What I Learned From Christmas Specials

By Gail Z. Martin

OK, I’m a total sucker for Christmas TV specials, especially the ones I grew up with as a kid.  You know—Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  All the Rankin-Bass specials with the stop-motion animation.  Once the tree is up, I want to curl up in my jammies with a bowl of popcorn and watch through all of the DVDs (and VHS) copies, preferably with my husband, kids and dog close by.  It’s just part of the holidays to me.

It occurred to me that I’ve been watching some of these specials for 40-some years (amazing that they look so good on TV screens much larger than the show’s producers ever expected).  So I guess it’s only logical that they’ve made an impression on me.  As we go through this holiday season, here are some things I’ve learned from holiday specials.

  • Even a miracle needs a hand.  (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  • Don’t judge a reindeer by his nose (Rudolph)
  • You can be whatever you want to be—even if you’re an elf who wants to be a dentist (Rudolph)
  • Don’t overlook the needs of others in your rush for the perfect holiday (Berenstain Bears)
  • We all need a little Christmas, right this very moment (Muppet Christmas)
  • Bumbles bounce (and so can you)  (Rudolph)
  • Learn to love your noisy neighbors (Grinch)
  • See with your heart, not just your head (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  • Buy presents early to avoid mayhem (Jingle All the Way)
  • Count roll before leaving on vacation (Home Alone 1, 2, 3)
  • Don’t plug in too many Christmas lights (Christmas Vacation)
  • Keep the cat away from the Christmas tree (Christmas Vacation)
  • People matter more than profit (A Christmas Carol)

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be merry and bright.

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