Awoke to a sunny, blustery Christmas Eve. Finished the last chapter of A Christmas Carol this morning, then did a couple of chapters from two American Girl holiday books. Molly McEntyre is having a fairly difficult holiday in Molly's Surprise. It's World War II, and not only does she have to do without many treats due to rationing and war shortages, but her dad is overseas, and she misses him. Things start to look up when she and her sister Jill find a box from their father on the front step a few days before Christmas. They opt to keep it secret and hide it until Christmas morning. There's more than one surprise in store when they finally get to the big day, as Molly learns that everyone in her family is pretty good at making holiday magic, no matter how hard the war is.
Julie Albright's Christmas isn't going very well either in the first two chapters of Happy New Year, Julie! In the mid-70's, Julie finds herself torn between her two recently-divorced parents. Neither put up many decorations, and her mother has to be coaxed to decorate a live tree. While Julie's glad to see her frequently busy pilot father, she misses her mother and grandparents, and her teen sister Tracy is taking her parents' divorce badly. Julie's happier spending time with her Chinese friend Ivy and her big, noisy family.
In honor of Julie and Molly, I watched a couple of Christmas specials during breakfast featuring popular Hanna Barbara characters. "A Nutcracker Scoob" was the first Scooby Doo Christmas special, done during the early 80's series with Shaggy, Daphne, and the dogs. Fred joins in to help them put on a Christmas show for an orphanage. A grouchy old miser may put them out into the street if they can't find what's hidden in the house...and if the Ghost of Christmas Never Was doesn't get there first!
We head out to the big city for Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper. Yogi and Boo-Boo have hitched a ride on a bus to visit their buddies. Trouble is, all the Hanna Barbara funny animal regulars have gone out to Jellystone to see him. Not only that, but when Yogi and Boo-Boo arrive in the city, they're mistaken for Santa and an elf by a little girl whose busy millionaire father has neglected her. They recruit the others to help them find her dad, while Ranger Smith tries to find them and bring Yogi and Boo-Boo back home.
Did a quick Tom & Jerry short while getting ready for work. "The Night Before Christmas" was their first cartoon to be nominated for an Oscar. Tom tries everything he can go get Jerry out of the house and away from the Christmas goodies...until he realizes that "peace on Earth" applies to cats and mice, too.
Work was, as you can well imagine, total bedlam. It was especially bad early in the day and during the noon rush hour. Everyone got off early and rushed to the grocery store to pick up last-minute food or gift cards. It did slow down a little later on, but it never died out completely. I was outside for almost the entire day except for during my break. It wasn't bad later, when I had at least two more baggers helping out, but I had a harder time keeping up with them alone around noon. Not to mention, I had to do the outside trash and plastic bag recycling. The latter in particular were overflowing. People kept bringing huge trash bags filled with plastic bags and shoving them wherever they could. I must have hauled in at least six bags around 11:30.
At least it was a relatively nice day for doing outside work. It was chilly and windy, and it clouded up shortly after I arrived. The clouds were gone by the time I was leaving. Besides, I definitely preferred being outside with the carts and the wind than inside with noisy people and frazzled managers.
Changed into regular clothes as soon as I got home. Put on Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas as I rested a bit and got organized. This is a lovely anthology of three shorts featuring the Disney gang, two based after classic holiday short stories. "Donald Duck: Stuck On Christmas" is supposed to be an adaptation of Christmas Every Day, but it owes more than a little bit to Groundhog Day. Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it could be Christmas every day...and eventually regret it when they find themselves repeating the same day over and over. Goofy tries to prove to his doubtful son Max that Santa is real in "A Very Goofy Christmas." "Mickey and Minnie's Gift of the Magi" sticks closer to the original story. Mickey and Minnie sell what means the most to them to be able to buy presents for each other.
Headed out to Dad and Jodie's house around 5. The only people there when I arrived were a couple of Jodie's relatives, but that changed quickly. While it wasn't nearly as crazy as the past few years, there were still quite a few people there. A girl in a version of Bjork's swan dress (evidently, she was a huge fan of hers) watched Khai and her brother play with Dad's train around the Christmas tree. Finley was happier watching her three Christmas music-playing stuffed animals - a unicorn, a westie dog in red-and-white-striped antlers, and Snoopy in a Santa outfit - dance. Craig kept an eye on his daughter. (Rose apparently opted to stay home and finish wrapping presents.) TJ chatted with his friends. Jessa and Joe brought Joe's kids around later. I talked to his daughter about musicals (she loves The Greatest Showman). His son Joe-Joe is an excellent pianist and quite a good singer. Evidently, he's part of a band. He played "Lean on Me" and then "What Child Is This."
While the spread wasn't quite as huge as previous years, either, there was still plenty of food. Jodie put out turkey, ham, meatballs, sausage, a regular chef's salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, and bread and butter. There was chocolate cake and my candy for dessert. I had a little bit of everything but the sausage (which was too spicy for me). The turkey was especially juicy, and made a wonderful sandwich.
Headed out around 7. I was dead tired, and I thought a ride to look at lights might wake me up a bit. I first made my way down Newton, past Dunkin' Donuts and WaWa, and then across Kendall to the neighborhood on the other side of the school. There were some really nice displays down that way. My favorite was the unique house with all dark blue lights that looked sort of eerie.
Went right in the shower when I got home. As soon as I finished, I went online to chat with Lauren. Ended the night with more classic Christmas specials, including 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, A Garfield Christmas Special, Mickey's Christmas Carol, The Small One, Muppet Family Christmas, and The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas.
From all of us to all of you, I hope all of my readers have a very merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons!