The weight of the world lifted from me as I pressed play. It sent me into a reverie of big hair and high school, and became my surprise Christmas favorite.

When MTM and I decided to wed, it meant merging lots of things. Victorian antiques and modernist minimalist sticks. Architecture books and trashy novels. Clashing collections of music.

Read on to learn about the year when MTM found my surprise Christmas favorite song.

I fear MTM almost called off the whole wedding bells business over my adoration of Elton John. He cannot stand him. Me? Well, let’s just say I almost cried when I got to tour a shoe factory in Northamptonshire and saw several pairs of his brightly colored brogues on display. Fairy dust of Sir Elton’s things fluttered around me in the circle of shoe life. I actually had a conversation with Simon, our guide, about having a pair of Sir Eltons crafted for me. When he named the price, I had to come down in time and realize the utter preposterousness of such a discussion in the first place.

Hard times call for desperate measures. A couple of years ago, MTM sought a Christmas collection that wasn’t like anything else I possessed, something that would scream ‘the one’ to him. A colorful cover danced into his sight lines, and he decided to let the bad blood between him and Sir Elton go once and forever. He bought me Elton John’s Christmas Party and brought it home with a look of utter sacrifice on his face.

The weight of the world lifted from my shoulders as I pressed play.

Except for the Flaming Lips, the whole collection was the antithesis of anything MTM would ever, EVER choose, while it sent me into a reverie of big hair and high school. Some of my favorite times from teenagerdom happened while Sir Elton or The Pet Shop Boys boogied in the background.

And, lo! The Pet Shop Boys were on the CD, too, returning me to the paradise of being young, my life uncharted before me. It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas became my surprise Christmas favorite, the song I never thought I’d like that I play year-round.

Do you have a surprise Christmas favorite?

Is there a song you can’t believe you sing every holiday, one that you connect with on some deeper level or place in your past? Share your selections today in a comment.


MTM’s mom (and my lovely mother-in-law) is in the house for Christmas. She fled Wisconsin for The Balmy South. A few days of sweating, and she’ll be ready to go back to the frozen Midwest, her memories of our not-modernist-minimalist-or-Architect-accepted Christmas Vomit intact.

She visits for the Christmas decorations.

Really. MTM had a total of two decorations before he met me. The next year, my future mother-in-law came to visit him. When she saw my house, she looked at MTM and said, “I’m staying with her. She has Christmas decorations. You don’t.”

Between the two of us, he TOTALLY lost that war.

Still, he was appalled yet again last night. He asked his mother for the title of her favorite Christmas song for this blog post. Her first answer?

“Mary Did You Know? by the Zac Brown Band.”

MTM blanched. “Who are they?”

“Oh, some recent country band.”

MTM started twitching. “Recent country band????????”

(MTM only approves of Old Country. Johnny Cash. Hank Williams. You get the idea.)

I took pity on my beleaguered husband. “Well, I don’t have Mary Did You Know in my collection. And besides, my blog readers DO NOT need to hear the story about that song.”

“Why not?” MTM and my mother-in-law chirped in unison.

“Because………….I sort of met the songwriter a few times, and I don’t want to get into how, or why I heard that song waaaaaaay before anyone actually recorded it.”

We discussed THAT possible story and all agreed. You wouldn’t understand, Dear Reader. We moved down my mother-in-law’s list.

“What’s your next favorite Christmas song?” MTM waited for a staid Catholic hymn.

Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton. See? It’s even the ring tone on my phone.”

We’re still trying to revive MTM.

He fainted.

As it happens, I have a version of Hard Candy Christmas………..just not the Dolly version.

Do the musical preferences of your nearest-and-dearest appall you, Dear Reader? What’s the worst Christmas song favored by someone you love?


My dad gets around. Last week, my inbox, Facebook timeline, and text stream blew up with secret snapshots of my father. Pictures taken from behind a tree. Or head on. Or gripped tightly in one very happy hand.

Lots of people are thrilled my dad is well hung.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Sign up for my e-newsletter HERE. Already subscribed? Send your mailing address to readme(at)andrawatkins(dot)com and get in on the fun. Because through December 24, you have multiple chances to show everyone how well hung Dad is.

well hung

If you already got a mailed gift from Dad and me:

  1. Post a photo of said gift on social media.
  2. Hashtag it #dadiswellhung.

That’s it! Every #dadiswellhung update will be entered to win the Dad Is Well Hung Contest.



Share a photo? You’re entered.

Share someone else’s photo with the #dadiswellhung hashtag? You’re entered (but you know you can do better than them! Make your own #dadiswellhung photo, too!)

No entry limit!

First Prize: A $25 gift card to Amazon/iTunes/Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)

Second Prize: A $15 gift card to Amazon/iTunes/Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)

Third Prize: A $10 gift card to Amazon/iTunes/Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)

Winners will be chosen at random on December 26, 2015.

well hung