Sunday, June 30, 2019

Christmas in July 2019: Tom Beiter


Christmas in July 2019: Tom Beiter

1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch? 



Since you took the "Lost Ending of It's a Wonderful Life," I'll have to go with the Christmas Album commercial parody, "A Dysfunctional Family Christmas" featuring such songs as “Can't You Let It Drop, It’s Christmas,” “What I Want You Can’t Buy Me,” “Fruitcake And Shame,” “Why Am I The Only One Who Knows What Christmas Really Means?” and my favorite "Daddy's Nose is Red and Runny."




2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?



I think the Specials bring back more memories for me.  The Homecoming, The House Without a Christmas Tree, and JT put me back into my 5 year-old self in the early 70's.  I would also include the Christmas episodes of popular television shows of the early 70's that do the same, particularly the Happy Days episode "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas."



3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)  

It has to be Vince Guaraldi's score for A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The instrumental version of "Christmastime is Here" and his slower rendition of "O Tannenbaum" (before it breaks into a livelier jazz version) stand out. These always make it feel like Christmas for me.


4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?

I had a hard time finding one you haven't reviewed. Since you've covered most that I could think of, how about either A Family Circus Christmas featuring that creepy Grandpa Ghost or a more modern one (although it's nearly 20 years old now!) like Spongebob Squarepants' "Christmas Who?"


5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?

What stands out to me is the loss of the Christmas Variety Special. Maybe we're too hip for them these days, but in addition to the traditional Bing Crosby and Andy Williams Christmas Specials, there were always ones hosted by popular figures of the day like The Carpenters, Sonny and Cher or Donnie and Marie that I enjoyed. I think there's a lack of celebrities these days that could pull off shows that corny/innocent. I know Michael Bublé has done some and as much as I enjoy his music, the specials feel forced and more like an imitation of those classic shows.


Ottawa/Christmas Records--Part 4

Downtown Ottawa--the capital city of the country.

After the DegrassiPalooza TV fan convention two weeks ago in Toronto, I headed east to visit Christmas music collector Jeff Fox in Ottawa. Jeff also runs the website Name That Christmas Special.com. As you can imagine, we have a lot in common. Miss my post on DegrassiPalooza? Click HERE to see it again. You may remember that I visited Jeff three years ago--HERE's that post again. Like last time, we spent a good amount of our time together shopping for Christmas music and thrifting.


Joanna and Jeff--June 2019

Interested in seeing what I was able to find during this trip? I always love hearing your comments about my growing Christmas music collection so please feel free to comment below. Want to see more of my Christmas music collection? I focus on collecting Christmas music with a TV or film connection. Check out these past links:

Christmas Records in Detroit
Christmas Records-Part 1
Christmas Records-Part 2
Christmas Records-Part 3
Christmas Music on CDs




My Christmas record collection of Rankin/Bass soundtracks is nearly complete. I was very excited to acquire 1976's Frosty's Winter Wonderland animated TV special soundtrack. Now all I need is the soundtrack to 1969's Frosty the Snowman. I think I have all the others. I didn't find this one--Jeff was kind enough to know I was looking for it and set it aside for me. Thanks Jeff!

(1965)

Despite the age and wear on the cover, I'm excited to add this record to my collection. The music is as the cover claims--it's organ and chimes arrangements of holiday favorites but that Hanna-Barbera cover with The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, Top Cat, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Snaggle Puss really makes this album a keeper. Thanks again to Jeff for sharing this with me.


(1976)
Christmas with Robert Shaw conducting The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus may not be attractive to every Christmas record collector, but to me it's a nice addition. I just saw an episode of American Masters on PBS about Robert Shaw and he impressed me as an artist. I also know that there's a Christmas TV special on PBS with Shaw conducting the orchestra and chorus as well. This recorded performance IS NOT from that TV special but still, I wanted this recording. When I saw that the track listings included "Introduction, March and Shepherd's Dance" from the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, I knew this used LP was coming home with me.


