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Movie Review: Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale

 

The whole idea of “Elf on a Shelf” has really taken off over the years. The elves now how their own clothing, pets, movies and more.

When I was a young girl, my sister and I had elves. My mom never told us that they were watching us for Santa, and she certainly didn’t take the time to set her up around our home doing funny things. For me and my sister they were simply cute little elf decorations.

The one I had went missing a long time ago. To this day I don’t know what happened to it. My mom couldn’t find a suitable alternative, so she bought me a gold elf instead. The gold elf was smaller, but he had the same face as the one that went missing.

Fast forward decades later. I still have the gold elf. Every year when we take our decorations out of storage, I place my gold elf on top of my desk so that he can watch me while I blog.

We also have three new elves that I purchased a few years ago. They look similar to the ones we had back when we were kids (my sister and I). They have that same retro look to them. Those three elves are positioned around our home.

My gold elf is pictured above. It’s not an old photo. When I took the photo (years ago), I used a filter on it to give it an old look.

Back to the Elf on the Shelf craze.

The Elf on a Shelf franchise has released a new movie for the 2019 holiday season, and it’s available now on DVD. The new film is called Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale.

The DVD is available at places like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Meijer, Kohl’s and Party City.

A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale gives an all-new glimpse into the magical world of Santa’s North Pole, and answers the universal question: How does Santa travel the whole world in one night?

Come along with “Newsey Noel,” the North Pole’s ace Scout Elf reporter, as she rides along with Santa on Christmas Eve to learn first-hand how time pauses so Santa can deliver presents undetected and unheard.

This movie was adapted from the book, Elf Pets: An Arctic Fox Tradition, which will launch this holiday season and comes with an arctic fox plush.

I was sent a copy of the film to review.

If you have ever seen any of the other Elf on the Shelf movies, you have an idea of how the film is animated (CGI), as well as the characters. The characters are the same in all films (continuity). And just like with the other films, there are a few songs that are song. If I recall correctly, this film has three songs.

This is a sweet film. In addition to learning how Santa is able to fly across the globe on Christmas Eve without being seen, we also learn about a little boy whose missing his mother, whose in the military and might not be able to make it home for Christmas. I’m sure there are a lot of boys and girls around the world who can relate to that.

Elf Pets: A Fox Cubs Christmas Tale is also available for purchase on the shop.elfontheshelf.com website, for $9.95. The disc includes the 28-minute animated special, as well as the trailer, sing-along version and filmmaker’s commentary.

Be sure to check out the other fun goodies available on the Elf on the Shelf website. They make great gifts and stocking stuffers.

Below is the trailer for the new film.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Movie Review: Santa Fake

 

Available now on DVD and on digital, is the holiday film, Santa Fake.

The film stars Damian McGinty (“Glee;” Celtic Thunder), Heather Morris (“Glee”), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings; Indiana Jones), and Judd Nelson (“Empire;” The Breakfast Club; St. Elmo’s Fire).

Pat grew up in an orphanage in Ireland. He was an infant when he was given to the orphanage by his mother after his father passed away. He has no family.

When Pat was old enough and aged out of the orphanage, he did jobs here and there until he was able to make his way to the United States.

Pat had no job and no paperwork. Thankfully he was able to secure a job doing bussing and doing little jobs around a bar. The bar was run by Joe, an Irish mob boss.

Pat had his suspicions about Joe and the type of “work” he did, but he never questioned it. He had a job, so that was fine with him.

One evening, Joe asks Pat to take a couple of brief cases to the train station, where he was to meet up with someone who would take them from him. The station was only a few blocks away.

Joe offered Pat $10,000 to do that small favor for him. Pat was a bit reluctant, because he knew Joe was a mob boss, but the thought of $10,000, and the fact it was just a few blocks away, Pat figured he could do it. Not only that, Joe pressured him into doing it.

Unbeknownst to Pat, Joe knew there was the possibly Pat could get caught with briefcases. Joe knew Pat would be too afraid to snitch on him, and he has no legal paperwork, so once Pat finished a stint in jail, he would soon be departed.

