My Christmas List

I’ve written a little about the practicality and usefulness of Christmas lists in the past – https://chroniclesofdad.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/christmas-lists-2/

I’ll never understand why some of you deliberately avoid using a list whilst purchasing gifts and/or are offended when someone provides you with a list.  The list maker obviously put thought and effort into the construction of the list because not everything makes it onto the list.  That means it was done in a thoughtful manner.  By shunning the list, the message you are sending is that you are trying to one-up the list maker because you not only know what they’d like but what they need.

Anyway, I think as we get older our Christmas lists get shorter but more expensive.  For example, I’d like a new mower.  Preferably one with a much more reliable self propelled drive mechanism.  But nobody is getting me a new mower.  Mostly because it’s way too expensive and I really want full control over all aspects of the decision making process when it comes my mower.  So it is not on my list.

The other thing about lists is that as we get older I think, if we’re being honest, they become a bit impractical.  Which, as we know, is the opposite of what the Christmas list is supposed to be.  The list is there for the ease of the user.  It should make the gift purchasing process easier to understand.  Like the rules on what a legal catch in the NFL should be.  I mean if it’s a catch in flag-football, high school football and college football, it’s probably reasonably a catch in the NFL…unless you’re wearing #81 for the Steelers and playing for the Patriots. Anyway…

Here’s what I mean by our lists getting impractical.  I’d like a million dollars cash, tax free.  Right now.  But I doubt that’s going to happen because I don’t really know Santa’s relationship with the IRS.  While it undoubtedly is better now than it was under Lois Lerner, I’m guessing that big bags of cash are out as a potential gift under the tree.

But here’s what I’d really like this Christmas:

1-A channel on Direct TV where I could watch Scooby Doo, Thundarr the Barbarian, Johnny Quest and Schoolhouse Rock.  And the Superfriends.  Yes, I realize there are variations of what I’m describing here on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.  But none exactly as I’ve described.  And it’s my damn list.  So instead of dismissively shaking your head at me, think about the awesomeness of what I’m describing.

Scooby EbenezerScooby, whether you’ll admit it or not, is definitive cartoon of Generation X.  It was on Saturday morning. It was on after school.  It taught us problem solving skills, perseverance, and teamwork.  And there are so many versions of it.  There’s the original series Scooby-Doo Where Are You?  Favorite episode?  Close race between Go Away Ghost Ship with Redbeard the Pirate and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf?  Then there was The New Scooby-Doo Movies.  Kinda hard to pick a favorite here.  But Jerry Reed played Snowman and had  a dog named flash in Smokey and the Bandit so that kinda gives him a leg up.  Then we had The New Scooby Doo Show and the High Rise Hair Raiser and the Headless Horseman of Halloween.  Both of which were legit scary-ass creepy episodes for a third grader.  Of course it wasn’t too much longer until the eventual, although regrettable, introduction of Scrappy Doo.  Next to the implementation of the federal income tax, the casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and the decision by the Steelers to take Gabe Rivera instead of Dan Marino #1 in 1983 this is likely worst decision in American history.  Realistically you probably have to count those Scrappy Doo shows as actual Scooby episodes.  But I refuse to count the Laff-a-Lympics.

superfriends1Also, it’s not really Saturday morning in the late 70’s without the Challenge of the Superfriends.  Loved the battles with the Legion of Doom.  Didn’t love the Wondertwins.  And everybody loved the narrator…”Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice…”

 

johnnyquestThen there’s Johnny Quest.  I have this memory of waking up early on Saturday morning back in the fall of ’78, hopping on the couch under a blanket and watching Johnny Quest as I got ready to watch whatever college football game ABC decided to force feed us because there was literally no other choices.  Besides being the lead in to college football, Johnny Quest had two other things going for it; 1) Race Freaking Bannon.  Everybody who watched Johnny Quest learned how to be cool by watch Race Bannon, 2) They used guns.  In a cartoon.  While they helped America fight criminal warlords, terrorists and other agents of evil during the Cold War.  Really – along with Star Wars – it was everything a Gen X kid could ask while forming his idea of values, morals and ethics…although I pretty sure catholic school had a lot to do with this too.

thundarrNo cartoon channel worth a crap could ignore the coolest Saturday morning cartoon of the 80’s.  “In the year, 1994. From out of space, comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man’s civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old. A world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice. With his companions, Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword, against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!”  Seriously, I’m getting all geeked up just thinking about it.

adverbsFinally there is Schoolhouse Rock.  Without which I would not have learned the preamble to the Constitution, the correct use and identification of adverbs, interjections and pronouns along with tricks to master the multiplication tables.  I think the lack of exposure to Schoolhouse Rock is among the key reasons as to why millennials suck so much.

