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The BBHQ Christmas Stories Collection
Traditions of Christmas

Our Boomer-In-Charge here at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes frequently about current events... from a boomer perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, sometimes a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

The most popular feature at BBHQ is our Traditions of Christmas stories. Each story focuses on one fond memory of the season. The stories include pictures, lyrics, songs, and videos celebrating and remembering the special times of Christmas in a boomer's life. These stories and both timeless and priceless.

The BBHQ Christmas Collection is available only in December.

Christmas is in the air at BBHQ! In fact, it’s in the air, on the screen, in our hearts, in our souls, all the way deep in our bones. We’re big fans of Christmas, and we’re big believers! Some of us are traditional Christians, some are Jews, and some are something else. But we all share a love of Christmas and the Christmas spirit.

This is your “home page” for the BBHQ Christmas Collection.

Each story described below will open in a separate tab/window when you click the title.

Traditions of Christmas

The most popular feature at BBHQ is our Traditions of Christmas stories. Each story focuses on one memorable aspect of the season. The stories include pictures, lyrics, songs, and videos celebrating and remembering the special times of Christmas in a boomer’s life. These stories and both timeless and priceless. Here is an overview of the Traditions of Christmas stories. The headline includes a link to each story.

Making Christmas Cards – fifty years of family Christmas cards
  Preparing Christmas cards was such a wonderful tradition in my family. But as I think about it... decades later, it is not the Christmas cards I remember as much as it is the family... the family tradition. It reinforced for me the definition and importance of “family.” Our family traditions provided a rich foundation for me, and wonderful memories that I have just proved... will last a lifetime.

Songs and Stories – "Hallelujah Chorus," "Gift of the Maji," "Yes, Virginia..."
  My dad would drive us down to Nela Park, a manufacturing plant for GE light bulbs. During the Christmas season, GE would light up the park on their property with thousands of lights and colorful Christmas scenes. After dark, cars would back up onto Euclid Avenue waiting to drive through this gorgeous display. Drivers would turn their car lights off while driving slowly through the park to better appreciate the displays. Every year. It was another wonderful tradition.

Presents from Santa – the gift of giving
  At first I considered having to deliver my mother’s gifts to be a nuisance and an interruption of my own holiday plans. But when I went away to college and came back for only a few days around Christmas, my Santa duties provided a way for me to see, greet, and thank the people who had been a major influence in my life... the folks who helped shape my childhood and mold my character. They eagerly looked forward to my brief appearance every year. Of course, so did I. It became a tradition I maintained for many years.

A Real Christmas Tree – Christmas trees, big and small
  I guess that, in many families, an electric train set is part of the Christmas season. One of my first memories was walking down the stairs and seeing a train set that Santa had brought me at the foot of the tree. The tree left a little to be desired that first year. But the train provided endless fascination. Each year thereafter we would add a new decoration to the train set. A new car, lights... I still remember the small church along the tracks. We put pine incense in the chimney and lit it; smoke came out of the chimney for hours afterwards.

The Christmas Bowling Pin – simple things make wonderful traditions
  When my sister and I placed our gifts under the tree early on Christmas morning, we peaked out of only one eye so that we would not see the full scene until my parents awoke and we turned on the lights. Whoever had possession of the Christmas pin would proudly place it near the front of the presents, but not at the very front. We did not want it to stick out too much. There was a lot of fun in “discovering” it, hiding behind a large, brightly colored box.

The Christmas Tree – simple family traditions
  Remember when the Christmas tree lights were wired in series, and if one light burned out the whole line went? It was my sister’s and my job to test them thoroughly before we put them on the tree. Each line had to pass my father’s inspection before we could proceed. And whenever a line went out during the season, whatever we were doing at the time... had to stop. The Christmas lights must be working properly.

Remembrance... and Friends – wonderful memories that last a lifetime
  Mrs. Bonacker would always open the door to greet us. They had a string of bells on their front door that played what sounded like a Christmas chord when she opened and closed the door. I guess that they took them down after Christmas; but every time I was there, from the snow covered driveway just to the right of their house, the unmistakable bells on the door were the first things I heard. If I close my eyes, I can hear them even now. Mrs. Bonacker wore a red, Christmas apron, and there was the smell of baked ham and cookies throughout the house. She could have played the part of Mrs. Claus in the Christmas play; she was perfect.