(1964)

This is the record that I'm most excited about. I'm so pleased with myself for finding it! This is the soundtrack to the 1963 TV special The Story of Christmas with Tennessee Ernie Ford. The cover even includes a still from the animated segment in the TV special about the Nativity. The 18-minute, minimally animated segment was created by Eyvind Earle, an accomplished artist who also worked for Walt Disney on Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and other noteworthy projects. The soundtrack also includes Ford sharing the story "Little Gray Donkey," a memorable Christmas story written by Charles Tazewell. (Tazewell is also known for writing "The Littlest Angel.") Have you seen the 1963 TV special? It has been officially released on DVD by the estate of Ford. It's classic Christmas on TV and may be most attractive to people looking for more religious content in their entertainment.


various CDs

I also brought home numerous Christmas CDs. Four of them can be seen above. Top left is the 2011 re-issue of The Muppets: A Red and Green Christmas. I'm excited that one of the bonus tracks is a song from the 2008 TV special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. Whheee! Top right is the 1993 Christmas album by Boyz II Men. Their single "Snow" appears in the 1993 episode “Twas the Night Before Christening" on the comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Bottom right is Medieval Carols recorded by a chorus in England. I was interested in this because the chorus performs "Riu riu chiu" a Spanish carol with gorgeous harmonies. You may have heard the song before--it was also performed by The Monkees in their 1967 Christmas episode. And, bottom left is the album of Christmas in Vienna IV from 1997 featuring Placido Domingo, Ying Huang, and Michael Bolton. The original concert aired as a Christmas TV special on PBS.


California Raisins figures, dated 1988 and 1989.


Spending time in used record and thrift stores throughout Ottawa, I couldn't help but stumble across other items and media attractive to Christmas collectors. We found a bag of plastic figures, each about 3 inches tall, of the California Raisins. These characters came to life in TV commercials and the 1987 TV special Claymation Christmas Celebration. The stop-motion holiday special was animated by the claymation master Will Vinton. The California Raisins appear in the final segment, singing "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer" in their own unique R&B/Motown style. It was the 80s--a lot of weird stuff happened!


I found lots of cheap, public domain VHS copies of It's a Wonderful Life (made before the rights were reclaimed!)






both books from 2000.




I also picked up a hardbound storybook and a paperback novelization of The Grinch from the 2000 theatrical release movie.


1995




We found a cookbook filled with recipes inspired by the 1995 theatrical release film Home for the Holidays, directed by Jodie Foster. Remember this Thanksgiving movie? It's not exactly a feel-good movie. I love that a cookbook was made to promote it.


Two-for-One Christmas Fun (1995)




Jeff shared with me a 1995 Christmas novelization from the TV sitcom Full House featuring the middle sister Stephanie. It pairs nicely with the Michelle book I already own.


(2007)

I'm also pleased to add this paperback book to my Christmas book collection: Peter Griffin's Guide to the Holidays. The Family Guy holiday book pairs nicely with The Simpsons Christmas book already in my collection.

My luggage was FULL coming back into the States. Hilariously, the bag of plastic California Raisins set off alarms at TSA screening in the airport. They inspected my suitcase and pulled out the raisins--I saw the inspector start laughing when she realized what had been red-flagged as "suspicious." They immediately sent me right through!

What's in your Christmas music collection? Got any Christmas LPs or CDs with a film or TV tie-in?



Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her most recent book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com




Friday, June 28, 2019

DegrassiPalooza 2019

Are you a fan too? This 80s TV series still has quite a few nostalgic devotees.
 
I took my summer vacation early this year. Two weeks ago I was in Toronto at a TV fan convention for Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. The weekend of events was called DegrassiPalooza and was organized by Pat Mastrioanni, the actor who played Joey Jeremiah. Pat explained that he spent his high school years on set with the large cast and more recently has been feeling nostalgic himself. He wanted to see his old friends and decided it might be cool to invite a limited number of devoted fans to the reunion too. That was the impetus behind DegrassiPalooza and when I heard this was happening, I knew I wanted to be there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'd like to share.


event program

If you read my review of the 1988 Christmas episode of Degrassi Junior High (read it again HERE), you know that this TV series was a joint production between the CBC in Toronto and PBS through Boston. I originally watched it on PBS in the late 80s and have been a fan ever since. I consider myself a fan of not only Junior High and High, but I've also followed along and seen all of Next Generation and Next Class as well. This reunion was just for the cast and fans of the earlier series. Nonetheless, there were 21 original cast members and 4 creatives in attendance at DegrassiPalooza. There were panel discussions, photograph sessions, autograph signings, and more. This was really an immersive experience. There was certainly more activities and things to see than any one person could possibly do. I'll share with you how I was able to participate.


