The 80s Child Thinks of Christmas: Movies on Betamax and VHS Tapes

Nostalgia time!  Let’s face it, I’m a product of the 80s.  I was actually born in the mid 70s, but my main frame of reference comes from the 80s.   Now that it’s Christmastime, I’ve been thinking of all of the different movies that we used to watch in our house every year.  We didn’t have fancy DVDs or even owned most of the vhs tapes that we coveted every year back then.  We taped everything off of the TV, because that’s what you did in those days!  And then we watched them over and over and over…

We started out with a betamax player when I was very young.  Does anyone remember those?  The tapes were like a vhs tape but smaller.  My Mom swore that the picture on those was much better than on the VHS.  I don’t really remember enough to be able to compare the two.  Eventually, the betamax tapes and players became impossible to find, and VHS reigned king.

You are a true 80s child if you had a betamax player.

You are a true 80s child if you had a betamax player.

If you were a child in the 80s, you probably remembered how some of the tapes you put those movies and shows that you loved got very worn after awhile. Some were worn because they were recorded on so many times.  Others were just watched to death!  Sometimes there were lines going through the images, or the tracking wouldn’t be quite right so that the picture or the sound was distorted.  Occasionally a tape got eaten by the vcr-a heartbreaking experience!

We still have many VHS tapes in our house.  We only have a handful of ones that were recorded off the TV.  The rest are ones we have collected over the years.  We recently buried our VCR, but my dad was able to come up with another one, and we are thrilled.  The picture quality may not be as great as DVDs, but for most of the ones we have that’s quite all right.  We have acquired a lot of movies from what we refer to as “The Cheap Santa”.  I’m going to withhold information about this until later this week, because I want to make you wonder what it is!!!!

I got off track a bit.  We’re talking about Christmas, Christmas movies!

In our house it was truly Christmas time when we could start watching all of our faves.  We had quite a list.  Most were taped lovingly onto one tape by my mother so we could watch them uninterrupted.  I’m not sure if I’m recalling this correctly, but my mother made a tape of these movies for my sister, and took out all of the commercials.  My sister asked her to please retape and put them back in, because that was the best part.  Yes it was!  The classics, not just the movies, but also the commercials.

I bet you’re wondering what movies we watched as kids so you can compare?  I bet some are the same ones you grew up with, others may be a bit different!

First, the king of the Christmas specials:  A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Of all the Charlie Browns in the World, you're the Charlie Browniest.

Of all the Charlie Browns in the World, you’re the Charlie Browniest.

Who hasn’t seen this holiday classic?  I remember back before we had a VCR getting very excited waiting for this special to come on!  I know that you either love this one or hate it.  I happen to love it.  I love that my kids asked for that one first when we decided it was time to start watching Christmas videos.  I realize this one is from way before the 80s, but it’s always been the family favorite!

#2:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

You're a mean one...

You’re a mean one…

I know that a lot of people tend to think about the live action remake.  No, I’m sorry, it’s not the same!  I thought everyone knew about the original and the classic song from it, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch”.  Not so much.  When I was working at the mall when my son was little, that particular song came on the loudspeaker in our store.  The teenybopper who was working with me squealed “OMG!  That is just the WEIRDEST song I have EVER heard!”

#3:  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  The stop motion movies are the bomb!

Princess Christmas loves this movie-especially when Rudolph and Clarice are little.

Princess Christmas loves this movie-especially when Rudolph and Clarice are little.

Here are some of my sister’s and my other favorites from when we were kids:

First up, Garfield Christmas:

We still refer to this movie constantly, particularly this scene. “Ooooooooo…”

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land.  They actually had this one on one of the cartoon channels last year.

Would my kids even get this one?

This was such a neat one:   Ziggy’s Gift.

One of the sweetest Christmas specials ever.

Anyone who was a fan of the Muppets and was a child of the 80s probably knows about Emmett Otter’s JugBand Christmas

There ain't no hole in the washtub!

There ain’t no hole in the washtub!

And then there is the favorite that came about when we got older.  We still watch it every year, usually at my parent’s house.  Not exactly a kids movie, but still my very favorite version of A Christmas Carol.  Here is the best Ghost of Christmas Present EVER!  (I couldn’t get the link to show up as an image, click on the link below the picture to see the clip from the movie).

scrooged-1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak1dPU8uXiE

Now obviously I can’t really show that movie, Scrooged, to my kids until they get much older.  I’ll be watching it yet this week after they go to bed.

Now that I’m an adult I still watch those movies every year, all but the last one with my kids. As adults, we’ve also added a few to the list, which are not on videotape.  We actually own them on DVD!  First off we have Elf, of course, because that movie just makes me smile.  A Christmas Story, which is among the most quoted movies in our household.  And The Santa Clause-it takes a lot for a movie to make me cry, but this one really touched me, just the magic of still believing in Christmas.  My husband loves National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I like it but not like he does!

