Category Archives: Christmas

Extraordinary Merry Christmas part 4: Gifts From The Grinch!

Welcome back! Today on The Chatterbox Blog, I want to share a tradition that my wife and I started in our family… the tradition of gifts from The Grinch!

Now first and foremost, this only works if you have people in your family who can take a joke well. If not, then you run the risk of causing a big fight on Christmas and what fun is that?

The beauty of Grinch Gifts is the fact that you can be Naughty or Nice or Both. Included with the gift, we usually write a rhyming paragraph explaining what and/or why they are getting this specific gift from old Grinchy Claus! Below are some examples and ideas for you to use.

Socks with Green Pine Tree Air Fresheners taped or sewn around them (fun gift to give to a pre-teen girl)…

It’s always fun to pick on somebody saying that they have smelly feet… it’s just kind of a Grinchy thing to do.

Regular socks and underwear

Kids and Adults always need new socks and underwear. It’s a necessity, so why not make it fun for them to open? Actually, my daughter is getting underwear from The Grinch this year. She’s been potty training recently and made a killer break through so she’s going to get them from The Grinch.

Ziplock Bag of Water

This would come with a letter explaining that it is a snowball. When I did this one, I goofed and froze the snowball too much or I didn’t give it enough time to actually melt so I actually gave my wife’s cousin an actual snowball.

Sour Candies

We’re talking like a Warhead styled candy for the kids to eat and make silly faces.

Reindeer, Santa, or Snowmen Pooper Candy Dispenser

My wife had already gotten one of these from me each year for Christmas. From the time we were dating to today, she gets them still. In the actual cartoon, when The Grinch slides down the toybag he says “Poo Poo to the Whos!” which is something you can use in your letter with the gift. I still laugh when he says it. Yes, I’m mentally 5 years old!

Grinch Ornament/Gift Item

A nice gift would be to give out Grinch merchandise. There are tons of it during this season that you could use almost anything… Shirts, Hats, Shoes, Ornaments, Village Pieces, Figurines, Stationery sets, etc. They make tons of stuff to sell. Typically what we do is buy a bunch of it when it goes on clearance on New Year’s Day (That’s when all the 75% off clearances take place).


So there you have it! You can start a family tradition of your own in Grinch gifts this year! If you do please share. I’m always looking for new Grinchy ideas. I’ll be sure to post how ours turned out this year. I can’t put too much details on here because I know there are family members that read this and we simply can’t spoil the Grinch gifts… what fun would that be? Until next time… if you can’t be good, then be naughty this Christmas!




Extraordinary Merry Christmas part 3: My Most Memorable Gift

Welcome back for another one of my Christmas offerings. Today I want to talk about the most memorable gift I had ever received as a child.

For some people, they received Puppies, BB Guns, Bicycles, or even Cars but for me it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Duelin’ Dudes!

As you could tell, this is a repackaging of Rockem Sockem Robots decked out in Ninja Turtle form. How cool! Over the years, I’ve seen some pretty cool variations of this game like Terminator vs. T-1000, He-Man vs. Skeletor, Spongebob vs. Sandy (Karate Battle), and so on. This one was the coolest to a 7-year-old back in 1991.

I remember how it played out for me that Christmas like it was yesterday. Every day after school, I’d come home to watch a line up of cartoons with one of them being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I believe my brother was more into them than I actually was, but they would play the commercial (posted above) during every break and the suspense of being able to ask for this for Christmas was building! As soon as it was time to sit down for writing a letter to Santa, I wrote that I really wanted this for Christmas. A couple of weeks later, I got a letter back from Santa saying how Santa may not be able to bring me this gift because of some unforseen circumstance (I can’t quite remember EXACTLY why). I remember feeling sad about it, but my world wasn’t over. I think I still held out hope that Santa would be bringing this for me. He would find a way to get it for me!

On Christmas morning, there were tons of gifts around the tree (as always) and we begin to dig in. One by one, I opened many great gifts and after unwrapping all of the gifts, I did not receive Duelin’ Dudes. I don’t think I was destroyed over this, but my Dad ended up staging a scene where he made quite a bit of commotion in my their bedroom for me to come in there and he was pulling a black garbage bag in from outside the window… Santa had left a gift outside. Sure enough, it was my Duelin’ Dudes! I was so excited and so happy! Some of the details may be a little exaggerated, but this is what I remember from about 20 years ago. Best… Christmas… Ever!

Sadly over time, the fun of Duelin’ Dudes came to an end. You need 2 people to play this game and my brothers or my parents weren’t as excited to own this as I was. They all had their own new toys, games, and gadgets to play with as well. Then, one of the arm mechanisms stopped working and eventually was trashed all together. I’d love to own one of these again just for display and an occasional round of fights when my wife insists on playing a game that only she can win.

