Christmas Television - ALF's Special Christmas

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 0
Christmas Television - ALF's Special Christmas
ALF's Special Christmas as a Christmas episode of ALF that aired in two parts on December 14, 1987. One major part of the story is about ALF, by circumstance, meeting a sick girl at the hospital. The character in the show (Tiffany) was based on a real person who had leukemia, Tiffany Leigh Smith, who died on January 2nd, 1987. The photos on Find A Grave are of the actress who played her (Keri Houlihan) and not the actual Tiffany Leigh Smith.

At the end credits of Part 2, the two-part episode is dedicated to Tiffany Leigh Smith and Tom Kyle, who was a technical director of the show. If you haven't seen the episode, the episodes are all-around emotional, without giving spoilers, involving more than one character. It's definitely worth watching though and I would say it is amongst the best Christmas episodes of any show. You can find the full show available on many websites.

Here's a short promo for the episode:

Here's more information about the episodes (spoilers ahead at the links):
'ALF's Special Christmas' is the closest thing we ever got to a true ALF movie
Get your tissues: Here's the true story of the little girl whose Make-a-Wish dream was to talk to ALF

Synopsis of both episodes

ALF's Special Christmas (Part One)

ALF accidentally falls under a load of Christmas gifts for children in the hospital. He becomes a toy for the terminally ill Tiffany. The alien quickly becomes friends with the girl.

ALF's Special Christmas (Part Two)

ALF has said goodbye to his friend Tiffany. As he is just sneaking out of the hospital he gets stuck in the elevator with a woman who goes into labor.

St. Lucia Day History and Traditions

Sunday, December 08, 2019 0
St. Lucia Day History and Traditions
Christmas in Sweden and most of Scandinavia begins on December 13th. The 13 is the feast day of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucia), bringer of light and patron saint of vision. Born in 283 in Syracuse, Sicily, Lucia was known to bring food and supplies to persecuted Christians hiding underground while wearing a wreath of candles upon her head to light the way.

She was betrothed to a wealthy pagan but vowed to remain unmarried, wanting to dedicate her life to helping others. Refusing to be married and named a Christian, she was tortured by having her eyes removed and finally martyred. Before the Gregorian calendar reform, Santa Lucia’s feast day fell on the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year in Sweden, a country she is rumored to have visited in her short life. Today, many in Nordic countries and elsewhere continue to honor her as the virtuous bride, bringing joyful light to their dark winter days.

On the morning of her feast day, in family observances, the oldest daughter in each family dresses in a white robe and wears a wreath of candles on her head while delivering sweet rolls (called lussekatt) and coffee to her parents by candlelight.

The sisters of the Lucia Bride wear a wreath of tinsel in their hair and a piece tied around their waist, while the boys have tall pointed caps sprinkled with stars. Awakened by the lights and the singing, the parents arise and eat the breakfast served, thus ushering in the Christmas season.

As Lucia Day comes at the darkest time of year, the candles of the ministering Santa Lucia portend and witness to the True Light-the birth of Christ. On the morning of the thirteenth of December, the strains of "Santa Lucia" are heard everywhere in Scandinavia as the white-robed maiden comes out of the night with her burning crown of candles. In honor of her martyrdom, It has long been the custom to donate money on Lucia Day to institutions working for the blind.

Source, including traditional songs and recipes: http://www.angelfire.com/ne/elkhorn38/stlucia.html

The Legend of Sankta Lucia
Christmas in Sweden
Sankta Lucia: The Survival of a Nordic Sun Goddess

Christmas Television - Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Thursday, December 05, 2019 0
Christmas Television - Blackadder's Christmas Carol
This Christmas special, Blackadder's Christmas Carol, is from 1987 and stars a few names that are recognizable. Rowan Atkinson, best known for his Mr. Bean character. Hugh Laurie, best known for playing Dr. Gregory House on the TV series, House. And also Stephen Fry, who I know mainly from seeing him in V for Vendetta and Stephen Fry in America.

As for Blackadder's Christmas Carol, think of it as the reverse of A Christmas Carol. You can watch it below from archive.org. You can also leave comments/reviews at https://archive.org/details/bbcv4648

Blackadder's Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third (1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), and is narrated by Hugh Laurie. Produced by the BBC, it was first broadcast on BBC1 on 23 December 1988.

In addition to Blackadder's Christmas Carol you may also be interested in watching one of the many adaptations of A Christmas Carol and especially Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean.

Vintage Christmas TV Specials from the '60s, '70s and '80s

Tuesday, December 03, 2019 0
Vintage Christmas TV Specials from the '60s, '70s and '80s
These are a few of my favorite retro/vintage Christmas shows and specials from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that I remember watching the reruns of growing up. This post is inspired by the article on Click American, "100 vintage Christmas TV specials & holiday episodes you might remember from the ’70s & ’80s"

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The 1965 Christmas special starring the Peanuts gang. It's about the true meaning of Christmas, with Biblical elements. Specifically, Luke 2.8-14. In recent years, it has received some criticism for the segment about the birth of Jesus, the story of the Nativity. Some schools have also chosen to no longer show the Christmas special in classrooms.

