365 AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS for 2021: The Holiday Island Birthday Party

(Photo from simplemost.com)

“Let’s get away from sleigh bells. Let’s get away from snow.

Let’s make a break this holiday, dear, I know the place to go.

How’d ya like to spend the holidays on Holiday Island?

How’d ya like to spend the holidays away across the sea?

How’d ya like to hang a stocking from a great, big coconut tree?”

Aloha! For this special week which begins on Christmas Day and ends New Year’s Eve, we’re in America’s favorite tropical paradise, Hawaii, for “The Holiday Island Birthday Party.” Our destination is The Royal Hawaiian Hotel for beachfront luxury on Waikiki in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. With a wink to the bright pink stucco, joy-giving architecture, this world-class hotel is called “The Pink Palace of the Pacific.”


You feel the joy the minute Jimmy Buffett strums “Christmas Island” on his ukulele, Mary Tyler Moore and Tiger Woods dance a playful hula and Donna Summer promises a disco-on-the-sands version of “Auld Lang Syne.”

HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The words attributed to these famous joy-givers come words they have written or said.)


Dec. 25—JIMMY BUFFETT (born James William Buffett on the Mississippi gulf coast) is a hard-working singer-songwriter who translated his laid-back persona into an extremely successful “island escapism” lifestyle brand. He is one of the world’s richest musicians with a net worth of $900 million. Buffett also owns the chain of “Margaritaville Café” restaurants.

His devoted followers, known as “Parrotheads,” help assure a Buffett concert includes these songs: “Margaritaville,” “Come Monday,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” and his hit duet which he recorder with country star Alan Jackson—“It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.”

Dec. 26—DAVID SEDARIS is a humorist, comedian, author and radio content contributor. He hit the “big time” when National Public Radio broadcast his essay “Santaland Diaries.” Much of his humor is ostensibly autobiographical and self-deprecating. Sedaris has contributed over 40 joyful essays to “The New Yorker” magazine and blog.

Dec. 27—MARLENE DIETRICH (born Marie Magdalene Dietrich in Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire) was a German American actress and singer. Her performing career ranged from the 1910s to the 1980s. Fraulein Dietrich performance as Lola-Lola in Josef von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel” brought her international stardom and a Hollywood film contract. Her films include: “Morocco,” “Dishonored,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Devil Is a Woman” and “Destry Rides Again.”

Dietrich was known for her joy-giving, humanitarian efforts during WWII, housing German and French exiles and even advocating for American citizenship. The American Film Institute ranks Dietrich as the ninth “greatest female screen legend of classic Hollywood cinema.”

Dec. 28—MARY TYLER MOORE could turn the world on with her big, beautiful, joy-giving smile. “The Guardian” magazine said “her outwardly bubbly personality and trademark broad, toothy smile disguised an inner fragility that appealed to an audience facing the new trials of modern-day existence.”

The actress and producer was widely known for her prominent sitcom roles in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She received seven Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.

Her film work included “Thoroughly Modern Mille” (1967) and “Ordinary People” (1980). Moorer was a tireless advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism and diabetes prevention.

Dec. 29—PAULA POUNDSTONE is a stand-up comedian, author, actress, interviewer and news commentator born in Huntsville, AL. Her observational humor and dry delivery have made her a popular podcast and radio star. She is currently a frequent panelist on the hit National Public Radio news quiz show, “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me.”

Her comedy works include: “Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard, “Wisecracks,” “Bravo’s Funny Girls” and “Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious.”

Dec. 30—TIGER WOODS (Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods) is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time and one of the most famous athletes in history. He has won 18 World Gold Championships. Woods was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dec. 31—DONNA SUMMER (LaDonna Adrian Gaines) was the “Queen of Disco.” The singer, songwriter, actress had 42 hit singles with 14 of those reaching “Billboard” magazine’s top ten. Her hits included: “Love to Love You, Baby,” “Hot Stuff,” “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls,” “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” and her version of “MacArthur Park.” She won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Here are a dozen fun lines from the “Disco Era:”

“Everybody get down tonight.”

“Can you dig it?”

“Put your boogie shoes on.”

“You’re so groovy.”

“Do The Hustle.”

“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA.”

“Break out the bell bottoms.”

“Stayin’ alive.”

“Meet me in Funkytown.”

“Forget the bouncing ball, follow the disco ball.”

“Funny bumpin’ into you. Do The Bump.”

“You’re just a bunch of funky chickens.”