Feeling like he was in trouble, Pat hoped on the first bus that was leaving the station. The bus ends up taking Pat to Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Feeling guilty, and concerned for his safety, Pat calls Joe. Joe demands he returns the briefcases right away, or else he will send someone to find him and kill him. That brief phone call helps Joe to determine that Pat is in Sante Fe.

Upset that Pat took the briefcases from Joe, Joe sends two of his men – Seb (Judd Nelson) and Jim (Jeff Fahey) to Sante Fe to find him, kill him and bring back the briefcases. Since Pat has no family, no one would know he was missing.

Pat ends up in a boarding house run by Mrs. Oretga. He also builds up the nerve to open the brief cases (he thought they contained body parts of a missing employee), only to find they contained a lot of cash.

While at a local mall buying clothes, Pat mistakenly calls Joe again. Joe notifies Pat that his thugs are already in Sante Fe, and when they find him, they will kill him.

Scared for his life, Pat goes to flee the mall. That is until he bumps into Emily. Emily is in charge of the mall’s Santa and is in dire need of a Santa. Pat just happened to be the right size to fit the suit. Scared, Pat agrees to put on the suit, knowing that it will disguise him and keep him safe from Seb and Jim.

For the next several days, Pat continues to be the mall’s “fake Santa,” in hopes he can hide from Seb and Jim, who are hot on his trail.

Will Seb and Jim find him? Will Pat be able to hide from them until he can think of an escape plan? After all, once the holiday is over, Pat won’t have the Santa costume to hide behind. To find out, look for Santa Fake. You can find it on digital and on DVD.

I would consider this film a “dramady” – part drama, part comedy. It’s mostly a comedy, but there are some dramatic instances in the film (at least in my opinion).

I don’t know who Damian McGinty is. I have never heard of him until now. He has the move beautiful voice. He sings several songs throughout the film.

Here is a clip of McGinty from the film singing “O Holy Night.” Check out his beautiful voice.

 

I thought Heather Morris would have sung too, since she was in the television series “Glee,” but she didn’t.

The film was slightly predictable (in a good way), but it had a surprise ending that I didn’t see coming. It’s a different kind of a holiday movie. Most holiday movies don’t involve an Irish mob boss and a young man hiding from thugs trying to kill him.

If you would like to learn more about this film, check out the social media accounts (below). I’ve also included the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.

Twitter: @SantaFakeMovie
Instagram: @santafake_official
Facebook: facebook.com/SantaFakeMovie/
Hashtag: #SantaFakeMovie

Also releasing as companions to the film are the soundtrack EP from the star Damian McGinty and a children’s picture book, SANTA FAKE: You Are Never Alone at Christmas, which will be available in e-book and print.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener link in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Movie Review: A New Christmas

 

Now available in select theaters, on digital and On Demand, is the holiday film, A New Christmas.

The film stars Prashantt Guptha (The Tashkent Files), Grace Wacuka (“Say Anything”), Preeti Gupta (Unfreedom), Aurora Heimbach (Soul to Keep, Loud Places), Carl Garrisson (1 Angry Black Man), and was directed by Dani Tenenbaum (Landing Up).

Kabir is not looking forward to Christmas this year. His mother passed away a year ago, and Kabir has not been able to get over his devastating loss.

For most of Kabir’s life, it’s been just the two of them. His father died when he was very young.

Christmas was a favorite holiday of Kabir’s mom. Kabir wasn’t into it as much as she was (the reason why is later explained in the movie).

Kabir hasn’t even taken down the decorations from last Christmas. The dusty, fake tree his mom lovingly put up still sits in the living room.

Kabir is married, but him and his wife are estranged. She tries her best to get through to him and help him, but he wants no part of it.

A few days before Christmas, Kabir meets a young lady named Kioni. She is here in the U.S. from Kenya. She is studying filmography at a local university.

Kioni loves Christmas, and wants to see all the sights of New York City, including the tree at Rockefeller Center and the window displays up and down 5th Avenue.

