Holiday Cheer From Yesteryear

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I am about to enter into a week of work-hell so before I checkout starting Sunday through next Saturday, I thought I might link you to some past Thanksgiving-Holiday-Christmas posts from years past. It’s a cheap filler but if you have not read them, here is chance to grow your heart three sizes and decorate the dog.

Click the images to be whisked away to magical holiday…just click the images.

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A couple of years ago I wrote 1100 words describing a one minute McDonald’s commercial from 1987. Back before the war against McDonald’s, kids had a special love for the restaurant. Every holiday season, these types of commercials left an indelible impression on us. I still remember most of them, mentally linking the airing to certain CBS holiday programming like Garfield’s Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a simple time with simple pleasures like tearing up to Hardnose Mrs. Hatcher and her third grade class.

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Oh my gorsh, the Muppet Family Christmas is my favorite holiday special. It’s the king and if you have never seen it, I weep for you. Jim Henson goes full nuclear on us by bringing together the Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock under one roof for a Christmas never to be equaled again. We even get a little cameo from the master himself and if you have a dry eye, you have no soul.

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Back before I knew the magic of Black Friday, I created a list of things I would rather do than subject myself to the herd of crazy bargain shoppers. Then, last year, the girl I was dating at the time introduced me to alcohol while shopping and I finally got it. Look for me at Target come 12:01am this coming Black Friday. I’ll be wearing something stupid and drinking a Big Gulp cup full of margarita.

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Years ago I was in a bidding war on eBay for an ugly Christmas sweater. When the price got to $200 I backed out and lost the bid. Thank God because then I would have never had the motivation to create this monstrosity. AND, get “pinned” on Pintrest over 300,000 times. Sometimes fame comes in weird forms.

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Hey, did you know certain European countries believed St. Nick had a demon sidekick that would kill and rape the bad kids? Yeah, it’s not bad enough to be screwed out of gifts because you didn’t finish your peas but get violated and killed by Krampus? Damn Christmas, you scary.

So there you go.

 

Christmas Non-Jolly Traditions. Actually, Terrifying Is The Word.

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Oh, Christmas traditions are a funny thing, eh? We put a dead tree in the living room and wrap it in electric wires, hang socks over a fireplace, drink booze at work parties, exchange gifts we know people will either give away the next year or return, wear sweaters that would make a crazy old lady wince, bribe our kids with gifts if they are good and use a made-up fat guy as leverage, and listen to music that we love until December 26th then completely hate. And all this has to do, somehow, with the Son of God being born in a barn. Trying to explain this holiday to an extraterrestrial would be difficult if not slightly embarrassing but if we compare our traditions with that of other countries, we may come off as silly but at least we aren’t creepy and sadistic. Let me shed some light on a few traditions other countries have on this holiday of holly jolly.

Let’s start with the Scandinavians. Apparently it’s bad news to go out the night of Christmas Eve because this is the night when trolls, goblins, witches and ghost are said to roam the land and before dawn they are the craziest. To venture out means certain death so pray there isn’t a late night run to the local mart for more cheese and beer.

The Swedes take it a step further by actually setting a table with a huge feast for dead relatives to return from the grave and party all night. The (living) family members close off the room, go to bed and not dare return until morning. They observe any signs that there was a ghostly gathering the morning of Christmas and I guess…open presents? No idea.

In Wales, it’s said dogs that howl during the night on Christmas Eve will go mad by years end. They also make a point to keep a candle lit through Christmas day and if it should go out means there will be a death in the house soon. Oh! Also if you cast a shadow on the wall and it appears headless you are totally fucked. I’m not making these up.

Another odd Netherlands tradition or folklore is to clean all of your Christmas decorations by February second and if you are late or leave behind any needles from wreaths or a tree, that is how many spirits and demons you will have for the rest of the year. This folklore I happen to like because seeing neighbors with Christmas decorations up any longer than a month after December should result in at least a curse.

Here is my personal favorite and it hails from Austria. I am not sure how cute elves were brought about as St. Nick’s assistant because the origin of Santa has a demon named Krampus helping him out. Yeah, a demon who tags along with him to handle the “naughty” list. Did I mention he is a rape demon too? Apparently he is described as an incubus that preys on sleeping people and follows around St. Nick delivering beatings to bad kids and the really bad ones go with Krampus down to Hell. This reward to punishment ratio seems a little bit one sided. If you are good you get a bunch of candy in your shoe. Bad, you get raped, beaten and dragged to Hell.

Damn, Santa is kind of a sick jerk.