Flash forward 20 years and I now have a little one of my own. She is only 3 this year, but I can tell the suspense for Santa’s arrival this Saturday night is reaching its max capacity. She’s still too little to know quite exactly that she wants a certain item for Christmas, but there some things she likes. She asked Santa this year for a Rapunzel (from the movie Tangled) doll and has mentioned to Mommy and I that she wants the Batcave (The new light up imaginext Batcave that lights up). This kid is not too picky at all when it comes to toys. She loves Rapunzel, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Puppies, Batman, Cars, Rudolph, Clifford, Thor, Toy Story and the list goes on and on and on with this kid. So at this point in our Christmas excursions, we have yet to have a Christmas Season where she asks for one item and one item that she puts all of her hope into for the season. Things are much easier these days than it was back when I was tiny. You can buy almost anything online these days. Can’t find Furby or Tickle Me Elmo? BAM! ebay for 5 to 10 bucks more than you would pay in store. Lalaloopsy dolls are popular this year… can’t find the one your kid wants? BAM! ebay for 10 bucks and it’ll be here in 3 days! Things weren’t as easy to come by as they are today. There were no websites for black friday ads, no cyber-monday sales, and definitely no ebay! Things were great for me growing up. I don’t ever remember being disappointed on Christmas day! Life was and still is pretty freaking awesome!

In closing, I am truly grateful that my Christmases were full of love and fun. I understand very well that I am very lucky to have had the privilege of having great Holidays that some kids never had the chance to have.

 I would love to hear your holiday memories… both good and bad. Please be sure to subscribe and leave a comment!

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Extraordinary Merry Christmas part 2: My Most Wanted List!

Thank you for coming back to The Chatterbox Blog! It’s nice to be writing again. This season has been ridiculously busy! Add in a case of strep throat and you’re booked solid!

Today, I’m resuming my Christmas postings with my Holiday Most Wanted List! To provide some background on myself, I like to collect various items. Most of these items are toys and decorations, but I find myself really wanting these things… for a really low price (maybe one or two of my readers has these items and would love to part ways with them for a reasonable price or free?) Starting with number 5…

5) Major Award Leg Lamp From “A Christmas Story”

“Do you know what this is? This… is… a Lamp!”

Growing up, A Christmas Story has always been a staple in our Christmas celebrations so naturally, the “Major Award” is as much of an icon to me as a stocking or a wreath.

A little under 10 years ago, a company started reproducing the leg lamps and marketing them for Christmas to coincide the opening of A Christmas Story House and Museum. If you’re interested, check out for the info. It’s located in Cleveland, Ohio and is the house where the majority of the outside scenes were shot (biggest part of the movie was shot on a soundstage in Canada). I’ll be posting this week on my many visits to A Christmas Story House. The deluxe versions of these come with their own Fragggeeelay crate (HIS END UP, of course) for storing if you decide not to leave it up all year round.

Just because it is number 5 on my list, doesn’t mean it’s not important… they are just more common to come by than the other items.


4) The Grinch’s “I ❤ Christmas” Sweater


I’ve seen some pretty good customized ones online, but I don’t believe this was ever mass-produced. If anybody really knows me, then you should know that I have an odd fascination with ugly Christmas sweaters. I can’t explain why, but I think it adds to the joy of the season when you wear something as silly as this. I may attempt to recreate my own in the off-season, but this is definitely on my radar. It’s ugly, yet stylish (if that makes any sense). I don’t care so much if it lights up (it’ll be harder to wash that way), but everything else I want. If by chance one of my readers would be able to recreate one of these for me, I’ll be forever grateful!



3) Animated Bing Crosby “White Christmas” Doll

“We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny freaking Kaye.”

Yeah, White Christmas is what Clark is referring to during one of his many tantrums.

Over the years, I’ve always loved Bing Crosby’s Christmas albums. Growing up, I remember hearing White Christmas on the radio almost everyday from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I happened to catch it on one of the old movie channels (they usually play alot of Elvis’ movies) and have been watching it yearly ever since!

This is probably the cheapest item on my list. I’ve seen it on ebay where people are asking $20 to $40 for. It’s not really a bad price, but you never know how the thing works.  Some of the arms wear out and stop working… an easy fix, but not something you want to pay $40 for when you can possibly find these at an auction or flea market. I’m patiently waiting for this one.






2) Turbo Man Action Figure/Doll from “Jingle All The Way”

“It’s Tuurbotime!”

