Christmas Is Expensive
On the first day of Christmas, I sent my true love a partridge in a pear tree. It cost me $220.13.
That’s up 0.1 percent from last year, according to this annual price index from PNC Financial Services Group. Six geese a-laying with set you back $390, while eight maids a-milking are a bargain at only $58. Ten lords a-leaping will cost you $10,000, though I really don’t know how they figure that one out.
If you buy all of the gifts, the total price is $170,609.46.
I wouldn’t suggest giving your true love these gifts, even if you have the money. She may have a problem with them. Especially those nine ladies dancing.
America’s Favorite Christmas Movie Is …
I don’t consider Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas to be “movies.” I consider them TV specials. They may last 30 minutes or even 60, but they’re not “movies.” But that’s the term used by many people including The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult, who polled 2,200 adults and asked them about their favorite Christmas movie. The winner was Rudolph, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas, the original animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Home Alone. See? Mixing animated TV specials with full-length feature films.
It was an extensive survey, and they asked about a lot of different movies and specials, though they didn’t specify which A Christmas Carol they were talking about (there are approximately 37,000 film versions). They were also asked about Die Hard, which has been the subject of a big “is it a Christmas movie?” debate online the past several years. 8 percent of respondents had never heard of It’s a Wonderful Life and 8 percent had never heard of Miracle on 34th Street.
Last year I discovered a holiday movie that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s a 1949 “Christmas noir” titled Cover Up, starring Dennis O’Keefe, William Bendix, and Barbara Britton. O’Keefe plays an insurance investigator who goes to a small town and finds out that a supposed suicide victim was actually murdered. Okay, it’s not “chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” but it’s a nicer holiday film than it sounds, and has an ending you won’t see coming.
I’m not saying it will become your favorite Christmas movie, but it’s a good one.
They Really Can’t Play (Baby, It’s Cold Outside)
It’s Got to Go Away (Baby, It’s Cold Outside)
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a beloved Christmas/winter song that has been around since 1944, written by Frank Loesser. Do you enjoy it? Apparently you’re evil.
A radio station in Cleveland, WDOK, has banned the song after complaints from listeners about the lyrics. Other stations are beginning to follow suit after phone calls and social media posts. Some people think that the song condones sexual harassment, or even worse, rape, and shouldn’t be played in this new #MeToo world. Canada’s CBC, which has also banned the song, says “Song lyrics are always open to interpretation, and we fully acknowledge there are two camps regarding this issue.”
Yes, there are two camps:
- the ones who see nothing wrong with the song and are right
- everyone else
I’m actually sitting here with my fingers hovering above my keyboard because I don’t even know how to respond to this. Really, what can you say? I’d said the complaints are doltish, but that’s an insult to good dolts everywhere. The song was written in 1944, showing a fun conversation song between a man and a woman, and the lyrics are constantly misinterpreted. Here’s some background on the words and here are some thoughts from comedian and writer Jen Kirkman.
The line “Say, what’s in this drink?” isn’t about what you think it’s about. Again, the song was written in 1944 (and happens to be really clever). If you really do read the lyrics, you’ll see they’re actually pro-independent woman. It’s almost as if we’ve run out of things to be mad about in 2018. It’s exhausting. I’m surprised no one has complained that the woman in the song (are you ready?) SMOKES A CIGARETTE!
Of course, if you’re going to remain morally pure and avoid the song, that means you can’t watch the Will Ferrell Christmas comedy Elf, because one charming scene features a duet between Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel (maybe they can edit that scene out of future airings). You can’t watch all of the TV show episodes that feature the song, and you can’t listen to the versions by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams or Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting or even Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, where the roles are reversed. Because that would mean you condone abuse and you hate women and you’re pretty much a bad person.
While we’re at it, we also need to ban “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” because it has bullying from other reindeer, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” because it’s too religious, and “Jingle Bells,” featuring rides in an open sleigh, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed unsafe. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” needs to go away too because an old man who watches you sleep is beyond creepy.
Let’s also get rid of “White Christmas” because … well, you know.
