Notes of a Fashionista

Five on Friday

December 2, 2022

Who are you, and what are you doing in my palace?” — A Christmas Prince

One: Cheesy Christmas Movie Challenge

One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching Christmas movies. Last week I wrote about my favorite movies but didn’t include any cheesy Christmas movies.

What are cheesy Christmas movies?

These types of movies typically air on Hallmark and Lifetime, they don’t tend to get high ratings, and the plots are often predictable. I don’t usually watch this category at Christmastime, but I know this genre is quite popular. So this year, I will complete a Cheesy Christmas Movie Challenge. I’m going to watch 25 movies by December 25th.

I started preparing for this challenge in November. First, I watched Falling for Christmas and A Castle for Christmas on Netflix. Then, I created a cheesy Christmas movie bingo and tested it with some family members. We also watched Last Christmas together, which I would categorize as cheesy adjacent (it didn’t work well with our bingo game). 

Why do we watch cheesy Christmas movies?

From Huffington Post, Why We Love Bad Christmas Movies. “Our brains love feeling good. Formulaic styles and structure are typical in romantic comedies, helping us feel close to home in our own human stories,” Kanti said. “We’re wired to recognize specific common patterns that are relatable in storytelling. Endings can be incredibly impactful because they can remind us of the importance of solving solutions and the benefits of doing so in simple ways.

Read about participating in a Lifetime movie, I Made a Lifetime Christmas Movie! Over 100 made-for-TV holiday movies will premiere this season. Here’s what it’s like to work on one. By Rebecca Alter

Read about it and then join the challenge:

Two: What to watch



“I wanted Constance’s clothes to reflect the journey she goes on and speak of the romance and freedom she experiences,” said the film’s costume designer, Emma Fryer, in a phone interview. Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix

Lady Chatterley’s Lover (romance/drama), After falling out of love with her husband following a war injury, Lady Chatterley pursues a torrid affair with the gamekeeper on their estate and begins to uncover her own internal biases. From CNN, Netflix’s steamy ‘Lady Chatterley’ adaptation tells a story of liberation — through clothes

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (animation/adventure/comedy), On a cold Christmas Eve, selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge has one night left to face his past — and change the future — before time runs out.

Qala (drama), Haunted by her past, a talented singer with a rising career, copes with the pressure of success, a mother’s disdain and the voices of doubt within her.

Troll (action/adventure/drama), When an explosion in the Norwegian mountains awakens an ancient troll, officials appoint a fearless paleontologist to stop it from wreaking deadly havoc.

Warriors of Future (Chinese Sci-fi). When a meteor carrying a destructive plant strikes the world, a suicide squad is given hours to save their post-apocalyptic city from total collapse.


Firefly Lane (season 2, part 1) 

My Unorthodox Life (season 2)

Dead End (6 episodes/Polish series/dark comedy) A group of strangers accidentally drive off in a car with two million zlotys coming from a bank heist.

Hot Skull (Turkish/Drama), In a dystopian world, as an epidemic spreads through verbal communication, a tyrannical institution pursues a linguist immune to the disease.


“Sr.” (film), Robert Downey Jr. pays tribute to his late father in this documentary chronicling the life and eclectic career of pioneering filmmaker Robert Downey Sr.

The Masked Scammer (film), Featuring interviews with his accomplices and victims alike, this deep dive explores how a master con man scammed French elites out of millions of Euros.



Darby and the Dead (Hulu Original film), “The story follows sixteen-year-old Darby Harper (Riele Downs), a self-professed weirdo and outcast whose expository introduction illustrates how surviving a near-drowning in childhood left her able to communicate with dead people.” Jude Dry IndieWire


Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays, Superstar a cappella group Pentatonix needs inspiration for their annual holiday album. After getting locked in a mystical mailroom, a little Disney magic sends us on a whirlwind tour around the world, discovering holiday traditions and inspiration from Pentatonix fans across the globe. The journey leads the group to realize that wherever we find ourselves, it really is a small world, after all! Disney+

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid – Rodrick Rules (movie), Greg enters the next grade with his confidence and friendships intact, and an eye on the new girl in town, Holly Hills . But at home, Greg is still at war with his older brother, Rodrick, so their parents have handed down the toughest “punishment” imaginable – forcing the boys to spend quality time with each other. Disney+


Willow (series), A sequel to the 1988 film of the same name, this new series tells the story of a magical world where magical creatures are thriving since a magician and an infant girl united the realms and vanquished an evil queen. However, now the adventure continues when an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and save their world. BuzzFeed

Prime Video:

Asa Butterfield in Your Christmas or Mine?. Leave this one under the tree. Photograph: Amazon Prime Video

Your Christmas or Mine? (film), Students Hayley and James are young and in love. After saying goodbye for Christmas at a London train station, they both make the same mad split-second decision to swap trains and surprise each other. Passing each other in the station, they are completely unaware that they have just swapped Christmases. IMDb

December 3rd: A Unicorn for Christmas (film), A young girl discovers a real-life unicorn at a Christmas carnival and must protect it from a greedy fair owner.


