Congratulations are in order tonight as Donny Osmond steps onto the stage at the Flamingo and receives “Happy Birthday” wishes from a theater filled with his fans! Yes, Donny is 51 today, and we send our greetings, too! Sister Marie tells me she has a couple of tricks up her sleeve tonight while they are performing to mark the happy occasion.
“I’ll get him a gift, but I will for sure poke fun at him,” she said. However, they will officially celebrate it on Saturday night with an end-of-the-week birthday cake party and an unexpected surprise that I’ve had just a little something to do with!
I’ll be chatting with Donny tomorrow about his birthday weekend and upcoming Christmas plans, but, in the meantime, I sat down with Marie to talk about her first Christmas in Las Vegas. Trying to keep Marie serious is a tough task because she’s always cracking jokes, zinging out one-liners and laughing with life. You never quite know what to expect from “Marie Mouth,” as I’ve affectionately nicknamed her, and she didn’t disappoint this time around, either:
Robin Leach: This is your first Christmas holiday in Vegas.
Marie Osmond: It’ll be my first Christmas since last year. Oh, OK, Robin, yes, my first Christmas in the desert. Back in Provo, there’s already snow on the ground, and I can drive 20 minutes and go to cabins and go skiing. However, I know Vegas has Mount Charleston nearby, but I’ve also been checking out what we can do here now that I live here full time.
RL: How will you actually spend Christmas Day?
MO: I will spend it lying on the floor dead. I am so tired. This has all been a whirlwind year for me. Last year at this time, I just finished Dancing With the Stars and an album right before that. I went right into my own Christmas show, then the DWTS tour, then from that to the anniversary Osmond family tour and launching that all over the world. I came back from that and three days later started rehearsing for this show with Donny at the Flamingo. This Christmas I will be able to enjoy life and take it easy.
The younger kids will go visit their father, and the older ones will hang out here in Vegas with me. We won’t go back to Utah, and we won’t spend it with Donny and his wife because I see enough of him on stage. (Marie laughs loudly!) We love Christmas. We put up the tree and do lots of Christmas things. We’ve even decorated our Flamingo theater. I am now aligned with a wholesale design company as a partner, so not only is the theater decorated, but my home is completely covered in amazing decorations. (Laughing again.) More amazing is that it’s at wholesale prices -- you have to come see it.”
We did the theater, but we didn’t decorate the stage because the stage is very black, white and chrome. As far as the stage, the only red thing on stage is Donny when he dances. (Laughing louder.) After our dance-off, I introduce him as the Bellagio fountain because the sweat is just pouring off him.
RL: What does Christmas personally mean to you?
MO: Christmas has always been synonymous with cheer and family, and we try to bring the spirit of Christ into it. One of the things I do: We always like to find a shelter somewhere and feed the homeless. We do those things that are not about gifts. My kids do get their gifts; they are probably spoiled, but not ridiculously. It is about serving others and remembering what it is. That is why I like to serve the homeless.
If Christmas falls on a Sunday, we will all go to church. But if not, then we go the Sunday before. My mass is the amount of children I have -- I’m joking! I do the turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving, and I make a mean bird! It sounds funny, but for Christmas I make pj’s for everybody. This year it is going to be flamingo-themed pajamas. We stay in our pajamas all day. Usually, we hang out in our pj’s the entire day because it is my time with my children. We’ll have an easy Christmas Day dinner, maybe just a ham. We don’t do anything fancy because that would be too much work, and it is my vacation, too.
The Christmas tree goes up, but because we go down to the shelter to feed the homeless, we always have that big meal two days before. (Laughing again.) I make the kids eat the popcorn chains, and I tell them that’s all you get. Christmas Day we really do breakfast foods because I don’t want dishes. I don’t want any hassle, so we really keep it simple.
We open the surprise pj’s on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas morning we start as early as the youngest children want to start -- and that’s even if it’s too early for us older ones. My youngest is 6 years old, and all my children still believe in Santa -- otherwise, they’d get nothing! I’ve actually done my Christmas shopping. I love the fact about Vegas I could go out at 4 in the morning and get it all done!
RL: What have you added to the Flamingo shows for the holidays?
MO: It is really hard to do an all-Christmas show because we have such a well-timed, well-orchestrated, wide-ranging show from pop to country to opera. We changed some of the songs for the season, like “It Takes Two” is now “It Takes 2 AA Batteries.” I’m kidding. I am not well. I’m “Leaving It All Up to You” is now “Leaving It All to the Last Minute.” Seriously, though, we do a Christmas song together to start and then Donny does one. If we gave the audiences all Christmas and left out our hits and favorites, I think they would be disappointed. You have to be very careful how you integrate holidays into a Vegas show. The dancers wear some fun holiday stuff, but you’re not catching me in a Santa suit.
RL: Have you settled happily now into Vegas?
MO: I am enjoying it. For me, as a single mom to have a place where I can settle down, is just the greatest. I had to make sure that in taking the additional two-year extension for the show, my other lined-up projects such as my talk show can still be done from right here. I am enjoying it, and where I am it doesn’t feel like Vegas. We are so close to the Grand Canyon. We’re always doing a small trip or go cart racing or something fun on a Monday when I’m off. My new book launches on Mother’s Day. That is the big push. Then it all goes to the talk show we’re going to do right here in Vegas five days a week starting in the summer.
I’m so happy we got another two-year run and an option for two more after that. With the economy the way it is, it is nice to know someone wants you around for a while. Our Flamingo President Don Marrandino is just a doll. He was so sweet the other night. He told us that our show is the one doing well right now; still selling out and still having people fly here from all over the world not once but two and three times! Yesterday even my manicurists told me they knew we are doing well because there were no comp tickets.
As you can see from the at-home photos of Marie’s holiday decorations, they are something special. She summed up for me: “The company is called Taipan. We have five large stores so far, and everything is like Anthropologie quality. They are incredible stores with incredible products, and you can find us online. But it is the pricing that is unbelievable! Even I love a bargain --and all of these are priced that way! It’s unbelievable!”
Once again, Happy Birthday, Donny! And an early Merry Christmas to Marie, too, from everybody at Vegas DeLuxe!