The Gift of The Magi – By O. Henry – Part 2

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance, Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side, and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoiseshell, with jeweled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length, she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head, and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

 

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The Gift of the Magi – By O. Henry – Part 1

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch, Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

 

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Home for Christmas

I’m going to begin this piece with a few funny bits I remember from a couple of late-night TV hosts.

“I was driving through LA the other day and I saw an adult book store with a sign on the door. The sign read: Open all day, Christmas day.

“Does anybody ever wake up Christmas morning and say to themselves, ‘I’d love to look at some filthy magazines today. I wonder if anything’s open?” – Jay Leno

“Remember when you first got your Christmas tree home? Don’t put the screws on the stand into the tree too tight. Put a little sugar in the water, and keep it hydrated. Then… the day after Christmas… “Get that fire trap outta here!” – Jay Leno

Okay, last one.

“What does Christmas look like at my house? I’ll tell ya. I get up really early, I get really drunk, knock the tree over, and start a small electrical fire.” – David Letterman

I love those bits!

 

Philadelphia, PA – 1930s

The Christmas season was always a magical time growing up in our house. When my father was a kid he loved Christmas and this carried on throughout his life. He was the architect of the best Christmases any kid could imagine.

But when he was a kid I suspect his Christmases weren’t all that bright. His father was sort of disconnected from his family. Although an honorable man of principles, he was more interested in his work and hanging at the bar with his buddies. Not a drunk, but enjoyed drinking and adult fun instead of spending time with his wife and two sons.

At Christmas, he would hand his wife money and tell her to get the boys whatever they wanted. Not a lot of money, but enough to get maybe a couple of sets of toy trains and some other various trinkets. he just wasn’t that into family or Christmas.

His son on the other hand who would eventually become a father to me and my three sisters was determined to change all of that.

Philadelphia, PA – 1950s

My parents were married for 5 years before any of the kids appeared in their lives. They made a big deal about Christmas. (There is even a home movie somewhere that he shot of them preparing and celebrating Christmas together. We should probably have those videos converted to digital files so they can live online forever.) I remember in this one home movie he shot it was my mom pulling boxes of decorations and goodies out from under a bed.  He edited it so it looked like she was pulling an endless amount of stuff from under the bed. I liked how he didn’t simply document the Christmas season he made a fun little movie about it with his wife.

Philadelphia, PA – 1960s-Present

One of my earliest memories of Christmas was my sisters and I as little kids standing at the top of the steps in our pajamas. My mom would give the signal and we’d all slowly descend the steps carrying our stockings. What you couldn’t see was my father filming the whole thing in 8mm. He had a rack of really bright lights set up so he could get a quality shot. (All of the cameras and film were low lux back then)

Here we all come down the stairs squinting because the lights were so incredibly light. It was like something out of the film Close Encounters! We’d walk across the living room and try in earnest to get up on our tiptoes to hang our stockings over the fireplace on the mantle. We’d all smile and wave still squinting like mad. My mother would be holding my youngest sister in her arms and hang her little stocking for her.

This went on for years. My dad loved to document all the holidays with his trusty movie camera. I don’t think any of the other kids in the neighborhood have the massive catalog of films that my family has about family events.

(That’s me in 1966)

One of the main components of the Christmas season was putting the toy trains up. My father had a wooden platform in the basement with tracks nailed to it. He would gather some old orange crates out of the garage and set them up in the corner of the living room. The platform would sit upon it and then the Christmas tree would be placed on it in the corner.

Then he’d bring up a couple of his model trains and we’d play with them and run them around the platform. He had little houses, cars, and people to complete the village. It was great because you only got to play with these specific toys the month before Christmas. So it was a cool pre-holiday treat. My sisters and I would run the trains and play for hours with these little people in their town in the days leading up to the big day.

Christmas carols and holiday music would play throughout the house, relatives would visit and usually, my grandmom would come and stay for the week leading up to Christmas. They would give her my room and I’d sleep on a cot in my sister’s room. This was fine because this way the kids were all together as Christmas approached and we could all talk about it. What we had on our lists, stuff we hoped we’d get, and just vibe with the season.

My mother would bake these glorious butter cookies from a recipe she found in a magazine. To this day they are my favorite cookies on earth. Thankfully my middle sister has been able to replicate that recipe and make cookies that look and taste exactly like mom used to make. I love them. each year she gives me a Tupperware container full of them and it takes me three months to slowly consume them all.

I remember as we got a little older we’d help my mom make the cookies. I think my older sister would help my mother mix the batter, my middle sister would roll them out, I would cut them into shapes and my baby sister would decorate them with sprinkles. I know my youngest sister is going to read this but I’m going to say it anyway. Once when she was maybe 2 years old I remember her standing on the chair at the end of the table and decorating the cookies and she suddenly sneezed.

“Good job! You just decorated the cookies!”

“Ewww!”

Poor kid. She was just a baby and didn’t even know what she did! That story still circulates the table at annual holiday gatherings.

As usual, I was a disaster in school. So my dad had taken it upon himself to sort of home school me during the early 70s. I still went to school, but he would give me books and make me read them and then test me on the subjects. It was torture for me back then, but I learned so much about so many aspects of the world that many of my peers don’t know even to this day. He even would assign me poetry to memorize and recite to him after I’d learn it. You’d think verse would be a little easier for me to memorize word for word but try to read, and understand, The Tyger by William Blake!

One Christmas one of his assignments was for me to read and memorize “A Vist from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, and I did it! I memorized the whole thing and recited it word for word for him. Even though this felt like some sort of extended punishment from my everyday life, it wasn’t. He was exposing me to great literary works and building the neurons in my brain for better recall. He knew I had a good mind, he just didn’t want me to waste it.

Anyway, Christmas was always a magical time in our home each year. The anticipation was nearly unbearable. My middle sister and I would conspire to figure out ways to sneak downstairs early Christmas morning with a flashlight and take a look at what Santa had left for us. This was always met with inquiries from my other sister, “Well, what did you see down there?”

My father and sisters and I would trim the tree and my mom would sit in her chair and direct us as to where each ornament should go. My grandmom would be there giggling and sipping eggnog.

When some of us were old enough to realize the truth about Santa Claus we took it upon themselves to do something my father referred to as “rooting”. This was when one of the kids would look under the pool table or in a closet for potential future Christmas presents. My dad quickly caught on to this practice and make sure everything was gift-wrapped immediately upon acquisition of the gift.

