The Best Christmas Movie You've Never Seen

Did you know there’s a movie starring Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber, and Adam Sandler? Did you know this movie also features Rob Reiner, Robert Klein, Garry Shandling, Steven Wright, Parker Posey and Jon Stewart, plus a one-line, before-he-was-famous appearance by Haley Joel Osment?

Did you know this was a Christmas movie set at a failing suicide hotline in Venice Beach?

This movie came out in 1994, the same year that Friends debuted, three years after Steve Martin did Father of the Bride and one year before Adam Sandler made Billy Madison.

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2009/2019

I’ve had quite a few friends posting Look-How-Far-I’ve-Come photos on social media comparing 2009 and 2019. Only people who have something to boast about, I’ve noticed: mostly writers who have found their publishers and are starting to feel like the real thing. The kind of posts that make those sour grapes really sting the palate.

Of course, I’m proud of all my friends and colleagues who have come into their own in the last decade. I’m lucky to know a lot of truly talented people. But, not being among the recently published, I’ve been going through the other aspects of my life that have changed in the last decade. I mean, I had two children! I put my name on a mortgage! I learned what microblading is! (Just last week, actually–thank you, Miss Sheri.)

So here are some of the ways I’ve changed in the last decade. I guess I’ve become a grown-up.

Kind of.

Shop Small: Finding Gifts for Readers and Writers

Today might be Small Business Saturday, but you can support small businesses every day, in your neighborhood and online. There are so many small businesses out there, selling so many different kinds of wares–but sometimes, they can get buried under the big businesses’ SEO and ad budgets. So today I’m highlighting a few small businesses I admire to help you find the perfect gift for those you love.

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What Do You Wear on Thanksgiving?

I love wearing dresses. I wear jewelry almost daily–nothing expensive, but I like a little flair. I grew up watching old movies, in which the characters always looked polished and even a simple dinner party called for a cocktail dress and jewels. There was a time, when I was little, when I decided to change my clothes for dinner each and every night. Then my mom got mad at me about the excess laundry.

Anyway–I’m not naive. I know that was then and this is now. I know (from experience) that being too far overdressed can be awkward and embarrassing. I also know that, since I spend most of the holiday in the kitchen, it’s completely impractical.

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Writing Exercise: I’d Like to Make a Toast

Have you ever made a toast? I mean, a real one–not just “to us!” but a long, thought-out, possibly memorized speech. It’s an embarrassing prospect, especially for those who fear public speaking, but it’s also a nice idea, isn’t it? So I thought this year, though I won’t be standing up in my dining room making everyone listen to me prattle on, I’d write a toast–just for the heck of it. And then I thought it’d be more interesting to write a toast from one of my characters’ perspectives. Even if they, also, would never stand up and orate.

From the perspective of a highly introverted, possibly autistic sixteen-year-old girl, to her very large family on Thanksgiving:

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Thanksgiving in a Bun: The Tur-Keyed Up Burger

When naming this burger, we took a family vote. It had to be something punny, being that we’re all huge Bob’s Burgers fans (yes, even my four-year-old loves it because she loves Louise, which is probably a problem…) but I was the only one coming up with any puns so we only had two options. “The Jive Turkey Burger” and “The Tur-Keyed Up Burger”.

Tur-Keyed Up won by a landslide, whether my kids understood it or not.

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Candied Yam Dinner Rolls

I once read that the average Thanksgiving table boasts seven side dishes. SEVEN! At first I thought that number must be inaccurate but then I counted up my family’s favorites:

  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Candied Yams
  • Scalloped Corn
  • Apple Salad
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Rolls

That’s eight. Plus turkey and a number of pies.

When we gather in large numbers, we have to have them all. Each one is somebody’s favorite except maybe the green beans, but if they go then another green vegetable replaces them, if only on principle.

When we’re a smaller group, I’m always looking for dishes to nix. Rolls and yams are usually first on my chopping block, but my family always wrestles them back onto the table.

So I thought I’d try a different tactic: I’d combine them.

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