It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows. When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love. When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear. When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart. When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.
I’d like to welcome Elizabeth Lynn Casey to share the beauty of the season with us.
Favorite Holiday tradition?
For me, it’s picking an ornament for each child that depicts something about them from that year of their life, knowing it will be a piece of their history they can share with their own children one day.
Favorite childhood toy?
My favorite “toy” from the time I was about four or five was my baby doll, Jody. That doll went everywhere with me. Whenever it was humanly possible for us to wear matching clothes, we did. In fact, there aren’t many pictures of me during the “Jody years” that don’t have her in my arms! I still have her, but she has an almost “horror movie” look about her these days so I’d prefer to remember her the way she was…
Favorite childhood game?
Since you asked, I might as well tell you… I was a Perfection champ! I could fit those shapes into their spots and still have 15 seconds on the clock! J
Snow ball fight or making snow families?
I think I have to say making snow families. Wimpy, I know.
Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?
That’s easy. I love to go sledding. And my kids, they love to watch me sled because I’m always squealing all the way down the hill.
Favorite Holiday song?
I have three, each with their own specific reason.
The first is a two-parter with the heat mizer/snow mizer songs from the holiday show, A Year Without A Santa Claus. My brother and I watched that show every year, singing and dancing along to those classics. Hearing them now instantly transports me back to our childhood together
The second is “I’ll be home for Christmas” as it always transports me to the Christmas of 1990 when my then-husband was serving in Operation Desert Shield and I knew we wouldn’t be celebrating our first Christmas together the way we would have liked. It’s a beautiful song and always makes me think of families separated for the holidays.
The third is “Mary Did you Know” as sung by a young man named, Dominic Haygood of the Branson Haygood family. First time I heard him sing this, he was 18 and he had everyone in the entire theater on their feet clapping by the time he was done. I have that version on a CD I play every year and it always brings tears to my eyes.
Favorite holiday movie?
Miracle on 34th Street
Favorite holiday story to read?
I have a holiday collection of stories from the Little House books and my favorite story is in there. It’s when Laura and her sisters go to an event at church and presents (like gloves and candy canes) are tied to the branches of the tree. Her innocent joy gets me every single time.
Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?
Snow…but only after everyone is safely back at home. I don’t like it to hinder a tradition.
Most memorable holiday memory?
If I really have to pick one (or, maybe two), I’d have to say my eldest daughter’s 2nd Christmas and my youngest daughter’s 2nd Christmas as well. Because of their birthdates, my first daughter was nearly 2 for her 2nd Christmas and my youngest was 15 months. Dear Daughter # 1 wanted “an old choo-choo and a hi-hi.” Translation: a wooden toy train (not sure where the “old” came from and a Fisher Price dollhouse for the “hi-hi” because she equated it with the dolls inside who she made say “hi” to each other). The memory with Dear Daughter #2 centers most around the way she looked in her tiny little Elmo Slippers and how excited she was about every toy she unwrapped.
Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?
At the risk of shocking popcorn ball lovers everywhere, I’ve never saw one…
Real tree or artificial? Green or white?
When it comes to trees, I’d have to say artificial as it coincides better with my neat freak leanings. Regardless, though, it must be green.
What do you do holiday eve?
The answer to that question is a bit different now that I’m remarried. Now, we go to my husband’s aunt’s house where everyone gathers for dinner and presents. Before that, it was always spent at a very quaint restaurant in St. Charles, MO followed by evening church service and prepping for Santa with the kids afterward. Still getting used to the change…
What are your holiday plans this year?
Christmas morning is my favorite time as that’s just us and the kids. We open presents, have a nice breakfast, and just enjoy our time as a family.
What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?
My homemade fudge.
Please share a Holiday recipe.
Ingredients: 18 ounces of chocolate chips (a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate is my favorite), a can of sweetened condensed milk, a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla.
Directions: Melt the chocolate in the milk over a double boiler until creamy, stirring constantly. Once it is creamy, remove from heat. Add the pinch of salt, and the splash of vanilla and stir occasionally over the next 5 minutes as it cools. Then pour into a wax paper lined square pan and refrigerate until fudge consistency. Remove from wax paper backing and cut into squares.
Holiday party tip?
While this will probably not come as a surprise to people who frequent my Facebook fan page, I love desserts. Love. Them. So, whenever possible, I like to throw a Holiday Dessert Party. I make four or five fancy desserts (one dessert I make every year is the White Chocolate Mousse Pastry Puff — Yummmm) and offer festive hot drinks. It’s easier than a dinner party, everyone oohs and ahhs over the desserts, we pull out the fun party style games, and then I send everyone home with recipe cards for everything I made. Easy .Stylish. And a whole lot of fun!
Favorite holiday decoration?
Can I give four?
The Fisher Price Nativity Set for its sweet simplicity, the Christmas plates my girls painted when they were younger, my Disney Christmas China (each plate has a different part of the Night Before Christmas Poem), and the tree skirt I hooked by hand over twenty years ago.
Please share some magical holiday memories?
Driving through light displays when the kids were younger.
Christmastime in Branson, Missouri—you can’t be here and not be reminded of the true reason for the season.
And my latest magical memory? Attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with Dear Daughter #2 earlier this month. It snowed on Main Street!!!
Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?
Gifts or gift cards?
I think I lean more towards gift cards these days because the simple nature of a gift card is kind of a two-fold gift—something you want and the experience/fun of spending time looking for it.
Do you eat fruitcake?
Uh, that would be a no.
Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
What’s in your stocking? *wink*
Probably socks. Maybe some candy.
What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*
A gift card for a massage.
Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?
No way. No how.
Thank you so much.
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!