A Look At Christmases Past

<b>Andy Rooney</b> Takes A Look Back

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This segment was originally broadcast on Dec. 24, 2000.

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

Someone asked what I was going to do for a Christmas piece on television this year. Well, I'm not going to do a Christmas piece this year. You know how it is when you can't think of anything to give someone that you haven't given them before? That's how I feel about Christmas television pieces. Over the years, I've done a lot of them.

In 1980, I gave wrapping advice: "Cut the piece of paper so you don't waste paper. Clip it right across where you've measured it. You can save this for another present later. Then fold it over the top like this (wrapping paper too small). Well, that does happen once in awhile."

In 1981, I took on Christmas music: "No radio or television station would be permitted under the threat of revocation of its license to play "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" more than five times during any one Christmas season."

In 1983, I showed off a Christmas present I got. "I spoke to some high school kids in Hershey, Pennsylvania, last week and they sent me my first Christmas present this year: a 10-pound Hershey bar. Do you realize how much Hershey would have to pay CBS to do this if it were a commercial?"

I also once tried out stilts and a pogo stick. "When kids are playing with toys like these they aren't sitting and watching something battery run, they're doing something themselves. I suppose someone would get hurt falling off some of these things. But you can't make life completely fool proof for a child. Unfortunately a little danger is sort of fun."

During another year, I pondered the purpose of wrapping presents. "Wrapping Christmas presents is nice, but it's a strange custom when you think of it. Why is it that we get more pleasure from giving or getting a present that's temporarily concealed from our eyes than from one that isn't?"

Last year, I did gross decorations. "How would you like to live next door to some of these huge light decorations? The owners of one New Jersey home I saw must own stock in the power company. 'Honey, don't forget to turn the lights out when you come to bed.'"

That's my Christmas piece. If you don't like it, return it in the original box within 10 days and get your money back. And have a Merry Christmas, and I mean that.
By Andy Rooney