The Post About Gold, Frankincense, and Chiclets

Gifts. I really do love the giving.

However, receiving isn't a smack in the face, either.

Here's a sample of what my generous friends, family, and co-workers chose to give:

Christmas candy
The stocking. How can anything else compete? I'll have little pieces of gum until the flowers start to bloom. The sexy bed hair chocolate and artificially flavored lip balm will not last as long.

monogrammed earrings
My friend Allison is southern. Not just because of the physical location of her house, but by DNA. True southern gals like gifts you can't regift. I really love these ear happies.

"J" Stationery
My boss picked it perfectly. I'm
obsessed with my name. Even just 1/5 of it.

luggage tag
My friend Beth-er is a traveler - she's headed to Albania and Egypt in 2010. I'm trying to get to the Grand Canyon. She has high hopes for me. Don't you love a pushy luggage tag?

Sweetgrass Basket
My coworker, Panda, lived in Charleston, South Carolina while in college. I like when folks visit places and then bring me back stuff. Stuff I can fill with Chiclets.

Nikon lens
parents are very generous. Not only at Xmas. But they went out of their way this holiday to help their daughter pursue yet another hobby. I, Jamie, hereby promise that photography will not turn out the same way as making handbags from scratch or exercising.

For a Special Friend
You got one of these, didn't you. A gift meant to mock you and test your desire to give it away. No, Allison - YOU are special.

What's something fabulous or notsofabulous you were given this season?

{images: Jamie}


The Post About Imaginary AT&T

No worries.

I now have 3G at my house. American Telephone & Telegraph has a temporary reprieve from my angst.

This is today's subject:

Niece #3 and Cupcake
Picture this figgin' adorable 6-year-old in a booster seat in the back of your car. She's talking on her real cell phone with no service having an imaginary conversation with her best friend Riley.

This is what you hear:

Hey Riley! What are you doin'?

Really? Me too! What movie are you going to see?

NO WAY! We're going to see Alvin & the Chipmunks too! Where are you going to see it?

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! That's where we're going! Maybe we'll see you there!!

Oh, I'm in the car with my Aunt Jamie.

Well, let me explain. My Dad is her brother. That makes her my aunt.

Wait, guess what I'm thinkin!



THAT'S RIGHT!!! I WAS thinking of a taco.

This continues for 9 more minutes.

After watching Alvin & the Chipmunks, she turns back on her "phone" and says:

It's crazy Aunt Jamie!!! My phone's been blowin' up!!! I have ELEVEN new text messages.

Now, you know why I don't return her for a refund.

{image: Jamie}


The Post About The Rabbit Recommends v.50

Each weekend, I post a readable, a watchable, and a listenable of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens next. Earlier volumes can be found here.


This appears to be a completely normal WASP-y guy. But no one makes me laugh like Dave Barry. His Pulitzer Prize-winning take on aging, politics, music, and bowel movements will resonate. It will. My favorite is always his Year in Review. And 2009 was a doozy. Sample? "The stock market hits its lowest level since 1997; this is hailed as a great investment opportunity by all the financial wizards who failed to let us know last year that the market was going to tank. California goes bankrupt and is forced to raise $800 million by pawning Angelina Jolie."

He's also written some hi-larious books.


Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Sometimes it's better if you don't get the Christmas gift you wanted. I'll leave it at that.


Birmingham, Alabama is known for trees, holding up your pants with a Bible belt, and a debilitating love for college football. Not necessarily in that order. We aren't really known for folks who go on to become super famous. But we should be. There's some talent in these here parts. Matthew Mayfield being one such talent. He reminds me of Peter Gabriel blaring from a boombox hoisted high. And for a limited time, you can download his EP Maybe Next Christmas at his website. It's well-worth the email address. This song, So Long, So Long is included.


The Post About How Heaven Came Down

Ornament Cross
Beyond all question, the mystery of Godliness is great:

He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16

Hope came to earth.

He is coming again.

{image: Jamie}


The Post About My Festivus Grievance

Since today is Festivus, I'm celebrating it with an airing of a grievance.

As is tradition.

There are so many things about the holiday season that should upset me that don't. Long lines, bad traffic, deflated snowmen and reindeer on my neighbor's yard.

But there IS something.

Traditional Stalker Santa
This is not okay.

First, Jesus is a redhead, which I'm fairly certain is not ethnically accurate.


Contemporary Stalker Santa
You can even put baby Jesus in a toddler bed with a a down pillow and a homemade quilt and SANTA WOULD STILL NOT BE REAL.

