ICYMI: Last-Minute Christmas Shopping That Will Break The Bank

We’re in the single-digit countdown to Christmas now, and you only have mere hours to get your final Christmas gifts. If you need some inspiration, and have a few thousand Benjamins lying around, this list is for you.

Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts: Santa’s Got A Brand New Douchebag

There is one joy that money can never buy: the pure delight of making fun of rich people. And there is no better time to mock the wealthy than Christmas – turning the season of giving into the season of taking (the mickey). When the affluent want to give an elaborate gift, but don’t want to actually arrange the present themselves, they turn to the year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts. But let nothing you dismay – we have low-budget alternatives to all of them.

Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker

Cost: $35,000.00

No, it’s not an amusement park swing ride for 7-up bottles. I thought so, too. It’s a Tanqueray shaker, complete with a year’s supply of Tanqueray and a mixology class. So, essentially a Rube Goldberg invention that turns a rich asshole into a rich, drunk asshole.

Alternative: A case of Crystal Palace gin ($100.00, your local college-adjacent liquor store), a shaker ($20.00, eBay), The Joy of Mixology ($20.00, Target)

Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience

Cost: $425,000.00

This is like famous person fantasy camp. It includes two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, dinner at the Chateau Marmont (Lindsay Lohan optional?), pampering (such a gross word), a dress and some borrowed jewelry and getting your hair did, access to the Vanity Fair party, and a crushing, sobering return to reality the next day.

Alternative: a Groupon for a local spa, a gift card to some sort of place that sells dresses, and your personal stash of back issues of US Weekly.

The House Of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey

Cost: $475,000.00

Whenever someone starts describing something as a “journey,” I tune out. You can say that you’re losing weight, but tell me that you’re “on a weight loss journey” and I’ll picture you with a compass and maybe a Saint Bernard, getting Sacajawea’ed through a Planet Fitness. So, what’s a “fragrance journey?” It’s a straight-up trip to Paris, with three nights in a five-star hotel, meals, a jaunt to the countryside, and a consult with a perfumier to make your “signature scent.”


 

Are those items a little too costly for you? Well maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop gift guide is more in your budget. If your pockets are lined with gold.

Guess the (Ghastly) Goop Prices!

I’ve always said that if I ever win the lottery or suddenly inherit loads of money, I would not buy extravagant things. I would probably still shop at places like Target and Forever 21 H&M, but just buy more stuff without having to think twice about it. None of that designer stuff for me.

But there are some people who do fall under the category of throwing money at random stuff – e.g. American Apparel shoppers. The ones that pay $24 for a tank top. I mean, obviously the quality is better etc. etc., but $24 just seems a little too extreme for some fabric.

If you happen to be one of these folks, I have just the site for you. Welcome to Goop.

goopIf you’re not familiar, Goop is a lifestyle website created by Gwyneth Paltrow. It started off as a newsletter, but has since expanded into a website for online shopping, recipes, parenting advice and more. However, Goop has been known to sell some pretty pricy items, which of course is nothing new. However, the site takes the American Apparel route to the next level, selling simple clothes (like tank tops) for twice as much. Here are a few ridiculously priced Goop products that Gwyneth is peddling to the masses. And just for funsies, try to guess how much each items is before looking at the actual retail price! Either highlight the space next to ‘Actual Retail Price’ or click on the pic to purchase it for yourself!

>Actual Retail Price: $175<

>Actual Retail Price: $98<

>Actual Retail Price: $91<

>Actual Retail Price: $950<

>Actual Retail Price: $295<

>Actual Retail Price: $130<

>Actual Retail Price: $195<

>Actual Retail Price: $1,298<

>Actual Retail Price: $165<

>Actual Retail Price: $55<

>Actual Retail Price: $50<

>Actual Retail Price: $140<

Saturday Spotlight: Ha-ha-ha, Ho-ho-ho

Christmas is a time for gifts and Santa (ho ho ho!) but also a time for laughter (ha ha ha!). Add a couple of tra-la-las and you have yourself a Munchkin anthem.

2014: A GIF-tastic Retrospective

Well we’re almost to the end of the year, folks. And that means you get to see Best Of lists everywhere you look. Including here. But rather than countdown our favorite albums or TV shows or Poehler moments, we’re opting to compile the best moments of the year in GIF form, one of the greatest gifts the Internet has ever given us. Did your faves make the list?

**Warning – this is obviously iamge heavy, so just be patient!

{January} Jennifer Lawrence being Jennifer Lawrence and sneaking up on Taylor Swift during the Golden Globes red carpet but not realizing she’s also in the show. And also on live TV.

{January} “I want you to know that the red underneath my shoes is my blood.” – Emma Thompson not giving any fucks while presenting at the Golden Globes {x}

{January} POEHLER FINALLY WON A GOLDEN GLOBE/AWARD AND I THOUGHT I WASN’T SEEING CORRECTLY BECAUSE OF MY TEARS OF JOY, BUT THIS MAKE OUT SESH WITH BONO REALLY DID HAPPEN.

{January} Good recovery on Swift’s part when she thought she won Best Album at the Grammys. Her team – not so much.

{January} Joe Biden being all Joe Biden-y at the State of the Union. John Boehner orange and bored, per usual.

{February} Bob Costas, Olympics broadcasting icon, got pink eye and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves, so we made this gif instead.

{February} Olympic ice skater Ashley Wagner calls bullshit with her horrible scores, becomes meme.

{February} Ice skater Jeremy Abbott falls rulll hard on the ice, slams into the wall, lays there for a bit, THEN GETS BACK UP AND FINISHES HIS ROUTINE.

{February} Jimmy Fallon takes over the Tonight Show and I sob like a baby.

{March} Jennifer Lawrence falls at the Oscars. Again. This time on the red carpet. On a traffic cone. Just getting out of the car. #Bless

{March} Still the best selfie ever taken in the storied history of selfies. (JLaw obvs said the boob comment)

{March} The time we all thought wecollectively had a stroke, then realized John Travolta just can’t read.

