For Christmas in 1997, my aunt Debbie hosted a party a few days after Christmas. Debbie had just
Sabrina, Megan and I had sleeping bag fights, something we picked up while at church camp. We pulled our sleeping bags over our heads so we looked like erect worms and pummeled into each other, trying to knock one another down. One person was usually referee to ensure we didn’t bump into any of Debbie’s expensive decorations.
Kelley and I talked about boys, namely my latest and most intense celebrity crush, Zac Hanson. While other girls my age were swooning over Nick Carter from The Backstreet Boys or Justin Timberlake from *NSync, I took the practical approach and chose someone nearer to my own age.
My cousin Derek, who is more than a decade older than me, crowned himself MVP of that year by getting me a gift, something the cousins didn’t generally do between each other because most of us were too young to have jobs. Not only did he buy us all gifts, he bought us each extremely awesome gifts, mine being both the Hanson Middle of Nowhere CD and the Hanson Snowed In CD.
If you’ve never been a teenaged girl, you might not understand my devotion to Hanson, but even after our raging girl hormones regulate themselves into stability, their emotional products remain forever. Therefore, my nostalgic passion rages on, less so for the youngest of the long-haired blonde trio than for the music that I blare year after year at Christmastime. That gift began a tradition; Hanson’s album is my number one choice for Christmas music.
Each Christmas while we dutifully carried the endless boxes of Christmas decorations up from the basement and into the living room, Hanson’s “Merry Christmas Baby” got us in the spirit of the season. While my dad worked on building the fake tree and stringing the lights, my sister, mom and I put the figural Santa and Mrs. Claus candles out, hung wreaths both outside and inside the front door, wound garland around the banister on the stairs, and hung our stockings on the landing. When my dad’s meticulousness took him more than an hour arranging the lights for the tree, my sister and I put the whole CD on again, this time dancing around the furniture and screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs outside on the porch, dancing with garland wrapped around our necks like feather boas.
Now that I’m married, my husband reluctantly consents to listening to Snowed In while we decorate our tree. What Elvis’ Christmas music was to my parents, Hanson’s is for me.
RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “Crazy Quilt Dragon”, Jump Jump and the Ice Queen “Sleepy Sim and the Wishing Star”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon “Gorgonzola the Horse”
MOVIE: How The Grinch Stole Christmas
My aunts Debbie and Sherry love the Grinch cartoon and they compete with each other good-naturedly about who has more Grinch stuff. At our sleepover at Debbie’s, we watched the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was never a huge part of my childhood.
That is why I love the movie version with Jim Carrey more. When the film came out, my extended family insisted we all go to see it, so we went when it was first released. The theater was packed; that’s the first time I remember being in a theater where the ushers requested there be no empty seats between us. We truly enjoyed the film, especially the back-story of the Grinch and why he was so bitter. It quickly made its way into Christmas tradition.
SONG: The whole Snowed In CD! I especially love “Merry Christmas Baby,” “What Christmas Means to Me,” and “Silent Night Medley,” but really, the entire thing is worthwhile, including the three original songs.
GIFT MEMORY: The same year I got my Hanson Christmas CD, my uncle Kajun (yes, his given name is Kajun, and he’s a musician) who is well known for his excellent taste when it comes to dressing his family, bought my sister, cousins, and I super-soft Boucle sweaters. We wore them to my aunt’s house one time. My mom is a casual kind of a person and never buys anything that requires any kind of special treatment outside of wash in machine on warm, dry on medium. She threw the sweaters into the machine, not thinking about the delicate fabric, and when she went to transfer them into the dryer, she came out with handfuls of yarn. They had completely come apart in the washer. At the time, we were really upset because we never got things that nice, and my mom was mortified and guilty that she had ruined our new gifts. Now though, we just laugh about it. They were beautiful while they lasted.