Once he even stuck a little postcard between the door of a closet and the molding near the upper hinge of the door. If anyone opened the door, the card would fall and he would know some little elf was “rooting”. So he would simply move the presents to another secret location.

Watching all the great Christmas shows on TV only added to the excitement of the season. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is coming to town were all wonderful, just to name a few!

Christmas morning would finally arrive and we’d all head downstairs to see the bounty of gifts that old St. Nick had dropped off. Each child had a designated area for their presents around the living room. Each kid went to their spot and started to rip into the wrapping paper. My parents would sit back, sip their coffee, and just smile.

You had to take a break after the main presents and stop and eat breakfast before ripping into your stocking. There were more goodies in each one of those! Sometimes something wonderful, like a watch or a piece of jewelry for the girls.

What set my parents apart from many families is, they shopped for Christmas all year round. So they never had to stress about the hustle and bustle associated with any last-minute shopping issues. They were done and wrapped months before Christmas day ever arrived. They were so organized and such great planners.

Thanks to my mom and dad every Christmas was unique and incredible in its own right. There were always some special gifts that you really wanted and some unexpected delights that appeared each year. This family tradition continued on into our twenties down the shore in Wildwood, NJ when we moved there in 1979.

Christmas was bigger and better than ever. He had not one but two completely decorated trees in the house. One downstairs in the dining room and the other one upstairs in the front window of the house. The trees always had to be Fraser firs because they were the bushiest and smelliest trees money could buy. (No dropped needles on the floor!)

My father would have mini lights running along the ceiling down the hallway just to keep the Christmas vibe going throughout the house.

It would be a couple of days before Christmas and he’d suddenly make this statement each year. “You know what today is?”

“What?”

“It’s the eve… of Christmas Eve.”

This became part of our mythology through the years and someone would always say, about a week before Christmas… “You know what today is?”

“What?”

“It’s the eve, of the eve, of the eve, of the eve, of the eve, of the eve of Christmas Eve!”

Yea…we’re a Christmas crazy family.

We would exchange gifts between the kids and my parents on Christmas eve. I don’t remember when this started, but it added to the holiday energy because you got that extra night of opening presents even before the main Christmas day event! We would stack them on a card table in the living room and sometimes one of the kids would be sniffing around them wondering what was in them.

My mom put up a sign and rested a whiffle ball bat against the table. The sign stated that if you were caught touching the presents on the table you’d get “the bat”. (This was all in fun, but we had that thing there every year)

Even though by then my dad was into his 60s, he’d be sitting on the sofa next to me with his finger under the wrapping paper on one of his gifts. “Is it my turn yet?” he’d exclaim. He loved Christmas so much!

My first sister picked up the torch of the Christmas spirit in the 90s. She still hosts a holiday party every December at her house and it’s wonderful! The food is great and the company is always amazing. I remember going to her house back in the 90s and my parents were still alive and there could be a few uncles and aunts there, and the rest of us. They were the oldest people in the room. The senior members of our tribe. But as time has passed, I looked around the room and saw my daughter and all the nephews and nieces, and now my sisters and I are the old people in the room!

Time slips away so fast.

This is another one of those instances where it’s difficult to put into words what our Christmases were really like. It was more of a feeling.

You just had to be there.

My mother and father have been gone for many years, but Christmas continues to live on in the hearts of my sisters and me. My first sister has continued to have her annual holiday party every year for decades and we are all so grateful for her.

Here we all are now!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – What Happened When the Sex Pistols Threw a Christmas Party

A new book showcases a collection of photos that captures the band’s last concert in England—they were in their pomp, on their mission, and fully charged.

The Sex Pistols, avatars of sociopathy, threw an afternoon Christmas party for the families of firefighters on strike. What could be nicer?

By the end of 1977 the Sex Pistols were so drenched in notoriety that, as a band, they could barely function. Punk rock, originally an American import, had activated the imagination of Great Britain at a hysterical, medieval level, and the Pistols—swearing on live TV, getting to Number 1 with the banned single “God Save The Queen” (She ain’t no human being!)—were overnight bogeymen. Pale and twisted, neurally disenfranchised but making a huge, thick, derisive, airwave-jamming noise, they seemed to have limped out of the psychic shadows and seized power. The frontman Johnny Rotten would hang off the mic stand like a licentious scarecrow; the new bassist Sid Vicious, his long limbs clanging, was an icon continually in the process of dismantling itself—a human Jean Tinguely sculpture. Their manager Malcolm McLaren, meanwhile, had an agenda for uproar and no interest whatsoever in the well-being of his charges; for over a year, his provocations and imbroglios had kept the band on the front pages of a gratefully disgusted tabloid press.

And they had reaped the whirlwind: In June, in two separate attacks, Rotten was slashed with a razor and the drummer Paul Cook was beaten with an iron bar. Now, in the depths of winter, a projected U.K. tour had collapsed as the burghers of one municipality after another—local councilmen and members of Parliament—rose up with quivering jowls to denounce, reject, and foreclose these leering scapegoats. Nowhere to play.

Except for Huddersfield. On Christmas Day. At a venue called Ivanhoe’s, in a market town in West Yorkshire, the Sex Pistols would play a benefit show for the Fire Brigades Union, which had recently called its members out on strike in pursuit of a 30 percent wage increase. This was a very McLaren-esque piece of business: The Sex Pistols, avatars of sociopathy, would throw an afternoon Christmas party for the families of striking firefighters. Gifts, games, a cake, a performance, t-shirts for the children. What could be nicer? What could be worthier? Then they would play a second set for their fans.

The first show, the one for the kids, was extraordinary enough. Thank God we have the footage. Pre-teens with soft 1970s hair bounce and jive unselfconsciously, and with even a strange solemnity, as the band rips in gusts of joy through “God Save The Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.” No future for YEEEEEW! “Bodies”—She was a girl from Birming-HAM-uh / She’d just had an a-BOR-tion-ah!—acquires the pure and vicious resonance of a playground chant. The kids take the mic, sing along to the chorus: Mum-my! I’m not an animal! Johnny Rotten mashes his face into the Christmas cake during “Pretty Vacant.” The kids wave flags. Credit here the unscrupulous McLaren and his nose for the carnivalesque. An event this wholesomely riotous, this innocently lawless and punk-rock-paradoxical, if it happened today … well, it wouldn’t happen. It would be held in an art gallery.

