December 7, 2011

Holiday Favourites (Day 3)

We're going all wintry* over here for Day 3 of HolidaFavourites, and not just because I woke up to MORE snow again today (*sigh* <--good and bad). Not all of my holiday favourites are necessarily about Christmas or even take place around Christmas. Some of them are just snowy and wintry or are set in venues that are snowy and wintry (as I apparently am). I suppose if you aren't situated somewhere like this, you can at least dream of walking in a Winter Wonderland with these picks:

East by Edith Pattou
A little back story: East is based off of the Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Both stories share similarities with the Cupid and Psyche myth as well as the more familiar Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, and many others. In university I took the most interesting course on Fairy and Folk Tales and we got into the Aarne-Thompson classification system for folk tales. If you're unfamiliar with this, it just basically breaks down components of commonly known (and less so) folk and fairy tales into their most basic motifs. What's fascinating is that there are worldwide variations on essentially the same tales, just told a little differently according to the culture. Very interesting stuff! All of the tales mentioned above fall under the same Aarne-Thompson classification - 425 - which has to do with Supernatural or Enchanted Relatives and in this case, Husbands (random post-ruining side note: Bella and her Sparkle Spouse, anyone???). Okay, now that I've probably bored you to tears, here's the Goodreads synopsis of East:

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.
So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it-- in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family-- she readily agrees.
Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart-- and finds her purpose-- and realizes her journey has only just begun.

Other YA versions of this tale are Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
and Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, but East is my personal favourite of the lot.

Not at all related to East, but equally snowy and wintry, is The Polar Express movie. I know that this is based off of the wonderful book by the same name (also highly recommend), but I felt like mixing and matching a little today. The Polar Express is a magical movie that both young and old will enjoy. After all, who doesn't love Tom Hanks? And who wouldn't love to take a train ride to the North Pole (the one with Santa and his elves, not the actual freezing, stinking cold one). Whenever I see Christmas bells now, I think of this movie and of course Zuzu's line from It's a Wonderful Life: "...Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings". 

This recipe originally had raisins in place of chocolate chips, but one day out of curiosity I swapped the raisins for chocolate chips (same amount). The spices went really nicely with the chocolate chips, so from that point on I started making them this way. I think these would be tasty with a nice mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows while you curl up to watch The Polar Express. I have a spice grinder from the grocery store with cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate in it and I grind a little on top of the hot chocolate to spice it up a bit. Yum!

This time instead of a whole CD**, I've opted to just go with a song - Song For a Winter's Night. It's not a Christmas song exactly, but I listen to it every Christmas all the same. It doesn't originate with Sarah McLachlan but was written and performed originally by Gordon Lightfoot. Since I prefer Sarah's version, I've included it here:

Christmasy fun fact: Sarah McLachlan covered this song for the soundtrack of the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street.

*I hate the way this looks. I really want to type it as 'wintery' because it feels more right to me. Stupid spell check and dictionary.
**I could have gone with the soundtrack from The Polar Express (it has tons of great oldies on it), but the Hot Chocolate track drives me bonkers.
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Just a little reminder: If you haven't already entered my giveaway as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop organized by Sarah Belliston, you can enter HERE. I'm giving away a copy of Marie Lu's LEGEND and a pack of nineteen Fingerstache Tattoos! The contest runs until December 12th. Don't forget to check out the remaining eight Days of Christmas too while you're at it.

'At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.'
~%~Thomas Tusser~%~


  1. Love fairy tale retellings - I'll have to check out "East." Sounds a bit like the Grimm story Snow White and Rose Red

  2. Oh my goodness - why am I not familiar with this song? I have a new favorite. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. My wife hates raisins, so she would much prefer your cookie recipe. They do look good. When we get some really cold weather (supposed to be in the 50sF here tomorrow... well, that's cooler than it has been--and not as cold as it will get), those cookies could go well with some hot chocolate. Mmm! :)

  4. I love the book THE POLAR EXPRESS, but I have to say, the movie gives me motion sickness! Weird, right? Those cookies sound divine, and I'll admit, when I saw that you were posting more Christmas favorites, I scrolled down to read the recipe first. Yum! :)

  5. I absolutely must read East! Sounds like the perfect winter read. :)

  6. Those cookies look delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I loooooove what you're doing here! Seriously so fun. I feel all Christmasy right now... :D Polar Express is magic... and those cookies are going to be warming my kitchen verrrry soon ;)


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