The holidays crept up on me this year. Suddenly, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And isn't Christmas the very next day? Was the week following Easter when the shopping season began? I am way behind.

I read that Oprah announced her "Favorite Things" earlier this week. A Panini maker? Really? So that every lunch feels like the lunch you eat at your office? I think the only "favorites" that Oprah and I share are the Planet Earth DVDs and Scrabble. Why am I writing about Oprah? I can honestly say that I have never written about her before, even in an email. This is a surefire way to alienate myself from NPR listeners (not to mention a valid reason to start seeing a therapist). Must. Stop.

In honor of never mentioning Oprah again on this blog, I will now exorcise the Oprah demon in the form of my own "favorite things" list.

1. Q-tips. Give the gift of clean ears to those you love but who have neglected this simple yet pleasurable regimen. Make sure to promote a safe and gentle technique. But remember, earwax is a natural buffer against loud music, so leave a little behind. Dispose of Q-Tips after use, and by that I don't mean leaving them on your nightstand.

2. Floss. Bleeding, swollen gums are unsightly. Floss is a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who thinks that chewing Altoids is tantamount to proper dental hygiene.

3. You Tube. Send a link of a You Tube video. Include a cheerful holiday greeting to distinguish it from the thousands of other You Tube videos you forwarded in 2007. If you have artistic leanings, make a storyboard of your favorite You Tube video and give it out as a series of one-of-a-kind paintings.

4. Pizza. Show up Christmas morning with a pizza. Or, for Hanukkah—8 nights of Pizza. Who doesn't love the Italian tostada? Everyone will forget you didn't actually bring a present.

5. Music. This is a music blog, after all. Buy a CD and download it onto your computer. The CD is now ready to give out as a gift.
Music recommendation: Just give everyone the soundtrack to Todd Haynes' film, I'm Not There. It will be hard to find a better album (or to see a better movie) this year.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Carrie, what do you like best from the I'm Not There soundtrack? I think John Doe's contributions are just phenomenal. If you (alone or collectively) were to choose one Dylan song to do, what would it be?

This year I'm giving thanks for your blog!

Sent by Piggy | 1:47 PM | 11-21-2007

are those Rachel Pally outfits actually clothes? or are they silken bags? I can not tell.

Sent by Georgia | 1:50 PM | 11-21-2007

I love pizza. You know what is better than pizza? Bagel Bites. Because when pizza is on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime. So, I agree with you there.

Though, you left "Tofurky" off of your favorites list. Nothing says "I love you" better than giving someone a tofurky. It's a bonus if you include a fruitcake.

Sent by Brandi | 1:57 PM | 11-21-2007

Q-Tips are evil. They irritate the ear canal, which makes it produce more wax, thus causing the problem they're meant to solve. The eargasm is hard to resist, but if ear wax is a problem, the first step is to stop using Q-Tips.

Sent by The J Train | 2:00 PM | 11-21-2007

A good Christmas for me is making it through the yuletide season without watching It's A Wonderful Life. I love Jimmy Stewart but I hate that film with a passion.

Maybe I should just promote people to watch Vertigo and Rear Window instead. What says Christmas better than Hitchcock Thrillers?

Sent by Devin Rodgers | 2:29 PM | 11-21-2007

this blog is my favorite thing!

Sent by esme | 2:56 PM | 11-21-2007

Now i wonder...
Has Oprah ever written about you? (i guessing it's a safe bet to say that she hasn't...)
ps. i hate her favorite things... i'd hate it more, if some of my favorite things were to become her favorite things. i'd disown them immediately.

Sent by jessica | 3:03 PM | 11-21-2007

Oprah's favorite things are depressing. Whatever happened to "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens?" At least Oprah is reinvesting her 50 billion dollars back into the consumer economy.

Sent by nomad | 3:04 PM | 11-21-2007

Wow! Imagine my surprise to see Carrie Brownstein here at NPR! It's been a while. Glad to see you again! I look forward to more posts and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!

Sent by DJShay | 3:13 PM | 11-21-2007

Are you condoning blatant violation of international copyright laws? If you see James Hetfield or Lars Ulrich in your neighborhood, run for your life. Or just don't answer the door and you won't be served with a subpoena.

mmmm, pizza!

Sent by Mister Mister | 3:26 PM | 11-21-2007

yay! thanks for the list, ms. brownstein! much more affordable for those of us who don't run a media empire. although even if i did run a media empire, would i buy swing turtleneck and sailor pant sets? hmmm....

Sent by jaimehotdish | 3:27 PM | 11-21-2007

I second the dental floss, followed by stimu-dents. If you haven't tried them...

Sent by Elizabeth | 3:27 PM | 11-21-2007

Does anyone find it problematic that Oprah does her "Favorite Things" show celebrating the joys of consumerism the week after her show about compulsive hoarding?

Apologies for commenting about "She who shall never be mentioned again on this blog"

Kudos on list items 4 and 5...I'm listening to "I'm Not There" and eating some pizza as I type this.

Happy Turkey Day All!

