It’s Almost Halloween, So When Do You Start Christmas Fun?

It is almost Halloween. Scary, isn’t it? Time still creeps by, even in a pandemic.

O.K. Corral Museum, Tombstone, Arizona – 2019

And if it’s Halloween with all the tricks and treats, you know that it’s almost Christmas somewhere.

Sugar Cookies from Alicia’s Cookery & Catering, Brea, CA

Now I know there are some strong opinions on Christmas and timing, too. Since everything seems controversial this year, let’s add this to the mix. We each probably land somewhere different on when is too soon for Christmas or not soon enough.

Some of you (us) are already turning our thoughts toward Christmas. You know who you are. This post is specifically for you, Christmas people. I am interested in your timeline and how you are doing in this pandemic year with setting your expectations accordingly.

First of all, how do you rate yourself as a Christmas fan? On a scale of 1-10. A “1” would be someone who appreciates usually getting the day off, but that’s about it. You might be a “10” if:

  • Your home, once decorated, looks like Hallmark used it as a set for one of their Christmas movies.
  • You go to Disneyland (if you are local) multiple times during the season (years when it is open – boo, hoo).
  • You have multiple Christmas items of clothing in your wardrobe.
  • You start listening to holiday music, well, already.
  • You are a professional when it comes to shopping for gifts and love it all – purchase to pretty packaging for delivery day. You may be done already. Or maybe you’re one who makes gifts for everyone on your list. I think that is meaningful, but definitely shows a higher level or ambition and organization.
  • You quite possibly stress out with all the demands and busy days of the season – on purpose, filling every free moment on your calendar, and then collapsing satisfied or let down shortly after the big day. And just before putting away the decorations.
  • Your expectations are high for the best Christmas ever – every year.
  • You send Christmas cards early and every year.
  • And what else?
    • For any of you who qualifies as a “10,” you probably do not have time to read this post, even now.
    • For those of us who observe, and love, the ambitious “10’s” around us, what did I forget that should be on the list?

Like I mentioned, I am interested in your traditions and how you are doing this year in light of the pandemic guidelines and how that impacts our mood. Hopefully, we can still enjoy the season in many ways. Please share!

  • When do you normally begin to honor Christmas? Does this year feel different?
  • Have you already begun to watch Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas movie series? Or do you plan to wait on that?
  • Have you been to Home Depot to check out the tree display? Or other retail displays of decorations?
  • When do you usually start listening to holiday tunes? What do you think about this year?
  • When do you decorate? What are your traditions with decorating? Will this year be any different?

I’m not feeling the momentum yet that sweetly builds from Halloween through the next two months and settles back down quietly by New Year’s Day. I typically make myself wait until after Halloween to begin listening to Christmas holiday music. My parents laid down that law when I was growing up. This year I don’t think I’ll be in the mood for the music that early. I do have election fatigue, pandemic fatigue, and conspiracy theory fatigue. That can stifle the mood, but I predict I’ll bounce back, possible later than usual.

From Lindsay & Letters (no longer available)

I go back and forth as a mid-range fan of Christmas fun. Lately, I am a “5,” average fan of Christmas who loves it, enjoys it, but keeps the calendar as open as possible and has toned down the decorating to quite minimal. I’m not into the gift part. In the past, I was more of a “7” or “8.” Going to Disneyland, if it were open, is part of the holiday magic for me. I also plan to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie. Or many. But not yet.

I have another post on Christmas 2020 coming soon, but for now, if you are a Christmas enthusiast early bird, I hope you’ll share your perspective in a comment.

Stay cheerful, my friends.

P.S. For a quick look at Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas: Are you a Hallmark fan at Christmas?

Are you a Hallmark fan at Christmas?

10 Tips for California Adventure Alone

I recently spent the day at Disneyland’s Resort California Adventure and Downtown Disney. As mentioned in a previous post on this blog, I grew up in the Midwest and watched Disney’s Sunday night program faithfully, watching Tinkerbell light the fireworks or color splashing over Cinderella’s castle, wondering if I’d ever get to visit Disneyland. It seemed so far away. I never thought I’d end up living about 45-minutes away as an adult. I think about that every time I visit, and it makes me smile.

Here are my ten tips for doing a solo day trip to the Disneyland Resort, specifically for a visit to the California Adventure theme park.

Disney CA Adventure Entrance - 2018-2

Entrance to California Adventure on a February morning.

On this particular visit, I chose to go alone. I got to decide what to do and when. No compromise. Pure entitlement. Feeding my selfish dark side. Yes! This was the day!  The night before, I made my list of what I wanted to do there. Making lists makes me happy. Perhaps you are a list maker, too. I went prepared to check things off that list. As an introvert, doing things alone is often fun for me.