But that’s just me.  And that’s what is on my Christmas list.  Right now.

 

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Christmas 1983

Heard Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes on the radio a couple days ago while driving the 8th grader to school.  Turns out that despite the weird freaky video this was my favorite song back in December of ’83 during my 8th grade Christmas.  Other things going on in December of ’83?  I was wearing these:

8th grade shoes

Big Country was shooting up the charts while P.Y.T. was sliding down, Eric Dickerson was setting a rooking rushing record wearing rec specs and Olivia Newton John was not only caught up a in a strange Twist of Fate she was killing it with this hair:

ONJ Two of a Kind

That’s a lotta hotness for a 13 year-old boy to deal with.

Not totally sure of what I was asking Santa to leave under the tree that particular December.  Cool BMX bike accessories?  Terry Bradshaw’s elbow to heal so the Steelers wouldn’t be subjected to Cliff Stoudt’s affinity for interceptions.  Actual brake dancing abilities.  Parachute pants.   A higher appreciation for Journey’s Ask the Lonely.

Bails wants a cat.  And candy.  But mostly a cat.  I’d probably be down with getting her a cat made out of candy but she’s not getting an actual cat.  I don’t want a pet.  I don’t need anything else to take care of.  I have a mortgage and three teenage daughters.  Three teenage daughters who routinely engage in petty sister on sister apparel thievery and depending on their position in the aforementioned thievery feign innocence or demand retribution.  Plus there is the rampant dismissive sarcasm which gives me a full tank when it comes other living things that ignore directions.  I don’t need a cat looking up at me after it pees in the corner of my office the same way Jake Tapper looks at Kellyanne Conaway.

conwaytapper

Now don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t dislike cats.  We had cats my whole life growing up.  We had Thursday, Bandit, Smokey (see what we did there), Spooky, Sneaker and then there was Muffy.  I liked all of these cats.  Well except for Muffy.  Nobody liked her.  Which seemed to suit her fine since she also disliked all the other living things in the house.

But I don’t want a cat in our house.  We have dark wood floor for pete’s sake.  Do know what kind of havoc cat hair can wreak on dark wood floors!  Trust me, it’s gross.  That stuff starts blowing across it like tumbleweed.  And I like clean floors.  Everybody has their weird stuff and one of mine is clean floors.  Cats are the sworn enemy of clean floors.  Like bumbling villains and meddling kids.  Like Lynn Swann and George Atkinson.  Like B.A. Baracus and flying.  Plus, despite all the girls’ assurances that they will take care of the cat, I’m pretty damn sure it’ll be me who makes sure the cat not only learns to use the litter pan but also cleans it out.

Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I did poopy diapers for about 5 years.  I’m done dealing with poop.

If I were to ever agree to a cat, I would never, ever, never, ever, never make it a Christmas present.  That’s crazier than pretending to be a native American to land a spot on the Harvard faculty.  Why would I attach the sentimentality of Christmas, of all holidays, to a pet which I have clearly explained is only around to cause me grief.  That’s not very Christmasy.  Also if I was somehow duped into getting a cat, it would be an outside only cat.  The kind that hangs in the garage, kills rodents and scares away rabbits.  The kind that rains death upon the interlopers in my yard that eat the plants.  We could name it Van Damme…

More Complicated?

Was Christmas less complicated when we were kids?  I mean pretty much all you did was agonizingly count down the days before Christmas Break, watch the Bob Hope Christmas Special and wait for Santa to deliver the loot.  Now it seems we either get overwhelmed or it sneaks up on us.  Although to be honest, if Christmas sneaks up on you there is really no one to blame but yourself.  C’mon the decorations are up in October.  It’s not like Christmas arrives all stealthy.  The songs have been on the radio since before Thanksgiving and the decorations are up in all the stores minutes after Halloween is over.

