Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Nostalgic Stop on the Christmas Ride


Thinking about Christmas Carols for this Christmas Ride contest made me think about my own childhood Christmases. But when I think of childhood Christmas memories, I have to admit, I don't just think of carols. I think of classic Christmas TV shows. Maybe it's because I was sick a lot as a child, so I spent an inordinate amount of time in bed or on the sofa. But I think those Christmas specials were big events back in The Old Days, even for kids who weren't confined to bed as frequently as I was. I try to explain this to my son.

"You didn't get to watch a show over and over," I say. I tell him there were no VCRs or TiVo.

My son tears himself away from his iPod while watching a Netflix DVD on the big screen TV. His jaw drops in astonished horror. He is rendered speechless by this news. He almost passes out when he learns that we only had five channels and NO remote control when I was a kid. 

By God, son, if you wanted to change that channel, you had to walk across the room to do it, I tell him! And channel surfing just didn't exist. You watched a show from the beginning to the end. Because, especially with Christmas shows, you wouldn't get to watch it again an hour later on the replay. It was gone, gone for an entire year. Maybe even gone forever. I think the idea of anything being gone forever is incomprehensible in the Age of YouTube, when we can digitize every second of our lives and then upload it to the fabulous InterWeb for all eternity.

"
A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer came but once a year," I explain to him. "And then they were gone, buddy." He shakes his head in disgust at the primitive conditions in which I lived.

Every holiday season, after Thanksgiving, I would begin anxiously consulting the family Bible (also known as
TV Guide) for an indication of when or whether my favorite holiday specials would air. There were so many to watch, and so little time! How the Grinch Stole ChristmasThe Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite, though, had to be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Because it was the touching tale of a misfit who finds his place in life, you ask? 

Hell, no. Because that Abominable Snowman scared the crap out of me. I have always loved a good horror story, even as a child. And to me, that's what Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was - a horror story. Every time I saw that Bumble roar, I screamed and threw my head under the blankets. But every year, I came back for more. Because even then, I guess I was intrigued by the secret of telling a good story. 

Near as I can figure, the secret turns out to be this: Create a character your reader (or viewer) cares about (Rudolph or the Little Drummer Boy). Do a lot of really, awful, terrible, mean things to him so the reader feels his pain. And then hey, presto - give him a happy ending!!! That's all anyone really wants from a story. Just like in real life.

Hey, I almost forgot! Here's that Christmas carol clue:

I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. . .

Got it? Hint: There's a big clue about this Christmas carol in my blog post today.

If you know the name of this carol, post it here in the comments section of my blog. If you post your guess here or sign up for my newsletter, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a $10 gift certificate for Amazon.com or iTunes, your choice. Post your comment or sign up for my new newsletter by next Friday, December 5th.

And don't forget to add this Christmas carol to your list of carols for the Christmas Ride Grand Prize. Remember, we're giving one lucky person a $75 Wild Rose Press gift certificate! All you need to do to enter is attend each day's blog post, identify the carol, and make a complete carol list to submit after the final blog post of Christmas Eve. Don't forget to check the list twice! Send it to Christmasrideblog@live.com by midnight, CST Dec. 31st 2008!

For tomorrow's Christmas carol clue, visit
The Wild Rose Press blog. Just in case that link doesn't work, here's the URL: http://thewildrosepress.blogspot.com/

And if you missed the previous clue, visit Patsy Parker's 
blog!

44 comments:

  1. I love all those shows too! We're dating ourselves. And it's an aspect of human nature for us to cling to our childhood. The easiest things to cling to our vivid stories! ;) Just look at the items people collect as adults... Okay, I doth digress too much.

    My 3-yr old hang 8 Bumbles on the tree Thanksgiving Day. But she was afraid of him last year. ;) ~Skhye

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  2. Happy Holidays, Lynn. Don't do much in the way of big time Christmas decorations or Christmas-themed TV shows anymore (my kids are 41 & 32, LOL) but I did watch 'Fred Claus' last night on DVD and got a kick out of it. Nice film.

    The name of your Christmas Carol is 'Holly Jolly Christmas'.

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  3. I love all those Christmas shows!! My dad has them on video, and I guess I need to update his collection to DVD.

    The name of the carol is Holly Jolly Christmas.

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  4. So much holiday fun. The carol is Holly Jolly Christmas.

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  5. Happy Holidays!!!
    Name od carol is Holly Jolly Christmas!!!!!

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  6. One of my Favorite Christmas songs & Movies.
    The song is Holly Jolly Christmas.

    M :)

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  7. Great Post. The carol is Holly Jolly Christmas

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  8. LOL I remember the dread of missing the specials myself, and the "Abdominal Snowman" as my brother used to call him. The carol is "Holly, Jolly Christmas". Time to bake some cookies!

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  9. Love Christmas shows! And it is Holly, Jolly Christmas--haven't thought of that one in a while!

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  10. The Christmas Carol is Holly Jolly Christmas.

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  11. LOL You sound just like me! I'd take out the TV Guide starting the 1st and keep an on-going schedule through the holidays just so I wouldn't miss something.

    Have a Holly Jolly Christmas is the Christmas Carol.

