Sunday, December 08, 2019

The Magic of Christmas

Celebrated a very rare Sunday off by staying up late with Lauren, then sleeping in this morning. It was almost 11 before I made my Butterscotch-Oatmeal Pancakes and tea. Listened to The Care Bears' Christmas Album while I ate. I found two children's holiday albums from the early 80's in a box of free records at a yard sale last month. The Care Bears await Santa, singing about what they'll ask him for. On side two, they try to cheer each other up when he seemingly doesn't come...then offers their services when he does. At the very least, it's mildly less annoying than my Meet the Care Bears picture album, with slightly better songs and an attempt at a plot.

Switched to another find from that free record box, Pac-Man Christmas Album. This one was a bit more of a surprise. Considering Pac-Man is the last character you'd likely associate with a holiday record, some of the songs were actually quite good. I loved the first two, Ms. Pac Man's "The Magic of Christmas" and the unique synthesizer duet "Snowflakes and Frozen Lakes." I kind of wish they could have actually tied the video game in a little bit more, as they did in the Pac-Man cartoon special released around the same time. We briefly hear from the ghosts on side two; their sudden conversion to Christmas cheer does prompt the sweet, if slightly sappy, "Friends Again."

Headed out after I finished the dishes. I'd put off the laundry for way too long. There was a huge load that needed to be done, including work clothes and towels. They were busy, but there were enough washers and dryers left for me to get two with no trouble. I forgot my pen, so I listened to the Philly news and holiday events on Channel 6 and read Country Living and DesignNJ magazines. Thank heavens by the time two large families arrived with noisy kids, I was just about done.

Went home and put everything away. Listened to The Spirit of Christmas while I worked. This early 60's JC Penney collection was another freebie from that same box. Most of the songs were from orchestras; the best of these was Percy Faith and his group's cute "Happy Holidays." Johnny Mathis also did a nice "Little Drummer Boy."

Jumped back on my bike as soon as the album ended its revolutions. Stopped at Phillies Phatties first for a really late lunch. I originally ordered a slice of cheese, a slice of mozzarella, tomato, and basil, and a can of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi. They must not have heard me mention the second slice. I got the cheese right away, but not the mozzarella-tomato-basil. I had to go ask about it; got the largest slice they had to make up for the confusion.

Watched the game between the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers as I ate. The Saints were up when I was watching, but the Niners were starting to catch up in a big way. Apparently, they would go on to just barely win the game 48-46.

Next up was a quick trip to Dollar General on the White Horse Pike. Finished my shopping for Lauren and picked up a couple of things to wrap gifts later this week, including tape and pretty wrapping paper with blue and silver snowflakes on a beige background. A clearly drunk man carrying a bottle of liquor somehow wandered into the store. The manager told him liquor wasn't allowed in the store. He tried to get angry with her before another man arrived to drag him out.

After that incident, I figured I'd be safer at home for the rest of the day. Worked on writing after I got in and got organized. Richard, Charles, and Brett flee into the scrub pine woods that grow along the coast. The fir trees in the sandy soil are much different than the older forests of towering oaks that Richard's used to, which is how they end up lost. It's getting dark as the trio make their way through the firs, and Charles and Brett are starting to get on each other's nerves. It's Charles who spots the gingerbread house in the clearing. He and Richard think they've found dinner and a place to rest, but Brett thinks there's something sinister about this seemingly sugar-coated dwelling...

Broke for dinner at 7. Had leftovers while listening to a couple more kids' albums. The original John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together special is difficult to find, but the soundtrack album is still very much with us and is a lot of fun. Favorites here include Denver's "Peace Carol" and "Noel: 1913," the hilarious version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" that opens the disc, and Piggy and the guys' "Christmas is Coming."

 Christmas With the Chipmunks is best known for introducing "The Chipmunks' Christmas Song (Please Christmas Don't Be Late)," but there's some other great stuff here. Alvin has fun hamming it up with "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and cheers up Dave when he wishes for a "White Christmas."

Finished the night on YouTube with another holiday special featuring John Denver. The Sound of Christmas featured Julie Andrews and was beautifully shot in Saltzburg, Austria, where the Oscar-winning Sound of Music was originally filmed. She's joined by Denver and Placido Dominigo with some lovely sequences, including one based around a waltzing ball with dance-themed songs ranging from "By Strauss" to "She Is Not Thinking of Me" and a skiing sequence with atheletes soaring over Denver as he sings. It's lovely, romantic, and actually quite a bit of fun to watch.

The Sound of Christmas (1987)

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