I think what really happens is we let it overwhelm us.  Every year we vow to shop earlier, get the Christmas cards done over Thanksgiving and to help Mom wrap the presents.  Well, that last part is a complete falsehood.  I’ve never done that.  I stick the labels on the gifts.  That is extent to which Mom trusts my wrapping skills.  I’m a strong proponent of the widespread use of gift bags.

Now I’m must spitballin’ here but I’m pretty sure my appreciation for gift bag usage is based in the Christmas story.  And I’m not talking about the 1983 movie in which Ralphie told us, “”Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.”  No, I’m talking about the traditional telling of the actual Christmas story…updated for levity during this busy time of year.

Feel free to let me know if you remember it a bit differently.

According to yuletide folklore, Mary and Joseph traveled a long way to Bethlehem, inadvertently obligating couples from thenceforth to the customary holiday journey to visit family and friends while dealing with delayed flights, snowy roads and impatient whining children.  Or, depending on your current parental situation, know-it-all, eye-rolling teenagers.  Nary a mention of wrapping gifts.  Also no condemnation of the rampant use of gift bags in place of traditional wrapping.  Go back and look.  Pretty sure the Biblical scholars are going to back me up on this.   Mary made a list of what they needed and Joseph stupidly viewed the list as suggestions and instead only brought egg nog, chips and a list of where all the rest areas were located.  Thankfully he was smart enough to observe a star in the sky which guided them to the Inn where they were told their reservations had somehow been lost and had been “upgraded” to the stable.

Anyway, Mary and Joseph, settled in next to the manger in which they placed the baby Jesus.  Next to the manager was a small conifer.  In this case, a fir.  Possibly a spruce.  Biblical arborists disagree.  Regardless, Joseph, having driven the cart all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, suggested that they just put all Christmas gifts for family and friends in gift bags.  After all it would be quicker and the important thing is the gift not the wrapping paper.

Thankfully, the three Wise Men also saw the star and began their trek to see the baby Jesus.  Lesser known is the story of the Wise Men.  They saw a star and began a trek to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.  This, of course, began the age-old practice of dudes everywhere driving aimlessly through mall parking lots searching for open spots whilst their wives and girlfriends incessantly sent them pics asking which gifts they should buy.  Unbeknownst to them at the time, the three Wise Men doomed husbands and boyfriends throughout the ages to consistent criticism for the gift decisions because of their weird gifts choice of gold, frankincense and myrrh .  Maybe some 0-6 month onesies or some diapers?  Or even a gift card to Rock Bottom for Mary and Joseph would’ve been nice.  I mean they are going to want to get out of the stable for a few hours here and there.

Anyway, key thing to remember is the story does not include anything about:  1) wrapping gifts, and 2) saving Christmas cookies for some unnamed post-holiday reason.

So, feel free to use gifts bags for any type of gift and don’t worry about saving any Christmas cookies for later.  Nobody makes New Year’s cookies…unless they help with hangovers…

 

Christmas and…beer

Nothing goes together like Christmas and beer.  Well, yes, family and friends, the baby Jesus, and large conifers placed inside your house are all more important than beer.  But does anything feel more yuletidy than these:

 

 

 

Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Christmas Lists

Growing up we made lists.  We’d wait for the JC Penny and Sears Christmas catalogs to arrive with a feeling of anticipation only a Gen Xer can truly appreciate.  When those 10 lb. bundles of wishes arrived it was magical.   We’d grab a pencil and a legal pad and get to work.  I’d roll through several versions before finally whittling the list down to those things that I desperately wanted and felt comfortable submitting to the powers that be.  I’d always chuckle softly inside when I’d see my sister’s lists.  They’d have 45 things on there.  I’d think to myself, “you simpletons, interest rates are like 20%, there’s no way you’re getting all that stuff.”   My list would be narrowed down to 10-12 specific items.  If you wanted Santa, and later your folks, to get it right you needed give them clear and unambiguous instructions.  Because nobody wanted to end up with this:

1980SearsCatalog8

If you wanted Chopper Command for your Atari 2600, you needed to spell it out.  Now, as I’ve become older, it has come to my attention that there are some folks who don’t appreciate getting lists.  If fact, they will ignore the list.  These individuals will go and buy something that they think you’ll like despite having an actual list of things they know you’ll like.

