Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas!

Santa leaves the North Pole in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer to deliver toys on Christmas Eve.

We did it! All our hard work this year has paid off. Daddy and the reindeer have left the North Pole to deliver Christmas cheer to EVERYONE!

Thank you to all the beautiful elves who made this Christmas joyous for millions!

We're partying like mad here at the N.P. And of course we'll be bringing the fun to Twitter for one last #SantaChat Christmas wrap party at 6:00 pm ET on Christmas Day (3:00pm PT, 11:00pm London). Hope you can join us. I can't wait to hear what my dad left under your tree!

#SantaChat Twitter Christmas party, Christmas Day at 6:00pm ET.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 10 Christmas Movies

A while back, I surveyed my readers on their favorite Christmas movies. Many of you said how much you'd love to see NORTH POLE HIGH turned into a movie (thank you!). But here are your top ten picks of Christmas movies that have already been made:

Scott Schwartz and Peter Billingsley in "A Christmas Story"
Based on the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd, this Christmas classic from the director of Black Christmas and Porky's runs continuously all Christmas Day on TBS and is also a Broadway musical!

Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood in "Miracle on 34th Street"
Santa Claus won an Oscar for his appearance in this 1947 classic in which he goes to court to prove, once and for all, that he's real.

James Stewart stars in "It's a Wonderful Life"
Based on a self-published short story, The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern. The author printed 200 copies and sent them out as Christmas cards. One of those landed at RKO and the rest is history.

4. ELF
Buddy the Elf doesn't fit in with the other elves at North Pole Elementary School
A baby accidentally stows away in Santa's sleigh and is raised in the North Pole as an elf. As an adult, he realizes he's human and sets off to find his father in New York City. Based on a true story. Really.

Bill Murray produces a live broadcast of "A Christmas Carol" in "Scrooged"
Bill Murray is a cynical TV executive in charge of a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol when he is visited by three ghosts who convince him he should have done The Sound of Music instead.

Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"
The Griswolds have kind of had it with traveling. Perhaps if they stay home for a quiet family Christmas dinner their luck will change?

Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, plots to kidnap Santa Claus in "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
This one scares the chocolate out of me because Jack Skellington kidnaps my dad. Skellingtonnnnnn! If you must watch this one, please don't get any ideas.

Belle takes the Beast ice skating in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas"
Belle shows the Beast the beauty in Christmas!

Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, and Tom Hanks in "The Polar Express"
Tom Hanks plays Santa Claus, a train conductor, a hobo, a young boy, and the boy's father, and narrates this young boy's magical adventures in the North Pole. Based on the 1985 book by Chris Van Allsburg.

The Muppets star in "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas"
The Muppets bring to life Russell Hoban's Gift-of-the-Magi-esque 1971 story with songs by Paul Williams, a former elf who later wrote "The Rainbow Connection" for The Muppet Movie and all the songs for The Muppet Christmas Carol.

'Tis the season to enjoy your favorite Christmas movies all over again. With crushed candy canes sprinkled in your popcorn.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pictures from My Visit to Hollywood

I was so lucky to find the time during the Season to get away from the Pole and visit Jenna Edwards to chat with her about my book on her UBN Radio show, Create Your Life with Jenna Edwards!

Candycane Claus on the air at UBN Radio in Hollywood!

I got Jenna to wear reindeer antlers for the show...

Jenna Edwards wears tinsel and reindeer antlers for Candycane's guest appearance on her talk show, Create Your Life with Jenna Edwards.

...and she made me this beautiful Christmas Tree...

Christmas tree crafted by Jenna Edwards for Candycane's guest appearance on her show.

...inspired by the school Christmas tree project I worked on with Rudy in my book, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus. And there are CANDY CANES on it! Find out how Jenna made this tree over at her blog, Create with Jenna!

And a very merry thank you to my "little helper," Mr. Dan, for appearing on the show with me (I was nervous--did it show?), publishing my book, and being a super reliable friend and my link to the lands between the Poles.

Candycane Claus with her publisher, Mr. Dan.

