I Love Christmas!!!

I Love Christmas!!!

And, of course, Harry Potter and The Grinch...

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"Finals week is coming" is just two words off from being a Game of Thrones quote, but it holds so true now. I found myself stressing about how to schedule my studying days so I can not fail these exams, and then everything just went crazy. Escape was necessary, and I found it at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Yes, I know it sounds like a bad idea to go to a theme park three days before the two finals I'm most worried about, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity! Universal Hollywood invited me to visit their park and studios and check out the Christmas themed events they had going on. To quickly sum up the experience into the word "magical" falls short of what I experienced. So here is where my love for Christmas, The Grinch, and Harry Potter come out.

As a child who grew up with the releases of the Harry Potter movies and Jim Carrey's The Grinch, it makes sense that they live in a dear part of my heart. When Universal Hollywood invited me to explore "Christmas in the Wizarding World" and "Grinchmas" (clever, I thought), I could not contain my excitement. After my friend and I spent the daytime exploring the rest of the attractions and taking the world-famous Studios Tour, we giddily ran to the entrance to Hogsmeade.

The enormous crowd we encountered seemed like it would just burst with excitement for Harry Potter alone, and then came the snow. In L.A., snow is definitely not common, so being in such an immersive locale with the feeling of winter and Christmas perfectly replicated was seriously magical. Once we entered, we were blown away by the lighting design on the ornate buildings from Rowling's novels. Those lights, including the incredible light show surrounding Hogwarts castle, reflected off the falling snow, radiating a beautiful glimmer throughout the crowd. Smiling faces abound and children laughing wrapped up Christmas in Hogsmeade with a wonderful bow.

On our way out, the centerpiece of the park was in full swing. Complete with the iconic bent Christmas tree and those recognizable houses in Whoville, my attention was snagged just as easily as in Hogwarts. Live performances featuring song, dance, and wonderful acting brought Whoville to life. I could just imagine the sweet Who-song featured in the movies ringing through the air and enveloping the crowd into its own imaginary world. While studying would be my parents' choice for spending a Sunday, I was ever so grateful to come to the park. Universal Studios Hollywood will be running Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter until January 6, and Grinchmas running until December 30, so grab the kids (or a best friend) and make the trip up to the park and immerse yourself in a world free from worry.

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'That 70's Show' Christmas Episodes, Ranked

Holiday classics ranked for your bingewatch convenience.

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Last week, I ranked The Office's Christmas episodes, so this week I'm going to rank the episodes from That 70's Show, my favorite show as a teenager. Still with the highest number being the best because of how this website works.

1. Winter (Season 7)

The show peaked in seasons 5 & 6, so while this episode has some great moments, it just doesn't measure up to the others on this list. Not to mention the Jackie & Hyde drama was a real downer.

2. The Best Christmas Ever (Season 1)

The first season's Christmas episode also has some classic moments, but the comedy just wasn't as strong in the earlier seasons.

3. Hyde's Christmas Rager (Season 3)

The Christmas party at Hyde's place was great, however, the Jackie & Donna plot feels a little lacking compared to some of the other Christmas episode plots.

4. An Eric Foreman Christmas (Season 4)

I tend to skip season 4 because Eric and Donna's breakup was hard on me, but this is a really good Christmas episode. Not to mention, Kelso's Christmas special is everything.

5. Christmas (Season 6)

This episode has everything. Red as Santa, Jackie and Hyde being adorable, the school dance, Eric finally being popular, Donna's bacon, and Fez with the bullies. And the TNT scene. Everything a Christmas special should be.

So there you go. Enjoy your holiday bingewatch!

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.

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Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.

Ty


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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