We're here to wish you a Merry Christmas as we chat about all our favorite Christmas things and close out season 4 for the year!
Mentioned in this episode:
- Holiday NEST Candle - https://www.nestnewyork.com/products/holiday-classic-candle-1
- Hot Cranberry Drink - https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Qo2QDnQij/
- The Nativity Story (movie) - https://amzn.to/3OX4l5f
- Peace Be With Y’all Sweatshirts - https://steelmagnoliasmedia.square.site
- Tim Janis YouTube Videos (peaceful scenes) - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdi8yQBdBfn1ECu3ayH_TnA
- Ideals Christmas - https://amzn.to/3FmVNRT
You’ll hear new episodes picking back up in 2023! Make sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast app so you know when a new episode drops next year!
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Hey, y'all, we are so excited. You joined us today for our Christmas season finale. So get your hot cocoa or your peppermint mocha, sit back at the table with us while we talk all things Christmas!
I'm Lainie and I'm Laura Beth and we are Steel Magnolias. The strength of steel, with the grace of a magnolia.
We are here to have uplifting conversations about life in the south. And we've got plenty of room at our table, so pull up a chair.
Merry Christmas, sis. We are here at our Season Four Season finale to talk about what wonderful things are happening around the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. I laugh because, you know, we all want our homes and hearts to look a certain way at Christmas time. As we're sitting here, I'm watching like three ladybugs crawl on the ceiling because they all try to come into this old house when it gets cold. Yes. And my Christmas tree fell over the day before yesterday. Not all the way over. No, but there was a piece of the stand that broke and so it was just totally leaning. I had to prop it up with two chairs until I could get a new stand. And with that, like it was already decorated and everything when this happened. So now, the top 25% of the tree has no lights because everything kind of like went down. And I'm not taking all that stuff off.
It's just beautifully decorated. It looks wonderful. I had to remove some things around but I'm not taking lights off. So no, it's just now kind of makes me laugh when I look at it and there's no lights on the top. But that's okay.
I didn’t even notice there weren't lights on the top because there's so many other things that are beautiful.
So all of that to say it is the most wonderful time of the year, but we can keep our gaze on what's frustrating and what's going wrong. Or we can try to keep our gaze on what's right and what's already the gifts that have already come. That's right.
Well what would you say? Is like a fill in the blank to this statement. It's not Christmas until… fill in the blank.
I'm gonna say the house is decorated and it smells like cedar and pine.
And you make it smell like cedar and pine because you get a real tree and you usually get live greenery. Do you put other things on the stovetop? Not to make that smell, but there is a candle I love- I didn't get it this year. But it's called Holiday by Nest- it is my favorite. Wow it's a wonderful holiday candle. Luxurious- I am hoping somebody might give me one because that's how I found it. A client gave me that for Christmas one year and then I was hooked. I'm like this is the best candle ever. And it lasts quite a while, it burns slow and burns Nice. Soy quality candles are just so wonderful. And there's other ones that are similar- the Thyme brands they have Fraser Fir that's really good. I don't know there's different ones. Yeah, that that's when it's Christmas to you. I wish my answer was more spiritual. Mine is. Of course! I just honestly answered the question with the fill in the blank. I wish mine was more Spiritual.
I had more time to think about it, though than you did. I think it's when I start my Advent study that I've been into for the last several years. So Advent being the beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas. So this year, it was the Sunday right after Thanksgiving. And goes all the way up until Christmas. And it you know Advent meaning like arrival or coming. And of course it just reminds me that there was a time when the earth was waiting for the first coming of Christ.
Yes that first manger, I mean that first encounter with the baby Jesus. But yeah, and then now Just going well now we're like in the in between Yeah, yeah, we're we've got a second advent we're waiting on. So we're kind of in between those two Advents. And this was fun. For the first time ever, I believe, for a live experience. I got to see Amy Grant live at a Christmas tree lighting over at Lipscomb University. You
went this year. Oh, wow.