Now it's time to put on your jingle bells and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Meaning of Christmas Trees (excerpt)

“Rudy, a Christmas tree by itself is just a tree.”
I set down my colored pencils and imagined the biggest, brightest tree imaginable.
“Each soul who hangs a bauble from its bough, or threads a string of lights through its needles, or tops it with a shining star, is teaching it to sing its own unique song of joy. A Christmas tree, when it’s finished and all lit up, with lots of presents cuddled underneath, reflects the magic inside each person who trimmed it.”
I waited for a scoff while his unblinking gaze confronted me, urging me to go on, to enlighten him.
“The tree that you and I create together will expose our very hearts to the world. No one else will ever be able to duplicate that.” I leaned forward, tempted to reach for his hand. “Close your eyes, Rudy. Picture it.”
He folded his arms and did as I said.
“You have to really think. See it in your mind’s eye.” I waited again, giving him space for his tree to flourish. “Now tell me, what’s in your heart. What does Christmas mean to you?”
He was quiet. I held my breath, ready for something special, something magical, to bubble out of him. Goosebumps sprouted up and down my arms.
Then he spoke. “I see our grades. They’re threatening to jump off a tall building if they depend on me buying into all this ’Tis-the-season jazz.” He opened his eyes and grinned.
I knew he’d never take this seriously.
“You’re a poo-head! I’m not talking to you anymore.” I swiveled my chair, only pretending to be angry, when my eyes landed on the picture on his dresser. I went over and picked it up for a closer look. I half-waited for him to stop me, but he didn’t. The woman’s eyes were so much like Rudy’s, I had to ask, “Is this your mother?”
“Uh huh,” he answered quietly.
“She’s very pretty.”
“She was.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Cancer. When I was ten.”
Hearing Rudy’s mother was in heaven made me appreciate never having to worry about that, since my parents would live forever. But the sadness overwhelmed me. “What kind of Christmas tree would she want to see?”
Thomas Kinkade Wonderland Express Animated Tabletop Christmas Tree With Train
“She’s in the ground.” His words took on a terseness that made me shudder. “She’s not watching us from anywhere and there are no such things as Christmas miracles.”
I’d obviously opened a door I shouldn’t have. Not knowing how to go back and close it, I quietly stood his mother’s picture back up on his dresser. “Maybe we should take that milk-and-cookies break now,” I said.
“I was kidding about the milk and cookies.” He got up and tucked his mother’s picture into a drawer. “Maybe we should call it a night.”
“If you say so.” I went back to the desk and carefully slipped my drawings into their portfolio. “Rudy?”
“I don’t care what you think of me, or my friends, or my family, or my town. But what exactly do you have against Christmas?”
“It’s getting late. Why don’t we save this for later.”
My heart beat faster. I should have gotten out of there. I should have run. But I couldn’t let it go. “I think you’re here—you and your father—for a reason. One that you’re not even aware of.”
“Go home, Candy.”
I almost melted when I heard him say my name, so softly, so at odds with the way he said almost everything else. “At least tell me you’re not one of those people who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.”
“I had dinner with him. Remember?”
We both smiled. He wasn’t a heretic.
Relieved, I started packing the rest of my stuff into my backpack.
“I just happen to think your father’s ideas are ridiculous,” he added.
Our game went into pause mode.
“What ideas? Spreading joy to the world?”
“What do you know about the world?” he snapped. “You live up here in a fantasy land, and once a year, your old man flies around the globe handing out toys—‘One for you, and one for you, and one for you.’—as if an electric train set could make up for all the wars and death and misery people suffer in the real world.” He hovered over me, his words so forceful. His hot breath hit me like a right hook with every disgruntled thought he threw at me. “I have news for you, princess. The world doesn’t work that way.”
He made me scared and confused and curious all at once. “What do electric trains have to do with suffering and death?”
He didn’t answer. Whatever he’d been ranting about, clearly he hadn’t meant to direct his anger at me. For in another five seconds, he was almost certain to make a pass.
If you want to find out what happened next, you'll have to read my book, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus.

North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus - a memoir by Candace Jane Kringle

Merry Christmas!

