Hannah Drake

Life

25 Days of Christmas Films

LifeHannah Drake6 Comments

The last few years, I’ve created my own “25 Days of Christmas” (ABC Family, anyone?) with my favourite Christmas films. I love cozying up at home with some eggnog or hot cocoa and watching movies while the lights twinkle on the tree and a balsam fir candle burns on the mantle.

I’ve updated my list a bit since last year. I had made it my goal to watch 5 new Christmas movies, but ended up watching 9 new (to me) movies and I wanted some of them on this list! My friend also pointed out that I had all three of the Santa Clause movies on the list, but only the first Home Alone. This year, I only have the first movie of each, but I’ll probably watch the sequels too. Two of the movies I included come out this year—The Grinch, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. I included them because I want to see them in theatres, but I made my list not knowing if I would even like them or not.

This year, instead of including my opinions, I’ve simply given the IMDb summary as well as some facts about each movie.

Arthur Christmas
Santa's clumsy son Arthur sets out on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours.
Released in 2011
Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton
92% on Rotten Tomatoes

A Bad Moms Christmas
As their own mothers drop in unexpectedly, our three under-appreciated and over-burdened moms rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for mothers: Christmas.
Released in 2017
Starring: Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Mila Kunis
29% on Rotten Tomatoes

A Christmas Story
In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.
Released in 1983
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillo, Darren McGavin
89% on Rotten Tomatoes

Christmas Vacation
The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Released in 1989
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Juliette Lewis
64% on Rotten Tomatoes

Christmas with the Kranks
With their daughter away, the Kranks decide to skip Christmas altogether until she decides to come home, causing an uproar when they have to celebrate the holiday at the last minute.
Released in 2004
Starring: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis
5% on Rotten Tomatoes

Elf
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.
Released in 2003
Starring: James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart, Mary Steenburgen
84% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Family Stone
An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
Released in 2005
Starring: Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson
52% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Grinch
A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.
Released in 2018
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Angela Lansbury, Kenan Thompson
57% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Holiday
Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other's countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.
Released in 2006
Starring: Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet
47% on Rotten Tomatoes

Home Alone
An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.
Released in 1990
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci
62% on Rotten Tomatoes

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town.
Released in 2000
Starring: Christine Baranski, Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Molly Shannon, Jeffrey Tambor
53% on Rotten Tomatoes

I'll Be Home for Christmas
A college student faces an impossible journey when he is left stranded in the desert, thousands of miles from home, with no money and only a few days left until Christmas.
Released in 1998
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Taylor Thomas
23% on Rotten Tomatoes

It's A Wonderful Life
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
Released in 1946
Starring: James Stewart
94% on Rotten Tomatoes

Jack Frost
A father who can't keep his promises, dies in a car accident. One year later, he returns as a snowman, who has the final chance to put things right with his son, before he is gone forever.
Released in 1998
Starring: Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston
20% on Rotten Tomatoes

Jingle All the Way
A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas. However, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.
Released in 1996
Starring: Phil Hartman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad
16% on Rotten Tomatoes

Last Holiday
Upon learning of a terminal illness, a shy woman decides to sell off all her possessions and live it up at a posh European hotel.
Released in 2006
Starring: LL Cool J, Queen Latifah
55% on Rotten Tomatoes

Love Actually
Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.
Released in 2003
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Colin Firth, Martin Freeman, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson
63% on Rotten Tomatoes

Love the Coopers
The intertwined stories of four generations of Coopers unfold right before the annual family reunion on Christmas Eve.
Released in 2015
Starring: Alan Arkin, Timothée Chalamet,
John Goodman, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Oliva Wilde
19% on Rotten Tomatoes

Miracle on 34th Street
A lawyer and a little girl must prove that a man claiming to be Santa Claus is the real thing.
Released in 1994
Starring: Richard Attenborough, Dylan, McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins, Mara Wilson
59% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve.
Released in 1992
Starring: Michael Caine, The Muppets
73% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Night Before
On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
Released in 2015
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mindy Kaling, Anthony Mackie, Seth Rogen
66% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
Released in 2018
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren
32% on Rotten Tomatoes

