Cheerful mugs of warming goodness — what better way to cheer up on dreary winter mornings or cozy up at night? Or anytime. I love pulling out holiday mugs and cups every December. When piled up on a tray in the kitchen, they double as the best kind of decor: cheap and functional! From morning cappuccinos to post-lunch macchiatos to afternoon tea to evening hot cocoa, I’ve got every drink situation covered. Not that I drink coffee and espresso and tea and hot cocoa all day — well, actually, I do. But of course some holiday drinks are not rich and hot and creamy and served in a sturdy mug — such as these cool ruby-red margaritas my friend Evelyn served us at our Christmas book-club gathering. Delicious and refreshing.
And for another delicious and refreshing treat, how about the No. 2 pick on my list of favorite Christmas movies? It’s “Christmas Vacation” (1989) with Chevy Chase. How can you not sympathize with Clark Griswold, the Every Little Man who sincerely wants to provide a stupendous Christmas for his family despite almost insurmountable odds? It’s like an updated “Wonderful Life,” only with redneck cousins. I absolutely love this movie. It’s the first movie I pop into the player when the holiday-movie mood strikes. From the opening Christmas-tree hunt to the final group hug, this movie delights every year. I adore the light-stringing scenes and Clark and Eddie’s shopping trip and literally laugh out loud as the family arrives and settles in. The Christmas dinner is priceless, and is there anybody not touched by Clark’s look at Christmas Past while he’s stuck in the attic? Randy Quaid is at his comic best here, and it’s nice to see a young Juliette Lewis be normal before she convinced herself she’s a rock star. However, the thing about “Christmas Vacation” is that my husband strongly dislikes it – which is very strange because usually he goes for gross-out humor flicks and I head for the Jane Austen aisle. I’ll admit that some parts are cringe-inducing and pander to the National Lampoon typical demographic, but this movie still ranks right up there for me. Stay tuned tomorrow for my top pick, the best No. 1 all-time greatest Christmas movie in the world. What do you think it is?