20091231

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE - May 2010 Be The Year for Peace & Prosperity for Us All

On this last day of the year 2009 I am looking back not just through the last twelve months but back over fifty years to the typical New Year's Eve celebrations of my childhood family. Our New Year's Eves were quiet and usually just our immediate family of my Mom, Dad, my sister Patty, Butthead (my older brother), me and our family dog, Rinty.

If we were very young Mom and Dad would send us to sleep but wake us up just before midnight to usher in the New Year. As we grew older we were allowed to stay up until midnight though we often fell asleep on the floor or the couch waiting for the next year to ring in. We always had a small buffet of cold cuts, my Dad's famous Blue Cheese Dip (served on Ritz crackers) and we toasted the New Year with 7-Up. We had bubbly - it just wasn't 80 proof, lol.

Just before the clock struck twelve we would all go outside - coats over our jammies - wait for the local church bells to signal the New Year had come and then we would all yell "Happy New Year" to world. Believe it or not, this was not unusual on our block and we would often be hollering along with many of our neighbors. We'd stand there and shiver while we watched the fireworks from a nearby park, then we would come in, grab home made cocoa and cookies to warm up, and Mom would play her original 78 recording of Guy Lombardo's version of "Auld Lang Syne". Mom would send us to bed when the needle hit the last note.

So, to me it's not officially a New Year until I've eaten a little Blue Cheese Dip, had my bubbly (nowdays the adult versions), watched some fireworks (these days on TV), wished Happy New Year to my family by lighting candles, and then listened to Guy Lombardo's version of "Auld Lang Syne".

At the bottom of this post are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne in modern English so you can sing along to welcome in the year 2010 with a little bit of big band nostalgia:


Mom and Dad, there isn't a New Year that passes that I don't play this song on New Year's Eve in your memory. This post is dedicated to you, Patty and all my "old acquaintances that shall not be forgot".

To my readers, thank you for reading and joining me on my little journey through nostalgia during 2009 and the past 3 years.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU
May 2010 Bring Us All
Peace, Prosperity and Hope
WELCOME 2010!

Auld Lang Syne
originally written by Robert Burns - 1788

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS


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20091228

ALVIN!!!!! The Chipmunks celebrate their 51st Birthday!

I really don't know if Alvin, Simon and Theodore had birthdays, but fifty one years ago a little song called "The Chipmunk Song" (which you will probably remember better as "Christmas Don't Be Late") hit number one on the music charts. So, even though their birth occurred in the mind of Ross Bagdasarian sometime in 1958, I kind of think of today as their birthday.

The very first record I ever owned was The Chipmunks Album which included this song. I got it for Christmas along with my first little record player and I'm sure my parents were a bit sorry they had given those two gifts to me after I played that album over and over and over.

The Christmas Song from the 1961 cartoon:


If you're planning on taking your grandkids to see "Squeaquel", here's a little historical background on The Chipmunks you can pass on to your grandchildren when they go on about these "new singing chipmunks" Alvin, Simon & Theodore:

Alvin, Simon and Theodore were created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958 and Mr. Bagdasarian did all the voices of the Chipmunks as well as the voice of their manager/father figure, David Seville. David Seville was Bagdasarian's stage name and each of the Chipmunks was named after an executive at their original record label, Liberty Records: Alvin Bennett (the president), Simon Waronker (the founder and owner), and Theodore Keep (the chief engineer). You might also be surprised to learn that Bagdasarian also wrote "The Witch Doctor"!

The famous high pitched voices of the Chipmunks was created by speeding up Bagdasarian's own voice recordings - a method he had used in The Witch Doctor. His exceptional use of this technique for The Chipmunks earned him/them two Grammy Awards for engineering.

Interestingly, Alvin, Simon and Theodore made their first public appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show as puppets! Below is that appearance in a wonderful Chipmunk History video hosted by Will Smith/The Fresh Prince. The Sullivan clip appears around the 2:30 time marker:


You can view Part Two and Part Three of this fun Chipmunk special which includes them doing songs of some of the greats of music from the baby boomer generations at YouTube.

