December 12, 2012

Songs and movies make Christmas memories

When I was young, it seemed like five years until the next Christmas Day. Now I feel like I’m trying to outrun the holiday.

I loved the Christmas carols, but I also loved singing fun songs like “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” a character first created by Robert L. May for a coloring book giveaway at Montgomery Wards in 1939. He thought about calling him Rollo or Reginald before settling on the name that now connects instantly with kids young and old.

How about “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth…so I can with you Merry Chrithmas,” sung by Spike Jones and the City Slickers, a chart topper for three weeks in 1948?

Other songs that “ring a bell” with me are “Jingle Bell Rock” (1951), “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” (1951), “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (1958) and “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks (1958).

More recent songs, like “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo and Patsy (1979) and Kenny Rogers singing “Mary, Did You Know?,” have become favorites of my children and grandchildren.

I bet you’re humming one of these tunes right now.

Nearly everyone has a favorite Christmastime movie. My daughter-in-law, Joanne, faithfully watches “A Christmas Story,” (1983) which includes scenes where one kid dares another to stick his tongue on the frozen lamppost and later gets pink bunny slippers from his aunt. I can relate to both of those memories.

My daughter Carol would rather shave her head than miss “It’s A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart (1946).

My personal favorite is “Funny Farm” (1988) with Chevy Chase. My husband tells me it’s not officially a Christmas movie, but I just love Yellow Dog, who digs up human bones in the garden; the village folk who dress like a Dickens story to impress the prospective home buyers; and the ending for Andy (Chevy Chase) and Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith). Every Christmas story has a happy ending; thus it’s a Christmas movie.

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