“Breathe in, breathe out, move on…”—Jimmy Buffett

“Weird doors open. People fall into things.”—David Sedaris

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4:00 a.m. that matter.”—Marlene Dietrich

“I’m an experienced woman; I’ve been around…well, all right, I might not have been around, but I’ve been…nearby.”—Mary Tyler Moore

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.”—Paula Poundstone

“No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.”—Tiger Woods

“I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.”—Jimmy Buffett

“I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people, but still, I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.”—David Sedaris

“I do not think we have a ‘right’ to happiness. If happiness happens, say thanks.”—Marlene Dietrich

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.”—Mary Tyler Moore

“I get in fewer arguments when I’m alone.”—Paula Poundstone

“You hit a bad shot, you have to get over it right there and then so you can get focused on the next one.”—Tiger Woods

“It takes no more time to see the good side of life than to see the bad.”—Jimmy Buffett

“I’m the most important person in the lives of almost everyone I know and a good number of the people I’ve never met.”—David Sedaris

“Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.”—Marlene Dietrich

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”—Mary Tyler Moore

“I’m thankful for the three-ounce Ziploc bag, so that I have somewhere to put my savings.”—Paula Poundstone

“If you’re not nervous, it means you don’t care.”—Tiger Woods

“Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic but I had a good life all of the way.”—Jimmy Buffett

“He looked as though his life had not only passed him by but paused along the way to spit in his face.”—David Sedaris

“Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”—Marlene Dietrich

“Three things have helped me successfully go through the ordeals of life—an understanding husband, a good analyst and millions of dollars.”—Mary Tyler Moore

“The definition of adulthood is that you want to sleep.”—Paula Poundstone

“People don’t understand that when I grew up, I was never the most talented. I was never the biggest. I was never the fastest. I certainly was never the strongest. The only thing I had was my work ethic, and that’s been what has gotten me this far.”—Tiger Woods

“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”—Jimmy Buffett

“Their house had real, hardcover books in it, and you often saw them lying open on the sofa, the words still warm from being read.”—David Sedaris

“You’re never lonely with a book.”—Marlene Dietrich

“Diets are for those who are thick and tired of it.”—Mary Tyler Moore

“I’ve decided that perhaps I’m bulimic and just keep forgetting to purge.”—Paula Poundstone

“Never beat yourself up, because there are plenty of people who will do that for you.”—Tiger Woods


APPETIZER—Marlene Dietrich Blue Angel Blue-Cheese Bites (chowhound.com)

SOUP—Tiger Woods Tiger Shrimp and Tomato Soup (yummly.com)

ENTRÉE—Paula Poundstone Pineapple Chicken Skewers (delish.com)

SIDE DISH—Mary Tyler Moore Hawaiian Eggplant Musubi (cookeatshare.com)

BREAD—Donna Summer Cheesy Disco Potato Balls (food.com)

BEVERAGE—Jimmy Buffett Christmas Island Margaritas (see below)

DESSERT—David Sedaris Santaland Sugar Cookies (tasteofhome.com)

ONE TO GROW ON— “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness” by Paula Poundstone (Workman Publishing, 2018) has the comedy legend asking the age-old question—“Is there a secret to happiness? And if so, let’s share it.”  Offering herself as a human guinea pig, Poundstone jumps into a variety of experiences with both feet. Does any of it give her real joy? You’ll be laughing too much to give a laboratory rat’s hiney.

“The Holiday Island Birthday Party” entertainment had Mary Tyler Moore sharing behind-the-scenes holiday antics while filming her favorite yuletide episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”—“Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II.” In that evergreen classic tale, nose-to-the-grindstone Mary has to work not just on Christmas Eve, but through Christmas Day as well.

On a “tiki-torchlit” putt-putt golf course designed to look like David Sedaris’ “Santaland,” Tiger Woods coached Paula Poundstone to a win as Jimmy Buffett made his famous Christmas Island Margaritas and serenaded all with holiday songs.

A serious and soul-lifting moment came when Buffett gently strummed “Silent Night” on his guitar and Marlene Dietrich sang the beloved Christmas carol in the original German.

Donna Summer, who was born on New Year’s Eve, ended the evening with a disco version of “Auld Lang Syne.” The words come from a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert Burns and the non-Disco, traditional tune was written in 1799. On YouTube, you’ll find disco concoctions of many classical works from Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” to The Bells hit with “Auld Lang Syne.” Please raise your cup of kindness and join the holiday island revelers in this last salute of the year to “365 AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS for 2021:”

“Should old acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot

And old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

For auld lang syne.”

ALOHA! MERRY CHRISTMAS! And, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all from Holiday Island!!

                                   JIMMY BUFFETT CHRISTMAS ISLAND MARGARITAS


Crushed ice

3 lime wedges

2 ounces gold Tequila

½ ounce white Tequila

1 ¼ ounces Rose’s lime juice

½ ounce Triple Sec liqueur

1 splash orange Curanao liqueur


Put all ingredients except the three lime wedges in a shaker. Squeeze two of the lime wedges into the shaker. SHAKE WELL! Rim outside of a glass only with lime. Salt only the outside of the glass. Add fresh crushed ice to glass. Strain mixture over ice. Squeeze remaining wedge in glass. MERRY CHRISTMAS from CHRISTMAS ISLAND!


Ben South