Are these figurines an attempt to make Christians feel better about combining the birth of Christ with elves on the shelf and reindeer on the roof?

You have permission to not feel guilty. Celebrate Christmas in all those ways - both secular and religious.

But don't try and merge them into one tchochke.

I'm begging you.

So what are your grievances about the holidays? What chaps your reindeer hide?

{images: Jamie}


The Post About The Rabbit Recommends v.49

Each weekend, I post a readable, a watchable, and a listenable of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens next. Earlier volumes can be found here.


I love sitcoms. I love that my ADD can wander about the room in search of something shiny and not miss any major plot point when watching. When flipping the channels, I always linger on Seinfeld, Friends, King of Queens and Will & Grace. There's also the phenomenal anti-Cosby Show, Roseanne. The working class comedy with blankets decorating the furniture speaks to me in a special way. The website, Third and Delaware, chronicles the fashion statements made on this unique 80's/90's sitcom. Generation X will particularly see themselves, even with some regret, in the hilarious choices made by the creative costumers.


Every time a new Pixar movie comes out I think "This cannot be as good as Finding Nemo." And even though each film is really superb, they still fall a hair short. Until Up. Any movie where I cry in the first act is likely to be a keeper. Just in case you haven't seen it, Up is the tale of
a grumpy old man and an eager wilderness explorer who fly to South America in a floating house suspended from balloons. It received a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. Read my "listen" recommendation and then get in the car and go buy it. Where's your coat?


If BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughn had a love child - #1 It would be covered by CNN and #2 The picture next to Anderson Cooper's talking head would be of Jonny Lang. I listen to Mr. Lang and always feel like I should have more angst in my life so I can appreciate all of his angst. This song, Lie to Me, is his most downloaded and I'm tightly hugging his new album "Live at the Ryman."


The Post About Getting Married in 2010

{image: Merry......Christmas? by Nicolai Kjaergaard}

Speaking of Caryann... This is the transcript of a conversation we had this week regarding vacation planning.

Me: I think we should plan a girls' trip to Europe. Maybe take a Mediterranean cruise?

Caryann: I won't have any more vacation leave until 2011.

Me: Well, I hate to plan it that far out. I'd like to think one of us would get married or engaged before then...

Caryann: This really must be the most wonderful time of the year for you to actually think that. It would be a Christmas miracle.

Me: Shut it.


The Post About Dirty Santa and Clean Water

My mail carrier delivered something special yesterday in addition to two magazines.

I'm obsessed with magazines. Glossy pages, how-to guides, and explanations about anything and everything. And all the inspiration. Of gadgets I surely need and wall colors I surely must paint. I love mags all the more when they only cost $5 for annual subscriptions. This offer may or may not be available when you click, but it's worth the click. Trust me.

Back to the something special:

Christmas Card
My California bestie, Caryann, is participating in
Advent Conspiracy at her church. One of the principles behind AC is to spend less so you can give more. So this year, she spent some time making gifts for the ones she likes. Then, she took the money she would have spent and donated it to Living Water International - a charity helping communities get access to clean water and teach more about the "living water" of Jesus that satisfies the deepest thirst.

According to the UN Human Development Report, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease. Cuh-razy.

So Caryann made me this:
Green is the New Black
I will plop this on the counter at Publix with pride.

{images: Jamie}


The Post About Frosted Tips

First Snow
I didn't used to be a holiday tipper.

And then I remembered I wouldn't want to pick up trash or cut my own hair or wake up at 4am to deliver my beloved Sunday paper.

So I started stretching my wallet.

Holiday tipping is crazy important to those who are deserving, so here's a quick and easy etiquette guide for us all (with bonus commentary):