Office Christmas Party
When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand.
Released in 2016
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn,
42% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Santa Clause
When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.
Released in 1994
Starring: Tim Allen
74% on Rotten Tomatoes

White Christmas
A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
Released in 1954
Starring: Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera-Ellen, Danny Kaye
75% on Rotten Tomatoes

You can save upload the image below on your Instagram Stories to share how many of the 25 Christmas movies you seen:

Let me know which Christmas movies I’ve left off the list!

And just in case cheesy Hallmark movies are more your style (they might be mine too, no shame in that game), check out their schedule below for the rest of the holiday season.

I have no shame admitting that I’ve been watching Hallmark movies from 2016, 2017, and 2018 since…Election Day. Also some Lifetime movies and Netflix is really getting in there too. Needless to say, I can’t resist a feelgood cheesy holiday film, especially if they’re set in a town that really knows how to do Christmas. I just need to figure out how to set up a Cookie Crawl in the city of Birmingham now that I’ve seen Christmas Joy.

The Best of Autumn 2018

LifeHannah DrakeComment

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is literally just around the corner. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Gone with it are the pumpkins and cider and crunchy leaves. Autumn is my favourite time of year, but there is just something so magical about Christmas, so I can’t say I’m mad about the change at all. Bring on the eggnog and twinkling lights and the smell of evergreen!

But first, let’s recap autumn, starting with how I did on my 2018 Autumn Bucket List:

VISIT AN APPLE ORCHARD

WE DID IT! I’ve been wanting to go apple picking for y e a r s and I finally made it to an orchard during apple picking season (which, by the way, is September). Luke and I drove down to Worcester one afternoon in September and picked pounds of apple and half a dozen pears. It was the perfect fall day—overcast and cooler, but not too cold to need a jacket—and we beat the downpour. It was such a lovely afternoon strolling through the rows of trees with no one else in sight. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

ENJOY SPICED APPLE CIDER

Of course with all those apples, a batch of apple cider was in order! I had already made one batch from store-bought apples, but with so many from the orchard, I made a bigger batch to share with friends too. I enjoyed drinking cider with ginger beer (and maybe with a splash of Captain Morgan or Jameson for an occasion) all autumn long. But the best part was when we made apple cider donuts one morning! In the end, we made three batches of apple cider in three months.

BUY A COSY NEW JUMPER

Ever since I did my Closet Edit earlier this year, I’ve tried my hardest to buy less and re-wear more. It’s my dream to have a capsule wardrobe one day and I’m still working toward that, but it’s definitely a process. I’ve been trying to stick to a colour scheme, introducing a few new complementary tones in the summer, and that’s really made a difference in my shopping. But still, I like to buy a new jumper every autumn and this year is no different. Old Navy used to be my go-to for jumpers and cardigans, but we don’t have that here in the UK (even though we have Gap). Since moving to the UK, I’ve preferred to shop mostly at H&M, and especially when it comes time for a new jumper. H&M, I’ve found, is better when it comes to textured jumpers and chunky knits. If you’re in the UK or New England (MA, CT, VT, NH, ME, RI) though, Fatface is also a favourite. This year, I was dead set on picking up a navy cable knit sweater, something I could transition between work and real life and I found the perfect one at H&M. I also picked up the softest, cosiest beige jumper you’ve ever seen! That jumper paired with my mustard scarf from Fatface last year (still available in rose), is easily the cosiest thing I can imagine.

SHARE MY FALL BAKING WITH NEIGHBOURS AND LOVED ONES

In September, I was rationing my tinned pumpkin, but I seriously can’t tell you how many dang apples we had! I whipped up a couple apple crisps and took one down to our friends while they were working. I also invited my friend Taylor over for pumpkin pancakes and to help make apple cider donuts and sent her home with about half the donuts.

