Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chrismukkah

I'm a half-Jew, and although my family never went in for a combo holiday like the Cohens did—or like my friend Jamie, whose family celebrated Hanumas—December did mean double the holiday action, if not double the gifts.

First we would celebrate Hanukkah with my mom's family. My grandma would throw a giant party and invite all of my mom's cousins and their kids, and we'd have a gift exchange akin to a Not-So-Secret Maccabee.

[Note: I'm breaking my own rules here by including journal entries from way back in fourth grade too, but I think you'll thank me once you're knee-deep in the late '80s toy nostalgia and crazy Christmas injury drama.
]

11-19-87

Journal Topic:
A tradition I enjoy

I like going to my grandmother's house for Chanukkah. It's fun. My grandma
[gives] everyone a present. She tells us on her invitations who we are to give a gift to. My aunt and uncle give me a present, too.

When we eat there are big tables for all of the people. My grandma makes potato pancakes. Potato pancakes are just delicuous. She makes jello, too. I get stuffed.

Potato pancakes are delicuous!

We play board games. No one knows how to do the draydel, except maybe Joel. Sometimes we play hide-and-seek. Other times, Sammy chases us. Genie and I play with Courtney and sometimes her little sister, Laura.

I'm going to see Sammy next week, and I hope he doesn't chase me.

Then we have to go home. Everyone wants to stay and keep playing, the kids anyway. We have to go because gram and gramp need sleep and time to pick up wrapping paper.

Damn wrapping paper!

12/18/87
Journal Topic: Free Choice

On Hanukkah I got Mimi, the 'Hot Looks' doll I wanted. Mimi is a blond. Her hair is long and curly. She has blue eyes. She even has make-up on! She has 2 outfits you can mix-and-match with.

Had I joined the Hot Looks marketing team or something? Yet I neglected to mention the following very important facts: Mimi is a model, from France, and exclusively wears clothing that is either shiny or lacy.


What is going on in the outfit farthest to the left? Mimi looks like she swiped a pair of Muhammad Ali's fight trunks. And then paired it with a sweat band. And leopard print. And lace! Dear God!

You can find more Hot Looks photos than you ever needed to see
here.

The day after Christmas my favorite far-away-living cousin, Bonnie, is coming for a visit. Bonnie likes unicorns, so we bought her some.
Jimmy [Bonnie's brother] is coming, too. I forget what we bought him. We might go to Seaworld with them.

Bonnie was in high school and she had a unicorn collection. Win! Also, yes, there used to be a SeaWorld in Aurora, OH. And no, it is nowhere near any sort of sea. If you think a trip there in the dead of the Cleveland winter sounds like a recipe for frostbite, you're much smarter than anyone in my family.

On the 28th my grandma is taking my sister and me to the movie "Three Men and a Baby". I hear it's really good. I'm looking forward to it. We were going to see it on the 21st but there was a change of plans.

My grandma told me that she heard the baby liked
Tom Selleck the best, and I've had a soft spot for him ever since.

1-4-88
Journal Topic: Over the holiday

On Christmas my dad dropped a razor blade on my brother's foot. He was cutting the string off of some doll clothes for my sister. The razor blade slipped and my brother was right under him. He's okay now.

Utility knives, mmm, maybe not the best Christmas gifts. My parents probably should have taken my brother in for stitches, but they didn't want to ruin the holiday. He was 3
½ at the time and he cried and cried and cried and told everyone, "I don't ever want to have Christmas again!" Even after we let him have TWO hot chocolates.

I had a good holiday. I already wrote all my thank-you letters one night when I couldn't fall asleep. I wrote a whole lot of thank-you letters. I'm glad they're done.

My cousins, Bonnie and Jimmy came for a visit. Bonnie hasn't seen our house. We had her put blue lip-stick on.

My sister and I loved the shit out of that lipstick! I think it was leftover from one of our "punk rock" costumes.

We also went to Sea World with them my toes froze. My dad, my brother, Aunt Cindy, Bonnie, and I went to see the penguins when everyone else went ice-skating. We had fun.

"My toes froze" does not come remotely close to conveying how cold it was that day. So. Miserably. Cold.

Fifth grade's holidays were less bloody and more gifty:

9/19/98
ZAGGY TALES


We, meaning my sister and I, are writing a story called Zaggy Tales. It's about my grandmother, Maxine. She used to call herself Magazine. She was nicknamed ZAGGY.

My sister, Genie, and I are making this book, containing 6 stories. We are going to give it to my gramma for Hanukkah.

It's going to take a long time to finish ZAGGY TALES!

We have to:
Write the rough draft
Find a cover
Revise
Type final draft
Get photographs
Draw pictures
Bind book

I love how serious I was. Revisions? BINDING?! I'm pretty sure we just stuck it into a folder with brads.

12/9/88
Accomplished

We have finished ZAGGY TALES. It is typed, pictures glued, and bound. I can't wait till grandma sees it tonite at the Chanuka party

'BYE
SADA

I think I have a copy of Zaggy Tales back in Cleveland, where I happen to be heading next week. Let me know if you're interested in hearing Zaggy's actual tales. If I remember correctly, they involve Shirley Temple, fireplace implements, and general brattiness.

12/12/88
Hanukkah Party

At the Hanukkah Party I got a 'P'Jammer' which is an alarm clock and a radio with head phones, a Sylvanian family, and something else. Will
didn't come because he was sick.

My poor little brother, screwed two holiday seasons in a row!

But let's take a look at those presents, shall we?


The P'Jammer. So p'astel.
I think it matches the Hot Looks doll! And of course my Sylvanian family, the Wildwoods:


I had a rabbit collection. I know, I know, it's not nearly as cool as a unicorn collection.