Who and How Much?
  • Maid - one week's pay. This is for maids in your employ whom you pay directly. If you use a service and never know who is coming out, don't tip at all. I will be tipping myself. Generously.
  • Gardener/Lawn Boy - $20-50. Mine deserves a Wii for the volume of leaves those two trees vomit.
  • Mail Carrier - Non-cash gifts with value up to $20. This is for mail carriers who you know and see regularly. And put up with the enormous amount of magazines you subscribe to. POST UPDATE: Sarah Lynne (a postal worker) makes some great points in the comments section - check her out - #6)
  • Apartment building handyman - $15-40 each. This is my Dad. He gets the simple gift of being my father.
  • Manicurist/pedicurist - $15 or more. This yearly gift will keep them from talking smack about you in a foreign language.
  • Hairdresser/barber- $15 or more. This is the person with sharp instruments near your face. Don't scrimp.
  • Newspaper Carrier - Daily - $30, weekend - $10
  • Teacher - $20-50. If you know the teacher's hobbies or interests, then a gift certificate from a movie theater, mall, restaurant or spa would be snazzy. No more bus earrings.
  • Coaches, tutors, ballet instructors, music teachers - A small gift from your child. Unless your kid stinks at the activity, then it's time to give up. That would be the best gift.
  • Garbage collector(s) - $15-30 each. It would be more if they'd pick up the trash that falls out of the bag. Dudes - It's RIGHT THERE.
  • Babysitter - One night's pay, plus a small gift from your child.
  • Personal trainer - $25-75 upon reaching goal. I have always successfully avoided this giving opportunity.
  • Blogger (which you regularly read) - Gift card to Amazon.
Giving always comes back to you.

Caveat: So does not-giving.

{image: Jamie}


The Post About Pinball and Amazon Moolah

In my current Rabbit Giveaway, I posed the question:

What is one of the best gifts you've ever been given during the holidays?

My answer would be a full-size pinball machine my parents bought for my brother and me when we were kids. There are awesome pictures somewhere, but I don't have them.

So I'll recreate it for you:

This was a beloved toy in our house. It taught us about competition and sharing. It also taught us how to cheat without tilting the machine. All necessary lessons in the game of life.

Your answers to the question were so fun to read! There were gifts in the forms of babies and engagement rings and computers and KitchenAid mixers. Most of which I wouldn't mind getting.

Plus, several of you got GPS gadgets you can actually operate. I'll be in touch.

Here are a few others I particularly liked:

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork: "One of the best gifts was technically for my baby daughter...but I love it too. It's a copy of The Night Before Christmas that plays a recording of her grandparents {who live almost 3,000 miles away} reading the story aloud."

"a hula hoop. I sung the Alvin & chipmunk song alllllll christmas season because i wanted one so bad...and santa did NOT disappoint!"

Ms. Gordon: "My best friend made me a book called "Everyone should have a Jennifer Gordon"....filled with all the reasons why she loved me and why I made a good friend, complete with pictures and drawings and silliness. Anytime I need a boost, I just read that and smile. :)"

FOKXXY: "...a fake cabbage patch doll..." (Me: I got the fake one too - she was so big, she looked liked she'd eaten 3 other CP dolls.)

Ann On and On: "No violins please, I do not want to sound totally sappy, but I was very sick one year and my entire family pulled together and after one year I was in remission. That Christmas I was able to give my parents a daughter who was cancer free. To this day my mom talks about it...usually cries too. A good cry not a bad cry."

Most importantly...the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card is...

#153 - JanetFaye - "One of the best gifts was a surprise holiday visit from my sister."

Congrats Janet Faye! Email jamiesrabbits@gmail.com to snag your prize!

P.S. A new giveaway in honor of the new year is right around the bendy.

{image: Jamie}


The Post About the AT&T Albatross

I got my first cell phone when I was moving away to college more than 15 years ago. My BellSouth plan was 20 anytime minutes per month for $29.99. I never went over.

BellSouth begat Cingular which begat AT&T which
begat my sad face.

That face is a result of dropped calls, poor coverage, and customer service reps who often try but cannot do.

But I could leave the AT&T playground and take my toys with me. All the toys but this one:

And I love this toy the most. I love it too much to leave.

So I will linger here in telecommunication purgatory until Verizon can break through to the other side.

Or until AT&T gets their STINKIN' ACT TOGETHER.

I hope this call has been recorded for quality assurance.


The Post About The Rabbit Recommends v.48

Each weekend, I post a readable, a watchable, and a listenable of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens next. Earlier volumes can be found here.


When I heard Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, was directing the screen adaptation of Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I was all high fives and roger rabbit-ing. And then the reviews came. Now, I'm all furrowed brow and slumped shoulders. Sebold brilliantly tells the story of Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old who is brutally murdered. We follow Susie as she explores her new heavenly home and continues to track her friends and family left behind. It has suspense, humor, and hope. I'll still see Jackson's interpretation, but I'm so glad I have the phenomenal narrrative to cling to.


Modern Family is a mockumentary-style sit-com which is my new favorite must-see. And I must be committed because I'm forced to watch online since Nigel thought a fall season of SYTYCD would be pleasant. Three family units all connected by some blood and some crazy. Been there. I heart Manny. Watch the Xmas episode above.


