Last night, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas was on. I stumbled upon it flipping channels and called the kids and Mike. And we kind of watched it and I got a little sad. Knowing that we could watch it on dvd or in any number of repeated airings made it lose something. And I wasn't sure exactly, what.
When I was little, in the dinosaur age, these shows aired once a year. It was circa dark ages when there were no laser discs, no beta maxes, no vhs, and years prior to cable tv. There was anticipation and tradition in the annual Christmas tv viewing. We poured over the TV Guide, gleefully circling the dates and times of our favorites. Those Holiday specials only came on once and this made them an EVENT.
A getting into your pj's, making Jiffy Pop, getting to stay up later, butterflies in your stomach, special evening.
Many of my very favorite Christmas memories were from the Rankin and Bass's productions of The Little Drummer Boy, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Who can forget the delight of Heat Miser and Snow Miser's song and dance routines? Or scary thrills of the Winter Warlock as the legend of Santa Claus came to life? I remember sitting on the floor of my parents bedroom, back against the dresser with my knees up to hide behind when the Bumble came on the screen during Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We looked forward to laughing at the poignant and wonderful, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and singing along to "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch" and loving "Frosty the Snowman."
Each one was treasured anew year after year. They were special.
I try to make them special still. The huge bag of Christmas movies and books only come out of the attic the day after Thanksgiving. Our family has a tradition of watching Chevy Chase's, "Christmas Vacation" on Thanksgiving Day. During Advent I even schedule certain movies to watch on certain days when we do homemade gifts or cookies or decorate the tree. And I know they look forward to it.
But it just isn't the same.