Tag: Christmas

The Year Santa Became Real

By the fall of 1986, my thoughts were starting to turn to the coming Christmas season, and anticipation was starting to build for the holiday. The hope of children isn’t easily pushed to the side, but back in those days, I would be lying if I said that Christmas didn’t feel a little lacking.

Admittedly, I personally never felt slighted on Christmas morning. Whatever was under the tree from Santa Claus always left a lasting impression on me, even if I sometimes felt the little internal tug of wanting a little bit more. But when I would return to school, and see and hear about all the cool things my friends and others had gotten for Christmas, I would get a little jealous.

I was a good kid. I never caused trouble at school, and I definitely knew better than to cause trouble at home. I did my chores and I ate my vegetables, so why did I seem to be farther down Santa’s Nice list than some of the other kids? “Jonathon pushed Samantha down and hurt her arm”, “why did he get a huge Lego set and I only got a trumpet?”. “Zach punched me in the arm all year…hard.” “Why did he get a cool G.I. Joe HISS Tank and all the Dreadnoks figures and I ended up with a set of cars?” Such are the worrisome wonderings and questions of a kid who is not aware of all the comings and goings of adulthood.

What I didn’t know or understand back then, and actually I’m still learning and gaining a greater perspective on now, is that times were very tough for my family in the early eighties. My Dad was a self-employed business man. He bought and sold new and used conveyor belts to coal mines, and as the coal business went, so did my family’s financial well-being.

1983 was a very tough year. My Grandfather’s alcohol addiction was in the last stages of consuming his life, and my Dad spent more time helping my Grandmother, both emotionally AND financially, than he did on the business. The first week of December, my Grandfather passed away. Christmas was lean due to dealing with the emotional struggles of losing someone close, and the fact that so much time had been spent away from the business.

1984 came along, and so did the large-scale United Mine Workers of America strike in West Virginia…..primarily against the A.T. Massey Coal Companies and subsidiaries. West Virginia was always the bread basket of my Dad’s business. When strikes occurred, it crippled his business and our financial well-being for quite some time, and unfortunately, this strike would not be over quickly.

1985 came, and the strike was still on. It wasn’t resolved until late in the year. Too late for lost income to be made up. Several straight years of lean and underwhelming visits from Santa Claus was wearing on my faith in the man.

But then came 1986. The strike had been resolved, and with the mines back in full-time operation, orders poured in from all sides. It was a VERY good year. Not so coincidentally, Santa seemed to fill his sleigh completely just for my family. I guess he was making up for lost time.

Continue reading “The Year Santa Became Real”

Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Christmas Gift Guide

As a true retro lover perpetually stuck in the 80’s and 90’s, sometimes it’s easier for me to spot awesome retro gifts than say you’re average joe or millennials.  What if someone from the current generation wanted to get their Pop something cool from Christmas to remind them of their childhood?  Would they have any clue what he would like?  Or what if you’re like me, and want to get something for someone who isn’t as retro as we are?  Would you know what is out there to be had?  Well have no fear, because the Retro Rambler is here!

I’ve scoured the ‘net to find the gifts that all retro lovers will love, and taken a lot of guess work out of the gift buying process for you.  We’ve put together a list of 25 gifts that are retro through and through, so take a look and find that perfect gift for someone in your life.

We’ve added links to all these products to their Amazon page.  If you see something that you’re going to buy, we ask that you use our link here.  It will help the site as we get a small cut for sending traffic their way.  It don’t add anything to your cost, and you would be helping the site here stay afloat.  With that all said, let’s take a look at this years top gifts for the retro lover.

 

Rubiks Cube

01.  Rubik’s Cube

Does it get any more 80’s than the Rubik’s cube?  This thing was everywhere throughout the decade, and if you were alive back then, you probably had one in your hands at some point.  This would make a great gift for anyone, as it will test their skill and patience trying to solve it.

Get Rubik’s Cube at Amazon for $11.59

 

Simon

02:  Simon

The classic 80’s game of quick action, memory, and recall is back and has a sleek new look and improved performance; it’s surprisingly addictive.

Get Simon at Amazon for $24.02

 

Lego

03:  Lego Classic Brick Box

Lego’s were one of the top toys of the 80’s and 90’s, and still are today.  You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them, as anyone can have fun making and building things with them.  These boxes include a wide range of Lego bricks in 35 different colors so your imagination can run wild.

Get the Lego Classic Brick Box on Amazon for $27.99

 

Lego Ideas Book

04:  Lego Ideas Book

If you’re thinking of getting the Lego’s Classic Brick Box, or if you already have a bunch of Legos on hand, then you’ll want to pick up this Lego Ideas Book.  It’s got details on how to build all sorts of stuff, and no matter what you have in mind, you’ll probably find an idea that works in this book.

Get the Lego Idea Book on Amazon for $17.86

Continue reading “Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017”

Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017

25 Days of Christmas

Once again, Freeform is back with their 25 Days of Christmas programming, and here is their complete schedule for this year.  Once again, it’s loaded with plenty of old school cartoons and movies, so have a great “retro” time watching these and getting ready for Christmas.