My friend Meredith who's introduced me to some of my favorite tunes ev-uh pointed me to Sara Groves. Sara is that perfect mix of lazy Sunday afternoon and on your knees asking for help. She has a new album, Fireflies and Songs, which is another downloadable delight. The song featured here is "He's Always Been Faithful" which I want sung at my funeral. Don't worry, that's not morbid.


The Post About Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


Speaking of great gifts for bakers and bookies, how about something nice for you?

I'm doing a fun little holiday giveaway of a $25 Amazon Gift Card in honor of the following:
1. I attended a charity auction last week and ate a phenomenal breakfast casserole.
2. I overbid and won a Garmin GPS at said charity auction.
3. I stopped watching the road and watched my animated car on said GPS and almost ran off the road.
4. I recognized the letters ADD do not work well with the letters GPS.

How To Enter
Leave a comment answering the question:

What is one of the best gifts you've ever been given during the holidays?

**2 Extra Credit Entries**
Each of the following will give you one extra entry in the giveaway. Please make sure to leave a separate comment for each thing you do!

1. Be fan of Jamie's Rabbits on Facebook. FB Fans get great bonus links to stuff I don't post here...

2. Subscribe to Jamie's Rabbits by Email.

**You can accomplish both of these easy breezy tasks by clicking on the links.**

Important Details: Must enter before 12:00pm CST on Tuesday, December 15 to qualify. Winner will be chosen randomly using Research Randomizer that same afternoon and the gift card will be emailed. Obviously, anonymous folks can't win unless they leave a name in the comment. I'm not a paid spokesperson for Amazon although I'd like to be.


The Post About Gifts for Baking Fools

I gave you gift ideas for bookish folk. Now it's time for those who live and die by the 350 degree oven.

This is a quick list with some less-than-brilliant commentary about some must-haves for the baker in your life.

Cupcake Courier: I received this from my Mommy Dearest and it's a cupcake diva's best friend. Plus, take out the shelves and you can tote a Turkey to your next party. And you should do that - best hostess gift ever. Amazon - $29.99.

Mixing and Prep Bowl Set: Speaking of my adorable mom...Washed out margarine containers do not count as mixing bowls, MOTHER. These come in fun colors and are BPA-free which means no one grows an extra ear from eating your macaroons. Sur La Table - $29.95.

Pac-Man Hothead Pot Holder: This combines my love for avoiding ghosts and burn safety. Neatorama - $14.95

Easy Accent Decorator: I despise pastry bags like other people despise crime and pestulence. This little tool was my salvation. It has 6 tips and you can store the good stuff in the fridge. You can even use it to fill up deviled eggs and distract people from the fact that you just added condiments to the inside of an egg and called it an appetizer. Pampered Chef - $19.50

Food Network Magazine Subscription: All the network's snazzy chefs like Ina, Giada, Paula, Sunny and the Neely's are gathered in these pages to share the best of the best. Plus, there are pictures of Tyler Florence. Hearst Magazines- $5.00 (for a short time)

4-Tier Stacked Dessert Tower: When you slave and get powdered sugar stuck in places you didn't know you had, you want to brag. This tower perfectly showcases even the most irritating of desserts. Meijer - $15.99

Matted Print: Inspired by a World War II poster of the British government "Keep Calm and Carry On." This is much more fun and involves no real perseverance. It comes in 7 colors and ships free. Everyday is a Holiday - $22.00

KitchenAid Stand Mixer: It's the dream. I would make out with the FedEx guy who delivered this to my house. Amazon - $212.99-299.99 (depending on which of the 26 colors you pick).

Any other snazzy recommendations?

{Rabbit Disclaimer: I was not compensated to endorse any of these products or vendors. But they could if they wanted to.}


The Post About How To Use "Xmas" and Still Go to Heaven

Christmas Ornament Letter J
My favorite ornament. Is it bad that it's not a cross?

Christmas Snowman Candle
My coffee table centerpiece. Is it bad that it's not a nativity?

Little Debbie Christmas Tree cake
My holiday food of choice. Is it bad that it's not a communion wafer and a shot of grape juice?

I also use the term "Xmas" for shorthand. Am I taking the Christ out of Christmas?

My concern is this. If you doubt my love for God when I use the term "Xmas," aren't I doing something wrong the rest of the year? Shouldn't you be able to recognize my faith by the life I live and not just by word substitutions?

