The Butter Lamb’s Christmas Favorites

(Photo Courtesy of Collider)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

11 of The Butter Lamb’s contributors share their favorite Christmas gifts (received and given), cookies, songs, and movies.

CJ Brunner

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

A 2001 GMC Sonoma from my dad. It may have had 160K miles and could be started with a screwdriver, but at 17, it didn’t really matter.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

A Leopard Print Snuggie for my mom. It’s been about 7 years and I still have yet to top this gift.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

Peanut Blossoms, Gingerbread Men and Chocolate Chip. I could probably eat 100 peanut blossoms in one sitting. They are so good.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby. It’s a good song to belt out in Acapella on Christmas Eve.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Home Alone 2. Macaulay Culkin has a real knack for getting into hijinks.

 

Matt Chase

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

The best gift I ever received was the original PlayStation. It wasn’t so much the system and games, but the fun I had playing with my sister that morning that was unforgettable.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

When I gave my nephew his first hockey stuff. He was ecstatic.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

Cutouts, snowballs, and Italian cookies. There is something about biting off Santa’s head that just tastes so good.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.”

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Christmas Vacation. Hands down!

 

Jim Doyle

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

Definitely these two toy play-sets I got when I was younger. One was Old West style and the other Knights and Castle.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

Anything I’ve ever given my mother that was made in school or an organization. She’s cried every time out of joy and these gifts are still around today!

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

Ricotta cookies, my mother’s cutout sugar cookies, and pizzelles.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

“Last Christmas” by Wham! Or anything by Adam Sandler.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York because Marv is classic. The “Wow What A Hole” scene is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

Dan Hannon

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

After telling me he couldn’t land any after weeks of trying, my Dad surprised me with tickets to the first Winter Classic. From the tailgate, to the national anthem, to the flyover that seemed like it was going to scrape my hat off, everything was perfect. Besides my brother being too hungover to go and us scrambling to fill his ticket, the day was perfect.

Until Crosby decided to be a jerk.

But even after that, the whole experience was something I will never forget.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

I’m hoping to fill this requirement this year. It’s very rare I give either of my parents a gift that does not benefit me in some way (cooking supplies so I can eat great food, shirts I end up wearing, etc.). This year, the same pattern follows, but it also means something much deeper.

When I was little my dad used to crank his “Springsteen’s Greatest Hits” CD every time we would go run errands for my Mom. I used to play the air drums for “Born in the USA” and “Born to Run,” and he used to tear up listening to “Glory Days” and talking about his adult softball career at Hilary Park in South Buffalo (that is not fabricated).

Anyway, a couple weeks back I purchased two tickets for him and I (which did not fly well with my Mother when I told her) to see the Boss at the First Niagara Center in February. What I’m going to try and do is put the tickets in the same CD case we used to crush back in the day.

Get the water works going early on to start the day.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

I am certainly a fan of the old fashioned cut out, and my Aunt makes this chocolate caramel flakey thing called bark, but my favorite is the peanut butter cookie with the chocolate kiss in the middle. My mother does a lot of things well, but her execution of making those cookies is perfection.

When I walk in on her in the kitchen during Christmas time it’s the same feeling I imagine Mets fans had watching Tom Seaver or a young Doc Gooden. Just sheer confidence.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

This one has actually been a toss up for me this year.  I am certainly an outlier to society because I would love if Christmas music was played all year. I can’t get enough of it.

It is impossible to not sing along with Britney when “Santa Baby” plays on the radio and don’t get me started about belting along with Mariah because you know what Mrs. Cannon? All I want for Christmas is YOU because you honestly haven’t aged in decades.

However, and it may be biased due to the story above, but the Boss just crushes Christmas.  He has (besides MAYBE the Jackson 5) the best rendition of the classic “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”  However, there is not a greater Christmas song then Springsteen’s “Merry Christmas Baby.”  If you say different, I respect your opinion, and you are most certainly entitled to it, but you are dead wrong.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Again, unlike society, which gets sick of “A Christmas Story” after one maybe two times through, I can watch that thing all day. I really can just post up with a whiskey sour and watch that movie for hours. Also, the Dad’s face when he’s running his leg lamp is still one of the greatest scenes ever.

That, however, is not #1 for me. I am certainly prone to love pretty much everything Vince Vaughn is in (The Internship is a GOAT movie if you haven’t seen it, and don’t let anyone tell you differently) so Four Christmases gets my vote.  The scene when he overtakes the play as Joseph and just dominates is hilarious. As is the scene when he finds out his old boyhood friend is dating his Mom and they’re raunchy together. So uncomfortable and funny.

 

Molly Hirschbeck

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

One Christmas when I was little, Santa came and redecorated my entire room and made it into Ariel’s under the sea castle from The Little Mermaid. On Christmas morning, I woke up under a new comforter with Sebastian and Flounder, and had new curtains, hamper- everything. I’m still not entirely sure how Santa managed to move me in and out of my room undisturbed, but I’m guessing that Christmas was also the first time I’d ever had a taste of alcohol- double the gifts.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

My dad is who I get my incredibly good taste in music from – whether it’s Springsteen, REM, Pearl Jam, Ani DiFranco – you name it. One year when I was in early high school, I got my dad an iPod. I’d saved up my money for one of the first models, and had it engraved and everything. I was so excited to give it to him, and while it died a long time ago, I think we still have it somewhere.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

Peanut Butter Kisses, Green Coconut Butter Balls, and Cutout cookies (probably known to most other families as sugar cookies)

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Elf (If Serendipity doesn’t count, because technically it was filmed in NYC at Christmas time, but I’m not sure if that complies with the rules of this Butter Lamb piece).

