Wednesday, December 22, 2010

That old fashioned feeling

I like Christmas time. I like it better as Christmas itself, which is actually rather a bore. But the time around it is not to be missed. And I like my Holiday Season to be quite old fashioned. For me, this is not a time to be innovative, but one to rely on trusted and admittedly conservative habits. Maybe it is the only time in the year we can safely act conservative and even corny?

When I was a child, the Holiday Season, and especially Christmas vacation, was a time of warmth and fun. When we were lucky, there was snow and we would play outside with the neighbourhood kids. When the weather was not to our advantage, my sister and I would built a tent on the attic and pretend that we were explorers. A few hours of daytime television during Christmas break was a special event to us as well, since there was only public broadcasting in those days that usually did not begin until 6 PM. But during the two weeks of freedom from school at the end of year television would treat us on Walt Disney cartoons and numerous movies special for kids during the afternoon.

Certain TV shows and movie have always been synonymous with Christmas for me. When I got older it was Charlie Brown and his gang and you could count on that Charles M. Schulz’ men would do a Xmas special. Too bad that they have not been shown here on television for years now. Today, I cherish the moments you have when you can lay down on the couch and watch a traditional movie during the season, with tea of coffee and of course something sweet and high on calories – or glass of wine with some cheese. There are three movies I just can’t do without during the Holiday Season: that all time classic White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Great song lines here: “Even guys with two left feet, come out right when the girl is sweet. If by chance their cheeks should meet, while daaaancing! Proving that the best things happen while you dance!”
National Lampoon in Christmas Vacation has become a modern day classis, I must watch and it keeps being hilarious year after year. Neighbour: “Hey Griswold, what are you going to do with that tree?” Walt Griswold “Bend over, and I’ll show you.” And then the Muppets Christmas Special, where the uncontrolled gang decides to bring Fozzy Bear’s mother a surprise visit. A turkey calls on the door. “I was invited for Christmas dinner by some Swedish guy.” Fozzy Bear: “Err… you are Christmas dinner.”

 The movie adaption of Irving Berlin's White Christmas is a true holiday classic.

Of course, there are more movies waiting fore the season, like The Holiday and Sun Valley Serenade. I’m just afraid that online movie shop Bol.com will live up to its tradition once again not to deliver on the promised date, so Hello Dolly will have to wait for some day after Christmas. Apart from movies, I love good music shows during these days. But what I do miss today, with commercial television all around, and public broadcasting having to compete with it on ever tighter budgets, are the great quality shows you used to have during this season. Shows with live performing guests, with a genuine band or orchestra and a real audience are all too much replaced by an instant mix of clips shot against snowed mountains. I have no illusions here, quality will not come back.

 Ken Eberts Christmas card issued by Leanin' Tree.

Another tradition I value are the trusted old Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards, and the more traditional they are, the better it is. Painted snow scenes with cottages, robins on snowed branches… I love ‘m. Alas, they are getting rare these days, far too often replaced by cartoonlike Santa’s and Christmas bears… please, please send me a traditional card! Part of the Christmas card fun is guessing from who it came before you open the envelop. Recognize that writing? My love for Christmas Cards explains my shock when I read that a friend will not send Xmas cards anymore. I know that I simply had no time and was not in the mood to send them a couple of years ago, but that was an isolated event. It is fashionable these days among certain people to declare that they will not send cards anymore. So be it. But it would be fair to announce that in time, so that others had a choice whether to send those Xmas card sabotagers a printed wish or not. So there I am, having send a carefully chosen card, to read that this friend will not participate in this “pumping around of cards anymore”. Well, sorry that I have offended you by sending one. Can I have it back please?

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