year Beloved Girlfriend and I set aside two or
three nights leading up to Xmas Eve and wallow
in the nostalgia of seasonal-themed videos. I
know you probably don't care but the following
is a list of what we favor in no particular
order... save one. More about that in a minute.
(1) Die Hard: Yes, the original Bruce Willis
classic. In case you forgot, it's set at Xmas
time. Although there are no Christian lessons
to be learned from this movie, other than "shoot
all the bad guys", it affords us an opportunity
at least once year.
(2) Charlie Brown
Christmas/How the Grinch Stole Christmas: These
two should only be watched in uncut, wide-screen
DVD format. Take your "yellow Grinch" VHS versions
out back and burn them now. Buy a DVD player
for Cthuhlu's sake! And don't even think of watching
either version on
free or cable TV as
so edited for time it's embarrassing.
(3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The charm
of this production is its classic, clunky, unapologetic
If nothing else it's taught several generation
of animators that you can cut corners and still
tell a swell story.
(3B): A Christmas Story: I love Jean Shepherd
I realize some people almost build their whole
seasonal experience around this thing but I
can only stomach a viewing every
couple of years. Sue me.
(4) A Wish For Wings That Work: This is a wholly-original,
quirkily animated tale featuring Berke Breathed's
"Bloom County" bunch, though mostly Opus
the penguin, Bill the Fruit-of-the-Loom-wearing
cat and Elvis. I have no earthly idea why this
isn't more popular.
(5) A Muppet Family Christmas: This frenetic
production features almost EVERY muppet character
ever made arriving all at once at Fozzi's childhood
home, much to his mother's chagrin (Even though
the Fraggles are there the Doozers and the Gorgs
didn't make it. Shucks.) There's lots of good
music and a ton of bad jokes.
It's a true confection, topped off by the delicious
that is Ms. Piggy. Oh, and there's a surprise
guest that will leave you teary-eyed. Guaranteed.
(For copyright reasons this production is not
commercially available on DVD in America but
bootlegs abound on the net. There's a really
lousy copy on youtube but it at least features
the entire, unedited program.)
(6) Rick Steve's European Christmas: A recent
addition to the collection, Rick is the Mr.
Roger's of world travel, as witnessed by his
This DVD features heartwarming and unusual (to
Americans, at least) Christmas customs as practiced
Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
(7) The Muppet Christmas Carol: This is the
jewel in the crown, the one we save to watch
every Xmas Eve as we snuggle together in our
waiting for Santa. The interpretation is stellar,
as a note-perfect
Scrooge, and it hits all the right emotional
buttons with a minimum of treacle. It
The girlfriend has her limits so I privately
enjoy copies of Ren & Stimpy's "Have Yourself
Christmas", The Animaniacs "Hellooooo, Holidays"
(Both VHS only) , "Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas
Special" and, last but not least, "Mr. Magoo's
I hope I mentioned one or two of your favorites,
and if there's a title you'd be certain that
I'd enjoy, please email
I've encouraged my family to spend a little
less on gifts this year and to instead give more to charity.
One of the biggest arguments against this idea, from a relative
who I think just
likes getting free stuff, is that not buying consumer goods
slows down the U.S. economy.
Not so, I argue. Think of it this way... suppose you take
the money you were going to spend on a copy of The Gospel
of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and give it to, say, your
local food bank. The money will go to paying for food grown
which keeps U.S. food producers in the black. Whereas the
flying fuck is made in China, so all that does is skew the
balance of payments in the wrong direction.
So if I've managed to convince you of the wisdom of my argument,
and you haven't already blown the Xmas budget on flying thingies,
then visit the Second
Harvest/Feeding America website
and they'll give you all the details on how to
help a food bank in your area.