#TBT: My favorite 80's Christmas movies from childhood

On Thursdays, I post from the vault. This is from December 2014.

Christmas movies: they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. (Or my taste was worse back then. Or I’m a sucker for 80’s nostalgia. Could be that).

My family looooved Christmas movies, and these were some of the movies on heavy rotation in my house during the holiday season.

A Christmas Story

This is the classic childhood Christmas movie, right? Poor Ralphie just wanted a BB gun, but the adults in his life were convinced he would shoot his eye out. This movie was such an accurate portrayal of childhood angst and family drama that it just got funnier the older I got. And who could forget the TRIPLE DOG DARE tongue on the flagpole, and the sexy leg lamp?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This John Hughes-penned film based on the Griswold famliy is an 80's classic. Who could forget Clark's blinding Christmas lights, his war with the neighbors, and the cigar that launched Santa into the night sky. This is one of the few movies I remember causing my dad to laugh until he cried.

A Very Brady Christmas

I grew up watching the Brady Bunch, so I remember being so excited for this reunion, where all the Brady kids came back together as adults. However, this movie got awkward fast as it focused on the adult issues of the middle-aged family (Peter is sleeping with his boss! Jan is having marital issues! Sam left Alice for another woman!). This Christmas special was a bit of a downer for kids like myself who loved this big, loving family and then suddenly got to watch them as very human adults with real-life problems bigger than getting hit in the nose with a football. Womp womp womp.

Ernest Saves Christmas

Oh, Jim Verney. He was a comic genius to my 10-year-old brain. In the third Ernest movie, he tries to find a replacement for an aging Santa Claus, resulting in lots of wacky hi-jinks I would probably detest this movie as an adult, but we watched it over and over again. KnowWhatIMean?

One Magic Christmas

This is an obscure one, but probably the most-watched VHS tape in my house each holiday season. This made-for-tv Disney movie focused on a mom who was visited by an angel (Harry Dean Stanton, no less) to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. So cheesetastic.


Last but certainly not least, my favorite holiday movie ever has to be Scrooged. This comedic take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was chock full of popular 80's actors. The last scene, which breaks into a musical version of "Put A Little Love In Your Heart", is one that got my family dancing every time.

What are some of your favorite holiday movies from childhood?

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Wednesday's Child: Amani

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

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Giving the gift of sight

This post was sponsored by VSP Direct

I love giving gifts, but I can also get a little stuck with trying to choose the right thing for each person in my family. I want my gifts to be thoughtful but also practical. I want it to be something that delights, but also something that will be used. And I also want it to be something that lets the receiver know I've given thought to who they are and what they need.

I never would have thought of giving someone insurance, until I heard of VSP Direct's program. It allows you to give a gift of vision coverage for a year. VSP is the nation's only not-for-profit vision care company, offering affordable individual vision plans that start as low as $17 a month. You can give a loved one coverage that includes a comprehensive eye exam, glasses and/or contacts, and low out-of- pocket costs. It's definitely a gift that keeps giving all year long.

I knew my nephew's boyfriend Andre was struggling with dealing with his own vision needs. His glasses are ancient and his contacts are wearing out. He's fresh out of college and hustling to make it as an actor, and I knew that this would make a big impact on him. I decided to tell him early, because he was already pushing his contacts past their limits. Here's our conversation when I revealed his gift:

Individual Vision Plans from VSP are available in every state, and make an affordable gift that will truly make a positive impact on someone’s life. To learn more, visit www.GiveVSPDirect.com.

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The case for taking your kids to a sex-ed class to supplement their learning

After nearly a decade of sitting in the therapist office as a marriage and family counselor, I'm pretty comfortable talking about sex. And I'm pretty comfortable talking to my kids about sex as well. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are comfortable talking about it, too. We have frank and open conversations in our house about all things human sexuality, from puberty to consent. But the kids are still very squirmy about it . . . and often try to cut the conversation short.

There is an organization in Orange County called Birds and Bees Connection that exists to help parents in having these conversations with their kids. hey have classes for all ages and genders, including a series on sex.

My daughter and I are took a puberty class with Birds and Bees Connection on Saturday morning. She was initially NOT THRILLED but Leslie Dixon, the teacher and founder, was so dynamic that she ended up having a lot of fun with the other girls.

The format was brilliant - it was set up as a mother-daughter tea and the girls were invited to read and participate. I found that India knew a lot of the information, but it was hugely valuable to hear it from someone else and to be in a group of peers where these topics were normalized. Her anxiety about puberty went way down after this class.

Mark and the boys also did a class together. It was the next age level up . . . a four session class on all things sex. They covered puberty, hygiene, peer pressure, sex, and respect. 

These classes are such a great way to download all the information tweens need to walk into adolescence with confidence. If you are local to Orange County I can't recommend them enough.

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That's What SHE Said

Here are some of things I read this week that made me think. (These are just snippets – click on the title to read the whole thing).

“Winter was on its way. The Standing Rock community’s tents and summer tipis would not work in 20-below weather. A call went out from the Red Warrior Women’s Media Collective for donations of winter housing, something the rural Oregon forest community knew it could provide.”

What It's Like To Go Without Complaining For A Month from Jessica at FastCompany

“Griping comes naturally for us. During an average conversation, we lob complaints at each other about once a minute, according to research. There’s a social reason for that. ‘Nothing unites people more strongly than a common dislike,’ says Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps. 'The easiest way to build friendship and communicate is through something negative.’”

“Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there,” the researchers wrote. “Our work shows the opposite.”

“In the middle of an Ikea store in Norway, between displays of comfortable, modern furnishings stood a strikingly small, almost empty room with naked cement walls. The display, only 25 square meters, was meant to transport customers thousands of kilometers away, to Damascus – to the world of Rana, a Syrian mother raising four children, as war rages around her.”

‘McCabe used mathematical models to examine the friendship structures of 67 students on a Midwestern college campus, aiming to figure out how those structures influenced success in the classroom. In doing so, she also drew out three distinct models of friendship—unlikely to be limited to college students alone. According to McCabe, people tend to be one of the following three types of friendship-makers….”

An Honest Museum Audio Tour from River at The New Yorker

“Here it is, the “Mona Lisa.” You woke up early for this. You waited in line for almost an hour. You’re now surrounded by seventy people, all trying to catch a glimpse of it. One of them just elbowed you while taking a photograph of it. It’s behind a lot of glass. It’s not very big. What I’m trying to say is: it’s O.K. to feel disappointed.”

My Credit Card Debt Isn’t a Secret, I Just Don’t Discuss It from Haley at Man Repeller

“Once I was at a Thanksgiving party and everyone was complaining about their hired help and how much it costs. Someone asked me how much I paid and I was like, “I don’t have a housekeeper.” I felt so much rage. I remember thinking, “You guys are so insanely clueless that you would assume everyone in this room could afford help.” They aren’t bad people – they’re good people! But they have no concept. No knowledge of what my financial situation would even be like.”

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