In October, Luke and I had The Great British Drake Off and invited our friends Adam and Esther over to be the judges. It was treacle week (or molasses for us Americans), and Luke made a ginger cake while I made molasses cookies. We learned for next time to make the same type of treat since I won mostly because our judges prefer cookies over cakes. Later that month, I made a chocolate-flavoured pumpkin-shaped cake when some friends came ‘round for dinner. I took the leftovers into work and my coworkers went absolutely crazy for it! I also made an old tried and true recipe for Caramel Apple Cookies and took them over to our friends’ house one evening. I forgot just how amazing these cookies are!

CARVE PUMPKINS

We did it! The Sunday before Halloween, we spent the afternoon carving pumpkins with a Harry Potter theme. I posted both of our pumpkins on my Instagram Stories so my followers could vote for a winner. Luke’s pumpkin—the Patronus—won handidly! It was barely a competition, but to be honest, I can’t believe I got any votes compared to his because his is a true work of art!

HAVE A HALLOWEEN MOVIE MARATHON

Okay, to be clear, when I say “Halloween” movie, I mean the The 10 Best (Not Scary) Autumn Films, plus Coco, which is probably my favourite Pixar movie and I completely forgot that it’s also the perfect film for The Day of the Dead. Don’t get any ideas about Michael Myers over here! (I’m seriously so far out of the horror film loop that I first typed Michael Moore because I knew he shared a name with a famous person, but I couldn’t remember which Michael M.) I’m also a total sucker for Hallmark movies, whether they’re Fall Harvest or Countdown to Christmas. This year, I made it my goal to watch all of the Fall Harvest movies that have come out so far, including this year, which totalled 20! I watched them all, except for the Good Witch films. (Do you have to have seen the show to follow the movies?!)

Luke and I had a few at-home date nights where we’d just cozy up and watch a couple of movies rather than leave that house. Honestly, those are some of my favourite nights. I love transforming our living room floor into the ultimate movie lounge with just the spare room mattress and a pile of blankets and pillows.

On Halloween, I got locked out of our house for a while, so Luke beat me home and surprised me with our movie night set up. We watched Practical Magic and ate probably the best chili Luke has ever made. It wasn’t exactly a marathon that night though, since we wanted to watch the Bake Off finale.

BAKE A PIE

This year for Thanksgiving, I made the same pumpkin cheesecake I made last year, but instead of making a caramel apple pie, I tried a new recipe: a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go as planned. The filling basically swallowed the crust since the recipe didn’t call for the crust to be pre-baked before adding the filling. It also took nearly twice as long to bake, but at least I had some leftover crust that I was able to cut into the little leaves to make it look a bit better. And like it had crust!

HOST THANKSGIVING AND TRY ONE NEW RECIPE

We hosted Thanksgiving for some friends on Saturday (since no one had Thursday off work). It was such a blast and absolutely worth the work that went into making dinner. Luke cooked a whole turkey this year (instead of just a breast like we did last year) and it turned out perfectly. We had two Thanksgiving inspired cocktails (a cranberry Moscow Mule and an apple cinnamon gin & tonic). And with the help of my friend Taylor, we cooked seven sides (plus cranberry jelly) and two desserts! I used the same recipes for all of the sides as I did last year, but added spinach and artichoke macaroni and cheese and roasted parsnips and carrots. So in total, I made three new-to-Thanksgiving recipes, but I had made the mac and cheese before. Either way you slice it, I crushed this one!


OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Of course one of the highlights of our year was our trip to Italy, but while we were there, we were living in breathable linen, sipping Aperol Spritz or limoncello, basking in the sunshine and swimming off the Amalfi Coast. It’s not exactly #fallvibes, is it?

We visited a pumpkin patch in October to pick up some pumpkins for our front porch and to carve ahead of Halloween. It was Luke’s first time at a pumpkin patch, but I also think last year was the first year he even bought a pumpkin! One of the things I miss about my hometown is the amazing farm just outside of the city that has a huge pumpkin patch and a sprawling corn maze. They have a separate corn maze, a petting zoo, games and activities for kids, a small farmer’s market, and a bunch of other stuff. I would love to find something like that here!