This makes no sense.  Like Bernie Sanders’ view of economics.  Or casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker.

It’s not that I view it as disrespectful or dismissive of all the work I, or someone else, may have put into building the list.  I simply do not understand why anyone would intentionally choose to make their own life harder by ignoring the list.  And make no mistake, that’s what you’re doing.  You might church it all up by convincing yourself that you’ve thought about it and have really come up a sincerely heartfelt and profoundly meaningful gift.  But you’d be almost always wrong.

Sure I get a benefit from you choosing something from my own Christmas list.  I put it together therefore I obviously have a fairly high level of affinity for everything that made the final cut to get on the list.  But the real beneficiary is you.  The real advantage is the simplicity for you the buyer.  The time saved.  The hassles eluded.  The avoidance of that awkward realization that the gift you gave someone has become a garage rag or been returned for store credit.  Why in the name of all that is holly and jolly would someone purposefully choose to add needless decisions to a time of year that is already overrun with extra stuff?

Especially when you were given a list!  A Christmas list is a yuletide map to joyous merriment.  Literally the only decisions you have to make, outside of how much beer you’re going to drink during the period of time when everyone else is still shopping, is which store to visit first and whether or not you should pity laugh at all the holiday shoppers without lists to guide them.  Do you really think the three Wise Men showed up at the stable in Bethlehem with gold, frankincense, and myrrh because they had spent most of the summer and fall contemplating the perfect baby gifts for Mary and Joseph?  They are dudes.  And dudes need a Christmas list to go shopping or they will always – ALWAYS – come back with a six-pack, a gift card and a t-shirt with the logo of their favorite NFL team.  Because they want you to be happy while you’re watching the playoffs drinking the six pack.  To remedy that, the Angel Gabriel showed up one night and gave the three Wise Men Jesus’ Christmas list.  Scholars still debate why Jesus chose those things.  But its in the Bible so who are we to question it.  So if you still want to be one of those people who ignores the biblical foundations of Christmas lists whilst deriding the gift choices of the three Wise Men, go ahead, but don’t expect me to follow along.  The Angel Gabriel and I will be at the mall with our lists shopping for gifts…

I-76 Christmas

Every other year we travel to Colorado for Christmas. You could do worse. Colorado is cool place. It has mountains, a crap ton of microbreweries and both of my sisters live there. It was also 65 degrees in the middle of December. Not too shabby. This trip not only gives us the chance to spend time with my side of the family but also affords us the opportunity to really evaluate the interstate system, grade the exits and their dining opportunities along with the scenery along I-76.

So, Colorado, you have legal pot now. I am sure this reality has drawn a certain demographic to settle within your borders. Congrats, I guess. But you did not have to hire all them to work at the Department of Transportation. Because one of two things is happening as a result. Either the Colorado DOT forgot to take care of their roads because they got hungry or Colorado isn’t using any of the pot tax revenue on its roads. Granted, you probably have other needs which need funding. Off the top of my head, I guessing more law enforcement. But geez, c’mon Colorado, you suck at highways. Badly. It’s like you deliberately laid each concrete section of I-76 a half inch off of the last one. Describing it as washboard effect does not do washboards justice. The right lane going west was like driving on the brain waves of Nancy Pelosi. So we switched lanes to the less annoying but still shoddy asphalt in the left lane. It was like we were driving on pillows. And not the crappy Wal-Mart pillows, the expensive ones at Pottery Barn. Regardless, how about throwing some of that new drug money at the interstate?

Now, if you find yourself traveling on I-76 in eastern Colorado, here’s a few things to remember:

First, your cell reception will be as reliable as a French armored division in the spring of 1940. Two, if you enjoy watching barbed wire fencing, cattle and a complete lack of trees, you’re in luck. If you’re driving west and you forget to get gas in Ogallala, here’s a rundown on your options just over the pot frontier in Colorado.

