Tag Archives: Christmas


13 Dec

Snow? Yes, dear readers, it did snow today. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), none of the beautiful white stuff stuck to the ground, so today is back to business as usual, although the benefits of my long wool coat are clearer today. It’s cold outside, bringing to mind the less than awesome Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The weather last night and today made everyone want to stay huddled indoors, next to a fireplace with coffee and someone they love. I hung Christmas lights, which somehow make the living room both brighter and warmer. I was humming Christmas songs the entire time, and so I would like to present to you my Christmas List of Top Five Holiday Songs!

1. Silver Bells, by any older artist
When I was little, I used to sit in front of the Christmas tree and sing Christmas songs to myself. I’m not as weird as I sound. But I always loved singing Silver Bells. The images of lights and snow and busy people make Christmas time in the city an awesome perk of living in said city. I am a city girl, everyone knows that, and a song celebrating a city Christmas instead of the traditional country Christmas will always be number one in my book.

2. The Train, by Celestial Navigation’s
If you have never heard this, look it up and listen to it while sitting next to the Christmas tree. It’s about a man sitting on a train on Christmas Eve, reminiscing about Christmas Eve’s from his childhood. It varies from the normal holiday music in that it’s spoken word, with instruments behind the words providing the continual sound of the train wheels. It says Christmas to me, and since they don’t play it on the radio anymore I save it for Christmas Eve, when everyone is gathered together and our favorite songs are playing in the background, right before we go to bed and Santa comes around to stomp on the roof and bring things to us.

3. The Christmas Song, any good rendition
This is Christmas. That’s why it’s just called The Christmas Song. Enough said.

4. Sleigh Ride
In high school, our choir performed this song for our annual Christmas concert. It was fun, like always, but it also coincided with the year our class started to all get along and be friends. We all went to a traveling Christmas party, the weekend after the performance, and the whole time, the only line that kept going through my head was “there’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy, when they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie.” It stands out as one of my favorite Christmases; and I still use that line as a standard to any awesome holiday event.

5. Wonderful Christmas Time, by Paul McCartney
I saved the best for last. This has been my all-time favorite holiday song since I was very young. It’s not Christmas until I hear this, and when I do, it’s like the lights come on. It takes me back to Christmases of my childhood, and lends it’s magic to any Christmas, making it more magical. I think I listened to it a lot during my senior year of college, during finals, to get me through that final push into adulthood. It worked.

So there you go, loyal readers, the top 5 Christmas songs from someone who thinks she has authority to say so. What are your favorite holiday songs?


6 Dec

It’s finally December, which means, invariably, that it’s finally cold. And we don’t have heat in our house, because, being an old and poorly insulated rental property, said house would be way out of our budget to heat properly.

As I sit here basking in the warm-ish air emitting from the space heater, I think about Christmas. The big day is three weeks away, and though I’m further along in the holiday process than I was last year, I still feel behind. We decided not to get a tree here in the tiny and cold yellow house, opting instead for white lights strung all over the living room. I hardly have any Christmas decorations; turns out all my decorations were for the Christmas tree that we currently don’t have.

I still love Christmas, though. My mom’s house is all decked out, with white lights in the bushes and on the railing outside, red and green and white towels in the bathrooms, a tree brightly lit downstairs. It even smells like the holidays, something I realized when I visited home tonight. That’s one of my favorite parts about Christmas, Thanksgiving, the whole last part of every year. I love the smells that take me back to when I was small, or that make me feel warm and safe and at home. It’s something I try to recreate wherever I am. Tie that fact into my always trying to make wherever I am into something of a home, but that’s another post.

Happy Christmas, readers. More on this joyful time of year next week.


30 Oct

I’ve been thinking. When you visit a city, you can either see all the touristy things, which will all be crowded and busy, though it is nice to see in person the places you’ve seen on TV and read about in books.

That’s not the way I want to travel, though. I want to meet the locals, talk to them, and see what they consider the best parts of their city. I want to hear and see and experience what they love about where they live.

So, as a result, I’ve comprised a list of five things every Atlantan or Atlanta visitor should do.

1. See The Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre
When I was small, Christmas wasn’t really Christmas until my mom and I dressed up, drove all the way down Peachtree Street, and saw the Atlanta Ballet dance The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre. We slacked off for a few years when I got older, for one reason or another, but recently, we’ve started the tradition again full force. We dress up. We go to dinner somewhere in midtown or Buckhead. And then we start down the road, Christmas music playing, the sun slowly setting over my city and the Christmas lights making Peachtree Street positively glow. That in itself is perfection, but then we get to the Fox and the marquee lights are reflecting off passing cars and the air is cold and I’m wearing heels and a nice coat…the theatre is crowded with happy patrons, and everyone is dressed in their holiday best. The smells grab you from one side – popcorn, coffee spiced nuts – and old theatre from the other – dance shoes, wooden floors, carpets, hopes, dreams. We buy tickets so that we’re close enough to see the dancers’ faces, hear their pointe shoes as they hit the stage. And when the lights go down and the first notes start, it’s more magic; when the foamy snow starts to fall from the ceiling and the Atlanta Boys Choir breaks into song, it’s finally Christmas.

