Your picture of the holidays has a lot to do with the peak times of your life. Here at Home Care Assistance Omaha, we have seniors whose favorite holiday memories span the 1960s to the 1990s. If you wonder how celebrations of traditions as old as Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza could really be that different, what follows may surprise and delight you, especially as your own memories come back.
The Sixties were swinging indeed with:
Comedian and crooner Bob Hope entertained our men and women in the Armed Forces. Julia Child was our celebrity chef of the era and her green kitchen was familiar to many. Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” flowed smoothly from “hi-fi” sets. Children everywhere were the first generation to be enthralled by stop-animation Christmas specials, such as “Rudolph” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Moviegoers watched “Babes in Toyland.” Christmas trees were flocked and sheltered favorite toys of mine and my bother’s: Hot Wheelsand an Easy Bake Oven.
The Shocking Seventies:
Do you remember Polaroid photos shooting out of cameras and developing as you watched? What about listening to “Jackson 5 Christmas” on the 8-track player?Whole families watched The Waltons’ “The Homecoming.” “Scrooge” haunted movie screens with veteran actors Albert Finney and Alec Guiness. Gifts rocketed into the future with Atari 2600, Wonder Woman dolls, Legos, and Pet Rocks.
The Decadent Eighties also had a nature trend:
Families cut their own Christmas trees down. Honey baked hams were a fashionable holiday meal. Cassettes held music and music helped others, as in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid. We watched “Roots” on television and forever changed the way we thought about a legendupon hearing Johnny Carson’s fruitcake jokes. The movie “Scrooged” played in theaters. Children’s toys continued to evolve and revolve—Transformers and Rubik’s Cube were the must haves.
The Cold Corporate Nineties witnessed even more evolution in the holidays:
People began to say, “Happy Holidays,” to be more inclusive of other traditions. “New” food appeared on the holiday table, too, in the form of an organic, free range turkey. The CD player rendered music sharp and clear and the season was graced by smooth sounds of Celine Dion, “These Are Special Times.” Holiday TV specials by the Seinfeld crew and Elmo delighted both adults and small children. We watched in horror and delight as Kevin McAllister defied the odds and fought off burglars in “Home Alone.” Beanie Babies and Pokémon brought unique newness to the gift scene.
What will future generations look back and remember? No idea. I know I will always miss the Hot Wheels tracks snaking though the basement and up and down stairs.
Inspired by an article on holiday memories in AARP.