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Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:22 Jennifer Devore
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Just when I'm convinced the candy corn glow makes Hallowe'en the best season ever, Christmastime sprinkles me with cinnamon and nutmeg fairy dust and it's off to races I go! No more Pumpkin Spice lattes, no, Siree! Now, 'tis time for Gingerbread and Egg Nog lattes! ~insert Homer Simpson-style drool here~ Yes, what could be more glorious than Christmastime? If you know Moi, you know the only answer to that could be ... Disneyland at Christmastime!

I'm oft queried, usually accompanied by a snide, wrinkled nose, "How times can you go to Disneyland? Isn't it all the same, all the time?" In two words, respectively, "Googolplex" and "No". If I may  ...

Especially at Christmastime, Disney is aglow and alive with new designs, décor and discovery. California Adventure Park, par example, is sporting an all new, first-time ever, holiday overlay on Buena Vista Street, including the luxuriously Art Deco-inspired department store Elias & Co. If the mall is just a tad too modern for you, if it lacks the creativity some of us need, and if the likes of Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl's are just not our scene (hands up high!), a Buena Vista Christmas just might be A Christmas Story overload your contemporary senses crave right now: 50ft., old-fashioned Christmas tree, vintage toys, model trains and kiddie pics with old St. Nick.

Do yourself a huge favour. Get at least one day of holiday shopping in with Walt. Not close to a Disney park? Maybe you do live or vacation nearby, but don't want to pay the hefty entrance fee or commit to an annual pass? (You should, but that's a personal matter.) No worries, pals. Downtown Disney shopping and dining districts can feed your holiday needs, in both the Golden and Sunshine States. Tokyo and Paris each have a park and, if all else fails, a visit to your local mall's Disney Store can provide a travel-size portion of Mickey cheer. Not even a mall nearby? Wow. Well, gimme a minute. Ah! A little shopping at whilst watching Mickey's Christmas Carol will do the job nicely!

Disney merch isn't all Mickey ears, giant pencils and pinwheel suckers. Some of you would be happily surprised at the selections hidden amidst the back streets and castle crevices. Star Traders in Tomorrowland, at the egress of Star Tours, proffers an impressive inventory of Star Wars figures, apparel and collectibles for the sci-fi geek on your list. My geek faves? Muppets-as-Star Wars figures and the Obi Wan bathrobe.

New Orleans Square offers moderately priced, casually pretty pirate tees and other, pricier, Disney Couture gear. No hip-top kind of gals on your list? Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie boasts sleek shelves and shiny glass cases full of dear-but-worth-it designer scents: Christian Dior, Shalimar and more.

Main Street, Fantasyland and Frontierland have enough shops to keep you busy sifting through racks and shelves of crystal, porcelain, jewelry, fine leather goods, fine art, Disneyana, Pendleton, Dooney & Bourke, Tarina Tarantino and just about anything funky, wonky, pretty, sparkly, wacky, wild and weird to conquer that Christmas or Hanukkah list. As mentioned above, don't forget about Downtown Disney: no admission fee and plenty of Disney joy! My fave spot? Disney Vault 28, of course ... or, as I like to call it, Vault Disney. Get it? Ha ha. (As of late though, I do have to admit the unique selection here has thinned and the quality, especially where the Tarina Tarantino baubles are concerned, is, as the French would say with a shrug and a so-so wiggle of the hand, comme-ci comme-ca. Meh.)

Remember, Christmas shopping is not just about the buying; it's about the perusing, the strolling, the atmosphere and the hot cocoa, spiced cider and egg nog cappuccinos. IMHO, going into New Year's debt over gifts is just stupid. It really is the thought that counts. True, Disney may not be the least expensive brand; but there are enough goodies under $30 with a unique and personal factor that outweighs even Auntie Wilma's high-end Neiman-Marcus gifties. (Of course, that does not mean we don't still want Auntie Wilma's Neimans boxes!!)

Whether it's precious alone-time (Underestimate not the joy of Disney meandering by oneself.) or with a pal, whether with a lovey-dovey or a little loved one, Disney provides everything modern senses require for the perfect Christmas Story-Christmas: fireworks, festive drinks (adult and non-alkie), treaty-sweeties, parades,  characters in holiday haberdashery and loads of photo-ops everywhere you turn. Disneyland is for fun, friends and family ... especially friends! Who knows what next Christmas may bring? You owe it to yourself. Be happy! Go to Disneyland!

Fave Disneyland Holiday Attractions!

Haunted Mansion Holiday: New Orleans Square and The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay! If you're a regular reader of mine, you know full-well my love for Jack and Sally ... and Zero!

Buena Vista Street's Very First Christmas: California Adventure Park's 1920s, small town Christmas and department store, Elias & Co. ... get yourself some Midwest-America nostalgia.

