Tag Archives: inexpensive holiday gifts

Five Favorite Holiday Movies That Make Great Gifts

If you’re stumped for a gift for your grandparents, grand aunt or just some grand “older” friends, holiday movies might be the answer.  They are inexpensive, will bring back memories (or maybe create some new ones) and are perfect for people who already have just about everything.

There are about a dozen movies I like that fall into the holiday category but the 5 listed below are at the top of my all-time favorites list.

A Christmas Carol
George C. Scott is my favorite Scrooge. I love his portrayal and I think Charles Dickens would have, too.  A solid script, good acting by all of the other players and a superb performance from Scott make this a favorite.  The costumes and the cinematography are also exceptional.  And some of the visual effects combined with the sound effects make for a few scary scenes.  All in all, a good story, well done.

Holiday Inn
The dancing of Fred Astaire, the singing of Bing Crosby and the romantic rivalry between the two make this a fun film to watch over and over again.  One of the things I love best about Holiday Inn is the music which is tied to a lot of the major holidays of the year.  In fact, Irving Berlin created or reused a number of songs with holiday themes including Washington’s Birthday, Easter Parade and what would become one of the bestselling recordings of all time, White Christmas.  I love this film and watch it at least 4 times a year!

The Bishop’s Wife
When an angel (Cary Grant) comes down from heaven to help a Bishop (David Niven), some not so heavenly sparks fly in this romantic, holiday comedy as the angel falls for the…Bishop’s wife (Loretta Young).  Toss in Monty Woolley and the Mitchell Boys Choir and you get a heavenly film for the holidays.   This is the original version and only available as an MGM set (with 2 other holiday movies) or as a download at Amazon.  But you can buy it from Turner Classic Movies for $12.99.

Holiday Affair
This  romantic comedy has a well-known cast of actors including Robert Mitchum,  Wendell Corey and, in the female lead, none other than Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh (also of Psycho fame).  Leigh plays a war widow who can’t afford to buy her son a toy train for Christmas. Mitchum buys the train and that’s when things get complicated.  Watch for Harry Morgan of MASH fame who is hilarious as a night-court judge who tries to get a handle on who is really in love with whom and who stole the salt and pepper shakers.   The movie is out of stock at Barnes & Noble but you can download this one at Amazon or or buy it in a set of with 3 other holiday movies for under $10.00.

Christmas In Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck did some fine comedies in her career and this movie was one of the best. Stanwyck writes a food column for a very upscale magazine (think Gourmet) but she can’t cook.  It wouldn’t have mattered except her publisher decides to send her a war hero for her and her husband (which she doesn’t have) to entertain over the holidays. Stanwyck has to line up a husband, a baby and a chef who “helps out” in the kitchen to cover all the fibs she told to get the job. The result is hilarious.

I also love (and own) Love Actually

and The Psych holiday episodes, (Gus’s Dad May Have Killed Some Guy and Christmas Joy).

I own every one of these movies and sometimes I watch them in July!  But since it is the holiday season, it looks like it’s time to pop some popcorn, light a fire in the fireplace and settle in to a night of watching these holiday favorites with my favorite guy.

Happy holidays everyone!

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Five Favorite, Frugal Gardening Gifts

If you have a gardener in your life (or you are the gardener in your life), there are 5 great gifts that you can give them this holiday season and not break the bank doing it.  The least expensive one is under $10.00 and the most expensive one is just over $50.00.  All of these gifts will bring years of gardening pleasure, too.

Fiskars 7079 Big Grip Garden Knife
Under $10 and without a doubt the handiest tool I have in my shed.  The grip is comfortable – that means the knife takes a beating, not your hands.  I use it for digging, planting, weeding, and transplanting. The serrated edge cuts through the ground like butter.  The middle of the blade has a slight indention for transplanting.  And the knife has a notched tip that helps cut through tap roots of dandelions and burdock.  The metal blade is also coated with a rust-resistant material, and the handle features a large hang hole for easy storage.  I bought one of these for all of my brothers and sisters.

Fiskars 3 Piece Soft Touch Garden Tool Set
Fiskars wins again with this tool set.   Easy on the hands and the wallet (under $15.00), the three tools that come in this set make handwork in the garden so much better.   The tools are lightweight and balanced.  Made of rust-resistant polished aluminum, each one has an over-sized, soft grip that is ergonomically designed to keep wrists in a neutral position.  The set includes a trowel, transplanter, and cultivator and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Flexrake 1000A Hula Hoe
if you have to weed, this is the tool you want in your arsenal.  An old standby that has been upgraded, this stirrup hoe has an aluminum handle making it easier on your hands and the blade of the hoe makes it easier on your back.  The self-sharpening Hula-Ho blade works beneath the surface of the soil.  Back and forth “hula” motion cuts weeds at the roots and leaves them to mulch in the garden.  This one is a bargain at just over $23.00.

Mintcraft Folding Garden Stool
For all you gardeners of “a certain age” there is no question that this stool qualifies as a tool!    Bending over is fine if you are under forty.  It’s pretty uncomfortable if you’re older or have a hinky back.  So I love this gardening tool.  And I love being able to pack all my other tools into the canvas pockets and take them with me, wherever I go in the garden.  Buy the gardening stool for just $27.99.  Or take advantage of the great deal Amazon put together.  Buy this stool with the Fiskars Soft Touch Garden Tool Set and get them both for only $37.00.

Felco Classic Manual Pruners
I got a pair of these for my anniversary and I was so excited.  I had been hacking my fruit trees, blackberry and blueberry bushes and ornamentals with loppers.  No finesse there and a lot of hacked up bushes.  The Felco pruners make it so easy to reach into a shrub, bush or fruit tree and only remove dead wood or crossed branches.  I don’t have a lot of upper arm strength so I love the fact that this pruner literally cuts through smaller branches like a warm knife through butter.  This is the most expensive garden gift – $59.00 – but well worth the cost.

Anyone of these tools will make gardeners’ eyes light up, bring a smile to their faces and make them want to run right out and start turning soil.

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