A few years later The Chipmunks showed up on our television consoles as animated characters in The Alvin Show, originally filmed in black and white and later colored for reruns. The Alvin Show aired from 1961 - 1962 and was one of a very few animated series that were aired in prime time - which is probably the reason for it's short life. I always found it interesting they named the first animated series after Alvin alone - to me what would Alvin be without his second, third and fourth bananas - Simon, Theodore and David? By the way, does anyone else out there remember the other characters featured in this first series - Clyde Crashcup and his assistant Leonardo?

Today, even though the Chipmunks are almost old enough to be baby boomers themselves, they are still rockin', making movies and bringing joy to another generation of children. Like all of us the Chipmunks have gone through some changes over the last half century, but I have to admit I am partial to the look of them back in my day, if only for the sake of nostalgia. However, I am happy to see that Alvin still has his signature cap tilted at that cocky angle!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALVIN, SIMON & THEODORE
& David Seville too!
Thanks for half a century of childhood music and laughs.

Visit The Official Chipmunks Website

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20091222

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN - History of the most famous snowman of all.


I was out browsing through a small second hand store and I found this 58 year old copy of Little Golden Books Frosty The Snowman. As I picked it up and opened the cover I could caught that musty "old book" smell - what a flood of memories that brought back! As I leafed through the little book I was taken back fifty years to all the Little Golden Books we had in our home.

T
he inside front cover was exactly like the ones in my books - remember this iconic yellow graphic inside all your "Little Golden Books"? Honestly, between the smell and seeing the inside front cover with a little place to write your name I was instantly transported back to the mid 1950s. If you look close you will the two children's names written in pencil - Darcy and, in bolder scribbling underneath, Liz:

Well, Darcy and Liz, we had the same taste in books as kids I guess! I wonder, did the both of you have a favorite figure on this yellow page? Mine was the fun little yellow taxi cab, though I did have a fondness for that little artist kitty with the beret and paintbrushes too!


Frosty The Snowman was first written as a song by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson and was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950.


The song inspired this book, as well as a three-minute animated short entitled "Frosty" which appeared regularly on WGN-TV.


In 1969 a thirty-minute animated television special of Frosty the Snowman premiered which featured the
voice of Jimmy Durante as narrator and Jackie Vernon as Frosty.


It's always interesting to me to see how the commercial art of different eras changes with each generation. This little book's illustrations are a perfect example of the style of the late 40s and early to mid 1950s. You will see this same look in advertisements and fashion illustrations of the day. You can see the changes in art styles when you look at the full length cartoon with Jimmy Durante singing the title song. You can see today's styles by visiting Little Golden Book's "Books and More" page.

Little Golden Books
turned 67 this last September. When their books first hit bookshelves in 1942 they cost twenty-five cents! Today new versions sell for around $2.99 each. I paid fifty cents for my lovely, well preserved 1951 copy of "Frosty The Snowman" at the thrift store and I think it was the best investment I've made in a very long time. That fifty cent expenditure has given me back some wonderful memories of my childhood and my love of reading. It has the added advantage of being created the same year as I was, 1951, so we are the same age!

Right now that Little Golden Book on "Frosty The Snowman" is sitting next to my little Christmas Tree. It is now a treasured member of my favorite Christmas ornaments and will come out every year to bring me joy - just like Frosty comes back again some day!

I wish you all the
HAPPIEST of HOLIDAYS
& a Very Merry Christmas!


Fair Use Rationale:
Please see this page on Wikipedia for an explanation of my Fair Use rationale. I use these images as commentary illustration of a wonderful line of children's books from my childhood. I have provided only low resolution images & have provided a link to Little Golden Books. All the images link to the Little Golden Books website as well: http://www.randomhouse.com/golden/lgb/story.html. If you are the holder of any of the involved copyrights and wish me to remove these images please contact me through a comment and I will immediately remove them from this blog in respect of your intellectual property.