Gossip Girl season 2. Photo: HBO Max

Gossip Girl(Max Original season 2 premiere)

Photo: HBO Max

A Hollywood Christmas (film), A successful Christmas movie director begins living her own Christmas movie when a handsome network exec. 

Branson, (Original docuseries premiere), A four-part docuseries from filmmaker Chris Smith (100 Foot Wave) profiles the adventurous billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.

Sesame Street’s The Nutcracker, (Max Original special premiere)


Image via Hallmark Channel

A Big Fat Family Christmas (2022 Hallmark film), A photojournalist gets close to a co-worker as she shoots her family’s annual holiday party for a cover story.

Dolly Parton’s Magic Mountain Christmas (musical movie), Follow Dolly’s desire to uplift an exhausted world’s spirits by sharing the unique “mountain magic”. Throughout the chaos, Dolly finds herself taking a journey guided by the mysterious appearances of her Three Wise Mountain Men. IMDb From People, Dolly Parton Is Ready to Lift Spirits in Her New Holiday Special: ‘I Feel Like I’m a Part of Christmas’


Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon star as the country couple Tammy Wynette and George Jones in the Showtime mini-series “George & Tammy.”Credit…Dana Hawley/Showtime

George and Tammy (series), Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon star as the country couple Tammy Wynette and George Jones in the Showtime mini-series. NYT


Smile (2022 horror movie)

In Theaters:

David Harbour and John Leguizamo in ‘Violent Night’

Violent Night (action/comedy), An elite team of mercenaries breaks into a family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone hostage inside. However, they aren’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.

Image: Courtesy of AMC+ and RLJE Films

Christmas with the Campbells (rom-com), When Jesse is dumped right before the holidays by her boyfriend, Shawn, his parents convince her to still spend Christmas with them, and Shawn’s handsome cousin, while Shawn is away. Streaming on AMC+

Ben Aldridge and Jim Parsons in “Spoiler Alert.”Credit…Focus Features

Spoiler Alert (drama/comedy), Writer Michael Ausiello embarks on a roller-coaster ride of emotions when his partner gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. Based on Michael Ausiello’s best-selling memoir “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies,”

Tilda Swinton plays two characters, a mother and a daughter, who have gone to spend a winter holiday at a hotel in Wales in the new movie The Eternal Daugher. A24

The Eternal Daughter (drama/mystery), Returning to a hotel now haunted by its mysterious past, an artist and her elderly mother confront long-buried secrets in their former family home.

Hunt (action), “Squid Game” Emmy winner Lee Jung-jae stars and directs this week’s explosive blockbuster “Hunt,” a film about double and triple crosses in a spy game between North and South Korea in the 1980s. Roger

Ben Whishaw, Rooney Mara and Claire Foy in a scene from “Women Talking.”Michael Gibson/Orion-United Artists Releasing via AP

Women Talking (drama), Women in an isolated religious colony struggle to reconcile with their faith after a series of sexual assaults.Director Sarah Polley’s adaptation of the novel “Women Talking” by Miriam Toews.

Documentaries (released in December):

Framing Agnes, (documentary) After discovering case files from the UCLA gender clinic from the 1950s, a group of trans actors confronts the legacy of young trans women being forced to choose between honesty and access.

A scene from “Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power,” a documentary directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Sam Pollard.Credit…Greenwich Entertainment

Lowndes County and The Road to Black Power (documentary), Black residents of Lowndes County, Alabama, face violence and discrimination as they fight against disenfranchisement at the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

2nd Chance, A documentary chronicling the life of Richard Davis, the man who invented the concealable bulletproof vest. 

Three: What to wear

Black jeans – I like a dark denim pant, you can dress it up or down and wear them as jeans or as dress pants.

For women: Madwell is having a sale this weekend

The Momjean in Hillshore Wash Price $98.00. $50 with code VERYMERRY
The Perfect Vintage Flare Jean in Sherborn Wash $128.00. $50 with code VERYMERRY until 12/5
Skinny Flare Jeans in Bellhaven Wash: Slit-Hem Edition Original Price$98.00 Sale Price$89.99. 30% off with VERYMERRY code


Levi’s® Flex Men’s 514™ Straight-Fit Jeans $48.65 with code: FRIEND reg. $69.50
Men’s Black Wash Skinny Jeans, Created for Macy’s. LIMITED-TIME SPECIAL $39.99

Four: What to Try

A Gift Swap

White Elephant swap:

From Real Simple, The 50 Best White Elephant Gifts of 2022 That Everyone Will Actually Want. “When you’re asked to participate in a white elephant exchange, here’s what you can typically expect. Everyone gets together and brings in a wrapped gift to place in the gift pool. At the start of the exchange, each person draws a number out of a hat to determine in what order people will choose their gifts. Whoever selected “1” gets to pick a gift first, unwrapping it in front of everyone so all can see what’s inside. During each subsequent person’s turn, they have the option to pick a wrapped gift or “steal” one from someone else. To keep things moving, only three steals are allowed per gift. Once everyone has a gift, the first person gets the opportunity to steal a present from someone else. If they decide to keep their original gift, the game is over. If they steal, it ends when someone else finally declines to steal a gift.