This has become one of my favorite Christmas movies over the years for a number of reasons. The first reason is Arnold’s broken english. It’s hard to imagine him as a family man in this and then when he tells Phil Hartman’s character to “POOOT DAT COOOKIE DOWWN… NOW!” it definitely gives off a sense of Kindergarten Cop “It’s nod a tooma!” The second reason is Phil Hartman! He was such a funny guy and he didn’t have to do a whole lot to be funny. It makes me very sad that he’s no longer with us. Lastly, the madness of it all. I’m a black friday faithful who braves the crowds and knows how chaotic it can be, so I have an appreciation for the amplified version of the crowds are in the shopping scenes. Sinbad’s character pepper sprayed somebody… DID ANYBODY HEAR IN THE NEWS WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR? It blows my mind!

I just happened to have some time on my hands and did a search to see if I could find one of the actual movie props from this movie and I found out that Tiger actually manufactured these in 1996. People are trying to squeeze a couple hundred bucks out of these and they’re not going to get it from me. Someday I will own one and will have to go on the search for Booster and Dementor.



1) Airblown Inflatable Sam The Snowman (Burl Ives Snowman from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer CBS special)

This little gem came out I believe as one of the original or 2nd year inflatables before the fad really caught on and every generic company started producing them. These were $49.99 when they originally came out and were only available once! At the time, I didn’t have my own home and really nowhere to put it, so I passed. They never released it again. I don’t know if it’s an issue with Burl Ives’ estate or what, but there hasn’t been one since.

To me, this is the absolute best representation of a specific character (besides maybe Mickey and Spongebob) that has been made. The Bumble has gigantic Bumble Boobies, Rudolph has thunder thighs, and The Grinch is the new cartoon styling which is terrible! I’m impressed with the detail on this one. It comes complete with raised eyebrows and facial hair. Each year that I don’t own this, it makes me sad. Maybe next year, I will bite the bullet and purchase through ebay ($200-$300). Even if they do re-release Sam The Snowman, it will not be the same as the original one… mark my words.


Honorable Mention…



Christmas With The California Raisins (CD or Vinyl Album)

I remember my parents buying this cassette at a Kmart back when I was very little. I don’t even think I was in school yet, that’s how little I was. My brothers and I listened to this non-stop long past Christmas. I’m not sure what happened to the cassette, but the last time I remember seeing it, it looked thoroughly used. I found the CD once in stores and bought it! However my oldest brother was the only one with a CD player at the time, so it was either given to him as a gift or was picked up for him and I was paid back for it. Regardless, I don’t own the actual album. I believe the CD is now out of print. I have a copy of it, but would still purchase the album in a heartbeat (buy your Music, kids!). I also think it would be cool to own the vinyl album of this. I think if I were to ever obtain this, I would purchase other Christmas albums and frame them to display at Christmas… albums like Elvis Christmas, Bing Crosby White Christmas, etc. that would look pretty slick on display like that.

So there you have it! These are the items I would love to have and am still on the hunt for. If you know of anybody that has these and would be willing to part ways with them, I would be forever grateful!

Coming up in 2012, I will be continuing with The Chatterbox Blog, but I will be doing an all new blog featuring Toys and Merchandise from Yesterday, Today, and Tomrrow! Be on the lookout and if you have any items you want me to cover, please feel free to contact me through twitter @Chatterbox4REAL or you can e-mail me at! This has been an incredibly long blog, but fun. Enjoy!


Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)



Chatterbox Black Friday Tips!


I have been a loyal Black Friday shopper for many years now. To put it into video game speak, if Black Friday were Call of Duty, I would be 5 times prestige mode… many years under my belt! This year, I decided to share some of my most precious tips on how to have a successful Black Friday shopping experience.

1) Grab a couple of the 5 hour energy drinks and use them! With most of the stores opening up at 10pm or Midnight on Thanksgiving, some may feel the need to load up on coffee or those tall energy drinks! The party rule comes into play here. As soon as you break the seal and start going to the bathroom, you will be visiting the bathroom at every store, while other people are snarfing up the doorbuster deals!

2) Bring a chair and a blanket. More than likely, you’ll be in a line waiting outside for a good couple of hours. I’d say to get a decent spot in line, get to your top priority store 2 hours early and bring something to entertain you (ipod touch, DS, etc.). It’s going to be a long time, so might as well be comfortable. I would also suggest bringing somewhat disposable blankets/chairs. I have a set that was originally put in a garage sale, but now I use these solely for Black Friday. Seeing how you don’t want to bring it into the store with you when you go, you can park it outside and you have a good chance for somebody NOT to steal it. You will more than likely have to dump trash out of it when you come out though. That is a given. People are jerks.

