Trimming the Nontraditional Tree

Holidays are usually steeped in tradition.  From the songs sung to the food prepared, when it comes to Christmas, people default to the past.  However the decorating of the tree poses an opportunity to set aside boring strings of popcorn and let your creative Christmas spirit shine.  Ref. egotvonline.comhomeklondike.com

Mountain Dew Tree

Santa Tree

Here at Lakeside our tree is a little on the non-traditional side too

Count Down of Top Christmas Movies

Today we are counting down our 13 favorite Christmas movies (1 for each night starting tonight through Christmas Eve).  While you watch a kid shoot his eye out <#1> and an angel get his wings <#2>, nosh on some homemade popcorn (because roasting chestnuts over a fire may be fun to sing about, but a real pain to execute).

13. Holiday Inn
12. The Polar Express
11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
10. A Charlie Brown Christmas
9. Miracle on 34th Street
8. Love Actually
7. Home Alone
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5. White Christmas
4. The Muppet Christmas Carol
3. Elf
2. It’s a Wonderful Life
1. A Christmas Story

Cool Holiday Apps

You have decked your halls and de-mothballed your favorite ugly Christmas sweater, but now it’s time to get your gadgets into the holiday spirit.   Check out these awesome apps for your phone/tablet.

Christmas HD by DUALBOOT GAMES (for Android devises):

This is one of the most remarkably awesome live wallpapers I have seen.  This live wallpaper sets a background to your phone/tablet of a cozy home fully decorated for Christmas.  The top features are a real-time countdown calendar to Christmas (16 days), customizable stockings over the fireplace, and a personalized picture on the mantel.

Angry Birds Season – Wreck the Halls by ROVIO MOBILE LTD. (Android & iOS)

Using a slingshot to fling surly fowls into unsuspecting pigs may not seem very holiday-like …that is unless this activity is set against a snowy background.  Angry Birds Season is a holiday version of the wildly popular Angry Birds game.  On Android this game is free, it’s $0.99 on iOS.

Christmas Ringtones – (Android & iOS)

There are a variety of holiday ringtone apps available for free if you search the market for ‘free Christmas ringtones.’  This is simply a fun app to have for the holidays.  Pick your favorite tune; just be mindful of regular cell phone ringer etiquette.  A regular ring in the middle of a major board meeting makes a bad impression, now imagine Dominick the Donkey.

Bottoms Up

Yesterday on Facebook we asked what’s the best winter/holiday drink?  People commented some great ideas: hot apple cider, hot chocolate, eggnog (and some variations with a little extra spirit).  Inspired by the creativity of all the Facebook comments, here are some other ideas for holiday beverages courtesy of marthastewart.com.

Cranberry Sparkler
Ingredients
• 1 1/2 ounces Blackberry Puree
• 2 ounces white cranberry juice
• 2 to 3 ounces sparkling water
• 1 sprig mint, for garnish
Directions
1. Place blackberry puree and cranberry juice in a champagne flute. Add sparkling water to fill. Garnish with mint.

Apple-Ginger Sparklers
Ingredients
• 1/4 cup Ginger Syrup 
• 4 1/2 cups sparkling apple cider
• 6 cinnamon sticks
• 6 pieces crystallized ginger
Directions
1. Place 2 tablespoons ginger syrup in each of six glasses. Fill glasses with ice cubes, pour in cider, and stir to combine. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger, and serve.

Sparkling Cider and Cara Cara Orange Punch
Ingredients
• 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 lemon wedge
• 6 cups freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice (from about 14 oranges), or substitute regular oranges
• 2 bottles nonalcoholic sparkling cider, chilled
• 1 cup Calvados (optional)
• Candied Citrus Peels, omitting final sugaring for garnish
Directions
1. Grind ginger to a fine powder in a spice grinder, then mix with sugar in a shallow dish. Rub lemon wedge on rims of 12 glasses, then dip rims in ginger-sugar mixture.
2. Mix orange juice and cider, and Calvados if using, in a large punch bowl. Serve with ice, and garnish with candied citrus.

Guinness Book of World Records: This Day In History

Today marks the anniversary of Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! superstar & America’s sweetheart, being defeated after a remarkable 74 game winning streak.  Jennings made his first appearance on Jeopardy! in June 2004 and his loss aired on this date, November 30, in 2004.

Jennings’ run on Jeopardy! chiseled his name into the game show history books.  He broke a number of records including highest American game show winnings total ($3.7 million), most appearances on a syndicated game show (81 episodes), and highest 5 consecutive game total on Jeopardy!  ($221,200).  His records even landed him a place in The Guinness Book of World Records under “most cash won on a game show.”

As a bit of trivia for you, here is the final Jeopardy! answer that led to Jennings’ ultimate demise.  “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.”  The question is posted in the comments below.  (reference: history.com, wikipedia.org)

Hit the Snooze on Black Friday This Year

Though a time honored tradition…bracing cold weather and overtired bargain hunters seems like an awfully difficult way to save some cash for the holidays.  Especially considering Lakeside.com offers an unbeatable Black Friday sale sans the early wake-up call (check out our page on 11/25 for up to 75% off).

However we understand some of you may get a bout of insomnia the day after Thanksgiving.  We want to help, so here are our top 5 suggestions of better things to do at 4am instead of hit early bird ‘sales’

5. Sneak downstairs to raid the wonderful leftovers…we’ll stand behind you that all the pie was eaten the night before

4. Work on your Presidential impersonations

3. Assemble a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a picture of a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces

2. Attempt to write the Preamble using only letters found in your bowl of alphabet soup

1. Shop Lakeside.com!

Stepping In As Ed McMahon

Over the last couple weeks I was charged with informing the Lakeside Collection $1,000 Sweepstakes winners that they won a $1,000 American Express gift card.  No, I did not get to road trip around America with balloons and a comically large check knocking on doors; however I did get to make some pretty interesting phone calls.

So how did people react?  Well not exactly as I expected.   I anticipated screams and even had positioned myself a little distance from the phone to avoid permanent auditory damage.  However most of the fans actually said ‘no.’  Not ‘no, I don’t accept your prize,’ but ‘no, I don’t believe you.’  They all did come around, but I didn’t expect I would have to convince them that they actually won.  Of course their initial shock and disbelief was quickly followed with a flood of gratitude.  When I asked how they would spend their windfall, many said on gifts for the holidays or that they would share it with their family and friends.  Once again I was taken by surprise…not one person said they would put it on red and let it ride.

Our executive team took notice on the great ways Lakeside fans planned to spend a gift card this holiday season, and decided to have another sweepstakes!  The theme this time is Spread the Joy.  TWO lucky people each day (starting tomorrow through December 11th) will win a $500 American Express gift card.  Check out our Facebook page for more details and your chance to enter!