{March} And the entire world sobbed as Lupita won her first Oscar.

{March} Marshmallows united and wait 10 years for this. Worth it.

{April} In one of the final episodes of Mad Men, Ginsberg actually goes mad. Luckily, Ben Feldman is much more sane (and hot) than this.

{April} When the internet made the most of this cute chubby future king nugget

 

{April} Rita Ora became a national hero by ripping Zefron’s clothes off as he accepted his Best Shirtless Performance prize at the MTV Movie Awards

{May} Coming up – coming down – Solange kick yo ass up in a gownnn.

{May} The collective exclamation of How I Met Your Mother fans everywhere.

{May} This was a confusing thing Ryan Gosling and Macaulay Culklin did.

{May} 50 Cent proves he’s much better at ANYTHING ELSE

{June} I didn’t care about the World Cup but I cared about this guy.

{July} A lot of celebrities died as part of the Sharknado 2 wrath

{August} Pratt.

{August} This lil guy.

{August} Ebola was a thing we freaked out about

{August} Andy Cohen takes a Belfie (butt selfie, obvs) with Kim K.

{August} People poured a bucket of ice water over themselves for charity and Ben Affleck pushed his wife into the pool.

{August} A joke set up at the beginning about their Seinfeld past paid off with this makeout sesh right before Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her 10,290th Emmy award. Bonus JFal.

{August} ‘Please welcome my beautiful, amazing, and talented friend: Beyonce!’

 

{August} Disregard Miley’s tears and put all your attention to the shade Katy Perry and Sam Smith are throwing in the back.

{August} Bow.Down.Bitches.

{August} If there’s anyone to upstage Beyonce while performing a 15 minute routine at the VMAs, it’s Blue Ivy. I’ve watched this Vine more times that I should admit.

{September} “This week, Amal Alamuddin, a brilliant Oxford educated human rights lawyer and former UN advisor settled for a 52 year old man.”

{September} Diamond Dan guys. Diamond FREAKING Dan.

{October} Taylor Swift became a pop star by doing this.

{December} Walken proved that you can just fake it til you make it if you’re in a live musical of Peter Pan

{December} This reunion made me feel all the feels.

{December} The King and Queen meet Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge

 

Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts: Santa’s Got A Brand New Douchebag

There is one joy that money can never buy: the pure delight of making fun of rich people. And there is no better time to mock the wealthy than Christmas – turning the season of giving into the season of taking (the mickey). When the affluent want to give an elaborate gift, but don’t want to actually arrange the present themselves, they turn to the year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts. But let nothing you dismay – we have low-budget alternatives to all of them.

Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker

Cost: $35,000.00

No, it’s not an amusement park swing ride for 7-up bottles. I thought so, too. It’s a Tanqueray shaker, complete with a year’s supply of Tanqueray and a mixology class. So, essentially a Rube Goldberg invention that turns a rich asshole into a rich, drunk asshole.

Alternative: A case of Crystal Palace gin ($100.00, your local college-adjacent liquor store), a shaker ($20.00, eBay), The Joy of Mixology ($20.00, Target)

Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience

Cost: $425,000.00

This is like famous person fantasy camp. It includes two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, dinner at the Chateau Marmont (Lindsay Lohan optional?), pampering (such a gross word), a dress and some borrowed jewelry and getting your hair did, access to the Vanity Fair party, and a crushing, sobering return to reality the next day.

Alternative: a Groupon for a local spa, a gift card to some sort of place that sells dresses, and your personal stash of back issues of US Weekly.

The House Of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey

Cost: $475,000.00

Whenever someone starts describing something as a “journey,” I tune out. You can say that you’re losing weight, but tell me that you’re “on a weight loss journey” and I’ll picture you with a compass and maybe a Saint Bernard, getting Sacajawea’ed through a Planet Fitness. So, what’s a “fragrance journey?” It’s a straight-up trip to Paris, with three nights in a five-star hotel, meals, a jaunt to the countryside, and a consult with a perfumier to make your “signature scent.”

Alternative: some essential oils (Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/ any decent grocery store), a glass bottle (basically wherever).

100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4

Cost: $95,000.00

The copy for this gift reads like a how-to guide for being an insufferable douche. For instance: “Pulling out onto the road, you notice surrounding cars slow as you cruise down the street. Ubiquitous German luxury sedans become mere traffic in your presence—catching a glimpse of a Maserati is still a treat.” And also: “swiveled heads and open mouths accompany your arrival. Was it the aria emanating from the Bowers & Wilkins stereo or the symphony coming from the tailpipe that created the audience? Either way, one thing is certain: Everyone loves an Italian accent.”

The person who finds that braggadocio appealing is also, frankly, the last person I’d want to buy a gift for.

Alternative: A lump of coal. Do they make Italian coal? Then that.

Custom Locket and Trip with Monica Rich Kosann

Cost: $100,000.00

First, you go to Germany (airfare not included). Then, “you’ll join forces with jewelry designer and photographer Monica Rich Kosann at the workshop of Constantin Wild (whose family has been in the gem business since 1847) on a quest to find—and design—the perfect locket. Together you’ll select a stone and collaborate on your creation. The final version, and a hand-painted rendering of your piece, will then make the journey to your home soon after. In the meantime, you are welcome to visit Kosann in New York City, where she’ll photograph you and your family for the very portrait that will be kept and prized in your locket.”

This gift combines my least-favorite things: group work and appearing in photographs. Also, what’s the point of a locket unless your long-lost relative has the other half of it somewhere? Does Neiman Marcus sell that?

Alternative: One of those lockets where you put in the stuff you want and it floats around like a necklace-snowglobe. Starting at like 30 bucks. Google “make your own locket.” You’re welcome.