Instead of giving Kioni directions, Kabir offers to take her. This sets off an entire day (and night), exploring all the sights and sounds of New York City, even venturing into Brooklyn. Not only does Kabir get to experience the holiday in the city through her eyes, but the pair also have some deep, heartfelt conversations.

Will Kioni help Kabir have a different outlook on Christmas? Will Christmas forever be Kabir’s least favorite holiday, since it reminds him of his mother who passed away during the Christmas holiday? And what about Kabri’s wife? What will she think of Kabir’s new friend? To find out you need to look for A New Christmas in select theaters, digital or On Demand.

I have to be honest with you. I thought this was going to be a Hallmark Channel-like movie. You know how they go – boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, something happens to challenge their love, then they live happily ever after. This is NOT a Hallmark Channel-like movie. There are some similar qualities, but this movie is much more than that.

There are two “curse” words (if I recall correctly), in this film, which is no big deal. There is no sex or nudity, but there are two people in bed after having sex. I am not sure of the rating, but I would guess this film is a PG-13.

This film has a lovely soundtrack. There are two songs I heard in the film that I really like.

I was pleasantly surprised by the film. In the beginning it seemed to go a bit slow. That pace continued, however, the slow progression of the film was necessary to tell the story.

If you are looking for a high octane, “bang-bang-shoot-’em-up” kind of film, this is not it. This film is more about the spectacular images around New York City during the Christmas season, including the skating rink and Christmas tree in Rockefeller center, as well as other magical holiday displays and decorations. The film is also about what Christmas means to the main characters – Kabir and Kioni – and if their belief and experiences would “rub off” on each other, in a good way or bad way.

I enjoyed the film. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I was also surprised by the ending of the film. I thought it was going to end in an entirely different way.

I did find the film on Facebook, but I could not find any other social media pages for the film, or a dedicated website.

Below is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.

 

Kimberly

*I was provided with a free screener link in order to view the film for this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas from Santa and Playmobil

 

Can you believe that Christmas is fast approaching? We have just a few weeks left before the big day. I don’t know about you, but I still need to finish shopping. I have next to nothing for my kids (they are young adults – all they want is cash or gift cards, sigh…). I only have a couple of things for my husband. I’m already finished with my co-workers and son’s girlfriend.

If you are in the market for some fun gift ideas for a child, let me tell you about a super adorable holiday play set from Playmobil. It’s called Christmas Bakery with Cookie Cutters (Item Number: 9493). It is a delightful play set that would make an ideal pre-Christmas gift for your child.

I know, some people are probably wondering why I am referring to it as a pre-Christmas gift. That is because it’s holiday related, so you’d want your child to get the most out of it before Christmas, just in case you pack away such items after the holidays are over, only to bring it out again next year.

I adore Playmobil sets, so it goes without saying that I jumped on the chance to review a play set from Playmobil. They sent me the Christmas Bakery with Cookie Cutters set to review.

This set took my husband and I about an hour to put together. It probably would have taken less time, but some of the pieces are itty bitty and we have “sausage fingers.” Ha ha. Thankfully the instructions are well laid out, including drawings which helped immensely.

This set has all you need to have hours of fun “baking” cookies with Santa and his elf helpers.

This set comes with Santa (dressed up in his bakery attire), two elves, two cats (one with a movable head), a mail box – complete with a letter to Santa, detailed bakery equipment and the cutest little cookies and baked goods you’ve ever seen.

The bakery can be played with both inside and outside. The outside features the mailbox, working front door and a slide/shoot that the baked goods come out of, making it easier to load them on to Santa’s sled.

The inside of the bakery features very detailed cooking equipment, such as a cookie press and milk, as well as logs for the oven and a big press table.

The oven door opens and closes, and there is a slot on the inside that you can push the baked goods through so they came down the shoot.

There is also an upper floor that Santa or the elves can take a nap in (or to store some of the equipment).

Here are some images from the play set I was sent to review. My apologies for the poor quality. It’s so much nicer in person.

