I’m writing this because it needs to be said: I LOVE SAPPY CHRISTMAS SHOWS!
There. I said it. No turning back now.
This grown man, all 52 years of age, is declaring that he loves something no man would ever dare to claim publicly. Kinda like the way no one would go near a smelly sock.
But this is 100% true.
Ever since I was a kid, I grew up on the whole White Christmas sales pitch. Well okay maybe calling it a sales pitch isn’t exactly right. It was the 70s after all. A time in my country when Christmas was pretty much a Western thing.
By that I mean all we knew about Christmas was pretty much what we saw on the telly.
And that, in those days, meant siblings Donny and Marie!
“I’m a little bit country / I’m a little bit rock ‘n’ roll”
Oh, how I dearly remember when I was a kid sitting in front of the goggle box and bingeing on this family variety show.
Among the youngest of The Osmond family, Donny and Marie seemed to have it all.
Perfect white teeth and wholesome good looks. Talent in every immaculately-choreographed dance step and pitch perfect song sung. All set against the beautiful mountain scenery of Utah.
The whole works.
Every week, I would be ensconced in front of the telly watching them entertain the socks off every household gathered in the family living room.
And I remember wishing after every episode that I could be an Osmond. They seemed to be so well put together that it was hard not to wish somehow that my life could have been likewise.
The most memorable episodes were the Christmas ones. Scenes of snow and mistletoe. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The stuff of Christmas jingles like White Christmas and Frosty the Snowman seemed to come alive, transporting me to another place and time. So far removed from my year-round swelter of a tropical island climate.
To this day, I still pause every now and then to wonder what my life would be like if I were born amidst snow-capped mountains, sleigh bells, and Santas at every corner.
My Christmas childhood companions
The thing with me is this.
I grew up pretty much on my own.
Don’t get me wrong, there were always people in the house, since my parents had five of us. But they were all adults to me. My nearest sibling was at least 6.5 years ahead of me, like the one before her. So you can imagine how much older the others were.
Who had time to entertain the little boy in the room right? “Oh does he need company? Just turn on the telly and he’ll be fine.”
So that’s how I whiled away the hours especially during Christmas. Watching the snow fall on a ski lodge resort here or a cozy fire by the chimney in the Osmond’s grand ballroom of a home there.
Everything was picture perfect. Everything just so flawless, like their teeth.
The Osmonds made me believe that was what Christmas means. What every Christmas ought to be. And I wanted so much to be part of their family. To have them be my constant Christmas companions.
But needless to say from where I sat, this was an impossible dream.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
As the decades passed, I grew up and life kept me busy.
But I never forgot Donny and Marie. And I never forgot the promise of a White Christmas.
Which is why, even though of course the Donny and Marie show, and others like it, have long since passed on into the annals of variety show history, I still seek out images and scenes that remind me of the promise for a White Christmas.
Especially this time of year.
The promise that I could relive those sappy moments I had growing up. To believe that the world I live in can one day be sparkling white and I could have a family that was always loving and cheerful. Toasty and warm by the Christmas fireplace. The ubiquitous Christmas tree just a couple of feet away, all decked out with bells and baubles and ornament angels. And presents underneath.
But I know it’s ridiculous. This is the tropics after all so the closest things are palm trees and shopping malls with skinny Santas and fake reindeers.
So thank God for streaming platforms that bring the Christmas goody-two-shoe cheers to my otherwise humid living room. Allowing me to suspend my disbelief for about 1.5 to 2 hours each time I scroll to another made-for-the-goggle box TV movie. With titles like A Christmas Prince or Return To Christmas Creek or Falling For Christmas.
Or White Christmas.
I’m (still) dreaming of a White Christmas!