Ultimate Mardi Gras Experience for Six Couples

Cost: $125,000.00

Who the heck knows SIX couples? That they’d want to travel with?

Alternative: some beads (Party City, $2.00), some booze (however much you think it will take), some regret (the next day, free).

His & Hers Vilebrequin Quadski

Cost: $50,000.00 (each)

I’m a little confused here. These are billed as a “his and hers gift,” which is sort of unnecessarily heteronormative. I mean, if stereotypes are to be believed, lesbians love outdoor adventures. Although the Very Straight Man pictured seems pretty into it too. But the catch is, the quadskis are 50K each. Do you have to buy two of them, then? What if you know a single person who would like to traverse land and sea on his very own prat-mobile? WHAT THEN?

Alternative: a pool float, an ATV from Craigslist.

The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway

Cost: $300,000.00

It’s a scale model of a racetrack. And it costs more than most houses.

Alternative: A train set.

Preston Bailey Peacock Floral Sculptures

Cost: $25,000-$65,000

Do you have more money than you know what to do with, and an affinity for Edward Scissorhands? Here ya go, it’s a topiary that looks like a peacock.

Alternative: An Edible Arrangement. It’s also a plant cut into the shape of another thing, but you can eat it.

Leontine Linens Home Trousseau

Cost: $55,000.00

  The Neiman Marcus copy reads: “Most are perfectly content to live with lovely store-bought linens. But for those who envision slumbering among the finest custom cottons and dressing their tables with signature flair, the Leontine Linens Home Trousseau is a dream come true.”

Are you one of those garbage people who uses blankets from a store? Why not just cover yourself with day-old newspaper and a used pizza box, you living trash heap? Included in this gift are a series of phone interviews to determine what kind of linens you need. So not only do you have to pay $55,000.00, you have to talk on the phone. Also, you know what you could buy for 55K instead of a “home trousseau?” A home. A solid down payment on one, anyway.

Alternative: some sheets and blanket from a store. I just got a new blanket from Target. It was on sale. 17 bucks; warm as hell.

Always a New Year’s Eve Bridesmaid…

As we near the end of 2014 (WTF 2015 where did you come from), there’s a new trend we’ll probably be seeing more of as the time goes on, which is New Year’s Eve weddings. Will and Jada got married on NYE, Sharon and Ozzy tied the knot in 1982, and last year, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting got married in a pink Vera Wang dress to tennis pro Ryan Sweeting. And let’s face it, there are a bunch of people who hate or don’t care where they are when the clock strikes midnight, so it’s kind of brilliant to celebrate the new year with your friends and family in a celebrate of love and a new chapter in life.

Not to mention, if you’re in your 20s, you know that it’s the time when a lot of your friends (or you yourself) are getting married. We’re getting older, y’all. I’ve attended at least one wedding every year for the past five years, and been a bridesmaid in two. I love weddings. I love attending weddings, I love helping plan weddings, and I love being in weddings. For anyone that’s been a bridesmaid before, you know the risk you take in signing up – wearing a dress that isn’t flattering on your person/isn’t cute at all. Luckily, I’ve been #blessed that I haven’t run into that problem, but I’ve heard some horror stories. With that in mind, there’s a great other trend that’s happening, which is that you can now rent bridesmaids dresses online, and if you don’t think you’ll ever wear it again or it’s just not your style, you can easily return it. With companies like Weddington Way, you can even purchase the same design if you think you’ll use it in the future!

So say you’re a bride or bridesmaid helping your BFF out in picking dresses for the bridesmaids, what do you choose for this super cool NYE wedding? Here’s one of the rental options from Weddington Way, called the Audrey:

ww_bridesmaid

For more info click here!

Weddings can get super expensive, but if you want to rent a simple yet stylish dress like this one, you can rent it for just $75! Ballin on a budget, yo. This dress comes in different colors, but I picked the ‘Mint To Be’ (PUNS), because, hello, have your seen our logo? AND IT HAS POCKETS. POCKETS!

And since this hypothetical wedding is on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to pick color combos and accessories that reflect a fun, celebratory, yet romantic event in the winter:

ww_color_palatte

L to R: Mint, White, Glittery Rose Gold, Blush Pink, Ivory

When you think of NYE, you think of champagne and streamers and confetti and all around merriment. There’s a happy vibe in the air, and that’s why I chose light/bright colors and a pop of rose gold glitter to add a NYE feel. I’m all about the rose gold.

To complete the bridesmaid outfit, I used my color palate as inspiration for the rest of the style, as you’ll see below:

ww_inspoboard_nos

{1} Weddington Way ♥ Audrey rental dress in Mint To Be ♥

{2} Manolo Blahnik ♥ Shiny Sequin Pump in Oro // Dying over these heels! You can definitely wear these more than once

{3} Faux Fur shawl // Maybe I’m thinking of a winter wonderland wedding or the Romanovs in a party setting, but I adore the idea of wearing a faux fur shawl to stay warm. It is NYE, after all.

{4} Camilla Christine for Etsy ♥ Rose Gold Wedding Belt // How gorgeous is this belt? And made by an artist on Etsy, so it’s even more impressive! This belt adds a pop of color next to the mint, so it’s not just a plain dress.

{5} Floral bouquet ♥ a mix of Juliet Garden roses, Sahara blue roses, brunia berries and sedum edged in dusty miller leaves // I think weddings should always have romance in the details, and that’s what I think this bouquet has in it – it’s fun and flirty yet made with love.

{6} KALAN by Suzanne Kalan ♥ Rose Gold Drop Earrings // For an elegant touch of rose gold

{7} Too Faced ♥ Natural at Night Neutral Eyeshadow Collection

Too Faced ♥ La Creme Color Drenched Lipstick in I Want Candy // The eyeshadow collection includes a rose gold shimmery color which is perfect to layer with the other neutral colors. I picked this raspberry color for the lips, to keep in the general color scheme. Also, I bought this particular lipstick in a different color a month or two ago and I’m obsessed with it. It doesn’t make your lips and dry and while you’ll have to apply once or twice during the day, the good thing is is that you don’t have to scrub it off your lips at the end of the night.

