New Castle News

December 18, 2013

The Couch Potato: Keep your Elf on the Shelf, I’ll just stay ‘Home Alone’

The Couch Potato
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — We’re moving full steam ahead, right into everyone’s favorite time of the year. And unfortunately, I will admit that the old Couch Potato can be a bit of a Scrooge around the holidays.

It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, because really I do. It’s just that I hate spending money on gifts and I hate dragging tubs of decorations up from the basement. Basically, I’m cheap and lazy.

However, I’m not a total miser and finally for me, the French Fries are getting old enough to start sharing in some Christmas traditions.

But before I get into the good, I’ll start with the annoying. My wife has bought into everyone’s, seemingly all-of-a-sudden, favorite holiday custom, “Elf on a Shelf.” 

Good ole Elfie hides in a new place each night upon returning from the North Pole after informing Santa if the French Fries have been naughty or nice. Elfie may be asking Santa for a new family to check in on after this year’s events. 

My French Fry daughter is 6 and a rule-follower to a ‘T.’ She never touches Elfie and delights in his sheer existence. My French Fry son is 3 and basically has the opposite personality. 

In a rage against Mrs. Couch Potato over some perceived slight, French Fry son found Elfie playing a board game on the floor with some Barbies and other dolls, and proceeded to fling him off the nearest wall.  I suppose it was the nastiest thing he could think to do.

After a hysterical crying fit from French Fry daughter, she was finally calmed the next day when Elfie returned with a citation for French Fry son from Santa, and a clean bill of health from the North Pole Emergency Room.

Now being that I’m the Couch Potato, my favorite holiday traditions revolve around the tube.  It’s hard for me to distinguish my childhood Christmas’ from one another, because they all seemed so similar due to the television replays.

I actually looked forward to seeing the Budweiser Clydesdale horses marching down the snowy path with the horrible 1980s framing and music.  The Stetson cologne commercial in Central Park was always a classic.  And you can’t leave out the Eat’n Park Christmas tree bending over to get the star on top.

No holiday season is complete without a viewing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”  Find me a funnier character than Uncle Eddie — it’s impossible.  Best line in the movie, among many greats, is when patriarch Clark, played by Chevy Chase, tells the children that he saw a news report that Santa was in the area.  Uncle Eddie (Randy Quaid) responds in complete deadpan, “You serious, Clark?”

A holiday tradition of my very own started in the early ’90s when, every Thanksgiving night, NBC would play the classic Christmas movie, “Home Alone.”

I’d settle in with my dad, or possibly by myself, and watch the movie from beginning to end.  Every year was the same as I absolutely could not wait for the battle between 8-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) and inept burglars Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).

It was one of the only movies my parents (who were great parents, but not movie-goers) ever took me to see in theaters. 

Anyway, back to my original point. My kids are now old enough to share in some of these traditions, so this year, we all watched “Home Alone” together. I had to fast-forward through a few of the parts, but I think they got the same joy out of seeing the bad guys lose in the end.

Even if they didn’t, they’re darn well going to try to get some joy out of it next year, when I make them watch it again.