I’ve been participating in these types of swaps for many years. There are different ways for you to organize these types of swaps, with or without a theme, or with homemade gifts.

Swap fun with the family

Secret Santa swap

My family and I tried a secret santa swap last year from different locations. We used Elfster to sign up, assign gift givers, and send out the gifts. We zoomed on Christmas day to unwrap together. The benefits of swaps is it reduces the amount of gifts you have to buy, and using Elfster allows you to create a wishlist, so you can get gifts that you want.

Year 2 using Elfster to swap gifts

The basic concept of the Secret Santa game is simple. All of the participants’ names are placed into a hat, box, etc. and mixed up. Each person then chooses one name from the box, but doesn’t tell anyone which name was picked. He/she is now responsible for buying a gift for the person selected. When the Secret Santa wraps his/her gift, he/she should label it with the recipient’s name but doesn’t indicate whom the present is from. (Remember, most of the fun is in the secrecy.) All the gifts are then placed in a general area for opening at a designated time. When the gift-giving time arrives, each recipient finds his/her gift and must guess who their Secret Santa is. If they can’t guess, their Secret Santa eventually confesses. is now Elfster, download the app or use the webpage to:

With the service, organizing and managing a Secret Santa gift exchange is now easier and much more fun. Using, a gift exchange administrator is able to:

  • Send fun email invitations to a group of friends, family or coworkers, inviting them to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange.
  • Enter all of the participants’ names in a virtual “hat.” The system, using the Secret Santa Generator, randomizes all of the names and selects each participant’s gift recipient for him/her.
  • Run a gift exchange without all of the participants being in one place. All requires is that you enter all the participants’ email addresses and their gift recipients are sent out automatically.
  • Create a customized Secret Santa Gift Exchange page, which enables all participants to post RSVP responses and comments, as well as wish lists.
  • Create exclusions for each gift exchange to ensure that certain participants are not matched. (For example, Jack should not be Jane’s Secret Santa.)
  • Manage a Secret Santa gift exchange year after year, guaranteeing that participants do not get the same Secret Santa two years in a row.

    Five: What to do

    Decorate for the holidays:

    Some of you might have already deocated your home with all the decorations the day after Thanksgiving, good for you! If you are like me and not quite ready, you have time. Whenever you’re ready pull out the decorations and start spreading the joy. My plan this year is not to buy anything new until I’ve placed out my current collection.

    Parents (and busy adults) – give yourself a break if your house isn’t 100% decorated and ready. Read this article from GMA, Mom shares hilarious take on making Christmas magic: ‘I am so damn tired’. You might be able to relate to the frustrations of trying to create Christmas magic with a busy schedule.

    Go to a Holiday stroll, village, or market.

    In Massachusetts:

    I love a holiday stroll, it’s a fun event to go to with friends. My favorite is the Beacon Hill holiday stroll.

    North End Holiday stroll: Friday December 2nd

    The North End Holiday Stroll will return to the neighborhood this winter; Friday December 2nd from 5-9 PM! This year’s Holiday Stroll has 14 local businesses participating including FORMAT Studio, LIT Boutique, Boston Bottle, Uvida, I Am Books, Loft and Vine, Heart and Sole, Soma Yoga, Shake The Tree, Salmagundi, Good Taste Records, PIA, Castaways Vintage, and Polka Dog Bakery. Participants of the stroll will receive a stamp card to enter into a raffle with gift cards to all participating businesses upon completion of the stroll. The Boston Calendar

    Light Up Seaport: Friday December 2nd from 5-9 PM – Celebrate the season in Seaport on December 2nd with holiday tunes, a celeb appearance by Betty the Yeti, and more. Enjoy special offers and sparkling surprises throughout our local neighborhood businesses as part of the holiday stroll.

    South End Holiday Stroll: December 3rd & 4th

    From SEBA – Visit over 150 businesses in the Boston’s South End: Shop, Stay & Eat : Sat Dec 3rd , 10-7pm & Dec 4th Sun, 12-5 pm . Special Shopping night for participating businesses : Wed Dec 7 th 4-7pm.

    Jordan’s Furniture: The Enchanted Village.

    Markets: Boston’s Winter Holiday Christmas Markets – 2022

    My picture from Snowport last year. This year the size of this fun market doubled!

    At the Boston Public Market

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