But it’s the second set, for the grown-ups, that concerns us here. Sex Pistols: The End Is Near 25.12.77 collects the in-show shots of the photographer Kevin Cummins, who was covering the concert for New Musical Express. That afternoon, at his parents’ house, Cummins had committed small-scale anarchy by getting up and leaving in the middle of Christmas lunch. This meant that he was also skipping the Queen’s televised speech, traditionally watched with boozy fealty by every single person in the country. “My father didn’t speak to me for at least three weeks,” he writes in his introduction.

 

No one, not even the ferally alert McLaren, knew it at the time, but this was the last show the Sex Pistols would play in England. Days after the Huddersfield show they would leave for a short, fiasco-filled tour of the U.S., a jaunt across the un-punk-rock South (Atlanta, Memphis, San Antonio, Baton Rouge) that was essentially an extended act of incitement. The band, as an entity, would not survive it. In less than three weeks, at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, the Sex Pistols would explode, fall to bits, end. “Oh bollocks. Why should I carry on?” asked Rotten, pertinently, in the middle of a half-hearted assault on the Stooges’ “No Fun.” All of which adds a film of wistful irony to the power of Cummins’s photographs from Ivanhoe’s, because here are the Pistols in their pomp, on their mission, fully charged.

The images, from this distance, have an almost fairytale familiarity. Rotten, pint in hand, his hair still matted with cake icing, grins and writhes Uriah Heep-ishly, twisting his body to accommodate the demonic projections of the English unconscious. Steve Jones is slouched red-eyed over his guitar, raffishly infusing his glam rock mega-chords with Chuck Berry’s momentum and heavy metal crunch. Sid Vicious, soon to be infamous, soon to be dead, bass slung super-low, looks like a drawing from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: His small scowling features are etched blackly onto an empty white face. He’s there and he’s not there, an accident that might have already happened. (McLaren would later characterize Sid’s aura as a “halo of anarchy.”) The current of the performance never seems to slacken. Cummins’s lens catches the band in no instants of shapelessness or non-Sex-Pistols-ness; their art possesses them at all times. Cook, the band’s thunderous timekeeper, is hardly represented, but maybe that’s appropriate; the drummer should be a kind of nonentity. (What a superbly physical drummer he was, though, Paul Cook. His whole kit would quake like the ribcage of some enormous, panting animal).

Towards the end of the show, the end of the reel, Rotten puts on a beret. It suits him, giving him a ghoulish sort of Parisian presence—he looks arty, he looks Left Bank. And there was this weird French strain to the Sex Pistols’ enterprise. McLaren was, or thought he was, or said he was, a devout reader of Guy Debord: all of his various art-acts were somewhere between pop mania and Situationist disruption-of-the-spectacle. But the Pistols were also a rock ‘n’ roll band, a very good one. Left to themselves, who knows what they might have achieved?

The die, however, was cast. The great music writer Paul Morley, in the foreword of The End Is Near that appears to have taken him about 10 minutes to write (although 10 minutes of Paul Morley is worth three weeks of [insert name of the writer]), makes the point that by late 1977 the Sex Pistols had already become “as much a part of British history as Churchill, the Royal Mail post boxes, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare.” They had become more than a band, less than a band—something else. So look upon these images from Huddersfield, and remember them this way: at the depth of ignominy, at the height of glory, making their music.

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Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock: Best Christmas Rock Songs: An Essential Seasonal Playlist

From Def Leppard to Chuck Berry, U2, Tom Petty, Weezer and Eric Clapton, the best Christmas rock songs are satisfyingly turkey-free.

It’s not just Santa Claus making lists and checking them twice. With Christmas coming, we’ll be ticking off the turkey, the tree, and all the trimmings, but what of the perfect music to provide the soundtrack for our festive fun? Most of us fall back on a solid Christmas hits collection regardless of our party’s persuasion, but what if we went one louder and gifted you the best Christmas rock songs ever? There are no traditional Christmas carols here. No “Little Drummer Boy,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” or “Silent Night.” This Christmas, enjoy some rock around the Christmas tree.

Chuck Berry: Run Rudolph Run

First released by Chess Records in time for Christmas 1958, this exuberant rocker – co-written by Johnny Marks of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” fame – is quintessential Chuck Berry. It’s since been covered by Sheryl CrowBryan Adams, Billy Idol, and many more.

Bobby Helms: Jingle Bell Rock

The epitome of the term “crossover hit,” Bobby Helms’ laidback, roots-flavored “Jingle Bell Rock,” from 1957, was originally a US country radio hit which also made it to No.6 on the mainstream Billboard Best Sellers chart. Currently ranked among the Top 10 Christmas/Holiday Digital Singles in the US, it remains an enduring Yuletide favorite.

Def Leppard: We All Need Christmas

Beautifully crafted acoustic rock ballad kissed with strings, and fueled by hope and optimism – and a final coda which goes up to 11. A seasonal classic-in-waiting wherein Joe Elliott and the boys raise a glass to “all that’s past – and to the future, long may it last!” ’Nuff said.

Weezer: We Wish You A Merry Christmas

As their recent Billboard Alternative Chart-topping take on Toto’s “Africa” proves, Weezer know a thing or three about cool cover versions. From 2008’s Christmas gift EP Christmas With Weezer, this short but sweet remake of a classic festive hymn is another belter.

John Lennon: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Part of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s peace efforts, the Christmas song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” has become a staple of holiday season playlists. Featuring the Harlem Community Choir, the song focused on the Vietnam War at the time of its initial release but remains sadly relevant and necessary decades later.

U2: Christmas (Baby Come Home Please)

Mariah Carey made a fantastic version, of course. But Bono and co’s emotional, widescreen take of Darlene Love’s cult classic from 1963 is just as affecting. Co-written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector, the song was reputedly originally penned for Ronnie Spector.

Paul McCartney: Wonderful Christmastime

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney’s classic Christmas song isn’t exactly a rockin’ tune, but it’s worthy of inclusion nonetheless. The little ditty is based around a synthesizer line, and its lyrics have a wonderfully simple message: “We’re here tonight/And that’s enough.”

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: Christmas All Over Again

A rousing, Tom Petty-penned anthem with a few tinges of Phil Spector thrown in for good measure, this was initially the lead cut from A&M’s star-studded 1992 A Very Special Christmas compilation, released in aid of the Special Olympics.

