Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holidaze Christmas Ornaments

Much like the Halloween phase of The Holidaze, work has me stored away in a hotel room for an unspecified amount of time.  That means I'm only home on the weekends and it will put a big dent in my Christmas celebration.  BUT, unlike last time, I'm not in NY but in Pennsauken, NJ.  Never heard of it?  Neither did I and I'm from New Jersey!  But I'm about 5 minutes outside of Philadelphia and, thankfully, I have free wi-fi that is fast enough to let me post from my room.  Now that dent isn't as big as I thought!

Before I left for a full week of Wyndham living, I enjoyed a wonderful 4-day weekend and, because I was leaving, I wanted to get the Christmas tree up, lit and decorated for the big day.  Because Thanksgiving fell so late, I didn't want to find ourselves rushing a few days before Christmas just to say we got it up.  That's the worst!  So, we put in the work and celebrated like we were in Rockefeller Center.  Mariah Carey couldn't make it.

You might have already seen this photo on Instagram (@HolidazeBlog ;) but you knew I had to share it again!  I'm always so pumped to get the tree up because, once it's done, Christmas season is officially here!  Ever since I was a kid, putting the tree up was always such a big deal.  Yeah, sure, it can be tedious.  We have to bring the decorations up from the basement, check the lights, buy more to replace the broken ones, and spend hours putting on each and every ornament, but it's worth it!  We make an event out of it.  We order pizza, bake cookies, play Christmas music, and enjoy the moment.  I've always felt that putting the tree up was more about family and togetherness than anything else.  I try to savor the night and remember it for the little things that happen throughout our time.  Years from now, just like I do now, that's what I'll look back on.

But today, I want to share with you a few of my favorite Christmas ornaments!  Some of them are personally meaningful, some are fun, others are cool, but they all have a special meaning.  I'm obviously not going to go over every one you see in the photo above, but a few will do and bore you for at least a few more minutes!

This one is for my buddy, Rocky.  My Mom actually made this for Eileen and I after I brought Rocky home for Christmas 2008.  Growing up, we always had some type of ornament that represented the pets we had.  Santa even left them a stocking filled with bones and treats, but only if they were good.  Rocky was always good and I miss him very much.  Although this wasn't made as a memorial, it's become that this year and I'm glad to have it.  It's nice way of remembering him and, whenever somebody sees this ornament, they'll think of him, too.  Plus, there's a paw on the side and if you read my tribute to my friend, you'll know that means just as much as the ornament.

Okay, that's the only sad one, I promise.

Besides anything family related, this is my favorite ornament on the Christmas tree.  I've had this since about 1990! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were and always will be my favorite cartoon characters of all-time so it's only fitting that they grace the very front of the tree.  I think only people passionate enough about an animated series can understand my obsession with the Turtles franchise, but it means a lot to me.  I have so many childhood memories that involve the TMNT and they usually bridge back to my parents.  It's not just the series, comedy, and action, but it's about what they represented and meant to me on various Christmas mornings.  At three-years-old, all you care about is the "Turtle Van," but in 2013, you look back and remember who gave you that present and how much love came with it.  Of course, I'm talking about Santa Claus.

If I'm being honest, The Simpsons aren't a family I kept up with throughout the years.  Some of you out there are absolute fanatics and, believe me, I'm not judging you.  I get it.  It's one of the most successful television series' ever!  But, for me, they stand out as characters I loved as kid and, for the most part, bring me back to The Simpsons Arcade Game.  I spent countless hours pouring quarters into that machine and it's really where I grew a connection to The Simpsons.  It's not as big as some of you may have, but I enjoy the characters, specifically Homer and Bart, and that's why they're on the tree.  Much like the TMNT, but to a lesser degree, they bring me back to a simpler time and fond memories.

I haven't talked much about the Rankin-Bass Claymation Christmas specials, but I probably will in the near future.  As a kid, I was only aware of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin' To Town.  Those were the two I watched along with the 2-D Frosty the Snowman.  Whenever CBS aired the classics, I'd sit down with my Mom and we'd watch with a big bowl of popcorn and hot chocolate.  As I grew older, I found more and more of the specials thanks to ABC Family.  I remember coming home after Track practice in high school, scrolling through the channels, and stumbling upon the Leprechaun's Christmas Gold.  To this day, that's still one of my favorite Claymation specials and I just picked up the Christmas Classics DVD because that's on it.  I have many different Rankin-Bass items, but not as many as I'd like.  We used to have the full collection of Rudolph ornaments, but they must have come to life and walked away.  They're somewhere downstairs in the basement, but Hermey and The Bumble survived the adventure!

Are You Ready?  As a teenager, there was no greater faction in professional wrestling than D-Generation X!  If you've read The Holidaze this past Summer, then you may already know how much I loved the WWF growing up.  Obsessed is an understatement.  This ornament, which depicts DX in '99-'00, is one of a few wrestling ornaments I have, but the one that I like most.  I have a Hollywood Hogan and Steve Austin hanging from the tree, but DX was what kept me most entertained.  I know wrestling isn't for everyone, and yes, I know it's scripted, but I still enjoy the product and don't think that'll ever change.  And if you're not down with that, I got Two Words For YA!!