Jingle Jangle Jamboree: Frontierland's "West Pole" f/ country tuneage by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies, Mrs. Claus' Christmas cookies, Holiday Corral and Santa's reindeer, plus a holiday crafting station!

A Christmas Fantasy Parade: The classic! Rollerskating snowflakes, minueting Princes and Princesses, wooden soldiers, prancing reindeer and all your fave characters in the gayest holiday gear!


All slideshow photos by Loren Javier

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 09:41 Jennifer Devore
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Mr. Snowman has been patient, all the autumn through.

Now he’s ready to vogue and pose and preen,

To oversee your snow angels, powder fights and frolics.


Pine boughs and incense, cinnamon and peppermint.

Sugar cookies and gingerbread, snickerdoodles and milk.

Pfeffernusse and Gewurtraminer, spice cookies and mulled wine,

Of all the holiday making, the baking and cooking call us home best.


Fairy lights glitter and dance in the fireplace glow,

As they hug the tree and adulate the dearest décor,

That box of precious, priceless family adornments,

Waiting patiently through the year, much as Mr. Snowman.


Presents tied with velvet bows and wreaths wrapped with grapevines,

Garden gnomes with Santa hats and carriage lights ringed with pine,

Welcome all whom enter, those we hold dear and those we wish to know.


‘Tis Christmastime and no season’s more special with cheer,

Than that which brings us all home at once,

Than that which brings us all love at home.


Sunday, 25 November 2012 20:54 Jennifer Devore
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An interesting story ... he began, 'tis oft how he began.

Should you hear these words, lean forward, listen closely.

A ripping good yarn was sure to come, a tale and a full glass.

Always a full glass, for he loathed an empty glass.


An interesting story ... he grew up well and was disallowed dungarees.

He never heard of Del Taco, yet found his true love at Delmonico's.

Early were the lessons of a well-polished wingtip and bespoke tennies,

A hearty steak, a smooth scotch, a strong handshake and a stirring conversation.


A formidable and gracious host and interviewer was he.

"Sorry I went all 'Charlie Rose' on you there," he apologized after your first, long chat.

Life was "all about getting a good story out of it". That he did.


An interesting story ... Teddy Roosevelt was a standard bearer.

George Washington and Winston Churchill, too.

Rise of Rough Riders, Studies in Greatness and the Craft of Intelligence.


"I hope you enjoy this biography of T.R. as much as I did.

I'll be happy to forward the next volume to you at your request."

I should very much like to make that request.


"Sometimes, I like being the dork in the corner, reading a book."

"Why don't you go an' learn something, Brain?"

Books, books and more books. Text me, anytime.

Bios, history, politics, golf and Roberts Rules of Order.

How to dress like a gentleman and the etiquette of the green.


An interesting story ... his cache of Disney trivia was greater than even mine, maybe.

Tears of laughter sloshed from Mad Tea Party cups,

Chicken dinner at Main Street's Plaza Inn, comforting as could be.

An evening at the Park with friends, a nightcap at the Hotel, not to be refused.


Grand Californian's Hearthstone Lounge, Trader Sam's, the classic Hotel.

Manhattans, Shrunken Zombie Heads or a rare reserve.

Closing down Disney, done well indeed.


An interesting story ...  he was going to bring back spats.

"Thank you, ladies. I've spent half the day shopping,

for pocket watches and spats at"

You are welcome; though we never got to see your spats.

Perchance Brooks Brothers will make you a special pair.


Hercule Poirot, Caesar Rodriguez, Frasier Crane and Picky Ricardo,

Would all approve of the spats revival; so would Manny.

C'est difficile to watch Modern Family of late.

Manny makes us laugh, and weep. Manny hits too close to heart.


An interesting story ... everybody should have a majordomo.

He was absolutely right. A majordomo knows, knows all.

A majordomo knows which drink to serve, when.

"Never iced tea at night. Manhattans? Well, those are for the Big City."


We raise our collective Manhattans to you, Good Sir.

In San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and Wine Country,

You are absolutely correct ... everybody should have a majordomo.


Rest in Peace, our dearly departed friend.

You are missed.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012 18:42 Jennifer Devore
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Something is different, something hearty in the air.

‘Tis crisper, cooler, brisker, sharper,

Like a bite from a chilled, candied apple.

The wind and weather now zip through the trees.

Shaking loose leaves of orange, red and gold,

Leaving mere bones and fingers of bark and birch.


Dark Italian roasts, mulled spider ciders and spiced pumpkin lattes,

Perfect complements to all the season’s feasts.

Families are amassing, friends are warming near,

Enveloped and embraced by a fete’s baking, cooking and cocktails,

All warm and sugared comforts, certain to please.


Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coffee and wine,

The smells of the season lead us home year after year.

Bringing the best of autumn together, the best of family and friends,

The very best of everything, the very best of us on this Thanksgiving Day.




Happy Tofurkey Day to All!

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