The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping

The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” doesn’t start out like “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but eventually it turns into a little bit of a love song. A late-night trek to a grocery store on Christmas Eve leads to singer Patty Donahue meeting the man she’s been chasing all year.

Little Steven: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

Do they know it’s Christmas? You wouldn’t expect the New York punk rock icons The Ramones to make a Christmas song. But with a killer riff and a plea for peace on Earth (or, at the very least, the apartment), this one is among the best Christmas rock songs ever. Case in point: The song’s sterling cinematic makeover in 2017 by Bruce Springsteen’s talented wingman.

Cocteau Twins: Frosty The Snowman

It may not immediately make sense, but the more you think about it, the more Cocteau Twins and hazy, Christmas music begins to seem like a perfect match. (Their take on “Winter Wonderland” is great as well.)

Bryan Adams: Merry Christmas

Canadian rock icon Bryan Adams recorded an enduring festive song, “Christmas Time,” in 1985. He delivered a second in 2011, in the shape of this yearningly soulful, sleigh-bell-enhanced rock ballad.

The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl: Fairytale of New York

This Christmas classic has become a lightning rod of controversy in recent years, but as Nick Cave wrote in 2020, “the idea that a word, or a line, in a song can simply be changed for another and not do it significant damage is a notion that can only be upheld by those that know nothing about the fragile nature of songwriting.”

Cheap Trick: Christmas Christmas

Legendary Illinois power-popsters Cheap Trick had Xmas all wrapped up with 2017’s Christmas Christmas. Driven by guitarist Rick Neilsen’s power chords, the album’s titular song is a seasonal sizzler which shows exactly why “Christmas Christmas” is so good they really should name it twice.

Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody

The iconic glam rock group didn’t want to release this record initially. Luckily, their manager had his way. It beat Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” to the top spot in the charts in 1973 and hasn’t looked back since. Reflecting on it in 2020, guitarist Dave Hill told Classic Rock that the “song lifted a nation. It took on a life of its own.”

Eric Clapton: White Christmas

The iconic guitarist’s new Happy Xmas album got off to a blistering start when it topped Billboard’s seasonal Holiday Albums Chart on release in October 2018. More than capable of warming the cockles is the record’s lead cut: an imperious, Chicago blues-style version of Bing Crosby’s enduring “White Christmas.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

31 Cute Christmas Date Ideas (31 Dates of Christmas)

It is time to spend the days before Christmas with the one you love the most- your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.

Show the person how much you care this Christmas with some well planned out Christmas date ideas.

There is 31 days of Christmas in my opinion (every day of December) so here are 31 Christmas Date Ideas to keep you covered for the month of December.

Christmas date ideas

Our absolute favorite festive holiday dates you can use on the 31 days of December (it’s still Christmas until it’s the New Year right?) At least that’s what Starbucks thinks…

1. Indoor Christmas Picnic

It is freezing outside but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a picnic!

Prepare some of the most Christmas-y food ever like roast turkey, pumpkin pie, and eggnog, and make yourself a cute little indoor Christmas picnic.

2. Christmas Treasure Hunt

Every Easter Mike makes me an easter egg hunt and hides little eggs around the house.

It will be cool to create a Christmas treasure hunt where you hide little Christmas-y goodies around the house for each other to find!

Maybe you could buy some little chocolate-coated Santas or candy canes.

Who says adults don’t enjoy treasure hunts?!

3. A Romantic Sleigh Ride

One of the cutest and most romantic experiences we had was going for a Christmas sleigh ride in Poland.

Look up to see if there is a sleigh ride in your local area. It is a bit of an expensive date but it is something you will remember for years to come

It might sound corny but bring with you ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ and let that music pump out as you ride along. Hey, gives it a little extra ambiance!

christmas-date-idea-sleigh-ride

4. Xmas Markets

There is nothing better than to get the pair of you into the Christmas spirit than to visit a city with a good Xmas Market.

Europe has the best Xmas Markets we have seen.

If you can’t afford a spontaneous trip to Europe you might have to settle with some good Xmas Lights.

5. Book a surprise Christmas Trip

Book your partner a surprise Christmas trip somewhere special that they always wanted to visit.

Ideally, book a trip somewhere with some good Christmas ambiance.

christmas-trip

6. Build a Gingerbread House

Building a gingerbread house is so fun and hate to admit it but a little frustrating.

For this reason, it is the PERFECT Xmas activity to do as a couple.

Building a gingerbread house will help you learn to work more cohesively as a couple.

gingerbread-house-date-idea

7. A Night Snuggled by The Fireplace

A night spent snuggled by the fireplace is something that just HAS to be done at Christmas.

Get the most snuggly blankets, warm hot chocolate, and marsh-mellows, and let the snuggly night in begin!

8. Visit a Christmas Window Display

Often shopping centre windows have the coolest Christmas exhibits.

Walk hand in hand down the street and admire the Christmas exhibits.

New York is always a good place for this date.

9. Go Stargazing

On a cold winter’s night, there is nothing more romantic than putting a few reclined chairs in the back yard, sitting on them covered with blankets with hot cocoa in hand as you stargaze.

There is something about crisp, fresh winter air that sets the tone for romance.

christmas-star-gazing

10. Build a Snowman

Do you want to build a snowman?

Ehh, of course, I do!

If it is snowing you simply have to build a snowman together at Christmas.

Building a snowman can lead to other fun activities like having a snowball fight!

11. Go for a Camping trip

Take your sweetheart on a romantic camping trip.

Get the campfire going, burn some marshmallows and smores over the campfire, sing some love songs, and watch the shooting stars overhead.

If the weather is too cold you might like to consider hiring a cabin for this Christmas date instead.

12. Ice skating

One of the most romantic Christmas Date Ideas is to go ice skating together.

Ice-skating is always a romantic and fun idea for couples to spend some quality time together.

Plus, it features just about every rom-com movie.

13. Xmas Photo Shoot

If you are young enough not to have your own family why not start a dorky couple’s Xmas photo shoot tradition.

Channel the Kardashians’ Xmas cards and do a different theme every Christmas.

You may or may not want to send the finished product to your family and friends.

14. Go Caroling

One of the funniest things we ever did was go caroling at Christmas.

We actually did this as a group family activity but it would be equally fun and cute to do together as a couple.

It takes a bit of guts but getting dressed up and going caroling is something you will talk about for years to come!

15. Pick out a Christmas Tree from a Tree Farm

Picking out a Christmas Tree absolutely SCREAMS it’s Christmas!