{8} Essie ♥ Penny Talk // This is technically an iridescent copper, but it’s more like a rose gold when dry. And it’s perfect.

And for good measure to round out your bash:

Barbara Walters 10 Most (Sometimes) Fascinating (-ish) People Of 2014

Man. Barbara Walters is fascinated by some weird shit, right?

Last year when Babs announced her retirement I thought we’d never again know who fascinated her. But she’s back again, which means the big farewell production for 2013’s Most Fascinating list was just the swan song of a silly goose.

Here’s who fascinated Ms. Walters this year:

Neil Patrick Harris

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Fasci…wait for it… I guess fascinating? He wrote a book.

I think Neil Patrick Harris is just adorable. While normally I’d reserve the word “fascinating” for people with an air of mystery or intrigue, he seems more like the more-lovable version of the guy next door. But then again, I wouldn’t this closely follow the Instagram feed and picturesque family life of someone I didn’t think was fascinating, would I?

Taylor Swift

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Would an un-fascinating person have these people at her birthday party? I rest my case.

You don’t even have to like Taylor Swift to be at least a little fascinated by her. This year she released a hit record, cultivated a media empire, and deftly recrafted her image from spiral-permed perma-teen to sass-mouthed tumblr sweetheart. Love her or hate her, that’s all pretty interesting.

Amal Clooney

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: your mom thinks she’s fascinating

First of all, it’s been a while since you checked in with your mom after George Clooney’s wedding, and now’s a good time to make sure she’s still holding up okay. Second, I both like and dislike this pick. Amal is an accomplished human rights attorney with a five-star education and a gold-star wardrobe, and that alone makes her pretty darn fascinating in my book. But on the other hand, she wouldn’t be on the list if she hadn’t married George Clooney. So Barbara still, at some level, thinks she’s fascinating because she married a famous guy, but just a reminder: Barbara Walters is really, really old. Super old.

Oprah Winfrey

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Too Easy.

You know how, when people used to fill out their favorite books on Facebook, some people would write “The Bible”? But it was always someone who clearly hadn’t read the whole Bible, that was just the only book they could think of. Or when asked who they’d pick if they could meet with anyone living or dead, and they say George Washington? But they’re not a big George Washington buff, it was just the only historical figure they remembered from third grade Social Studies. Anyway, that’s what it’s like putting Oprah on the Most Fascinating list. Nobody can argue that she doesn’t belong there, but it’s also not a pick anybody put a lot of through into (see also: the person you know only read Romeo And Juliet in 9th grade English saying that their favorite writer is Shakespeare).

Michael Strahan

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: your mom also thinks he’s fascinating

Like NPH, I think that Strahan is an affable fellow who just happens to be more famous and charming than your average guy. But then again, making the switch from pro football player to the man that moms across the country have breakfast with is a fascinating career change, so I guess your mom is right.

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler at LA Direct Magazine's "...

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Passes The Airplane Test

I don’t talk to people on airplanes, if I can help it. Because although they’re expensive, flights are still just public transportation, and public transportation is for avoiding eye contact and reading with your headphones in. But are you ever on a flight next to someone who’s intriguing enough that you at least want to talk to them? That’s the airplane test, and Chelsea Handler passes with flying colors. I wouldn’t actually bother her on a plane (because unlike people who exchange pleasantries on mass transit, I’m not an animal), but if I was next to her for 4 hours I’d want to strike up a conversation. So yeah, I’d say she’s fascinating.

David Koch

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Fails The Airplane Test

This is moot because I’m sure he has his own fleet of airplanes. But although I guess I should want to pick his brain about finances and politics and the social responsibilities of the mega-wealthy, if he was on my redeye Southwest flight I’d just pop in my earbuds and pretend to be engrossed in whatever I grabbed from the Hudson News.

Scarlett Johansson

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Very Pretty

There are a limited number of things I know about Scarlett Johansson. I know that she has two sets of double consonants in her name and I always forget where they go. I know that she has or had a side project with Pete Yorn. I know that she was once a child actor, and is now an adult but is still an actor. And I know that she has a better face than most people. Evidently Johansson had a baby this year, and gave it a nice name, which is unusual enough in Hollywood that I’ll call it fascinating. Like NPH and Michael Strahan, she does seem pretty likable and friendly overall, which is refreshing if not fascinating.

Elon Musk

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Nah

Like Koch, I understand that he’s a very big deal and incredibly important and I should be fascinated. But nah.

George R.R. Martin

Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: You will find out in five books if we all live that long

Game of Thrones, huh? So much suspense! You have to wait for all of these books to find out what happens to your favorite characters, and hang onto the hope that the characters, and you, and Martin himself live through the whole thing. Okay, so I haven’t actually read any of The Song Of Fire And Ice, but anyone who can create a whole (twisted, death-y) world and put it to paper is fascinating to me.

 

Laughing All The Way: The Best SNL Holiday Sketches

The holidays are a time for being with friends and family, giving presents, getting presents, eating too much, etc. etc. And at the root of all this is something so simple – cheer. We revel in being around people and doing things that make us happy, because that’s what this time of year is all about.

One of the things that make us joyful, not only during Christmas but all year round, is Saturday Night Live. It has a storied history of making viewers laugh every Saturday night, and in December, there are sketches that dreams are made of. For our final December playlist installment, we present to you the sketches that make us laugh, make us cry from laughing, that just make us happy. And hopefully you’ll catch the contagious cheer this season and all year round.

