Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Family Get-Together/Reunions


I have to say...I am going nuts. I am the hazelnut amongst all the other nuts that come out this festive season. If you have not seen me at many of your blogs, I must apologize as I am busy like all the rest of you but, I guess, I just can't get it together as well as all of you. At least I am doing some blogging of my own and hope to do more cards soon enough (After Christmas).

This week is Family Reunions/Get-Together and if you wish to see what everyone else picked, head on over to the host, Wandering Through The Shelves. He already has the new list out for 2016...anyone else want to join in on the fun? Without further ado, here are my 3 and I picked only 1 Christmas film!

1. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE-1946


Now, you know I was going to pick this movie at some point and talk about a great film! This IS my favourite film because of the message that we often take for granted. We all know the plot (I hope we all know it and if someone doesn't-tsk, tsk:)) This man, George Bailey, always wants to see the world and explore all he can but, whenever he gets a chance to, something always comes up. Christmas Eve is his crucial night when his guardian Angel, Clarence A2C (Angel, 2nd Class) comes to his hour of need to show him what the world would be like without him. Believe it or not, film noir comes into play while George ventures further than anyone else ever thought of. The ending with the entire family, blood relatives and beyond, come to his home,- makes me cry every time. Brilliant cast headed by the great James Stewart.

2. THE SEARCHERS-1956


Westerns need some love and I love Westerns! I am a big John Wayne fan and am saddened by the negative crap that has been written about this man. He has his faults like any person but he was not a coward nor a savage right ringer ready to kill. I am going off topic, which I tend to do. This film is actually all about reunions. Ethan (played by Wayne) comes home after many years, to visit his brother and his family. You see, very early on, that he has an unrequited love for his brother's wife and she has the same for him. You can sense how tired he is and is glad to be back but it is short-lived. While he is away, His brother's homestead is attacked by the Comanche and all are killed except for the youngest daughter. Ethan and the adopted son of his brother (who is part Indian) start a 5 year search to find the young girl and reunite her with her brother and other families that will take her in and raise her as their own.... or will Ethan's hatred for the Indians make he do something horrible? It is visually stunning with a harshness not usually shown at that time but also filled with some comedic bits that just enhance the film even more. When Wayne comes to his brother's home and sees it burning, the music along with the look of pain on Wayne's face is one moment in film that I feel is brilliant.

3. I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG-2008


This is a foreign film-French film starring Kristin Scott Thomas who should have been up for an Oscar for this role. She plays someone who, at first, you have little sympathy for, but as the story progresses, you heart just breaks for her. She has spent 15 years in prison and is reunited with her sister and lives with her sister and her sister's family. I do not want to reveal much more because it would take away from the brilliance of this film. Thomas's character starts off as a pariah but through the love and patience of her sister, her true nature is revealed. I was lucky to pick this film up for $2.99 because the place had no idea what kind of film this truly is...a gem!

What movies would you pick?

68 comments:

  1. I must be the only person who dies not like pick number 1. Like the Searchers as it is based partly on a true story of a kidnapped girl. Never saw no. 3. I am having a difficult time trying to think of any family reunion movies. Must be cookie overload.

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    1. Make that 'does' not 'dies'.

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    2. Oh the calamity! You don't like Wonderful Life? I hang my head low:) Christmas Vacation is another film I almost chose:)

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  2. The first is a classic, for good reason. The Searchers is a stunning film, my favorite John Wayne flick.Haven't seen that last one, but it sounds very interesting. Great work.

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    1. Thank you! The Searchers is a great film for sure

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  3. I've heard of the latter two but not seen them. I just saw It;s a Wonderful life the other day - brilliant film!

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    1. It is a brilliant film and glad you finally saw it

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  4. I've seen the first two but not the third.

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    1. The last film is excellent in my books

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  5. I've only see I've Loved You So Long, and it was so good up until they explained what she actually did. There were so many holes in that scenario it just distracted me, but it was really great other wise and Thomas was amazing. I haven't seen the other two.

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    1. Oh my-You have not seen Wonderful Life? If you were near me I would sit you down and watch it right then and there! -lol It just speaks to me on so many levels. The Searchers is another great movie. I don't see the holes in the 3rd film. Can you give me an example?

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  6. I definitely want to see the third one; sounds fascinating with the plot! I finally saw for the first time last Christmas season Its a Wonderful Life from start to finish (mainly because I was home alone and I didn't have my hubby channel hop, LOL). Great film!! Definitely a classic! I know it wasn't exactly a reunion or might not have qualified for a reunion category, but I liked The Judge with Robert DeNiro and Robert Downey, Jr.

    betty

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    1. Glad you finally saw the whole film! It is dear to my heart. I would say The Judge would fall under this category for sure and it is a good movie

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  7. Enjoy it's a wonderful life indeed. Second I've seen and was good too. Last I've never even heard of.

