Holiday Memories of YesterYear: New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Welcome back to the final Holiday Memories of Yesteryear for 2019!  As a reminder this is just a rambling stream of consciousness as I remember events and moments from holidays gone by.

New Years Eve was never a big event in my family growing up.  My parents often went to bed around 9pm on a regular night and maybe stayed up to 10pm on New Years Eve.  A few times we would go to my Dad's cousin house in New Jersey for dinner and then drive home about 8pm.  I remember being sleepy in the backseat as my Dad listened to the New York Ranger's game on WFAN the AM radio sports station in New York.

When I was in high school one of my best friends, and fellow goalie on the hockey team, invited the family over for a party.  We'd often stay till about 12:15 and then head home.  We went for a few years but stopped once we were in college.  I made a fool of myself singing karaoke a few times (the only and last time I've done that) and one year my brother had a little too much to drink and backed over their mailbox.

Of course, my senior year I had some of their finger foods... pigs in a blanket... and found myself throwing up all night long to the point that I slept until 8pm the next day.  I'm sure my parents thought I was drunk but I didn't even have anything to drink and it was really just the food.

Once I met my wife in college we spent every New Years Eve together.  We never went to a big party, just sat on the sofa, had some drinks and good food, and enjoyed each others company.  After I was furloughed from my first airline I was upset that I had to work my first New Years Eve at my new airline.  I was in Manchester, New Hampshire and I stayed up on the phone with her past midnight even though I had a 4am van to the airport for work the next morning.  I think I was more upset than she was.

One year while I was basically living in her parents basement between days away at work we joined her parents at the bowling alley where her Dad bowls in a league.  They had a big party with food and drinks, music, flashing party lights... the works.  It was a bit empty and we really enjoyed ourselves.  The following year the place was packed and had about half the food they provided the year earlier.  On top of that it was icy and freezing rain on the way home after midnight with all of the drunks on the road and we decided that even though we had a pretty good time together that was the end of that.

Since 2012 we've owned our own home and have spent every New Years Eve together on our own sofa.  We get Chinese food and watch TV... usually one of the many marathons on.  The past few years we've watched The Walking Dead (before it sucked) or the Breaking Bad marathons on AMC.  Around here in New York, WPIX always has the Honeymooners on after the ball drops.  We used to watch a few episodes before heading to bed but lately it's all we can do to stay awake!  You can read all about my favorite Honeymooners episodes on the blog here.   Of course the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy is another required viewing, for a few episodes at least.  There will be a post about that soon, too!  Keep an eye out.

Like most of the holidays around the end of the year it's about the time spent with loved ones.  I honestly think New Year's Eve is my 2nd favorite holiday because my wife and I just hunker down in our warm house and spend the time together with our little tradition of Chinese food and TV.

With a little one on the way, what will next year bring? 


My Top 5 New Year's Honeymooners Marathon Episodes

Friday, December 27, 2019

With Christmas now in the rear view, it's time to look ahead to the next holiday... New Year's Eve!  Not quite the barn burner in my house, it's often a quiet night my wife and I look forward to eating Chinese take out and watching marathons on TV... and often going to bed at about 12:05AM.

One such marathon here in New York is the Jackie Gleason classic "The Honeymooners" on famed New York network WPIX (Channel 11).



WPIX will routinely air episodes late at night that I'll catch if I happen to be awake at 2 or 3 in the morning.  Sometimes they will also air mini-marathons on other holidays such as Thanksgiving.  However, as my wife said this past Thanksgiving... "The Honeymooners is for New Years."

Holiday Memories of YesterYear: Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2019

Welcome to the third post in a series of rambling stream-of-conscious articles related to holiday memories of the past.  With Christmas just days away, I sat down to reflect upon the Christmases of yesteryear.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.... It's cathartic in some way to go back and put this down in writing and hopefully it jogs a memory of some fun or heartfelt moments of your own.

24 Hours of A Christmas Story

Friday, December 20, 2019

Growing up there was not a Christmas movie I enjoyed more than "A Christmas Story."  I'll admit, I hadn't even heard of the film before TBS began it's annual marathon.  There was just something about the excitement of the marathon and the quest to watch the movie as often as I could in an entire day.


After widespread internet rumors in 2018 that TBS had cancelled the marathon, Turner Broadcasting, TNT, and TBS all had to issue statements stating that in fact, the marathon lives on.  You could understand, then, when TBS was very slow to publish the schedule for 2019, A Christmas Story fans were worried.

Fear not for TBS has confirmed that "24 hours of A Christmas Story" will continue in 2019!

Was that the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in Christmas Vacation?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Everyone knows National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Everyone who reads this blog knows it's my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  But did you know there is a bit of an online controversy surrounding a short 5 second scene halfway through the film?


About mid way through the movie there is a scene where the Grandmothers are watching a parade and decorating a gingerbread house while the Grandfathers take a nap in the living room.  The argument online is whether they are watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or not.

So today, I thought I'd settle the score once and for all.

Santa Claus, Christmas, and I Love Lucy

Monday, December 16, 2019

This blog may often be about 80's and 90's nostalgia... But for this one we're going WAY back.  Way back into YesterYear to 1956!


