By LaKeshia N. Myers
“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings; These are a few of my favorite things.” My Favorite Things is one of my favorite holiday tunes, I don’t really know if it was originally written to be a holiday classic, but it has found its place safely in the holiday music repertoire. So, in the spirit of wishing everyone peace on earth, joy with family, and blessings for the new year, I wanted to share five of my personal holiday favorites.
#5: My Favorite Holiday Song—Silent Night by The Temptations. The Temptations’ Give Love at Christmas album, released in 1980, is by far my favorite Christmas album of all time. Tracks include standard holiday standards The Christmas Song, The Little Drummer Boy, and This Christmas. But also include original songs Christmas Everyday and Love Comes with Christmas. But the final song on the album is the undisputed soul Christmas anthem Silent Night. There is no greater feeling than hearing Dennis Edwards sing, “In my mind…I want you to be free…”.
#4: My Favorite Holiday Food—Gumbo. Having spent the summers of my youth in my second home of New Orleans, Louisiana, gumbo is most definitely one of my favorite holiday dishes. My grandmother would make gumbo on Christmas eve, and everyone would gather at her house. The house would be filled with loads of laughter, music, games, and holiday merriment. There is nothing better than a bowl of seafood (or sausage and chicken for those allergic) gumbo served with steamy white rice.
#3: My Favorite Holiday Pie—Sweet Potato Pie. My mother grew up on a farm in the Pine Belt region of Mississippi. It was here that she learned the world’s greatest sweet potato pie recipe, handed down from generation-to-generation of women in her family. Sweet potatoes, while delicious in general, can also help in controlling blood pressure because they are rich in both magnesium and potassium. While I love the original golden sweet potato, I get excited when I can locate white and purple sweet potatoes to make my pies. They are always a hit at holiday shindigs!
#2: My Favorite Holiday Beverage—Spiced Apple Cider. Having a warm beverage during the winter serves as a salve for the rough winds of cold weather months. Nothing beats Indian Summer apple cider, steeped with whole cinnamon sticks. Spiced cider can also be “dressed up” or down by enhancing its flavors with a splash of Cognac for adults. It is always served at my home during the holiday season and is sure to be pleasurable for your holiday entertaining and enjoyment.
#1: My Favorite Holiday Movies—There are five. The five movies I have selected are broken down by genre (mainly because I can’t choose just one). I love and absolutely must watch these films during the holidays because they are bona fide classics.
Comedy-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is by far my favorite Chevy Chase movie. All Clark Griswold wanted was to purchase a pool for his family; but the hijinks that ensued for his family were worth all the laughs. I give this 1989 class 25,000 twinkle lights.
Adventure-Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is by far the best movie of the Home Alone franchise. Kevin McCallister being separated from his family in New York City, what could possibly go wrong? The New York City landscape, a house in disrepair, and a repeat visit from the Sticky Bandits, will have you saying, “Merry Christmas you filthy animal…and a happy New Year”.
Drama-This Christmas. The 2007 classic starring Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, and Regina King chronicles Christmas with the Whitfield family. This movie has it all, drama, tears, and laughter. My favorite scene is when Regina King’s character Lisa, confronts her husband about his infidelity. This movie also has a great soundtrack highlighted by Chris Brown’s rendition of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness”.
Animated-A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charles Schultz’s timeless tale of Christmas joy with the Peanuts gang is told in this 1965 holiday classic. This story is essential viewing for the entire family and focuses on friendship, thanks, and the true meaning of Christmas.
The Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time—A Christmas Story. This movie is a cult classic and is so beloved it is shown for twenty-four hours straight on TBS and TNT from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. The story of Ralphie and his unending quest for a Red Ryder BB gun goes down in history as the G.O.A.T. I love this movie so much so that I own a small replica of Mr. Parker’s “major award”. Did I mention that the A Christmas Story House & Museum exists in Cleveland, Ohio? You can actually stay in Ralphie’s house and relive Parker family Christmas moments firsthand; I can’t wait to visit.
As you reflect on the close of this year, I wish everyone a season filled with merriment, joy, and thanksgiving. I hope by sharing a few of my holiday favorites, you will begin to pass down your own family traditions and remember the reason for the season.