Monday, December 12, 2011

Days of Christmas Past

Doug: For all those so inclined, today we'd like to talk about Christmas memories from our childhoods. I'll start by saying that having spent my entire life in the Chicago area, a white Christmas is almost-necessary! My guess is that my partner, having grown up in California and now living in the desert, has perhaps seen nary a Christmas with snow. How about the rest of you in regard to that front?

Karen: We never had snow for Christmas when I lived in southern California, but it was usually cold, and either rainy or cloudy. It felt like winter to me. I can't say the same about these desert Christmases!

Doug: And what of Christmas decorations? One of my fondest memories is of going to my grandparents -- on the side of the family that was oh-so-secular, yet decorated to the nines! Grandma had these big plastic covers for the yard light; one of Santa Claus and one of Frosty the Snowman. It was a real treat to turn onto their street and see that looming in the distance. Once inside, everything was "Christmas", from the fuzzy toilet seat cover (similar to the one pictured below) to the hand towels to the fancy little characters that covered every door knob in the house. And the presents... it looked like the whole sleigh had exploded and landed under her tree!

Karen: My father was always making things, and one Christmas he made a metal Christmas tree frame about 7 feet high, to which he attached Christmas lights, and then placed on the roof. It was the coolest light display on the block!

Doug: And a favorite memory? I think I've related it around here before, but the year I got Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, a transistor radio, and the Mego Spider-Man -- all under the family tree -- simply can't be beat!

Karen: Ah yes, I recall getting Origins of Marvel Comics, many Marvel calendars, and that really cool boxed set of The Lord of The Rings -not sure who published it but it had gold paper and elf runes on the outside. Those were great gifts. But a favorite memory is the smell of the turkey cooking overnight - my folks babied the thing, taking turns getting up and basting it. But it was well worth it -some of the most tender and juicy turkey I've ever had!

Doug: Now it's your turn -- what are some of your recollections of Christmas in the Bronze Age?


david_b said...

Wow, and wow.. Quite frankly, I'd hate to be 'sitting' on Santa in that situation. It would tarnish a bucketfull of childhood memories in only one visit.

Oh, my parents did leave some half-eaten cookies and milk with a Santa note for a few years, it was quite magical. As with most, the most warm memories are the youngest,with all the tree glitter and lights shimmering in the darkness, waking up to Major Matt Mason toys and LOADS of Size D batteries.

Doug, one memory you can relate to was as late as '96.,: I was still a batchelor and had just phone-ordered one of those reproduction Masterpiece GI Joe Astronauts from FAO Schwartz on Michigan Avenue, but only a few days before Xmas I had insisted that it didn't need to be there by Christmas, it was just a gift for myself.

Lo, as I returned from my church choir duties that late, glistening Christmas Eve, there by the side door under the gently falling snow was indeed the FAO box with my LONG awaited Astronaut. Even though I was in my 30s, I made a final brief and welcomed return to being 7yrs old.

dbutler16 said...

We always had an artificial tree when I was young, but it was fun decorating it. We did the milk & cookie thing, too. I fondly remember getting up anxiously at the crack of dawn, with my parent still asleep, and rushing downstairs! I think I had to wait till my parent woke up before I could open them, though, but I could shake them and speculate. Many of my fondest Christmas presents revolve around Star Wars. I had every action figure from Star Wars and the Empire Strikes back, though not so many of the spaceships. I also remember old school GI Joe (the 12" tall gut with real clothes and a fuzzy beard), Stretch Armstrong, Micronauts, and a Star Trek tricorder. Ah, memories! :-)

Edo Bosnar said...

Don't feel bad about the no-snow Christmases, Karen - I grew up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and don't ever recall an actual white Christmas while living there. But they were always cold, real cold, and usually rainy. A family tradition, however, was to drive out to a town in the Cascade foothills to buy a tree, and often there was actual snow on the ground, so that was something.
As for fond memories of gifts - and I may have mentioned this last year - Christmas usually meant getting, among other things, at least one of those big Marvel Fireside reprint books. The first one I got was "Son of Origins," followed by, in no particular order, "Greatest Superhero Battles" (the one I *really* regret not having any more), "Bring on the Bad Guys" and "Superhero Women." I kind of always associate my childhood Christmas vacations with reading and rereading these, usually snuggled up in bed - nothing else to do anyway, it was cold, rainy and gloomy outside...

Steve Does Comics said...

Like others, I have fond memories of getting the first three Marvel Origins books, but also Marvel UK's hardback annuals - as well as the 2000AD annual - every year.

Even though my home city of Sheffield is a bleak, wet, dark, cold place up in the hills, I'm not sure I can remember it ever snowing on Christmas Day. In fact, most Christmas days in Sheffield seem to be strangely sunny.

Other childhood memories are of me questioning why we had turkey every year for Christmas dinner, when none of us liked turkey, and being bored senseless by the shows that were on Christmas morning TV.

On the plus side, you could always rely on movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Jack the Giant Killer to be on once all the dull stuff was out of the way.

Every Christmas Eve, the BBC would always broadcast a ghost story - a practise they seem to have revived the last couple of years. And, for some reason, they always seemed to broadcast Hammer's greatest ever horror movie Quatermass and the Pit on Christmas Eve.

david_b said...


I remember sitting outside London and watching some big BBC Chrismas gala back in '91 with Paul and Linda McCartney on stage wavin' away to the audience.

Boy do I miss Linda..

Steve Does Comics said...

David, I don't remember that at all. I wish I'd seen it. It always seems to be the same 40 year old Morecambe and Wise special on TV whenever I switch on.

dbutler16 said...

Oh, yeah, regarding the color of Christmas. I live in upstate New York, and it seems to me that we usually had a white Christmas, but it seems to me that the snow comes later in the year lately. We often don't get significant snowfall until after Christmas, but we'll still get heavy snow in early March.

Anonymous said...

Taking my new AT-AT out in the snow.


Garett said...

Stretch Armstrong! Good memory dbutler. I remember him along with Big Jim and his sports camper!

Coming from Canada, we always have plenty of snow, so I can lend some to anyone who wants white Christmas memories! My family would go to my memere and pepere's place (grandparents) for XMas dinner, and see my multitude of cousins--playing hide and seek in their basement, or walking down to the corner store to get more pop for the party. At the time it seemed like a chore to go, but then it was fun when we got there, and now the warm memories are irreplaceable.

My parents still sell XMas trees on their farm, so if anyone wants must come and cut it yourself! ;)

Redartz said...

We had a lot of white Christmases growing up in Indiana. On the inside, I always loved my Great Grandmother's aluminum tree. You may recall them, usually accompanied by a rotating color wheel. It was entrancing, watching those silver branches change with waves of red, green, blue and yellow.

As for gifts, like many of you I was the grateful recipient of the Origins books. One special year, though, my parents shocked me with Avengers #1. Wish I still had that...

david_b said...

Y'know Steve, now that I think of it, it was a BBC New Years Eve celebration at the end of 1990.

Apologies, but it was still quite a festive gala.

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