let’s close up our good time with the classic carol “(Sammwak Wants You To) Deck the Halls”:
Deck the halls with seas of presents,
‘Tis the season to be goody.
Santa’s coming for a visit, or he’ll give you a big lump of coal!
One day a year is this jolly
– Sam 😀 😀
p.s. Do you believe in Santa Claus? Good ol’ St. Nick, the crazily cool Kris Kringle, the friendly Father Christmas? Are you a SpongeBob or a Squidward? No need to answer this SpongeBob verbally, answer me poll-y!