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I Heart XMAS with Kristian Noel Pedersen

Welcome to the I Heart XMAS Q&A, where Retro Festive asks notable Canadians about their own Christmas traditions and what they would like to find under the tree!

Kristian Noel Pedersen
A Kristian Kinda Christmas
Musician

Kristian Noel Pedersen (his real name!) started recording Christmas music seven years ago, after joking about how his name would be perfect for it.  He writes and records original indie folk songs, with weird synthesizers and drum machines, about Christmas traditions, shopping, and the winter blues.

Kristian Noel PedersenWhat is your favourite holiday movie or TV special?
I’m a sucker for 90’s sit-com Christmas specials. My favourites are Boy Meets World’s called “Santa’s Little Helpers” or Family Matters’ “Miracle on Elm Street“.  In terms of film, The Santa Clause will always be a favourite of mine, and a seasonal must-must watch.

 Does your family have a special or quirky holiday tradition?
The only thing that is quirky is how much we see each-other. My extended family used to have a Christmas brunch that ended around three hours before Christmas dinner. We’d literally all go from one house to another. Only to meet up the next day for boxing day dinner, and New Years day dinner. Lots of dinners.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
“Christmas In A Room” by Sufjan Stevens. A song about finding the magic of Christmas in the ones you love. It gets me every time.

Also, I have to give an honourable mention to “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney. Its probably the most avant-garde song to get played in malls and grocery stores. That takes talent.

Which do you prefer: to give or receive?
Absolutely give.

 Ugly Christmas Sweaters?
Not a chance. Christmas sweaters I have a special place for, but I’m not a fan of intentionally ugly ones. Classic knitted patterns for me.

What do you want Santa to bring you this year?
There is a Christmas themed wrestling t-shirt I’ve been really wanting, but haven’t bought it for myself yet. Fingers crossed Santa delivers it.

~

Kristian Noel Pedersen’s Christmas seventh record will be released this week! Check it out at http://www.kristiankindachristmas.ca

 

 

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I Heart XMAS with Clara Venice

Welcome to the I Heart XMAS Q&A, where Retro Festive asks notable Canadians about their own Christmas traditions and what they would like to find under the tree!

Clara Venice
Musician
Theremin Space Pop Music for Lovers and Dreamers
@claravenice

Clara Venice
Photo by Katherine Holland

 

What is your favourite holiday movie or TV special? 

That’s so hard – I’d say it’s a toss-up between Home Alone, Elf and Gremlins – with Gremlins coming out on top because Gizmo is just too adorable.

Does your family have a special or quirky holiday tradition?
Yes – my family actually invented our own holiday that we celebrate on December 23rd called “Wondermas”. Each year we create a Wondermas “Tree” usually involving fairy lights, LEDs, tulle, Unicorns, and plexiglass. Then on Wondermas Eve, we are visited by Rollerbear who brings us gifts! We think it’s the most wonder-full holiday of the year.

 Which do you prefer: to give or receive?  

I wish I could say that I genuinely preferred giving to receiving, but let’s be real: they’re both pretty awesome. I do love giving gifts, and I put a lot of thought into what I give people. In the past I would get so stressed out around the holidays to find the “perfect gift” for everyone on my list, so now when I see something that I know a friend would love I just buy it and save it for the holidays. It makes things so much easier, and I feel a lot better about the thoughtfulness of my gifts. I highly recommend this strategy to everyone!

 Which Peanuts character do you think your friends and family would say reminds them of you? (Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy etc)?
I have to say Schroeder – like him, I’m always lost in lost in my music, and Beethoven is also my favourite composer. Also, I think his artistic philosophy is pretty great (via Wikipedia):

In 1971’s Play It Again, Charlie Brown, Lucy asked if pianists make a lot of money, and Schroeder flew into a rage: “Who cares about money?! This is art, you blockhead! This is great music I’m playing, and playing great music is an art! Do you hear me? An art! Art! Art! Art! Art! Art!” However, when Lucy asks the same question in the movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Schroeder admits: “Some do, if they practice real hard, I guess.” 

Personally, I think these are both great answers and I definitely relate.

 What is your favourite Christmas song?
Christmas Don’t Be Late (aka the Chipmunk’s Christmas Song) because it sounds the best on the theremin!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: Not a Chance – or – The Uglier the Better?
I believe that people should be able to wear whatever they feel like wearing any time of the year, so I fully support anyone’s choice of sweater. Personally, I like cute sparkly sweaters so that is what I wear during the holidays (the more glitter the better.) But I’m sure some people would consider those ugly, so to each her own!

