Duane and I wrote this story for the Dec. 22 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail and decided to repost here for our fellow geeks. Enjoy!
The rush of the holiday season is more hectic every year. Most people are left wondering where the time went. The memories people had hoped to create with their families slip by before the eggnog can be poured or the carol sung.
To avoid saying “I can’t get in the Christmas spirit” again this year, here’s a tradition my husband and I started a few years ago. We’re a bit nostalgic. Our generation grew up on Christmas specials on television. Because of that, we now set aside an hour or two every night in December to relax and watch a little bit of our collection of holiday favorites.
We begin looking forward to this festivity around July every year. It’s a tradition that most couples don’t have, admittedly, but reminds us of memories of Christmases past.
We’ve amassed quite a collection, not just “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas.” Oddly, although these both are probably the most well-known Christmas specials, I only watched them for the first time a couple of years ago.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” in particular is now a favorite in the Maddy household and the season wouldn’t be the same without seeing Clarence help George Bailey realize the impact his life has made on everyone around him.
We have a full three hours of Christmas commercials from the 1970s and 1980s. There was nothing better than seeing Ronald McDonald skate alongside a little boy who everyone else had forgotten or seeing Toys’R'Us commercials advertising the toys we still wish we had.
Some of our favorite shows of all are the “Touched By an Angel,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Highway to Heaven” holiday episodes. They were always tearjerkers.
The “Happy Days” episode where Fonzie spends Christmas at the Cunningham home for the first time, the “Laverne & Shirley” where the gang goes to a hospital to sing for the patients, or the episode of “The Wonder Years” where Kevin spots his gym teacher working as a mall Santa always start December off on a high note.
We have “The Waltons,” “Family Matters,” “Silver Spoons,” “Saved By the Bell” and dozens of cartoon specials ranging from Yogi Bear to Charlie Brown.
There was never a shortage of holiday cheer on television in the 1980s. We know many people will find this campy, but it’s our outlet for reliving childhood memories and remembering what it was like to look forward to something magical.
Television is a tool of escape, but it’s also a way to remember. Sometimes, you’ve got to do both.
Tags: Charlie Brown Christmas, Family Matters, Fonzie, Happy Days, It's a Wonderful Life, Laverne and Shirley, Little House, Saved by the Bell, Silver Spoons, The Waltons, Touched By An Angel, White Christmas, Wonder Years