As a longtime fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and current fan of How I Met Your Mother, it was a a thrill to be able to interview Alyson Hannigan. Right after our talk I tweeted that the interview was delightful with extra delight. And I’m no liar, buddy! (I mean, maybe I’ll fib about eating the last piece of pie…sure). I came away from our talk  feeling even more love and respect for Hannigan because she exudes the warmth of spirit you can always appreciate, but especially try to find during the holiday season. It’s no mystery to me why they selected her as a spokeswoman for a holiday gift finder!

alyson hannigan peyton manning

If you’re a TV-lover than you’ve probably seen Hannigan’s commercial with Peyton Manning for the Priceless Mastercard Gift Finder. It’s a handy little tool that makes it easy to select a gift for someone once you input just a few crucial details about them. There’s actually behind the scenes footage that you absolutely must-watch for the adorableness quotient: Watch the Behind-the-Scenes of the Hannigan/Manning TV Spots

Being a captivating spokeswoman isn’t all she does, oh no. Hannigan also stars as Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). This fan favorite show has reached it’s 100th episode (no small feat).  And because good things come in groups of threes, Alyson will also soon be celebrating her first Christmas as a mom with her daughter Satyana and husband Alexis Denisof (Angel the series).

I talked with Hannigan about her most memorable Christmas gifts from her younger years, who in the HIMYM cast is the most difficult to shop for, and – if you can believe it – the apocalypse! (I think this means all Buffy fans have to take a shot…of cocoa!)

Small Screen Scoop (SSS): Oprah is reportedly not doing a “Favorite Things” episode this year, so would you share with us what items might be in an episode of “Alyson’s Favorite Things”?

Alyson Hannigan (AH):  Wait, I have to process that Oprah’s not doing it! That’s devastating. She ends her show…now she’s not doing “Favorite Things”… This is gonna be why 2012 is the apocalypse.

SSS: You can save it, you can save it!

AH: Okay, my favorite things… I would love to take over her “My Favorite Things”… There would have to be cupcakes. Cupcakes are a must. Oh, boy… there is a long list… I’d have to really think about it. But there would be a lot of favorite things. The flip video is pretty awesome – the little whoosh-whoosh [thing]. I could go on and they could help me find good things. I could shop for myself.

alyson hannigan pic

SSS: I was actually going to ask you – have you plugged in your own information into the Mastercard Priceless Gift Finder, and if so – did you like what they suggested as gifts for you?

AH: Well, I didn’t try shopping for myself yet, but maybe I will now. I kind of cheated, because I wanted to see all of our commercials that we shot for all the funny, bad gift ideas. So, I kept just making up people that I was shopping for. Like, ‘I’m going to shop for my cousin, and ooh, he’s a free spirit’ just to see what would pop up. I have this thing about… I should be eager to do it, but to have your Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving just bugs me. Because then you have to brag to other people. So I wait until at least December to do my shopping.


When I go home I can do it all on and I’ll use my Mastercard so I get my mp3 downloads, and I’m gonna be set. I won’t have that panic – because I am one of those last-minute Christmas shopper people. It will be great for me to have somebody else make all the choices. Because when I get to the store and it’s December 10th or whatever, and I’m shopping and I’m like aaah [there’s so much]…and then I only find stuff for me… So this will really be great.

When I get home I will plug in myself and see how good the gift selections are. I bet they’re great.

SSS: Now, is your husband difficult to shop for, or not so much?

AH: Sometimes he’s difficult and sometimes he’s easy. I know that’s a very vague answer but it really depends. Like, last year he was easy because the Kindle came out. And I was like, that’s a great gift for him. But that’s why I need to go online for this gift finder and they can show me.

Right now I’m sort of out of the loop because I’m in babyville. So I don’t know all the new gadgets and stuff that have come out in the last year. So, they can tell me, and then I can pick form the perfect selections. It’ll make it much easier.

alyson himym

SSS: You have an adorable cat, are you someone who buys their cat a lil’ something for Christmas? (Editor’s note: I asked about her cat moreso than her dogs because I have a sassy lil’ cat and am totally biased! I held back from mentioning Miss Kitty Fantastico of BTVS fame.)

AH: Oh, yea. I always do that. I do the dog stockings and the cat stocking. And now the baby stocking. The cat never really cares about her stocking, ’cause the dogs are really excited about theirs. She likes it later. But I always try to get something to dangle out of the stockings so she can play with it in the middle of the night when the dogs are sleeping.