Re-Creating a Christmas Card – updating a classic Christmas card
  As far back as I can remember, we all participated in the busywork of creating the cards. I can remember working with my dad in the dark room, using white, hard plastic tongs to lift the photographs from one developing chemical tray to the next. Producing the finished picture required three different liquid chemicals. Gees, I can close my eyes and still smell the chemicals. My memory is that clear. My sister and I were usually the subjects in the cards. In the “business,” they would call us the “talent.” Though, in our case, there was not a whole lot of talent involved. Mostly, we just stood around and looked cute.

Christmas on a Toothpick – the toothpick tree
  My mother used a Christmas tradition to spark our artistic, creative energy. For me, that was like trying to raise the dead. But she tried, nonetheless. When my sister and I were about 9 and 7, respectively, she gave us some toothpicks, a Styrofoam ball, and some ribbon, and challenged us to create a Christmas decoration. (Of course, she had something specific in mind; but she wanted us to get there with as little help as was required.)

The Paper Route Years – delivering newspapers at 19 below
  When I collected and handed out calendars and cookies in December, I always wished my customers a merry Christmas. They did the same to me. Some were very orthodox Jews; some were “reformed.” Heck, a few put up Christmas trees inside their houses... though we smiled and called them “Hanukkah bushes.” A few people had menorahs lit in their windows through Hanukkah and Christmas. Some had secular displays outside their houses. It did not matter; the Christmas spirit was all around.

The Christmas Tree Farm – the business of Christmas tree as a warm, family tradition
  Uncle Bob and Aunt Mickey had a small RV. The weekend after Thanksgiving, they drove to Detroit and set up “camp” in the parking lot of a large shopping center, where the trees had been delivered. For the next month, they got up every morning and prepared the trees for sale to lucky Detroit customers. Our trees were large, fresh, healthy, green, and... as Uncle Bob said, “content.” “If Carnation’s cows are content, then our trees can be content, too.” As well they should have been. They had been treated with loving care all their lives.

Sing-Along at Christmas – sing-along songs, then and now
  So, as a young boomer, whether you could carry a tune, you probably sang Christmas carols. As adults, we often tuned up with a little spiked egg nog. That always made us sing better... or so it seemed. But it was not the singing that made the event so special. It was not even the wonderful songs. It was sharing those magical, irreplaceable moments with family, friends, and neighbors. It is another wonderful Christmas tradition!

Boomer-era Christmas Hit Parade & Quiz – the best songs from the best times
  I have collected audio clips from 23 of the best Christmas songs of our lives. They come from the boomer years, the times in which we grew up. Instantly, when you hear them, they strike a chord in your memory. You remember where you were when you first heard the song, who you were dating, and how you felt. This is nostalgia wrapped in a quiz. And at Christmastime, it is especially warm and wonderful.

The Boomer-Era Christmas Hit Parade Quiz

23 Great Boomer-Era Christmas Songs

Name the singer or the artist or group performing each song.

Merry Christmas, Y’all – Christmas in Florida
  Down here we sing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” But it’ll never be anything more than a dream. Many of the joys of Christmas: the snow; Christmas caroling in winter coats; hot chocolate at the church; warm fires in the family room; making a snowman in the front yard; a snowball fight with Ford Harris, across the street; a huge snow fort in the Gerak’s back yard... never going to happen down here in Florida.

The Wish List – all I want for Christmas
  My wish for this Christmas is very simple. I just want us to shake the stupidity out of our heads and get back to some common sense. I want not only for the Declaration of Independence to be allowed in schools, I want it to be read, studied, and applauded. I want Target to allow the Salvation Army to ring their bells on their property at Christmastime, even though the bells drive me nuts. I want the politically correct folks at Macy’s to be thrown out on the street in their underwear, and I want to see Christmas decorations in their windows, and “Merry Christmas” signs all over the place. I want schools to gleefully sing Christmas carols in the annual Christmas concert. And I want everyone to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone else.

The “A” List – gifts from the “A-List” catalogs
  For those of you who are still hopelessly waiting in line for entrance to the club, I’d like to give you a peek into what “the Beautiful People” are buying this season.