I've never seen her. Like do a concert. Yeah, I haven't either. I've been a fan of her music for you know, since it's a nine days and so we all were really if you know that name, then you were probably a fan back when I was. And she's saying tender Tennessee Christmas. And you've got a pillow right here beside us that says the only Christmas for me with the state of Tennessee in a precious plaid. But yeah, it really was sort of surreal, because I was she even said we're doing Christmas shows in all these cities and this is the only place you know Nashville have like one other stop. I think she said in the State of Tennessee. She was like it doesn't really resonate for everybody like it does here. So it you know, it's a known song. Yes. But and of course, I'm talking about Tender, Tennessee Christmas. But yeah, it was just, you know,
well, I have seen Michael W. Smith in concert, two or three times, probably Christmas. And he is a fabulous Christmas show. Yes. He's just got Christmas all over him. He does and
he's touring. So some dates with her. So I know.
But since I've never seen her, I thought Dang, I should have made that happen. I think she played they played Memphis and that would have been a really fun trip to make.
Well, she does this annual tree lighting at Lipscomb every they've been doing it for 18 years. And she and she's free. How many songs did she do? Like two or three? Yeah, yeah. Because it's mostly the Lipscomb for sure. See choir. Yeah. to really showcase some of their students. So okay, I'm totally jumping. But I want to make sure I say this. You know how Nashville does the big New Year's Eve shindig downtown. And it's usually some pretty well known country artists. Yeah. For free for free. Guess who's on the bill this year, in addition to the country. Fisk Jubilee Singers. Yes, I was so happy to see that. Cool. I know. So we it's awesome. mentioned them on the podcast before so just just mentioned them. We sat down with their director who just passed away and yeah, he's wonderful. Okay, so we did sit down and think about what are some categorical Christmas themes that would be fun to chat about. Yeah. So we just kind of have some really quick answers. Now I'm looking at you and I'm like, I bet it's not going to be quick, but okay, so none. I'm not straightforward on anything. When we play that game, apples to apples that I love to play. By the way. My answers are always complicated on why I picked what I picked and all that but anyway, or like an explanation. Okay, but we did in advance. Think about these. So what is your favorite Christmas food?
Okay. I do have two different one. Okay.
I do too. Okay. I do too. Yeah. And I mean, there's lots of nostalgia around food. Also season has nostalgia, right. Yeah. And so it is hard to just pick up a couple of things. But I do an annual gathering with three of my college friends where we always have appetizers the first night, and I always look forward to that. Yes. You know, everybody kind of pitches in and makes a couple of things. And it's always delicious. And appetizers are my favorite food because I like a little of this a little of that instead of a plateful of yes the same Yes.
I think that's a strong female thing. Like I talked to so many women before that say if I could do a cheese and cracker night once a week or just like doing my own little out your own jewelry board that that would be so fun. And it would be so content and so full. And I just I love proteins. So having a little meat and cheese. Yeah, I don't really Yeah, it's my favorite. So I love that so not even any particular appetizer that ever that somebody brings or that you always make just appetizers in general very somewhat year to year. One of my favorite things is when Leslie's husband makes us smoked salmon because He does it so well. He used to work for Houston's and he makes it like Houston's so when she brings that with this homemade dill sauce, it's ridiculous. So it feels so special. It does. So that's when I look forward to but just even like
the simple little cheese balls and meatballs, those kinds of silly things, but it's also I think, just fun to be with those women. And so yeah, it's that's part of it is not just the actual food but who you're sitting around the table with for sure. Okay, so appetizers was different. I love our Christmas Eve tradition. We do a seafood feast. And so that's another
you picked whole categories. You're so funny like you picked appetizers and seafood. I really thought you were going to be like, the blah blah, blah Christmas cookie, or no, it's okay. Well then I'm going to keep one of mine really broad. I will say Christmas cookies is a favorite favorite, but I think I'm really thinking more specifically like iced Christmas cookies. You are talking Ellie Noland’s cream cheese cookies, for sure. But even like a cut out cookie, that's ice. Oh, right.