Just to irk people, here’s my favorite version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” by Dean Martin.
All the Answers
In last week’s round-up of books you might want to give as Christmas gifts, I neglected to mention the one I’m reading right now by comic artist Michael Kupperman, titled All the Answers. It’s a graphic memoir about the life of Kupperman’s father Joel, one of the original panelists on the popular TV and radio game show Quiz Kids, and how his life was forever changed by being on it. It’s not only a great look at mid-century American pop culture, it’s a really fascinating study of a child’s quest to know his father (and himself).
Here’s an episode of the show that features Joel Kupperman, plus an appearance by Milton Berle.
RIP George H.W. Bush, Ken Berry, Philip Bosco, Michele Carey, Wright King, and Pete Shelley
You’ve probably heard and read many of the tributes to George Herbert Walker Bush, our 41st president, who died last week at the age of 94. But here’s an interesting piece of information from The Washington Post. This was the first time one U.S. president stood before the casket of another president who was also his father.
Ken Berry is remembered for his roles on the sitcoms F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D., and Mama’s Family. He died last Saturday at the age of 85.
Philip Bosco was a veteran actor who appeared in such movies as Working Girl, Three Men and a Baby, Trading Places, and Wonder Boys, plus tons of TV shows, including Law and Order: SVU, The Equalizer, Ed, and Damages. He also received six Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, winning one. He died Monday at the age of 88.
Michele Carey was an actress who appeared in movies like El Dorado with John Wayne and Live a Little, Love a Little with Elvis Presley, as well as many TV shows. She died last month at the age of 75.
Wright King was in such movies as A Streetcar Named Desire and Planet of the Apes. He also appeared on such TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Wanted: Dead of Alive, The Gabby Hayes Show, Johnny Jupiter, and Captain Video and His Video Rangers. He died in November at the age of 95.
Pete Shelley was the lead singer and guitarist for the iconic ’70s punk band The Buzzcocks. He died yesterday at the age of 63.
Picture of the Week
George H.W. Bush, Yale baseball captain, with Babe Ruth, June 1948: pic.twitter.com/EQ1wv4R9UM
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 1, 2018
This Week in History
Burger King Opens (December 4, 1954)
The fast food chain was originally called Insta-Burger King (which referred to the type of broiler used to make the burgers) when it opened in 1953. The first location under the Burger King name opened in Miami in 1954.
By the way, from now until Tuesday, you can go to Burger King and get a Whopper for a penny … but there’s a catch.
Ships Collide in Halifax, Nova Scotia (December 6, 1917)
The collision between the SS Mont-Blanc, a French munitions carrier, and the SS Imo, a Norwegian vessel, was so powerful that it killed 2,000 people, injured another 9,000, and destroyed the Richmond area of Halifax.
Nova Scotia is still so thankful to the state of Massachusetts for the assistance it provided during the disaster that the Christmas tree placed on Boston Common each year is one donated by Nova Scotia.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Hiding the Presents (December 7, 1957)
I’m really proud to say that even though I knew exactly where my mom hid the Christmas presents every year (the dark closet in that weird den we had), I never looked for them because I wanted to be surprised. Okay, there was that one year when I hoped she was getting me that electronic baseball game I wanted, but except for that one time, I never looked.
National Eggnog Month
It makes sense that December is National Eggnog Month. And you may be thinking: How many different ways could there possibly be to make it?
Well, you could make it with some light rum or with bourbon. You can also make it with no alcohol at all, and it probably tastes better than the store-bought stuff. There’s also a version you can make in just a few minutes with melted vanilla ice cream. You could even make an Eggnog Pie.
Someday someone is going to decide once and for all if it’s eggnog or egg nog.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Poinsettia Day (December 12)
Believe it or not, poinsettias are actually named for the man who discovered the plant in Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett. Okay, I guess it’s not that hard to believe.
National Free Shipping Day (December 14)
This is the day a lot of companies provide free shipping on orders, and there’s a website that shows you all of the good deals you’ll find, with coupons and discount codes.
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now