SSS: How would you describe the state of your mind from when Buffy reached its one-hundredth episode vs. reaching the one-hundredth episode of How I Met Your Mother?

AH: That’s a good question… I think with Buffy we were just so exhausted from doing such long hours that we didn’t even really get to process it that much. I remember during lunch they brought out the cake and took some pictures, and I don’t think we even had time to finish the piece of cake that we got before we had to go back to work. And this time I was like, ‘I’m getting my cake. I know I didn’t get my cake last time, so I earned this cake.’ I was really possessive over my piece of cake.

Although, I think that because the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother was so big it was kind of similar to Buffy where I did get to eat the whole piece of cake but I was on set when I did it -like in the bar scene. Just sort of scrounging my cake.

SSS: Who in the cast of How I Met Your Mother do you think would be the most difficult to buy for?

AH: Oooh, that’s a good question. Probably Neil (Patrick Harris). Because he…I don’t know. He’s just…he has a lot of…I don’t know how to phrase it. The stuff he wants? He gets. He’s hard to shop for. He’s sort of pickier than everybody else.

I think Jason’s (Segel) easy to shop for, and he’s just so appreciative if you give him anything. So he’s a good gift receiver. It doesn’t matter if he already whatever you’ve give him and he just grateful that you’ve given him anything. And because Neil is Neil, you really wanna get it right. And it puts more pressure on it.

the cast of himym

SSS: Now I’m going to ask you to think back – what were some of the big Christmas gifts that you asked for as a child or teenager?

AH: I definitely remember getting the bicycle. That was big. I really wanted a purple bike with a unicorn that was on the seat, and it had a basket. And I really, really wanted that and I asked my Dad for it. And that year I woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning and snuck downstairs and there was no bike under the tree. I was devastated. Then I slept in because I was like, ‘great, there’s no bike’. So when I finally came in I was all cranky. And my Dad said, ‘Well, before we open the Christmas presents, how ’bout you hang up these coats?’. And I was like, ‘Why are there even coats out?’ – I was all cranky. I opened it – it was a coat closet/laundry room so it was a really big closet – and there was my bike. He outsmarted me. He was really good at that. He did a similar thing with the skateboard that I asked for a few years later once I got older.

SSS: Were you good at skating?

AH: No, I was terrible. But it was really cute to get a skateboard.

aly hannigan

SSS: Do you think you’ll ever get your daughter a skateboard?

AH: I guess if she really wants one, but I’ll have to also get her a helmet and elbow pads, and knee pads and a mouth guard… I don’t ever want her to get hurt. Maybe by then they’ll have some sort of bubble that I can put her in.

SSS: I saw on your Twitter that you liked decorating a lot for Halloween, do you like to decorate for Christmas?

AH: I love decorating for Christmas. Especially in California, because the weather is always kind of beautiful. I told my husband we have to decorate for Christmas otherwise we don’t know it’s the holiday season. I love to do the lights and the tree… I made my own sort of garland thing – not the tree garland but an ornament garland – that I hang upstairs ever year. I made that with my friends. We made it with Christmas decorations and balls and ornaments. I absolutely adore it, and I’m very excited to get the house all festive.


SSS: Are you going to start any traditions this year now that you have a daughter?

AH: Oh…we were going to… We were going to take something from my husband’s side of the family…I think it was to do with the meal being on Christmas Eve? (Laughs) No…

SSS: A tradition of eating! That’d work.

AH: I definitely want to start traditions. I know that last year Alexis and I swapped stockings and we decided to spend last Christmas just us… I don’t know how we got the idea, but we thought it would be great because we thought next year it would just  be a stocking for her [Satyana] and we thought we should probably not do the grownup stockings. But actually it’s pretty fun if we just go off ourselves at night and exchange stockings just the two of us. We said that would be our tradition, so the kid –  the kids, rather – because of the dogs and the cat – can have their fun with the stocking and everything and then after everyone is asleep then he and I will do stockings for one another. So that’s going to be our little tradition.


+ If you haven’t checked it out yet… Mastercard Priceless Gift Finder

+ There’s still a couple days to enter and …win a red, designer clutch

+ You can also…win a wall decal of your choice, how cool is that? (Very.)

+ Check out our… contests on Small Screen Scoop

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+ The Barney Stinson Poster You Haven’t Seen Yet

+ Fun with Anagrams: How I Met Your Mother Edition

+ If We Saw Marshall Eriksen at the Grocery Store… (Putting my graphic abilities to the test!)