Related content: See the tree Jenna Edwards made for me, inspired by this chapter!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's On My Christmas Playlist?

Obviously I love Christmas music. But what are my favorite carols? Here are the top tunes on my playlist right now:

#1 (with a snowflake)
"We Need A Little Christmas" by the Glee cast is #1 on Candycane's playlist.
“We Need A Little Christmas” by the Glee cast. I may need more Christmas than most, but everybody needs a little Christmas now, so I am super happy the Glee cast reintroduced this classic from the Broadway musical Mame to contemporary audiences.

#2 (with a sprig of mistletoe)
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by the Jackson 5, Candycane's favorite rendition of her not-so-favorite song.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by The Jackson 5. Technically, nobody should be allowed to sing this song except me and my brother. Santa’s our daddy and he’s not allowed to kiss anyone but our mommy. But watching our parents kiss is gross, so Frostbite and I would never sing about it. Therefore, we pick Michael Jackson’s version as our favorite.

#3 (with a caveat)
"Nothin' For Christmas" by Eartha Kitt, Candycane's favorite rape-awareness Christmas song
“Nothin’ For Christmas” by Eartha Kitt. Rape awareness may not be the most appropriate topic for a Christmas song, but at least it’s better than Eartha’s other Christmas hit, “Santa Baby.” I mean, really, back off, lady. That’s my father you’re singing about. (See #2)

#4 (with a Christmas tree)
"The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire") by Mel Torme (aka The Velvet Fog), originally recorded by Nat King Cole
“The Christmas Song” by anybody. Composed by a velvet frog(*) and originally recorded by Nat King Cole, this chestnut has been sung by many wonderful musicians, from Big Bird, Doris Day, and the Partridge Family, to Raven-SymonĂ©, Demi Lovato, and CeeLo Green! Take your pick and have a merry sing-along.

#5 (with a candy cane)
"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late" by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by The Chipmunks. I know exactly how Alvin feels when he sings about his impatience for the most wonderful time of the year to hurry up and arrive. I hope he got his hula hoop.

(selected by my best friend, Snowflake)
"Hey Santa" by Carnie and Wendy Wilson
“Hey Santa!” by  Carnie & Wendy Wilson. A much happier ending than “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” which sounds sweet but then goes, “if only in my dreams,” and I’m all, that’s sad, and who wants to be sad at Christmas?

(brand new!)
"If Every Day Was Christmas" Candycane's favorite brand new Christmas song by British opera singer Summer Watson
“If Every Day Was Christmas” by Summer Watson. This magical wish beautifully expresses how I feel when I meet someone like Rudy who hates Christmas. Oh, if every day was Christmas! I’m so glad people are still writing fresh, new Christmas songs. This one just dropped on November 26, 2013.

Listen for these tracks and more on The Sounds of Christmas with the best variety of Christmas music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Sounds of Christmas, the best variety of Christmas music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
And don't forget to stop by the #SantaChat Christmas Twitter party co-hosted by Sounds of Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

My First Live Appearance

I'm so excited because I have a super big announcement to make.

Next Monday I'll be making my first-ever live publicity appearance for my book! I'm really nervous, but I hope you'll tune in.

Create Your Life with Jenna Edwards, Mondays at 11:00 AM PST on UBNRadio.com

Create Your Life host Jenna Edwards is super excited to have Candycane Claus as a guest on her show. The show is called Create Your Life with Jenna Edwards. Jenna is such a super positive person, like me, so I'm sure it will be loads of fun.

You can watch it streaming live at UBNRadio.com December 16 at 11:00 AM Hollywood time. (That's right, I'm going to Hollywood!)

Please don't forget to watch. I'm sure it will be almost as merry as CHRISTMAS itself! #HoHoHo

UPDATE: See the pictures from the show!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Guest Post: Visit from Santa Lifts Jillyn's Spirits

Here's an absolutely beautiful guest post from one of my favorite fans about how much a visit from my dad means to her...

