Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmases Past, Present, and Future

I was finally able to open another present from Linda Young today. This one contained several holiday-related DVDs. The first one was The Snowman, the gentle, dialog-less 1982 animated short about a little boy who builds a snowman whom he befriends. He introduces his frosty pal to the delights of a typical middle-class British home, while Mr. Snowman takes the little boy to the North Pole to revel with other snowmen and to meet Santa Claus himself. This was a frequent cable favorite of many an 80s child, with lovely, colored pencil animation and a gorgeous score, and I was glad to see it again.

The animated Rankin-Bass special 'Twas The Night Before Christmas was the other item I watched this morning. It's a cute bit of holiday fluff that somehow turns the famous Clement C. Moore poem into the tale of a brainy little mouse who almost ruins a whole Victorian town's Christmas by writing Santa a letter claiming he doesn't believe in him. One of Rankin-Bass's lesser efforts, but charming, with some very nice music.

I checked out the three Christmas-related documentaries when I got back from work and finished vacuuming the apartment and doing the windows. Christmas Past, about English Christmas traditions, was the most fascinating. The English have many wonderful memories and traditions that never really made it to this side of the Atlantic. I loved hearing stories about pantomimes, crackers, Christmas for servants on an English estate, and Christmas for evacuated London children during World War II.

I already knew most of what was covered in the other two, the History Channel's Christmas Unwrapped and the syndicated special TV Guide Looks At Christmas, but it was cool to see them anyway. I especially liked the clips from 60s and 70s variety programs in the TV Guide special. I was born in 1979, as variety shows were dying on TV, and very few of them are on video or DVD. I actually have the soundtrack to the Judy Garland variety special shown on this documentary, and I'd love to see and hear the Perry Como and Bing Crosby specials, too!

My Black Friday could have been worse. No, I did not attempt shopping today. Thank goodness no one I know asked for electronics or fancy toys! I did do some grocery shopping after work today. Work was a bit of a pain, VERY short staffed, and with lots of customers who were grouchy from overeating and the traffic around the malls.

I got some pre-holiday cleaning done when I got in, and I took down the Thanksgiving decorations in the hope I'd actually get them up tonight. Never got close. I was too pooped after I did the windows and never even got to dusting. I'll see what I can do tomorrow.

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