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Featured Article

Christmas: Alone & Kickin' It

"I looked up at my family, and all that I could mutter was 'Thank You'".

It was Christmas Eve; I was 14 years old at the time. I had just discovered ska music, and I had really homed in on the gaming scene around that time. The day had begun with a roaring vacuum ringing in my ears, with my mother attempting to shout over it. That was her classic way of trying to wake me up. Anyways, she was shouting at the top of her lungs:


Of course, I was a teenager who had been forced to wake up at 8 AM, so of course, this sounded more akin to this for me;

"Blahblahblahblah blahblah blahblah 5 O' CLOCK blahblahblahblahblah".

I shouted "OK", and dozed back off to bed. My mother shut off the vacuum, grabbed the rest of the family, and went off on their way. I was alone. I never once questioned why they were leaving me home alone on Christmas Eve, but that didn't matter, I got to go back to bed. I had a terrific dream about Twinkies and flying CD players (you really had to of been there), and I had yet again awoken from my "eternal slumber". I checked the clock & saw the hour hand on "11", so I basically said "screw it" and ate lunch. I mean, it was kinda too late for breakfast at that point, wouldn't you agree? Whatever, I'm getting sidetracked. So, it was Christmas Eve, and I wanted a more Christmas-y meal to celebrate, so what I think I did was I just threw marshmallows in my Chef Boyardee, but perhaps that's one thing in this story we maybe shouldn't elaborate on, I don't want you to vomit.

"That is probably the grossest thing I EVER ate growing up".

Now, you're probably wondering; what is with that desperate attempt to feel the Christmas mood? Well, I was going through a semi-dark time of my life, and I really wasn't feelin' the Christmas mood. So, I made a lot of desperate attempts to get in the Christmas mood. This was one of them. However, nature was what really helped get the yuletide cheer going. I opened the door to grab the newspaper for my parents, and right as I took a look outside, I shouted...


The snow was EVERYWHERE. Some might have considered it a blizzard, I considered it heaven. So, I was feeling the Christmas joy crawl through my blood stream, and I decided that I NEEDED to do stuff today. I was getting older, and if I learned anything from my parents, it'd be that soon, I would begin to HATE Christmas, so I had to make it last. So, I wrote out a schedule for myself for that very day.

1: Watch a Christmas film! (12:00)
2: Comic book mayhem! (2:00)
3: Watch A Year Without Santa Claus! (2:30)
4: Invite [Mike] Over for Playing in the Snow! (3:30)
5: Hot Cocoa! (4:15)
6: Walk to Gas Station and Buy Candy (5:00)

Then I stopped dead in my tracks with a sudden realization; I ONLY HAD 'TIL 5 O' CLOCK! This was gonna RUIN the night for me! I jumped into action, and dashed up those stairs faster than The Flash, Sonic the Hedgehog, & Bruce Lee! I opened the door and peaked inside my brother's room. See, my brother was (and still is to this day) a HUGE movie buff. So, his collection was packed to the brim with films [whether or not they were good or bad was out of the question.] I saw all the VHS tapes sticking out on the shelf, and one specifically caught my eye. I hadn't watched the movie since I was 5, so I popped it in and hoped for the best. I stared in shock at the imagery that was shown on screen, and I remembered why my parents hated this movie. For the curious, that film was Gremlins.

"FUN FACT: I watched Batman Returns earlier that week".

I was REALLY feeling those Christmas vibes, Christmas was kickin' in, man! However, all emotions are short lived, and I COULDN'T LET THE DREAM DIE! I was off schedule now, by about 15 minutes to be exact. So, I looked back at the schedule to see what other "fun" Christmas things I had planned.

2: Comic book mayhem! (2:00)

A-ha! I was such a genius! I had a HUGE collection of Christmas-related comic books for some arbitrary reason, so I grabbed my glasses and had a look. I can't EXACTLY remember what I read, but I do know that I read like 20 Disney comic books (they did a lot of Christmas stuff) and I swear to God I read a Hulk comic book where he beats up Santa Claus, that was something that happened, right? Then again, Batman also met Santa Claus once, so I guess anything is possible. Oh, and of course I read the classic Alf Christmas comic book from the early 90's. Seriously, I've read that one recently enough to know that they're still enjoyable. Whatever happened to Alf anyways?