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20091218

IT'S A VERY BEATLES CHRISTMAS - Beatles Christmas Recordings from 1963 - 1969


Did you know The Beatles sent out special Christmas recordings to their Official Fan Club every year from 1963 to 1969? Only members of their Official British Fan Club got all of these, those of us who lived on the other side of the Pond got edited versions or just postcards!

They're a mixture of the typical irreverence, humor, talent and creativity that was unique to The Beatles. I was lucky enough to have a friend in England who signed up for me there so I got copies of all the British releases and they were wonderful. I also signed up in the States. I wish I still had them - any of them, even the few U.S. edited records - but I don't.

These are not your typical Holiday Greetings so if you're a traditionalist listen with an open mind because you are not going to hear a traditional Jingle Bells or standard carol among them. Oh, you'll hear Jingle Bells but not in any way you've heard it before, lol. You will also hear - maybe for the first time - a Christmas song written by the Beatles. You will also enjoy a surprise or two.

In 1970 The Beatles' Christmas Album (U.S.) or From Then to You (UK), was released as a compilation album of these Christmas records and was released to the general public.

So, have a very Beatles Christmas today with these rare Christmas recordings from the Fab Four:

Here's The Beatles 1963 Christmas Record sent to their Official Fan Club Members. The first of 7 sent out. U.S. fans received an edited version.


The Beatles 1964 Christmas Record. In America we got an edited version of this with the record on cardboard. Guess we were sort of the poor white trash cousins of British fans!


The Beatles 1965 Christmas Record was recorded on November 8th and Released on December 17th, 1965. U.S. Fans did not receive this record! Such a bummer! We got a postcard instead!


The Beatles Fourth Christmas Record (1966) Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas is based on the Goon Show comic skits they'd grown up on as kids. (Another stinkin' postcard for us U.S. fans!)


The Beatles 1967 Christmas Record- Christmas Time Is Here Again! Recorded November 28, 1967 contains a new, real Christmas song by them. (Yup, we Yanks got shortchanged again!)


The Beatles 1968 Christmas Record was pieced together with separate messages from each Beatle as they were not speaking at the time. Tiny Tim guested! (Finally,we got a record - an edited version but better than a postcard!)


The Last Beatles Christmas Record from 1969 includes Yoko and Ringo designed the cover with the back cover done by by Zak Starkey, Ringo's son. (This last year of the records we American fans finally got an unedited version of the record!)

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20091217

13 SANTA CLAUS JOKES for a MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON

13 MERRY LITTLE JOKES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
  1. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live ~ George Carlin
  2. Let's be naughty and save Santa the trip ~ Gary Allan #Christmas
  3. The Bermuda Triangle got tired of warm weather. It moved to Alaska. Now Santa Claus is missing ~ Stephen Wright
  4. Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses - Unknown
  5. A cynic is just a man who found out when he was about ten that there wasn't any Santa Claus, and he's still upset ~ James Gould Cozzens
  6. I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included ~ Bernard Manning
  7. Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year ~ Victor Borge
  8. Santa wears a Red Suit, He must be a communist, & a beard & long hair, Must be a pacifist. What's he smoking in that pipe? ~ Arlo Guthrie
  9. Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit ~ Anonymous
  10. You know you're getting old, when Santa starts looking younger ~ Robert Paul
  11. Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present ~ Anonymous
  12. Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody ~ Ogden Nash
  13. A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together ~ Garrison Keillor

Check out The POP ART DIVAS - Original Miniature Paintings by PopArtDiva
Prices for originals starting at $20!


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20091216

New INSPIRATIONAL POP ART DESIGNS from The PopArtDiva Gift Gallery

I just uploaded these new designs to The PopArtDiva Gift Gallery this week. They are part of my Inspirational Series and were inspired by a line of hand painted t-shirts I created some years ago. I always liked the loose abstract brushwork style of these shirts - they reminded me of fireworks mixed in with hearts, stars, butterflies and dragonflies.