The Sylvanian families had marketing material to rival the Hot Looks dolls. Like, check this out (not written by me, but by actual writing professionals):
Herb Wildwood loves to throw parties. He doesn't need a reason like someone's birthday or anniversary to invite all his family and friends around for a bit of a do!

Ginger Wildwood is a great hostess, famous for her legendary party food and especially for her spicy carrot and lettuce cake.

Rusty Wildwood is very, very musical. He can play most instruments well, but likes the trumpet and electric guitar best because they're loud and brash.

Hollie Wildwood is like her father and just loves parties, her favourite occasions being Christmas and New Year.

What. the. hell. Because all children dream of owning a party-planning rabbit named Herb?

12/16/88
!Christmas IS Coming!

So we got a Christmas [tree], wrapped Christmas presents (I've bought all mine already) and do Christmas-like things. EXAMPLE: We took out our Santa who plays songs, dings a bell, and is too loud*. We also put up our stocking. CHRISTMAS IS FUN!

*He is battery operated and there is no volume to use

I can't believe I found a picture of him! Keep in mind, however, that no picture can possibly capture his stilted shuffle or gratingly slurred version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." He was a little creepy. And we loved him desperately.

1/9/89
Winter Break

I got these for Christmas:

An Indians jacket, a nightshirt, a robe, a pair of slippers, a book-holder, a bookmark, a curio house, a camera, film, and some stuff in my stocking. Best of all, I got a OUIJA (wee-gee) BOARD! I got a stuffed monkey (TARZAN) too.

Check out that jacket:


Stylin'! My dad and sister had the same one so when we went out together, we were like triplets. Really, really cool triplets. And one of us had a beard.

The Ouija board, however, was the gift that kept on giving... giving really inaccurate predictions, that is. One time in ninth grade the "spirit" even claimed to be Michael Landon, but I wasn't buying it.


Over Winter Break, I:
Saw Twins. (It was stupid. There was no plot.)

Saw DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (It was good).

Sled down our stairs.

CLEANED (Yech!)

Started writing 3 good stories, and other things I don't remember.

I've deduced that those "good stories" were The Sabrina Story, In the History of the World (coming up next!), and My Diary (coming in the new year, I swear).

So happy holidays, everyone! Though I'm not officially celebrating Hanukkah this year, I do plan on eating bagels and going to the movies on Christmas. Both of my halves are psyched!

NEXT TIME: Christmas comes to Friendship, and it is surprisingly unobnoxious.

14 comments:

bzzzzgrrrl said...

This is excellent, and well worth breaking the rules for.
ZAGGY TALES, pleeeeeeeeeeeease?

Cory said...

I'm also from Northeast Ohio (I grew up in Mentor before moving about an hour south), and I've been to the SeaWorld in Aurora many times. Once, I had the misfortune of going in during the winter, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most miserable experiences of my entire life.

tenthingsinrandomorder said...

We had that same creepy Santa! Actually, we still have him, but one of his feet/boots fell off. He rings his bell and topples over now. Hee!

Deathycat said...

My grandmother had that Santa! She had him for years. He finally started making gurgling noises and his feet fell off.

And I think I had those bunnies, too, except they were light beige.

Cari said...

OMG! There is a P'Jammer at "my" room at my dad's and stepmom's (I'm grown-up and don't live there but it's still "my" room). I think it was my stepmom's from back when she was single. Though there is probably no reason a 35-year-old woman should have had one, except that it was the 80s. I'm so happy to see another P'Jammer! I had no idea it was some 80s phenomenon. :)

Sarah Von said...

Mimi is, quite possibly, the best doll ever. *I* want to be French and wear exclusively shiny clothing!

zanne said...

When I was younger, I wanted to go to Sea World so bad that I begged my parents to take me to the one in Ohio since it was closest (I live in the Chicago suburbs.) Unfortunately they still wouldn't take me, even though they admitted that Sea World was really fun. I finally went when I was in college, to the one in San Diego. Next month I am going to the one in Orlando. I can't wait! I love Sea World.

I am not Jewish, but my mom used to make potato pancakes during Hanukkah. They are good!

Oh wow--I know at least 3 people who have that alarm clock and STILL have it! Why didn't I have one?! I feel like I'm missing out. I did have some Sylvanian families though! I thought they were so cute.

carey said...

oh, i had forgotten about hot looks dolls! i think i wanted one that year, too, but did not get one. i did get an always sister in '88, and i think it was the best thing ever. i got a ouija board that year, too. and a monkees tape. it may have been the best *christmas* ever, come to think of it.

also, that santa claus will haunt my nightmares FOREVER.

Nancy said...

Wow, not that I'm jealous or anything but somehow the Hot Looks girls didn't make it across the atlantic to the UK, and yet party planning Herb and pals were all the rage.
I had such a big sylvanian family collection, I used to tow my hamster around in the horse and cart. I guess it could have been cute if he didn't repeatedly urinate all over it. And yet I just kept on towing.

Happy Holidays Sada! Thanks for the blog, it's been aces.

Colie said...

You have to ask? Of course i want to hear about Zaggy Tales!

Seconded by the way. This is definitely one of the funniest blogs that i read.

Merry Channukah! :-)

Sada said...

Whoa, those P'Jammers were built to last! Unlike poor amputee Santa.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - we had the SAME SANTA! The thing still works. They just don't make plastic, battery operating, bell ringing Santas like they used to.

Erin said...

Holy shit - my Hot Looks dolls are still in my basement! I have Elkie and Chelsea and I may just play with them this weekend...

Erin said...

I'm full of crap - I had Elkie and SHAWNA. My friend must have had Chelsea. She had everything.