T’was the night before Hanukkah and all through the house, all were eating latkes (potato pancakes) including the pet mouse. Okay, maybe not the pet mouse. A mouse in the house; I’d be on the phone instantly with an exterminator!
Okay, so back to the story . . .
Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la . . . and to watch those Christmas specials, fa la la la la la la. Yes, Christmas specials on TV. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and of course, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Let’s face it, Hanukkah specials when I was a kid – NONE. When did you ever watch Mr. Magoo’s Menorah Mishap or Lassie Like Latkes? Today we are blessed with A Rugrats’ Hanukkah. But let’s face it; can Angelica really compete with Mr. Snow Miser? The point is, that even for a Jewish kid, Christmas specials were something to look forward to; they were a holiday tradition.
With cable and hundreds of channels, today Frosty, Rudolph, and the green Grinch are on television 24/7, or at least it seems that way. But as kids we couldn’t turn on the TV at any time and watch our favorite holiday hero or villain. We were forced to plan ahead as to what we wanted to watch. These shows were events to wait for.
We looked forward to the cheesy animation of Santa Claus is Coming to Town or the equally cheesy animation of The Little Drummer Boy. Also, there were the classic hand drawn cartoons of the Grinch and Frosty. But the king of all Christmas cartoons, A Charlie Brown Christmas. You have to feel sorry for Charlie and that pathetic tree. Oh, and how can we forget the Bob Hope Christmas Show where he would don a uniform and run out to announce the All American Football Team. Whatever we chose to watch, it truly was a special; a special event that we looked forward to every year.
We would gather in the family room around that large piece of furniture, which took up one-third of the room – the console TV. We didn’t have a remote to flip between shows. There were no DVRs to record one special while we watched another. We truly lived in an era gone by; an era when there was family TV night.
We would sip on hot chocolate that my Mom made. My Dad would make popcorn; usually with loads of butter and salt to help cover up the fact that he always burned it. We knew that we didn’t celebrate Christmas but we could still feel sorry for residents of Whoville with no Christmas. The Grinch eventually learned of holiday spirit and so did my family; we learned the spirit of establishing family traditions.
Even though my Dad is no longer here to make his famed burnt popcorn, Silverback Gorilla, Monkey, and I continue this holiday tradition; the tradition of family TV night to watch holiday specials. We won’t have to wait weeks to watch the one and only showing of the Grinch, instead we will use the remote to bring up the guide on the high def flat screen TV to search for the bizillionth showing of this classic on one of hundreds of channels. After watch Charlie Brown, we’ll all comment on the sorry looking tree that that Snoopy and gang dance around. And Silverback Gorilla and I will wonder how many UCLA or USC players would have been named to this year’s Bob Hope All American Team. Monkey knows that she doesn’t celebrate Christmas so we will watch our favorite holiday classics while playing dreidel and eating chocolate gelt.
Silverback Gorilla, Monkey, and I wish you a very happy holiday season.