Category Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you who have visited my blog over the past year. Time is one of the most precious commodities there is and once you’ve spent it, you can’t get it back. Thank you for spending a little of yours reading my words. Also, thank you to those of you who spent money and time reading my book Time To Lie this year. Whether or not Christmas is your holiday, I hope you all have a great day and coming year!

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Thank you! ~Phil

Buying 12 Days of Christmas on Amazon would cost you…

It occurred to me that if I did want to buy my true love the 12 days of Christmas from the song that I probably could get it on Amazon. Here’s what it would cost:

1. A partridge in a pear tree: On Amazon you could get a “Partridges and Pears” snow globe for  $50.00 American.

2. Two turtle doves: Two turtles doves figurines would cost you: $22.88

3. Three French Hens: A Three French Hens Queen comforter would run you $109.

4. Four calling birds: A four calling birds Christmas ornament would cost you: $20.98. Notice that it’s all been birds so far? Whoever wrote this song has a thing for poultry!

5. Five Golden Rings: I may sound cheap, but I found  a set of three plain band gold rings for $7.99. To get five, I’d but two sets for a total of $15.98.

6. Six Geese a laying: Jeez! More poultry! For this I’d go with the Six Geese A Laying coasters: $29.97 but they’re not on Prime, so order them early!

7. Seven Swans a swimming: More poultry! I’m starting to suspect a fetish here. For this I’d order the Seven Swans album  by Sufjan Stevens on vinyl. $19.98 

8. Eight Maids a milking: For this I’d have to go with the Eight Maids A Milking canvas tote bag for $17.95. Chicks dig tote bags.

9. Nine Ladies Dancing: I know where to find nine ladies dancing, but I’m pretty sure my true love doesn’t want to go there, so, on Amazon I’d buy her this mug for $12.96:

10. Ten Lords a Leaping: I’d buy her Ten Lords A Leaping: A Father Christmas Mystery, the novel in hardcover for $25.00

11. Eleven Pipers Piping: I’d choose the Eleven Pipers Piping Christmas ornament for $64.95.

12. Twelve drummers drumming: Yeah, there’s a bunch of ornaments and t-shirts for the 12 drummers drumming, but why not let my true love march to the beat of a different drummer? The book is $9.83. 

So, if you were to shop for the !2 Days of Christmas for your true love using only Amazon, your grand total would be: $399.48. If your true love isn’t happy with that, then it’s time to get a new true love.

Have a great Christmas Eve! ~Phil

The Burden of A Near Christmas Birthday

“This is your birthday? Doesn’t your birthday get forgotten a lot.”  Over the course of my life I’ve probably heard that question more often than I’ve heard, “What’s your name?’ There’s a lot of famous birthdays this week. Sir Isaac Newton, Jesus, Jimmy Buffett, and me. The other guys had the good luck of having their birthdays on Christmas. Me? Nope. I missed it by two days. My birthday is today.

The others guys, who may have had their birthdays frequently forgotten in lieu of the Christmas holiday, seem to have overcompensated as adults for the birthday attention they missed out on as kids. Now they’re getting all the attention they could ever want, except Ike Newton. We’re kind of over the whole gravity thing by now.

Poor Jesus, his birthday was always on Christmas. I wonder how Jesus’s birthday went when he was a kid…

Jesus: “Mom, Dad, can we go to Chaim E. Cheese for my birthday?”

Joseph: “Sorry son, we can’t. Not since you pulled that “walking on top of the ball pit” stunt. Now everyone knows who you are. We have to go to church. Thanks a lot.” 

Mary: Joseph, don’t be sarcastic. Jesus, go get ready. Take a bath. And take a real bath this time. No walking around on top!

Jesus: “Aww…man! Why do we always have to go to church on my birthday? We’re Jewish. Shouldn’t we just be lighting candles or playing dreidel?” A petulant Jesus then stomps off to his room. Sits quietly and makes a Ho-Ho multiply until he can build his own birthday cake. Pets his dog and accidentally cures it’s leprosy.