Molly’s Picks

Consumer Probe (1976)

I’m going to yank you back into memory lane for a second. I started watching SNL regularly when I was 10 or so, because I’m the fourth kid and my parents DGAF. But before that, I’d get to stay up and watch when my family swarmed my grandparents’ house for the holidays. Around Christmas, that often meant ancient repeats or compilation episodes, which is how I got acquainted with the original Not Ready For Primetime Players. This sketch, with Dan Aykroyd schilling unsafe children’s toys like Bag O’ Glass and Johnny Switchblade, played right into my silly little-kid comedy sensibilities. As a grownup, I find it even funnier. [watch here]

Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood (1984)

Would I find this one so funny if, during the Cabbage Patch craze, my uncle hadn’t sold my parents a bootleg Cabbage Patch Kid that was stuffed with gasoline-soaked rags? They took the rags out, restuffed it, and gave it to my siblings. We’re all adults now so I think I can write that without fear of us being removed from their custody. Anyway, I think the answer is yes. Yes, I would still find it so funny.

Steve Martin’s Holiday Wish (1986)

At Christmastime, we all say stupid stuff about wanting world peace and for the children of the world to join hands in perfect harmony or whatever, but deep down, we all want stuff. Stuff, and revenge.

The Sweeney Sisters Bells Medley (1986)

Watching Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks’ characters try a bit too hard to sell the unfunny Christmas banter and the Carol Of The Bells now just makes me think of how darn funny Jan Hooks was. Which reminds me of another family Christmas tradition – my pessimistic grandmother chiming “laugh today, cry tomorrow!” over the laughter of children.  [watch here]

Dysfunctional Family Christmas (1990)

Is your family passive-aggressive, or just aggressive-aggressive? Is your only family tradition disappointing your parents and drinking to forget? Does someone always call someone else fat? Then screw Jingle Bells, this should be the soundtrack to your family festivities. [watch here]

Mary Katherine Gallagher’s Christmas Concert (1996)

This is 90s as heck: Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher character, Rosie O’Donnell as a Catholic school nun, Penny Marshall on piano, and Whitney Houston as that one girl who gets all the solos. This is the cast that was on SNL when I started watching religiously, and rewatching this sketch reminds me that I came in at a good time. [watch here]

Martha Stewart’s Topless Christmas Special (1996)

Once again, take yourself back to the 90s. Before the market was saturated with celebrity chefs and DIY empires, Martha Stewart was the WASP-y face of American perfectionism. Ana Gasteyer posing with a boys’ choir while wearing just a dickie cracked me up in 1996 – and it still does.

The Narrator That Ruined Christmas (2001)

We were all so unmoored those first months after 9/11 that it felt disrespectful to do anything without acknowledging that something awful had happened. Even our high school homecoming t-shirts had an American flag on the back that year. I was reminded of that last month, when my family drove through an outdoor light display. There, in megawatt glow, were the twin towers with the words “Never Forgotten” underneath. I’m sure that display was purchased in Christmas 2001, when it felt like even a charity light setup should nod to our collective grief. Anyway, that’s how my 5-year-old nephew learned about 9/11.  This Saturday TV Funhouse takes you right back to that feeling, with the stop-motion snowman narrator giving up on holiday joy. Writers of this one included Stephen Colbert and Louis CK.

Two A-Holes In A Live Nativity Scene (2007)

The two a-holes are recurring characters that never really got their due. They played off the mid-2000s reality tv, conspicuous consumption, vocal fry trope, and you will never hear “myrrh” the same way again. [watch here]

Do It On My Twin Bed (2013)

This music video highlights how solid the current female cast is. Lil Baby Aidy and the gang are the stars of this “funny because it’s true” new classic: everything, from surly neighbor Jean to a high-status family member sprawling out in the guest suite, from the awkward junior high photos to the time capsule-like childhood bedroom, is part of the Christmas experience when you’re spending the holidays with your family.

Traci’s Picks

Motivational Santa (1994)

I got into SNL around middle school, so like the Cheerleaders, Superstar, Leon Phelps, Mango era. I didn’t do my research before that and admittedly have only seen a select sketches from anything before like 1996. Among those select sketches was Chris Farley as Motivational Speaker, Matt Foley. You know, the guy who lives in a van down by the river? He sometimes moonlights as a Santa, therefore making him a Motivational Santa that is even more frightening and alarming than ever before. Screen your Santa before taking your kids to them, folks. {watch video here}

Delicious Dish (1998)

This sketch is not only one of the most famous holiday sketches but SNL sketches of all time. As NPR hosts, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon have the perfect tone to their voice as they talk about culinary delights on their talk show. When Alec Baldwin joins them, the NPR ladies secured themselves in the SNL Hall of Fame. Of course throughout the sketch, they make double entendres left and right, but it isn’t until Alec says, “No one can resist the taste of my Schweddy Balls”, did the audience go crazy and millions of viewers knew the skit would go down in history.

Wish it Was Christmas Today (2000)

I am a total FalPal (Jimmy Fallon fan, obvs). My love for Jimmy started around his era on SNL. This particular sketch I remember finding so ridiculous, yet so catchy. My friend and I used to crush of Jimmy  so hard and just sing this song a lot, which is definitely not annoying at all. While it started as a Christmas sketch, they went on to do it multiple times, altering the lyrics for different holidays. While I am a purist and enjoy the OG one from 2000 the most, the 2011 version when Horatio, Chris and Tracy surprised everyone while Jimbo was hosting, comes in at a close second.

Weekend Update Characters

It was already extremely hard for us to pick our favorites for this list because we are insane and just love SNL, so here’s a group of the best recurring characters of Weekend Update and their Christmas-themed visits to the desk.

This segment has everything – Tranderson Cooper, Taylor Negron, Kite Enthusiasts and human parking cones (it’s that thing of when two jacked midgets paint themselves orange and you have to parallel park between them).

Kids today just leave Santa almond milk and Instagraham crackers. Can you put some quinoa in my spin class, please?

Look, I loved when Cecily was at the desk with Seth, but I’m also glad she’s not on the desk anymore so she can do this character. Everything coming out of her mouth is ridiculous and perfect.

