When I was a kid, we used to find a big calendar in the newspaper marking the day, time, and channel of all our favorite Christmas specials. We would highlight all the ones we wanted to watch and all gather around the TV and watch them together. It was part of Christmas.
Now my kids have the same Christmas specials either on DVD or Netflix and can watch them whenever they want. I think this takes away some of the magic. I don't think my children love these stories the way I loved them and still love them.
Every time they are on, they never fail to fill me with the Christmas Spirit.
Here are my favorites from when I was a kid.
1. Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer: I always love stories of misfits triumphing over odds. Doesn't everyone love to cheer for the underdog? The claymation characters are adorable, and the songs are fun too.
2. Frosty the Snowman: I love how they sing the song and tell the story at the same time, and the show has the best mustache twirling, evil antagonist of all time. "We evil magicians have to make a living too," and "Sorry to lose and run, but I've got to get busy writing. Busy! Busy! Busy!" Classic.
3. Charlie Brown Christmas: It really is one long Peanuts comic strip, but who doesn't love the Snoopy dance and everyone singing "Hark the Harold Angel's Sing" with their noses up in the air. Plus it is always nice to get a reminder of what Christmas is really about.
4. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: This is by far my favorite. Dr. Seuss is of course a genius, and the songs perfectly match the amazing characters and world Dr Seuss created. The adorable dog Max was always my family's favorite.
5. Twas the Night Before Christmas: This one has the opposite message of The Grinch. The whole town whines about how they’re not going to get any presents from Santa. But despite the materialistic message, I love this story. The songs are so fun, and Albert the mouse is so cute, and it ends with that beautiful, timeless poem.
There isn't much to these stories. They are mostly just fun with simple themes and little depth (except The Grinch of course). But they take me back to a time when everything was simpler. When Christmas wasn't about shopping and baking and cleaning and stressing about getting everything done, but about counting all the presents under the tree, trying so hard to fall asleep, getting up at five AM and looking out the window hoping to see Santa fly away. When everything about Christmas was magical. These little stories make me feel that again. Remind me of the wonder and excitement and joy of Christmas.
For a story to do that, to tap into those memories and emotions, to capture the essence of Christmas, is truly amazing. That is what makes these stories classics. That is good story telling.
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
And to those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a very nice Dec. 25th.