Yeah, just a little stocking or Yeah. Okay,
I think that is so fun. And then the other thing, which this would fall into your appetizers sort of category was I like baked brie. Girl… with like fig, you know, part of it or cranberry or both. That warm consistency with some crackers is Christmas. And it's even pretty with the cranberries. Yeah, whatever. It's colorful, pretty look. Yes. It's been delicious
Rosemary garnishes around. I wish we had some right now.
Okay, favorite Christmas drink? Well, it could be alcoholic or non alcoholic. I'm not sure which route. I went. Hot cranberry drink. Yeah. And our mom makes things it's like so nostalgic. And just so warming literally. Your heart and body. Yes.
We mentioned it on this podcast before we'll post it
originated from Patty Whitehurst. Yes, and it was so delicious and just makes me want to go Christmas caroling. If it's in my hand, I want to go outside and sing. It does make
good for outside activities, whether you're standing on the roadside of the Christmas parade or decorating outside. Yeah, and the other beautiful thing is it's done in a percolator. Yeah, and so the whole house smells like Christmas. Yes. So there's that yeah, cloves cinnamon all the wonderful spices. Well, that's what I put down too.
So all right, favorite Christmas song. I don't have an easy answer. Do I go spiritual? Like what moves my heart and makes me weep in that way? Or do I go fun festive put this on when I'm decorating the tree? Both are important. They both are okay. The spiritual song that moves me the most is a female voice singing Oh, holy night. Amen. Give me Faith Hill or somebody like that. Singing full force- Fall on your knees. It makes me want to fall on my knees. I love that song so much. But you know when I'm decorating the tree or baking or something, how fun to have on like the old school Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, or Dean Martin kind of sound. The
crooners? I think, yeah, yeah, yeah, I would I even don't even sometimes require vocalist sometimes I just like Christmas jazz. You know, but yes, all those old school voices; The Peanuts track is really fun too. That's so fun. Well, I put a holy night as well. And I mean, it's funny because really the first verse and chorus is mostly what gets sung because I was just curious about some of the lyrics and I didn't print them out to read them but verse two if you're interested look it up. It never gets Sung. It's so interesting. Sometimes. Verse three does but yeah, that line where it talks about
where the soul soul felt, it's worth it's worth oh my gosh, that is so moving, meaning to tears right now. I mean, that's what Christmas is all about. That's why when you said it's not Christmas until I wish my answer had been my heart skips a beat as I listen to Oh, Lee night because that really is what Christmas is all about. Yeah, not the cedar smell as
well. It all works together though. I think it does. And I have always been partial to Carol of the Bells you have and I'll tell you what it is. I finally figured it out. It took me a long time. I was like, Why do I like this so much? Because I honestly, like any version, which is very unusual. If you like a song, like it'd be, it'd be your favorite. Yeah, it can be Trans Siberian Orchestra, like the real intensity. Yeah. What I love about it, and I just figured this out, is the haste that I can feel okay, in this song. And I, I equate it to the haste of Mary and Joseph. Like, I don't know how long she was literally contracting on a donkey to giving birth in a manger. But I just imagine that there was that that soundtrack just runs through my head. And I think they even use that song in that movie, the nativity story, which is so fabulous, by the way, let's just talk about that. Yeah, I am hoping to see that this year. Yeah. Because I think it does such a good job of truly telling the story. It feels very culturally accurate. Yeah, they look Jewish. 2005. For anyone that's not familiar with it. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. It feels very Middle Eastern. This is what the culture was. This is what the people looked like, what the atmosphere was, the Joseph is, I mean, I just had a whole new love of Joseph from that movie.
I know I remember there's a line where he's before she's even given birth, but he is aware now that she's having the Son of God, because he's had an angel visitation of his own. He says to marry her, just think about Will I even be able to teach him anything? Was like any have anything to teach him? Like, that's what he's thinking about? Like, what? How? How am I supposed to be his dad, it was so human of him. I loved it.