Sent by Joe | 3:46 PM | 11-21-2007

If you read the New York Times Review of "I'm Not There" you will not see one mention of Portland, Oregon. But having gone to a couple of Mr. Todd Haynes's Q & A's supporting his new work he brings up traveling to Portland and living at his sister's house there being a catalyst to start work on the Bob Dylan film.
Perhaps Portland is the best gift for the Holidays? Maybe I'll buy a friend a weekend in Portland? Where's a good place to stay?

Hotel Lucia or The Ace Hotel. The Jupiter is a cheaper option. -CB

Sent by Simon Dasher | 5:00 PM | 11-21-2007

I gave myself swimmer's ear by using q-tips.I suppose I was using them irresponsibly,too much digging and scrapping(that's a nice visual for you).
I am really glad that Oprah hasn't gotten mad a beef recently. Steak is my Thanksgiving meat of choice.

Sent by Peggy | 8:06 PM | 11-21-2007

While I'm sure "I'm Not There" is a great film, I had the unfortunate privilege of seeing Dylan live last month. It's a shame to see some of your favorite songs ruined by the artist who wrote them.

Sent by Nick in the Midwest | 8:32 PM | 11-21-2007

While I do love the "I'm Not There" soundtrack, I've got to disagree about it being the best album of the year. Have you heard Nina Nastasia? "You Follow Me", her newest with Jim White, is one of the best albums I've ever heard.

Nick: I saw Dylan last month as well, and have to second that.

Sent by Karissa | 9:29 PM | 11-21-2007

Have you tried playing scrabble online at http://www.scrabulous.com?

Sent by shi | 10:26 PM | 11-21-2007

Whoa, that's a lot of exclamation points. Oprah's cultural influence is scary. What, you don't like Josh Groban?

I fucking love Q-Tips. They have been one of my favorite things for years. I recently ran out and it was kind of traumatizing. I need to go buy one of those big boxes again. They're only bad when you use them too often and incorrectly, my Dad has schooled me on this (he's an audiologist).

Sent by Jaime | 10:32 PM | 11-21-2007

There needs to be a Turbo Scrabble. My mom is a power Scrabbler.

Sent by Shelly Hulce | 3:28 AM | 11-22-2007

Obsessive grooming tools & fodder [aural, visual & digestible]... doubt there could be a better compendium.

Also--I love that you've provided links for those of us unfamiliar with said items. [I'd been wondering about the minty yarn that's been perched in my medicine cabinet.]

Sent by Zia | 4:00 AM | 11-22-2007

totally agree with the q-tip lovers. i got my best friend a small box of travel q-tips for her birthday last year, and it was only half due to the fact that i used up all hers when i went to visit her over winter break. q-tips do indeed make wonderful gifts.

Sent by lauren | 4:24 AM | 11-22-2007

two comments. today, i was walking behind a woman, and since i'm on vacation and in a country where English is not spoken, her accent stood out. She was American with a capital "A", but more than that she was Oprah American. I work in the suburbs so I've familiarized myself with the tone, the manner, but it hit me hard being abroad. I don't know if it is that the voice seems strident, or too self-possessed, or what. I do know that it is a voice that listens to Oprah. I think it might be that Oprah allows others to pontificate with only a modicum of knowledge on the subject at hand. Good lord, Oprah. Second comment, if you (and here i mean anyone that reads this blog) haven't read Steven Almond's latest book, then you should at very least read the first segment, which are a series of letters to Oprah. While I recommend the entire book, if you read it in the store, it should take 10 minutes tops. Even if you sometimes say to yourself, "at least she gets housefraus to read" then you definitely should check it out.

Sent by mikeyj | 2:53 PM | 11-22-2007

Pizza is an awesome distraction from the holiday barrage of baked sweets and turkey. And I don't think that even the craziest of "gourmet" pizza establishments will dabble in a turkey pizza.

The only thing I'd take over holiday pizza is holiday sushi.

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 11:08 PM | 11-22-2007

HEY Jaime, I resent that!. Josh Groban is one of my (very) guilty pleasures, dammit! (I probably shouldn't spread that around...)

While I do think the Favorite Things show is consumerist bs, I must admit, I'm envious of the people who got that KitchenAid mixer. I want!

Good call on Scrabble. One can never have too much Scrabble in life.

Sent by Melissa | 12:07 AM | 11-23-2007

yes, but what do you think about oprah for president?

Sent by brittany | 1:39 AM | 11-23-2007

I'm definitely getting everyone a youtube video for the holidays. Seriously.

And I like how one of Oprah's favorite things is "Oprah's guide to life." Does she really need her own guide to tell her what to do?

Sent by Dan G | 1:31 PM | 11-23-2007

Thank the gods I found a blog that can actually make me laugh and want to read. Carrie will make the holiday season go by a lot faster, I can feel it. I was even thinking about going down the paintings route as a way around purchasing gifts myself.

