Conventions & Events

The Lush Life: A Guide to that Dreaded Winter Holiday

Okay, so I know this is the one holiday everyone drudges through with dread, right?  Just me?  Ah, well, you know, one man’s trash is another’s treasure after all.  Now, despite my utter resistance to the holiday with more incarnations than Doctor Who, I do admit that there are a few things that get me into the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Yule/Boxing Day/Festivus/whatever the heck you want to celebrate spirit (and not just the spirit of the bottle).  As a matter of fact, I’ve got a few traditions to help me survive the month of craziness (starting, unfortunately, the second Thanksgiving starts and creeping earlier every year) and, as a special treat, I figured I’d share and help save the rest of you from the craziness/monotony/ridiculousness of the season!

The Guildies singing carols helps...

And, of course, what is the holiday without some decorating?  I’m sure most of you have been stalling like I have (and if you haven’t, there’s always room for more decor!) and could use a few great and geeky ideas.

Of course, we need to start with the outside to really get things going.   Now, what’s the perfect geek answer to stringing lights outside of your abode?  ThinkGeek currently has some Yoda and R2-D2 lights in stock, for example, and a simple search of your favorite SciFi theme with the words “Christmas lights” brings up all sorts of fun stuff. 


Once you go inside, though, there’s an even larger selection of crazy fun stuff for decorating geek-style.  You’ve got Star Wars paper snowflakes, Star Trek stockings and ornaments, gingerbread houses featuring The Burrow from Harry Potter or (for the Whovians) the TARDIS, and (what’s going on my tree) the beautiful Firefly ornaments.

Of course, what is the holiday without a bit of jolly gift-getting?  I’ve already covered all sorts of gift-giving on The Geekly, so why not focus on what you should be asking for?  The BBC has a great guide for you Whovians, there’s a great Bruce Campbell action figure I think everybody needs (seriously cool), Cthulhu always makes the season bright(-ish), and you can never have too many dice!  And, for when you just can’t decide, both ThinkGeek and J!NX have wishlist functions.

Pictured: Still Not Enough Dice (Photo Courtesy Wil Wheaton's Flickr Stream)

So, now we’re onto the actual survival of the event.  There are two points to this: you need to have something good to do and you’ll want something great to drink.  Now, there’s plenty of boredom killers- have you checked out our Library yet, for instance?  There’s always all sorts of fun books to read over the holiday.  My personal favorites are Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress (if you’re a girl thinking about picking up tabletop games), or you can check out some great books we’ve previously reviewed here on SciFi4Me.  There’s also plenty of movies and TV to pass the time.  The Adventures of Tintin is in theaters on the 21st and SyFy will have a great variety of programming (such as a movie marathon on Christmas eve and a FaceOff marathon on the 25th).  Besides all of that wonderful alone time, you might actually be forced to spend time around other people.  Why not make a compromise and enjoy a little Winter Veil 2011 in Azeroth? If you absolutely have to take to actually interacting with guests, you can always teach the cousins the finer points of Munchkin, Cthulhu Dice, Magic: The Gathering, or Dungeons & Dragons.  Just sayin’…how nice would it be to overlord a gathering of mini-minions?  Okay, so, island-residing mastermind delusions aside, it’s actually a lot of fun to get odd family members involved in goofy games (I actually got to learn even more odd games from my cousins) and it makes for nicer familial gatherings. 

They even have sparkly pink dice if you've got a lot of female cousins... (Steve Jackson Games)

So now, of course, you can’t get into the holiday spirit (at least not properly) without a good holiday spirit!  There’s plenty of good ideas out there, but here are a few of my personal holiday favorites!

The Christmas Cocktail (There’s just no other name for it)

  • 1 part creme de casiss
  • 1 part vodka
  • 2 parts Cran-Raspberry juice cocktail

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Strain and enjoy!  My favorite garnish with this is just simply a bowl of those yummy raspberry candies…forget going too fancy!

Winter Veil Hot Apple Cider

  • 2 parts Spiced Rum
  • 1 part Cinnamon schnapps
  • Apple Cider

Heat the apple cider in a pan on low heat, add in rum and schnapps and serve/enjoy!  This one is also really good cold, but who really wants cold apple cider in the middle of December?  It’s really easy to garnish with cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, and it’s perfect to make in big batches!

And, of course, what would the holidays be without eggnog?  I’ve not got a preferred recipe, as I’m kind of lazy and just get the store-bought stuff, but I found a great resource to appease any eggnog lover this year.

So, what could you all not live without for the holiday season?  What helps you survive? 

Until next time…geek on!

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