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Unlike, Jesus, Ike Newton or Jimmy Buffett, I missed out on having my birthday overlooked and as a result, I grew up without the attention seeking drive to achieve greatness. Instead of having a Pulitzer Prize and twenty best sellers that I’ve sold the movie rights to, I’ve got a few amusing short novels and this blog. I may not have achieved greatness yet, but some days when I get a few laughs and comments on my blog, you guys make feel like I have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Ten Weird Holiday Traditions From Around the World

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Not everybody celebrates the holidays just like you do. One of the ten traditions in the list is made up by me. See if you can guess which one is the fake and put your guess in the comments.

Ten Weird Holiday Traditions From Around the World

10. South Africa: In South Africa deep fried caterpillars are the traditional holiday meal. Who knows why? Maybe they believe that eating caterpillars symbolically will make their life turn into a butterfly or some such nonsense. Or maybe caterpillars are just really tasty. Who are we kidding? Anything deep fried IS really tasty.

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9. Norway: Maybe my blogging friend Maja Asgautsen from Norway can tell me if this is accurate. According to what I read in the internet, in Norway it’s traditional not to do any cleaning on Christmas Eve and all brooms are put away. Sounds like Norwegian Christmas Eve happens at my house several days every week.

8. Caracas, Venezuela: Residents of this one town, Caracas, go to Christmas Eve mass on roller skates.

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7. Germany: In Germany they hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets a small gift. I would bet that in German bars around the holidays  “Hey gorgeous, how would you like to play hide the pickle?” is an overused, and probably unsuccessful pick up line.

6. Ukraine: In the Ukraine, instead of tinsel and lights they decorate their Christmas trees with fake spider webs and spiders. Apparently they watch The Nightmare Before Christmas  a little too often.

5. China: In China families bring their pets, dogs, cats, and birds to a special mass on Christmas Eve to have them blessed. In Chinese culture it is believed that animals are more susceptible to demonic possession and the ceremony is thought to “cleanse” them for the coming year.  That is why most households have a “lucky cat” statue to ward off evil spirits.

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4. Estonia: Families go to the sauna together. I’m cool with going to the sauna, but with my family? Ugh.

3. Great Britain: Tradition dictates that each member of the family must stir the Christmas pudding in a clockwise direction and make a wish. Reportedly 90% of wishes are “I wish is wasn’t cold and rainy.”

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2. Guatemala: They sweep out their houses on Christmas Eve, with brooms they borrowed from the Norwegianscreating a pile of dirt in front of their home. Then they burn an effigy of the devil on top. Geez, Guatemala, lighten up, it’s Christmas! It’s supposed to be fun.

1. Greece: In a twisted version of Elf on the Shelf, the Greeks tell their children that the Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil goblins that live undergroundcome to the surface to wreak havoc during the twelve days of Christmas. Nice, parenting by terror. What’s more traditional than that?

Well, one of those ten is a completely fake. Which one do you think it is? Have a great Friday! ~Phil

TBT! On The 11th Day of Christmas

This post is part of a series I did in 2005 when I wrote a Christmas themed post every day for the 12 days of Christmas.

(12/22/2005) My sincere Christmas wish is that I’d like everyone to stop saying “See you next year!” during the last 14 days of each calendar year. Think about it. How often does some co-worker, friend, or family member gleefully shout out “See you next year!” and then laugh as if they’ve made the funniest joke they’ve ever heard? Hmmmm…let’s see, by the time I was about 7 years old I had already heard that comedic gem roughly 2000 times. This is another thing I would make a law against when I’m elected President or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first. Don’t start calling me Scrooge over this either. I showed how sensitive I was with that penguin story yesterday didn’t I? (By the way, how many of you visualized a little penguin-shaped chalk outline on a sidewalk behind yellow police tape?) I think that from now on, whenever some Seinfeld wanna-be departs my company by gleefully shouting, “See you next year!” I’m going to just as gleefully respond, “Shut the hell up!” with a big smile on my face.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Christmas Movies EVER!

Every holiday season I post this list and it evolves based on readers suggestions and new movies that come out. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section and maybe you’ll influence next years list.