Sent by Kevin R | 4:37 PM | 11-23-2007

I would kill for that scrabble board

Sent by Breanna D. | 11:15 AM | 11-24-2007

I remembered this blog entry and realized that Pledge's Pre-moistened Dusting Wipes are totally one of my favorite things. They're god's gift to housework. Plus the "peel and reseal" packaging is brilliant. A pack of these might make a good stocking stuffer...and you can dust the fireplace mantel off before dropping the pack in the stocking, if need be.

A topic suggestion for the blog, Carrie: "What music do you clean to and why?"

Sent by Sara E. | 9:09 PM | 11-25-2007

I think an even better gift is the gift of presidential aspirations. It turns out that all you have to do to get on the Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot in Arizona is fill out a nomination form. You don't have to pay any fee; you don???t have to gather any signatures.

So here's how Project White House works: Download a nomination form and fill it out.
If Project White House officials determine the candidates are newsworthy, they will get some press, bad or good it's all the same.
The form can be found at: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/2007-11-22/pres_nom_form.pdf
what could possibly be more fun for the holidays? tube socks? your drunk aunt/uncle? naughty snowmen?
i think not. So give this to all your 35+ yr old pals and give them a reason to get their creaky bones out of bed, aside from incontinence.
-Shannon Baca Garcia Esquivel

Sent by www.shannarama.blogspot.com | 12:16 AM | 11-26-2007

I went home for Thanksgiving Eve and ended up watching a marathon of Oprah, a show I've rarely seen, watching 5 episodes back to back. I learned to how to stop aging and about compulsive hoarding. - My new guilty pleasure

Sent by David Brouillard | 9:03 PM | 11-26-2007

Hey, anyone notice that on the Oprah's favourite things list, with the picture of the camcorder, they put a picture of Oprah on the screen.

Sent by N.C. | 3:01 AM | 11-27-2007

"Give the gift of clean ears to those you love but who have neglected this simple yet pleasurable regiment"..
Being the obsessive English-corrector that I am, I find myself obligated to correct your use of the term "regiment". I believe in this context the word you seek is "regimen". Unless you were attempting to describe a troop of Qtips waiting to do battle with the enemy earwax...

Correction noted. My editor at NPR will also be grateful. -

Sent by Diane | 5:27 PM | 11-28-2007

I think the "I'm Not There" soundtrack will end up being my #1 pick this year. I cannot stop listening to it. The film is brilliant as well, but I think it asked too much of the audience. And why is Christian Dylan the same actor as early folky Dylan? And what's the difference between Gere's Dylan and Ledger's Dylan? Very confusing.

Sent by Stacia | 6:13 PM | 11-30-2007

Are these just a display of random favourite things? Or are we suppose to imagine a soundtrack playing in the background? For that matter which version of 'My Favorite Things' is it going to be. I suppose as many musician's that have covered it, I'll have to say Julie Andrews is not singing right now, and as much as Bjork's version is good, even that version isn't playing; maybe Coltrane's soulful instrumental. Umm.. Tough choice.

But one thing that is not a tough choice is Italian Pie. Oh Pizza, a gift from the heavens. It taste's so good, can be made into so many varieties, has just enough of the food group's daily allowances, is definitely filling, and brings a smile after consumption (even if the cheese is too hot and scorches the roof of your mouth, or as I just did... bit the side of my mouth because the swirl of flavour was just too much to handle all at once. On the last slice too.) I love pizza, as it was a dinner twice this week. I could probably handle more than twice a week. So yeah, I believe that's a great idea. Forget about leftovers, have a PIZZA! Spin the Dreydl, and win a slice instead of a piece of chocolate. Actually that would be another tough decision. Being as I like chocolate as much as it's stereotyped that women like chocolate... It is one of life's pleasures that when a craving strikes, m u s t be fulfilled. Pizza, or chocolate, chocolate or pizza? One before the other, and another for later. Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles, none in the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Argh.. Stop this pang!

No really. Q-tips should be a stocking stuffer, along with mint flavoured dental floss, and why yes, an orange too. I recall sitting next to a guy on the bus coming home from school some time ago. While moving along the route the trees were whizzing by the window kinda fast, so I turned my head to the other side, and then saw his ear, The Ear, along with the largest mass of wax that I'd ever seen In my life. Chewed bubblicious couldn't amount to the same size in sheer volume. What to do?! Both vision's where making me head spinning(ly) dizzy. It was so bad I will not even try to describe it for the sheer horror of scaring away some of the group here. By the way, this was pre-Seinfeld, but my reaction was pure Cosmo Kramer to a "T". T-t-the, dddd, stuttttering, expanded eyes, shaking head, frozen body, and the abrupt "Whoa!" Actually I held back the whoa, and kept it to myself, as not to embarrass the guy. But, tisk, tisk, tsk. Thanks for the recollection. Johnson & Johnson, Q-tips for everyone please. On the house.

Yikes, Cripes.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

Sent by |3rian | 9:50 PM | 12-1-2007

hey, carrie, thanks! I always put dental floss and a new toothbrush in my kids' stockings, but I've never thought of q-tips! And I love q-tips!

Sent by ann | 5:35 PM | 12-13-2007