 Power Wheels Barbie Jammin Jeep by Fisher-Price, Jillyn's favorite toy from Santa Claus
Everyone that celebrates Christmas has a favorite story about Santa Claus. We all have that ONE Christmas that just cannot be topped, that one toy that lit up our life and stands out above all others. (One that especially stands out to me is the Barbie Jeep I received when I was seven, but I digress). For me, last Christmas is the one that Santa went above and beyond for me.

I was a bit sad last Christmas. I was unable to go home for a long amount of time, since my house isn't always the most pleasant place. My girlfriend of three years, Emily, was kind enough to let me stay over at her house, and celebrate the holidays with her family. I was a bit pouty, and I was afraid that Santa would forget about me, since I wasn't at my home. And, a very small, sad part of me wondered if he was angered with me. So many people, family and strangers alike, looked down on my relationship -- would Santa disown me for loving a girl too?
Gay Pride Teddy Bear from Gay Rainbow Sisters. Santa delivers with pride!
I fell asleep that night under the tree that Emily had set up in spite of her cats in an attempt to cheer me up. Curled in a fluffy pink cupcake-patterned blanket with a rainbowteddy bear in my arms, I remember dreaming about the old-timey Christmases I'd had as a kid. The bright shiny piles of presents, the massive teddy bear print stocking I'd hung from the fireplace each year, the tins filled to the brim with cookies I'd baked especially for Santa all looked so real, and were close enough to the visions of sugar plums that all those tales teach us about. I never told Emily this (for fear of laughter), but I left candy out on my bookshelf. It wasn't cookies, but I wanted Santa to know that I believed, that I had hope. That I needed the magic of Christmas more than I ever needed it before.

I awoke to find that I had presents! Actual presents, and a filled stocking! Tears streamed down my cheeks as I pulled pink and purple candy canes and a plushie pug from my pink Disney princess stocking. I unwrapped my presents, among them a Katniss Barbie and a Cinderella DVD set.

Mattel's Hunger Games Barbie Collectible Katniss Everdeen Doll
But there was one gift that I'd wanted more than anything else, and when I pulled away the Loki wrapping paper, there it was. A Kindle! A Kindle! Just for me! It was wrapped up in a pink case, that was then adorned with pink and white glittery stickers that spelled my name, with princess castles and tiaras. It was perfect.

Jillyn's pink, glittery, customized Kindle.

In that moment, I could feel the Christmas magic at work. I held in my hand the object I'd most wanted, beside the most loving, beautiful girl in my life. It didn't matter that my own home was a bit messy, that I was dating a female against the view of some people in my life. Santa found me, and with that little twinkle of Christmas spirit we can see in the frosting of the gingerbread cookies, the lights on the tree, in the unmarked fallen snow on the lawn, he lifted my spirits back up.

Santa doesn't care who you love, or where you come from. If goodness and the spirit of Christmas lie in your heart, Santa will find his way to you. Keep your head up high, and don't let other people get to you. It gets better -- Santa and I say so :)

Now go rekindle your Christmas spirit! Go drink cocoa and listen to music or watch a movie like Home Alone 2 or Elf or my favorite, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Spread that cheer and wear a smile, tell those around you that you love them, and have a very warm, loving, and happy Christmas, and a prosperous and even better New Year. (And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a just-as- happy Kwanzaa, Yule, Hannukah, Saturnalia, and any other holiday too!)

With love and tidings,
Blogger Jillyn at Bitches n Prose

Jillyn is a 21-year-old LGBT book blogger and a student at Southern Illinois University. She is a Goodreads.com Top 1% Reviewer and an official co-host of North Pole High’s #SantaChat Christmas parties. Follow her on Twitter at @jayohsul and read her book reviews at Bitches n Prose (bitchesnprose.blogspost.com).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

North Pole High Cyber Monday Sale!

North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus, Kindle edition Cyber Monday Amazon Countdown Blowout Deal begins Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmastime is here. It's really, really here!

The turkey's gone. The trees are lit. No more excuses!

Get some Christmas Spirit NOW!

For a very limited time, my critically-acclaimed novel,
North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus,
is available on the Kindle at its LOWEST PRICE EVER!

Hurry up and grab it while you can.
This countdown deal is one week only.
The longer you wait, the more the sale price creeps back up.