Our tour guide was Pat Mastrioanni.

DegrassiPalooza was Saturday and Sunday (June 15-16) but I flew into Toronto a couple days early. I was there, in my hotel bar--along with everyone else in the hotel--watching the final game in the NBA championship when the Toronto Raptors won the big game! I already felt like I was in the right place at the right time. On Friday I was on a special bus tour that took us to several of the shooting locations of the Degrassi series. Our tour bus guide? None other than Joey Jeremiah himself.


Degrassi is a real street in Toronto.

Where Degrassi Junior High was shot.

A third stop took us to Centennial College where Degrassi High was shot. It looks remarkably the same.

In front of Degrassi High--can you spot me? (I'm sitting cross-legged in the front).

If you've seen the series, you know that the schools are as familiar as any of the students or teachers. Just seeing the exterior of the building used for Degrassi Junior High--which is now a daycare center--seemed pretty exciting. But when we arrived at the building used for Degrassi High, we were permitted to go inside and look around as well. We were joined by a surprise guest: Darrin Brown who played the bully Dwayne. It was a special treat to hear Pat and Darrin (Joey and Dwayne) reminisce about shooting scenes together, especially the scene in which Dwayne smashes Joey's face into the door, and the more tender scene in which Dwayne gives Joey $314 so he'll keep the secret that Dwayne was HIV positive. (Yeah--this 80s teen drama goes there).


Inside Degrassi High, the ramp is still there and the open second floor.

Joey and Dwayne reminisce about their high school days.
With Darrin Brown (Dwayne)

I HAD to get a photo of the lockers--that's where all the good conversations in the series took place.
The infamous cafeteria. Everyone joked that Joey needed to keep his clothes on.
Hanging out in the quad. Niners are not welcome!

One of my favorite moments on the tour was when our large group was walking down a hallway. Centennial College was open that day and we were instructed to keep our voices down so we wouldn't disrupt the students. With our tour guides at the front of the group I was lagging behind talking photos and soaking up the environment when a door opened and a college instructor stuck her head out. "Was THAT Joey Jeremiah?" she asked. I replied that it WAS! That teacher and few others all left their classrooms and followed along with the tour. It was cool to see how excited someone besides our fan group would get on our tour.

Joanna and Joey Jeremiah.

After the bus tour, I felt like my trip was already worth it. But the convention didn't officially start until the next day! On the first day of DegrassiPalooza, I attended the Grand Panel in the morning which was an introduction of all 21 cast members, and the 4 creative members (Kit Hood-creator, Yan Moore-writer, Kathryn Ellis-publicist, and Judy Shiner-art department/wardrobe). I got a photo-op with Amanda Stepto, and had a special lunch. The Lunch Event was like speed dating, except one of the celebrities would change tables every 8 minutes or so, while we got to eat. It was a unique opportunity to spend a little quality time with some of the cast. My lunch brought me conversations with the actors who played Shane, Liz, Nancy, Michelle, and Diana. That was pretty cool. After lunch, I got Cathy Keenan's autograph (Liz), and attended a panel with the creatives talking about their work on Degrassi, a panel with Spike, Liz, Shane, Amy, and Diana, followed by another panel with Joey, Snake, Yick, Caitlin, and Tessa.

Amanda Stepto played Christine/Spike on the series.

Cathy had that Chelsea haircut that drew me into watching the show back in the 80s.