And the fact that well, we could go into all the theology of but the fact that God came in the flesh and dwelt amongst us and had the limitations that we have, felt the pains that we feel the rejection, the all of the things like that is so unbelievable. It is, it's very strangely comforting to me when I'm going through something hard. Yeah. Like Buddha can't say he did that. Right. And he doesn't Vishnu. Vishnu can't say any, like, only Jesus can actually say, Yeah, I do know what that feels like. Yeah, I remember that. Yeah, I remember that feeling. Yeah. That's a biggie. Also, just before we leave the songs and dive deeper into movies, I wanted to mention, because a dear friend of ours that has spent so much time in Ukraine, she mentioned this recently, Carol of the Bells originated in
Ukraine. Sure did. And so it was just music. At first, the words were added later. And it was just a big story on ABC about that. Oh, really? Hmm. Okay, I didn't say that. Yeah. Oh, I have to look that up. But yeah, their nation being so torn apart from war. It just has a different meaning to it really Christmas.
And that's, you know, I actually was pondering Ukraine, just in the last couple of days. And thinking about even how I was going to answer these questions, because I thought you know, Christmas still brings the hope whether you have any Christmas tree whether you have any cedar smell, it's true. Whether you have any electricity Yeah, there is a lot of the country that's not had consistent electricity. Yeah. And it's cold there. Yeah, so cold there. And I just thought like, wow, that's a whole new level of trust and for the Christians that are trying to celebrate Christmas this year, that's so true. Wow.
There's a huge long list of Christmas movies that we could probably name off but what comes to mind when you thinkoh, I actually do have just one for that. I know well, I mean, I said I love the nativity story. I do love White Christmas, but the one the end all be all is It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I cry every single time I watch it. I watch it every single Christmas. Yeah. Season. Right, right. I've already watched White Christmas. It's a dang good one too. Yes. Have you watched It's A Wonderful Life and color. I believe I did in years, a year you know, okay, one year but it's not right.
I saw I saw a clip of it. Um, so additional the tree lighting that I mentioned And early on, they showed a clip at the very end, you know where it's all coming together. And Clarence gets his wings, which we think think is so funny because that is our dad's name is Clarence. But it was in color. And It startled me. I was like, I've never watched the whole thing in color. This doesn't feel right at all. At all.
That movie, though, I mean, it's not just my favorite Christmas movie. It's my favorite movie. And I just think it speaks to me throughout the year, like something will happen where something breaks in the house. And my first instinct is frustration. And then I think of George Bailey with the knob of the banister that comes off in his hand and how he's like kissing it by the end. Seen it? Yeah, for sure. Yes. Um, yeah, that movies just so we got to watch the movie one time at our downtown Franklin theater. And the lead actress. Mary, her daughter was in the current Well, you know, was there and did a little q&a afterwards. That was extremely special.
She was so beautiful. Donna Reed. Yes.
So pretty. I mean, I would echo those, but if I want to good laugh, like belly laugh. I'm sorry. There's nothing that beats Christmas vacation.
nothing that beats it. And I don't know if I've ever told this story on the podcast. So I'm going to because Oh, my gosh,
it is so because somebody out there is going to do what you did. Apparently, I had only seen Christmas vacation on TV. Not the full thing. I guess I just year after year, usually just Yeah, caught it on TV. So in a Bible study, I had proposed that we all watch Christmas Vacation because we all needed a good laugh. So I have everybody come over to watch it. And this was probably in a time where you rented it or something. Yeah, yeah. And so I rented the movie and watched it and I was so mortified. I'm so mortified two or three different times. As I'm sitting there with the Bible study group, and you know, there's some very sexual things that are in that movie that they go to commercial on that they must go to commercial lawn, and so I hadn't seen the, they probably wouldn't anymore, they'd probably let it all fly today on primetime.
But yeah, anyway, yes, yes. It was quite embarrassed
there needs to know there's two versions.
And you're having your Bible study group, I would recommend just the milder version yet, though. Both are so funny.