A Trans-Siberian Christmas – the majesty of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  What makes TSO’s performance so special for me is that it includes a piece of just about every type of music. There’s Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Pacabel, many traditional Christmas classics... and several original hard rock songs. Their performance includes a heartwarming story told by a wonderful baritone narrator, vocalists like you have never heard before, and instrumentation beyond anything imaginable. TSO plays them loud, soft, and... very loud — using electric guitars, keyboards, and more drums than Tchaikovsky could ever imagine. The cannons of the “1812 Overture” ain’t got nothing on TSO!

A Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas – An eclectic wish list for the bold, the beautiful, and the rich
  So, you can’t find that special gift for the boomer on your list? It must be really special, not your run-of-the-mill nose hair trimmer, electronic watch winder, or iPad accessory. May I suggest you mosey on over to -- “Offering the Best, the Only and the Unexpected for 162 years.” And I would add, “When you have no limit on your credit card.”

The Christmas Story
  “The Christmas story, the way it’s usually told the ‘God born a man in a manger,’ and all that – escapes some moderns – Mostly, I think, because they seek complex answers to their questions; and this one is so utterly simple. So, for the cynics and the skeptics, and the unconvinced, I’d like to submit this modern parable.”

The War on Christmas
  The war on Christmas has been waged relentlessly by the powerful ACLU, the Hollywood crowd, left-leaning media organizations, atheist groups, and other ideologues with money and influence in the media and/or government. You need to fight back... relentlessly, one person at a time, from the bottom up.

The BBHQ Christmas Lyrics Collection

In December, the BBHQ Lyrics Collection includes lyrics to over 60 classic Christmas songs.

A Cradle in Bethlehem - Nat Cole
Adeste Fideles - Traditional
And So this Is Christmas - John Lennon
Angels We Have Heard On High - Traditional
Auld Lang Syne - Traditional
Away in the Manger - Traditional
Blue Christmas - Traditional
(The) Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Nat King Cole
Carol of The Bells - Traditional
Caroling, Caroling - Traditional
Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) - Bing Crosby/Eddie Fisher/Rosemary Clooney
Deck the Halls - Traditional
Do You Hear What I Hear? - Traditional
Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
(The) First Noel - Traditional
Frosty the Snow Man - Traditional
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy — NO! NO! NO!
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Traditional
Hallelujah Chorus (from the Messiah) - Traditional
Happy Christmas (And So this is Christmas) - John Lennon
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing - Traditional
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Traditional
Here Comes Santa Claus - Traditional
Here We Come A-Wassailing - Traditional
(The) Holly and the Ivy - Traditional
Holly Jolly Christmas - Traditional
Home For The Holidays - Traditional
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Traditional
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Traditional
I Saw Three Ships - Traditional
I’ll Be Home For Christmas - Traditional
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Traditional
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Traditional
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Traditional
Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
Jingle Bells - Traditional
Joy to the World - Traditional
Let It Snow! - Traditional
(The) Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale
The Marvelous Toy - Peter, Paul & Mary
Merry Christmas Darling - Carpenters
Nuttin’ For Christmas - Traditional
Oh Christmas Tree - Traditional
Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Traditional
Oh Come Emmanuel - Traditional
Oh Holy Night - Traditional
Oh Little Town of Bethlehem - Traditional
Oh Tannenbaum - Traditional
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - Traditional
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Traditional
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Traditional
Silent Night - Traditional
Silver Bells - Traditional
Sleigh Ride - Traditional
Snoopy’s Christmas - Royal Guardsmen
Still, Still, Still - Traditional
(The) Twelve Days of Christmas - Traditional
(The) Twelve Gifts of Christmas - Alan Sherman
We Three Kings - Traditional
We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Traditional
What Child is This? - Traditional
White Christmas - Traditional
While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks - Traditional
Winter Wonderland - Traditional

The Last Word

Regardless of what you believe, or if you believe, we hope you’ll share the Christmas spirit!

Thanks for joining us today.

Merry Christmas to all!

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The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

The BBHQ Feature Book is “Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks.” This is a “behind the scenes” story of one of the boomers’ first rock n’ roll stars. Told in the first person, Bobby chronicles his short ride to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his glide through the 70s and 80s, and how he nearly lost it all. Relax; it has a happy ending. Bobby was (and is) a “normal” Philly guy... with an absolute love of music and an amazing gift. For any fan of early rock n’ roll, it’s a wonderful story. And yes, Bobby Rydell is still on tour, playing to boomer fans all over the world. Click here for a closer look at the book.

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