Playmobil put a lot of detail in this set. For example, there is a pretzel that hands from the front on a plastic chain. Another great example is that one of the cats can move it’s head so you can have it eat or drink from the included bowl.

One of my favorite features is the Santa letter that goes into the mailbox. I think that is such a sweet (no pun intended) idea for this bakery set. I never thought to send Santa my sweet treats wish list.

The little recipe book is cute too.

This play set comes with something different that other Playmobil sets – cookie cutters.

Placed on top of the roof are three little cookie cutters and one cookie press that looks like a smiley face. I didn’t take a picture of the smiley face, but it’s located under the chimney. The chimney pops off to be used as a press.

The cookie cutters feature an angel, Santa and an elf.

These cookie cutters can work as real cookie cutters, but they are a bit small. None the less, kids can use them to make cookies with grandma, or use them as cookie cutters for Play Doh or a similar product.

The cookie cutters don’t stick to the roof, so I would recommend taking them off when playing with the building.

This set would go great with other holiday sets from Playmobil, like their Advent Calendar set, like the 1-2-3 Advent Calendar: Christmas in the Forest.

The Playmobil Christmas Bakery with Cookie Cutters is available for purchase on the Playmobil website. I also see that the set is available at other retailers as well, including Amazon.

What do you think about this cute play set? Does it look like something your child/grandchild might like?

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle

 

Our kids at Christmas time (many years ago – they are adults now). In the background you can see some of our ornaments.

Do you celebrate Christmas? If so, are you one of those families/people that enjoy putting their tree up ASAP after Thanksgiving (or even before Thanksgiving), or do you prefer to wait until closer to Christmas? Do you have an artificial tree, or a real tree?

I heard on the news the other day that you should only keep a real tree for 14 days. After that, it can become a potential fire hazard. As much as I love the look and smell of real trees, stuff like that scares the heebie jeebies out of me.

As for me and my family, we have a artificial tree. We put it up the day after Thanksgiving and make it a point of hanging the ornaments together, as a family.

My uncle bought me this ornament the year my mom was in the hospital for Christmas. She would buy me a new ornament each year, but she couldn’t that year, so my uncle filled in for her and bought me this reindeer ornament. 

If you look at our Christmas tree, it does not resemble something you’d see in a department store. Our tree is overflowing with purchased ornaments, and handmade ornaments. There are ornaments on the tree that my husband and I had as children (and we’re in our 50’s), including a handmade ornament my 3rd grade teacher gave me. Also on our tree are many ornaments our kids have made us over the years, both at school and at home. Some are well thought out and planned (school ones), and others are just random things our kids chose to make at home, using whatever we had at that time (paper, glitter, gems…).

The best part of decorating our Christmas tree is reliving the moments and memories behind each and every ornament. Each one tells a story, albeit even if it’s a as brief as “I saw it and I liked it.”

Last year I did a review post about an adorable book set called Oliver the Ornament. The set included a charming book and a cute ornament. You can read that review here – Oliver the Ornament.

Oliver the Ornament is the first book in a planned series of books and ornaments that families can turn into a new holiday tradition. The second book in the series is called Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle.

In the original book, the story was about how Oliver came to be with his family.

Oliver the Ornament is a tale of one family’s cherished Christmas ornaments. The story centers on Oliver, who has been with this family since Mom and Dad’s very first date.Years later, Oliver, now injured and bullied, still has the magic of Christmas in his heart. The story follows Oliver’s excitement for Christmas, his heartbreak, and his determination to overcome all odds to save the day. Oliver, along with his friends, will warm hearts with his kindness, humility, and love for his family and friends.

In the second book, Oliver tells the kids how lonely he was being the only ornament on the tree, aside from the ornamental balls, who didn’t talk back to him. Thankfully Belle came along and he finally had a friend to talk to.

Meanwhile… up in the attic there is a mean ornament named Nellie that the other ornaments don’t like. She’s done mean things to them, such as gluing down a ladder and trying to melt another ornament in the sun coming from the window.

