Christmas Movies That Aren’t About Christmas?

Sometimes you want a Miracle on 34th Street – It’s a Wonderful Life – Lifetime Christmas movie that’s full of romance/family togetherness/holiday spirit. Other times (like after an afternoon at the shopping maul), you need a break from it all. Not a complete break, you still want to be able to post #ChristmasMovieTimeWithFriends to all of your social media, what you need is just a little Christmas.

We’ve got a list of Christmas, but not really Christmas, movies in a variety of genres and for a range of audiences.


PG-rated comedy/horror movie released in 1984.  In the movie, Billy gets a pet Mogwai from his father. He doesn’t pay enough attention to two of the rules for its care, don’t get it wet and don’t feed it after midnight, and the Mogwai multiplies and then they turn into gremlins who take over the town.

Who should watch Gremlins? Anyone who likes horror movies (that aren’t too horrific even though it does include a brief homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

The Ref

A 1994 dark comedy where a married couple get taken hostage by a burglar. They still have a better Christmas than Bob. Rated R.

Who should watch The Ref? Anyone with a less than perfect family, especially if they have a mother/mother-in-law who could use a good telling off.

 Die Hard

1988 R-rated action thriller where a man takes a vacation from his NYPD job to visit his wife and fight terrorists. (The first part planned, the second not so much…at least you would think so, but with five films in the franchise, you have to wonder. The man’s a magnet for terrorists.)

Who should watch Die Hard? Anyone who wants to reminisce about a time when a cop could carry a gun onto a plane and when terrorists were named “Hans”.

Love Actually

R-rated romantic comedy from 2003 that weaves together multiple love stories that range from first love to mature love, romantic love to lust.

Who should watch Love Actually? Anyone who wants to see what Hans Gruber’s home life is like. (Alan Rickman plays Gruber in Die Hard and a character named Harry who comes close to cheating on his wife in Love Actually.)

Tokyo Godfathers

2003 PG-13 rated anime about three homeless people who find a baby on Christmas Eve. They set out to find the infant’s parents and through luck, and Christmas miracles, find their way to a happy ending.

Who should watch Tokyo Godfathers? Otaku. You know who you are.

What movies are on your Christmas but not Christmas list?

Best TV Theme Songs?

We’re listing our 50 favorite TV show theme songs by decade (so it will be easier for you to look for your favorites and tell us how we must be the most tone deaf, tasteless people on the planet to have left out the ones that top your list!)


Rawhide – “Rawhide”

Peter Gunn – “Peter Gunn Theme”

Bonanza – “Bonanza”


 Hawaii Five-O - “Hawaii Five – O Theme”

The Beverly Hillbillies – The Ballad of Jed Clampett

Secret Agent (US name for the British TV show Danger Man – “Secret Agent Man”) This was played over the opening when it was shown in America. The original theme music was “Danger Man Theme”.

Here Come the Brides – “Seattle”

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father – “Best Friend”

Mission Impossible – “Mission Impossible Theme”

The Green Hornet – “Green Hornet Theme”

The Saint – “The Saint Theme”

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson – “Tonight Show Theme”


WKRP in Cincinnati – “WKRP in Cincinnati”

The Dukes of Hazard – “The Good Ol’ Boys”

Happy Days – “Happy Days”

Baretta – “Baretta’s Theme”

Welcome Back, Kotter – “Welcome Back”

The Mary Tyler Moore Show – “Love is All Around”

Minder – “I Could Be So Good For You”

The Partridge Family – “Come On Get Happy”

The Rockford Files – “The Rockford Files Theme”

Dallas – “Dallas Theme”

Taxi – “Angela”

M*A*S*H - “Suicide Is Painless”

The TV show didn’t use the lyrics, but here’s a version with them just because it’s such a pretty song, especially for one having such sad lyrics.

The Odd Couple – “The Odd Couple Theme”


Cheers - “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

The Greatest American Hero - “Believe it or Not”

The Wonder Years – “With a Little Help From My Friends”

Moonlighting – “Moonlighting”

The Fall Guy – “The Unknown Stuntman”

Fame – “Fame”

Bosom Buddies – “My Life”

Hill Street Blues – “Hill Street Blues Theme”

Hardcastle and McCormick – “Back to Back”

And (also from Hardcastle and McCormick) “Drive”

MacGyver – “MacGyver Theme Song”

EastEnders – “EastEnders Theme”


Friends -“I’ll Be There For You”

The Heights o “How Do You Talk to an Angel?”

Twin Peaks – “Falling”

Ally McBeal – “Searching My Soul”


 True Blood – “Bad Things”

Firefly – “The Ballad of Serenity”

Monk – “It’s a Jungle Out There”

Psych – “I Know You Know”

The Wire – “Way Down in the Hole”

The Returned – “Hungry Face”


The Shadow Line – “Pause”

Peaky Blinders – “Red Right Hand”

Pretty Little Liars – “Secret”

Game of Thrones – “Game of Thrones Theme”

Prayers for Thanksgiving?

You’re going to be spending your first Thanksgiving with your Significant Other’s (SO) family and have been warned that you may be asked to say a prayer before the meal. This is their way of making you feel welcome and included in their family but, while you appreciate the sentiment, you’re at a loss for what to say. Maybe the prayer in your family has always been done by an older family member, or maybe your not religious and have no clue what will be expected of you.

Don’t panic. Here are some short prayers to give you an idea of what you might want to say. I’ve included ones that are specifically Christian, others that are non-denominational, and others that simply offer thanks (which would work for someone who is a humanist or an atheist).

Prayers that thank God and/or Jesus

The first is the third verse of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson (click the link for the whole poem):

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

The next is by Harry Jewell:

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.

