The Plagued Parent

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Hunting Elusive and Exclusive Holiday Specials

Part of our Christmas holiday traditions always includes watching several movies and holiday specials: Christmas Vacation, Four Christmases, Fred Claus, Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph and of course Home Alone.

For a variety of reasons we only own Christmas Vacation and Charlie Brown, and we usually DVR Elf or some of the others. Problem is the networks, in their infinite Scrooge-ness typically show these specials earlier than we want to watch them since we tend to binge December 23, 24 and 25th.

Typically we have the same discussion before everyone snuggles all cozy on the couch with their cookies and snacks :

“We own the Grinch, right?”

“No.”

“I thought we did; are you sure?”

“We have it on VHS.”

“What’s VHS,” asks the child.

“Videotape for a VCR.”

“Do we even own a VCR,” again from the child.

“Nope.”

“So why do we still have the tapes?”

“Just in case.”

Meanwhile, each of us with separate universal remotes take turns sifting like archeologists through the desert of Verizon’s channel guide for the Grinch or Macaulay Culkin both of whom seem to have taken the holiday off.

“We can rent it from On Demand,” someone says before adding, “Oh, forget it we need to buy it.”

“How much?”

“$14.99.”

That’s about the time I have a stroke and go off on the myriad of ways you get Scrooged right around the holidays. It’s my own fault, I suppose for being a grinch days after Thanksgiving when CBS let Rudolph prance into everyone else fancy. Instead of tossing a tantrum, I could have set the DVR and we’d avoid my becoming unplugged. Better yet, I could just spend a few bucks and buy the damn DVDs.

No. I refuse!

Seriously though, would it kill the networks to rebroadcast the classics — Rudolph and the misfit toys; the Grinch and Max; Culkin, Pesci and the other nitwit — on or immediately parallel to actual Christmas? Would it kill the cable company to set aside an entire Christmas channel? If they have no pride and are willing to show the same episode of Property Brothers for the twentieth time, then I think they can certainly let Frosty thummpity thump thump his way into my living room when at my convenience.

Honestly, In order to watch Home Alone, I actually resorted to a 30-day trial of HBO. If you subscribe to HBO you have unfettered front row access to watch the towheaded little brat’s home invasion induced transformation. Seems kind of elitist to me. I hope this is the kind of thing President-elect Trump will deal with come January 21: drain the swamp, man; drain the swamp.

And that’s not the only special locked in some corporate lockbox. The Grinch lay in a similar grinchy prison thanks to NBC and HBO. Unless, that is, you spring him free with Amazon streaming for $9.99. I did in fact pay said ransom so he could spend Christmas eve, as usual, in our living room. “Well,” I reasoned, “now we own it and as long as I keep paying $99 a year, I’ll have access it in my Amazon Prime movies.”

Did I just say that?

Silently, I vowed to be more organized and next year I would efficiently employ the DVR that I pay Verizon $10 a month for in order to get these frigging holiday shows for free. Well, nearly free. After all Christmas comes without ribbons, it comes without tags, it comes without packages, boxes or bags. That is after you pay just shy of $200 for your cable, internet and phone.

Come Christmas morn, during the opening of stockings what to my wondering eyes did appear but a cellophane wrapped Will Ferrel in his bright elfin green gear. Yep, my wife in her infinite wisdom killed two birds with one stone by bringing joy to my stocking: my heart grew three sizes that day, and she made sure that’s one Christmas film we won’t have to hunt down next holiday season.

But as the guys chasing deer through the woods behind my house at midnight might ask: where’s the sport in that, son?

Where’s the sport indeed.

Updated: December 29, 2016 — 11:51 am

8 Comments

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  1. I’m always fascinated to read about the Christmas traditions of others. We keep ours very simple. Presently, we don’t have TV and not sure when we’ll reconsider our decision not to have one.
    I hope your family had a good holiday season and I wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year.

    1. Simple is better. And you’re better off without a TV. Happy New Year to you and your family as well Corinne. Thanks for reading.

  2. My fav is ‘call me Claus’ (Whoopie Goldberg). Seriously, why is this not on your list… you need it on your list. 😉

    Happy New Year x

    1. I am going to have to check that one out for sure. Thanks Kimmie. Happy New Year to you as well.

  3. “So why do we still have the tapes?”

    “Just in case.”

    Oh my goodness, I’m rolling! This is my life! I have this conversation with myself on a regular basis! (yes the voices can become annoying sometimes)

    1. Really, we have a drawer full of tapes and no VCR. What a mess especially when go round and round debating whether we’ve got a particular movie on DVD or VHS. Headache central. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you S.A.

  4. I have compulsory Christmas films I watch each year too! Home Alone as well (of course), Love Actually, A Christmas Carol, Santa Claus the Movie. I actually own them all (not on VHS, as that is nuts! 😉 ), for the same reason – they’re always on at some point over the period, but keeping track of when is a nightmare! I watch Christmas movies obsessively so I’ll watch a load of others, usually including Elf, too by catching when they’re on or looking on Netflix. Strangely, my toddlers grabbed my Christmas Carol this year & insisted they wanted to see it (it’s not Muppets or Jim Carrey or anything – it’s a real, follows the book one). I thought they might be scared (& wouldn’t get it), but said they could try. They love it! We’re still watching it on a bi-weekly basis at their request now. They call it the ‘Christmas ghosts film’ or the ‘naughty man film’.

    1. Each year at Christmas we see the play at a regional theater in Providence. Some seasons it is extremely dark, but those are the versions my daughter seems to remember best. Dickens knew his stuff, that’s for sure. I love how your kids processed the story, too.

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