3) Plan your route ahead of time! I like to take a lot of back roads in order to make right turns into the parking lots of the stores. You always have somebody who has no business being out of the house stopping in the middle of an intersection and holding everything up. If you can make a right turn, do it!

4) Schmooze with people in line! You’re usually stuck there for a couple of hours with people and sometimes this can be used in your favor. I’ve had it go both ways where I had a parent tell me something they are looking for and I happen to be in front of them to grab the last one to hand to them. Not only does it work the other way at times, but it just feels good to do something nice. After all, the Christmas season officially starts on Black Friday and Santa IS watching you!

5) Lastly, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t find the DVDs or CDs you’re looking for at places like Best Buy and Target… WalMart is price matching all items that they have in stock. What I typically do is find a lonely Walmart in a quiet area (not so much in a town with a Mall or other stores) and do my entire price matching there. It’s actually easier than fighting the crowd in some of these stores.
That officially wraps up this edition of Breaking Down Black Friday! If you do decide to go out, be safe and remember to have a good time. I don’t want to read any reports of fighting or deaths… I MEAN IT!

Save Room 4 Love (and Christmas Spirit),

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice

Lanny and Wayne are at it again with ABC’s new half-hour special “Naughty vs. Nice” set to premiere December 5th!

The sequel to the original hit will feature a couple of new elves… including a member of the Coal Bucket Brigade; Wayne’s estranged brother Noel. Noel is called upon as the naughty child expert when the North Pole is hacked and their super top-secret information is compromised. This one looks to be a little more chaotic than the last one, but we’re totally looking forward to it in my house!

For me, Prep & Landing is a throwback to the Christmas Specials that were on when I was a kid. Growing up, all of our favorite cartoons had some kind of Holiday special… whether it was for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. These days, a lot of production companies aren’t even bothering to produce Christmas specials. I don’t know if they don’t make any money or what, but I’m certainly grateful that Disney keeps giving us installments of Prep & Landing.

Speaking of Prep & Landing…

Make sure you pick up the Prep & Landing DVD set to release on November 22nd. This features the original Prep & Landing special as well as the animated short, “Operation: Secret Santa”. There might be some special release giveaways with this one, but if not and you don’t want to pay $14.99 for it, then you can snag it from Toys ‘R’ Us on Black Friday for $9.99. Can’t really beat that for a quality Christmas Special. I think that wraps it up for this edition. Be sure to follow me on twitter @Chatterbox4REAL

Save Room 4 Love,

Brad (The Chatterbox)

Christmas 2011 Part 1: Knowing when is appropriate to start decorating.

Welcome back and sorry it’s been so long since my last post! Today I’m talking about a very special time of year. A time when (for the most part) people are a little more friendly to each other… when adults (like myself) turn into big kids again… I’m talking about Christmas!

This year, I had been completely overlooking Halloween to get to this moment. Like a General, I had my plan of attack on decorating for Christmas. Sometimes (in my house), decorating for Christmas feels like a war zone. We have acquired so many decorations over the years, it’s almost too difficult to find a good starting place. Last night, I put on my all time favorite Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story” and put up my village to match (as seen above). It’s a pretty great start!

Earlier in the day, my wife helped solved a minor problem with my daughter asking if Santa had come the night before…

Amber decided to make a tear away countdown chain for Zoe to rip on off each day. Orange and Brown are the ones counting before Thanksgiving and the Green and Red are for Christmas… obviously. In this, Zoe will now be able to see how many days are left until Christmas Day! Very creative idea on my wife’s part. Props to her for that because I thought I was going to have to explain daily to Zoe that Santa doesn’t come until Christmas which is almost 2 months away. We did have a funny conversation about cookies the other night, though…

We were sitting at the dinner table and we brought up for desert, we would bake some cookies for her. She then asked if we were going to bake some for Santa Clause. I told her that they would be hard and yucky by then and Santa likes his Chocolate Chip cookies slightly under-baked with a tall glass of milk LOL! She seemed to understand… *Fingers crossed*

In closing, the reason why I start getting Christmas out so early is because we have so much of it that it takes a while. I’ve never been able to have it completed before Thanksgiving. For the past couple of years, Amber and I have been on a quest for lazy December where we basically loaf around and watch Christmas movies while eating snacks lol. For now, that pretty much wraps it up for my part 1 edition of Christmas 2011. Be sure to check back this month and next month because I’ll be posting quite a bit! I’ll be talking about music, movies, decorations, candy, cookies, A Christmas Story House, anonymous Grinch gifts, Bronners, and more!