Every year since I can remember, there were two holiday traditions during the Christmas season that became a ritual for me and my sisters. One was watching a movie and the other was collaborating in a musical group. One of my favorite holiday movies depicting how crazy and funny families can be during the Christmas season is, A Christmas Story . They would (and still do) play it for twenty-four hours.
I played in a mandolin group and sang in the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church choir during my childhood up until I graduated (on and off again) from my under-graduate studies. The church is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut (my place of birth) and puts up the best Nativity Scene in front of the alter during Christmas time. It was a tradition to play both masses; one at 7 p.m. and 12 p.m. Although it was a long night, this small group which later became an even larger group, made this tradition one I will never forget.
Thanks to Sonia Rodriguez for the Photo . I’m in the second row on the right of the picture. Sister number two is in the fourth row on the right and sister number three is in the front row on the left.
If you ever went to St. Mary’s, you would see Msgr. Bernelli conduct the mass and then walk over from the pulpit or alter and play the piano while we accompanied him with the mandolins. There are still women from the photo above that play during the Christmas mass and share their talent with their children.
Do I still have my mandolin? Yes, my mom has mine at her home. I have not played it in years but I am sure that I can belt out a tune or so. Do I have the white top and blue skirt? No way. (Laugh out Loud. Those of us who had to wear them know the agony we went through putting the uniform on.)
After the masses, it was on to tradition number two. I would sit in front of the T.V. on Christmas Eve with my pajamas, pillow, and blanket to see this movie marathon on TBS. When living all under the same roof, my sister’s and I would laugh throughout the entire movie saying word-for-word our favorite movie lines. We could watch it again and again. If you have never watched the movie, shame on you, but here is a little background about the characters and the premise of the movie.
For those of us who are fanatics, there is even a board game that comes with pieces including one in shape of the infamous leg lamp. Yes the lamp that the mother breaks on purpose. The lamp that was shipped in a box that said “Fra-Gee- Lay”. My mate knows that I am a huge fan and purchased it for me as a Christmas present. I have yet to play the board game because he has not really seen the movie.
If you are too lazy to read the IMDB link, the premise is about a boy who wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and how he goes about convincing the adults in his life from his mother, to teacher, to Santa Claus that he needs this particular gift. All the while you see the relationships between friends, brothers, and spouses come together to celebrate the holidays during the 1940’s.
I asked my friends their favorite lines from the movie and here is what they said:
Milta – “You’ll shoot your eye out” This is the line all the adults told Ralphie when he would tell them what he wanted for Christmas whether verbally or in a written theme.
Millie – “Fra-gee-lay” in reference to the arrival of the Major Award in form of a Leg Lamp decorated with a black lace stocking and a high heel that the Dad wins.
Rick – “Fudge” in reference to Ralphie cursing in front of his Dad after he lost all of the lug nuts in the snow from changing a flat tire.
It is great to go down memory lane and rehash childhood traditions. This year I will watch the movie when my daughter goes to sleep on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day start new traditions with her.
What holiday movies are you looking forward to seeing with your family?
Will you incorporate them as part of your holiday tradition?