Picking out the perfect Xmas tree together is totally Griswolds and I LOVE IT!

Or, it could be a little more romantic aka not Griswold style but either way, get a tree.

After getting said tree, you need to decorate it.

If you are a crafty couple, it would be cute to make your own decorations to give your tree its own unique touch.

xmas-date-ideas-couples

16. Look at neighborhood Xmas Lights

Ever since I was a kid, I loved going around the neighborhood and looking at all the Christmas lights.

Get out the directory of all the houses decorated in your local neighborhood and drive around to see them all!

17. Go Sledding

Sledding is so fun and it is even more fun when you do it with your significant other.

There are sled runs in virtually every place it snows. The best one ever is in Oslo Norway if you ever visit.

18. Watch Xmas Vacation

It is NOT Christmas if you have not watched Christmas Vacation together.

If your significant other does not want to watch Christmas Vacation with you then they are not a keeper. End of story.

19. Go Xmas Shopping as a couple

A couple that Xmas shops together stays together.

Xmas shopping can be the most painful event ever but making it more fun with a loved one by looking at the Xmas displays, stopping to get a Xmas drink from Starbucks, and trying on some funny Xmas outfits makes it SO much more bearable.

Buy some cute Christmas PJs to wear on Xmas day.

20. Start a new tradition

Christmas is all about traditions. You need to think of some new traditions you can start as a couple.

Maybe it is a special Xmas ice cream or watching a romantic Xmas movie each year like Love Actually.

Starting a tradition can light the fire in a relationship and remind both of you of the love you feel for each other.

21. Make some Christmas Craft

Are you feeling crafty today?

Get up on youtube or Pinterest and find some cute Christmas craft you can make together.

You can use it to decorate your house or the Christmas tree to really feel the Xmas cheer!

22. Bake a Turkey Together

It is not Christmas until a turkey has been consumed.

Baking a good, delicious turkey is an art and one that should be tackled together as a couple.

Making this turkey will either make or break your relationship – just sayin’

Here are some Christmas Turkey Recipes to set you on the right track!

23. Make some Eggnog

If turkey is a bit hardcore you might like to take an easier challenge and make some eggnog together.

24. Christmas Karaoke

What is better and more fun than just plain karaoke? Christmas Karaoke of course.

You can either look up some bars doing Christmas karaoke or do your own Christmas karaoke at home using a PlayStation.

25. Go to Disney on Ice

There is nothing cuter and Christmas-y than Disney on ice!

Who doesn’t love Disney in general and when it is on ice at Christmas time it is even better and more magical.

And no, you don’t need a kid to go to Disney on ice!

26. Play a Christmas Themed Board Game

Play a new fun Christmas themed board game.

There is so many cool Christmas themed board games out there. Monopoly brings out a cool new Christmas board game each year

27. Make a Christmas time capsule

Got some hopes and dreams for the next year?

Why not put them into a time capsule that you can’t open until Christmas next year.

Bury it and see if all your wishes came true or not the following year.

28. Polar Plunge

This is one for all the insane couples out there and well YOLO!

Find a local lake or the sea and go for the Christmas polar plunge.

I know this is traditionally a New Years’ thing but I think it’s a fun Christmas activity too!

29. Boogy out to Xmas Tunes

Does your town have a Christmas radio station?

We are having a great time right now boogying out to the Carolina Xmas Radio station.

30. Brew your own Xmas Beer

Feeling crafty today?

Every year my Grandad brews his own Xmas beer. I think it is kind of a neat idea and it would be really fun to do as a couple.

If you don’t know how to brew beer you might need to look up some handy Youtube tutorials.

31. Write each other Xmas Love Letters

I had to save the cutest and corniest of all holiday dates for last now, didn’t I?

Write each other Xmas love letters and read them on Xmas morning! Awww how cute!!!

Bonus: Kiss under the Mistletoe: The Ultimate Christmas Date idea!

How could I forget?!

The mother of all Xmas date ideas is to kiss under the mistletoe.

Don’t forget to do it or your love is surely doomed!

Winter Date Ideas

If you don’t want a stereotypically holiday date but want something wintery and fun to keep yourself occupied this holiday season, here are our favorite winter date ideas:

Ice sculpture class

Taking an ice sculpture class is something that is both interesting and creative to do together.

It will also come with some serious bragging rights as it is not every day you get to go to an ice sculpting class.

ice sculpture class date idea

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

The Custom of Kissing Under the Mistletoe

The custom of kissing under the mistletoe could possibly be related to a Scandinavian goddess.  Frigga, the goddess of love, marriage, and destiny in Norse mythology, is strongly associated with mistletoe, which has been used as a decoration in homes for thousands of years.

According to Scandinavian legend, the god Balder the Beautiful was killed by a spear of mistletoe and his grieving mother Frigg, who banished the plant to the top of trees.  When Balder came back to life, Frigg made mistletoe a symbol of love.

In Brittany, France, the plant is known as Herbe de la Croix because it is thought that Christ’s cross was made of mistletoe wood.

Mistletoe is associated with many pagan rituals. In fact, the Christian church disliked the plant so much, thanks to its pagan associations, that it forbade its use in any form.  Some English churches continued this ban as late as the 20th century. Druids believed mistletoe growing on oak trees was the most sacred form of the plant and that it offered protection from all evil, as well as being the source of much magic.

The early Christian church banned this use of mistletoe because of its association with Druids. The mystery of the mistletoe’s method of reproduction led many people to link the plant with spontaneous generation, fertility and aphrodisiacs. In medieval times, women wishing to conceive would wrap mistletoe around their waists and wrists to increase their fertility.

Holly became a Christian substitute for mistletoe, which is why we ‘deck the halls’ with it. The sharply pointed leaves in holly were supposed to symbolize the thorns in Christ’s crown and the red berries were to symbolize his blood.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Nobody Gets the Point of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

“Yea, I get it. If they have a use for you, they’ll accept you.”

Happy Holidays!

 

https://time.com/5479322/rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-history-origins/

Since no disposable coffee cups have prompted any holiday outrage this year, that pent-up aggression has seemingly found a new battleground: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. The classic 1964 stop-motion Christmas special has come under increased media scrutiny. For instance, there was a video posted by The Huffington Post, which assembled a handful of Tweets from people who have just now realized that Santa Claus is kind of a prejudiced asshole in the beloved story.