Oh, how I love Garth and Kat. Fred and Kristen make a great team as it is, but when you put them in substitute teacher outfits and make them sing songs, it’s even better. On top of that, there’s not only the element of improv on Fred’s behalf, but like double improv with Kristen just copying every word of improv Fred’s saying. It’s a masterclass in Yes, and.

Taran Killam plays a newspaper movie critic from the 1800s and he hates everything. And he’s not afraid to say it. And the audience is also not afraid to let him know when they don’t like a joke. The best part might be when Seth laughs when one of the jokes gets absolutely no response from the crowd.

Glengarry Glen Christmas (2005)

Alec Baldwin is obviously brilliant every episode he’s done (16, the record for most times hosting), and per this list, he’s a staple in class holiday sketches, too. This one is a Christmas spoof on his popular role in Glengarry Glen Christmas, but this time, he’s taking over Santa’s factory and having a talk with the elves. I had seen this version before the original, which I suggest you watch here, but I still thought it was hilarious. After having seen the scene in the movie it was based on, it’s even more hilarious and spot on. Rachel, Fred, Amy, and Seth (who wrote the sketch!) are all perfect in this scene, and so is Alec, who accidentally makes a perfect slip-up in the middle.

Christmas for the Jews (2005)

One of the best ‘modern’ Christmas songs IMO is Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). It’s not the holidays until you hear this song, which is why she was the perfect choice to sing this tune for Saturday TV Funhouse. Christmas for the Jews tells a tale of how Jews revel in the fact all the Gentiles are inside celebrating Christmas, and they are free to ‘go see King Kong without a line’ or ‘Eat in a Chinese restaurant and drink some sweet wine’. Darlene’s legit-ness is what makes this song so good and another ‘modern day’ Christmas classic.

Dick in a Box (2006)

There was a period of time when I was in college that I wasn’t able to watch SNL as religiously as I had been before, which was sad for me, but also, it meant I had a some semblance of a social life? (LOL) I was at my friend’s apartment when she asked if I had seen Dick in a Box yet, and I hadn’t. We immediately watched it online (because this was when the whole YouTube/viral thing was just becoming a thing), and I basically died. Like Christmas for the Jews, Dick in a Box is actually a great song, lyrics aside. Lyrics included, still a great song. Speaking of lyrics, don’t mind the Spanish subtitles. Or do, it’s take D in a B to a whole new level.

Santa’s My Boyfriend (2006)

Just like Dick in a Box, I may know all the words (and maybe some harmonies) to this cold open from the SNL queens, including Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig. You think at first it’s going to be a cute song about Santa and Christmas, but alas, this is SNL.

The Kissing Family: Holiday Affection (2010)

Like a bad car wreck, the Vogelcheck family is something that you should drive right past and not pay attention to, but you just can’t look away. Paul Rudd is the best at this sketch, because he just goes for it. I mean, anyone who agrees to do this sketch has to go for it, but he just goes.for.it. And so does Hader. Bless. {watch video here}

Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue (2011)

When Jimmy Fallon walked on stage as a host for the Christmas show in 2011, it was the first time he had been in Studio 8H since he left in 2004. I made no plans the night he hosted, and watched this episode ‘live’ west coast time in my bedroom, standing next to my TV 90% of the time because I was just SO EXCITED. And it all started with his monologue, because as soon as he hit his mark, you could tell it was a big moment for him. And just like Jimmy, he just wanted the monologue to be Fun with a capital F. I have a feeling he came up with the idea to just have the entire cast sing and dance with him at the end and if you’re not watching this without a big smile on your face, you’re a big ol’ grinch. By altering the lyrics to Darlene Love’s hit song, this cold open embodied exactly what’s at the heart of the holidays – ‘It’ so good to be home’. {Watch video here}

ICYMI: Christmas With Baby Fish Mouth

In the second installment of our month-long extended playlist series, we shared some of our favorite romantic comedies to watch over the holidays.

I Saw 10 Ships: The Best Christmas RomComs

When you think of what children’s Christmas movies are really about – elaborate holiday fantasies about befriending Santa, visiting the North Pole, and getting the ultimate present – it’s a wonder that any kids like them at all. Real life never matches up.

You could say the same thing about holiday rom coms. I don’t know why I love watching attractive people fall head-over-heels in love (right in time for Christmas!) while sporting designer wardrobes. I could die alone in clothes from Target, but that won’t stop me from loving a good Christmas rom com. If you love rom coms too, make some time between now and 12/25 to see these three ten ‘ships come sailing in.

Traci’s Picks

Love Actually

What’s a Christmas movie list without Love Actually? Shit – is what it is. I remember going to see this with some friends in high school (at the theater Molly used to work at!) and immediately loving it about 10 minutes in. I was enamored with Christmas in London, hot Karl, Jamie and Aurelia’s unspoken love story, ‘Ifyou real-ly love Christtt-mas’ charming Prime Minister Hugh Grant, pre-fame Chiwetel Ejiofor & January Jones, everything about Emma Thompson, SAM – all of it. I bought the soundtrack and played it on repeat, even when it wasn’t Christmas. Needless to say, it’s not only one of my favorite Holiday RomComs, but all time movies in general. Besides Crash, Richard Curtis brought the intersecting storylines way of filmmaking into the the 2000s, and it’s been an influence on movies ever since.

When Harry Met Sally…

When Harry Met Sally doesn’t entirely take place over the holidays, but a chunk of it does, and of course the end at New Year’s Eve, so I’m counting it. If you’ve read my previous post about this film, you’ll know that I was a late bloomer to this amazing movie, but I’m all in now. WHMS is a reminder that New York at Christmastime is a magical beautiful place – and then you snap back into reality watching Sally try to haul a Christmas tree by herself in the snow down the street. But all of it, the good and the bad, is a reminder why RomComs like this are the perfect thing to watch at the holidays. They make you laugh, make you cry, make you all tingly inside knowing that the season isn’t just about the trees and the snow and the presents – it’s about being around the people you love.