I took the concept and created new digital designs using the same style, added some of my original poems & prose, then created a great line of colorful posters, t-shirts, cups, hats, aprons & other fun gifts.

Below are the four playful & inspirational designs - simply click the design to see the t-shirts, posters and other gift items you can purchase it on (there's still 2 days left for FREE Ground Shipping on Orders of $50 or More! Use code: ZAZZLEGROUND):




All Designs, Images & Poems are Copyright 2009 by PopArtDiva. All Rights Reserved. No permission given to copy, share, distribute, print or reproduce. To license one of these images please contact PopArtDiva.
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20091212

ROLLING STONES "ROCK AND ROLL CIRCUS" from 1968


Today in 1968 The Rolling Stones filmed their famous "Rock and Roll Circus", creation and brainchild of Mick Jagger. Though originally it was set to air on the BBC it never did. It was finally released nearly 30 years later (1996) as a film.

The Rolling Stones stated they did not release it for viewing in 1968 because their own performance was "substandard", they were exhausted from having been on stage since early morning. It has long been contended that the real reason it was not released was because The Who just rocked the show and upstaged The Stones. We'll probably never know but at least it's now been given back to the fans and below are Parts 1 through 7 from YouTube.

This was the last public performance of Brian Jones playing with The Stones. This is also the only footage of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi performing as a member of Jethro Tull. John Lennon performs with Yoko Ono as part of a group called The Dirty Mac. Also performing are Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull.

PART ONE


PART TWO


PART THREE



PART FOUR - Yoko "sings" you might want to turn off the volume. . .


PART FIVE



PART SIX


PART SEVEN
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20091211

THE POP ART DIVA CHRISTMAS COOKIES


TO DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE CARDS
simply right click and save as (PC) or Ctrl + Click (Mac)
or simply drag the image to your desktop!


These wonderful sugar cookies are my own personal Christmas Tradition. I've been making them for over 20 years and today I'm sharing the recipe and techniques with you.

There's a story behind how these cookies turned into Pop Art Diva cookies. When you cut out traditional Christmas cookie shapes on a rolled cookie you get a lot of left over cookie dough in a weird shape. Most people will take that and re-roll it out BUT each time you re-roll you add flour and the cookies become drier and tough. I'm a real fanatic about perfect cookies, especially when I go to this amount of work to make them and that bugged me.

One day I was looking at the shapes and saw some interesting designs so I just cut them up with a small knife, painted those up like abstracts and baked them that way. People loved those more than the traditional shapes AND it was actually easier than using cookie cutters so from that point on I called them Picasso cookies. When I trademarked my brand name Pop Art Diva I then started to call them Pop Art Diva cookies and my brand cookie was born!

I've tried to be as detailed as possible about my procedures and the painting techniques but a recipe card is a small (5"x3") area so if you have any questions just post them as a comment here and I'll try to help you out with your creative cooking adventure!

Enjoy! And let me know how you like them!

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20091209

13 REALLY FUN & FREE CHRISTMAS THINGS TO DO ONLINE

I just spent half the day playing with these - they're free for the basic goodies, cute and really fun to do for kids of all ages. Nice way to share some Christmas fun with your children or surprise them with a letter from Santa or a free Christmas story about them!

Send your child a FREE letter from Santa - Free personalized Printable Santa Letters

Cute Christmas website where you can Write & Email Santa Claus, download coloring pages & more for free

Create AND PRINT your own Personalized Christmas Storybook for FREE. 3 different stories to choose from.

Find out just where you are on Santa's Nice & Naughty list

Play games at Elf School and Earn Elf Diplomas you can print out - 11 different diplomas to earn.

Cute FREE Dress Up Santa Game - Check out how I duded up the jolly dude below:


Another Dress Up Game for girls - this is like an online paper doll from The Doll Palace

Elf yourself courtesy of Office Max!
This one's been around for a few years and it's still fun. Looks like they've added new graphics and dances this year. Below is one I did using Tink's photo - finally, I got my cat to do something I told him to do:
Send your own ElfYourself eCards



Let your child build a snowman and learn at the same time.