Image - Disney Lamp Post Scene - 2018-2

Alone in the crowd, but not lonely.

If you ever go to such a great place by yourself, these ten tips may be of interest to you.

Tip #1: Take a book or your Kindle and plan to do some reading.

My first attraction for day was Soaring Around the World, one of my most favorite things to do at Disney’s California Adventure, formerly Soaring Over California, also a favorite. I chose the stand-by line with a 45-minute wait. Standing in line can be especially tedious when you are alone with no one to chat with, so I came prepared and brought a book.

I passed the time reading and standing and reading and standing for a while, when the cast member made an announcement. One of the two theaters was having technical difficulties. The guests in that line were moved into the other theater. That would add a five to seven minute delay. OK. Whatever. I was reading.

I love to read. For some of us, extra free time to read is a luxury, so that was my perspective. The long time of reading was great. But the standing time, and standing still, became tiring. Finally, I got seated on the ride, loved it as always, and was relieved to be sitting down for a few minutes.

Tip #2: Choose to do those things you want to do that those who love you and normally go with you might not care about missing.

For me, that included going to see Frozen. The park information states “The dazzling theatrical interpretation of Disney’s global film phenomenon Frozen…at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park!” My husband would not typically agree to do this, unless he could tell I really wanted to go or it was my birthday. I’ve wanted to see this for a while. I was looking forward to the 2:00 performance, according to my carefully crafted plans for my day.

I walked over to the theater at about 1:15, casually early, anticipating a line. I rounded the corner and what did I see? No line. I could only assume something was wrong. In spite of the obvious, I still asked the cast member the same question, “What?” Sadly for me, the 2:00pm performance had been cancelled. I’ll have to wait to another day.

I also went to the the Animation Academy, and learned how to sketch Piglet. (Photo below with ice cream) [Note: Glen actually would do this one.]

Disney Animation Studio 2018-2

Tip #3: Take advantage of the “single rider line” at Radiator Springs Racers, and get on the ride with less waiting time.

“Zoom through the desert landscape of Cars Land, inspired by the Disney•Pixar movie Cars,” the online information proclaimed.  I do like this ride, so I made the hike over to Cars Land to take a ride through the Disney Pixar desert.

Disney Cars Land Scenery - 2018-2

I got to the single riders line and approached with a spring in my step, all smug that I’d avoid a long wait. The cast member greeted me with “It’s a one hour wait.”

“What? Really? For single riders?,” I gasped in disbelief, all pride in my brilliant strategy fleeing.

She nodded yes. I crossed that ride off my list, walked away, and decided that was not going to happen that day either.

Tip #4: Enjoy having the whole side of a ride vehicle to yourself.

Mid-morning, I picked up a “fast pass,” a ticket for a shorter wait in line if you return later in the day, for Toy Story Midway Mania. The park information describes this as, “Ride and take aim at moving objects during this midway-inspired, 4D game starring popular Disney·Pixar Toy Story characters,” and it is another favorite of mine. No skill required.

I went over to the ride at the designated time, about 4:15. I got the whole side of the car to myself, of course. So fun! But that car tosses and spins you around a bit. It is much more fun to sit next to some one you love to bounce off of in the competition. I definitely have room for improvement, and maybe some competition (a.k.a. Glen) would help motivate me.

Tip #5: Choose when and where to stop to eat your favorite foods, because you are in charge. And all alone.

I stopped for coffee and something with cinnamon in the morning. I ate a not-on-any-health-food-list corn dog for lunch and completely enjoyed it. A little birdy sat nearby (see photo) watching for crumbs to drop. I took an afternoon break for ice cream and people watching. It was fun to pace the day my way and choose foods that I don’t usually include in my day-to-day meals.

Disney Corn Dog & Bird 2018-2

From the Corn Dog Castle — bird not included

Disney Animation Art & Ice Cream Break - 2018-2

Mint chip ice cream & my Piglet sketch

Tip #6: If you like to take photos, take all the time you want to stop, observe, find, and photograph anything that catches your interest and your eye.

You will not be slowing anyone down. If you like to take photos, you will know what I mean. It’s bliss. I was fascinated by clouds, pines, and lamps on this day for some reason. No need to explain. No need to apologize to the group for taking yet another photo and dragging out time.

Image - Pines & Lamp - CA Adventure 2018-2

Image - Disney Lamp Post & Clouds 2018-2

I also photographed some of the humor I noticed in Bugs’ Land. Now I know what lightning bugs do for a living and where candy corn grows.

Disney Lightning Bug 2018-2

Disney Candy Corn Patch - 2018-2

Tip #7: Beware of people who do not understand how to properly stand in crowded lines.