Molly’s Picks

The Holiday

The Holiday is one of my top two Christmas rom coms (it sort of shares first place with Love Actually). It has everything I could want in a Christmas movie: aspirational real estate (both the California mansion and the Cotswolds cottage), just-as-aspirational hair and wardrobe, precocious English tots, a kindly old man, and Jude Law right in the middle of what will someday be remembered as his golden era. Sure, it does fall into the romcom trope of everyone thinking the obviously pretty and charismatic Kate Winslet is some sort of sad sack, but – spoiler! it turns out she’s leading lady material after all. With Jack Black and Cameron Diaz rounding out the main cast, the Holiday is the perfect balance of rom and com.

Meet Me In St. Louis

As with regular-season rom coms, it’s important not to disregard the classics at Christmas. This musical (come on, you knew there would be a musical!) follows a year in the life of a turn-of-the-century family. However, the film ends at Christmas time, and is the origin of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. To be honest, I never would have bothered with this movie if (1) I weren’t in the play in 8th grade, and (2) it didn’t star Judy Garland while she was still … doing well. But it’s worth watching if you like musicals, holiday cheer, and one of the most talented performers of a generation.


 

When Harry Met Sally was released 25 years ago, and it’s main themes are still relevant to this day. But there’s gotta be some outdated things in there, right?

Pros & Cons of Watching When Harry Meets Sally 25 Years Too Late

Last month, I went to an outdoor screening of When Harry Met Sally. And believe it or not – it was my first time EVER seeing the movie. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. I kind of have a pop culture blind spot to a lot of classic films (I’m more of a TV person, if you couldn’t tell), and this is one of them. It’s particularly odd when I tell people this, because some of my favorite movies are of the rom-com genre, like Love Actually and Notting Hill #NoShame So going into my first viewing of WHMS, I had an inkling I would like it – I just didn’t realize I would like it THAT much. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. I even looked up how much it would be on Amazon that same night. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed it, but I finally realized after viewing it why it had become such an important film in movie history – the story is timeless. At its core, WHMS is a movie questioning whether or not men and women can stay friends and never turn into lovers. That wasn’t just a problem in the 1980s, but it’s obviously still a question that’s asked today. And despite the fact WHMS is timeless, it’s not entirely “timeless”, as in, it’s been 25 years (to this day) since it was released, and there are still things that change over time. So here’s a few pros and cons I noted while watching this iconic movie for the very first time.

PRO: A youthful Meg Ryan

I think the first movie I ever saw Meg Ryan in was Sleepless in Seattle, which was made only four years after WHMS. But I don’t remember her ever looking as young as she did in this movie. I mean look at the youth! Look at the glow! She’s practically a baby acting out adult themes! It’s amazing that we can forever look back at this movie and seen the exact moment when she became a bonafide movie star.

CON: Meg Ryan’s face now

meg-ryan-billy-crystal-when-harry-met-sally-rftr

Well. Here she is. This picture was taken in April. Now 53, Meg is…  still sporting a cute blonde ‘do.

PRO: Being grateful of escaping 80s fashion

Really, the fashion in this movie is the only thing that makes it distinguishable as a movie made in 1989, as opposed to present day. The script could be set in 2014, and nothing would have to be changed. Except for like the Rolodex and the phones. And especially the clothes. There are some scenes that scream 80s, including this one which features Meg Ryan wearing a stunning green velour dress with protruding shoulderpads as she serves as the maid of honor for her best friend’s wedding. Velour tho.

CON: Realizing that some of that 80s fashion is actually back in style

Could’ve sworn I saw a hipster wearing this same outfit in Silver Lake recently.

PRO: Understanding post-college life

Oh man. I so relate to this quote. I wouldn’t have been able to *get it* if I had watched it before. Even as a teenager I wouldn’t have completely understood.

“I’m 26 years old and I can’t even remember the name of the girl I was such good friends with that I wouldn’t even get involved with her boyfriend!”

CON: Self-realization of post-college life

Ugh. I’m 28. I graduated high school 10 years ago and I’m already starting to forget people I went to college with. Just put me in a senior living community now.

PRO: Still feeling hopeful for a love that lasts a lifetime

But how cute are these couples. Fun fact: the couples are telling real stories. Director Rob Reiner got the idea when he was talking to his producing friend’s dad and said, “Mr. Horn, how did you meet your wife?” Mr. Horn lit up and told Rob his story. And Mr. Horn is actually the very first guy featured in the set of interviews alongside his wife. *swoon*

CON: Wondering where the old couples are now

Okay sorry to be the downer here, but like, this movie was made 25 years ago, right? And these cute couples are old. Like they had already been married for about 50 years, old. I’m not (completely) delusional to realize that some of these folks might not be with us anymore and that makes me really sad.

PRO: The movie is a reminder Christmas in NYC is magical

New York City is the third biggest character in this movie. It should be When Harry Met Sally and We Met New York. Rob Reiner did a fantastic job of using the city as much as he could, making it look like a dream world where anything is possible – including love. The scenes that particularly hit me at the core were the ones during Christmas. Christmas is my favorite and even though I live in Los Angeles, I still yearn for White Christmases. When Harry and Sally are carrying that tree and establishing shots are shown of snow-covered landmarks in NY, it gives me all the warm and fuzzies.

CON: And then my dreams are dashed

Then I remember what living with freezing temps and bundling up in five+ layers and never-ending snow is like and I’m over it.

PRO: Appreciating the greatness that is Nora Ephron

I apologize for being such a bad comedy/writer nerd that I had no idea just how GOOD Nora Ephron’s writing was in this movie. Yes, the actors gave great performances and excellent delivery on lines that were just written on paper, but the way Nora Ephron writes is pure genius. She’s not just writing a script, she’s telling a story. It’s as if Harry Burns and Sally Albright are real life people, and Nora just transcribed their day to day conversations. Plus, her writing is smart and sentimental – it’s no wonder why so many movies and TV shows have followed in the same vain as WHMS – because it works.

