Happy New Year from @MeganSlayer and @wendizwaduk #holiday #readinthenewyear

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A New Tradition for Christmas with @WendiZwaduk #christmas #traditions #blogfest #lasreviews

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I’m over at Long and Short Reviews today and guest blogging as part of the blog fest. Come check it out. I’ve got prizes up for grabs. You won’t want to miss it. I’ll see you there. 🙂  http://www.longandshortreviews.com/guest-blogs/winter-blogfest-wendi-zwaduk-2/

Christmas Time with @MeganSlayer ~ the 15th Day of Christmas ~ #christmas #movies #christmasmovies

Christmas Tree Blog 2017

I love this time of year. The shows on television, the songs in the store…but mostly the movies. I’m a sucker for the sappy movies on certain channels. I can’t get enough. Why? I know I’ll get a happy ending each time I watch. Okay, so I know some will be a tad on the cheesy side, but I don’t mind. I love watching. I write while the movies play and it gets me in the mood for the season.

So what are my top five favorite Christmas movies? Now these are my favorites. I’m sure your list will be different, but maybe there’s one or two you might like or haven’t seen.

  1. Arthur Christmas – I love the original take on Santa and his family. The story involves a family of Santas who pass down the role of SANTA through the years. It’s new, fresh and with Arthur being voiced by James McAvoy (le sigh), I can’t go wrong.
  2. A Muppet Christmas – this isn’t a widely known Christmas film, but it’s about the Muppets going to Fozzie’s mother’s house for the holidays. The Muppets, the Sesame Street Gang, plus the Fraggles are involved. It’s the best and I could watch them fall on the icy patch for hours.
  3. Nightmare Before Christmas – I love the oddity of this movie and the music is awesome. I’ll watch this one from Halloween straight through to Christmas. Why not? It covers both holidays. Plus, I love Jack Skellington and Sally.
  4. National Lampoons’s Christmas Vacation – I don’t know about you, but I can identify with so many parts of this movie – the dog crashing the dinner, the dog drinking the tree water, the cat and the Christmas lights, the family disagreeing on everything, the shouting, arguing, intrusiveness…the list goes on and on. It makes me feel better about my family Christmases not being perfect and reminds me to laugh. Above all…laugh.
  5. Miracle on 34th Street – the black and white version with Natalie Wood. I have to specify because some liked the remake and others like the colorized version. I’m a purist. I want the original without the fixings. John Payne makes a great lawyer and crusader for the downtrodden. Edmund Gwenn might as well BE Santa and the magic in Natalie Wood’s eyes is palpable. This movie snags me every time.

So I ask you…which one from my list is your favorite? Which one is you favorite that I didn’t include? I’d love to know. I’m always open to new Christmas movies.

Christmas Time with @MeganSlayer ~ the 14th Day of Christmas ~ #christmas #charity #5k #giftsofchristmas #race

Christmas Tree Blog 2017

I’ve never been big on exercise. Okay, that’s not right. Honestly, I like exercise, but I hate the classes or organized groups. I guess I’m a lone wolf in that respect. I’d rather do my own thing and at my own pace.

Back in May, I walked a 5k with my dog. Now she’s almost 14 years old and not real fast–especially for a basset hound/beagle. Needless to say, we finished, but we weren’t breaking any speed records.

logo-centerSo for the duration of the summer and fall, I’ve been out walking and training for another 5k. This time it was for a race in December. I don’t know about you, but it’s cold here in December and tends to be…extra chilly by the lake. But the Christmas Story House is located in a Cleveland neighborhood and you can’t run the Christmas Story House race without running in Cleveland…just off Lake Erie…in December. Yeah. But I was determined do to it. I don’t know if you know the movie – A Christmas Story. It’s not my favorite (don’t throw things at me), but I’m game to dress up and walk a 5k. So, I dressed up as one of the robbers Ralphie chases in his daydream.

It was cold. It was long and the race course went across two bridges, but at the end of the day, it was worth it. Doing this 5k has become a tradition for our family. Dress up like the characters and do the race. The money goes toward the restoration of the house and neighborhood where the house is located. I’m game.

But my legs hated me for the rest of the day. 🙂

Are there any odd traditions that you and your family do? Something that’s not usual, especially for the season? Let me know.

Christmas Time with @MeganSlayer ~ the 12th Day of Christmas ~ #christmas #stories #memories #ornaments #lessonslearned

Christmas Tree Blog 2017

To start off this series of stories and memories of Christmas, I thought today I’d talk about a gift that taught me a lot.

When I was a teacher, I had a student…well, I had lots of students, but this one was a good kid. Shy, sweet and yet, popular. I’ll call him Matt. That’s not his name, but oh well.

Matt got along with everyone and was always happy. I enjoyed having him in class. He helped out when I needed things taken to the office or copies made. Right before Christmas, the day before break started, he showed up in my classroom. This wasn’t odd since he liked to spend lunch time in my room. Lots of kids did. I didn’t mind because I enjoyed the noise.

Here’s the thing. He handed me a gift. “Mrs. Z, I hope I didn’t break it.”

He hadn’t. The small box contained a blown glass bear ornament. I loved the little bear. I told him thank you and when I got home, I’d put it on the tree. I did, by the way. Went right on the tree that night.

The thing about this ornament that taught me the lesson wasn’t when I received the gift, but when I went back to school after break.  Christmas Eve night, two students I’d had that year were in an accident and passed away. I found out about the accident on the television. It was rough. I’d told this other student, a bit of a pill honestly,  that I’d see him after break. I never talked to him again. Every time I look at that ornament, I think of Matt and Noah, the young man who passed away.

Time passes and I haven’t forgotten Matt or Noah. Not a bit. But where I know what happened to Noah…I don’t know what happened to Matt. He grew up and I stopped teaching. I know he went on his way, but I don’t know what he does or where he is. I hope he’s happy and I’d love to tell him I’m proud of him. But I get a little sad because I lost touch with him and many of my former students.

So when I see that ornament, I think of the lovely Christmas gift and how precious life is. I think about the people I knew who have come in and out of my life. Family, friends, students, former students, fellow authors and especially my readers…I love you all and I’m glad I have and have had you in my life.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter this year.