As the year winds down and Christmas is near I was thinking back to how different past Christmases were. The pandemic has certainly tried our patience at best and brought some empty chairs to many holiday tables at worst. With Santa Claus visits done from behind plexiglass and holiday parties taking place over Zoom it's been hard for a lot of people to feel the spirit.

This won't last forever. And I tried cheering myself up last night looking at old photos of all my kids' first Christmases. When my mind turned back to work, I thought about some things I put here on the Deminski & Doyle page at Christmastime. With the way website redesigns and updates work a lot of them just aren't around anymore. But here are a few I liked that I wanted to share.

First, this is a video that had me literally laughing until I cried the first time I saw it. It's of a mall Santa trying to make a grand entrance by repelling down from a high floor into center court. Let's just say things don't go as planned. My favorite part of this is how the perky, everything is awesome woman on the p.a. system never breaks character nor admits this epic fail.

Here's a little personal thing I shared a few years back. Everyone makes their own homemade Christmas cards now. The internet has made it easy. But when you have a crazy couple that are loveable weirdos, this is the kind of homemade Christmas card you get from Michigan.

Every year, Bill Doyle and I have a long-standing tradition of playing a rendition of Oh Holy Night that always gets the phones ringing, and not in a good way. It's a joke people! A guy name Steve Mauldin claims to be the real singer behind this mystery, but no one has ever seemed to know for sure. If this were The Masked Singer, you'd say put the mask back on. Here it is in all its awfulness.

Finally, something beautiful instead of funny. A young girl who has autism was part of a choir. Her name is Kaylee Rodgers and she spoke very little and was quite withdrawn as is common with autism, but her choir director saw her ability and worked with her. She was given the chance to perform Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and to say it is angelic and mesmerizing does not begin to do it justice. In an ugly year, if it's been hard to find the Christmas spirit, watch her performance and think about the hidden beauty within all of us. Merry Christmas.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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