I have put up a Christmas in July tree!
Those who know me well will not be surprised by this at all, since I love Christmas with the same fervour and passion that I reserve for caramel cheesecake and releases of new books by my favourite authors.
But in previous years, it’s only been sporadic since life is usually busy and getting out the tree, the lights, the tinsel and the ornaments can seem like an errand too far, even though I know I will be delighted with the result.
This year, however, I had left my Easter tree out – you don’t have one? C’mon get eggsy! – a stark white beauty that looks gorgeous as a piece of decorative art in my loungeroom.
Now, it looks even more beautiful after inspiration struck, and I draped it with vivid red tinsel and some colourful pop culture ornaments that usually only make an appearance in December.
It was simple, it’s effective and it means that I get to enjoy Christmas a second time this year (besides on this blog) with these five pieces of festive pop culture goodness …
I have said it before, and I will likely say it again but Grover is my favourite character on Sesame Street by a long way. Not only is he sweet and lovable, the kindness and most curious person you could hope to meet, but he also has a semi-secret superhero, Super Grover, who aims high as anyone in that position should, but who rarely meets those lofty expectations. But hey, he means well, and those he has now been re-tooled as Super Grover 2.0, with a whole livery, he remains the well-meaning but clumsy defender of every Muppet kid who ever needed a helping hand in Metro City.
Poor old Marvin the Martian. Making his first appearance in the Looney Tunes short, “Haredevil Hare” in 1948, and modelled on the Roman god Mars, Marvin is as serious and dedicated as they come, determined to wipe Earth from the solar system map because, and I quote, “it obstructs my view of Venus”. But he’s never successful, all of his foiled plans usually followed by a plaintive “Where’s the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom!” Battling either Bugs Bunny, who always bests him, or Daffy Duck a.k.a. Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, with whom he shares a fierce territorial rivalry, Marvin is destined to be forever the also-ran, but lovable all the same.
Telly Monster is adorable. You can probably say that about just about every character on Sesame Street but there is something about Telly that adds another compelling level of adorableness to him. Look at the fact that in his first appearances in the show, he did his best to befriend Oscar the Grouch with whom he was often paired in segments. Described on the Muppet Wiki as “a character who always needed reassurance in order to be confident”, Telly Monster or Television Monster as he was originally conceived, is delightfully genuine and passionate, a beguiling character who is 110% into whatever he’s such that you can’t help but love him.
PEPÈ LE PEW
He is either a grand romantic or a serial pest, perspectives whose validity very much pivots on whether you are Pepé who first appeared in the 1945 Looney Tunes animated short “Odor-able Kitty”, or the retroactively-named Penelope the Pussycat who, thanks to white stripes which unaccountably appear on her previously black back, is relentlessly pursued by Pepé against her will. He is tenacious you have to hand him that, and while his insistent adoration of Penelope is kinda creepy, his unwavering belief in love and its transcendant power, pretty much triumphs over all.
“Invented and developed by George Lerner in 1949 and first manufactured and distributed by Hasbro in 1952” (Wikipedia), Mr Potato Head is a toy who, largely thanks to Pixar and the Toy Story franchise (where he was voiced by Don Rickles until his death in 2017), has come to be one of the most-loved retro playthings out there. Now joined by Mrs Potato Head, and able to add various bits and pieces to his body as needs demand, Mr Potato Head has never been out of production, and even has his own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.