"Upon research, I actually found the Hulk VS. Santa issue [far right]. It's really just the Rhino in a costume, which is incredibly disappointing"

So far, so good! I was back on schedule, and the yuletide cheer was stronger than Hulk I figured I could keep the fun going, and I decided to see what I had ready to do next.

3: Watch A Year Without Santa Claus! (2:30)

Oooh, this was the fun one! This was always my favorite Christmas special growing up, so I decided to find our bootleg VHS copy from last year (that's another story for the future), and pop it in! It was a lot sadder than I remembered it being, there really aren't any moments that cheer you up, it just kinda snowballs downhill until the ending gets more uplifting. Not gonna lie to you, I cried when I watched this. And I was 14. Did you know there was a sequel? I never saw it, and I haven't seen any reviews, but I doubt it has the emotional tug the original had.

"Everybody is getting their Rudolph game on and I'm just like '...Really?'"

So far, so good. I was about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and as much as I wanted to watch Frosty the Snowman, I simply didn't own a copy. However, I DID have a TV Guide for that week, so I decided to shuffle through it. And there it was; Frosty the 6 O' Clock. Ugh, I FIGURED things wouldn't work out. I would never have time to watch it! Close relatives were gonna be over, and my mother was always about that cursed "family time", so I guess I just had to forget about that movie, and go on to the next event on my schedule.

4: Invite [Mike] Over for Playing in the Snow! (3:30)

Ah, Mike. Mike [who's name has been changed to protect the innocent] was my best friend at the time. Nowadays, I hate his guts. However, at the time, we always hung out. So, playing in the snow sounded like a fun thing to do. Right down the street, one of my neighbors had a HUGE sled hill, so I figured we could go over there and have a grand ol' time. I gave him a quick call, and this is somewhat how the conversation went;

Me: Yo, Mike!
Mike: What do you want, man?
Me: You wanna come over and go sled riding?
Mike: No, uh, COUGH COUGH, I'm very, COUGH, sick. Uh, I can't today.
Me: You sound like you're faking it.
Mike: Yeah bye dude.

I'm pretty sure Mike was just being a jerk, maybe he didn't wanna hang out, maybe his family was already over, or maybe he really WAS sick, I honestly never figured that one out. "Whatever, more time for me," I thought to myself. So, I took out my notebook paper and rescheduled the remainder of the day.

4: Invite [Mike] Over for Playing in the Snow! (3:30)
5: Hot Cocoa! (3:40)
6: Walk to Gas Station and Buy Candy (4:00)
7: Christmas Music Dance Jam! (4:30)
8: Last Minute Christmas Cards! (4:50)

I was (thankfully) still able to drink some Hot Cocoa and buy some candy, but I ALSO got to jam out to music and make Christmas cards for my family so I didn't come off like an awful person. I ran into the kitchen and got ready to make some Hot Cocoa, when one fatal flaw reared it's ugly head; I had ZERO clue on how to even make Hot Cocoa. My mother always cooked it up for me, so I, quite frankly, didn't even know where to start. However, I did the best I could and got to work on making a solid product. I dug through our food cabinet and pulled out two basic ingredients; milk...and Cocoa Puffs.

"This was legitimately the best thing I could think of at the time".

Now, this OBVIOUSLY wasn't enough to fuel my amazing hot cocoa meal, so I looked inside our refrigerator to see what was up. There was both Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and a frozen Crunch bar. Obviously, these were the perfect ingredients. I stole some marshmallows from the same bag that I used earlier that same day, and put the thing together piece-by-piece. I tossed the Crunch bar in a bowl and melted it into the grossest liquid-y substance on Earth. That was then poured into another bowl full of the Hershey's syrup, marshmallows, and the Cocoa Puffs. I lastly poured half a gallon of milk into this huge bowl/abomination and threw it into the microwave for three minutes. Keep in mind I still thought this looked appetizing at the time. So, I left to go to the bathroom while it microwaved. Mid-piss, I heard a loud sound. It'd be hard to describe with words, but, it sounded kinda like this;

"Keep in mind, Sloosh is a pretty gross sound effect".