Nobody Gets The Point Of 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'Huffington Post

This naturally being the most important issue of 2020, it prompted many on the right to publicly rebuke the somewhat tongue-in-cheek video, including a Tweet from the president’s son (who we guess needed a distraction from his massive legal problems) and an entire segment on Fox News decrying the left for seeing racism and misogyny in a harmless Christmas fable that certainly contains no social commentary that would, say, contradict their entire worldview.

Of course, these aren’t new observations. People have been analyzing the subtext of Rudolph for years. It’s not difficult to interpret the story of a reindeer bullied because of his appearance and an elf who isn’t accepted by his conservative society as a lesson on the perils of discrimination. And it’s not just these two. We find out there’s an entire community of “misfit” toys. With society having turned its back on them, these exiled toys live under the rule of some kind of, um, winged lion demigod?

OK, we're not really sure what that's all about.

OK, we’re not really sure what that’s all about.

But it’s downright impossible not to see a broader commentary, given the context in which Rudolph was made. The summer of 1964 saw the U.S. government pass the Civil Rights Act, ending segregation and banning “employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” According to the book Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: An American Hero, “Rudolph displayed the same generational disruptions that defined the counterculture during that era.” It adds that “part of the appeal was the show’s willingness to mirror changes in the American family” — meaning these themes weren’t incidental, but were why the special was so damn successful. Producer Arthur Rankin Jr. points out that the reason the show has resonated for so long is that the issues of bullying and rejection are universal among children: “I think all kids are looking for guidance. I think all kids feel slightly inferior.”

So both sides of this argument are misguided. Yes, Rudolph does contain scenes wherein the denizens of the North Pole act like bigoted D-bags, but that doesn’t make it problematic. And to deny that any of these elements are present in Rudolph is straight up missing the entire point. It’d be like reading A Christmas Carol as a fun little story about spooky ghosts, or watching It’s A Wonderful Life and thinking that the moral is “Don’t hire your useless relatives.”

Continued reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(TV_special)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/11/15/christmas-special-rudolph-figures-auction-368-000/6302519002/

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – Their Plot VS. What I See

Their Plot:

Sam the Snowman welcomes the viewers to Christmastown at the North Pole and introduces Santa and Mrs. Claus who live in a castle located left of the Christmas Tree Forest. Later on, Sam recalls the year Christmas was almost canceled due to a big snowstorm and how a very special reindeer saved the day.

Donner, Santa’s lead reindeer, and his wife have given birth to a new fawn named Rudolph. Upon admiring him, they are surprised to see that he’s been born with a glowing red nose. When Santa arrives, he warns Donner that Rudolph will not make the sleigh team because of his nose. So, Donner decides to hide it by covering it with mud so Rudolph will fit in with the other reindeer.

One year later, Rudolph goes out to the reindeer games, where the new fawns will be inspected by Santa to pull the sleigh when they grow up. During flight practice, Rudolph meets a beautiful doe named Clarice, who tells him he’s cute, making Rudolph fly. However, while celebrating with the other bucks, Rudolph’s fake nose pops off, causing the other reindeer to mock him and Coach Comet to expel him.

He then meets Hermey, an elf who ran away from Santa’s workshop because he wanted to be a dentist instead of making toys, so they run away together. They then meet a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, who has searched his whole life long to find silver and gold but never does. After escaping the Abominable Snow Monster of the North, they crash land on the Island of Misfit Toys where unloved or unwanted toys live with their ruler, a winged lion named King Moonracer who brings the toys to the island until he can find homes and children who will love them. The king allows them to stay one night on the island until they can tell Santa to find homes for them by Christmas when they get home. However, Rudolph leaves the island on his own, still worried that his nose will endanger his friends.

Time passes and Rudolph grows into a young stag, still enduring mockery from others. He returns home to find that his parents and Clarice have been looking for him for months. He sets out once again to locate them and finds them all cornered in a cave by the snow monster. Rudolph tries to save Clarice, but the monster hits him in the head with a stalactite. A few minutes later, Hermey and Yukon return and try to save Rudolph. Hermey, oinking like a pig, lures the monster out of the cave and pulls out all his teeth after Yukon knocks him out. Yukon then drives the toothless monster back, only to fall over the cliff.

Mourning Yukon’s presumed death, Rudolph, Hermey, Clarice, and the Donners return home where everyone apologizes to them.

Christmas Eve comes and while everybody is celebrating, Santa reluctantly announces that the big snowstorm won’t subside in time, and has forced him to cancel Christmas, but is soon inspired by Rudolph’s red nose. He asks Rudolph to lead the sleigh. Rudolph accepts and they fly off to the island where the Misfit Toys, sad about being left alone and unloved, are suddenly cheered up when Santa arrives to pick them up.

Santa wishes everyone a Merry Christmas as he and Rudolph fly off into the night.

How I See It:

Sam the Snowman welcomes the viewers to Christmastown at the North Pole and introduces Santa and Mrs. Claus who live in a castle located left of the Christmas Tree Forest. Burl Ives does a great job as the voice and persona of this charming old snowman. He’s like the friendly grandpa of the show. I love this guy as an actor and a singer. As kids, we had a whole album of his work called the Lollipop Tree. I loved listening to the album as a boy and looking at the cover because it was an artistic rendering of a tree made out of exotic looking lollipops. I always wondered where suckers like that were sold so I could try them. What kid doesn’t like looking at pictures of candy?

Anyway, later on, Sam recalls the year Christmas was almost canceled due to a big snowstorm and how a very special reindeer saved the day.

The story opens with a miserable Santa Claus. He’s skinny and his wife who’s a nice lady is trying to get him to eat. He’s just being a cranky dick to her, but maybe it’s just because he hates his life. Think of his job. You basically do nothing all year and one night a year you have to circle the globe delivering toys to a bunch of strangers. Can you imagine how horrible his life is? Think about it guys. Why doesn’t Santa have any kids? Because he only comes once a year! OH!

Anyway…

Donner, Santa’s lead reindeer, and his wife have given birth to a new fawn named Rudolph. Upon admiring him, they are surprised to see that he has been born with a glowing red nose. His father sees it and doesn’t like it. His mother says, “Maybe we can just overlook it.” Donner responds with, “Well hopefully he grows out of it before he gets to an age where he can work for Santa pulling his sleigh around the world one night a year.”