Julesburg. We’ve never made it past the Shell station or Wagon Wheel right at the exit so I can’t comment on the town itself. The Wagon Wheel has more room and nicer bathrooms. Also it has an impressive about of trinkets and baubles.

Segewick. I’m not sure what Segewick looks like or actually entails. Lucy’s Café is right off the interstate and had a couple gas pumps. Lucy also had a General Store. I assume the General Store sold more than gun powder and sasparilla. But one thing Lucy’s didn’t have was pavement. I don’t want to cast aspersions upon Segewick or Lucy’s Café and General Store but we haven’t been back since we stopped there in ’08.

Sterling. I recommend stopping here. Although we never have. It appears to be the biggest small town you’ll pass until you get to Ft. Morgan. So I guess there’s less chance you’ll be mauled by a rabid elk or something.

Atwood. There’s a Sinclair station. We stopped there on our way home. It looks like its located on the moon. And there was a small café-type restaurant attached. We were there pretty early on a Sunday morning so it wasn’t real busy. Not that anything is busy at any time anywhere on I-76 in eastern Colorado.

So, in conclusion, getting gas before you cross the Nebraska-Colorado stateline is a good idea. Also having a large capacity bladder.

Uptown Funk’s Parental Application

Nothing brings teens and soon to be teens together with their folks better than Mom and Dad liking the same songs they like. This also gives you the chance to introduce your kids to your stuff. Mom, the girls and I have been bonding over this song:

It is impossible not to like that song if you’re a Gen Xer. Might not be your favorite, but you like it. Not as much as a 15 year-old girl, but you still like it. Why do you like it so much?

This is why:

Morris Day and The Freaking Time. This dance ain’t for everybody, just the sexy people… Uptown Funk clearly has drawn some influence from Morris.

Furthermore, somewhere deep down in your childhood, this song has taken up residence:

I got bodyguards, I got two big cars, That definitely ain’t the wack, I got a Lincoln Continental and a sunfoofed Cadillac. You’re welcome. Bruno Mars is awesome and everything, but let’s not forget Sugarhill Gang cause Bruno obviously hasn’t.

I really wanted to add Parliament Funkadelic but I don’t think Bruno Mars really sounds like them. You don’t remember hearing P-Funk. But you did. You were over at the neighbor’s house and their teenager had it going on the record player and without you knowing it, you identified this stuff as cool because you were 8 and a teenager was listening to it. And teenagers could drive. And swear.

Yeah, Merry Christmas. You’re going to be singing this stuff all day.

Christmas is well underway

Every year I lament the tendency of, well, everyone to jam as much stuff into December as possible. For whatever reason, we all feel the need to schedule EVERYTHING for December. Its not like December is longing for more stuff either. It already has NFL football with playoff implications and Christmas. But we have to fit a Christmas lunch in for every single group with which we have even a passing involvement. Every activity in which girls participate has to have a Christmas performance. Every brewery has to sell us a Winter Lager or a Christmas Ale. Granted, that last one really isn’t that upsetting.

Bails recently had her orchestra concert. It is the third and last of our 5th grade Winter Orchestra concerts. This makes us happy. For the first time, the concert wasn’t held in the junior high’s gym, it was held in the high school’s brand new Performing Arts Center. Rumor has it the stage is equipped with a massive hydraulic lift system. Yeah, that’s taxpayer money well spent…

So she’s supposed to be at the Performing Arts Center, or PAC as the cool kids are calling it, between 6 and 6:30. But like I said, this is our third 5th grade Winter Orchestra concert. If the PAC is anything like the gym, then we need to be there at 6:00 if we want a seat. After she eats dinner, I tell her to get ready. She’s dressed and ready at 5:45. Weird. Ready with a few minutes to spare. What happened next should not be a surprise however.

“Bails, get your viola and music stand in the car, we gotta go.”

“OH MY GOSH, I LEFT MY VIOLA AT SCHOOL!!!!”

