Take 2 sisters, add 1 brother, stir in Christmas specials

blogDSCN8253When December, the month of merry-making, rolls around on the calendar, Christmas movies and specials also roll around on the TV guide.

Every Christmas season, our family delights in watching some of these specials that we’ve seen over and over again.

I can’t quite determine why those shows have a hold on us; there just seems to be some kind of spell-binding magic in watching them.

Somehow over the years, I’ve managed to cultivate tradition monsters in my three offspring.  Certain holiday rituals just cannot be trifled with, according to my adult children, and one is “the viewing of specific Christmas shows.”  Just the other day we discussed this topic and they were adamant that particular holiday specials must be watched at some point when all the birds fly back to the empty nest to celebrate.

A couple of those holiday morsels we must bear savor are television specials we taped on VHS when our children were young, including The Muppet Family Christmas and A Claymation Christmas Celebration, featuring the California Raisins (we’re talking back in the 80’s here).  It’s a wonder these tapes haven’t disintegrated from well-worn use and it’s also remarkable that we still have a working VCR in our home.

I tend to poke a bit of fun at my grown-up progeny for insisting we all watch these old and outdated shows (I forgot to mention Alf’s Special Christmas is another one!), but the truth of the matter is that hubby and I have our own favorite holiday movies from yesteryear that we love watching during this season too.

If Miracle on 34th Street is scheduled, we’ll watch.   Same goes for It’s a Wonderful Life and Holiday Inn.   But one of my all-time favorites is White Christmas.  My very grown-up sisters and I have been known to break into song when someone mentions “Sisters,” an Irving Berlin tune from that movie.

“All kinds of weather,

We stick together, the same in the rain or sun.

Two diff’rent faces,

But in tight places, we think and we act as one.”

Those who’ve seen us,

Know that not a thing could come between us.

Many men have tried to split us up but no one can.

Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister.

And Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man.”

My sisters and I are bound together very tightly, but as the youngest of the family, I know that on more than one occasion, I was a pain in the ….well, let’s say neck, especially when my sisters were teenagers and I was the pesky, little squirt who bothered them all the time.

My own kids had their fair share of squabbles growing up too.  They argued, yelled, bickered, screamed, and even tried to inflict bodily harm on one another (just ask oldest daughter and son and you will hear hair-raising stories, slightly embellished over the years).

I fretted that they would never, ever be able to get along with one another.  I worried that their disputes would continue into adulthood and they would not be able to stand the sight of one another.  I even recall actually telling them they needed to love, forgive and cling to their siblings because “Someday when you are all grown up, Dad and I will  be gone and you will need to rely on each other!”  (Scaring your children into getting along is probably not the best parenting tip!)

Something worked though because I’m glad and relieved to report all the worrying, fretting, stewing and agonizing was for nothing.  Even though there were times then when they wanted nothing more than to rid their lives of their siblings, now they are closer than ever.  Oh, they still don’t always see eye to eye; they have disagreements just like everyone else, but for the most part, they like spending time together and they do love, respect, appreciate and support one another.

While shopping recently, I noticed the Christmas tree ornament I’ve photographed here.  It made me laugh out loud because I could picture any one of my children in their younger days writing this sentiment to Santa Claus with either the word sister or brother inserted and hanging it on our decorated tree.

So something occurred to me today in my book entitled Opportunity, Chapter 12, Page 6.  Little did I know all those years ago that these three twenty-somethings would willingly nestle up together on the family room couch, gather around the TV, and  watch the Muppets, Alf, and the California Raisins celebrate Christmas, just like they did when they were little.

Who would have thought it?

“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring – quite often the hard way.”  ~Pamela Dugdale

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

10 responses

  1. “Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister.” Now that we have a son-in-law, we are so glad he has entered our fold. I love that line and so glad he doesn’t come between them. My husband knows when my sister calls, I’m not doing anything else for as long as our conversation takes place. Yes, “White Christmas” is on DVD at our home and we watch it every year. The only working VCR is at the farm, so all the vhs’s are there. We watch the girls’ Christmas performances when they sang with a youth performing group at Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, and at the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. Oh the memories! We were so busy then, but it was worth all the rehearsals and scheduling.
    My mother also, reminded us to build each other up because in the end family is who you have and who you are. This is a beautiful post, Mama, filled with love. You have one precious and lovely family. You must continue your signature paragraphs in 2012 in your book of opportunity. I love them. You always put everything in perspective.


    • Christmas is when we devote a bit of time to fond memories of Christmases past. But my heart goes out to those who don’t have lovely Christmas memories, who did not grow up in a loving, supportive family, who view Christmas as a depressing time of year. I want to remember to keep those less fortunate in my prayers and be especially grateful for the blessings our family has. Thank you for sharing some of your memories too and for your always kind and encouraging comments. I’ve been thinking about whether I will continue my signature “book of opportunity” for 2012 or find a new idea for the new year….I guess I’ll be deciding soon, won’t I? 😉


  2. What a great post – and ornament, and a wonderful family.

    Isn’t it funny how, even with DVDs, Netflix, Pay-per-view, and all the rest, there’s still something about watching movies scheduled on TV – like the excitement of yesteryear when my friends and I found out when The Wizard of Oz was going to be airing. My boys (22 and 19) also have their holiday favorites (Home Alone comes to mind) that we all watch together – or it isn’t Christmas.

    I love that quote about siblings, too. So true!


    • I know, AA! When I was young, I too would get so excited when the Wizard of Oz was shown on TV, usually around Thanksgiving. I guess no matter how young or old we are, we like our traditions. 🙂 The movie Elf is fast becoming another of our Christmas must-sees.


  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are the most blessed of women!! 🙂 This is a precious gift that we don’t take for granted.


  4. Great post! My son must be about the age of your children, because I remember all those holiday tv shows too. I know you’re proud of your children for growing up to love each other and get along so well!! (Cute ornament, too!)


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