We all have family traditions, or family memories that hold an undeniably special place in our hearts. It may be an ornament, a decoration, a special food item, or (in my case) a Christmas Recording.
For me, Christmas would not be Christmas without listening (at least once) to this recording.
Come on FOF, get to it already - what is this "recording" that holds so much meaning to you?
The recording that I am talking about is a vinyl LP (any one actually remember these things?) of "A Christmas Carol". It stars Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge, and is narrated by Richard Hale. This LP is one that my father purchased as a young adult when he bought his first "Hi-Fi" set.
"Frightening" in that I lost my first Grandfather at age 5. (Thus confirming I must have been listening to this recording before I was five years old) because I have memories of being scared that my grandfather would return and visit with me (Much like Jacob Marley did.)
I would (at a young age) get so frightened while listening to this record - that there were times I would close my eyes, and cover my ears, and talk to myself so I did not have to hear Jacob Marley's voice. Yet, as frightened as I was by those portions of the story, I could not resist listening to it, and even asked to "play it again".
That LP became as much a part of my Christmas as our tree, eggnog, and Santa Claus was. I would (often) listen to that LP several times a day. I am (still to this day) able to recite the script, with matching vocal expressions, word for word.
Sadly, the day came when there was no longer a record player in my or my parents house. Thankfully, my father had a friend make a copy of the LP on cassette - and that took the place of the record for many years.
Close to ten years ago, (when eBay was still "fun" to shop) out of curiosity, I ran a search - and found another copy of the record. Wanting a "back up" copy, I IMMEDIATELY put a high bid on it - and won the auction. When it arrived home - I was delighted to find that it was the EXACT same recording, in the EXACT same cover, but with a different Label and Record company.
I started getting curious, and so I started my own little "History's Mysteries" surrounding this wonderful recording. Here is what I found.
Original Record - Lion Records - L70124 - A Christmas Carol - Lionel Barrymore 
eBay purchase - MGM Records - E3222 - A Christmas Carol - Lionel Barrymore [1955-1956]
The MGM recording (eBay purchase) was the original recording of this version of "A Christmas Carol". It was sold as an MGM Labeled Record in their "E series" records.
The Lion Records version of the record was released in 1959. Lion Records was a subsidiary label of MGM Records that produced 12-inch vinyl LP's between 1958 and 1960 when it went defunct.
So, while my dad has (what is in my mind) the "original" LP, I discovered that the copy I own (the eBay purchase) is technically the "original" copy, and the LP I grew up listening to was, in reality, a re-issue.
Around that same time, I paid a co-worker (who was/is big into computers and electronic gadgets) to take my beloved LP, and make a CD version of it as a Christmas gift to my father (and as a back up copy for myself). He did an outstanding job of it - having to make several scans of the LP cover (due to it's size) and pieced them together to make a single color photo for the CD cover. It turned out BEAUTIFULLY!
My CD of "A Christmas Carol" continues to be one of my most prized possessions, and an important part of my Christmas each year!
Does my love affair with "A Christmas Carol" end there? No... No it does not. Stay tuned.