First Signs of the Season

It’s that wonderful time of the year. My favorite time of the year, too. The Hallmark and Lifetime channels have been running Christmas movies for the past week or so leading up to Christmas. I was fortunate enough this weekend to flip between the channels and get some good movies in. Tom always comments that, “we saw this one,” and typically, yes, we saw that one at least once, twice, probably even more than that! My response is, “yes, but we haven’t seen it yet this year!”

When we were kids, we had four TV channels that came in clear. Channel 2/KDKA, Channel 4/WTAE, Channel 11/WPXI and Channel 13/PSB. We might be able to get another station from Youngstown, OH if the weather was clear. And maybe a couple of other channels that played old movies. Those were always fuzzy stations. Of course, we had an antenna that ran along the side of the house that was bigger than our chimney. Every house had one of them. And we had rabbit ears on the black and white TV in the game room. In the living room, we had this dial contraption device that sat on top of the TV set that you could wind up and it would turn the antenna outside to get better reception. It’s amazing how quickly technology has changed all that!

Anyways, we would scan the TV Guide and find all the Christmas movies. Of course they didn’t start running them until a couple of weeks before Christmas. The holiday didn’t ever kick off until Black Friday or the day after Thanksgiving. We watched all the animated Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Twas the Night Before Christmas (one of my favorites), The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and a few others. Today, Tom and I will still catch those and make note every year of all the things that happen during the movie that would be inappropriate to say/do today. As we got older, we watched It’s a Wonderful Life that usually ran the evening of Thanksgiving. And we would catch Miracle on 34th Street at some point as well.

I love the Christmas season! I love when the house is decorated and all the preparations are underway. The Christmas movies kick that off for me. They remind me of things that are good this time of year. Did you ever notice that so many of them are set in small towns? I watched three movies yesterday set in the most charming towns in the middle of nowhere. Main Street USA. Those movies reminded me of Ellicottville, NY. Driving through that snowy town at Christmastime with all the Christmas decorations, the lights and the Christmas music. It’s very nostalgic and paints that picture from a Christmas card from long ago — the cards with all the glitter on them that I loved as a kid.

It all starts with Thanksgiving — which is second favorite holiday. Debbie is cooking this year and we’re going to her home. I’ll watch the Macy’s Day Parade before we go. When I get to Debbie’s house, I’ll probably leaf through all the Black Friday Sale ads, while Tom and the guys will find a football game somewhere. And my Mom and I will decide if we’re going to go shopping on Friday at all. It will depend on the weather and if we feel like it. Debbie and the girls won’t be going this year! But that’s because they are going on a shopping excursion in New York City on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and are leaving on Friday night!!! I would have loved to join them, but I just can’t walk that kind of a distance in an all day marathon of NYC shopping.

As kids, Thanksgiving was very special for us. My Dad and Mom got up early and put the turkey on. By the time we got up, you could smell the bird cooking throughout the house. Debbie, Mom and I loved the Thanksgiving Day parade. I’d watch most of it in my pajamas on the couch with a big glass of cold chocolate milk. We always had chocolate milk on Thanksgiving. And not the Nestle dry mix into white milk, but chocolate milk — the real stuff. We always had a full house — my grandparents and Aunt Mary and my cousins, Teresa and Matt and their parents. There were other relatives that came sometimes too. All of us kids ate at the “kids table”, which consisted of a card table set up in the living room. Later in the day, the girls played board games, while the boys always fell asleep watching a football game in the game room. It was the same every year and I liked it that way.

It’s almost Christmastime! That magical time of year when miracles happen if you believe. Last year we didn’t have Christmas until the end of January because of my surgery. It was a difficult year for us. But one of the best Christmases ever, because I believed in the miracle of Christmas — and had so many signs — it was truly a special experience.

Well, this year is a year of celebration! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, since I missed all of it last year. So while many people are rolling their eyes at the first signs of the season,  I’m looking for ways to make this Christmas a very special one. Special for my family, my friends, my staff at MarketSpace and all those in need, especially during this time of the year.

Always B E L I E V E.

Let me know your thoughts!