When Santa arrives, Rudolph actually looks up at him as a tiny infant and says, “Santa?” His little nose lights up in joy at the appearance of the legendary, jolly old elf. But when Santa sees his nose light up, he’s freaked out like Donner about this ‘abnormality’. He warns Donner that Rudolph will not make the sleigh team because of his nose. Then with unmitigated audacity, Santa uses this opportunity to sing a dumb song about how he’s the king of jingle lee or whatever. Shameful. So, Donner decides to hide it by covering it with mud so Rudolph will fit in with the other reindeer. So the message here is, if you’re born with some extraordinary nearly supernatural gift, you’ll never be able to join the ranks of society. You should cover it up and hide it so that you can fit in with all the other mediocre normies.

Meanwhile, at Santa’s workshop, the elves are toiling away making toys for all of the good little boys and girls. They all sort of look the same except one, who resembles a little boy, with more human-like features and a swatch of blonde hair. His name is Hermey. He’s falling down on his toy-making duties. He’s not into it. Sadly, he was born into this life of slavery without an origin story. He wants to be a dentist. Yes, Hermey aspires to be something more than his present condition. He doesn’t want to spend his entire life working in a sweatshop making toys for some fat guy. He wants to be a dentist, maybe have his own practice in Manhattan someday.

But no… once the middle management asshole elf finds out, he drills Hermey for wanting to become more in life than a toy slave. On top of all of this humiliation, the elves are forced to learn songs and perform like chimps for Santa. Kringle seems disinterested and tells them their song needs work. Asshole middle management elf pig yells at them because that’s the only skill he has. Rage and admonishment. When the other elves go on break, he makes Hermey stay behind to continue slaving on the toys. Once he’s gone, Hermey says, “fuck this”, and dips out the window in search of a better life. He doesn’t know where he’s going. No one’s ever escaped the North Pole. But he sets out on his own, knowing that the unknown is better than the present nightmare hell he’s in.

Later, Rudolph goes out to the reindeer games, where the new fawns will be inspected by Santa to pull the sleigh when they grow up. During flight practice, Rudolph meets a beautiful doe named Clarice, who tells him he’s cute, making Rudolph fly. The charge Rudolph gets from the affection of the fairer sex gives him not only the dopamine drop and electric joy of romance, but it actually gives him the sudden power to not only fly but soar. A perfectly normal response to the attention of an attractive young lady.

Let’s continue…

Santa is blown away and so is everyone else at his sudden aerial prowess. Fireball, who is one of the other kids is really proud of Rudolph and they start to playfully wrestle.

However, while celebrating with the other bucks, Rudolph’s fake nose pops off, causing the other reindeer to mock him and Coach Comet to expel him. (Coach Comet? Toxic masculinity) Even though it’s clear that Rudolph possesses great power in regard to the one thing that reindeer need to be good at the north pole, he’s immediately labeled a freak. Rudolph is so embarrassed and humiliated he flees the scene.

Later Clarice catches up to him and asks what happened, and how he promised to walk her home. He assumes she’s come to make fun of him too. But she tells him it’s a handsome nose. “It’s terrible. It’s different than everybody else.” Rudolph says. “But that’s what makes it so grand. Any doe would consider herself lucky to be with you.” Clarisse replies. (Clarisse is clearly a rare, winning babe among does.) On top of being an amazing chick, Clarice launches into a beautiful heartbreaking song about how there’s always tomorrow to be great someday. It’s one of the most touching moments in the show. Even the cute woodland creatures join in on the chorus. Bunnies and raccoons sing backup on this solid number. Of course, the whole touching scene is C-blocked by her father showing up and telling her to get home and away from this monstrosity of a reindeer. Her dad is an absolute bigoted, hate-filled prick. One of several in this story.

Rudolph then meets Hermey, an elf who ran away from Santa’s workshop because he wanted to be a dentist instead of making toys, so they run away together. Ostracized by their friends and families, they realize that at least they have each other. These two misfits go out into the world isolated from everything they know in search of a better life. They actually break into a celebratory song about how they’re different and the message is basically, “fuck the haters.”

They then meet a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, who has searched his whole life long to find silver and gold but never does. He’s a singular dude, that has one goal in mind. Find riches, but up to this point, it’s proven elusive. But he keeps on, believing only in himself.

There’s an abominable snowman in this story as well. He’s a terrifying figure that back in 1964 when this came out, I felt genuinely terrified by this creature. A real monster that lives off devouring small animals and anything else he can get his claws on and sink his teeth into.

Obviously, this beast comes after them and they end up on an ice flow drifting away from the mainland to escape being eaten by this monster.

After escaping the Abominable Snow Monster of the North, they crash land on the Island of Misfit Toys where unloved or unwanted toys live with their ruler, a winged lion named King Moonracer who brings the toys to the island until he can find homes and children who will love them.

This is an island of defective toys. Charlie in the Box, a train with square wheels, a bird that swims instead of flies, and inexplicably a cute little doll that I’m assuming was discarded for some unknown reason. It’s a sad place of misfits and toys that don’t fit the traditional models of toys corporate America assumes children want. But even though they’ve been saved by King Moonracer, and dropped off at this homeless shelter, at least they have each other. But there’s still some segregation going on here. Moonracer with his own code and brand of racism says the island is only for toys, not living things. So, he’s kind of a dick too.

The king allows them to stay one night on the island until they can tell Santa to find homes for them by Christmas when they get home. However, Rudolph leaves the island on his own, still worried that his nose will endanger his friends.

If this Moonracer could not only talk but fly, couldn’t he have brokered a deal with Santa years ago? Just set a meeting and fly up to the pole and get a sit down with the big man. It’s ridiculous.

Time passes and Rudolph grows into a young stag, still enduring mockery from others. He returns home to find that his parents and Clarice have been looking for him for months. He sets out once again to locate them and finds them all cornered in a cave by the snow monster. Rudolph tries to save Clarice, but the monster hits him in the head with a stalactite. A few minutes later, Hermey and Yukon return and try to save Rudolph. Hermey, oinking like a pig, lures the monster out of the cave and pulls out all his teeth after Yukon knocks him out. Yukon then drives the toothless monster back, only to fall over the cliff.

Yukon sacrifices himself to save his friends, a noble act to save them all from being devoured.

Mourning Yukon’s presumed death, Rudolph, Hermey, Clarice, and the Donners return home where everyone apologizes to them.

Finally! So it takes running away, and near-death, and the loss of a friend to a monster to get people to wake up.

