(credit: Mark Pokorny/Warner Bros. Pictures)

(credit: Mark Pokorny/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Now we associate the word “hobbit” with the much-anticipated upcoming release of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” But there is much more to this lowly word than you might think. J.R.R. Tolkien envisioned Middle Earth as a fabled bailiwick akin to a country Warwickshire village. Warwickshire is also called “Shakespeare’s County” since this is where the bard William was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. An idyllic land somewhere near Warwickshire is home to the hobbits, a peaceful group of souls who like their surroundings calm and stress free. Here are some suggestions for bringing a little bit of Middle Earth into your life during the frantic atmosphere of the holidays.

Hollywood Market
714 N. Main St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 548-5051
www.hollywoodmarkets.netLook to Hollywood Markets for help in creating Middle-Earth fare, like English muffin hobbit pizzas. When an army of warrior dwarves descend upon your otherwise peaceful abode and expect your unabbreviated hospitality, it’s best to have some easy-to-make snacks on hand. English muffins freeze well and can be defrosted in a microwave in less than two minutes. Pizza sauce is sold next to canned tomatoes at the grocer and fun toppings like shredded cheese, pepperoni slices and diced salad ham can be purchased in sealed bags that have long shelf lives. Let each dwarf create his own English muffin pizza and sprinkle the toppings upon his custom-designed comestible. Pop the hobbit pizzas into the dragon’s mouth (oven) for about 15 minutes until the cheese is gooey. Enjoy these snacks when watching “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy to recap all of the major highlights.

English Gardens
4901 Coolidge Highway
Royal Oak, MI 48073
(248) 280-9500
www.englishgardens.comCreate your own Forest of Mirkwood by adorning your home with a druid-approved indoor English garden. Dr. Bill Wolverton, research scientist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, studied house plants for astronauts’ use in the space station. Based on his research, there are a few plants that can turn your abode into a forest. Your Forest of Mirkwood is best comprised of Dracaena massangeana (corn plant), Spathiphyllum (peace lily) and Chrysanthemum morifolium (florist’s daisy). You can also add elf hearts (philodendrons) and dragon tongues (Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Sansevieria trifasciata) for richer oxygen. For the crowning glory, consider an authentic English ivy.

Related: Detroit’s Best Flowers

Gandalf Couture at Presence II
1274 Library St., Suite 300
Detroit, MI 48226
(248) 723-9770

When it comes to dressing comfortably, Gandalf knows what’s best. Tight shoes, clothing that binds your waist and hips and collars cutting into your neck are no fun. Dress like Gandalf for a day, wearing a festive caftan or your favorite soft, warm robe. Find your perfect couture at Presence II or learn to create your own through its affiliated Industrial Sewing Certification program. The studio offers a special “Lord of the Rings” jewelry line for a limited time.Related: Best Detroit Movie Theaters

Detroit Massage and Wellness
1234 Porter St.
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 355-0629
www.detroitmassageandwellness.comThe magic ring of invisibility is only a massage away. Some times you just need to slip away and become invisible to the goblins and wargs by turning off the cell phone, taking a hiatus from Facebook or finding that secret door that leads to an idyllic oasis. Hobbits intentionally avoid stress; it can wreak havoc on your body and mind. Your body is hard-wired to react to stressful situations like being attacked by ogres, wolves, fire-breathing dragons and so forth. Give yourself at least one day per month to become invisible to your stressors. Get a relaxing massage or stay in and light some candles, bathe in chamomile and listen to the silky voice of a romantic crooner.

Take an Unexpected JourneyLife is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Your New Year’s resolution could be to make an unexpected journey. This can be as simple as going to a Denny’s restaurant and trying the new Hobbit menu. There is something here to satisfy every Middle Earth appetite.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a prequel to Peter Jackson’s award-winning “The Lord of the Rings” movies, comes to cinemas nationwide on December 14.
Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at Examiner.com.