Decorate your own Gingerbread House then print it out - If you add the eyes they'll follow your cursor around as you continue to build your house! Below is a screen print of my quick effort:


Go Disco Dancing with Santa, change it up by using the snowballs!


NORAD SANTA - You can now keep track of Santa's location from anywhere in the world! There's also a tab where you can Track Santa in Google Earth on Christmas Eve Day!

And, of course, check out my special Christmas version of my Recipe Archives - here's ALL MY CHRISTMAS MARTINI RECIPES & APPETIZER RECIPES and BLANK CHRISTMAS THEMED RECIPE CARDS on one page, ready to download as 5X3 recipe cards for your files:

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IS IT THE END OF THE DAY TIME SOAP?

CBS announced yesterday that it was cancelling the long running daytime soap opera "As The World Turns" after a 54 year run. In September of 2010 the town of Oakdale, Illinois will disappear from TV Land forever.

Just this last September "The Guiding Light" ceased to light up the TV screen. GL had been broadcast for 72 years, starting with 15 minute radio shows in 1937. It moved to the small screen in 1952.

I remember my Mom watching "The Guiding Light" when I was a kid. I can still see that Lighthouse on our black and white screen and I can still hear that theme song in my head to this day. Though my mom worked most of my life she still managed to keep up with her soap operas. I don't know how she kept up on the doings in those fictional towns in the days before VCRs, DVRs and the Soap Channel but she did.

Somewhere between my childhood years and my twenties my Mom switched soaps and The Guiding Light got cancelled in our house way before CBS did it in completely. I know Mom watched a few other shows over the years but she was most faithful to The Guilding Light and Days of Our Lives. She was also a big Perry Mason fan but that was a prime time show.

AS THE WORLD TURNS


THE GUIDING LIGHT

I am not a soap opera fan. The only time I ever got hooked was in the early eighties when my Mom would not leave the house until her "story" (Days of Our Lives) aired. Any plans we had to go shopping, have lunch or see a movie waited until she got the latest dope on Marlena and the gang. I ended up watching with her and got caught in the net for a while. Mom loved her "stories" and I ended up with a soap monkey on my back for a few years. Fortunately my business was booming and the pressures of a growing client list broke my addiction.

THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES OPENING THEME

Oh, okay, I did watch "Dark Shadows" when I was in high school because all my friends did and, yup, I couldn't go anywhere with them until their "story" was over!



No matter what your opinion of daytime soaps, the one thing they were good for is providing work for aging actors and giving young actors a break into the business. Here's a list of just a few of the well known actors who appeared on just these two soap operas:

AS THE WORLD TURNS:
Courtney Cox, Dana Delany, Thomas Gibson, James Earl Jones, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Richard Thomas, Marisa Tomei, Steven Weber

THE GUIDING LIGHT:
Kevin Bacon, Joan Collins, Taye Diggs, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones (again!), Melina Kanakaredes, Harley Jane Kozak, James Lipton, Hayden Panettiere, Jimmy Smits, Mira Sorvino, Billy Dee Williams

With the cancellation of so many of these long running daytime soap operas I begin to wonder if the end is near for this form of entertainment. Daytime soap operas were aimed at the housewife of the 1940s and 1950s. They were called "soaps" because they were sponsored by laundry detergent and hand soap companies. The ads were aimed at stay-at-home moms, the shows timed to air during school hours and the story lines were written like neighborhood gossip.

Lifestyles have changed, most women work outside the home these days, talk shows seem to have overtaken the daytime landscape and soap operas have drifted into primetime in the guise of "drama". The world has turned and the days of our lives have changed the viewing habits of that earlier target audience. Women have moved on and the daytime soap seems to have outlived its value. It's just another part of television that is slowly becoming history.


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20091205

IS THIS THE CUTEST KITTEN IN THE WORLD?

