#1. “Christmas! Christmas is my favorite time of the year and now that Thanksgiving is over, I can’t wait to blast Christmas music. It’s a time of joy and togetherness, even if that looks a little different this year.”
#2. “Making my own Christmas ornaments! This is a great way to show your love, without breaking the bank. Plus, easy to ship during these social distancing times!”
#3. “Gingerbread cookies. A yummy dessert is always a favorite in my book.”
#4. “Chai Tea Lattes: The colder the weather gets the more I crave these. All I do is heat some almond milk, steep the chai tea of my choice, and add a little honey. It’s a great fall flavor that I think fits in every season.”
2. Director and Board member Mark Baer says, “I’d like to recommend the Netflix series Dash & Lily, a romantic comedy 8-episode series created by Joe Tracz based on the young adult series Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. As I huddled in quarantine preparing for a very difficult season away from friends and family, I stumbled on this quirky Christmas-themed show featuring a fresh storyline and many memorable moments of holiday fun. Set in New York (in the tradition of many holiday classics) and featuring the earnest and charming performances of Midori Francis as Lily and Austin Abrams as Dash, this series strikes the difficult balance between innocent wonder and plausible plot construction that I look for in an escapist holiday narrative. It was lovely to find a new show that almost-eight-year-old Samantha, my wife, and I could all agree was not only enjoyable but worthy of a re-watch. Happy holidays from a distance!
I also love watching the Festival Theatre Christmas Special ;)”
4. Here is an entry from our Technical Director, Peter Weber. He writes, “Return of the Obra Dinn, self-described on its website as "An insurance adventure with minimal colour." This puzzle game harkens back to vintage games with a modern feel. This is topped off with an amazing story that you (as the player) must unravel. Winning six accolades in gaming including two BAFTA awards for game design and artistic achievement. I knew before starting this game that it appealed to me but was not ready for how much I would come to love it. The mystery, narrative and stunning visual style quickly put this game into my top five video games of all time. The simple controls make it great even if you are not a hardcore gamer and just want some casual fun. The game was created by Lucas Pope as an independent game. This labor of love took him about four years to develop and he put a breathtaking amount of detail into the game. It is well worth the short playtime; I finished in just under six hours. I completed it this Sunday last and am still thinking of the intriguing and full narrative.”
“Oddly enough, one of my favorite things during the holidays are the Boot Barn commercials. You read that right: Boot Barn. Their commercials are cinematic in every aspect from the score underneath to their top-notch cinematography and editing. I love them because they defy stereotypes associated with Western wear. And to be honest, I don’t own a thing from Boot Barn nor have I ever shopped there (even though I am a born and bred Texan). Yet every time the Boot Barn holiday commercial comes on, I stop whatever I’m doing and watch.
And… “About fifteen years ago, my Mom and I were Christmas shopping in a small, local store. They were playing a CD of holiday music that we inquired about and ended up purchasing. Christmas Chillout by Crystal Theory has become one of our family favorites. The group takes traditional carols and songs, arranging them into a very chill jazz remix. I don’t know how else to describe it. Jazz fusion? Synth jazz? I’m not that musically literate, but I do really like their unique covers of some very famous holiday tunes. They have two volumes of Christmas music, and both are still available to purchase or stream.”
6. Actor Madison Fairbanks (The Marvelous Wonderettes, Fools, The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, Stuart Little) says, “My Festival fave this month is the infamous Don Hansen Sugar Shack Maple Syrup! I missed having this delicacy in my coffee each morning; a trick I learned from local celebrity Sydney Paredes, so I snagged some during my last visit to the St. Croix Valley. The moment I was able to pour the sweetest nectar you've ever tasted into my not-so-special brew, it felt as if I was having a luxury drink. Don's Sugar Shack offers a variety of maple products from syrup, to candy, to cream! These make wonderful gifts for the holiday season while supporting a small local business. Or you can have some all for yourself. There's really no wrong way. Pick up a bottle and enjoy a true taste of the Twin Falls!
While you can prepare them from scratch, we typically opt for the ease of the classic Lund's Swedish Pancake mix that you can pick up from most grocery stores. My mom likes to amp them up a bit with some vanilla and cinnamon, so feel free to make them your own! We've recently experimented with taking the batter from the griddle to a waffle maker and have thoroughly enjoyed the results!
Try them with butter and some local maple syrup, or done up with berries and whipped cream (my sister's favorite).
8. Actor/Director Emily Aherns (Actor: The Fantasticks, Elephant’s Graveyard; Director: The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood) says, “I am not usually a TV person, but in this off season, I have finally started watching shows that I’ve said I would watch for YEARS now. So, my December Festival Fave is the Netflix series The Crown. Y’all. I am literally obsessed with this show. For those who may not know, The Crown is a drama following the life of Queen Elizabeth II in England (yes, the one that’s still ruling). The acting is simply unparalleled (Claire Foy... I mean COME ON) and as someone was a history nerd all her life with a special love for Princess Diana (you get to her a few seasons in!) this show hits all the marks. Would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for a new watch during the holidays!”