A Few More of My Favorite Things


It’s nearly Christmas Eve – my favorite day of the year. The wonderful combination of childhood anticipation of things to come, paired with the adult relief of a few days off, is total bliss. Around our house it’s time for old movies, sing-along music, and special foods.

Last Christmas we were in the midst of selling our tiny condo on St. Simons Island, Georgia (Basecamp Gallivance #1) so that we could move closer to our families in Lexington, Kentucky and establish Basecamp Gallivance #2. Consequently, Christmas was a very quiet affair.

But this year we are ready to party! We’ve returned from our travels in the Balkans and we’re so excited to celebrate the holidays in our little Lexington townhouse.

You may remember that although we’re pretty minimalist in our possessions, we do collect special Christmas ornaments from our travels. There are just three requirements: they must be sturdy, lightweight, and fairly flat. And with our nod to simple living, the whole collection has to fit in a shoe box. Just click on any image for a slide show and behind-the-scenes details.

So while you’re drifting off to visions of sugar plums, I’ll leave you with our favorite mashup of old dance movies and great, modern music. We promise you’ll smile like crazy, and we dare you to not tap your feet. A big shout out and thank you to our talented brother-in-law Keith for introducing us to this cool-beyond-cool video. Sweet dreams and Merry Christmas.

Terri & James

Sue's Deer Ornament
This beautiful deer is my newest addition from my artistic sister, Susan. Thanks so much, Sue! 🙂

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

65 thoughts

  1. Merry Christmas to you two! Wishing you the most beautiful and peaceful of holiday seasons and an inspired, adventure-filled New Year! xo

    1. Aww Liz, thanks so much. And Merry Christmas to you two … too! I’m sure there are many Nordic traditions you’re enjoying, both old and new. Do you have any favorites? ~Terri

  2. Love your slideshow, the reindeer is my favorite. An amazing job with the mashup. I wonder how many hours and hours it took them to compile the footage? Wishing you the merriest Christmas in Lexington!

    1. Thanks Laura! That little reindeer makes me wish I knew how to do origami. And James and I can’t stop watching the mashup because we see something new each time. At first we just thought it was the dancing timed to the beat, but then we realized that the dancers are often saying the same lines in the song – particularly “so hot!” Glad you enjoyed it. How are you and Steve celebrating this year? ~Terri

      1. We are having a very quiet Christmas. No gifts, we decided to keep socking away the funds so perhaps we can begin our Waldo journey a little sooner.

  3. What a wonderful collection of ornaments!! Not only are they beautiful and unique, but they have the added attraction of triggering travel memories at the same time .. my kind of perfect souvenir 🙂

    Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year!

    1. Joanne, our Christmas promises to be rainy with not a flake in sight. This record heat has confused us and most of Terri’s spring bulbs, but it won’t dampen our Christmas spirits. Best wishes for a fun, relaxing, and healthy Christmas and New Year. ~James

    1. Thanks Tess. We’ve gotten very selective about our ornaments, and the result is that every year decorating the tree is a wonderful walk down memory lane. Thanks for continuing to follow along and best wishes to you for a happy Christmas and fun New Year. ~James

  4. Love the collection of ornaments! Like you, I have watched this mash up a number of times. Here is another fun version for you to check out! Merry Christmas!

    1. I love it, Lynn! Thank you, thank you. it’s so fun to see both versions. I can’t believe how many of those movies I’ve seen. So glad they managed to work in Mrs. Doubtfire. Have a marvelous Christmas. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Thanks Dorothy. We don’t have anything on the calendar yet, but with all the Christmas downtime, we always come up with a few ideas. All the best to you for a relaxing holiday and a 2016 filled with fun. ~James

    1. Leslie, you totally nailed it – “the sheer joy of dance.” Did you see the alternate version up above that Lynn posted? Also wonderful. I loved your feature on the Christmas Special Album and reminder to look back on things with a child’s eye. Hope you have a fantastic Christmas. ~Terri

  5. We’ve been collecting ornaments for our tree ever since we began traveling together and I’m proud to say that the tree is now densely adorned — and it measures seven feet! Does this mean we must quit traveling, or just get a bigger tree? Merry Christmas from Basecamp Portland!

    1. As you know Tom, ornaments are the perfect travel collectible: small, lightweight, inexpensive, and they make a great reminder for past travels. And I can tell you that Terri would say a bigger tree. All the best for you and Louise in the coming year. ~James

  6. Completely off the topic, but have we ever discussed St Simons?!? I did not know you had lived there (I don’t think … maybe I’m losing it). My parents live there and my brother and we have a condo there also! We don’t get there enough, but I’m hoping to someday spend more time enjoying it. How long did you live there? (Oh, and thanks for the Christmas favorites and have a great holiday season!)