Quick review of the relevant facts: She’s been home for over an hour and at no time did it even occur to her that she’d need a viola for an orchestra concert. It’s almost 6:00 which is H-Hour if you want seats and it also happens to be the time in which the school locks down. There is an after school program that ends at 6. You ain’t getting into that school after 6:00 unless you have leverage with the janitor. And the janitor isn’t a cool janitor like Carl from The Breakfast Club. Our janitor is the guy who wields the power of the keys over all who need access to the building and her rooms. Like Lando with his limitless power in the Cloud City…wait that’s a bad example, Lando didn’t have power to do anything except cave to the Galactic Empire.

So we have 11 minutes to get to school before it locks. And we have to hope that the music room isn’t locked. Then we also have to hope that we can make it to the high school in time for me to get a seat and save one for Mom who is coming right from work. Since I’m not a community organizer, I don’t like to base strategies on hope.

My truck is pretty cool. It seats five and has a trunk underneath the bed. The trunk also has a drain so it can double as a cooler. I know, right? But one thing it doesn’t have is the cornering abilities of a Corvette. But we have 11 minutes. Depending on your activity, 11 minutes is a good deal of time. For example if you are watching the Steelers in the playoffs and they have the lead with 11 minutes left and you have to depend on the current sieve of defense, 11 minutes may seem like a lifetime. Or if you have 11 minutes left in an Insanity workout, it seems like a really, really long time. When you are racing to school on a residential road with a speed limit of 25, then driving through a parking lot with an unnecessary amount of speed bumps, then hoping the music room is unlocked, then racing up another 25 mph street before guessing what door is the right door to enter at the massive new PAC, 11 minutes really doesn’t seem like a very long time.

Somehow we did it. Not only did we make it to school before 6:00, but music room was unlocked. Only problem was we parked on the wrong side of the high school for the concert. But we found our way through the building and Bails made it to the stage with plenty of time to spare. I began the dreaded seat search.

No parent likes this process. No parent likes to save seats. No parent likes to continually ask if these seats are saved. So I just thought, hey this place is massive, I’ll just go up to a corner near the top and grab a couple seats. Easy enough.

I find two seats in a row near the top right on the aisle. Sweet. I sit down, begin taking off my coat to place on the seat next to me and the woman three empty seats away from springs into action. She had the speed and quickness of an NBA point guard. Within seconds of my arrival, she goes from mom reading a book not really aware of her surroundings to the Darth Freaking Vader of Seat Saving. Out of nowhere, three coats arrive on the three empty seats next to me. Not kidding. It was like she used some kind black magic to conjure up some coats to save the seats. It couldn’t have been more than 5 seconds from the time I sat down to the time I took my jacket off to the save the seat next to me for Mom. I was too slow. This woman was a seat saving savant. Or a huge jerk. Either one. You choose.

Once Mom arrived, I stood. Not too bad. But the place was about 800 degrees. Millions of dollars to build this place and it retains heat like a brick oven. But the concert was only six songs. 5th graders can’t really behave longer than that.

Christmas pic of the day:
christmastreewallpaper

I Finally Saw Something Today…

Why do brewing companies make the best Christmas commercials? It’s a legit question. Lots of companies run Christmas themed ads. Toy companies, candy companies, fast food companies. But it’s beer commercials that I remember. Granted, I like beer. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas. But I don’t like coffee. At all. But this ad has always stayed with me.

C’mon man, tough not to get all sappy syrupy sentimental about Peter making it home for Christmas and surprising his family with the smell of Folgers in the morning. Because, seriously, who doesn’t like waking up on a snowy morning to smell of fresh brewed coffee coming from the kitchen? No one. Because coffee smells like morning. So does toast. Gotta have toast. So coffee and toast on a snowy morning in December. Well, donuts too I guess. And probably a raspberry coffee cake. But they don’t quite have the powerful aromas that can travel up a flight a stairs to wake you up. Not too many things do. And some of them aren’t pleasant. But we are talking donuts and coffee cake. So then those things, plus the Folgers and Peter making it home for Christmas – all those things together is what makes this a great Christmas ad.