Friday, December 1
7:30 – 9:30 a.m. EST – ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – RICHIE RICH’S CHRISTMAS WISH
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – JACK FROST
2:00 – 3:35 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
3:35 – 4:35 p.m. – THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS
4:35 – 7:05 p.m. – WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
7:05 – 9:15 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
9:15 – 11:25 p.m. – ELF
11:25 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
1:30 – 2:00 a.m. – FROSTY’S WINTER WONDERLAND

Saturday, December 2
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. EST – RICHIE RICH’S CHRISTMAS WISH
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. – MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
9:30 – 11:00 a.m. – MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS
1:05 – 3:10 p.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
3:10 – 4:50 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
4:50 – 7:00 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
7:00 – 9:10 p.m. – ELF
9:10 – 11:50 p.m. – DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (LIVE ACTION)
11:50 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS

Sunday, December 3
7:00 – 7:30 a.m. EST – MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
7:30 – 9:00 a.m. – MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS
9:00 -11:05 a.m. – A DENNIS THE MENACE CHRISTMAS
11:05 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. – SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
2:15 – 3:55 p.m. – TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
3:55 – 6:05 p.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS
6:05 – 8:45 p.m. – DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (LIVE ACTION)8:45 – 10:50 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE
10:50 p.m. – 12:55 a.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

Monday, December 4
7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – MICKEY’S TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. – ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
2:30 – 4:35 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE
4:35 p.m. – 6:40 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE
6:40 – 8:50 p.m. – ELF
8:50 – 11:00 p.m. – NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
12:00 – 2:00 a.m. – FOUR CHRISTMASES

Continue reading “Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017”

How Major Retailers Changed When We Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

In the early part of the 20th century, American retailers were up against a unique challenge.  Falling at the end of November, Thanksgiving, with it’s football rivalries, quiet family gatherings, and emphasis on gratitude rather than wanting was antithetical to the whole commercial ideal.  Yet such a major holiday, and one so thoroughly American, could hardly be bumped aside.  The solution was to Christmas-ize Thanksgiving, and make it the official start to the shopping season.

Gimbels

In 1920, Gimbel’s department store in New York organized the first Thanksgiving parade, the highlight of which was a fireman hired to dress as Santa Claus.  Other stores around the nation quickly followed up on this idea themselves.  In Detroit, Hudson’s started the Santa’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, and that same year, back in New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got it’s start.  With Santa arriving in the very last float, Christmas – and the shopping season – was officially underway.  Since many people had the next day off, store owners made the Friday after Thanksgiving a sort of national shopping day, with special sales, special hours, and special attractions to lure in customers.  In most American cities, the Friday after Thanksgiving became the day when downtown shopping districts turned on their holiday lights and stores unveiled their Christmas windows.

So important did the intense, month-long burst of Christmas related shopping become to the national economic well-being, that, in 1939, when Thanksgiving fell on the last day of a five-Thursdayed November, Federated Department Stores protested the shortened shopping season.  President Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week, thus adding six days to the shopping season.  In 1941, Congress passed a bill officially moving Thanksgiving from the “last Thursday” of November to the “fourth Thursday”, ensuring that there would always be a maximum number of shopping days.


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MeTV to Air Christmas Episodes of Classic Shows Every Sunday

It’s my favorite time of year!  The time leading up to the Christmas holiday is full of Christmas movies and TV episodes in my house, and MeTV is making that a little easier this year with their A Very Merry MeTV starting this Sunday.  For the next seven weeks, MeTV is presenting three hours of Christmas themed episodes every Sunday afternoon.  Check out the schedule below to find when your old forgotten favorite will be on.

Sunday, November 12

The Facts of Life “The Christmas Show” 2PM | 1C

The Facts of Life “Christmas in the Big House” 2:30PM | 1:30C

Mama’s Family “Santa Mama” 3PM | 2C

Mama’s Family “Mama Gets Goosed” 3:30PM | 2:30C

The Lucy Show “Together for Christmas” 4PM | 3C

The Lucy Show “Lucy the Choirmaster” 4:30PM | 3:30C

Sunday, November 19

The Facts of Life “Christmas Baby” 2PM | 1C

The Facts of Life “Pre-Christmas Card” 2:30PM | 1:30C

Saved by the Bell “A Thanksgiving Story” 3PM | 2C

Mama’s Family “An Ill Wind” 3:30PM | 2:30C

Happy Days “The First Thanksgiving” 4PM | 3C

Cheers “Ill-Gotten Gaines” 4:30PM | 3:30C

Continue reading “MeTV to Air Christmas Episodes of Classic Shows Every Sunday”

Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Now that we’re past Halloween, it’s time to start turning our attention to Christmas!  I know to some it may be early, but ever since I was a kid, you always had to get an early start on the Christmas season.  That’s because back then, the annual Sears Christmas Wish Book would arrive in the mail in mid-October.  I’d spend days on end pouring over all of that years offerings and circling all the cool stuff I wanted.

So in that grand tradition, let’s take a trip back in time to 1986 and re-visit the pages of that years Wish Book, and make a list of all the cool stuff I would have liked to receive that holiday season!


sears-1

What better way to stay warm in the coming winter than with a sweater showing your support for your favorite NFL football team?  I imagine these looked nice back in their day, but I can also see the word “tacky” written all over them in the mid-90’s.  But these days, they have a cool retro look and I would happily parade around town sporting one of these.  Add this to my list this year honey.  Let me get a 49ers one in XL.

As for whats available these days, I kind of dig these intentionally ugly NFL team sweaters.

 

sears-2

Boy, did my parents ever regret getting me a drum set like this.  For probably 12 solid hours after getting it for Christmas, I banged away on it.  But unfortunately for me, the quality of the drum faces were just thick paper, and I busted all of them within two days of getting the set for Christmas.  Honey, add this to the list as well so I can relive those glory days.

Continue reading “Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Christmas Wish Book”