The ornaments want to get through to Nellie, but Nellie is not going to let them. In fact, Nellie has other plans for the ornaments and Christmas.

I have a strong feeling that the next book in the series is going to focus on Nellie (a donkey).

In Oliver Meets Belle, all of the beautiful illustrations are there, same as the ones in the first book, Oliver the Ornament. I appreciate the consistency, especially for families who plan on purchasing the new book and ornament in the series each year.

I liked the story, but I do feel like it was a bit disjointed. There is very little in the story about Belle, especially considering it should be about her. The book focused more on Nellie. Not only that, the story bounces around too much. It starts off with Oliver getting ready to tell the story about how he met Belle, then to Nellie, then a brief story about Belle, then back to Nellie again. The story just ends too, and it’s the way it ends that leaves me to believe that the next book and ornament is going to be about Nellie and why she hates Christmas.

Belle, She’s much nicer in person (this is not a great photo).

Even though the story seemed to flow in an odd way, and it didn’t focus that much on Belle, it’s still a cute story. I’m sure most children aren’t going to be a “nit-picky” as adults are.

As for the ornament, it’s just as beautifully made as the Oliver ornament is. It’s solid and well made with great detail and bright colors. Belle looks so sweet next to our Oliver ornament, which we hung on our tree again this year.

I think having special ornaments is a fabulous way to make memories, and to relive those memories year after year.

Recently I saw something that was shared on Facebook that I found to be very true. I don’t know who originated this, so I cannot provide proper credit. If anyone knows, please shoot me an email so I can credit the image and/or quote properly.

This is all so true. Except I do remember when I was 9 years old I received a Ballerina Barbie. That was the year my mom was in the hospital for Christmas. She was in ICU and they wouldn’t let me visit her because I was a child. She called me on the phone Christmas Eve to wish me a “Merry Christmas” and to let me open up one gift while I was on the phone with her. It was Ballerina Barbie. That is why that is the one present that I will never forget.

If you are looking to start a new holiday tradition, why not pick up a new ornament for your child (or children) each year, or let them choose one. Of course, you can always pick up Oliver the Ornament and Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle (and the rest of the books/ornaments in the series as they are published each year).

For more information about Oliver the Ornament and Belle, visit OlivertheOrnament.com. You can also check them out on social media. Their links are found on the bottom of their website.

What is a holiday tradition that YOUR family has?

Do you have a special ornament? Tell me about it. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received a free sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Have Santa call your family with Portable North Pole

 

Do you remember when you were a kid during the holiday season? I do. I think about it often, most especially around the holidays.

Christmas was my favorite holiday, as it is for many children around the globe. I still remember the excitement I felt Christmas Eve night. I wasn’t able to sleep at all! I would lie in bed listening for the sounds of Santa and his reindeer on our roof. Each and every little sound I heard, I thought it was him.

I remember waking my parents up several times in the middle of the night, wanting to know if it was OK to go downstairs to see if Santa was there. They always told me to go back to bed. Normally they would finally give in to me around 5:00 or 6:00 AM (I was persistent).

Meeting Santa in person was the highlight of the holiday season. I still remember the little candy canes his elves would give out to the kids.

Ahh… memories.

Things have changed a lot since then. Now you can actually receive a call from Santa, as well as personalized videos. I can’t imagine having something like that as a child. That would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Let me introduce you to Portable North Pole. They are known for their customizable videos and calls from Santa. Yes, you read that right. Your child can get a phone call from Santa, personalized with their name and other details that will leave them in aww. In addition, customizable videos are also available.

Here’s how it works;

  • Download the free app
  • Input a few details about the child
  • Upload a photo

In just a few minutes, a customized video is delivered to you.

Check out this brief video.

 

The above video is the EXACT same  quality of video your child will receive from PNP. As you can see, they make it look so realistic. I love it!

Can you image the excitement your child will feel knowing that Santa knew that he/she did great on a test, or that they have been doing their chores without being told (depending on the details you include).