I found this video this morning and had to share it with you - it's a tiny little kitten who's getting it's stomach tickled. Not such a big deal until you watch the kitten's actions each time the tickling stops!

Having just gotten my first cat pet in decades it reminds me of how adorable Tink (@StinkyTinkyCat on Twitter!) was just a few months ago and has seriously lessened my desire to strangle him when he goes all Jedi Psycho Cat on me.

Honestly, if this doesn't make you laugh and feel wonderful you need a heart transplant:


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20091204

FRANK SINATRA - Old Blue Eyes Does Christmas Songs

The theme for this week on Old School Friday is Gone But Not Forgotten and the one person I can think of, especially at this time of year, is Old Blue Eyes, Mr. Frank Sinatra. Maybe it was because my folks would always play 78s on the HiFi of Sinatra's Christmas Songs during the holidays.

BTW, to you younger readers a 78 is the original size that records came out on! Later Albums were called 33s and single song discs 45s. Do you know why they used those numbers? Because that was the RPM or revolutions per minute the disc would spin on the turntable!

What will be playing on your turntable, CD player, iPod, Blue Ray or Blackberry this year?


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


The Christmas Waltz


The Christmas Song - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire


White Christmas (from 1944)


I'll Be Home For Christmas



It's Christmas Central in
PopArtDiva Land this month!

Check it out for a convenient location to shop all of my online stores for your holiday shopping!

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20091203

THE BEST PART OF CHRISTMAS PAST


What I Loved Most About Christmas Past

Christmas is a holiday for children. The season is wrapped in dreams of jolly fat men who magically slide down chimneys, flying reindeer with flashing red noses, singing snowmen and believing. Belief is the sparkle of Christmas but family is the foundation. What I loved the very most about Christmas is doing these 13 things with my family.
  1. The smell of a real Christmas Tree - for our family that smell of pine in the house was the harbinger of the Christmas season. Ours was always placed in front of the living room window, blinds left open at night so it could be viewed from the street. One year my Mom went "modern" and put up an aluminum tree, it was almost like the Grinch had stolen our Christmas. The next year that aluminum tree was relegated to the family room and our beloved Traditional Tree returned in all it's glory.
  2. Getting out the tree ornaments and seeing favorites again. I managed to save a few of my favorites from those days - some are actually older than I am, real hand blown glass.
  3. The Christmas "Bling" - All the lights and sparkle of Christmas decorations. I'm a sucker for bling and sparkle and Christmas has that in abundance.
  4. Seeing the Christmas presents pile up under the tree. I really was a greedy little bugger, lol.
  5. Trying to figure out what was in those presents. Butthead (that's my older brother in case you're new to this blog) was notorious for shaking and rattling packages but I did my share too. Patty, my older sister, was a teenager who disdained this practice which she called "childish".
  6. Buying presents. I saved up my money all year to buy my family presents. I think I enjoyed watching them open these more than I enjoyed opening my own pile of loot.
  7. Wrapping presents. I loved this creative part of Christmas. I would color my own paper, make little decorations, make my own gift cards and spend days cutting, wrapping, gluing and glittering the few presents I had bought to give to family and friends.
  8. NOT seeing Christmas sales before the day after Christmas. Somehow today's big sales and retail panic takes the joy out of holiday shopping.
  9. Watching Christmas spring up all over the neighborhood and town. The day after Thanksgiving the city lights and banners would go up, the stores started getting their windows painted with snowmen and Santas, and the town turned red and green overnight.
  10. Christmas Carols - My favorite? White Christmas.
  11. The Santa Claus TV show that was on every afternoon from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. I wish I could remember the actual name - I think it was North Pole something - but I ran home from school every day to watch the show.
  12. Seeing all the Christmas Lights on peoples houses - in those days everyone decorated their house with at least one string of lights. The energy crunch of the 70s almost killed that custom but lately I see it coming back and it's nice.
  13. When it actually snowed on Christmas Day - there is something magical about waking up and seeing snowflakes falling on Christmas morning.

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