Thursday, November 30, 2006

putting the special in special presentation

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the many great animated specials and Christmas movies that the season has to offer. I remember certain presents that Santa brought, or special gifts from my family that meant a lot, but when I think of Christmas the memories of watching Rudolph or White Christmas with my family is what comes flooding back. I remember sitting in front of the television with my brother and sisters, watching some Christmas special while Dad or Mom brought us hot chocolate to drink. When I was really young, there was no VCR- so when Charlie Brown or even Miracle on 34th Street came on, it was on and that was it until next year. We got to stay up to watch them and it was always like a special event. Even the commercials were different somehow; maybe seeing kids open up the same thing you wanted for Christmas had some sort of vicarious thrill effect. Heck, McDonalds even seemed better even though they were selling the same stuff. It was Christmas…at McDonalds.

By the way kids, here’s a tip: when your Dad asks the following question: “Do you want to go by McDonald’s?” with a smirk on his face, do not trust him. You will go by McDonald’s – in fact you will drive right by it as your Dad laughs and says, “I told you we would go by McDonald’s.” Trust me. I speak from years of bitter experience.

In those prehistoric days before the VCR, no one in kid-Dom could really foretell that years in the future you could own copies of these specials and watch them year around if you wished. Phrases like “DVD”, “Special Features”, or “Bonus Cartoon” were never uttered on the playground. Well, maybe “special features”, but never about a DVD. Today my kids don’t comprehend just how good they’ve got it. I know every generation says that about the upcoming generation, but it is true. My nephew has demanded to see The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town continuously since Easter. Now that is one lucky kid who is blessed not to know of a pre-DVD time, and knows good stuff when he sees it. Either that or he has an unhealthy obsession with the Easter Bunny. Or both.

Either way, in this day of everything on demand, a bit of the magic surrounding these specials and movies has been somewhat lost: the magic of anticipation. Sure, most of us put away those movies and shows until the holiday season comes round again. But when the holidays are here, I’ll bet you’ve seen at least one of them several times. If you have small kids you can ratchet that up a few notches. (Hey, at least it’s a bit of a break from Dora or Elmo.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I would much rather be able to own these movies and specials on DVD, so I can really enjoy them with my family. All I’m really saying is, how about instead of plopping the progeny in front of the DVD of the Grinch, how about sit down with them, make a batch of cookies and hot chocolate and really enjoy them together as a family. They will remember those times that you celebrated the season together for the rest of their lives. And they’ll try and do the same with their kids. Enjoy the Christmas season together as a family and you will see that they will carry the warmth of those memories long after they’ve grown up. I know- I have.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting, whatever it is you've got left.


Anonymous said...

this article really brought back some great memories! I really remember all of the great commercials (like the Peppermint Patty commercials during Charlie Brown) and my parents having to tell us "I don't know if Santa is getting that or not."

Laura said...

What a wonderful post! I keep trying to tell my kids what it was like in the pre-VCR, pre-cable, pre-DVD age (grin). If I had a choir concert the same day that WHITE CHRISTMAS was running -- the horror! I'd missed my chance to see it for the entire year! And you're so right, somehow even the commercials seemed to have a special glow during those "special presentations."

We try in our way to preserve a little of the "anticipation" magic, such as always having a brand-new movie (usually a surprise) to watch after dinner on Thanksgiving. (This year it was CARS.) And by limiting the showings of CHARLIE BROWN, THE GRINCH and RUDOLPH to a reasonable amount to help preserve a bit more of that special Christmas magic. :)

Best wishes, Laura


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