Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
When we think back to what we may consider "The good old days," especially during the holiday season, no doubt there is a soundtrack to our memories. Whether it's singing "We Gather Together" for Thanksgiving, "Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah!" as a child or "Blessings on the Menorah," or "Happy, Happy Kwanzaa," or any of the myriad Christmas songs, holidays are a time for singing, and a time for TV specials.
Although you may not be able to go out for the holidays, anyone with a computer or smartphone can share the holiday spirit with loved ones around the screen. Here are some suggestions that might be found on YouTube, DVDs (check your library), and streaming services. Don't forget the holiday treats!
Bing Crosby has lent his gentle presence and smooth voice to many Christmas movies, one of which has the crooner singing "White Christmas," the world's best-sellng single at over 50 million copies. Look for White Christmas and Holiday Inn. Lawrence Welk, whose show began in 1951, can still be seen in syndication on local stations. A quick search on YouTube yields about a dozen videos of his Christmas specials and reunion shows. Pick a year that sounds good to you and settle with the family and celebrate with this much-loved entertainer.
Bob Hope was known for bringing Christmas to the world. He and his company of entertainers traveled to military hotspots at Christmas to entertain "his boys in uniform." TV sets around the nation lit up with his Christmas specials, covering the mid-60s through 1990. He attracted the biggest stars and the largest audiences for gala fun. Just search YouTube for "Bob Hope Christmas" to find a cornucopia of comedy.
If you've never enjoyed the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, search YouTube for Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song."
Remember the WPIX Yule Log? You can still find it (with sound!) on YouTube!
Chanukah (Hanukkah) doesn't get as much airplay as Christmas, but there are some TV episodes that children might enjoy. Marti Kerner, the "Everyday Jewish Mom," compiled a list of Hanukkah TV episodes for kids 2020 at everydayjewishmom.com. She provides links to where the shows can be watched or purchased, and includes descriptions of each show. Some are exclusively about Hanukkah and some include Christmas as well. As the Everyday Jewish Mom says, "Enjoy!"
Kwanzaa is a relatively little-understood celebration that occurs in December. Sesame Street featured a Kwanzaa celebration with brothers Tyler James and Tyrel Jackson Williams. The show features the lighting of the candles, playing of drums, and recitation of the seven principles of Kwanzaa in this clip: youtu.be/0kV-6qVp98Q.
Tyler later starred in the TV show, "Everybody Hates Chris," and one episode features him celebrating Kwanzaa in this brief clip: youtu.be/W5CxG-YpYeI.