Come down to the Toronto Christmas Market on Saturday, December 19 at 7 and 8pm to see Clara Venice’s magical performance!

 

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Tips for Stuffing Stockings

Christmas morning in my family is a ritual. It always goes the same way.

Someone (me) wakes up about an hour too early, and putters around the house not-so-quietly in order to wake everyone up. We put the coffee on and crack open the largest bottle of Bailey’s the liquor store sells. Then we start with our stockings.

Opening my stocking is my favourite part of Christmas, which is bitter sweet because it is the first stage of present time. The stocking is popping at the seams, full of sweet surprises and awesome necessities.

When I reached my adult years, I took on the responsibility of stuffing stockings. Stuffing my mom’s stocking for Christmas morning – don’t worry Santa, I got this – was stressful the first year because my mom is very good at stuffing stockings. I wanted to bring her as much joy as I get when I open my stocking. I quickly discovered making a list is the best way to plan.

stuffing stockings

 

 Here is a Beginner’s Guide to Stuffing Stockings:

Chapstick
Everyone needs a good tube of Chapstick or lip balm to get through winter. We are a Lip Smackers family, but they can be difficult to find in Canada now!

Gift Card
Tim Hortons. iTunes. Shoppers Drugmart. A gift card is a great stocking stuffer because they are easier to fit in a stocking than an XL double double.

CD
If you have a family member who doesn’t know what an iTune is, popping a good ol’ CD in their stocking works just as well. This is a good chance to throw in a new Christmas album, like A Jann Arden Christmas, or a top seller like Adele’s 25.

Clementine
Every year my family would go to the children’s Christmas party at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 160. My Uncle would sit in for Santa, and my Grandma would give out small stockings for all the kids. It always had a cane cane, a small toy and a clementine in the toe of the stocking.

Lotto Ticket
Every stocking must have lottery scratch ticket. If you win big, you can take the whole family on a long Christmas vacation – somewhere warm!

Chocolate
You must supply them with something to eat with their Bailey’s and coffee on Christmas morning!

Tooth Brush
You must supply them with something to clean their teeth after having chocolate and coffee for breakfast on Christmas morning!

stuffing stockings

A Big Thing
Stuffing a stocking may seem simple, but they are always bigger than you think they are! It is wonderful to pack a stocking with small treasures, but remember to stuff the stocking with a Big Thing like a Big Grinch to help fill it out!

Gag Gift
Stockings are great opportunity for a gag gift. A bag of Snowman Poop hidden among festive treasures is good for a laugh!

Candy Cane
A beautiful candy cane hooked on the top of a stocking is the perfect Pièce de résistance to the fireplace mantle on Christmas morning. Plus, they can use it to stir their hot chocolate!

Stuffing stockings

Once the stockings have been stuffed, and hung by the fireplace, all you need to do is wait!

 

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Festive Mug Recipes

After a long day of Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, sometimes the best thing is a freshly baked treat like cookies, cake, or a little something savoury. But it’s already 9 o’clock, and the kitchen is a mess, so there is no chance of traditional baking.

Good news! Why not throw some simple ingredients into a mug, zap them in the microwave and enjoy? We have complied some awesome and easy mug recipes to match our most festive mugs this season.

Gingerbread Mug Cake

festive mug recipesThe good people at JustPutzing.com have a wonderful recipe for Gingerbread Mug Cake that takes no time at all, and will taste great in our ceramic “Bite Me – Gingerbread Man” coffee mug.

 

Mixed Berry Crisp

mug recipesHave a very Beary, or uh, Berry Christmas with this recipe for a Mixed Berry Crisp from the Food Network, in our Beary X-Mas mug. With just seven ingredients, and two minutes in the microwave, it’s like a bear hug for your taste buds.

 

 

Maple Syrup Pancakes in a Mug

elf mug recipesIf you are like Buddy the Elf and carry maple syrup with you wherever you go, then this recipe is for you. You can make this recipe in our “I’m a Human but I was raised by Elves” mug for a quick breakfast, or a sweet snack.

 

 

Pizza in a Mug

If your older brother Buzz ate all of the cheese pizza, you can quickly make your own in your Home Alone mug. Watch the video from Simple Cooking Channel to find out how!

 

1-Minute Dark Chocolate Mug Cake For 2

Star Wars mug recipesIf you like your chocolate a little on the dark side, then this Star Wars Imperial mug will be perfect for Frugal Edmonton Mama’s One-Minute Dark Chocolate Mug Cake recipe.