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  12. The carol is Holly Jolly Christmas. I loved your post!

    ~Diana Coyle

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  13. Yes I remember waiting all year for the Christmas specials and listening to all the songs. Holly Jolly Christmas

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  14. The carol is HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS.
    Merry Christmas!

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  15. Holly Jolly Christmas! That special Rudolph the R.N.R. was always a bit problematic to me. The island of misfits was just so tragic. And the elf who wanted to be a dentist? That head elf needed to get some of the Christmas spirit with the little guy. Well, where was the compassion, I ask you?
    I LOVED the abominable snow man! Every year I waited for him to bite somebody's head off!

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  16. Jennifer - I agree, there was a lot of disturbing stuff going on in Rudolph. Guess it wasn't just the abominable snowman that freaked me out, now that you mention it. Or Abdominal Snowman, as Kaisquare's brother so brilliantly named him!

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  17. Holly,Jolly Christmas

    Devair Pruitt

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  18. I just can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I'm just ready for a new year.

    The carol is Holly Jolly Christmas.

    Deidre

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  19. Hi everyone!! The name is Holly Jolly Christmas.

    Judy

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  20. I can hear Burl Ives now..Holly Jolly Christmas

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  21. Deidre - I can relate. It's been a real roller coaster year for me - see my Ten Things I'm Thankful For blog - and I will be glad to see it go. Oddly, though, that seems to have given me MORE Christmas spirit. Maybe because the approach of the holiday season means 2008 is almost, finally, at last OVER! Also, sometime in 2009, I'll finally see my first book in print! Yea!

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  22. LOL, Lynn. You brought back a lot of memories. Luckily my kids love to watch the old holiday classics as much as I do. Grinch is still my favorite!
    Misty Evans

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  23. I enjoyed reading your blog. We saw the previews for Rudolph tonight and set the DVR to record it...like you I remember when that wasn't possible! Your clue was from Holly Jolly Christmas--I love that song.
    Drea

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  24. Happy Holidays!
    The carol is Holly, Jolly Christmas.

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  25. I loved reading all your childhood stories. They sound a lot like mine. You "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" this year.

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  26. "Holly Jolly Christmas". Wishing you a Happy Holiday!!
    Theresa N
    weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  27. Wow, great turnout! Lynn, my brother was grumbling about his 5 year old watching Rudolph all year because it was on DVD. He said he put it away and told her she could watch it in the month of December. He's done that with all his holiday shows. ;) Our generation was so different from the one that entered college about 7 years ago. We didn't have a VCR or an answering machine. Our generation is a bit more patient for it. ;) Can you imagine life where we're sitting around waiting for "Jimmy" to with his invite to the prom? No leaving the phone there!!! ~the anthropologist

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  28. That's: wait for Jimmy to CALL... I hate this Vista OS. It blanks out while I'm typing!!! The omitted words drive me batty!

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  29. I read your blog to my son. We laughed and laughed. Because that's the way it was for me, too. You planned your activities around the Christmas specials, and if you were lucky, you got to see It's A Wonderful World, too!

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  30. Holly Jolly Christmas is the answer.

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  31. What fun! Holly Jolly Christmas is the answer. :)

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  32. "Holly Jolly Christmas"

    Happy December to you,
    Michelle

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  33. Skhye, sorry about your Vista problems. I would brag about my Mac, but that would be in such bad taste. So I won't boast about how few problems it gives me and how much more productive I am since I abandoned the PC world ;-)

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  34. Liana, I'm glad you and your son could relate too. I'm sorry kids don't get the chance to get all excited about those shows anymore. I guess "A Charlie Brown Christmas" would be a lot more exciting if there was an interactive Wii version of it!

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  35. I love this contest! I've got christmas carols bouncing around in my head! Your carol name is Holly Jolly Christmas.

    Blessings,
    Rhonda :0)

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  36. I don't know if I am doing this right, but here goes. I love the concept! I have never seen a blog tour like this. I LOVE it!

    The name of the Christmas song is "Holly Jolly Christmas".

    Sue, author
    http://lifeislike.suesunshine.com

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  37. Rhonda and Sue, I can't take credit. The Christmas Ride was Skhye's idea - but it is pretty neat. Maybe we could do one for each season? How about a Summertime Cruise? Bloggers could post the lyrics from favorite summer songs to win a prize - Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, your favorite Reggae artist. That could be fun.

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  38. Ha! I told my kids about the same story, and they didn't believe there wasn't VCR's then! Then they just sat there trying to process it!! LOL

    This carol is Have A Holly Jolly Christmas!!

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  39. It's definitely "Holly Jolly Christmas!"

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  40. Ah, I'm feelin' nostalgic. Have a 'Holly Jolly Christmas.' :)

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  41. Hi Lynn!
    I so remember how it was back then :)) And the highlight of my season's viewing was White Christmas---I couldn't make up my mind which dress I wanted more, the one worn by Rosemary Clooney or Vera Ellen. I think I changed my mind every year!
    Ellen

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  42. The song is "Holly Jolly Christmas" and I hope you'll be having one soon. Until then Happy Holidays!

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