And here’s a few short ones. Some families might prefer something longer (ask your SO about their family), but the hungry among us appreciate brevity!:

1.Bless this food to our use
and Us to thy service.


2. Good and Gracious Lord,
Give us true and and thankful hearts

for the many blessings we are about to receive.
In Jesus name, Amen.

3. Jesus, thank you for loving us; And providing food, shelter, and each other. Every moment of our lives is a gift; And we appreciate all the time You have given us. Thank you for all our good fortune.

4. O, heavenly Father:
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.

5. God, we thank you for this food, this day, and for each other, and we ask your blessings on the sick and the needy, and all our loved ones.

This next one is a traditional Catholic prayer:

Bless us, oh Lord,
and these thy gifts
which we are about to receive
from thy bounty,
through Christ, our Lord.

If you want, you made do the sign of the cross after you say “Amen”.


The next one was written by Abigail Van Buren (advice columnist Dear Abby):

O Heavenly Father
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.

Bless this food we have before us, O God. Let it provide the nourishment we need.
Bless this family and our friends gathered around this table. Let us be nourished by our love and care for one another.

Bless those who have less than we have. Let our eyes be open to their needs.
Bless us as we bless your holy name on this day of thanksgiving. Let us praise and thank you always in Jesus’ name.

Here’s one for the Book of Common Prayer. It’s part of the Thanksgiving Day church service, but works well at the table too:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

Here are some Goldilocks prayers, not too long, not too short, they’re just right!

1. Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

2. Father all-powerful, Your gifts of love are countless and Your goodness infinite. On Thanksgiving Day we come before You with gratitude for Your kindness: open our hearts to concern for our fellow men and women, so that we may share Your gifts in loving service.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

3. Bless this food we have before us, O God. Let it provide the nourishment we need.
Bless this family and our friends gathered around this table. Let us be nourished by our love and care for one another.
Bless those who have less than we have. Let our eyes be open to their needs.
Bless us as we bless your holy name on this day of thanksgiving. Let us praise and thank you always in Jesus’ name.

4. We thank you, Lord our God, you – who gives food to all, who heals the flesh of all, creates wonders in this world, who forged mankind in great wisdom and who gives refuge beneath the shadow of his wings.

God, from your wisdom grant us wisdom, from your love grant us love, from your understanding grant us understanding. Feed us when we are hungry, give us strength when we are weak, raise us up when we are bent over, set us free when we are enslaved.

Just as our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were blessed in all, from all, with all – may the Lord bless all of us together with a complete blessing: of peace, of strength – with the blessing of being thankful.

This one is also from the Book of Common Prayer. It’s a bit longer but you have the option of reading it directly from the prayer book:

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things..

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things.

Non-religious statements of thanks

We are thankful for the food on this table.
We are thankful for this time together.
Our thoughts go out to family and friends;
We hope that they are safe and well.


For the meal we are about to eat,
for those that made it possible,

and for those with whom we are about to share it,
we are thankful.

You can memorize one of these, or you can just use them for inspiration. Think about the things your are thankful for and talk about that. Say that you are thankful for your SO and his/her family, for friends, for having a job or being able to go to school, and of course, don’t forget to say you’re thankful for the food you are about to enjoy and for the people who prepared it.

Personally, I’m thankful for computers and smart phones, for modern medicine, my pets and chocolate. I could probably work being thankful for my pets into a prayer, I’m not too sure how gratitude over electronics would go over, though.

If you want, you can mention those less fortunate than you and ask that others keep them in their prayers (or thoughts, if you want to keep the offering of thanks secular). This can include the homeless, someone you know who is ill, victims of natural disasters or terrorism…pray for France.

french flag


Free Books on the Internet?

If you love to read, the internet is like a gold mine. You can find lots of free ebooks on a wide variety of subjects.

Project Gutenberg is the oldest digital library and has over 50,000 public domain books. You can read them online or download them  to a Kindle or other device. They also allow contemporary authors to self-publish through

Some of Project Gutenberg’s most popular books are:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana by Vatsyayana
Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Minute Mysteries by Harold Austin Ripley
My Secret Life, Volumes I to III by Anonymous
The King James Bible
Simple Sabotage Field Manual by the US Office of Strategic Services

Open Library is a project by the Internet Archive that allows you to read public domain books online or download. If you sign up for a free account, you can also borrow some contemporary books – up to five titles for two weeks each. Some of the newer books include:

Appetizers by Sunset Books
Novels by James Lee Burke
Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene
Brainpuzzlers (Math games and activities)
Business Etiquette by Ann Marie Sabath
The Rugrats’ More Jokes by David Lewman
50 Common Birds of the Southwest by Richard L. Cunningham
Dr. Seuss books

For those of you who prefer to have the physical book to read, Open Library will also tell you what libraries near you have the book.

Feed Books has a section for public domain books that can be downloaded and read on your device. They also have original books available.

Smashwords is an indie ebook distributor that has a selection of free books.

Directory of Open Access Books offers an online catalog of academic books that may be downloaded in pdf form.

The UC Press E-books Collection has almost 2000 academic books published between 1982 and 2004. You can search or browse by subject. (Look for ones that say “public” to find the freebies.)

OpenCulture has a list of free online textbooks. No, you’re not going to find that $350 textbook your professor said you had to buy, but there are some great resources for the self-learner.

Loyal Books has free public domain ebooks and audiobooks. Most are gotten from Gutenberg or Librivox, but this site may be an easier way to browse.

For those that like to have their stories read to them (it makes commutes and road trips so much more enjoyable), there’s Librivox and Podiobooks.

Librivox has public domain books read by volunteers. You can browse the site by author, genre, title, or language.

Podiobooks has serialized audiobooks and lets you browse by genre. They’re free to download but since they are by current authors, you are encouraged to “tip” them if you enjoy their work.