Listening to classic Christmas music on a radio station that labeled the songs as “holiday traditions” certainly brought back memories of Christmas holiday traditions from the past. As such, here is my Top Ten List Of Bygone Christmas Traditions:
10. Children these days have no idea what it means to find a lump of coal in their sock. Back when we were growing up in the Dark Ages, most homes in the community had coal burning furnaces. So to signal that a child perhaps was a bit naughty, Santa would leave some coal in the sock that was hanging from the mantel.
9. These days Christmas trees are well manicured at nurseries before being set out for sale. I can remember looking for a tree in a lot that one could place in the corner of the home because it was rare to find a scotch pine that was perfectly cylindrical. And of course, we had to use twine to tie the tree to the wall so it would stand up straight.
8. Christmas songs certainly have changed over the years. Now we have “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and of course “Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey.” Some songs from the early days now have different meanings today. Judy Garland introduced “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in the movie “Meet Me In St. Louis” with the line “Make the yule tide gay.” Obviously hearing that song today takes on a whole new meaning.
7. Back when we heard the song “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” we thought nothing of the line: “A pistol that shoots is the wish of Barney and Ben.” Today, when we hear that line, we wince.
6. There are several classic Christmas movies that are constantly on television this time of the year, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” to name just two of the most popular. What has changed though, and what is upsetting to us movie aficionados, is that both films have now been colorized instead of remaining in the original black and white format. When that occurs, we turn off the color dial on our television. Some traditions are just hard to break. Another holiday classic movie is of course “Christmas Vacation” with the Clark Griswold family and the incomparable Cousin Eddie and his RV. Another holiday classic movie would be “Home Alone.” My favorite character? Gus Polinski, aka John Candy and his Polka Kings of the Midwest.
5. Christmas trees now come with colorful lights that are sewed into the tree and when one light goes out, all the remaining ones stay alighted. How many of you remember testing an entire string of lights with a new bulb just to locate the burned out culprit? Back then lights were in a series until someone invented parallel connections.
4. One of our favorite treats during the holiday season is plum pudding. J.L. Hudson’s of Detroit used to have the best plum pudding topped with hard sauce. Somehow during the transition to Marshall Field’s and then to Macy’s, that recipe must have been lost because it is no longer on the menu much to our disappointment. Franco Mints are still available though.
3. Soldiers in various battle fields could always look forward to seeing Bob Hope on one of his USO tours. Yes, his jokes were lame and predictable but it brought laughter and fun to our brave troops who were away from home during the holidays. And Hope’s bevy of beauties that accompanied him were a welcome sight too. In that regard, wonder if one of the entertainers, Charo, can still do the Cuchi Cuchi now that she is 66 years old?
2. Another bygone tradition would be the Christmas entertainment television shows from Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and Andy Williams. The shows were always family friendly. Andy started the extravagant sweater routine — Perry mastered entertaining us always in a tuxedo — and Bing surprised us by performing a duet of “The Little Drummer Boy” with then bad boy David Bowie. That duet has become a Christmas classic.
1. And finally, one of the bygone traditions that really needs to be restored is the exchange of the “Merry Christmas” greeting. Let’s stop all the malarkey about a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree” for starters and replace the “Happy Holiday” signs with the true meaning of Dec. 25 — Merry Christmas!
So if you encounter me during this month, I will be wishing you a Merry Christmas because political correctness is not a part of my world. And as a follow-up to that, Nativity scenes should never be banned in public places.
So there you have it — Christmas Traditions that have served us well over the years. I no doubt have left some out that you remember such as Gene Autry singing “Frosty the Snowman — the Christmas Toyland at Hudson’s in downtown Detroit — or midnight Mass at your favorite parish church — maybe gone but still imbedded in our fondest Christmas memories.
And speaking of times past, this column is best read with background music from orchestra leader John William’s rendition of “Somewhere In My Memory” from the movie “Home Alone.” Merry Christmas!
Bill Kalmar is a Lake Orion resident.
Source : http://www.theoaklandpress.com/opinion/20171213/ten-foregone-christmas-traditions