Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Chimes are Calling Santa

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.



  1. I remember figuring out when all the Christmas specials were on, too! They used to show The Sound of Music around Christmastime, I believe. And of course, A Christmas Story!!

    Just the other day the Cub Scouts went on a tour of the local fire station and my son asked the fireman if anyone ever called the fire department for a tongue frozen to a flagpole. I felt the march of generations... a new crop of kids is getting exposed to that image, which once seen can never be unseen...

    (Though no one freezes to anything in So Cal.)

    I agree; it's not as special when you can watch this stuff any time.

    Oh, and did you hear about the guy who wants to get Rudolph taken off the air because it "promotes bullying?" Times have changed...

    Great post, MaryAnn!

  2. We always watch It's A Wonderful Life and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. It's A Wonderful Life gets better every year.

    Not about Christmas, but--I remember how we looked forward to The Wizard of Oz when it was on TV each year. We cleared our calendar and had a big sleepover. Yeah, my kids don't get excited about shows like we used to.

  3. You are right. What made these "Specials" special was that you had one chance every year to see them. It is sad that the convenience of modern life robs our children of the simple joys that we had. MM

  4. I was always a big fan of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, though the yeti/abominable snowman kind of scared me when I was small.

    My other favorite Christmas story, which so far no one but me and my siblings have ever heard before, was called "The Life and Times of Santa Claus" (though I always remember it as Santa Claus Immortal, for some reason). It's a story of how Santa Claus was raised by elves, even though elves weren't supposed to adopt mortal children. Claus grows up and defeats the evil monsters who are hoarding toys. It's bizarre, but I loved it. The songs cracked me up then and now.

    Let's see.... Netflix has it on DVD, but not instant watch... here's the Amazon listing for VHS (har). http://www.amazon.com/Life-Adventures-Santa-Claus-VHS/dp/6301760344/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1324432481&sr=1-3

  5. My son asked for a bbgun this year. Of course, my response was, "No, you'll shoot your eye out," and then I giggled for about twenty minutes. One of these day's I'm going to have to educate him why "The Christmas Story" is the best movie of all time, but I have a feeling he won't love it the way I do. In fact, I'm afraid if I watch it again, I won't love it as much as I do now. It's funny how memories of stories can outstrip the power of the story itself.

    Cool post, and Happy Christmas to everybody.

  6. Just watched Rudolph with the munchkin last night - as good as ever, though it still bugs me how intolerant Santa is :)
    I love The Christmas Story. And with more than our fair share of boys in the family, may I dare say, Elf, is a hit in our home, too?

  7. I do love The Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful life too. But I didn't sit through them until I was a little older.

    But those are amazing stories.

    Thanks for commenting everyone.

    Oh, and I do love Elf. I think that will be a classic someday too.


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