Blog #8 – traditions with animation
Every December, it’s the same. My mother asks, “Have you watched the Grinch yet?” If I haven’t, I am gently scolded. If I have, I have completed a major portion of my Christmas to-do list, it doesn’t matter if I still haven’t completed my shopping, if I made sure the Grinch returned the gifts to Who-Ville this year. I haven’t actually ‘watched’ it in years. I have a CD of the audio that I play in my car, and then drive around, reciting the story, singing the songs, and picturing the images clearly in my head.
So many family holiday traditions today revolve around a beloved set of half hour animated shows. Frosty the Snowman, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer, and similar shows pop up without fail every December. It doesn’t feel like Christmas without these shows in the TV schedule. I am sure a minor revolt would occur if the networks decided not to bother one year. These shows stand the test of time because they don’t reference specific current events or social interests of the time in which they were made.
My sister has a Scandinavian neighbor who felt the same way. She was keenly missing HER favorite ‘holiday’ shows from home, and she expressed dismay when she discovered that we didn’t air them annually in the US. In fact, one of them I had never heard of, until she graciously loaned us a DVD copy – Three Wishes For Cinderella. Not animated, but still a sweet, well told story.
The other show she missed was, surprisingly, an animated TV special from 1958: ‘From All of Us to All of You,’ or ‘Donald Duck Wishes You a Merry Christmas.’ That’s right, in Norway and Sweden and other northern European climes, they spend Christmas with Donald Duck. Here’s an article about it.
It made me laugh quite a bit, and then begin to wonder what other holiday movie traditions people have. Are you from somewhere that has traditions like these? I remember my mother complaining that she hated The Wizard of Oz because it played every December on her birthday, implying that we had such a tradition, too. Now we get a deluge of ‘new’ Christmas stories every year and so we never really adopt the rewatching of shows over and over.
So, do you HAVE to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween AND Christmas? Do you pout and get into a funk if you can’t watch Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown? Inquiring minds want to know. For my part, I try to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol. And listen to the Grinch and Snoopy’s Merry Christmas in the car.