Nine for Nine: Nine holiday specials & films for December 9!

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Christmas is the time for Christmas specials and films! Unfortunately, only a few come out per season and very few of the ones I enjoy are on Netflix… in Canada. That’s because there is a law in Canada that requires networks and broadcasters to carry a certain percentage of Canadian content. Often, I think, they count British programs as Canadian content because there seems to be a lot of British shows on our Netflix. So here are my top five picks for holiday movies that are currently available on Netflix in Canada, followed by my top four holiday picks that are not available on our Netflix but may be available where you live. Each will be rated out of 5 for hilarity, obscenities and sappiness, the three most important pieces of information about film in my opinion.

  • Mrs. Brown’s Boys A British comedy starring Brendan O’Carroll as the matriarch of a typical/atypical British family. There are several Christmas episodes of the program available on Netflix. They are all very good. British humor is the best! Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-3/5 Sappiness-1/5 

 

  • Trailer Park Boys Xmas Special (2004)Trailer Park Boys Live at the North Pole (2014) The Trailer Park Boys are a true Maritime tradition. Although the show is based on stereotypes, [cue Bubble’s voice] “it’s f*&kin’ hilarious, Julian.” It’s Christmas fun for the whole family! Except for your children. Do not let your children watch this. You’ve been warned. Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-5/5 Sappiness-0/5 

 

  • Elf Is any explanation even necessary? Will Ferrell. Buddy the Elf. Everything tastes better with syrup. Funny and family friendly, kids included.  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-1/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

  • Office Christmas Party A more recent Christmas comedy with comedic greats: Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and Jillian Bell, not to mention Jason Bateman. It’s raunchy and lewd and not anything you want to watch with your children nor with any uber religious family members. Jennifer Aniston’s character is eerily similar to her Horrible Bosses character, a connection made more obvious with Jason Bateman’s character being eerily similar to his Horrible Bosses character. In fact, you could just call this “Horrible Bosses: The Christmas Edition.” But I still very much enjoyed it, especially Kate McKinnon, who steals the show.  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-5/5 Sappiness-3/5

 

My four picks for Christmas films that can’t be found on Netflix (in Canada), but maybe you can catch them on television, Youtube, or go old school and watch them on DVD or VHS.

christmas story

4- A Christmas Story Oh, poor Ralphie, all he wants is that Red Ryder B.B. gun. My favorite parts: getting kicked down the slide by Santa, the kid who sticks his tongue to the pole, the lady’s leg lamp, and the fact that it’s got to be one of the only few Christmas films where you get to see the family open their presents! Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-3/5

 

Christmas with the Kranks

3- Christmas with the Kranks The Kranks appall the entire neighborhood by deciding to skip Christmas and take a trip down South instead. Highlights for me: The Kranks hiding when the neighbours are protesting that they haven’t put up their “Frosty;” the Kranks hiding from the carolers; and the Kranks getting caught in the tanning salon in their bathing suits by their priest.  Hilarity-4/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

Christmas vacation2- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation I watch this every year and it never gets old. I was thinking about the new Vacation movie they did with Ed Helms and Christina Applegate and wondering… Could they pull off an updated Christmas Vacation? Because I can’t imagine that they could make a Christmas film any funnier. Chevy Chase as Clarke Griswold, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the snotty neighbour, and Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddy? Cousin “Shitter was full” Eddy makes the whole movie!!  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-1/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

It's a wonderful life1- It’s a Wonderful Life I love this film. The first time I watched it was Christmas Eve on CBC with my mom. There’s nothing more magical than watching It’s a Wonderful Life in black and white on Christmas Eve. The story is timeless. No, it’s not funny, but interestingly enough It’s A Wonderful Life was directed by Frank Capra. His grandson, Frank Capra III was an assistant director on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In Christmas Vacation there are two references to It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s A Wonderful Life is playing on the TV in the background in one scene of Vacation, and in It’s a Wonderful Life there is loose mill-post which George Bailey keeps complaining about. In the Vacation film, there is also a loose mill-post which Clarke fixes with the chainsaw when he loses his temper over not receiving a Christmas bonus. So the two movies that are likely at the top of most people’s Christmas Classics list are actually somewhat connected. I love and cherish It’s a Wonderful Life because it’s romantic, it’s spiritual, it’s inspirational, and, after all, it is a wonderful life. Hilarity-1/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-5/5 