With PNP (Portable North Pole), Santa knows their name, if they are on the naughty or the nice list, gives them tips on how to improve to the nice list or how to stay on it, and knows what they want for Christmas.

Check out just a few of their newest digital products for 2019:

  • A brand new special multi-device scenario straight from Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve with a personalized video message from Santa on one device (desktop, smartphone, or tablet) and integrated into the video message is a call from Santa to your phone during the video message. This message can be made for one child or the whole family. *
  • a total of five new Premium personalized videos with even more ways to personalize the message. *
  • Another new multi-device Premium video scenario with a group option. This is great for parents looking to encourage good behavior from their children in the days leading up to Christmas. *
  • The Reaction Recorder is now available on Google Chrome for desktop and laptop, as well as on the PNP mobile app to capture the moment your loved one realizes it’s Santa speaking to them directly on one of our Premium videos and create a lifetime keepsake. *
  • New personalization options. Santa will know even more about your loved one, than ever before. *

* Features only available with purchase.

PNP is celebrating its 12th year, helping families make the holidays even more magica. The personalized video and phone call tradition has caught on around the world, with more than 220 million video message views from PNP by Santa fans.

Portable North Pole has reached various achievements, such as:

  • 768,000+ Fans on the PNP Facebook page @PNPSanta.
  • 1.4 million Facebook Likes.
  • #1 trending mobile App on iOS in the USA during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
  • It’s the top trending Santa App in 67 countries on Google Play during the days leading up to Christmas.
  • Achieved a 4.6 rating for both Google Play and iOS with hundreds of thousands of joyful reviews.

That is pretty impressive.

The app doesn’t ask for much detail (such as an address or last name), so it’s safe to use. As a parent, I certainly wouldn’t want to provide too much person details.

The app is free to download.

You can also access all of the features on the brand’s website, PortableNorthPole.com.

I created a video to try it out for myself. The video seems so real! It’s not like Santa pauses when he talks and has another voice (or robot) say your child’s name or what state the child lives in. It’s flawless! It’s amazing how it seems so real.

Just so you know, they ask for the child’s state because Santa asks something to the effect that he hopes the weather in (state) is good. For a child, knowing that Santa knows where they live, only adds to the magic of the video or phone call.

PNP also sells a nice selection of toys, books and games to add to the magical experience. Each product comes with a special magic code that gives you access to the videos and calling features on PNP.

Some of the adorable toys include;

Poseable “Do Good” Elf – I was sent one of these to review. It was much bigger than I thought it would be. He’s super adorable and is available in red or green (outfit). You can use this elf the same way you’d use an “Elf on the Shelf.” You can also let your child play with it like they would a regular doll (I’m sure children would love to snuggle with one of Santa’s elves at night).

The purchase of the Poseable Elf include four free Santa videos, via PNP.

24 Sleeps Until Santa Storybook – I was also sent this book to review (it gives you the code for one free Santa video).

This is a beautiful book which colorful images that really get children (and some of us “big kids”) super excited about Santa’s arrival. Each day is featured on a page, so that every night before bed you (or your child) can read up on the goings on at the North Pole as everyone prepares for Christmas day.

Karamelli, Santa’s Sweetest Baby Reindeer – I have a soft spot for adorable plush toys. That is why we have a collection of holiday toys that we keep around the tree, including a huge reindeer.

This sweet plush reindeer will make a great snuggle buddy, especially when reading the 24 Sleeps ‘Til Santa Storybook (sold separately).

Maybe your child can even teach this cute little reindeer how to fly, so that one day he/she can join Santa’s team and pull the sled.

This comes with a code for a free Santa video too.

There are other toys and games available as well as the ones mentioned. They are available on the PNP website, or you can find them at other retail locations like Target, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.

If you are interested in learning more about Portable North Pole (PNP), look for the free app in the appl store, or visit PortableNorthPole.com. You can also find PNP on all the social media channels.

Would your child be excited to recieve a personalized phone call and/or video from Santa? Feel free to share you thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received free products and an excess code in order to do my review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.