 

Tim Hirschbeck

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

When I was 8 years old, my mom surprised me and my siblings with a kitten under our tree. Barney was a brown and white piece of fluff who would quickly grow up to be the greatest cat in the history of cats. He was incredibly loyal, deeply affectionate, and lived to go outside and kick the ass of any cat, squirrel, rodent, or bird that ventured within 25 yards of our house. R.I.P. Barney. You were the king.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

When my kids were very young, my wife and I surprised them by leaving a six-month-old black lab named Maddie under our tree (are you sensing a pattern here?). The best way to describe Maddie is that she was the Barney of dogs except without all the bloodlust and violence.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

The ubiquitous peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kiss in the middle are culinary crack for middle age fat guys like me. Gingerbread gets my vote for second place with Mexican wedding cakes a close third.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Christmas isn’t Christmas until I watch Darlene Love sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Letterman every year. Sad that Dave is gone now.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

The original Miracle On 34th Street. Edmund Gwenn is the obvious choice for GSOAT and Maureen O’Hara is a babe.

 

Tricia Hirschbeck

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

My diamond earrings on a teddy bear for my daughter Molly’s first Christmas with us.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

We delivered presents anonymously to a family at Christmas time after the loss of the family’s father.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

Cut out cookies, coconut macaroons, and mocha balls.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

It’s a tie between It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf.

 

Zac Hirschbeck

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

The fact that I’ve been pretty spoiled throughout my life makes this question particularly difficult. The first present that comes to mind is a life-size dummy that I received when I was 5 or 6. As most little dudes would happily attest to, I loved professional wrestling growing up. Basically this stuffed dummy served as my non-human wrestling partner. Whether it was elbow drops off of high furniture, or any number of moves I was emulating, I had quite a bit of fun kicking the absolute shit out of that thing. Needless to say, I was easily amused as a kid.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

I managed to score floor seats this year to an Adele concert up in Toronto for my mother. With the assistance of my dad, I was on Ticketmaster with my phone and computer at the ready as soon as tickets went on sale. It’s been truly enjoyable to hear my mom’s renditions of “Hello” and “When We Were Young” since the album dropped in November, and I’m eager to hear them for 10 more months until she sees her live.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

In no particular order: Mexican Wedding Cakes, Coconut Butter Balls, and Mocha Balls.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

It really would be so easy, and entirely correct, to go with Springsteen or Darlene Love here. However, I’ll go with a song I just heard recently on Bill Murray’s Very Murray Christmas. It is impossible not to fall in love with Albert King’s “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin.”

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

I’ll go with Elf. Some people find Will Ferrell to be really obnoxious. I am not one of those people. Hard to think of any other Christmas movie that has more quotable lines than Elf.

 

Nate O’Donnell

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

This is a tough one, but I would have to say a Mark McGwire jersey. Way back in the day, I loved playing and watching baseball 24/7. My room was decked out in McGwire posters and memorabilia. Steroid era baseball was great to watch as a little kid. However, it was equally disappointing to grow up and realize the people you idolized had cheated by pumping themselves full of ‘roids. Guys like McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi were fun to watch blasting towering 400-foot home runs. However, growing up this gift has became less significant, due to the fact that I stopped playing America’s pastime because I had to get a job in the 10th grade. And because I currently don’t watch baseball unless it’s the World Series.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

The best gift I have given, would have to be an annual Christmas card that I take with my friends, The Beach Boys. We have been doing an annual Christmas card for years now, and it’s always taken by the greatest photographer of all time, Donna Stewart (The Butter Lamb Contributor Dan Hannon’s wonderful Aunt). Check out this years album on her website.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

1. Anything that has ginger in it. 2. Oatmeal Raisin. 3. Coconut Snowballs.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

A TIE between “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

 

John Slisz

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

I think the best gift I’ve received (which actually is this year’s gift) is a trip to Italy in the upcoming spring. We will be spending about two weeks traveling between Rome and Venice. I could not be more thrilled.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given?

I helped chip in for a PlayStation 4 for a friend. If there are any gamers in your family you know nothing beats the newest and grooviest console for their mind numbing pleasure.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

1.) Snickerdoodles (It’s in the name)

2.) Oreo cookie balls

3.) Classic sugar cookies with frosting

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Frank Sinatra’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Does Home Alone count? If not, I’ll go with Christmas Vacation.

 

Rob Sozanski

1. What is the best gift that you’ve ever received?

The best gift that I receive every year is crushing disappointment from the Buffalo Bills. Really helps to even me out with so much joy floating around during the holidays.

2. What is the best gift that you’ve ever given? 

Pretty much anything I give my mom because she always pretends to like what I give her no matter what.

3. What are your top three types of Christmas cookies?

In order, buckeyes, snickerdoodles and gingerbread. Cutout cookies are garbage.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

I could probably listen to Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” all year round. Christmas Shoes receives an honorable mention for its dedication to unabashed emotional exploitation.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

The all time greatest Christmas movie is hands down Home Alone 2. If you watched Home Alone and thought that Kevin’s boobie traps weren’t violent and sadistic enough, you’re in luck. In the second installation of Home Alone, Kevin concusses, lacerates and lights Harry and Marv on fire. It is a tale of both revenge and survival.

 

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