    1. Funny we haven’t discussed SSI Lexie, but we lived there 3 years. We had just finished an RTW and since we didn’t have a home at the time, we went to SSI for a furnished apartment rental. We weren’t looking to buy, but we stumbled onto a great deal on a fixer-upper condo and bought it. If you’d like to know more about it, we did beau coup posts on SSI and the renovation. Just search St. Simons and Basecamp Gallivance on our blog. How long have your parents been there? ~James

      1. I will go back and read about that time! My parents have been there semi-permanently for about 15-20 years now, although they went for the winter months for a while before that. We have owned various small condos over the years for about the same time period. We live in Chicago so it’s tough to get enough use out of it … some day maybe!

  7. Scrooges that we are we gave our special ornaments to friends and family to carry on the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree but I do believe we may have to start a collection like yours. Each year that you unpack your shoebox mut bring back a flood of wonderful places seen and people met. Merry Christmas! Anita and Richard

    1. Anita and Richard, I think it’s so cool you gave your ornaments to friends and family to enjoy. We used to have scads of ornaments that we no longer have, but ours were all stolen in a slate-wiper burglary (long story). That eye-opening experience made us realize we could get by with very few possessions. Now our little shoe box holds fond travel memories … and we keep it simple … just like the two of you. Feliz Natal y Feliz Ano Nova to you, too. ~Terri & James

    1. Isn’t this video fabulous. It’s the ultimate catchy song, and someone spent a huge amount of time working out the video/music timing and editing. All the best to you and Don for a happy Christmas and a wonderful 2016. ~James

  8. Dave and I just watched the video and yes lots of toe tapping on this end. What fun! I do remember your ornament collection. It’s a late start but we picked up some wee ornaments in Peru this year.
    Sending our very best wishes through the holidays and in the year ahead. Hopefully one day our paths will cross in person. 🙂

    1. Sue, one of our all-time favorite ornaments came from Peru when our great friend adopted her daughter from there. It’s a tiny, red-cheeked baby swaddled in traditional embroidered cloth. A precious memory for sure. I hope that your wee Peruvian ornaments conjure wonderful memories for you both – what an adventure that was! 🙂 Wishing, you, Dave and your family a fabulous holiday and glorious New Year. Are you heading south after the holidays? ~Terri

      1. Terri we are headed to Mexico on Christmas Day with our family! So happy to celebrate with then on the beach. We will raise a cerveza to you and James. All the very best in 2016!

    1. Merry Christmas to you, too, Ina! I love your wish for “countless wonderful moments” – that’s what life’s all about! James and I wish you peace and happiness for the coming year. All our best, Terri & James

  9. I didn´t bring any of my ornaments with me to Spain. (and I had collected some very special ones) I left them with my daughter. So we had to start over. I also love tree ornaments from other countries. You have a fabulous collection. Felize Navidad from Spain. Enjoy your Christmas!!

    1. I’m sure that you miss your special ornaments, but this clean slate gives you the chance to restock. Ornament shopping is always a fun and easy thing for us to do on the road, and it makes for great travel memories. All the best for a happy, fun, and relaxing holiday and 2016. ~James

    1. Merry Christmas Anne Lene, I’m so glad to meet you! Glad that you enjoyed the video. I love the concept behind your blog because we have many things in common – small home and the desire for minimalism. I’m looking forward to reading more. Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year! All the best, Terri

  10. I love black and white old movies and these colection is fab, very cool indeed with the modern twist. My favourite of course is “Gilda” (1946), but I loved them all. I am sure you will have a great Christmas in your new home and you little ornaments are adorable. We are spending Christmas in Edinburgh with the Scotish family. Have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Gilda, I was hooked from the very beginning because as a kid I was a tap dancer. I just loved the “crispness” of it! 🙂 Ahh Edinburgh, one of our favorite places to visit when we lived in London. Will there be snow? Hope you have a very Merry Christmas. ~Terri

  11. What a magical way to decorate your Christmas tree! I love Uptown Funk. I dance my way to fitness in a Zumba class each week listening to Uptown Funk! Merry Christmas you two!

    1. That’s wonderful, LuAnn! James and I were just talking about you this morning and BAM! here you are. 🙂 You made our day. We miss you and wish you and Terry a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Are you in California now? ~Terri

      1. Oh, that’s so exciting, LuAnn. I can’t wait to hear where you choose to go. Please let us know your decisions, and if there’s any way we can help. Happy New Year, T&J

  12. Each one of those ornaments, a memory! 🙂 I’m glad you’re back with family for the festive season. That’s mostly what Christmas is about, isn’t it? Thanks for the memories 🙂 Surprising how well that music works. Have a fantastic year in 2016!

    1. Many thanks, Jo. I love your daughter’s gorgeous ornaments – she’s building some great memories there. 🙂 Are you traveling for the holidays, or staying close to home? Wishing you all the very best in the New Year. ~Terri

  13. Great video – thanks for sharing! Christmas ornaments which conjure up memories are special and you have some beauties there. Hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2016.

    1. So glad that you enjoyed the video – it just makes us smile every time we watch it. 🙂 And on a personal note, we’ve been talking with each other for so long, we were wondering if you share your name? If not, that’s OK. Wishing you all the very best in the New Year. ~Terri & James

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