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    1. The last film is very good as long as you don't mind sub titles

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  8. Hi, dear Birgit!

    Some of my favorite screen actors of the golden age were on the other side of the political aisle including Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. I do not let politics get in the way and taint my enjoyment of their film work. Indeed Jimmy Stewart is probably my all time favorite actor and Anatomy of a Murder one of my all time favorite movies. Mrs. Shady and I are quite fond of foreign films and the character driven I've Loved You So Long looks like our kind of movie. Thank you for reviewing it.

    Happy Thursday to you, dear friend Birgit!

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    1. I think I've Loved you... would be a perfect fit for you and Mrs. Shady. I would be interested to see what you think. Jimmy Stewart's best friend was Henry Fonda. Only once did they argue about politics and then agreed to stay away from that. They were the best of friends

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  9. Nice mention of I've Loved You So Long (and I haven't seen that one anywhere else) and I love The Searchers and It's a Wonderful Life mentions too!

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    1. Glad to see you back! :) I am happy you liked my suggestions!

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  10. I kinda don't like It's A Wonderful Life. Never have. It's too sickly sweet for me and I just don't buy whole chunks of it. The Searchers is terrific, though. I haven't seen I've Loved You So Long, but I hear Kristen Scott Thomas is incredible in it and I love her in everything.

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    1. I am just going to turn a deaf ear(or eye) to your comment about Wonderful Life. I know this is one reason why it is called Capracorn but I believe in what it says. I know for certain, that one person can change a life, whether it be for good or bad. I prefer the good myself. The one area it shows its age is where Mary is an Old Maid but I don't care because it is wonderful:) Thomas is excellent in the role and so is the one who plays her sister

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  11. When I saw the genre for this week, I thought of the movie Cousins. My college roommate loved this movie, and we watched it a lot back in the day. Here's the trailer if you've not seen it...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV2__mru5g0

    The other movie that came to mind was Everybody's Fine. That one makes me cry.

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    1. I have seen Cousins and almost picked it! I love Isabella Rossellini. I don't know the other movie and will check it out

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  12. "The Searchers" is one of my wife's favorite movies. I love "It's a Wonderful Life," even though I've seen it too often. Equally good is a much lesser known movie called "One Magic Christmas," with the best Santa on film.

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    1. The Searchers is brilliant and I am one who has seen Wonderful Life every year since I was a kid. I have to look up One Magic Christmas....I looked it up and now I want to see it! I like Mary Steenburgen

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    2. "The Best Santa On Film"...

      Well, the fact of the matter is that the REAL Santa only appeared in ONE film, and that film was 'MIRACLE ON 34th STREET'.

      So, the "best Santa on film" obviously was NOT appearing in 'One Magic Christmas'.

      Sheesh!

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  13. Love those choices!!

    I feel like a bit of a Scrooge McDuck saying that I don't utterly adore It's a Wonderful Life. I like it a great deal but perhaps it's overexposure I'm just not as enchanted with it as many. The last scene though it a killer diller.

    I do however totally love The Searchers and to this day am completely flummoxed by it's shutout at that year's Oscars. Mind boggling in retrospect! A great film with the Duke's most powerful work.

    I Loved You So Long is perhaps too grueling to say that I loved it but I respected it tremendously and KST's lack of award recognition for it is insane. Both she and Elsa Zylberstein as her sister are brilliant. Wonderful choice.

    My first skirts the rules a shade being about a reunion just not a family one. The other three though follow the program.

    The Last of Sheila (1973)-A year after his wife is, as one character so compassionately puts it, “bumped through the hedges” in a hit and run Hollywood director Clinton Green reunites, on his yacht in the Mediterranean, the group that was at his house party that night. A long time practical joker he insists they play a game where each is assigned a secret that the others must solve. Since the group is for the most part a bunch of opportunists and grabbers pleasantries are interwoven with insults but everything seems fine until a series of accidents start happening and the game turns deadly. Terrific puzzle of a picture with a sensational cast of stars from the seventies, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, Joan Hackett, Raquel Welch and James Mason among them, was written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins. Even the title is a clue!

    The Lion in Winter (1968)-It Christmas time 1183 and King Henry II has decided to let his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine out of her imprisonment for a family reunion with their three rapacious sons. At stake? The decision of succession and the fate of England. Acting fireworks provided by the whole cast but in particular Oscar winning work from Katharine Hepburn and should have been Oscar winning work by Peter O’Toole. When those two greats go head to head it’s wonderful to behold.