By the end of the day, I was overwhelmed with more opportunities. So I took a leisurely dinner and saved my energy for the 80s Dance Party in the evening. I kid you not, when I arrived, Mr. Raditch (Dan Woods) was deejaying the music!? Fans of the show know how fantastic that is. I was on the dance floor quite a bit but also introduced myself to some of the others that had come from all over Canada, throughout the United States, and all over the world for this unique fan event. Coming from Ohio, I thought I had come quite a distance but there were three people (not together) who came from Australia. There were two (not together) who came from Switzerland, one from Hawaii, and there were quite a few who came from California. All of those fans definitely came farther than I did. But we all had one thing in common: we were touched by the stories and characters in this 80s teen drama.

A cookie made by Nancy.

Feeling brain dead, I kept my participation to a minimum on Sunday. I attended a Wellness panel discussion with Cathy Keenan (Liz) who lead the group in a movement class--which was fantastic. I also attended a Cannabis 101 panel (it's legal in Canada now) led by Rebecca Haines-Saah (Kathleen) which was interesting. I also bought a Degrassi cookie from professional baker Arlene Lott (Nancy). Later in the day, I traveled to Ottawa--more about that soon!

If you follow me on Instagram (@TistheSeasonTV) then you've probably already seen most of these photos. If you're a fan of Degrassi Junior High and High, you are welcome to follow the hashtags #degrassitour and #degrassipalooza to see everyone else's photos too. Thanks for letting me share.


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her most recent book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Christmas in July 2019 ANNOUNCEMENT




Happy Summer! The annual Christmas in July party I host each year on this blog is happening soon. If you've been around awhile, you may remember that each year the summer time party is a little different. I try to do something special in July each year because we all get very busy in December and it's fun to have a get-together when we aren't in the midst of the holiday season. This is the sixth year we've come together to do this--THANK YOU for joining in again!




This year I'd like to repeat the mini-questionnaire as a way to spark a dialogue and to have everyone get to know each other  better. I was inspired to try this approach from what I saw (and participated in) quite a few years ago on the website Kindertrauma. With their blessing, I've adapted the questionnaire to fit our needs. We did this last year too--remember all the fun answers?  Click on the links to see the 2014 recap, the 2015 recap, the 2016 recap, the 2017 recap, and the 2018 recap.





This is how we do it: Answer the following five questions as completely or as briefly as you like.  Everyone is invited to take part--long-time readers, other bloggers, casual TV fans, or just the curious passer-by.  ****Everyone should feel free to join the Christmas in July party.******

Copy + Paste the questions below in an email, answer them, and email it back to me.  Send your responses in immediately and I'll email you back with a number. That number is your confirmation that I received your answers and it is your place in the queue. I will begin posting the responses starting on July 1st--and roll them out in the order received. (DON'T put your responses to the questions in the comments below--email them in). Email your responses to: joanna @ 1701 press dot com

Don't worry about photos either--I'll take care of that. And, duplicate answers are part of the party experience--don't exert too much effort trying to find rare examples for your answers. If you want to change your answers after you email them to me--please resist the urge. Instead, add comments to your own post when it goes up in July.




The Christmas in July party is supposed to be fun and entertaining so don't sweat your responses.  Don't spend hours on it--just go with the responses that come easily. Get creative and have fun with it!

If you think you need a little help, feel free to flip through your dog-eared copy of the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV--or put a copy on hold at your local library. You can also use the search box on this website (not easily visible on a mobile device but it is top right of the screen for computers) or click through the archives on this website (along the sidebar on the right).  Christmas TV memories will come flooding back, I'm sure.



Whether you send in a response or not, please feel free to follow along throughout the month of July.  Reading other people's responses is half the fun. I want to encourage everyone to leave comments too--it makes people feel good to know their entry is being read by others. If you like, please use the Christmas in July 2019 badge on your website or social media posts to let others know what you are up to!


2019 Christmas in July badge




Let's get this party started:

Christmas in July 2019: (insert your name--and your website/optional)

1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch?

2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?

3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)

4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?

5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?






Since I'm hosting this party, I'll be glad to be the first one to jump in and lead by example. Isn't this fun already?