Did I send you this one favorite Christmas thing to do? You did? Okay. What was your answer? Um, get time with those I love preferably one on one. That rarely happens getting to do one on one but even if it's two or three on one, you know, with, instead of like, just Christmas party, where yes, we had a wonderful brunch yesterday at our church, but I only had like a little bit of talk time really with two women. Right? Yeah. You ever you're sitting next to. Yeah. Yeah. And so it was I had a wonderful time, right. I was so glad I went. But I didn't. There was a lot of women I never even said hello to Yeah, because it was just a huge party. Yeah, so I love when it's just you can have grab a coffee or something where it's just one or two people where you really can catch up. That's That's good. How did you answer? Well, this just shows what an introvert I am. I love sitting by the tree lit up. So it really doesn't even have to be nighttime because the light the lights can be on and wonderful early in the morning to and just read or, you know, just be quiet or you know, just stare at the tree. We're gonna say I do love when that's the only thing on Yes, it's dark. Yes. No lights on other than the tree is magical. Yes. love it so much. Yeah, we have one tree that's outside and that it's kind of visible in the chair that I sit in like I can kind of through the blind see it. And when the wind blows, it looks like it's twinkling. And at first it kept like, messing me up and now I love it like it just the twinkling of the light. I mean, metaphorically, obviously, that's just so glorious to think of the light coming into the darkness. Yeah, but Christmas lights and just the warmth they bring. It really can't be achieved any other way. Well, so it's funny to me that as adults We only do this at Christmas. Yeah, right. Right. Because I think about in college. Yeah. Or, you know, I see this in dorm rooms. There's like that kind of cool lighting. Yes. Year round. Yeah. Somebody will have just, you know, one strand of lights across their bed. Yes, whatever. And it really is so cool. Why don't we only do this at Christmas. I don't know my nephew. I clicked on a remote of his lights in his dorm room and they were blue all around. This is so cool. I could even see it from the road. I could tell which room was his? Like, cool. Yeah, I don't know why we only do this Christmas. It's like the Bohemian I think of like, you just think it's like bohemian. Like, you know some cool tapestries on the wall and some Christmas lights. Yes. And let's bring it back. Let's make it chic. Boho. A year round. I love it. Well, and I think I've mentioned this before, too. I'm just a huge fan of wrapping gifts. So it doesn't it's not equal at all to what I mentioned is my very favorite at sitting by the tree. But gosh, I love a good bow. You're really good at I love seamlessly wrapping gifts and I even love the challenge of like when a box is a weird shape or don't have a box. Okay, I keep all of that a look of wrapping paper and ribbon. But I don't like a challenge. Like Give me just a good shoe box. Yeah, I'm good to go. Yeah, but yeah, I don't like those octagon. It’s oddly weird to me. Yeah. hat boxes. I'm like, Bring it on. Bring it on. Okay, what else would you say is just fun for our Christmas Greetings this at the end here?
Well, I'm was just trying to even think of what am I loving right now. I've already mentioned you know, I love the smells of cedars and stuff like that. I'll tell you one thing I'm loving right now. And it's I'm not trying to give a plug but Laura Beth and I are both sitting here in the coziest sweatshirt at may have ever Oh, that's true. It's very true in the pretty prettiest color for all people. It is our peace be with y'all sweat shirts. And I'm not saying that and to plug or anything but it's so cozy. I love the color. It's not even meant to be Christmasy. No, but yet it is the word peace you often see at Christmas time. So it kind of works. And it's a shade of grain. It's not really a Christmas grain. Oh no, like a teal. But yet it works. Yeah. So I'm loving this. I've put it on two days in a row now, but I've been wearing we're gonna be winning in this all season long.