2. Piedmont Park
Originally farmland and then prime location for expositions, this 189-acre jewel is certain to provide everyone with something to do. From the dog park, swimming pool and playground to the track, two lakes and tennis courts, Piedmont Park should be and is the destination for anyone in their right mind, especially on warm spring or cool fall days. You can satiate your hunger, either by patronizing the Park Tavern or grabbing a burrito at Willys. You can attend festivals, like the Dogwood Festival every spring, or the Jazz Festival in the summer, or attend a movie with hundreds of your neighbors at Screen on the Green. You can hang out on the lawn and welcome runners of the Peachtree Road Race, which ends its annual 10k race on the great lawn. You can dance at concerts, as many did this year when the Eagles came to play the Green Concert. Or, if you’re quieter, like me, you can take a blanket and lie in the grass, or swing life away on one of the swings that are situated beside the lakes. Piedmont Park is one of my favorite places in Atlanta, and a place that everyone should visit at least once, if not more.

3. Dinner at Mary Mac’s
After you have your fill of nature at Piedmont Park, venture down the road a little to Mary Mac’s Tea Room, an Atlanta landmark since 1945. If you’ve never had southern cooking (though I don’t know people like that) then this is the place to come, with a menu full of fried chicken, vegetables, cornbread, and banana pudding. This food tastes like something your old southern grandmother would make, bringing to mind the Progresso soup commercials where imbibers of the soup call the factory, demanding to speak to their grandma; you would swear mee-maw is in the kitchen, whipping up those mashed potatoes in her old Pyrex mixing bowl. Don’t expect to stick to your diet-they’re known for their sweet tea, and if you don’t get a dessert you’re missing out on one of life’s joys. You’ll leave full, of both food and southern hospitality, as each server is kind and polite, much as any good southern momma teach their children to be. This is Atlanta. Welcome to the South.

4. Spend a holiday at Lenox Square
I lived in Atlanta for 18 years before I ever went to Lenox Square, 22 before I ever saw the great tree on top of Macy’s, and 23 before I witnessed the largest fireworks display in the South. Lenox Square was the first major shopping mall in Georgia, and one of the most upscale. You can celebrity watch while you shop like a celebrity; with stores like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, 7 for All Mankind, and several others, if you have some money to spend and want to feel like somebody, shop here. If you’re not into shopping, however, there are other events that might strike your fancy. Every 4th of July the sky explodes in the largest fireworks display in the Southeast. Every Thanksgiving night, at 7pm sharp, choirs and local musicians welcome the Christmas season by lighting Macy’s Great Tree, a giant Georgia Christmas tree that sits on top of Macy’s. These are Atlanta traditions, and it wouldn’t feel like home without them. Swing by Lenox Square for a weekend, buy some Jimmy Choo shoes or sit atone of the many restaurants and just watch the people. You’ll start, very soon, to feel like a real Atlantan.

5. Murder Kroger
“Down on Ponce where the call girls roam
Where homeless trannies won’t leave you alone
Just a block or so past the Clermont Lounge
Sits the deadliest grocery store in town.
It’s a good place to go if you wanna buy crack
But if you go there for groceries you may never come back

It’s murder, Murder Kroger
It’s murder, Murder Kroger
It’s a grocery store with a deadly twist
You’ll get shot in the head for your shopping list
Murder Kroger!”

It goes on from there. No, this isn’t just a clever song – Murder Kroger is real, and living down on Ponce beside the Ford Factory Lofts. There is a Facebook group dedicated to this scary/interesting/unique establishment, and dozens of stories adorn the group wall, all about strange occurrences which took place there. The term Murder Kroger stemmed from a decomposing body found in the parking lot in the late 90’s; the fear and reputation probably originated because that area of Ponce was pretty rough before the gentrification that started in 1996. Any number of odd things can happen when one visits, and it always makes for a good story, especially when one visits the store when drunk. Murder Kroger is open 24 hours a day, which means if your plane is delayed for a few hours or you have a layover, you can take a cab up and wander around, even at 3am. But remember:
“When you leave your car don’t forget your mace
Unless you wanna be stabbed in the face
By an angry bum with a switchblade knife
I hope those hot pockets were worth your life!”

Welcome to Atlanta!