Toy Review: Playmobile Santa's Workshop

This set isn't actually called "Santa's Workshop." All that's written on the box is "Christmas" and an item number. But it sure looks like they were going for a workshop effect, so that seems like as good a way as any to differentiate it from the Santa/reindeer set I bought three years ago . Speaking of the box... It was pretty smashed up. But it was also on sale for 85% off, thanks to a summer clearance sale at Toys R Us. I wound up paying about $6 for this, which is just under half what I paid for that other set. I figured that was a bargain even if half the pieces were missing (I was even happier when I discovered everything was still in the box). Open this up, and you're staring at a bunch of bags and plastic panels. You also get directions and a tool for inserting plastic pegs into the larger pieces. Here's a look at the tool and a page of the instructions: Let me sum that up for you: if you give this to a five year old exp

Prancer (1989)

I started watching Prancer with quite a bit of trepidation. Erin said, “Well, think of it this way, it’s at least probably better than any other lost reindeer movie we’ve seen.” While that’s a low bar, I’m happy to report that Prancer not only passes, that it’s overall a pretty good movie despite a lame ending. I liked the main character from the very first scene. Jessica is a little girl with a big imagination and a bigger mouth. She’s stubborn and angry. She fights with her friends and with her brother and with her dad. She sticks to her guns and never gives up. I really liked her. One of the big strengths of this movie is that the dialogue feels strangely real, especially the kids’ dialogue. The child actors are fantastic. Jessica’s dad (Sam Elliot) is having economic troubles and trouble caring for her since her mom died, but their relationship is never schmaltzy. It’s full of things unsaid and words said in frustration, then awkwardly taken back. Her aunt has offered to ta

Another Season Begins

For those just joining us... you're late. Pull up a chair in back, and save all questions for the end. This is Mainlining Christmas, a blog devoted to experiencing the holiday season in its entirety, or as close as the limitations time, space, and mortality permit. Our music collection is daunting: more than 3,000  4,000 holiday songs and counting. As always, 100% of music we listen to of our own volition between now and Christmas will be drawn from that collection. In addition to thirty pieces of fiction , numerous articles , and several digital cards , our archive houses approximately 330 reviews of holiday specials, episodes, and movies . And we'll be the first to acknowledge that's not remotely adequate. Our goal is to grow into the single greatest repository of Christmas reviews in the known Universe: we're not content at our current volume. If we asked a dozen random people to list the first 20 specials or movies that came to mind when they thought of Christma

Happy Thanksgiving from Mainlining Christmas

We here at Mainlining Christmas would like to wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

About that Thursday Thing

I've written quite a few satirical articles on Black Friday - it's become something of a Mainlining Christmas tradition. I'm sure I'll write a few more words on that subject this year, but not right now. I want to approach the expanding Black Friday date from a different perspective. I want to be serious for a minute. I can't imagine anyone out there isn't familiar with this, but just in case, here's the background: Black Friday has been shifting away from a one-day affair. A large number of retailers, led by Walmart and Target, now open on Thanksgiving. This is a relatively new phenomenon: when we started the blog, we'd never heard of stores opening on Thanksgiving or midnight on Friday. It was on year two that we first went out on Thanksgiving night, resulting in what I still consider one of the best posts we've ever put on this blog . But even then, there were very few stores open earlier than midnight. That's changed in the last three yea

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

This shows up on several lists of Christmas movies, but I think that's a stretch. Several key scenes take place at Christmas, but they're all at the beginning and don't amount to more than fifteen or twenty minutes of the total run time. Most of the movie revolves around Valentine's Day. That said, there's enough holiday cheer to warrant some feedback from Mainlining, so here we are. After a quick prologue taking place a year and a half beforehand, the movie opens with a Christmas dinner with Meg Ryan's character's family where she announces her engagement to Bill Pullman's character. The scene features some foreshadowing that her relationship won't work (just in case you missed the fact Tom Hanks is headlining). I'd add that all the foreshadowing revolves around shockingly superficial issues. We're talking things like food allergies and a dull story on how they met: there's nothing wrong with this guy, Ryan just doesn't find him

It's Here....

Toys R Us, 9/16/14. Front of the store, right beside the Halloween Merchandise If you're tired of waiting for the holiday's, we've got some good news: Christmas is already here. It's still small. It's still hiding in the shadows, biding its time while it grows. Sort of like in Alien, when the xenomorph skittered off after bursting through John Hurt's chest. Now it's out there somewhere. Waiting. Watching. Preparing to leap out and wish you a Merry Christmas. It's September, so it's no surprise the Lego Store was eager to devote their front window display to their new Christmas offerings. 9/19/14 But you don't have to wait. You can go see it for yourselves. Corporate stores everywhere have begun strategically setting holiday products in their aisles. And as the world's premier Yuletide website, we here at Mainlining Christmas felt it was our responsibility to document the occasion. K-Mart, just getting started on 9/9/14. Even wit