Sunday, December 12, 2021

A Different Christmas

Awoke to a glorious, sunny day, which I really appreciated after yesterday's messy weather. Had Lemon-Cranberry Pancakes while listening to one of my many True Value Happy Holidays records. Mom bought Vol. 23 on its release in 1988. I remember listening to it while she and I decorated the tree that year. It was the first time I ever heard the Bing Crosby "White Christmas" anywhere but the radio. Other good songs here include "Merry Christmas Baby" by Chuck Berry, "Greatest Little Christmas Ever Wuz" by Ray Stevens, and the very 80's "This Christmas" by the Jets.

Headed out to Dollar General after I did the dishes. It was too nice to be inside all day! Besides, I needed another bin and to seriously restock my baking supplies. Grabbed flour and sugar, both of which are cheaper there anyway. Forgot yogurt at the Acme when Anthony Pezzelle called me about the apartment buildings down the street on Friday. There's bright red bins out for Christmas supplies; I grabbed one.

Went around back to the metal recycling cages, hoping the boxes didn't get soaked last night. Not only did I find a lot more, including heavy egg cartons, but only one was even damp. I'd let that one dry and used the rest today. 

Went online for an hour or so when I got home to look for apartments. No luck whatsoever. Even the houses for sale are too large or too expensive or in a bad place. I don't need much room, just a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom. This area was built for workers and their families from the factories and offices in Camden and Philly, not people like me.

Broke at around 2:30-3 for a quick lunch and to work on packing. One of the boxes was a heavy laundry detergent carton with a divider. That held any dishes I'm not using at the moment. The frozen pizza box had too wide of a gap in the top to hold fragile DVD boxes. I moved them to a bin and the adult hardbacks originally in a crate to the box. Small kitchen appliances I'm not using like the food processor went in the crate. Packed all of my tea in a smaller box. The egg cartons held cake decorating books and magazines and cookbooks. 

Continued my Happy Holidays record marathon as I worked. I'm glad these are fairly common on eBay and rarely expensive. Vol. 19 has the Carpenters' signature holiday tune "Merry Christmas Darling" and another good one from Bing, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Mel Torme's rendition of his own "The Christmas Song" and "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley highlight Vol 20. Vol 21 features a spirited "Jingle Bells" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and "Christmas Eve In My Home Town" by Bobby Vinton. 

Switched to the first edition of A Very Special Christmas around 4. This collection of mainly rap and rock music benefitting the Special Olympics was wildly popular in 1987. It was such a hit, the series continued off and on through 2012. Favorites on this one include Bruce Springsteen's dynamic "Merry Christmas Baby," the Pointer Sisters having fun with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," the Eurythmics' lovely "Winter Wonderland," Run DMC giving many rock fans their first taste of rap with "Christmas In Hollis," and Madonna parodying her party-girl image at the time with "Santa Baby." 

I also realized something as I tried to arrange everything to fit in boxes and crates and bins. This wouldn't have been a normal Christmas for me, even if I could decorate. Rose and her family still would have gone to Maine. Jodie's interest in most holidays begins and ends with holding and attending parties. If she's not drinking with or feeding tons of people, she's not celebrating. I've worked so much, I probably wouldn't have had the time for a ton of baking and candy making anyway. With all the fussing over supply problems and stores being short of items, I still would have done my shopping and sent my boxes early. 

What I need to do is create more holiday traditions away from a family that's rapidly disintegrating. Sure, I go to community events, spend time with Amanda, but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are usually spent with my family. I need to find things to do those days either alone, or corral Jessa and Joe and do things with them. And Rose shouldn't be the only one holding family events, either. I think she feels like she's the only one doing anything. I'd love to host something, even just a small family breakfast on Christmas morning with her family, myself, and Jessa and Joe. Or maybe I could do an Easter brunch for Rose and her crew once I find a place. Or...just work on doing better with making friends and finding people to spend the holidays with. 

Worked on writing for a while around 4:30. Fannie sets up the pegs, ignoring Marcia's smart mouth, and gives them directions on how to get to White Castle and make Brett a queen. Among those who'll help them are Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee, and Humpty Dumpty; Sir Richard the White Knight will get them through the forest square. Once she sets the last peg in the ground, she moves away from them and takes off so fast, no one sees how she leaves or where she goes.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Ate leftovers, then made Apples Rolled In Autumn (apple oatmeal) Cookies with a very wrinkled apple while listening to the Scrooged soundtrack. "Put a Little Love In Your Heart," performed by Annie Lennox and Al Green, is the big hit here that still turns up occasionally on the radio during the holidays. Other good ones include "A Wonderful Life" by Mark Lennon and Natalie Cole's gorgeous "The Christmas Song."

My favorite Great Songs of Christmas album is the one that debuted in 1965. Maurice Chevalier really gets into "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" and sings a sweet "Silent Night," the latter partially in his native French. Diahann Carroll has two beautiful old hymns, the medieval "Lo, How a Rose 'Er Blooming" and more recent "Some Children See Him." Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme enjoy a rollicking "Sleigh Ride." Sammy Davis Jr. ends things on a high note singing "Jingle Bells" and "It's Christmastime All Over the World" with a passel of kids. 

Ended the night on YouTube after a shower with Christmas episodes of vintage game shows. Carol Burnett joined the cast for the 1960 holiday episode of I've Got a Secret. While the first secret was rather sweet, the second - how a guy put together the tree on their stage - is just awesome. Kudos to him for doing all that! Notorious curmudgeon Henry Morgan got involved with the third, as a costume dresser with a broken ankle managed to shove him into a Santa Claus suit to give gifts to needy kids. Garry Moore attempts to sing his way into the first secret...and let's say he's a much better host than vocalist. 

Get the Message was a short-lived cross between Match Game and Password. Two celebrities wrote down clues, and normally a contestant would guess what they lead to. This episode, however, had celebrities answering and playing for charity. Orchestra leader Mitch Miller and a very young Orson Bean joined Marty Ingals and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Joan Fontaine and Julia Meade played with Arlene Francis and Broadway star Barbara Cook. Robert Q. Lewis is the slightly smarmy host. 

The John Davidson-hosted Hollywood Squares had kids playing on Christmas week in 1987. Joan Rivers and Davidson's son John Jr. were joined by Alyssa Milano and Danny Pintauro from Who's the Boss and Tracey Gold from Growing Pains and her sisters, along with wacky Jm J. Bullock and the show's announcer Shadoe Stevens. The big Secret Squares prize here was a common one in the 80's and 90's - a trip to Disney World. A really cute model train ran on the set and the edge of the squares throughout the episode. My nephews would have loved it, but it was kind of distracting. 

The Price Is Right always does fun Christmas episodes, and Christmas Day 1979 was no exception. The very first bid was for a glittering gold and silver tree. The models sported cute Santa outfits with hats and short skirts throughout the episode...except for in the Showcase Showdown, where they all switched to short polka dot dresses and bloomers to sit on Santa Johnny Olsen's knee. That Showcase featured not one, but three cars, along with a TV and a microwave.

The 1980 Family Feud didn't offer huge gifts, but they did decorate almost as well, with garlands and wreaths everywhere. Richard Dawson lead contestants, including a Dutch family, through holiday-related survey questions. The 1986 Card Sharks also settled for elaborate wreaths and garlands around the Money Cards and card board. Bob Eubanks saw his contestant through the Money Cards, but the car on the joker board proved more elusive.

Enjoy the holidays with these classic games, some of them with the commercials from their runs on Game Show Network!

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