    Pocketful of Miracles (1961)-Apple Annie (Bette Davis) a boozy Broadway peddler during Prohibition is the good luck charm of gangster Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford) and his gang, including right hand man Joy Boy (Peter Falk) and moll Queenie (Hope Lange). Annie, who runs her own organization of the denizens of the street, has for years been corresponding with her daughter Louise (Ann-Margret)-growing up in a convent in Spain thinking that her mother is a frail society matron. One day Annie receives a letter from Louise. She’s fallen in love and is engaged to a young Spanish count…also she’s on her way to visit with fiancée and his father in tow. Annie goes on a drunken binge but the Dude and his gang step in to try and turn this rough duckling into a queenly swan and make her reunion with Louise a face saving dream. The Capra corn is pretty high in his last feature but this has a gossamer charm with delightful performances from the entire cast, Falk was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar.

    Honorable Mention-Crimes of the Heart (1986)-Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek play a trio of quirky Southern sisters who reunite when the youngest sister Babe shoots her husband. Part joyful reunion part hashing out of old resentments this film, based on Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play which she adapted, is stagy at times but wonderfully acted by the three leads.

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    1. Do you know I have not seen any of your picks-Aghast! I am entering these in my book of movies to see! I have seen parts of Miracles but never the whole thing. One can forget how great Wonderful Life is because it has been on TV so often but, like the Mona Lisa, it is famous for a reason. I love the image when Stewart leaves his mom's home in the alternate world. The music is dark and there is a close-up on his face with half his face in darkness and the other in light-brilliant!

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  14. Every year I have a get-together for two films. The first is Groundhog Day which I show on February 2nd. The house is always filled with friends and family. No kidding. The other movie I do this with is Back to the Future. This one I show on November 5th. I've started to acquire various props from the movie and display them for the evening. (Marty's hat from the future, fax documents declaring "You're Fired", and a copy of Grey's Sports Almonac.

    However, if I were to select film close to the genres you have set out, my picks would be:
    Classic: Stalag 17. As I recall, it's one of the few B/W films I own. It's tragic and a comedy all at the same time.
    Western: The Good The Bad & The Ugly. Clint Eastwood accompanied by the bad guy and the ugly guy search for (essentially) buried treasure.
    Foreign: Run Lola Run. A film depicting a young German couple who quite suddenly need a LOT of money. Will robbing a bank do the trick? The film follows three different ways the movie could end. Quite unique.

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    1. That's amazing that you have memorabilia. I also love it that everyone gets together to watch these films with you. Stalag 17 is a classic and I feel Hogan's Heroes comes from this film. Love The Good, the Bad and The Ugly-Eli Wallach is priceless. I have not see Lola yet but it is on my list

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  15. Denise is not alone, I don't like It's a Wonderful Life either. I think I have seen The Searchers on TV. I can't name any others I'm afraid. (Of course the original Star Wars ended up with Luke being brother to Princess Leah).

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    1. Ahhh! You don't like Wonderful Life!!??? Oh my achy, breaky heart!:) Each to their own but you are right about Star Wars-talk about dysfunctional family reunion

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  16. It's a Wonderful Life makes me so happy. Great pick! I just watched The Searchers for the first time recently. Really great looking movie, but it didn't quite hold my attention as much as I'd have liked. Westerns seem to be that way for me.

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    1. Glad you love Wonderful life! Great film! Westerns is a genre that people like or don't like-I have friends who would never watch a Western or a War film

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  17. I've seen all three of those. Great choices. Gross Point Blank also comes to mind, but I think it's actually spelled Grosse Pointe. What do I know? I've never been there, and I've never gone to any kind of reunion.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I've never seen Grosse Point and I have never been to a family reunion...well, not my own. I have been to friend's family reunions

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  18. Seen all three - great choices! I would have been royally miffed if you had left out It's A Wonderful Life!
    x Asha

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    1. Never! This is a film that is in my top 10 of all time greats and is always #1 for me.

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  19. I know what you mean about BUSY - I don't have a good grasp on mine, either, but after launching the new blog, some other things came up that have been going on in the background. I am glad you have such joy for this time of year, though! It truly is a magical time and is over quickly.

    As for movies? My sons and I will be watching "Four Christmases" tomorrow night - I'm thinking we need to start a new Christmas tradition, and I love this comedy. Love all the holiday comedies, really, but I think I love this one best.

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    1. I have to see that movie still but it does sound funny. I came across it but it was already on TV for an hour and I didn't want to catch it half way in. Traditions like these are great

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  20. I know two of the three. I've never seen The Searchers.

    Kristin Scott Thomas is always amazing. We just watched Four Weddings and a Funeral last weekend. How is he not in love with her?!!! Idiot!

