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Holiday Meltdown

When we were young Jewish children growing up in the 1970’s, there weren’t any Hanukkah TV specials. We watched all the traditional Christmas animated shows like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Back in those days, we didn’t have DVRs. We didn’t even have VCRs. When a show was on TV, you watched it.  Since we only had four TV channels to choose from, holiday shows were on once for the entire year. There were no 24 hour long marathons of A Christmas Story or Elf. If Rudolph flew off in December 1977, you could kiss him goodbye until 1978. When the holiday specials were on, it was imperative to have your tiny, pre-teen ass glued to the seat in front of the TV. Perhaps if the shows had been on more than once a year, my mother in law would have been able to preview them to avoid a traumatic childhood experience that scarred my husband well into his adult years.

Unaware of the horror he was about to witness, the young version of Oregano sat down to watch “Frosty the Snowman,” one of the few holiday cartoons that wasn’t entirely Santa-centric. He happily watched the show until Frosty made the fateful decision to enter the greenhouse where he shortly thereafter dissolved into an amorphous puddle of water studded with the accessories he had been wearing.


Let’s digress for a moment to consider the foolishness of a man whose entire existence is predicated on being frozen choosing to enter a greenhouse. While his altruistic motives to warm the cold, little girl who had followed him northward were admirable, Frosty should have exercised a bit of self-preservation and not stepped into the hot house with her. He knew he was being pursued by an evil magician trying to reclaim his magic hat. Deciding to step into a hot house even for just a minute while evil lurked close behind was not the wisest choice any right-minded snow person would make.

When all that was left on the screen was a puddle where the portly snowman had been, poor six-year-old Oregano began bawling uncontrollably. My horrified mother in law jumped up from the couch and did what any protective mother would do when her child was in distress. She dashed across the room and switched off the TV. Remember, this was back in the days before remote controls. If you wanted to turn off the TV to stop your child from viewing the atrocity of a beloved snowman liquefying before his eyes, you had to actually walk clear across the room to do so. The horror – how did we live like that?

She soothed a distraught Oregano then tucked his exhausted little body into bed. Thankfully, the nightmare of what he had witnessed did not haunt his dreams.

That was the last encounter my husband had with the animated version of Frosty until we were married and he was 26 years old. One night during December, “Frosty the Snowman” popped up on the TV screen as I was channel surfing. I left it on for a few minutes and Oregano looked up at me and said, “How can you watch this? It’s horrible.”

“Well, it’s from 1969 so the animation leaves something to be desired compared to today, but it is nostalgic,” I answered.

“I’m not talking about the animation. I can’t believe they let this snowman just die. It’s supposed to be a children’s cartoon,” he said angrily.

I looked at him like he was insane. I couldn’t understand his reaction to such an innocuous cartoon. “What are you talking about? This is “Frosty the Snowman,” not some horror show.”

“I know. I watched this when I was a kid and it traumatized me. When he melted, I was upset and crying so hard, my mother had to turn off the TV to calm me down.”

“You never watched it again after that?” I asked.

“No. She wouldn’t let me watch it and, to be honest, I never had a desire to watch it again. Why would I? It’s not exactly a fond memory,” he replied.

I was stunned and looked at him in disbelief. “So you’re telling me that in the past 20 years, you’ve never seen this entire cartoon. No one has discussed it with you and you don’t know what happened to Frosty?”

“I already told you. No!  He melted! That’s how it ended,” he was getting irritated with me.

“I think it might be time for some Frosty therapy. Let’s watch the show together. If you start to cry, I promise I’ll turn off the TV.”

He reluctantly agreed mostly because that was the only TV we had in our apartment and I wasn’t relinquishing the remote control.

As the show continued, I watched Oregano’s reactions to it. Finally, near the end of the show, the dreaded scene appeared on the screen. The little girl wept into the puddle that was once Frosty while a montage of Frosty’s happier, more frozen times flashed across the screen as Jimmy Durante was singing. Oregano glared at me.

“I don’t understand how this is appropriate for kids.” He was truly annoyed.

“Despite how pissed you are at me, you seem to be holding up rather well. Just hang in there a few more minutes and I think you’ll feel better.” I cajoled him.

Reluctantly, Oregano sat there and waited. Santa arrived on screen, threw open the door to the greenhouse and comforted the little girl weeping over the puddle. He reminded her that Frosty was made of Christmas snow which is, as we all know, more magical than everyday snow. At that moment, a cold north wind blew into the greenhouse. Frosty’s puddle of magical, melted Christmas snow transformed him back into his more solid self. Without the hat though, he was lifeless. Santa threatened the evil magician with permanent banishment to the naughty list if he tried to take Frosty’s hat again. As soon as the hat was placed on his refrozen head, Frosty returned to life, hopped into Santa’s sleigh and they headed for the frigid safety of the North Pole.