I looked inside the microwave, and...well, you know the scene in Gremlins when the mother microwaves one of the gremlins, and it just explodes into a bloody mess? Yeah, that sums it up pretty well, and considering I JUST watched that movie, that's all I could think of, and I couldn't help but laugh at it all. However, cleaning that was far from funny. In fact, it was a pain in the...back. Despite that, that image of the exploding Gremlin kept making me chuckle throughout it all. It took forever to clean, but I didn't wanna get TOO off-schedule, so I just kinda hastily cleaned it up near the end and went on to the next thing in this Christmas bonanza.

6: Walk to Gas Station and Buy Candy (4:00)

OK, this one was a lot simpler than the Hot Cocoa disaster. Walk down the street in the snowy wonderland, buy some Wonka bars or whatever, and walk back home. Easy-peazy, lemon-squeezy. I threw on my skull cap, grabbed my $200 dollar jacket (long story, one not worth telling), and I strolled on my merry way. I walked past Mike's house on the way down, and I was about to check on him, but I'd already wasted too much time making my failure of Hot Cocoa, so I ignored him. It was a fairly pleasant stroll however...until the gusts of wind started knocking me around like a Kiss Pinball machine. I actually lost my hat amidst all of the wind, which kinda sucked considering it technically wasn't mine, but I didn't let my unfortunate loss get to me. I really didn't get angry until I walked up to the gas station. That place was locked up pretty tightly. In fact, they were closed for the evening.

"I looked up 'snow gas station' and this is what showed up on Google".

I wasn't just annoyed at this point, I was MAD! I ran back to my house at break-neck speeds and as soon as I entered the door, I ripped off my shoe and threw it at the wall. Or, I tried to. It hit a mirror, knocking it to the ground. I then went from "mad" to "frightened" in milliseconds. The only thoughts pumping through my head at this point sounded akin to "OH MY GAWD OH MY GAWD OH MY GAAWWD!" My parents were gonna freak, as if the chocolate nightmare in the microwave wouldn't send them over the deep end. I figured "hey, maybe they wouldn't notice this," and I threw the broken mirror away and replaced it with a red one. I didn't get caught for about 2 weeks, which, you gotta admit, is pretty impressive. Once I'd gotten that dilemma cleared up, I was back on schedule yet again like the maverick I was. Thus, I checked out what I had to do next with pride.

7: Christmas Music Dance Jam! (4:30)

Oh YEAH. Christmas music, how could this go wrong? The CD collection was in my parent's room, so I pulled out our "Christmas Classics" CD, and plugged it into our stereo system. I then cooked up a genius plan; a plan  to make a Christmas music video. I pulled out the VHS camera, and cut the camera over and over while dancing for 5 minutes. I then synced up the CD with my sick dance moves and it was probably the stupidest thing I ever did at that age. At the time though, I thought this was hilarious. I then realized with my extra time that THIS would be my Christmas present for my parents. I had enough time to record more radical dance moves throughout different areas of the house, and I then recorded the CD audio directly onto the tape. Let me tell you; all of these modern filmmakers didn't have anything on that masterpiece.

"Making VHS movies is harder than...uh...insert a witty comparison here".

After one final look-over of my filmmaking masterpiece, I took the tape, wrapped it tightly, and then realized; it needed a card. With about 10 minutes left, I went on to my last item on the list.

8: Last Minute Christmas Cards! (4:50)

This was one of my favorite Christmas traditions. See, I'd like to (egotistically) say that I'm somewhat of a decent artist. Thus, I would always draw my loving family some random pictures, write "Merry Christmas" on the other side, and give them it as a present. Cards would often contain such classic drawings like...

"Keep in mind; this was CHRISTMAS".

