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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

My Magical December

December is my birth month and we've been doing a lot of magical things during that time. As you know by now, I'm a huge Potterhead. I follow the many Harry Potter events that travel. Years ago we went up to Seattle to see the Harry Potter Exhibition, because that was a close as it was coming to us in Portland. Last year, Yule Ball fell on my birthday. This year, I was lucky enough to have a birthday where I didn't have to work an event.

December is my birth month and we've been doing a lot of magical things during that time.  Here's what my last month has looked like.
Yule Ball Butterbeers!

Here's how magical my last month has been:

Harry Potter: Magic At Play

When I saw the Magic At Play coming to Seattle, I told Eric that's what I wanted for my birthday and he got us in the second day of the exhibit. For those of you not in the know, Magic At Play brings all the cool parts of Harry Potter to life through interactive sets and games. You enter through Privet Drive, which has a structure much like they have at a fast food play area. It's probably meant specifically for children, but that didn't stop us. We crawled in through the Dursley's fireplace, zig zagged up and across and down a fun slide. It's probably the most fun anyone ever had at Number 4. 

Inside, you visit Platform 9 3/4, "ride" the boat across the Black Lake to Hogwarts, enter the Great Hall, get sorted, learn spells, do potions, become a moving portrait, play Quidditch, ride a broom, cast a Patronus, visit The Burrow, walk through the Forbidden Forest, and enter the Triwizard maze. There are a lot of photo ops and it's pretty quick, since it's geared toward little people (yet there were a ton of adults there). We spent a little less than 2 hours walking through and then browsing their gift shop and then we went to get lunch and drove the 3 hours home. It was a great day.

Sweet Honeydukes Birthday

Since I come up with a new theme for every Harry Potter birthday party in July, and it takes me a good chunk of time to decorate the house, I transition it all through Halloween and Christmas. My birthday falls inside that time, so I give it a magical twist. This year we did a Honeydukes party, where I asked people to dress as something sweet. One came as a Pepper Imp, one a Chocolate Frog, another was Dots. It was a fun theme and we did a candy bracket, where I picked 16 of the best-selling candies in America and had people fill out a bracket to decide who they picked for #1, then I had people vote until we had a final winner. Spoiler: Reeses peanut butter cups are never going to lose. The person who had the most correct on their own bracket won a prize.

And what's a party without food and treats? Because it was a Honeydukes theme, I had to serve sweets, but I also did mini chicken and leek pies, veggie pies, toad in a hole, and onion tarts. Desserts consisted of Chocolate Frogs, Ice Mice, gingerbread cakes with peppermint icing, cranberry chocolate Christmas cakes, and mince pies, plus an assortment of other goodies, like candy canes, Hershey kisses, marshmallow gummies, shortbread stars, blue raspberry gumballs. As always, we had people guess how many Bertie Botts jelly beans were in a container, and the winner of that got to choose a mystery prize or the container. 

I dressed the tree in "gingerbread" holly leaves, cookies, macarons, peppermints, and topped it with a giant Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean box with cascading beans coming out of it, which I made myself with foam clay, then painted, and attached to wire lights, so they would look like they were coming out of the open box. Lockhart's "office" had cotton candy garland, and I also did a garland with Honeydukes candy boxes, and another with generic candy twists. 

Yule Ball

December isn't over until Yule Ball has popped off. This is the biggest fundraiser of PDXpelliarmus (the Portland chapter of Fandom Forward) and is always a ton of fun and a ton of work. We raise money for charity through ticket sales and raffle sales. This year, we completely ran out of tickets, because people were spending $40-80 to have a chance to win some amazing prizes, but also help our chosen charity, Friendly House, which helps support the elderly LGBTQ+ community in Portland. 

I helped set up in the morning, then went home, changed and then we both went back to run the raffle table while the feast was happening, dance a lot, made some new friends, took a lot of pictures, hung around to help tear everything down and pack it up, and then we hung out and had wine and cheese to decompress and talk about our feelings, which were almost entirely positive. So glad it's over, but also can't wait for next year.

Bonus: Sippin' On Sixth with Santa

Not Harry Potter magical, but Christmas magical. On my actual birthday, we had brunch at a Christmas pop-up called Sippin' Santa. It's a tiki pop-up restaurant that happens across the country where you can indulge in holiday-themed tiki drinks and even meet Santa. The food was fine, the drinks were great, the vibe was perfect, and we got our picture taken with tiki Santa and Mrs. Claus. I also went home with the most perfect Santa tiki mug. If you're looking to indulge in some tiki vibes during the coldest and rainiest/snowiest, part of the year, check out if there's one near you next year. They have special events throughout the month, like Ugly Sweater Party. I loved it.

I hope your December is also magical. What magical things have you been filling your life with right now?

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