My Top Ten Christmas Favorites

Just a few of the things I like about this time of year…. 


#10 – Brach's Christmas Taffy Brach’s red and green taffy peppermints.

            If they’re cold or if you get an old package, you’ll pull your teeth out trying to chew them.  And it’s next to impossible to get the cellophane wrapper off.  But they’re good.


#9 – BlueBell’s peppermint ice cream. bluebell peppermint         

            It’s the perfect Christmas treat, even if it’s cold.  Love getting a big piece of red or green peppermint candy right in the middle of a bite of ice cream.


Starbucks' eggnog latte

#8 – Starbuck’s Eggnog Latte

            The only thing better than just plain eggnog is an eggnog latte from Starbuck’s.   





#7 – Queen Anne’s chocolate-covered cherriesQueen Anne cherries 

            From the name you wouldn’t think you’d be able to find a box of these at your local CVS Pharmacy, but you can.  And I love them. 






#6 – My mother’s fruitcake

            Now I know that a lot of you are disgusted by the thought of fruitcake.  Perhaps that’s because you can’t figure out what’s in one.  Maybe it’s because one could be lost in the attic for years and remain edible. 

I still don’t know what’s in it, but I know what preserves it. 

            Back when my mom was still baking fruitcake every year, about a month before Christmas she and my dad would make their annual trip to the liquor store on the outskirts of town.  Not wanting anyone to see her sitting there outside the liquor store, my mother would scrunch down in the car while she sent my dad in for a bottle of brandy. 

The best one she ever made was the year they discovered apricot flavored brandy. 

My mom would wrap the fruitcake in layers of cheesecloth, place it in a Christmas tin, and drench the thing in brandy.  Soaked into the cake, weeks or years later, it was delicious. 

And it could double as a warning flare.


#5 – Wrapping presents

            Some of my favorite memories around Christmas involve wrapping presents in front of the fireplace and the Christmas tree in the living room while listening to my Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album.  It was always fun on Christmas morning when we discovered that I’d forgotten to put a nametag on somebody’s gift.  


#4 – Riding around to look at Christmas lights 

            Love riding through neighborhoods to look at the light displays on people’s houses.  My favorite – winding a thick band of red lights, then white, then more red and white, till it looks like a candy cane around a tree.

            Meanwhile, my house looks like the Grinch lives there.


#3 – Watching A Christmas Story

            So many favorite scenes, this movie is to Christmas what Young Frankenstein is to Halloween.  Ralphie trying to get away from the weird kid in the aviator cap standing in line to see Santa.  His little brother, Randy, hiding in the cabinet under the sink in the kitchen.  Just the name, ‘Scott Farkus,’ and referring to any kid who hung out with him, the neighborhood bully, as his ‘toadies.’ 

But the waiters learning to sing “Deck the Halls” in English at the Chinese restaurant makes me laugh every time. 

A Christmas Story
Watch the whole scene from the Chinese restaurant!


Watch Lucille Ball's version from the movie, "Mame."
Watch Lucille Ball’s version from the movie, “Mame.”

#2 – Hearing “We Need A Little Christmas”

           It’s an obscure carol from the musical, Mame.  I first learned it in fifth grade when our music teacher had us sing it for the Christmas PTA program.  Every time I hear it, it makes me feel good, partly because it’s a peppy song, and partly because it reminds me of Miss Berry.  Her face was always so expressive when she was directing us, mouthing every word, exaggerating every syllable to get us to enunciate.  She was all business.

Until she beamed a huge smile, revealing her gold tooth, and you knew you’d done well.



#1 – Finally not caring whether I get any presents. 

            I never understood why my mother always responded with “peace and quiet and for everybody to get along” when we asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  But I do now.  That’s what I want, too. 

More than anything.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa McVey says:

    I’m not big on Nos. 6, 7 or 10. Although I’m quite positive your Mom’s fruitcake was better than any other. I recently discovered no. 9. Wow! I’ve never heard you tell No. 2! I LOVE that one! Hilarious. Love you. Merry Christmas.

    1. sallygary says:

      Her fruitcake was almost as good as her pecan pie and lemon cake that you liked. Eat some of #9 for me – love you, too, and Merry Christmas to the McVey clan!

  2. Debbie Johnson says:

    Thanks, Sally. It’s like walking down memory lane reading your blog. Miss Berry was a special lady, wasn’t she?

    1. sallygary says:

      She truly was – she made us ‘walk the chalk,’ but she was always kind. There was this mischievous twinkle in her eye, and she was quick to break into that smile! I remember learning so much from her, but she always let us do fun things in class, like talent shows and bringing our own records. Can’t wait to see her again. Glad you enjoy going down memory lane with me, Deb-Deb – hope you have a merry Christmas!

  3. Sean says:

    I can’t speak to your mother’s fruitcake, but I was with you until you got to #1. 🙂

    1. sallygary says:

      Well, Sean, I’ll see if I can’t find one of my mother’s fruitcakes from years past and send you a piece. That way you’ll get a present and be happy. Don’t worry, it’ll still be good….

  4. Jeffrey Hobbs says:

    When I was little, I would get sick from eating too many chocolate covered cherries every year! I never learned

    1. sallygary says:

      Can you find chocolate covered cherries in Thailand, Jeff? I’ll send you some if you can’t, but pace yourself.

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