If you're like me, Christmas is about kids. Your own kids, certainly. But also the kid in you. For me, Christmas is about memories of Christmases past; and my ideas about what Christmas is and how it should be celebrated are strongly influenced by the way we did Christmas when I was a kid. I suppose it says a lot about the times we live in (or grew up in), but two of my most cherished Christmas memories come from the world of television. I watched a lot of "Christmas Specials" as a kid, but two of them have really stuck with me through the years.
The first is Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. "Grinch" is excellent from start to finish, but two scenes are my particular favorites. The first scene is not as much about Christmas as it is about the nature of evil. I remember as a kid being amazed at how clever and quick the evil Grinch was, but also unnerved by how cold hearted he was. How could he do that to little Cindy-Lou Who?
Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.Man, anybody who could steal Little Cindy-Lou Who's Christmas tree after looking into those innocent eyes is a heartless bastard. And I'll never forget "that old Grinch was so smart and so slick - He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!"
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will stuff up the tree!"
And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this little Who daughter
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,
"Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?"
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
"I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent he to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Who went to bed with her cup,
HE went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!
But of course the message of "Grinch" is not that the Grinch was a bad guy (though he was), but that Christmas was more than trees and presents.
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
And what happened then...?
Well...in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
The Grinch ...
carved the roast beast!
The other classic Christmas special that has stayed with me is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Even after all these years it's probably the best Christmas special ever done. Many speculate that given the sectarian political correctness that has overtaken our country, there is no way such a blatantly Christian Christmas special would be produced today. Happy non-denominational agnostic Winter holiday to all of you!
Charlie Brown Christmas did a wonderful job skewering the commercialization of Christmas before it became fashionable to do so. Nobody can forget Charlie Brown's pitiful little Christmas tree amidst the splendor of the multi-color aluminum trees on sale at the local lot.
But of course the highlight of the show was Linus explaining to a confused and depressed Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas.
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."
"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
No doubt there will be trees and presents and roast beast, but in the true spirit of the season OC Domer wishes all of our readers from near and far (I'm talking to you, Poland) a very Merry Christmas!