PRO/CON: Retroactively having a crush on Billy Crystal

I’d like to think there’s a majority of people in my generation that associate Billy Crystal with SNL or Analyze This or City Slickers or the guy who hosts the Oscars a lot. We don’t necessarily think of him as the lead in a romantic comedy. So color me super surprised when I found myself crushing (?) on Billy Crystal (?!) throughout this movie!! He’s not even like, textbook Zefron handsome, but he’s funny and charming and boy is he in love with Sally. A man head over heels in love is worth swooning for.

Saturday Spotlight: Very Special Holiday Episode

You know what TV show I want to watch? The one that’s all Christmas episodes, all the time. I guess you sort of need to know and love characters the rest of the year in order to care what happens to them at Christmas … but you can’t deny that those are the best ones. Maybe it’s because in real life, a “Christmas episode” is an awful fit or fuss you feel like having during the holidays. It’s not easy! But this week, we tried to celebrate holiday episodes – both the television variety and the “conniption fit” sort.

  • Some of our favorite shows – The Mindy Project, Marry Me, Selfie, and so on – owe a lot to the romantic comedy. We listed our favorite holiday rom coms, because what is a Christmas romcom but a two-hour holiday episode?
  • And every Christmas episode needs a good soundtrack, of course. Some may say that the 40s and 50s were the prime Christmas music era – Bing Crosby, Judy Garland – but those people have forgotten about Platinum Christmas, the pop compilation released by Jive Records in 2000. But we haven’t! Because we ranked all of the tracks.
  • Now, for an entirely different kind of episode – a fit of head-shaking and side-eye. Yes, this week was the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and we were WTF-ing all the way!
  • The trouble with Christmas episodes: they signify the beginning of the “winter hiatus.” All your stories are taking a long winter’s nap, but here are shows to fill the shoes of all of your favs in the meantime.
  • Most likely to trigger the bad kind of Christmas episode: SHOPPING. Subscription boxes make it easy, but we can think of a few that don’t exist, but should. Pupsididoo, the foster puppy delivery service? We’ll take it!

Subscription Boxes That Should Probably Exist

Subscription boxes are the way to go if you’re a lazy or indecisive gift-giver. Instead of picking one gift – that the person may or may not like – you pick a theme or service they’ll be into, and let someone else handle the specifics. If they don’t like what comes in their box one month, it’s not on you – and they get something else next month, anyway. But it’s not as easy a gift as you might think, because there are about 49,000 different subscription box companies right now. Still, I thought of a few that – to my knowledge – don’t exist yet. But they should.

Nostalgly

Every month, recipients get a box full of items sure to spark nostalgia. Here’s how it works: you give the company your gender and date of birth. That’s it. Let’s say you’re a lady born in 1986, because hey, that seems like a good year to be born in. One month you’d get a 1995 box. It would have pogs, a copy of Disney Adventures magazine, maybe a Deep Blue Something single. One month would be the Year 2000 box, and your 1986-er would get Y2K glasses, a set of butterfly clips, perhaps a stretchy tattoo choker. But someone who was born in 1995 (and is thus old enough to order things with a credit card, sorry ’86 babies) would get an entirely different box for the year 2000, because they were 5 then: a miniature Bratz doll and a Junie B. Jones book, for instance.

Nobody steal this one, because if I had the start-up capital I would totally do this.

Googlify

This one takes a bit of trust with your most personal of personal information – your Google history. You’d give the company access to your Google search history for the month (already accessing your Google search history: every company on the internet, probably, so what’s there to lose?). They will stock your box with personally-selected treasures relating to the stuff you’re obviously obsessed with, even if you’ve been keeping it between you and Google. Did you fall down a Google hole looking at unsolved cold cases? Voila – a bunch of true crime books!  Or maybe you’ve been sucked into the crafty mommy blogger vortex. You’d receive a twee apron and some craft supplies.

Blogsie

After either listing your favorite blogs (aww, you shouldn’t have!) or filling out a profile of what sort of things you’re into, every month you get a bound, printed collection of the best posts so that you can read them on paper like a civilized human from yesteryear. Face it, blog content is better than magazines half the time anyway. So, sort of like Rookie Yearbook, but from a bunch of different sites and not imbued with the magic of Tavi. I understand that all of this content is free online, but the whole crux of subscription boxes is curating and delivering items to subscribers and marking up the price. Oh, and giving it a stupid, cutesy name with a suffix like -ly or -ity or -sy.

Pupsididoo

What’s better than owning a dog? Borrowing a puppy! They’d obviously have to do some sort of a background check on you. Then every month, you get a new puppy fitting your household needs! This would be a tie-in with a pet fostering organization, and it’s win-win: they get people to foster their pups, you get to play with a tiny dog for a month, no strings attached. Of course, if you and the puppy become best friends forever, there’s an option to make the dog part of your forever family at the end of the month.

Shame-ity

Do you have trouble looking your cashier in the eye when you’re buying anything a little … you know, personal? Well we live in the internet age, and you don’t have to! It works like this. If you have any chronic embarrassing shopping needs, you can say that in your profile. Maybe you need to buy stool softener or pregnancy tests every month. It’s none of my business. You can have them shipped right to you! If you don’t have anything particular in mind, you can have an assortment of potentially embarrassing purchases shipped to you every month so that you never have to run out to the store at the last minute for lice shampoo or industrial-strength deodorant.

Pinteristapinterest

Hooked on Pinterest? Give this company access to your boards, and every month you’ll get the materials to make a few of the projects that you – let’s be honest – otherwise would have pinned then left to languish. You can even request items relating to specific boards if you need someone to light a fire under your butt to create a Pinterest-perfect wedding or nursery.