Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Hello everyone! It's 9:30 on Christmas night as I write this. The gifts were opened long ago, and it's been a full day since Santa made his yearly ride around the globe. Everyone's bounty rests beneath the Christmas tree, and bellies are overfull with food and dessert. We're all tired, but happily so, basking in the afterglow of Christmas Day.

It's a great feeling, isn't it?

I'd been really worried that this Christmas was going to be a wash. Work and personal responsibilities were even more taxing than usual on my Christmas spirit this month. It seemed I couldn't listen to all the Christmas music I wanted, see all the Christmas TV I wanted, or simply devote my time and energy to enjoying this time of year. I stressed about getting the right gifts for my wife, both the quantity and quality of them (the only person I shop for--she takes care of everyone else, God bless her). On top of all that, last week our beloved dog Candy passed away after 14 wonderful years with her; her loss has hung heavily on our hearts since then. Even as recently as late last night I went to bed thinking "What kind of day is this going to be?"

I'm happy to say, I needn't have worried. We woke up (later than normal for Christmas Day, but even the kids welcomed the extra time in bed, oddly enough), had our annual Christmas pancake breakfast, then watched the kids delight in Santa Claus's presents. They loved every one of them! My daughter would later say to someone on the phone that she "got everything she wanted." Yes!

And yes, my wife was quite happy with the presents I gave her. Granted, she knew about half of them beforehand--and even bought one for herself on my behalf, but that's beside the point. And, as usual, I thoroughly enjoyed all of my gifts from her, my kids, and my in-laws. Afterwards, a few hours to simply decompress and lounge about, then a big Christmas dinner with my in-laws and some friends.

About an hour ago, I sat on my couch with my wife resting her legs on my lap and thought about the day, and I asked myself, "What was I worried about? This was a good Christmas!"

Today was a good Christmas. Good gifts, good food (lots of it), and everyone in good spirits. What more do you need?

It was a happy reminder that the quality of Christmas isn't about how many lights you have on your house, how many TV specials you've seen, or how many times you've heard "Snoopy's Christmas," as much as I love all of those things. It's about how much you love your life, your family and friends, and how much they love you. If those are solidly in place, your Christmas is set!

Next year, if I feel myself feeling holiday stress all over again, I'll read this post as a wake up call. I don't ever want to forget the valuable lesson I learned today. That lesson was possibly the best gift I received today, and that is a gift I wish you this Christmas and in the new year and beyond.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas Music Mix 2013!

Hey all! Christmas Day is exactly one week from today! Get into the home stretch of the holidays by grooving to this, my Christmas music playlist for 2013. I've always wanted to offer a Christmas mix CD or mp3 list, but I don't have the time and resources necessary, so I've looked to Ye Olde YouTube and combined some favorites into one of their playlists.

The title is "A Different Kind of Mix" for a reason. I've avoided the usual songs that, while great, we hear thousands of times on radio and streaming services. I'm attempting to offer something out of the ordinary. There is a good bit of novelty/comedy stuff here, but not exclusively. I may even expand the playlist if so inspired, so it may not be the same upon multiple listenings, so stay tuned throughout the season.

As always, I hope you enjoy. I'll even take requests. Thanks!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Classic Christmas TV Commercials 2013

This is the last full week before Christmas Day. That fact both thrills me and terrifies me--I still have shopping to do! Maybe some of these classic Christmas TV commercials will inspire me to find the right gifts.

You can always count on Hallmark for a great commercial--and a tear in your eye.

Rush over to K-Mart and pick up these "timely" music releases for the people on your Christmas list!

Yes, you too can give the gift of the Burger King that everyone is creeped out by!

Aw, I want the Flintstones Crazy Loco from Woolworth and Woolco!

Let yourself be creeped out again, this time by toys come to like to promote the Kodak Disk camera.

Finally, raise a mug of hot chocolate to the holidays--a cup of Nestle hot chocolate!

Friday, December 13, 2013

List O' Links for Friday, December 13th--Christmas Edition!

Hello gang! Although today is Friday the 13th, no need to fear of bad luck today, not during the holiday season! You can feel lucky as you click on these fun Christmas-themed links this weekend!

Chris Sims takes a look at the various Santa Claus action figures out there.

The Coca-Cola company reclaims a bit of their advertising history by discussing their involvement in the creation of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Making hot cocoa from a package is efficient, but not necessarily the best cocoa ever. Here's a recipe for creamy cocoa made in a crockpot. I want to try it!

Speaking of holiday beverages, here is a list (albeit a year old) of one reviewer's Top 10 Beers for Christmas. Chug, chug, chug, chug!

Finally, although I've mentioned this site before, it warrants repeating. Santa's Working Overtime is an awesome place to find out the latest Christmas music releases as well as a clearinghouse for other great Christmas finds on the 'net. Think of it as a full time Christmas List O' Links! They're awesome.

Have a great weekend! Get some shopping and decorating done! Don't drink and drive! Stay safe!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Celebration

Our Christmas festivities continue with this awesomely animated special, Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Celebration.

Will Vinton's Claymation studios made a big splash in the entertainment world in the late 80s thanks to his wildly popular advertising campaign for California Raisins and his unique method of stop-motion animation. In December 1987, CBS devoted a full hour to this Christmas special, which I fell in love with upon my first viewing. It includes an odd couple of dinosaurs, a bell who's lost his dinger, the Raisins (of course), and one of the best renditions of "Joy To The World" I've ever heard and seen.

This special wasn't rerun all that often after its first airing, and is hard to find. Enjoy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Christmas Carol, API Animation Studios

We get into double digit dates this week, so we need to get our Christmas celebration in high gear. I do that today by presenting this rare version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.

This version was produced in Australia by animation studio API in 1969. I saw it only once when I was quite young, and I hadn't seen it since until now, when I stumbled across it by chance a month or two ago (I love when that happens!). Not necessarily the best animated telling I've seen, but a fine one. And I never get tired of this story ever.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Night Dance Party--Christmas Edition!

It's the first Friday of December, and there's no better way to get into high gear for the holiday season than with a Friday Night Dance Party! Let's start it off with the best Christmas dance song ever!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas

Ho ho ho! Hello one and all to the holiday season at Me and You! I am beyond sorry that I haven't posted until now, but once again, Real Life rears its demanding head. But I don't want to put things off any longer. I'm getting started on spreading Internet Christmas cheer right now with this, the 1992 special Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas.

This time, the good Inspector is given his biggest task ever--save Christmas from that most terrible of grinches, Doctor Claw! Claw takes Santa's place and uses his workshop to create lousy toys and ruin Santa's reputation. Assisted (unbeknownst to him) by niece Penny and trusty dog Brain, Gadget makes his moves to stop Claw and rescue Santa!

The special aired on NBC December 4th, 1992. Here it is in its entirety. Enjoy!