So of course with all of those pumpkins, we had to decorate the front porch. To be honest with you, they didn’t stay out because last year we had our pumpkins stolen the day before our Thanksgiving dinner. It was so annoying because we were going to throw them out after everyone came by!

I spent one afternoon in London wandering around the city with no real plan except to look at the beautiful seasonal displays on the little shops in my favourite neighbourhoods. Day trips to the Big Smoke are my favourite. London in general is my favourite! No other city in the world has the kerbside appeal that London does. No matter what time of year it is, you’re sure to find shops and bakeries with the most beautiful facades. I can’t wait to go back for all the Christmas displays!


BINGO UPDATE

When I announced my 2018 Autumn Bucket List in September, I also announced a game of bingo for all us basics out there. I periodically posted updates to my Instagram Stories and loved seeing other boards from people playing along too. I decided to just go based on what I did, rather than what the people I follow on Instagram did, and I got sooo close to blacking out my board, but in the end, it was my lack of excitement for Halloween and hatred of coffee that did me in.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales

LifeHannah DrakeComment

Black Friday is upon us, my friends! I’ve searched the internet to find some of the best sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday for you. Check them out below!

Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, when you have the opportunity to support local businesses and invest in your community!

Alo Black Friday Sale

Get up to 70% off sale items and 30% off full price items. A portion of the proceeds will go to supporting Alo’s goal of bringing yoga to 2 million schoolkids.

Enjoy free global shipping.

Anthropologie Black Friday Sale

Get 30% off everything!

Amazon Instant Pot Black Friday Sale

Get huge savings on an Instant Pot on Amazon.

BUY
Amazon Kitchen Aid Mixer Black Friday Deal

Get huge savings on an Kitchen Aid Mixer on Amazon.

BUY
ASOS Black Friday Sale

Get 20% off sitewide, with 25% off clothes and accessories through November 27th.

Audible Black Friday Deal

New customers get 50% off the first 4 months of Audible, paying just $3.99/month, instead of the regular $7.99/month.

BUY
The Body Shop Black Friday Sale

40% off storewide and 25% off gift sets. Exclusions apply.

Use the code 19805 when you check out.

Gap Black Friday Sale

Get 40% off full priced items and take an additional 25% off sale items through November 24th. No exclusions.

Use the code BFGAP when you check out.

J.Crew Black Friday Sale

Get 50% off your entire purchase with the code TGIF.

Levi's Black Friday Sale

Get 40% off sitewide and free shipping through November 26th.

Use the code INDIGO when you check out.

Macy's Black Friday Sale

Get 20% off your purchase from November 25th through November 28th, plus enjoy free shipping when you spend $25.

Use the code CYBER when you check out.

Madewell Black Friday Sale

Take 25% off your purchase.

Use the code DEALWITHIT when you check out.

Minted Black Friday Sale

Get 20% off all artwork and home decor at Minted.

Get 15% off all other orders, including wedding invitations and holiday cards.

Use the code BF2018 on November 23rd only.

Nordstrom Black Friday Sale

Get up to 60% off sitewide through November 26th.

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One day only, get 50% off your entire purchase. Plus 1000’s of styles from $5.

Oliver Bonas Black Friday Sale

Take 25% off selected items from today through November 26th.

Shopbop Black Friday Sale

Get up to 25% off full-priced items and up to 75% off sale items. The more you buy, the more you save.

Use the code MORE18 when you check out.

Topshop Black Friday Sale

UK shoppers can enjoy 50% off the entire store.

US shoppers will find selected lines 50% off

Shop through November 26th, enjoy free worldwide delivery, and stack it with a 10% student discount!

Urban Outfitters Black Friday Sale

BOGO 50% off the entire site today only.

West Elm Black Friday Sale

20% off your everything, including sale items.

Use the code FRIYAY when you check out.

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