The Holiday Child Extravaganza

There exists a videotape of Christmas 1982 that may be the single most embarrassing, incriminating thing on the face of the Earth.

My parents had set the video camera up waiting for us to come down for Christmas morning, and the entire unwrapping event has been preserved through the years to be sure that we never try and put them in a nursing home. This video shows the year I got the Barbie Dream House, a complex, do-it-yourself mansion of plastic parts that my father had apparently spent the entire night putting together before getting about 7 minutes of sleep before we tore into their room to see if Santa had come.

In this video, Julie's 3-year old chain-smokers voice can be heard asking for Pep Pep, her beloved toy whale. Jackie, 1 1/2 is stumbling around in her footy pajamas about to be knocked over by the frisky Newfoundland puppy at any second. I, on the other hand, am calmly sitting there with my disheveled hair authoritatively telling everyone exactly what I think they should be doing at every moment in time. I instruct Julie that she has to share things with me, but I get to decide if I have to share things with her. Oy. I am evil!

When we watched this video when Jessica was young, she was devastated. "Where am I? Why didn't you guys let me be in the movie!" And we were all "Jess, this was before you were born..." and she burst into tears. "But why didn't you guys let me be in the movie!" No concept of "pre-me" with that one at the time. Now, I think she's grateful that the videotaping Christmas era pre-dated her existence.

Next up on the X-mas Embarrass-a-thon came the Holiday Child Extravaganza, a holiday beauty pageant cooked up by my grandmother and aunt who made us sing, dance and do interviews on camera. It was the 80s. There's a lot of awful clothing and feathered hair.

I can't actually bring myself to reveal more about it. Suffice it to say that you, dear reader, are very happy to have missed out on participating in the Holiday Child Extravaganza and if I hear you ever do that to your own children I will help them put you in a nursing home when the time comes. Oh yes.

This Christmas, there will be no videotapes. We will instead sip cocktails as my dad is on a fancy fruity martini kick, and on Christmas morning no one will run down the stairs like a bat out of hell to see if Santa came. Now it's more of a "Go get your sister up it's almost 10" kind of event. No dive into piles of presents all lovingly wrapped and then thanklessly torn to shreds. Now there's coffee to be made, teeth to be brushed, dogs to be fed. Then we can gather around the fireplace next to the tree and exchange the things we got for each other.

When I was 5, I got the Barbie Dream House. This year, what I really want is a... Microwave.


Fahmi said…
We have a similar video, also shot on Christmas Eve in 1988. It's a pageant of my "crowd" (cousins and siblings) - musical performances, dancing, comedy, magic tricks, and the most important of all: a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It has become the prerequisite viewing for all fiance/fiancees before the wedding. Lots of laughing and cringing, it's great.

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