Finally caught a little bit of The Newlywed Game on Buzzr while getting ready for work. It must have been streaming on accident, since it's only supposed to be restricted to cable. In the second season of the late 90's revival, Bob Eubanks leads four couples through questions about their love lives and life at home. The husband in one couple was extremely Scottish, wearing a kilt and a tuxedo top. I left another couple arguing over whether or not she did anything to start an argument as I headed off to work.
As you can guess on Christmas Eve, work was insanely busy from the moment I began at 8 AM until almost 3. I think it actually has more to do with this being a weekend. Normally, most people shopping on Christmas Eve are just picking up perishables or milk or bread, but I saw a lot of really huge orders. People probably just got their paychecks and are doing their regular shopping. One lady was a bit rude and riled up other women in line; otherwise, there were no major problems.
At least I didn't go hungry. The store had a lot of food in the employee break room. There were two trays of cookies, a big container of cupcakes, cans of soda, bottles of water, Hershey's Kisses, Butterfinger bells, and later on, Little Caesar's pizza and boxes of soft pretzels. I had everything but the pizza. I intended to have far better pizza for dinner later.
Texted Jessa during my breaks, inviting her to Christmas dinner. She finally replied in the affirmative later in the evening. Thanked Mom for giving me a larger-than-expected Amazon card for Christmas, too.
It slowed down enough by 4:30 for me to leave without a break. Went straight home, changed, put out food for the cats, cleaned out their litter boxes, and went right back out. The neighbor I asked if he'd seen Toothless the other night was on the porch with his wife and son. They put a very sweet note in the mailbox yesterday saying to call them if I needed any help. I greeted them and thanked them for the note.
By 5:30, Phillies Phatties was mostly down to bored older boys and their buddies looking for a snack and something to do away from family get-togethers. I kept it simple and ordered two slices of cheese and a festive Mountain Dew Code Red while watching Univision's Spanish-language programming.
I was home by 6, pouring over Rose's old Southern Living cookbooks for dessert ideas while watching Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. The Disney gang figure into three holiday shorts, two of them based after popular Christmas short stories. "Donald Duck: Stuck On Christmas" is supposed to be based after Christmas Every Day, but owes a lot more to Groundhog Day. Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it was Christmas every day, then regret it when they quickly become tired of the festivities repeating ad nauseum. Goofy sets out to prove to a skeptical Max that Santa is real in "A Very Goofy Christmas." "Minnie and Mickey's Gift of the Magi" has the mouse duo trading the things that mean the most for them for gifts.
Switched to A Disney Channel Christmas next. I've watched this special every year since Mom first recorded it in 1988. Jiminy Cricket hosts a combination of two earlier Disney holiday specials, Jiminy Cricket's Christmas and A Disney Christmas Gift. The former is mostly represented by shorts like "Donald's Snow Fight," "Pluto's Christmas Tree," and "The Art of Skiing," along with the romantic "Once Upon a Wintertime." The latter features sequences from older Disney animated movies showing parties, magic, of gift-giving, including Cinderella, Bambi, and Pinocchio, along with the Donald Duck short "The Clock Watcher," the lovely black and white "Mickey's Good Deed," and the Christmas Past sequence from Mickey's Christmas Carol. (Which was so new when this special debuted, Jiminy says it's "now in theaters.")
Moved into Khai's room for It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey (James Stewart) is convinced life has passed him by. He's spent most of his life working at his father's saving and loan, trying to keep his small town out from under the thumb of miserly Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). When his Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) loses the money he needs to keep them afloat on Christmas Eve, he contemplates suicide. He's saved by a little old man named Clarence (Henry Travers) who claims to be his guardian angel. Clarence finally shows George what it would have been like if he hadn't been born...and proves to him that he really has a wonderful life with some truly special friends and family.
Of course, I had to go straight into "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special" on Hulu afterwards. Yes, this is a direct parody of Wonderful Life. Buster Bunny is so despondent after he screws up the Tiny Toons' big holiday show, he tries to jump out of the negative. This time, it's a white bunny named Harvey with Stewart's voice who shows Buster what it would have been like if he wasn't on the show, and remind him that "no man (or rabbit) is a failure who has friends."
Moved to Disney Plus for The Small One. This returns us to the more religious side of the holiday. A little boy takes his beloved old donkey to town to be sold. He's first sent to a tanner, then a haughty auctioneer, but no one wants him. It isn't until he meets a kindly man who needs a gentle donkey to take his wife to Bethlehem that he finds the perfect new owners for Small One.
Mickey's Christmas Carol is also at Disney Plus, so I went with that one next. Uncle Scrooge is actually the star of this delightful retelling of the beloved story. Mickey's Bob Cratchit, Donald is Nephew Fred, Minnie is Mrs. Cratchit, Goofy is a very funny Jacob Marley, and Big Pete has one of his scariest roles as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Ended the night on YouTube with two lesser-known but enjoyable specials. Raggedy Ann & Andy and The Great Santa Claus Caper is the first of two holiday cartoons done by Chuck Jones that featured the famous rag dolls. Comet the Reindeer calls on Ann, Andy, and their dog Arthur to stop the Big Bad Wolf from covering Santa's toys in an unbreakable substance he calls Gloopstik. If children can't handle their gifts, they'll have to buy them from him. Ann and Andy prove to him that their love of Christmas, Arthur, and each other is stronger than any Gloopstik.
Ziggy's Gift is a very sweet special done almost entirely in pantomime. Ziggy, the famous comic strip character, takes a job as a sidewalk Santa to make extra money and help the needy during the holidays. Turns out not only is the job a scam, but there's another thief who is after the money Ziggy's collected...and a cop who wants to drag them both to the precinct. It takes a lost cat and a group of orphans to remind the trio of what the holidays are really about.
And as Jiminy Cricket observed at the end of A Disney Channel Christmas, from all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow, no matter what you celebrate or whom you celebrate with.