I experienced two different groups that missed that day of Disney Park Etiquette orientation. There is really no such thing, but evidently we are not all born with an understanding of cooperating in lines. Both groups violated these unspoken rules of crowd behavior in line:

a. Always stand as close as possible to the person in front of you to prevent people from crowding in and cutting, seeing a gap. And to give a better sense of how long the line truly is.

b. Do not stand single file with your group, one behind the other, making the line extend back another six or seven feet unnecessarily. Come on, people. Clump together. Move as a pod, like an advancing amoeba. We are not waiting in the drinking fountain line in kindergarten.


c. Don’t all freeze in place in line to watch the baby being cute, bringing forward progression to a halt of the rest of us. Baby stare and maintain a shuffle toward the front. It can be done.

Tip #8: Don’t go in the off-season like February thinking the parks will for sure be low in attendance without checking what conventions and big activities are happening in Anaheim.

Check online to make sure Anaheim is not in the midst of hosting a national high school cheer competition. Or else be prepared to spend the day surrounded by multiple small mobs of enthused teen girls on the move all. Day. Long. The park will be crowded. However, on a positive note, you will leave the park with new fashion and make-up insights. And can possibly photo bomb all sorts of selfies to entertain yourself.

Tip #9: Dress warmly.

A sunny California day is not necessarily always warm. This is a whole different version of California cool!

Anaheim Temp - 2018-2

Tip #10: Need a quiet moment? Stop and rest in the Disney Grand Lobby.

Located next to Downtown Disney and California Adventure is the Disney Grand Hotel. I love drifting through the Disney Grand Hotel – the decor, the ambience, the charm, the fireplace, and the beautiful piano music of Disney classics.

I have a secret place in the small lobby on floor three. I stop at a little desk, open to the lobby. I catch my breath, charge my phone, read, plan, journal, while listening to the wonderful background music wafting up from the main floor. The arts & crafts decor is perfect for the historic time period style of this hotel.

Disney Grand - 3rd Floor Desk 2018-2

Disney Grand Hotel -3rd Floor Desk - 2018-2

Glen met me for dinner at Downtown Disney. We enjoyed dining at La Brea Bakery Cafe restaurant, which got us validated parking and made parking free. We ended the day sharing a bag of beignets from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express. Glen had dropped me off in the morning on the way to work, so I hitched a ride home with him, tired but happy. And I had over 11,000 steps on my pedometer.

Disney Beignet Bag - 2018-2

Beignets come with enough powdered sugar to fairy dust a small forest!

I do enjoy living so close to the Disney Resort. It comes in handy any time I’m feeling like I need to wish upon a star. By myself or with family or friends. Would you ever go alone? What are your best tips for the day?

Stay charming, my friends!




Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas, friends!

Our Christmas Mantle - Dec. 2017

Our 24″ tree this year, to keep it simple.

Just a quick greeting to say I’ll be away from the blog for a few weeks to slow down and enjoy the holidays. At our home, we celebrate Advent and Christmas. Today is Christmas Eve. I have spent time throughout recent days like you probably did. Decorating, spending time with friends, seeing Christmas lights in neighborhoods, participating in holiday events, eating favorite foods and cookies, enjoying cooler temperatures, and watching movies on the Hallmark Channel and annual favorites of mine, including The Holiday. We’ve also volunteered at our church and visited with family locally and by phone. I have indulged in a long nap or two, as well. We keep it simple over here, and that takes away the stress, leaving the fun and meaning. And I have a week off from work, which is a luxury.

We wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a very merry one.

Nativity Snowflake Ornament

To my dear friends who celebrated Hanukkah, I hope it was a special and meaningful time.

If you honor African culture and traditions through your coming Kwanzaa celebration, I hope it is a time of deep connection to matters of the heart.

If you are feeling lonely at this time, or have a heavy heart due to difficult circumstances or a sense of loss, my heart goes out to you, too. May you find moments of peace, a sense of all you have enjoyed in other times of life, and a closeness in spirit with love in your life from friends and family past and present.

Landing Tree by Lindsay - Dec. 2017

Our upstairs housemates decorated a cheery tree on the landing of the stairway.

Icy Trees Entry Table - Dec. 2017

Wintry trees light the entry table.


Festival of Carols Program - Dec. 2017

The program from a Los Angeles Master Chorale Christmas event we enjoyed.

Christmas Cookies - Simply Irresistable 2017

Wonderful cookies, a shortbread and a gingerbread, from a local bakery, Simply Irresistible

Snow Day Cocoa & Mug - Dec. 2017

My “Snow Day” hot chocolate; mug by Lindsay & Letters

Merry Christmas from Great Niece Abby & I - Dec. 2017

Merry Christmas from my great-niece, Abby (9 months) & I!

Stay charming and merry Christmas, my friends! And to all a good night.