Sources:

A Christmas Story DVD cover.  Jewel 92.5 fm. <http://jewel925.com/tvs-live-musical-christmas-story/> December 8, 2017

Christmas with the Kranks movie poster. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388419/?ref_=nv_sr_1> December 8, 2017

It’s a Wonderful Life DVD cover. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/mediaviewer/rm711430656> December 8, 2017.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie poster. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt> December 8, 2017.

A Christmas Dumping Day and Creamed Lobster- Blogmas 7

Living where I live, on the East Coast of Canada,  in a region known as “the Maritimes,” the ocean plays a significant role in our lives. No matter where you live in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and/or New Brunswick, the ocean is generally not too far away. It should be no surprise then, that the fishery is one of the main industries in the area. In fact, Maritimers are often stereotyped as being just a bunch of ignorant, fisher people. In fact, only some of us are. And the rest of us live in trailers.TPB

That being said, Christmas and seafood go hand in hand. Instead of Thanksgiving, “Dumping Day” is our unofficial kick-off to Christmas.  Dumping Day is not emptying our bowels to get ready for the Christmas bingeing. It is not about dumping out old things to make way for new gifts. It has nothing to do with dumplings. Dumping Day is the first day of the lobster fishery when the fishers go racing against each other to “dump” their traps in the most prime locations. Probably the most popular seafood and export in and from the Maritimes is lobster. lobsterThe lobster fishery is divided into 20 districts which all have different seasons. Most of the lobster that is available during the Christmas season comes out of Southwestern Nova Scotia and Southern New Brunswick. There are Hercules Helicopters circulating because fishing is a very dangerous occupation. Very often during the race to drop their traps, accidents happen. However, for most Maritimers who are not fishers, rarely a thought is given to these brave people who risk their lives so the rest of us can feast on lobster during the Christmas season.

One of the first signs of the Christmas season is the lobster fisher on the side of the road, in a pick-up truck, with a hand-written sign: “Fresh Lobsters” and the price per pound. They set up shop on corners of high-traffic roads in the cities, for many making a 5-7 hour round trip in order to sell the lobsters. Christmas Eve is probably the most popular day for lobster sales because one of the most common Christmas traditions in the Maritimes is a seafood extravaganza. In our house, our feast was an appetizer of fresh boiled mussels with melted garlic butter followed by the main course: fresh, whole, lobsters, also boiled on the stove. Do you hear what I hear? The screams of lobsters being boiled alive? It’s synonymous with Christmas carols in our neck of the woods.

Another uniquely Maritime Christmas Eve tradition is the kitchen party. Basically, it is kind of like those parties shown on films like American Pie except with adults and no one leaves the kitchen. Also, a lot of times people show up with fiddles and play Celtic-type music and everyone sings along. But generally the drinks are provided in those red plastic cups. The biggest difference would be that food is provided, and it is generally seafood.

I’m going to leave you with a Maritime specialty made by many Lobster fisher families in the region. It is a tradition many families here enjoy on Christmas Eve. I am personally not a fan of it, but I will also die if I eat shellfish (oh, the irony! Living in a seafood mecca and having anaphylaxis to any fish with a shell!)

Nova Scotia-Style Creamed Lobster

Ingredients

Photo Sources:

Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association. Cape Breton Lobster. <http://capebretonfish.com/sustainability/management/> December 7, 2017.

Graham. Berwick Shellfish Company. <http://berwickshellfish.com/merry-christmas-to-all-our-customers-friends/> December 7, 2017

Trailer Park Boys Image. 4k Wallpapers. <https://www.qrcodematrix.com/trailer-park-boys-christmas/> December 7, 2017.

Recipe Source:

Harris, Clara. “Nova Scotia Creamed Lobster.” Saltscapes.com. <http://www.saltscapes.com/kitchen-party/recipes/item/nova-scotia-style-creamed-lobster.html> December 7, 2017.