After hearing their story, Santa promises Rudolph that he will find homes for the Misfit Toys, the Head Elf tells Hermey that he can open his own dentist’s office a week after Christmas, and Donner apologizes for being hard on Rudolph. (Too little, too late, assholes!)

Yukon returns with a tamed snow monster, now trained to trim a Christmas tree, explaining that the snow monster’s bouncing ability spared their lives.

This is also sort of despicable behavior. You fall off a cliff and your life is spared by bouncing off the belly of the beast. So instead of simply escaping, you take a wounded animal and rip out all of his teeth. The only thing he has to live the life he’s been dealt with. Is this Hermey’s idea of dentistry? Ripping out the beast’s teeth? How is he supposed to eat and defend himself now? He’s been reduced to a pathetic idiot that’s only good for reaching up and getting stuff in high places. Like placing a star on the tree. You’ve broken this animal and reduced him to a buffoon. So sad.

Christmas Eve comes and while everybody is celebrating, Santa reluctantly announces that the big snowstorm won’t subside in time, and has forced him to cancel Christmas, but is soon inspired by Rudolph’s red nose. He asks Rudolph to lead the sleigh. Rudolph accepts and they fly off to the island where the Misfit Toys, sad about being left alone and unloved, are suddenly cheered up when Santa arrives to pick them up. In a final act of hypocrisy Rudolph’s own father says, “I always knew that nose would be good for something.” Yea, make it all about yourself you asshole. You shunned him and treated him like a freak like everybody else. You’re still a narcist piece of shit.

Santa wishes everyone a Merry Christmas as he and Rudolph fly off into the night.

So the lesson here is: If you’re different, you will be humiliated, taunted, and isolated from your friends and family. You will be labeled a freak. But… if later you have something they need, then you’ll be accepted and ‘loved.’

Pathetic.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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Should You Ask Your Partner To Spend The Holidays With You? Experts Weigh In

If you only started dating someone this year, you may be wondering whether you should ask them to spend the holidays with you or not. While the holiday season can bring you and your partner much closer together, is can also give your relationship some added stress. Since it’s going to be your first holiday season as a couple, you never know which way it’s going to go. With the holidays being right around the corner, it’s about that time to discuss your plans especially if you’re thinking of asking your partner to spend the holidays with you. But is your relationship actually ready for it this year?

“The holidays are stressful for everyone,” Ashley Campana, a matchmaker with Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, tells Bustle. “Multiply that by two people together for the holidays, a dash of family, and a sprinkle of expectations, and it’s a likely scenario that the stress level will be higher than it would be alone.”

There’s no set time frame for how long you should be dating someone before you spend the holidays with them. As dating coach Anna Morgenstern, tells Bustle, “It’s less about how long you’ve been with your partner and more about how far the relationship has progressed.”

Every relationship moves at its own pace. While inviting your partner to come home for the holidays can seem like a harmless idea, navigating the holiday season in a new relationship can be really challenging. Here are some things you may want to consider first, according to experts.

1. Is Your Partner Ready To Meet Your Family?

Inviting your partner to spend the holidays with you may involve meeting your family for the first time.

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“If you just started dating, the last thing you want is your 92-year-old grandmother asking the both of you when you are getting married and reminding you that by your age, she had already delivered a child,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist who specializes in relationships, tells Bustle. “No new relationship needs that pressure, as much as we love grandma.”

According to her, meeting the family is without a doubt the largest challenge of spending the holidays with a partner. There’s always that stress to impress, which can cause anxiety in the most confident of people. If your holiday tradition includes having a large family gathering or there are major cultural differences, it can be a little overwhelming. You want to make sure that your partner is ready and willing to handle whatever gets thrown their way.

2. Is Traveling In Your Partner’s Budget?

A 2018 Experian survey found that Americans spend an average of $930 on holiday travel. “New relationships walk the line of being new but committed, so holiday traveling can be a challenging aspect because of the expenses,” Hafeez says. Your partner may want to spend the holidays with you, but it’s important to be realistic. According to Hafeez, someone may ask themselves if they can really justify spending hundreds of dollars to travel, especially if the relationship is still pretty new. If you know that your partner is struggling financially, or if they’re saving up to buy something big, you may want to wait until next year.

3. Is Your Relationship Mature Enough?

You don't need to date someone for a long time before asking them to spend the holidays with you.

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There’s no set amount of time you should be dating someone before you decide to take them home for the holidays. Some people know they’re meant to be together after a month, and some people take years to figure that out. According to Hafeez, you can’t measure the maturity of a relationship in days or months. But you can assess it by asking yourself this one question: Am I proud to be with this person? “You can be happy with a new relationship but may not be confident enough to bring your partner around the family,” Hafeez says. When you’re confident in the status of your relationship and you know that your partner is going to stick around when things get tough, you’re ready to spend the holidays together. If not, that’s OK. “It’s completely valid to give yourself more time before bringing your significant other to the family holiday, especially if you have a birthday coming up a few months later,” Hafeez says.

4. Do You See A Future With Your Partner?

It’s nice to have someone you can bring along to your big holiday gathering. But the holiday season can have a way of making new relationships feel like they have to move faster than they’re actually ready for. According to Morgenstern, you should only introduce someone to your family that you truly see a long-term future with. Spending the holidays with someone can be a pretty big deal. “If you’re not completely sure about them, asking them to come home with you will mislead them with your intentions,” Morgenstern says. “Make sure you’re on the same page about your relationship before deciding to spend the holidays together.”

5. What Does Spending The Holidays Together Mean To Your Partner?

Talking about your holiday plans can strengthen your communication skills.

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“Spending the holidays together is generally an intimate activity that communicates you care about someone and intend to deepen the relationship,” marriage counselor Brent Sweitzer, LPC, tells Bustle. “But don’t assume it means the same thing to your partner as it does to you.”

Some people may see this as the next big step in the relationship, and others might see it as just another thing you can do together. It’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings and expectations. It can even open up a discussion about your family’s traditions and unspoken family rules. “This will set in place good communication habits for both of you about expectations (particularly around the holidays), regardless of whether the relationship becomes a fully committed one,” Sweitzer says.

As nice as it would be to spend the holidays with your partner, it’s important to consider if your relationship is actually ready for it first. If you feel like it’s the right time, talk to your partner. Having an open discussion with your partner can help you decide what’s best for your relationship this year.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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