Urban (mis)Advantures

My Beloved Christmas Traditions — December 10, 2011

My Beloved Christmas Traditions

Whether I spend Christmas back home in Louisiana, in my house in Massachusetts, or with in-laws in New Hampshire, like many people I have found holiday traditions that make this time of year memorable. 

Ham for Christmas Dinner. If it’s just the Mister, me, and the Kiddo, we bake ham sprinkled with brown sugar.  After a Thanksgiving turkey and turkey sandwich lunches, I’ve enough tryptophan.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve. With up to eight estatic grandchildren in the home, my parents overlooked delayed gratification and allowed everyone to open one gift on the night before Christmas.  It eased antsy hands wanting to grope for presents and made room for all the “Santa” gifts under the tree. 

Holiday Trail of Lights.  Load up a couple of cars!  The Shreveport/Bossier Holiday Trail of Lights includes the Pierre Bossier Mall, civic center, and the Christmas Tour of Homes. 

The Cajun Night Before Christmas.  Whether I’m reading it aloud to Northern relatives or just to myself, every year I read Trosclair’s Cajun Night Before Christmas.  Although I was not born Cajun myself, I still enjoy this book just as many other Louisianians do.  You see, Saint Nick is not stupid.  He knows that hoofed reindeer and a sleigh won’t cut it in the swamps and bayous of the south.  He rides a skiff drawn by eight flying alligators.. Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste, and Renee.  The Cajun Saint Nick and his reptiles are also featured as lights and lawn decorations in the Holiday Trail of Lights.

The Pageant or Christmas Eve Service.  Though I have not belonged to a church in years, I have fond memories of nativity plays.  Boys wore their Dads’ robes when acting as the Orient Kings.  A choir dressed like angels provided the season’s music.  And I eventually did get over the fact that my adorable, olive-skinned and dark headed baby was not chosen to be Baby Jesus. 

A Christmas Story.  I watch the TBS presentation of my favorite holiday movie every year, except I did miss it last year.  Am a bit worried this year, for I will be traveling on Christmas Eve.  May have to inform the family to reserve a television for me on the big Day. 

The Polar Express.  In recent years, we’ve snuggled up with blankets to watch this incredibly touching movie so wonderfully brought to life from the book.  I love the songs and how colorful the characters are. 

The trip to the movie theatre.  Twenty years ago this Christmas, I took my sister-in-law and two little nieces to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the movie theatre where I was employed.  Being their first movie going experience, they were someone nervous and didn’t quiet know what was going on.  Well, next year, they jumped up and down at the concession stand while waiting for Aladdin.  So now every Christmas we are together, we pick a family movie to see.  It’s one of the gifts.  My husband, son, and I carry on this tradition on when not visiting family.  Following movies include Aladdin, The Santa Clause, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Avatar.  This year’s movie?  Either Hugo or Tin Tin.

Lottery Tickets…are they really a good Christmas gift? — December 8, 2011

Lottery Tickets…are they really a good Christmas gift?

So the Mass Lottery (like many other states, I presume) is currently advertising for people to buy lottery tickets for Christmas.  You can buy them as last minute gifts for the holiday parties you are too busy to truthfully prepare for.  Get them for people you don’t know what to get for them.  Yankee Swap/White Elephant.  Stocking stuffers.  Etc.

But my question is, are lottery tickets really a good gift at Christmas?

I mean, not much thought goes into getting them.  And if the tickets aren’t winners, how lame is that?  And if one of the tickets wins big, then what?  Isn’t the person who bought the ticket entitled to the winnings?  Would the receiver of the lotto share the loot?  I see this scenario causing much more holiday jeer than cheer.

Favorite Christmas Specials — December 4, 2011

Favorite Christmas Specials

Okay, so the Halloween candy and Thanksgiving turkey are eaten, and is now time  for comical or touching holiday specials.  I know there are already lists of great TV shows, movies, books…whatever.  But they’re wrong. 
Here’s my list of beloved holiday entertainment, starting with the first two best Christmas movies ever:

A Christmas Story.