I grew up watching I Love Lucy reruns on Nick-at-Nite with my Dad.  We'd sit and laugh together late into the night during summers when I was a kid.  When the Season 4 episodes centering around their road trip to California for and Hollywood came on, something struck a chord with my wanderlust bone and my love for old Hollywood that made me fall in love with that redhead and her hijinks.  I love 'Lucy' so much so that my wife and I have made 2 trips to Lucille Ball's hometown of Jamestown, New York to visit the Lucy-Desi Museum.  There they have props and wardrobe from the show along with restorations of not just the set for their home in the Mertzes New York apartment building but the California hotel room set from the fictional Beverly Palms Hotel that I loved so much as a child.

McDonalds Bucks in My Christmas Stocking

Friday, December 13, 2019

My family was never really that big on Christmas stockings.  We didn't have a fireplace or a chimney so they just kind of rested on the back of the living room sofa.  I remember bugging my Dad one year when it dawned on me that while the house had a chimney outside... we didn't have a fireplace inside.  He tried to explain to my 6 year old brain that the chimney was attached to the furnace down in the basement but this really upset me because how would Santa get into the house and not get hurt?  He told me he'd enter through the window in my Parent's bedroom since it was next to the chimney.  I found that acceptable I guess.

Anyway, back to stockings... we had a basic red ones with white trim and our names were sewn on with green yarn.  My Mom would always make sure to buy some goodies and trinkets at the CVS or the Dollar Store and toss them in.  Chocolate gold coins, funny pencil erasers, gum, candy, maybe a koosh ball... but the ULTIMATE stocking stuffer gift back then was the McDonald's Gift Certificate coupon booklets! 


Today they come in credit card style gift cards or even online electronic gift certificates, but back then they were shaped like little dollar bills and so my Brother Matt and I called them "McDonald's Bucks!"

10 Times Christmas Collides with Pro Wrestling!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Much like Thanksgiving... Pro Wrestling and Christmas go hand in hand.  Over the years, wrestling promotions and wrestlers have celebrated (and exploited) the holiday season in many ways.  From holding events on Christmas day to wrestlers dressed up as Santa Claus, Christmas themed gimmick matches, or even a handful of wrestlers appearing in Christmas movies, these festive events celebrate the holiday season for children and adults alike.


I've looked around the internet and compiled a list in no particular order of some examples of when Christmas and Pro Wrestling COLLIDE!

A Cartoon Christmas: My Top 5 Christmas Cartoons

Monday, December 9, 2019

Nothing is more endearing (or enduring) as a Christmas cartoon.  I know it's sacrilege but I really don't like the "iconic" Christmas specials Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Maybe they were before my time, but, I just never dug those.  I think the claymation creeped me out and I hated the elves... but no holiday spawns more television specials to choose from than Christmas.


I know this may be just another "Top 5" article, but, I feel like those types of articles give me the ability to mention a bunch of different topics that may spark a memory or emotion in you (and myself!) as we all take a road trip down our memory highway into yesteryear.

The 1992 Sears Wish Book

Friday, December 6, 2019

One of the most exciting things during my otherwise normal day during my childhood was seeing the mailman walk up to the house.  Occasionally my Uncle would send a note packed with a few goodies.  Or maybe a NHL team would finally return an autograph that I had requested in spam-like fashion through multiple letters because of a book I had picked up at a school book fair (remember those?) that told you how to send away for autographs from sports teams or actors.  Other than that, I didn't get much mail but it was still exciting to see what would show up that day for Mom or Dad.  Junk mail.  Bills.  Letters.  Catalogs!

I'd often grab the catalogs and pour over them before turning them over to my folks.  It didn't matter the store.  It didn't matter what they sold... more often than not they had a toy section!  Most everyone back in the 80's and 90's, myself included, lived for the moment the Sears Wish Book arrived in late Summer or early Fall.  I remember as a kid these things were the size of small phone books and the smell of the ink and paper can take me back if I catch a whiff in a new circular today.


In an effort to do something special for this site and a chance to take another road trip into yesteryear... I picked up an edition of the 1992 annual Sears Wish Book for cheap on eBay and scanned in some pages for you to enjoy!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 30th Anniversary

Sunday, December 1, 2019

For most of us one of the best parts of Christmas is watching our favorite holiday movies over and over (and over) again.  In what I'd like to be the first in a series this coming year reviewing one of my favorite film franchises, the National Lampoon's 'Vacation' series, I'll be taking a look back at my all-time favorite Christmas movie as it turns 30 this year.

Christmas Vacation is an absolute must watch in my house every year immediately following Thanksgiving right through Christmas Day.  My wife and I often have the television on as we fall asleep at night and during the Christmas season we often drift off as the DVD for this film plays.  We even make sure to play Christmas Vacation after our Christmas dinner is over for those that have moved into the living room to loosen the belt buckle and relax.


December 1st, 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary for this film and what better way than to honor it with a look at how it reminds us of our own family get-togethers and the lighter sides of the holiday season.  This movie covers everything you could want in a Christmas movie:  comedy, drama, the value of family, the stress we all face, and the child like joy during the holidays.  The Griswold's are all of us as we attempt the picture perfect Christmas.