Some guys love every sport, others don't love any.  I'm the type of guy that enjoys most, but is a die-hard for only one sports team - The Brooklyn Nets!  Besides The Holidaze and all that comes with it, I don't think there's any form of entertainment that I'm currently more passionate about than my Nets.  Before starting my new job, I worked with the team for 5 years and had a blast.  Beyond that, my fanhood extends back to the early New Jersey days of basketball.  Back when we sucked, then went to the Finals, and sucked again before currently sucking now.  But hey, I stick with my team through thick and thin and that's why they're represented on the Christmas tree.  The only downside?  This is the New Jersey Nets ornament.  For as much as I love NJ and wish they never bounced, they're the Brooklyn Nets now and I need to update the decoration.  That'll give me something to do in Pennsauken.  Ugh, Pennsauken..

If there's any other team I care about in the world of sports, it's the New York Mets.  This is thanks to my Dad who is truly the Mets fanatic in the family.  The Nets are to me what the Mets are to him.  If that was on my SAT, I wouldn't get it, but hopefully you do.  For those of you who don't know, this is Mr. Met and the ornament is cool for a number of reasons.  First off, he's an awesome mascot who has a giant baseball for a head.  Second, he means a lot to my Dad which means a lot to me.  Again, it comes back to memories and nostalgia.  But third, I actually know one of the guys who IS Mr. Met at various home games.  So, in a sense, I have my friend hanging from my Christmas tree.  He just happens to be dressed as smiling baseball.

This little guy has been around for as long as I can remember.  He's Fievel from "An American Tale: Fievel Goes West."  He doesn't look like the cartoon character, but that's who he is.  I even googled and ebay'd him to make sure I was right.  I thought I was just calling him that all these years because he's a tiny mouse in a hat, but it's true.  The ornament was released in 1986 so my parents must have purchased it just before or right after I was born in '87.  It's gotta be one of the first ornaments I've ever had and I'm happy he's still here.  For a few years, we couldn't find him anywhere.  This, along with a few others, were stored away in a different, hidden, box.  Thankfully he has returned to me.  Typical Fievel, right?

UPDATE: Nope. I'm wrong. The lying Internet is also wrong so disregard everything I just wrote about "Fievel."  Thanks to @BinsToyBin on Twitter, I was informed that he's actually Bernard from "The Rescuers Down Under."  It didn't come out in 1986, it came out in 1990 and was available at McDonalds.  Everything I wrote was wrong, but I'm leaving it, anyway.  I knew he didn't look like Fievel, but I'm still going to call him that because I always did.  Thanks to @BinsToyBin for the heads up.  Check out his site as a reward for finally solving this conundrum :)

Who doesn't watch Sesame Street as a kid?  It's one of our first rites of passage and it comes at a very early age.  For me, it was all about Burt and Ernie, but Grover and Cookie Monster weren't too far behind.  Cookie is on the tree to remember that time, but he's only on The Holidaze because it comes with a somewhat funny story.  As we were decorating, Eileen went to put Nestle Tollhouse cookies in the oven.  Well, we started rolling and this tree was really starting to rock.  Before we knew it, time had gone by and we completely forgot about the baking cookies.  If not for us unwrapping the Cookie Monster ornament, I don't think we would have ever remembered.  Needless to say, that batch was burnt and thrown out, but thanks to Cookie Monster, we came to our senses and Eileen made sure the second batch was perfect.  Who gets reminded by Cookie Monster that there are cookies in the oven?  Only losers like me..

Speaking of Eileen, this is the first "together" ornament we've ever had.  I can't remember if it was my Mom or hers who bought this for us, but it's already almost 10-years-old!  On January 5th, we'll have been together for a decade!  It's a pretty huge accomplishment and hard to believe we've been with each other since high school.  I was 16, she was 14, and we've been best friends ever since.  It's not something you find often, at any age, but certainly something you hold on to.  I don't know if we ever thought this ornament would still be hanging from a tree in 2013, but I'm glad it is.

Finally, there is always one tradition that follows Christmas and New Year's Eve and that's The Honeymooners Marathon on New Year's Day.  In my opinion, The Honeymooners is still one of the funniest sitcoms of all-time and, for the last 15 years or so, the show has become synonymous with the New Year.  The theme song, the commercials, the cracking sound in the background, and the voice of Ralph Cramden, all remind me of the holidays and new beginnings.  I purposely don't watch the series at any other time throughout the year because I want to keep that tradition the way it is.  Much like Cranberry Splash is only special in the Fall and Winter, The Honeymooners are only special for me on New Year's Day.  That's not to say there aren't any memories attached, because there are countless thanks to my Parents who love the show.  Even as my Mom went into labor with me, my Dad got so flustered and called them "The Moneyhooners."  Little things like that, before I was even born, signify what comes with each and every ornament on the tree.  You can look at something and, instantly, a million different thoughts, emotions, and memories run through your mind.  

Today, I only shared a few, but I'd love to hear about any ornaments you have and what they mean to you.  Whether it was a gift, something you bought for yourself, or just think is awesome, comment below and let me hear your story :)


  1. I'm a romantic sap, so reading about yours and Eileen's ornament brought happy tears to my eyes lol Congratulations!! :)

    I knew there would be at least one ornament on your tree that I also had and indeed there is! The Fievel one. Glad you pointed that out, because I really couldn't remember who the little guy was, since it doesn't look like him. I always just thought of him as Christmas Mouse.

    Love all your ornamanets, tree is beautiful!

  2. Aw thanks so much! You know what's funny - somebody on Twitter pointed out that it's not actually Fievel, but Bernard from the Rescuera Down Under. For whatever reason, I always believed he was Fievel and even the Internet lied to me. But now we finally have confirmation as to who he really is. I'll have to edit the post later tonight :) thanks for reading, as always!

  3. Totally thought it was Fievel. :)


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