“Iz shtuhhh!  Iz shtuuUUUUHHHHHH!”  This “dreaded” Triple-dog Dare to his friend was one of many fantastic moments of young Ralphie, who wants nothing more than a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas.  Yet everyone tells him:
“You’ll shoot your eye out.” 
I watch this film every year and still laugh.  My favorite part is when Ralphie goes ballistic on the bully.  Oh, fudge. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

  This is my favorite flick of the Lampoon’s series.  Clark Griswald set the American standard for decorating your house for Christmas by blinding his neighbors and nearly shorting out his house.  Christmas Vacation shows all the beauty and joy of the holidays…yet all the stress that comes with making the magic happen.







Boondocks:  A Huey Freeman Christmas:  Warning! Not for the kids!


The Boondocks is an anime you can see on Adult Swim, featuring two African American brothers raised by their old- school grandfather.  The elder sibling, Huey (seen on the left) is asked to direct the school’s Christmas play, and thus The Adventures of Black Jesus is born.  The other parents boycott the production because their white children could not be cast as the main characters.  Meanwhile his brother, Riley (yielding a golf club on the right) has a beef against Santa for not bringing him the rims he asked for.  In his letter, he calls Santa a few choice words.  Riley then goes on rampages, attacking mall Santas in front of crying children, eventually going gansta and shooting one with airshot pistols.  Better “pay what you owe” Santa!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.
On the subject of Christmas pageants featuring the baby Jesus, in 1972 novel, six delinquent siblings (the Herdmans) took over a production of the nativity.  The results?  A bossy angel who swatted people with her star wand.  A Mary that donned large hoop earrings and burped the Baby Jesus in his “wadded up clothes.”  Squabbling shepard boys.  And one unforgettable Nativity.  “Hey! Unto you a child is born!”

The Twelve Pains of Christmas.
This parody song captures the not-so-joyful aspects of the holidays, such as sending out Christmas cards (“Oh, I don’t even know half these people!”)  Rigging up the lights, facing the in-laws (“She’s a witch, I hate her!), holiday party hangovers, and finding a Christmas tree are all stressfully highlighted.

A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Charlie and the Peanuts gang debuted their first full length animated feature during the Christmas holidays since 1965, and it’s been broadcasted every year since then.  It also stars a sad-looking Christmas tree that Charlie never gives up on.  I think what I love most about the Peanuts Christmas is all the wonderful piano music. 

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.

 This 1970 TV special is my favorite of the stop-motion holiday movies.  Kris Kringle warms the hearts of many sad children and melts the heart of the Winter Warlock with his kindness and hand made toys.  But there’s that Burgermeister Meisterburger guy that kept taking the toys away from the children.  So Kris had to sneak down the chimneys and hide the presents in stockings.  This red-headed rebel was not going to stopped so easily!



A Muppet Family Christmas.
I love the Muppets, who doesn’t?  This 1987 production brought all of Jim Henson’s wonderful creations together:  The Muppets, Sesame Street characters, the Fraggles and even the Muppet Babies.  “Doc” Crystal and his dog Sprocket (from Fraggle Rock) rent a home in the forest that belongs to Fozzie Bear’s mother.  Yet all the other Muppets end up joining him for holiday fun while they are snowed in.  The Count plants himself by a window and counts the snowflakes (Ha ha ha!).  The Swedish Chef has his eyes on Big Bird to cook up and feed to the group.  And Miss Piggy makes a grand entrance in a sleigh. 

A Christmas Carol.
Curl up with Charles Dickens’ classic book by the fire place.  Then pick from a plethora of movies that depict this wonderful tale.  Let’s see, we’ve got George C. Scott, Michael Cain and the Muppets, Scrooge McDuck and Mickey Mouse, and Jim Carey to choose from.  My personal favorite is Mickey’s Christmas Carol, featuring the bumbling Goofy as a Jacob Marley, who trips over his chains as much as he howls, moans, and haunts. 









What are your favorite holiday specials?