However, this year was different. I wanted these drawings to actually matter. So, I drew rather festive & heartwarming images to really make up for how badly I screwed up for the past 10 years. None of the drawings from that year have survived to this day (and for the curious, neither did the aforementioned tape), but with 10 minutes to do 3 pencil drawings, I imagine they turned out really bad as well. However, they had heart put into them, and in all fairness, that's what matters the most here. It's what symbolizes the Christmas season! Giving somebody your heart!

"If I were actually giving you my heart, it'd be like Castlevania 2 where you BUY THINGS WITH HEARTS!"

With my drawings all shaded in, I suddenly heard the roaring of a car engine; it was my family pulling up. My older brother and sister came out holding a big box, and I was VERY curious. My mom and dad walked up and said,

"Here's our big family investment. Merry Christmas".

I took the box from my brother's hands and, without even thinking what was in the box, I just kinda tore it open. Looking back, that was probably extremely rude, but I didn't care, for what lied under the wrapping paper on that day was truly a sight to behold. I stared in awe. I looked up at my family, and all that I could mutter was "Thank you". Full of bewilderment, I then realized one thing; while the present I got was beyond amazing, the experience I created for myself on that day was something I KNEW I wouldn't ever forget. Life gave me a day to do nothing, and I sure made something out of it. However, I also saw the love that my parents had for me, going out of town to buy one of the best presents EVER. To be fair, I was relegated to my own home, but I put my heart and soul into my gifts, and I think that was enough to balance the scales on this one. Now, what WAS inside that aforementioned box? Well...

"What else could it have been?"

The End

Written by SegaFanatic for Retro-Daze!

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SegaFanatic Posted on Feb 21, 2015 at 03:04 PM

I honestly forgot I put them in until the other day.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 21, 2015 at 02:08 AM

I didn't know there were any. Now I will have to mouse over everything to find them.

SegaFanatic Posted on Feb 20, 2015 at 09:48 PM

I'm wondering if anyone here has ever found every hidden hyperlink in this article; they're mostly on pictures and certain words.

comic_book_fan Posted on Dec 04, 2014 at 03:24 AM

lobo beat down santa as well.
but he earned it in that book anyone else ever read lobo a paramilitary Christmas.

vkimo Posted on Dec 03, 2014 at 07:09 PM

Fun article with a ton of witty anecdotes!

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 03, 2014 at 02:43 AM

Man, everybody wants a piece of Santa. Do they just hate how jolly he is? LOL

Hoju Koolander Posted on Dec 02, 2014 at 08:56 PM

Really fun ride you took us on. I loved the KISS pinball metaphor (KISS Army unite!) and the fact that reading Christmas themed comics was part of getting you in the spirit of the season puts a smile on my face. You know the Ultimate Warrior (R.I.P.) fought Santa Claus in comic book form was pretty messed up.

echidna64 Posted on Dec 02, 2014 at 05:07 PM

Awesome article!!! I dig the list/quest format.

Also, the surprise Dreamcast at the end was amazing! I love that machine and the bouncing ball squiggle load up screen.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 02, 2014 at 04:38 PM

I love this story. I have a feeling this would make for a really entertaining Christmas movie (more so than any Home Alone movie).

Hilarious things about this:

-Chef Boyardee and Marshmallows? Ugh man! Of all the crazy things I attempted to mix together for a "treat", I can't ever envision making/eating that.

-Mike is a douche. Didn't you always hate it when you were really excited about doing something together with a friend, then when the time came they were like, "Yeah, I'm not doing that."

-You went back to "experimenting" with homemade concoctions a SECOND TIME. Seriously?

-You still hadn't let off enough steam between the walk from the gas station to home to NOT break something. Was there nothing to break on along the way... that, say, WASN'T owned by your parents? LOL

-I want to see the dance video. You know it still exists (but are too afraid to admit it).

So you got the Dreamcast. That's an awesome Christmas gift. A very underrated system, that one. Sega's last attempt at a console was actually a redeemer, in my book, for the 32X SegaCD, and gazillion other "add on" systems they had been pumping out.

Thanks for this SF! Have a Merry Christmas (but leave the cooking to the adults this year). LOL

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