We are now smack in the midst of the holiday season. I know this because I have been asked by my son to Tivo Rudolph, the Grinch, and Charlie Brown. There are plenty of animated TV specials on in the next few weeks, but these are the "big three" around our house when it comes to Christmas. Sure, we might take a peek at Spongebob's Holiday Special, or flip past the colorized version of "Miracle on 34th Street," but we won't stay long.
The truth is, we don't have enough time before the big day to watch all the stuff that has the stench of ice or holly or pine boughs about it. That's why we simply skip watching "Frosty the Snowman." It's a poorly animated version of a three minute song that goes on for half an hour, with commercials. I suppose the same might be said about Rudolph, but given that it's twice as long and has more laughs and heart than twenty viewings of Frosty, it's an easy choice to make.
Then there's the Grinch. Not the live-action misinterpretation directed by Opie Cunningham, but the real and true Seuss/Karloff/Jones collaboration that provides me with more joy than your standard animated special. I would happily watch any three minutes of this one than Jim Carrey flopping around in a pile of green shag carpet any day. "Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the seasick crocodile."
Then there's Charlie Brown. Chuck and I shared the same wary ambivalence about the holidays. Still, he gives it his best shot, and when that little tree collapses under the weight of the lone ornament he tries to put on it, I shared his pain. That's why it's such a relief to have Linus show up to let us all in on the true meaning of Christmas. It was a daring choice, back in 1965, not to stick with the safe and secular. Because that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
We're going to try to find some time to do something other than just watching TV in the next week or so, but if we don't answer the phone it's because we're stuck on the Island of Misfit Toys, or down in Whoville, or if we're very lucky, we'll be dancing with the gang at the rehearsal for the big Christmas Pageant.