Aren't we supposed to be the "Christ" in Xmas by practicing patience when we drive and stand in long lines? Honoring God when we buy gifts that don't put us in debt and are given with a cheerful heart? Loving those who know us and those who don't?

If I'm going to pick a side in any battle, it will be the one fighting to end the AIDS epidemic or the one trying to get clean water to those who don't have it.

I'd even be willing to side with those trying to introduce folks to the person of Christ, rather than just the word causing all the kerfuffle.

Anybody else have an opinion on the matter?

{images: Jamie}


The Post About The Rabbit Recommends v.47

Each weekend, I post a readable, a watchable, and a listenable of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens next. Earlier volumes can be found here.


Amazon offers these great deals on magazine subscriptions ALL the time (Rabbit fans on Facebook find out as soon as I find out.) I tried out Ready Made on one such occasion. Worth every penny. It's a do-it-yourself magazine for young people and I've decided I still fall into that category. You can get or give your own 1-year subscription for only $6.97 at Amazon. You can also preview the current issue online.


I know we all have those movies we love to watch during the holidays - Elf, It's A Wonderful Life, or the required marathon of A Christmas Story. Mine has always been White Christmas. I grew up in a house with 4 channels and the late 80's brought one more - FOX. Choices were limited. So I grew to love this holiday flick initially out of desperation. I now love the great romance of Bing and Rosemary that plays out between some amazing musical numbers. Plus, who can hold it together when General Waverly walks in and see his old division singing "We'll Follow The Old Man." Stop it.


My ADD requires music playing in the background at all times. Especially at dinner parties. It can't be too soft so I get distracted by trying to hear and not too loud so I start dancing. One of my favorite artists to throw in the mix is Michael Bublé. He's a little Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald without the privilege of being biracial. He has a new-ish album "Crazy Love" which includes this song "Haven't Met You Yet."


The Post About Gifts for Bookish Folks

I'm a book person.

A recent houseguest noticed I had books in every room. Including the bathroom and laundry room. How-to guides find their home in the latter. My Dad just has to move them when he's completing my how-to projects.

I don't just read though. I use books as decoration and tools. I even use them as weapons.

So what might a bookish soul might like to receive as a holid
ay gift?

I'm glad you asked. Here's a list I whipped
together of some useful and not so much for that booklover in your life:

Pandora's Box Secret Storage: A great place for valuables or those pesky evil spirits that seem to taunt. Neatorama - $23.95.

The Book Lover's Cookbook: All the recipes were inspired by works of literature like A Farewell to Arms Mac-n-Cheese and Harry Potter's Baked Custard Pudding. Amazon - $12.24

Hide-a-Book Covers: So you're on a plane or train or in a waiting room and you pull out a book to pass the time. Then you remember it's Twilight and not Mother Teresa's biography and your shame starts to set in. No worries. You're covered. Hide-a-Book - $12.00

Bedside Caddy: Until I got one of these nifty tools, books would simply take up the space intended for Mr. Knightley and find their pointy way to my 8th vertebrae bringing nice dreams to an abrupt halt. My Mom made mine, but since her Etsy shop doesn't exist, then might I recommend this one. Amazon - $9.99.

Burning Bookmark: I own quite a few books that have been previously banned. This is my homage to the destiny from which I saved them. Gama-G0 - $2.50

Rosie the Riveter Bookends: Bookends are a must-have for those whose collections regularly try to escape from the shelves. These are fun and help celebrate that women are now taught to read. Neatorama - $34.95

Sidebar: These
trash compactor bookends are the ones my heart really pines for. April 2010.

Personal Library Kit: I have paper book sleeves wedged throughout my shelves as a reminder I own the book but it's been loaned out. The problem is aspartame has stolen my memories of the borrowers. This kit means problem solved. Shakespeare's Den - $16.95


Bookstore Membership Card: I've shown Books-A-Million's discount card which is $20. Barnes and Noble also has one at $25. These provide the shopper with better discounts, both online and in-store, plus some snazzy gifts. Borders and Powell's have no such program but they do have nifty gift cards. Of course, if you're going the gift card route, consider one from an independent bookstore in your givee's neighborhood. Find one at Indie Bound's Store Locator.

So it's your turn - what do you think makes the perfect gift for bookies?

More gift guides to follow...

{Rabbit Disclaimer: I was not compensated to endorse any of these products or vendors. But they could if they wanted to.}
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