By Jill Simeone -
One of the things I love about this season is watching my little kids enjoy the same holiday traditions I loved as a child. Perhaps top of my list was the thrill and expectation of waiting for and watching Christmas Specials on TV.
Of course in the 70's, it was much more of a high-stakes game. Every Sunday starting Thanksgiving weekend, I would dig the TV guide out of the newspaper and comb through it for listings of Christmas shows. My mom marked the shows on the kitchen calendar, and I staked out the TV hours in advance, making sure I didn't miss it. At school, we discussed upcoming shows, cross-checking our lists to make sure we didn't miss "Charlie Brown" in our ferver over "Rudolph". And then the night would come...a show would broadcast once...we'd lean into the TV and sing the theme song in earnest...and then in 22 minutes (plus some commercial interruptions) it would, like Santa's sleigh, disappear again into the mist of the night, not to be seen again 'till the next year.
The invention of VCRs, DVDs and other recording devices has dramatically changed the experience of watching TV Christmas Specials. They are now ubiquitous. Every day I come home and my kids are engrossed in "Frosty the Snowman" or "The Year without a Santa Claus"...there are even some B shows that I never knew existed that have made it onto our DVDs as so-called bonus features.
One result of watching these shows over and over again is that you actually start to listen to them. And the underlying messages in a bunch of them is sort of....err....off target for today's sensibilities.
The worst is Rudolph. The Land of Misfit Toys? The ostracized "different" (read: gay) elf? Adult deer (including Rudolph's parents) allowing the young reindeer to bully and humiliate Rudolph? Even the defeat of the snow monster (by pulling out all of his teeth, instead of, for example befriending him) seems uncharitable in the context of a holiday story.
The other thing that is odd is how many of these shows focus on proving Santa is real to the doubters. But my kids are little and had no doubts about Santa at all. In fact, it had never occurred to them that anyone doubted Santa...until they saw these shows a few times. Geejsh!
So what's good in Xmas TV land?
Once again, I love the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" 1966 TV Special, which was narrated by Boris Karloff and features some fabulous original songs. The animation expands beautifully on the images in the original book. The message is that Christmas is about more than just presents, but without heavy-handed religious assertions, a delicate balance. My heart grows three sizes each time I watch it.
On this note, we want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season as well as a safe and festive New Year. The Cozy Owl team is taking the next week off...to spend time with family, what else!?
We want to thank all of you for your support, comments...and for coming back and bringing friends too.
Cozy Owl has more exciting content lined up for 2012...and we are excited to hear your resolutions and what you'd like to see from us too. We look forward to sharing another year with you...feathering the nest to raise bright happy kids.