Then you have this classic:

Everybody getting along, singing, smiling, furnishing things with love and snow white turtle doves while wishing we all could just sit down and have a coke. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray did it. You can do it too. Plus it was the 70’s. And aside from the 25% interest rates, the complete loss of confidence in governmental institutions and Tony Orlando and Dawn, what’s not to like? You had the Steelers and Cowboys duking it out to be the greatest teams of the decade. And I guess the Raiders, Vikings and Dolphins too. And the Rams. Chuck Knox had some good teams. Plus you had Mr. Kotter, Schoolhouse Rock and Delta Tau Chi.

Then there’s this ad. The all-time best Christmas ad in the history of Christmas ads.

It just screams Chronicles of Dad vintage Christmas from back in the day. Beer, overcast snowy day, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, small town decorated with lights, gallivanting about town in your sleigh filled with presents. If your sleigh is a ’77 Oldsmobile and the presents are backpacks and the gallivanting is my Mom dropping my sisters and I off at school. That’s probably beside point. But, and this is a key component of this commercials inherent awesomeness, it always ran during NFL games. Like this one from December of ’78. Steelers 35 Colts 13.

Rocky Bleier-1

If you’re in your 40’s, you remember these ads. Maybe not snowy Steelers games but definitely the ads. And they always help you remember the golden days of yore. When gifts like Stratego or a hand held Mattel Electronics Football game could occupy me for days. Plus I always kinda hope somebody will go out and top these ads every Christmas season. But that’s tough task. Not only do you have to overcome nostalgia and the dreaded double bomb Stratego flag defense strategy but you have beer to deal with.

Now I know 30 million of you beat me to it, but then I finally watched this:

Teared up. I did. If I could do this every Christmas, I would. Good job outta you WestJet. Putting that look on so many folks’ faces is yuletide awesomeness.

Chocolate Butter

December is an awesome month. You get all the Christmas themed episodes of your favorite TV shows. Like this:

You get Christmas music 24-7 on at least one local radio station. Can’t really figure out why the Peanuts theme is a Christmas song though. But I have found it virtually impossible to get keep smirky grin off my face every time The Christmas Song is played. If you’re a nostalgic sentimental sap like me, you can’t help it. Because Nat King Cole nails nostalgia in this song the way Mean Joe used to plant Brian Sipe. Except for the roasted chestnuts. Because nobody actually does that. Nobody. If it’s Christmas time and you’re sitting in front of the fire you either drinking Christmasy beer with nutmeg and cinnamon…mmmm…or your watching NFL football in the snow with playoff implications. Or both. Because nothing beats the awesomeness of sitting in your house with the NFL Sunday Ticket amid all the Christmas lights and decorations in front of a blazing fireplace drinking Christmasy beer while watching fans dressed up like they’re about to spend a week outside in the woods on Cold War-era foot patrols along the Norwegian-Soviet border.

But one of the best things about December is the gift baskets delivered to your office. Today’s basket lasted about as long as Jamie Farr’s career after MASH. Pepperidge Farms cookies (Sugar and Chessman), Hershey’s kisses, summer sausage and gouda cheese, water crackers and cheese spread along smoked almonds. The cookies and almonds have virtually no chance at survival. Like a can of mousse in the 80’s. The kisses disappear at a fairly steady pace. They’re easy to grab and eat without anyone knowing how many you’ve taken. The crackers and cheese spread require some utensils so they last a bit longer…until somebody breaks down and puts a knife on the table.

Now, the summer sausage and gouda are an entirely different story. Nobody wants to be the guy who finally breaks open the sausage. Which I don’t really understand. It’s not like the rest of the office is going to berate you for eating something unhealthy…while they are chomping down cookies and cheese spread. But not together. That would be gross. I assume eating the sausage and gouda represents some kind of snacking escalation from the cookies and kisses. Because it is actually not a snack. It’s a meal. A mid-afternoon meal of meat, salt, fat, sausage casing, and dutch cheese.

But that’s not all. Noooo. Somebody always bakes. And baking means some type of homemade cookie or coffee cake. Today, in addition to the gift basket, we had cookies. Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Although, after a decent of amount sampling, I determined they weren’t really cookies. They were in fact round cut-outs of chocolate flavored butter. Sure there were some extraneous ingredients used to give them a cookie-like appearance. Like sugar and alarmingly high amounts of four. But this was straight up chocolate butter.

Not that any of that is bad…