As the final song played including the lyrics, “Don’t you cry I’ll be back on Christmas Day,” Oregano turned to me with a look of utter shock and disbelief.

“Holy shit! He comes back to life?! Is this a different version than the one we watched in the 70’s? I had no idea!”

“It’s a Christmas miracle!” I exclaimed as I switched off the TV and headed to bed. My work here was done.



About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

31 responses »

  1. We only had 3 tv stations – 2 of which got a clear picture with rabbit ears.
    Just running back by to wrap the holidays up
    Waiting for sunset on Christmas Eve is like standing toes-over-the-edge on a high diving board.
    Every year we’d cruise casually by the window to keep an eye on the sun’s progress until it was officially evening.
    Then the shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” would ring out.
    You see, the traditions says that the first person to voice that phrase on Christmas Eve to another would be graced with good fortune and joy all the next year.
    (And of course, whomever was first won. Everything was a contest…)
    It’s more difficult to be first now with caller ID.
    As all those who have become my friends in blogland are spread widely across time zones, I’d like to wish you all “Christmas Eve Gift” now.
    And as I already feel so fortunate to have such wonderful readers and writers in this neighborhood, I wish to share any phrase acquired good fortune and joy with you in thanks.
    No matter where you are or what you are guided by, hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year full of adventure and joy.
    Peace on earth and goodwill towards all creatures great and small.

    • Thanks for sharing such a sweet story about your Christmas tradition. “Christmas Eve Gift” to you, too. The older I get the more I realize how much more valuable friendship and kind words. They are gifts we have to enjoy all year long. Wishing you and all you love a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy 2017.

      • Time for more fireworks! (At least in blog neighborhoods there’ little worry of drunk drivers…writers, maybe HA HA
        Wishing you miles of smiles, intriguing wanderings, and lots of wonder in the New Year! Cheers and onward with spirit, courage, and hope.

      • I couldn’t possibly say Happy New Year as eloquently as you did. Nevertheless, my sentiments are the same. Here’s to a positive new year filled with love and joy.

  2. Like Frosty, here you are!
    (Facebook is scary, not Frosty – but had to laugh he never heard the ending of the song/show. You’ve once agains set things right with the world. Welcome back)

  3. Back to your blog after a long time. Reading this post just made me realise why I began following Good Humored in the first place. 🙂

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Wow, and to think that his mother inadvertently scarred him for life, thinking she was helping…
    Glad to see your post!: )

  5. I didn’t know you were blogging! You must have fallen off of my WP reader feed. Glad I found you (and I read your orange cat post — always wanted an orange cat but I am terrified of pet stores on the weekend).

  6. LOL……….loved it! I’ve told you several times that you were a therapist in another life…..

  7. Those candles burning for eight days got nothing on that puddle of Frosty. 🙂 Nice post. – Marty

  8. Every year they have the “Santa Claus Lane Parade” down in Los Angeles. One year we rushed home (or should I say I forced my parents to rush home ) so I could see this annual tradition on TV, the one and only time it aired that year. Then the cable went out. Boy, was I the eight year old equivalent of POed!! My Mom even called a friend who lived a couple of blocks away to see if I could watch it there, but their cable was out, too. These are my kind of “I walked 20 miles to school up hill both ways” stories for my kids.

    • Great story! You are right. To younger people, the idea of no DVR, no remote control and only 4 channels is the equivalent of the tales we were told. I live on the east coast so my parents and grandparents walked 20 miles to school uphill both ways while in a snowstorm.

  9. The movie was really the (government’s) first attempt to indoctrinate the next generation to the perilous effects of “greenhouse gases.” Santa Claus was actually portrayed by the head of the EPA and demonstrated that his intervention could save mankind from climate change. The evil magician was play by, you guessed it, Donald (and I don’t mean the duck), who tried to convince everyone that Frosty’s “melt down” was really just a conspiracy and that Frosty’s legacy would soon just “evaporate into thin air.”

  10. What a wonderful story. I wonder how many other traumatized folks are out there. Imagine — no remote control!

    Nice to see you in this space!

  11. Hope you are doing well! It was such a nice surprise to see your blog again. Paula

    Sent from my iPad


  12. Welcome back!!! I’ve missed your stories….


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