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10. Love Actually: (2003) This is the best Christmas movie there is about stodgy British people trying to get it on, but it’s a favorite with the ladies, so it made the list. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.

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9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.

8. The Family Man (2000) Starring Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. Most people don’t think much of Nicholas Cage but in this movie he nails the role of an investment banker who through a Christmas miracle is shown the path not taken in his life. I like this one so much that it knocked Die Hard off this list. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and come back here and tell me what you think.

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7. The Santa Clause: This 2004 movie starring Tim Allen screamed instant classic the first time I saw it. Also, any movie that includes Judge Reinhold is a must watch.

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6. The Nightmare Before Christmas: (1993) To be honest, which I always am of course, I’ve never seen this, but so many people talk about it, so I added it to the list. Is it good enough that I should make time to watch it this year?

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5. The Polar Express: (2004) Tom Hanks is a better actor even as cartoon character.

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4. Elf: (2003) Starring Will Farrell, this is the most quotable of all holiday movies. “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” or “Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?”

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3. Miracle on 34th Street: (1947) I’ve never watched the crappy newer color version and I don’t plan to. I’ve loved this one since I was a kid, especially the brilliant court scene when Santa’s lawyer wins the case by having the postmen bring in the letters to Santa. Officially, that was the last time the post office delivered anything on time for the holidays.

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2. A Christmas Story: (1983) It is right and just that TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every year.

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life: (1946) Yes, I’m an old sentimental fool. I still love it everytime when Mary is hidden in the bush and has lost her robe and George says, “Now this is a very interesting situation.” Who doesn’t wonder where the movie might have gone had his friends not pulled up in the car at that moment. Bow bow chicka chicka… Also it’s pretty cool to me that the town of Bedford Falls is based on a small town in upstate New York that I drive through all the time.

Ok, that’s my list. What do you agree with or better yet, disagree with? What movies would you put on the list?  Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! My Christmas Form Letter To You

It’s that time of year again! The time for the year in review Christmas form letter. It’s always touching when our relatives treat us like customers. Typically these form letters take one of two directions. The first and most typical is the ‘What a wonderful year we had!’

“Dear ____________, 2016 was a wonderful year for my family. I started a new job six figure job, and my wife was promoted to president of her company. The kids are doing well. Johnny aced the S.A.T., didn’t miss a question! He’s now been accepted into a Ph.D program at Harvard even though he’s only 14. Susie was named Miss Junior America and will be touring the country speaking out against make up companies testing lip gloss on kittens. The picture on the front of the card is the new Bentley we got after winning the lottery.

The best course of action the next time you see these relatives is a swift, stunning punch to the forehead that will cause them to spill nog all over their tacky sweater and leave a mark on their forehead. They deserve this because either they are lying about how fantastic their life is, or if their life is that great then the bruise on their forehead will remind them that life is tough and they shouldn’t get too cocky.

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The second kind of Christmas letter is my favorite. It’s the disaster letter. These are the people who make you feel so much better about yourself and your life.

“Hello everyone, it is with a heavy heart that we wish you Season’s Greetings. Sadly our twenty-seven year old cocker spaniel passed away last week. He was delicious.  In more upbeat news from our family it has been a year of triumphs! Little Johnny learned to poop indoors and that rash on Susie’s face cleared up. As soon as Obamacare kicks in we’ll get her lazy eye looked at. Home schooling is going well and they both are on track to graduate by the time they’re 21. We’re so proud! Once Trevor finds a job we’ll buy some train tickets and come visit! The best course of action with these relatives is to tell them you’re moving and you’ll forward them the address as soon as you get settled.

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I would just like to note that none of the pictures in this post are from my family. If I were to write a form Christmas letter to anyone reading this it might read:

Thank you to anyone who has read The Phil Factor even once. It’s been an amazing year for me thanks to all of you. Thank you to those who have read one of my books and those who clicked Like or shared my weekly Phil Factor as well as those that have helped by giving of their knowledge. Regardless of what religion or holiday you may or may not be celebrating this season, thank you for every little click you’ve directed at me in some way.

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As always, Happy Thursday, and if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please feel free to share by hitting the Facebook or Twitter share buttons below.