But the apprehension about the Biblical element being included goes as far back to 1965 when the special was being made. One producer was hesitant about including it. Schultz practically had the convince them to keep it in. The whole, detailed story behind it can be read at How the Bible Almost Got "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Canceled Without that part of the special, and how it adds a depth that ties everything together, A Charlie Brown Christmas would have (more than likely) been forgotten long ago.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

First premiered on December 6th, 1964 and is the longest-running Christmas special. It's the one everyone has seen and is a must-watch every December. Though I also recommend watching the 1948 version
Click here to read the history of Rankin-Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Little Drummer Boy

Also produced by Rankin-Bass and premiered on December 19, 1968. It showed every Christmas season on television until the late 1980s and didn't air for a few years until some time in the 1990s. It also had a 1976 sequel, The Little Drummer Boy, Book II.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the Grinch special that people are most familiar with. It first premiered on December 18, 1966. On top of watching on television growing up, we'd also watch in school on the last day before Christmas break in the 90s,.

Frosty the Snowman

Premiered on December 7, 1969.

A Christmas Carol (1971 Cartoon)

Premiered on December 21, 1971. This one didn't air often when I was growing up and I haven't seen it in a long time. The two other memorable ones I would watch every year though was the 1951 version starring Alastair Simm and the good but really eerie (at least when to a younger me) the 1954 version with Fredric March and Basil Rathbone, which we had on a videotape bought from Ames (remember them?).  Of course, then there's the 1938 adaptation starring Reginald Owen.

And I cannot forget Mickey's Christmas Carol

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Premiered on December 8, 1974 (See also: Twas the Night Before Christmas from 1946)

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Premiered December 10, 1974

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year

Premiered December 10, 1976

One more, though it's not from the 1960s-1980s, is the 1936 Christmas cartoon Christmas Comes But Once a Year. Which we also had on one of those Christmas collection videotapes. The parallax animation and real objects included in the animations always stood out about the cartoon to me (and still does). Which they likely were quite novel and complicated effects back in 1936.

Here are a few Christmas commercials from the 1970s, 1980s. You can also find plenty more on YouTube. Including from the 90s and 2000s.

Restoring the Traditions and Meanings of Christmas

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 0
Restoring the Traditions and Meanings of Christmas
As hard as it may be to imagine, Christmas celebrations and observances had more meaning in the past in the United States. Even as recent as a decade ago. Before what we call this 'progressive' age. Progressing towards what? At one time, the Christmas season was more about connectedness and not about the materialistic aspect. Which, in turn, makes Christmas feel like a chore to so many. I would be lying if I said that most families try to stay close to traditions. To spend the day away from ordinary distractions and attentive to each other instead. Most of them don't even have traditions anymore (if they ever did).

Yes they, more often than not, hurry to open their gifts. Then they head off to do their own thing and pay each other little mind. They flip on the television or power on their smart devices and sink into those escapes. They act like Christmas is over after those few moments of opening gifts. Then they'll have a so-called special dinner in the evening and that's it. A few moments in the morning and nothing else feels special about the day. Christmas should be more than that.

The trend of materialism has been a problem for a long time in the United States. We all know that it is only getting worse. It is a trend that needs to be undone. It always leaves people feeling like Christmas is a chore rather than a joy. To change that, we do need to go back to our roots or to find a better way to observe the holiday.

For those of us in the USA we need this change the most. We need to celebrate Christmas the way past generations of our respective families did. To celebrate the way the first-generation immigrants of our families would have. Be it that the "first generation" was a few decades ago or over a century or more ago. If your ancestors didn't celebrate Christmas then research Christmas celebrations around the world and mix and match as you please to give Christmas Day a meaning. It doesn't have to be centered around money.  Because, for most of us, past generations of our families came to these shores with little or no money at all.

Most of all, don't let people make you feel like you're not allowed to celebrate or observe Christmas over politically correct/shaming notions either. You're allowed to be happy as the year winds down through New Year's Eve. You're allowed to celebrate the holiday without being shamed for it. In fact, all of December should be a celebration.

Here's the article that inspired this post.

Mixing Polish and American Christmas Traditions in the USA | Traveling Mom

Many immigrant families across America try to preserve traditions brought from their countries of origin. It is easier said than done, especially when children, first generation Americans, are born. They do not want to be different. Parents need to be creative to find a balance between their culture and needs of their children.

Regarding Christmas celebrations and customs around the world, you can check out the entry on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_traditions

It's best to go to the sources linked on Wikipedia to get the full, unfiltered picture of respective Christmas traditions around the world. From there you'll be able to dig deeper and find more about the Christmas traditions that you're exploring. Or even find out about traditions that you never even knew about.

Katelyn Nicole Davis ♥ Forever Missed