What puts you in the Holiday Spirit? What puts me in the Holiday Spirit? Honestly, as I grew up in and near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, some of my traditions are a tad different from those I live surrounded by now in Southern California. Growing up, every Holiday Season, some movies and TV shows were broadcast in Quebec for all of us to watch as an odd little community spread out over a huge, snowy territory.
Nowadays, these movies and TV shows help me get in the mood for the Holidays and as I am having a hard time getting in the Spirit this year, I figured I’d watch a bunch of them and share them with you all.
Mr. Bean TV series
Every night, around dinner time, on Radio-Canada if memory serves well, Mr. Bean would make an appearance with one episode. Of course, the Holiday episodes were the most fun to watch and seeing this goof get stuck inside a turkey or put a Dalek in the manger became a tradition. Mr. Bean is quite British in terms of humor while also being physical humor. To me, England looks so Christmassy this time of year and I associate London with the Holidays because of this tv series.
A bit later in the evening, every night from mid-ish-December on (for most of the Holiday school break), there was Ciné-Cadeau on Télé-Québec which showed a collection of films one per night. This is where most of us would tape off tv movies like the Astérix series, Tintin, Lucky Luke, Bach et Bottine, and a bunch of other ones. These holiday season special presentations had an intro which reminded you of the season and made kids pay attention. They also reran in the afternoon the next day so you could (and usually would) watch the same thing twice in 24 hours.
Just a few of their intros:
This show is something pretty much all French-Canadians (at least in Québec) grew up on for decades. Their Christmas music and Christmas specials are something that put me in a very strong Holiday Spirit still for some reason. It’s made for kids and teaches lessons, it’s won a bunch of awards through the years, and yes, it’s weird. It’s a show created in the late 70s that ran through the 90s with humans, puppets, kids showing how stuff works, songs, songs, and more songs.
Here’s a part of one of their Holiday Specials which explains some Québec traditions (in French):
Every year on the 24th of December, Radio-Canada would air Mary Poppins, dubbed in French. For this one, I shall save you all the terrible dubbing and let you see a video in its original English. This to me meant it was almost time get to bed, expect Santa, and then get ready for going to my grand-parents, 2 hours away, for the big family fun day. Many Québec kids probably remember this about the same way.
Speaking of torture, here’s a video of Céline Dion on La P’tite Vie, a French-Canadian TV show about a “typical” Montréal family being satirized to the extreme. This show is probably just funny to locals, but every time I make a friend watch it, the WTF on their face is completely worth it. In one of the show’s Christmas Specials, Céline Dion shows us and sings a parody-like song by the writers of the show which was popularized decades prior. This parody-like song is now in the traditions of many a French-Canadian.
Québec is a rather Catholic place, or was in the 80s, so a lot of what we did and watched was highly Catholic-tinged. Now if you don’t mind, I’ll go prep for a very sunny, no snow, warm Christmas.