Christmas in July 2019:  Joanna Wilson from ChristmasTVHistory.com

1. What is your favorite Saturday Night Live Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's sketch?

My favorite is a silly one--I think it's from 1986. I like the alternate ending to It's a Wonderful Life. Mr. Potter (played by Jon Lovitz) is given a violent response to his greed by the angry residents of Bedford Falls. Dana Carvey as Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey and Jan Hooks as Mary are hilarious. A close second favorite is also from the 80s. It's the Gumby Christmas special with Eddie Murphy as Gumby and Joe Piscapo as his musical guest Frank Sinatra singing cartoon theme songs.

2. Do you most look forward to watching holiday episodes from series? Specials? Movies? Animation? or, all of it?

I definitely look forward to seeing all of it but I most enjoy the variety music specials. I always watch Christmas in Rockefeller Center and other music specials on PBS.

3. What's your favorite soundtrack from a holiday program? (it doesn't have to have been officially released as an album--just what program features your favorite collection of music?)

This is a tough one for me because I listen to a lot of Christmas music. But I really enjoy listening to old-fashioned music I learned about from watching Christmas variety specials, like old Perry Como, Andy Williams and Bing Crosby holiday records. Most of the Christmas songs from their variety specials they recorded for albums too so there's quite a bit of them.

4. What one program are you patiently (or impatiently) waiting for me to review on this blog?

It is weird for me to answer this question but I have been meaning to write about 1986's John Grin's Christmas for quite some time.


5. What change in Christmas entertainment have you noticed over the years? Do you like the trend?
The popularity of the formulaic, romance Christmas TV movies--the kind Hallmark Channel makes--have come to dominate the industry. Now the other networks follow the lead and make very similar romance movies. I miss the abundance of Christmas TV movies with more general topics (besides romance), such as children's stories, family issues, grieving loss, starting over, finding meaning in one's life, etc. When I look back to the Christmas TV movies aired on the major networks of the 1980s, 90s, and 00s, I see that cable networks don't make movies with general topic storylines anymore. I miss them.





Do you have any questions about Christmas in July 2019?  Ask below in the comments.

Send in your responses today!  Thanks for playing along and Merry Christmas in July.



Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her most recent book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Degrassi Junior High Christmas (1988)


These days I'm quite busy finalizing the updated, 2nd edition of the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV for its eventual publication next year (2020). I may not be writing as many essays here on the website but I'm still working hard on Christmas TV history.

Today I decided to take a break from the encyclopedia and share my thoughts on the third season Christmas episode of Degrassi Junior High entitled "Season's Greetings." Are you familiar with the Degrassi franchise? Degrassi Junior High ran for three seasons and the characters continued for two more seasons as Degrassi High. The series was a joint venture between the Canadian CBC and American PBS (WGBH in Boston). If you've never seen it before, Degrassi is a fun mix of what feels like an Afterschool Special with a teen drama. It's a one-of-a-kind, soap-style (its stories unfold across episodes and season) series that takes on topical issues for its teen characters. Most of the action on the series takes place on school grounds. Degrassi Junior High and High originally ran from 1987-91. In 2001, the franchise started again (on cable TV in the United States) as Degrassi: The Next Generation and ran for 14 season, and then Degrassi: Next Class for four more seasons, ending in 2017. I have to confess that I'm a huge Degrassi fan and have watched the entire run of the series. (I've seen it all except the precursor Kids of Degrassi Street).


Yick Yu (left) and Arthur Kobalewsky (right) in the cafeteria.

In the Degrassi Junior High third season episode "Season's Greetings," there are several storylines. The primary story is a conflict between Arthur and Yick. It's the last day of school before the holiday break and best friends Arthur and Yick want to exchange Christmas gifts. But Yick makes a comment about Arthur's family's recent windfall of money (Arthur's mother won more than a million dollars in the lottery at the start of season 3) revealing his insecurity about exchanging gifts with someone who is more wealthy. Arthur is tired of Yick's comments about his family's money and the two teens begin fighting.


Dorothy gets Yick and Arthur reminiscing about their friendship.