Never underestimate the power of dark chocolate!

 

Garlic Biscuits in a Mug

mug recipesThe Grinch has garlic in his soul, but Garlic Biscuits are good soul food. These biscuits are gluten free, low on carbs and take less than ten minutes to make. Fair warning: there will only be crumbs left in the house, crumbs even too small for a mouse!

 

Microwave Peanut Butter Swirl Brownie

We were inspired to put this Peanut Butter recipe in this Rudolph mug by one of our favourite moments in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:
Yukon Cornelius: This fog’s as thick as peanut butter!
Hermey: You mean pea soup.
Yukon Cornelius: You eat what you like, and I’ll eat what I like!

mug recipes
But don’t worry you can warm up some pea soup in the Rudolph mug too, we don’t judge!

You can find these, and other Christmas mugs here: www.retrofestive.ca/mugs-glassware

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Secret Santa Quirky Gift Guide

The Christmas party season is getting closer by the minute, which means Secret Santa at the office. But what should you get that special someone picked from the hat? And by special we mean that weird someone, that odd someone, that tough-to-buy-for someone. Your boss already has two of everything, or you pulled the name of the Sci-Fi geek you barely speak to. What’s a person to do? Don’t worry, Retro Festive has you covered.

Here is our list of 12 awesome, unique and quirky gift ideas that will make their strange hearts grow at least three sizes bigger! – Written by Maddie Bisson

The HR Cat Lady
Kitty Christmas Carol Clock – Musical!

Quirky Gift

 

We all know someone who loves cats. A lot. So much that a musical cat clock would be totally acceptable in her cat filled office.

 

 

 

The Social Media Addict—I mean Specialist
Selfie Elfie
Or…
Hashtag Christmas Tree Ornament

quirky gift

quirky gift

 

 

 

 

#OMG #SelfieWithAnElfie #SoCute #TheresAnElfOnMyShoulder #IHeartChristmas Or… Blow up their phone with a ##ornament.

 

 

The IT Jedi
Stormtrooper Nutcracker

 quirky gift

If you didn’t camp outside with them before the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you better redeem yourself.

 

 

 

The Die Hard Leafs Fan
NHL Ugly Christmas Sweater

quirky gift

There’s one in every company! Through thick and thin (mostly thick) they stand by their team. It’s a perfect “something blue” to wear on game day (instead of that dirty old jersey!).

 

 

The (why aren’t you retired yet?) Secretary
Ugly Sweater Cookie Cutter Decorating Kit

 quirky gift

Ugly Sweaters have been all the rage for the past few years, and while the gaudy irony might be lost on her, she will enjoy making Ugly Sweater cookies for the office!

 

 

The Coffee Addicted Accountant
Tim Hortons China Mug Ornament

 quirky gift

Your accountant’s favourite formula: Work + Caffeine + Canadiana = TIM HORTONS!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

The Meme Loving Colleagues
Grumpy Cat 8-Pack Holiday Note Cards

 quirky gift

Now you can finally wish your closest co-workers an awful holiday and a crappy New Year with Grumpy Cat’s signature frown.

 

 

The Hanukkah Harry
Happy Hanukkah- Ugly Holiday Sweater

 quirky gift

Christmas isn’t the only reason to rock an Ugly Sweater! Harry will be as happy as those dancing dreidels when he receives this from his Secret Santa!

 

 

The Overly Enthusiastic Intern
Smiling is My Favorite – Coffee Mug

 quirky gift

While drinking the World’s best/crappiest cup of coffee, your intern won’t be able to stop singing, “I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOUUU!”

 

 

 

The Potty Mouth Boss
Toilet Santa- Ugly Christmas Sweater

 quirky gift

Nothing will bring your boss more joy this holiday season than literally wearing a poop joke.

 

 

 

 

The Hostess with the Mostest CEO
Christmas Vacation Advent House Calendar

quirky gift

This will knock the Santa hats off her Holiday Party guests (and put you on the Nice List) with this show-stopping Griswold Advent House Calendar.

 

 

And…

The Rival
Bag O’ Coal

 quirky gift

Make the most feared present in the world a reality for your nemesis. Revenge is a dish best served COAL.

 

 

 

 

Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store – Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a bit more!” Not in this case, Grinch!

These quirky gifts can be ordered at RetroFestive.ca, or picked up right before the Secret Santa gift exchange at Toronto’s Union Station Holiday.

 

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