Monday, December 21, 2009

Of Christmas, Fred Waring, Ralphie and NORAD

Oh Boy! It’s Christmas week and I can hardly wait! I’m 58 years old and still get excited. Now, I’m not going to get silly and wait all night for Santa to arrive. I spent too many years myself as Santa to do that. But we are going to have fun.

One of the ways I have fun is to remember. I’ll remember Christmas with my own children. To me, the meaning of Christmas became evident when I became a father. When I could watch the magic that is Christmas by watching my children’s eyes and expressions of awe and wonder, surprise and delight as they encountered a tree filled underneath with presents. When they were little, Christmas Eve was a combination of lasagna dinner followed by church followed by getting them to bed and then followed by several hours of assembling the toys that “Santa” was giving them (all toys had to be assembled and functioning).

I confess to evenings spent grumbling and growling at balky parts. I also confess to falling asleep on the living room floor in “mid-elf mode”, waking at 2 a.m. and finishing the task before stumbling off to bed only to be awakened by the laughter of small people at the “butt crack of dawn”. (Just let Santa/Dad get a cup of coffee first, pleassssssseeee!).

But before I let this go on and on and on, I really wanted to touch base with a couple of songs that by today’s standards are dated but which were delightful and fun-filled when I was just a boy and when Mike and Susan were little. We played Fred Waring’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” incessantly. It’s a wonder my Mom wasn’t totally loopy before Christmas arrived having to listen to those 2 songs on the stereo over and over and over each day. Mom recorded the album onto a cassette when my kids were young but I doubt that these children of the ‘80s ever got the same joy that I did back in the ‘50s.

So here they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I still do:

One of the things that Carolyn and I look forward to is the “24 Hours of Ralphie” on TBS that will start at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve and run through 8 p.m. Christmas Day. We love this movie and overdose on it each year. It’ll be on in the bedroom all night too and we’ll each wake up several times during the night, watch a few minutes and then drift off back to sleep (I in my kerchief and Ma in her cap….settled down for a long winter’s nap). Have you ever noticed though that you seem to wake up or tune in at the same point in the movie when you’re watching a “marathon”?

And last but not least. We came across a wonderful website last Christmas. It’s perfect for every single kid—from 4 to 84! It’s the NORAD website which tracks Santa’s trip around the world. Even better, using NORAD personnel and volunteers, there are brief vignette’s about Santa’s journey and about the various locations he is visiting on his journey. It’s fun. It’s educational. It’s magic. And it’s an obvious labor of love for the people of NORAD. Check it out!

The website is

Have a wonderful Christmas.

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