    As for It's a Wonderful Life, well... The line at the end - "To my big brother George, the richest man in town!" - no joke, greatest line in all of cinema. Gets me every time.

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    1. It gets me too especially when they start singing. You have to see The Searchers!

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    2. Westerns are definitely a weak spot in my own cinematic experience.

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  21. I agree about I've loved you so long - saw it a few years ago. I'm done blogging for 2015, Birgit, so if I don't manage back here before the holidays I wish you and yours all the very best. Seasons Greetings to you all. See you in 2016!
    Anabel's Travel Blog

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  22. I think I may have told you this:
    "The Searchers" is the ONLY movie I liked much better than the book. The book was kind of a disappointment. Probably has to do with John Wayne.
    Most of my blogging is done for 2015. I still have Part II of a "Penwasser Christmas" to edit. But, then? Feet up.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. You did say this and it is a great movie. Looking forward to part 2

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  23. I've only seen It's a Wonderful Life. Interesting theme. Good luck with the holiday madness. We're all going through it, it seems.

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    1. It is a pretty good theme-made me think. Yes we are all going through it...I just feel unorganized.

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  24. BIRGIT ~
    I've not seen your #3 choice, but the first two are excellent (especially '...WONDERFUL LIFE', which is probably the best fictional movie ever filmed).

    Ask Bryan "A Beer For The Shower" Pedus to tell you about the screenwriting connection between 'It's A Wonderful Life' and 'The Thin Man' series.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I so agree with you about Wonderful Life! I will ask but I think I already know since the writers wrote The Thin man film but did you know the caustic Dorothy Parker also wrote a bit on Wonderful Life also? That blew me away since she was not loving her life

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  25. I've Loved You So Long sounds interesting.

    I'd pick Legends of the Fall, which is all about a family being reunited and then torn apart, over and over again; The Color Purple; and Playing by Heart. Playing by Heart is another one of those amazing movies that everyone somehow missed. The cast is unbelievable.

    Merry Christmas, Birgit!

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    1. Legends of the Fall is a great movie! I own that one. Color Purple is also one that is great but I don't know Playing by Heart-I have to look that up

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  26. I've put the last 2 movies on my list to see, Birgit. You make a great film reviewer. What would I choose? Parent Trap (w/Haley Mills) and the family reunion movie in which Steve Carell's character falls in love with his brother's girlfriend.

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    1. Parent Trap is a good one for this and I almost picked Dan in Real Life which I think is an excellent movie

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  27. I'd never heard of the last one. Good info.
    Happy Holidays, my friend.

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    1. The last one is so great. Merry Last weekend before Christmas!

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  28. Saw #1 and loved it, haven't seen #2, haven't even heard of #3. I do love a good John Wayne film, though, so I might have to catch #2. And to reference what Stephen said, I recently discovered a fun bit of trivia - the same husband and wife screenwriting duo that wrote the first 4 Thin Man movies (Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett), which were the best of the series, also wrote It's A Wonderful Life. No wonder I love both of those so damn much!

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    1. This is a must see John Wayne film for sure! I thought so! I knew the writers were the same but was amazed the Dorothy parker also contributed to the script. She was such a caustic person and tried more than once to commit suicide so I was shocked to find out she had her hand in this great film as well

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  29. I haven't seen I've Loved You So Long, but I guess I should. I'm always a sucker for a John Wayne film, especially when it's a Western. Have a wonderful Christmas season and see you in 2016.

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  30. It's A Wonderful Life is a true classic. And isn't Jimmy Stewart just the best of the best?

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  31. Whatever they say about John Wayne, he's a hottie.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my blog, Birgit.
    Merry Christmas.

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  32. I love westerns,too, and especially ones with John Wayne in them. Also, love Jimmy Stewart and It's a Wonderful Life. Great picks!

    Merry Christmas!!!

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  33. 'It's a Wonderful Life' is such a lovely story. The classic choice of the season. Thanks, Birgit. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  34. You know The Searchers is one of the few John Wayne movies I didn't care for. I just couldn't get past his loathing of the Indians.

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  35. Well, if the box doesn't say Jurassic World 6, they rarely know. $2.99... good for you :)

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  36. Well, I would have unfriended you if hadn't included It's A Wonderful Life! LOL. The Searchers... well, I didn't care much for Wayne's attitude in this movie.,,but he's a legend, nonetheless. Merry Christmas, my friend!
    x Asha

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  37. I used to watch It's a Wonderful Life every single year growing up. Somehow I haven't seen it in ages. I own it- so I should definitely watch it while Christmas is still lingering in the air. Thanks for the reminder. :)
    ~Jess

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