Christmas countdown includes Santa, gremlins, Willie Nelson

On the 12th day of Christmas, Netflix gave to me “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Watch Instantly!

Christmas isn’t easy on us night shift workers. Not only do we never see daylight, we also miss all the great holiday specials. And if one does manage to be on TV in the background, the police scanner makes it hard to hear Rudolph and Hermey singing “We’re a Couple of Misfits.”

Whenever “Christmas Vacation” is on regular TV, the part where Clark goes ballistic is bleeped, sucking all of the swear-y fun out of the film. I still wanted to watch it in all of its vulgar glory.

So, imagine my glee when I found the Chevy Chase classic on Netflix instant, along with a bunch of great Christmas stuff, not the least of which is “Santa Claus: The Movie.”

“Santa Claus” was one of those massive holiday movie tie-ins of the 80s, as they had a blood pact with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to promote the movie in every corner of the earth. Despite this, I adore this movie, as it features an evil toymaker (such a delightful film trope) and lollipops that make kids fly. I suggest you queue it up, and don’t be swayed by all the elves and primary colors.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has eluded me thus far, as I only caught a closed-captioned glimpse of it at a Long John Silver’s. I missed “Frosty” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” and even the immortal “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

And, being generally a creature of the night, I still have yet to see those plucky singing and dancing Sheely’s kids in their commercials telling us that every day is a holiday, and every night a good night at Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance. Nor have I seen “A Kraynak’s Time of Year” or even the little star trying to get on top of the Eat ‘N Park tree.

I did see, however, that they CGI’d the Hershey Kisses commercial where the kisses ring like bells. That’s OK, since the original kisses are probably retired by now.

After just a few years, it seems “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” has been phased out by Comedy Central. It has Stephen Colbert and John Legend singing a sultry R&B tune about nutmeg, and Willie Nelson, so I can’t imagine why.

Also banished to the North Pole is the sorely missed California Raisins Christmas special from those weird, wacky 1980s, which was hosted by two dinosaurs for some reason and featured singing camels, Claymation and waffles, saving the Raisins for the end where they belt out a Motown version of “Rudolph.” Because, of course they do.

I was able to watch “Gremlins” on my original 1984 VHS tape (it still looks pretty good). If they made a yard decoration of the gremlins dressed up like carolers like in the movie, I would so buy that.

“A Garfield Christmas Special” awaits me on DVD, a remnant of when CBS had that spinning “special presentation” graphic before all specials. Roughly 10 sequential viewings of “A Christmas Story” await me as well.

While the season is not about TV shows and singing camels, memories of being a kid and enjoying the shows with your family builds that fuzzy warmth that fires hearts during the Christmas season.

Know where I can get some yard Gremlins? Email me at ssepanek@tribtoday. com.