Okay, this is a little cheesy. But this morning, I saw a friend of mine from church had put this post up about that she was watching this YouTube channel that was so peaceful. And so I'm like, I want to say you're intrigued. Yeah, I don't really get into the fireplace. thing like some people do. But anyway, I put it on. It's Tim Janis and it's a train ride through the Swiss Alps. Ooh. So it plays like peaceful music. And it's showing different scenes, like sometimes you're kind of like, on the train, seeing where the train is going. Okay, sometimes it's more like just showing like, you know, birds in the snow or different things like that. But it really is so peaceful to have on like, just for background, if that makes sense. Like if I'm in and out of the room. It's just a really nice peaceful music and you know, when I'm sitting there, it's very cozy. That would especially be nice if you're in a setting where you don't have a lot of windows. Yes, that's so true. So yeah, that sounds nice.
So anyway, I'm really enjoying that right now. And I think one of the things that I always enjoy in this season of Christmas is just the nostalgia of things that are year to year. The same Yes, you know, traditions. Yes. And I have a Christmas card that I got years ago that I framed. And I put out every Christmas because I always wanted to read it. It's just a sweet little poem. And I ended up one year I put it in the bathroom that my massage clients use. And because it's a poem, I didn't really think anybody probably read it, right? But then I started finding where people I put it somewhere else another year and people were like, where's the poem? I wanted to read the poem again. And so then I was like, oh, people do read it. Wow. And look forward to it. And they're again, good. Partially the nostalgia but it's partially because it's so stinking good. Yeah, but anyway, I was looking through a book that I have we actually sent these out years ago to some of our listeners we did, but it's Ideals Christmas and they do different holiday books and they're always sweet and filled with just stories and recipes and all kinds of things. And so I was looking through that this year. And there's a one page write up that was written by the editors of McCall's. Oh, cool, and it's called Christmas thoughts for all the year. And right in the middle of it, it has almost the exact really hot I have framed in the bathroom. Cool, so I thought I would read this yes to make list and make that sort of our benediction. Yes, love it. What's it called?
Christmas thoughts for all the year. Christmas is celebration, and celebration is instinct in the heart, with gift and feast with Scarlet ribbon and fresh green bow with merriment and the sound of music we commend the day. Christmas is a celebration. But the traditions that cluster sweetly around the day have significance only if they translate the hearts intention. The yearning of the human spirit to compass and express faith and hope and love. Without this intention, the gift is bear the celebration, a touch of tinsel and the time without meaning. As these attributes exemplifying the Divine Spark and mankind informed the first Christmas and have survived the onslaughts of relentless time, so do they shine untarnished in the present year of our Lord. Faith and hope and love which cannot be bought or sold or bartered, but only given away, or the wellsprings of Christmas celebration. These are the gifts without price, the ornaments in capable of imitation discovered only within oneself and therefore unique. They are not always easy to come by. But they are in unlimited supply ever in the profits of all this Christmas mend a quarrel, seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter, share some treasure. Give A soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time forego a grudge. Forgiven enemy. Listen, apologize if you are wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little, Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice, decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, speak it again. Speak it still once again. These are but inklings of a vast category, a mere scratching of the surface. They are simple things you have heard them all before, but their influence has never been measured. Christmas is celebration and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning. With the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself toward the core of life. Then, only then is it possible to grasp the significance of that first Christmas. to savor in the inward ear. The wild sweet music of the angel choir to envision the star struck sky and glimpse behind the eyelids, the ray of light that fell athwart a darkened path and changed the world.
Wow. So good. Thank you.
That's for you. Listener that's just for you. You are so loved. And we hope your Christmas is so full of hearing the songs that are sung over you.
So good. Well, as we mentioned, we'll be on our little Winter Break that we usually take and for the next several weeks, but the best way to know when a new episode drops next year is to make sure that you are subscribed to this podcast wherever you listen so and as you gather with your friends and talk about the year, tell him about the podcast that you so enjoy. Yes, so sweet.
And what we'll do is we'll put on Instagram or Facebook or both really, when we do have a new episode coming next year, as well as we'll be sending out an email. So if you're not connected with us in those ways, go ahead and find us at Steel Magnolias podcast.com. And we'll put the links in the show notes as well.
Will Peace be with you, our wonderful producer, editor.
Thank you. And also Merry Christmas, y’all.