Arthur's younger cousin Dorothy overhears the boys arguing and tries to mediate. She reminds them about the past experiences they've shared in the two years since they met. What follows is a clip show of Arthur and Yick segments from past episodes as the boys flashback to highlights of their past adventures together.

Viewers see clips from:
--S1E1 "Kiss Me Steph" the episode in which Yick meets Arthur when he releases him from a locked janitor's closet on the first day of school.
--S1E3 "The Experiment" in which Yick turns in Arthur's sister's school paper to test the fairness of teacher Mr. Raditch's grading.
--S1E7 "The Best Laid Plans" in which Yick acquires the porn video "Swamp Sex Robots."
--S1E10 "Smoke Screen" in which Arthur accidentally breaks Yick's heirloom vase.
--S1E11 "It's Late" in which Arthur helps Yick ask Melanie out on a date for the first time.
--S2E3 "Great Expectations" in which Yick encourages Arthur to telephone talk-radio show host Dr. Sally (Sue Johanson) to ask questions about his maturing body.


Spike (blonde in center) sits with her friends at lunch worrying about the exams she just took.

In another storyline in "Season's Greetings," we see Spike in the cafeteria with her friends worrying about passing her exams. She explains since she's become a teen mother, most of her time is taken up caring for her baby and she doesn't have much time left for studying. Spike's friends remember how she was kicked out of school during her pregnancy and know how important it is for her to return and finish her education. They encourage her to hang in there despite her frustration. (Didn't I mention that this series resembles an Afterschool Special?)

Maya (foreground) and Kathleen pass through the cafeteria too.
Maya and Kathleen share a brief scene in this episode too. Kathleen asks Maya about her Christmas plans and Maya explains that she celebrates Hanukkah. Both of these characters will have more significant storylines later in the run of the series and in Degrassi High. (Maya will share more about her feelings of being a teen in a wheelchair. Kathleen will experience her mother's alcoholism, develop anorexia, and years later she'll deal with a violent boyfriend).

School maintenance worker Louella is played by Susin Nielsen--one of the series' writers!

In a minor storyline, the school furnace is broken and the heat is making everyone uncomfortable. The school maintenance worker Louella is trying to fix it but she needs a part she requested months ago in order to get the furnace working properly.


Wheels (left), Snake (center), and Joey Jeremiah (right).

Joey and Snake feel awkward around their friend Wheels. His parents were recently killed when a drunk driver hit their vehicle and Wheels is still grieving. Knowing he's having a hard time adjusting to living with his grandparents, Joey invites Wheels to come to his home for Christmas dinner.


This is the first time most of Spike's friends have seen her baby.

After she's beckoned to the principal's office, Spike returns to the cafeteria with her baby Emma. This is the first time most of her friends have ever seen or met her baby. While the teens fuss over the infant, the baby's father Shane is seated several tables over. Spike has kept Shane away from the baby--he's never even seen Emma before! He knows he's not welcome to gather with the others but he wants to meet his daughter for the first time.


Shane and daughter Emma.

With some convincing, Spike eventually allows Shane to see his daughter--she even allows him to hold the baby for the first time. This is actually a very big moment in the on-going series and an emotional point in the storyline about Spike's pregnancy and her motherhood which has been unfolding for two seasons. Degrassi series fans know that this is a pivotal moment too. The 1988 Christmas episode is Emma's first time on-screen. The character of Emma would eventually go on to inform Degrassi: The Next Generation--as the twelve year-old girl enters junior high herself!


Yick learns a lesson about gift giving and "it's the thought that counts."

The episode's story ends with Arthur and Yick reminding themselves about the good memories they've shared. They finally agree to exchange gifts. It turns out that Yick's fears of receiving an intimidating gift from his newly rich friend were unfounded--he unwraps an eyeglasses strap. It's an inexpensive gift and one he desperately needs.

Do you remember seeing this Degrassi Junior High episode from 1988? Do you have another favorite holiday episode from a teen drama? How about a favorite holiday episode from an Afterschool Special? (yes--there are several!) Feel free to share your comments below.