I know that I have people that are a variety of ages that read my blog.  What movies did you grow up on?  Do you have a very favorite (or several)?  I’d love to know what movies you watched as a kid!  Are there newer ones that you like as an adult?

TSBWG Exclusive Guide to Getting Ready for the Holidays

Some Christmas trees will just stand there and stare at you if you don’t decorate them in a timely manner. This is kind of creepy.

I lied to all of my readers.  I said we always decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  As it turned out, we got busy doing other things and did not get around to it.  However, Saturday morning rolled around and it was obviously time to prepare for another holiday.  Time to decorate!  Princess Christmas made sure that Evil Genius was aware that it was time to set up the tree.  She marched upstairs, went into the bedroom where he had just awakened (because we are very nice to him and let him sleep sometimes) and informed him that he needed to “Go downstairs and get the Christmas!”

In our house there is a certain way that you need to prepare for the upcoming holiday.  It’s very important to follow the steps.  I thought I’d publish this very important guide to getting ready.  You know, just in case you need some guidance.  As you read this, just imagine you’re hearing a little four year old voice saying “Let the Christmas Tree decorating COMMENCE!” (She really did say that…)

 

 

 

1)  Getting Started:  Say the words “Christmas”.  That’s all you have to do.  When you have little kids and you say the word, it causes planets to align and sets everything in to motion.

 

Christmas!

2)  Decide where the tree is going to go this year.  If your house is like ours this changes from year to year.  Make sure that you choose the most inconvenient location in the house.  This year Evil Genius chose to put it in the living room.  This is fine, but we had to move a half dozen pieces of furniture that we don’t have any place for.  That’s ok, do we really need to get out our front door or go into the adjoining room?  Nah.

3) Bring the tree and decorations up out of the basement, or wherever you store them.  Try not to kill yourself doing so.  If you’re one of those people who isn’t deathly allergic to pine like I am (my eyes swell shut and everything) then go chop down a tree.  THEN try not to kill yourself bringing decorations out.

4) Inspect containers for stowaways.  Last year I went down to the basement to get the wreath hanger.  I opened up one of the Christmas containers, and a little mouse peeked out through the Christmas lights at me, as if to say “HEY I’m SLEEPING in here!”  I made my husband go through the container looking for mousies after the fact.  He didn’t find any, but he did throw something small and mouse sized at me and made me FREAK OUT!

It was not this cute.

5)  Restrain the four year old.  Duct tape works well.  If you don’t, every decoration that you own will be taken out and inspected, and then left on the floor.

6)  Put up the tree.  Realize you put it together wrong.  Undo.  Redo correctly.

7)  Put the lights on the tree.  See how many bulbs are burnt out.  Take the lights back off.  Replace with lights that work.  Our lights would not light up on one side.  The Grinch would have had a perfectly good reason to steal our tree.

He could have so taken our tree. Then we fixed it.

8)  Decorate.  We start with “the big necklace” (which normal people refer to as the garland).  Then add the ornaments.  Half will be dropped.  Some will be broken.  There will be yelling.  This year at one point Princess Christmas tried to hang just hooks on the tree.  No ornaments on them.  Because they were there, of course.

This one turned out pretty sweet. The picture, I mean. She’s pretty sweet too sometimes.

9)  Take pictures of the decorating.  Because you can.  I took 57 pictures and had not one shot that I would consider Christmas card material.  Yet.  My children will be forced to pose for at least 28 more times before I let them off the hook.  I AM GOING TO GET GOOD CHRISTMAS CARD PICTURES THIS YEAR IF IT KILLS ME!  I can’t order a card with different shots on it from Target this year.  I can’t afford it.  I must make them myself.

10)  Booby trap the area.  Do this so that no one can actually approach the tree and contaminate it.  Use ornaments, hooks, and decorations.

11) Rearrange The kids do this to the ornaments about every 36 minutes or so.

12) Turn off the overhead lights.   Stand back and admire your tree.  Remember what the room looked like in the light, because for the next month you will not be allowed to turn on any lights in there except for the ones on the tree.  Your children may or may not have vision problems as a direct result of sitting in front of the tree and staring at it.

Ooooooooooooooooooo….

13)  Now, go decorate the rest of the house.  Like that matters!  The tree is up, my kids care about nothing else except that and the stockings!  Spend the rest of the weekend on Pinterest, trying to find ideas to accomplish this feat.  I’m trying to find ideas to make a wreath.  I’m thinking shiny and noisy-jingle bells and Christmas balls.  Stay tuned.