Home for the Holidays
We actually shot the first half of this last year in December thinking it would just be a ½ hour episode. After the editors put it together we all realized that it would be great to do a full hour and turn it from a Great Weekend shoot to my very own holiday special. I can’t tell you what a threshold it is when you have YOU’RE VERY OWN Holiday show. I felt like I had entered into an elite group of people before me: Johnny Mathis, Kathie Lee Gifford …The Muppets. Alas, there was no singing around the fire for this one on account of we couldn’t afford the rights to any Christmas music and my Brooklyn apartment that I share with my husband of three years does not have a fireplace. When we shot the scene for my party in my home my cameraman actually had shot Kathie Lee’s Holiday Special for Home and Garden TV. He went on about how amazingly huge her house is. Sorry, don’t make Kathie Lee money and I quite like the fact that when I am watching TV and need something from the fridge I only have to walk ten feet.
One of the highlights of the show for me was to show off Dyker Heights Lights. This is a quintessentially Italian neighborhood. Every Holiday season the entire neighborhood gets all decked out for Christmas. Growing up there you always saw that ONE home that was outlined in twinkling lights which displayed the Nativity scene, Frosty the Snowman, bundled up penguins and Santa and his eight tiny reindeer all on the same front lawn. Now imagine house after house of the store bought spectacle. That’s what I love about it. It’s not the 65-foot Norwegian spruce in Rockefeller Center, or the million dollar windows of Saks and Bergdorf’s. These homes are the efforts of the little guy-with no corporate funded budget, market focus groups, or degree’s in design but what they accomplish is nothing short of holiday magic.
Watching the show you may recognize my friend Liz who is making her now third appearance on the shows with me: Girlfriend weekend in Miami, Cruise, and now the Holiday Special. She’s the best and I always love having her on because on top of everything — beauty, razor sharp wit — she’s a complete professional. I remember while shooting the cruise special I was at a loss for words due to being out in the sun all day. When I hesitated and then went blank she naturally took over and resumed the conversation. It was a small moment but I remember how grateful I was to be with someone who just knows how to keep the energy and pace going. We had a great time together helping sort coats for the NY Cares coat drive. Liz heads up a group and I helped last year so we thought it would be a nice addition to the show.
Another very nice addition to the show was the Indego Africa Fundraiser. Indego Africa is a non-profit that helps African women compete in the marketplace and alleviate poverty thru fair trade. I got to lend my speaking skills to the auction which I enjoyed until I was the thing being auctioned. I actually had to auction off a dance with me. Sometimes I think my producers hate me and just want me to wither in front of the camera. I started the bid at 25 cents. I believe a dance with me went for 80 dollars so I was happy and humiliated at the same time.
All in all both years of shooting this special-were just that …special. It was great to be home as it always is during a great time of year.
Happy Holidays Everyone!