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DKJ’s Favorite Christmas Animations


Well, I’m finally feeling in the Christmas spirit, and I’m taking time to go through and watch some of my favorite Christmas cartoons.  Plenty of people watch their favorite Christmas movies and television specials, whether it be “It’s a Wonderful Life”, or a Die Hard murder-fest.  But for me I enjoy watching animation.  Why?  It’s because Christmas for me has always been something full of great childhood memories, and a special time of year for children.  You could say that while most children enjoy the holiday the most, they don’t all fully immerse themselves in the truest part of the Christmas spirit (don’t worry, I’m not going all holy on you guys).  They get the gifts and look forward to receiving them far more than shopping for and giving to other people.  And therefore they have the most excitement in anticipating the holiday, and in those lovely opening moments of ripping open the presents.  They have the richest memories of those times as a child.  And that too is the case for me.

While as an adult I love seeing the joy in the faces and voices of my kids, I generally can’t remember what I’ve given them from year to year.  I get a hug, a smile, and them good “feels” and then go about my day while they play.  But when I sit down and think about my own memories, they’re more vivid and emotional.  I remember getting to play Super Mario World as a kid at Wal-Mart, even as I had a crippling fever, because the game was so amazing and beautiful and perfect to me.  I remember getting remote controlled cars, running to meet my friends and playing with the damn things for about 20 – 30 minutes before the damn things ran out of juice and we had to pick them up and walk back inside to charge them while we did something else.  And I remember the Christmas specials that played on those valuable days during winter vacation, where I had nothing to do but chores and play.  And when I watch these Christmas episodes, I find that I’ve used them as sorts of time capsule that I’ve put my feelings into.  They’re a comfortable place where I can relax and disappear into my own perfect worlds.  For me, Christmas is a day of harmony, understanding and happiness.  And in one way or another, everything I pick in this post represents one of those things.

Azumanga Daioh ep17

Well, this is primarily an anime blog, so I think it’d be best that I start here.

Azumanga Daioh is one of my favorite series, one of my core series, and one of the best displays of comedic timing I’ve ever seen.  So I’m just overjoyed that I remembered this gem of a Christmas episode.  It’s not only a good Christmas viewing, but it’s also a great example of the series’ humour as a whole.  Probably my favorite moment of the episode comes when Tomo and Kagura (2/3rds of the Knuckleheads) argue over Santa Claus, and then over reindeer.  I don’t want to spoil the surprising amounts of stupidity, so I’ll just implore you to watch it.  It also has a rather heartwarming, or should I say heart stopping ending, too.

Seriously guys, watch this show!  It’s amazing.  And the dub and the research that have been applied to this series is stellar.  Some of old ADV Films best work.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Come on!  It’s the very first episode of the Simpsons television series!  If you want nostalgia, just watch this episode and then compare it to the newest episodes or even Christmas episodes of all the shows that were spawned by it.  It will make you wish for the past I guarantee.

Oh, thank God for the big jar.
Thank God for Homer’s Christmas bonus.
 
Ow~!  Quit it.  Ow~!  Quit it.  Ow~!  Quit it.  Ow~!  Quit it.
Hey, what’s with this?”  
Ow~!  Quit it.”   
 

So, what do you think kids?”

Wow!  Way to go Dad!
Why is there a birdhouse in it?
Do I smell gun powder?
 
 “…it’s so typical of the big doofus to spoil it all.
What aunt Patty?
Oh nothing dear; I’m just trashing your father.
Well, I wish you wouldn’t.  Because, aside from the fact t
hat he has the same frailties as all human beings, he’s the only father I have.  Therefore he is my model of manhood.  And my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships.  So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me and  I’m far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.
Mhmm, go watch your cartoon show dear.
 

There are so many great moments and lines, and it’s compounded by the introduction of all the classic characters, even Barney as a drunk, sloppy Santa.  Great first moments, like Bart’s first giant f*ck up.  Lisa before she became an even more annoying vegan and liberal (though we all should’ve seen that stuff coming), Homer’s first shudder of disgust at the prospect of interacting with his sister-in-laws, and of course the dog.  Yep.  where else is Santa’s Little Helper gonna come from other than a Christmas episode.

And I love how even in this first episode, this show is taking stabs at the good, the happy and especially the mindless.  In Charlie Brown’s Christmas, the kids all make the best of a crap tree that Charlie Brown took pity on and brought to the play.  In the Simpsons, Homer drives past all the expensive trees ($75 for a tree back then must have been like $500 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation), and then past the shabby trees that cost less.  Instead he hacks down a really nice try from a guy’s backyard, at the risk of being shot or torn apart by dogs.  In another scene, Bart gives a nice little inspirational speech, the only problem is that it’s rooted in the beliefs he’s gained after watching tons of TV.  The Simpsons are not the Smurfs, and the situation won’t be as wholesome.  Instead he learns that his beliefs don’t apply to reality, or at least the “reality” of the Simpsons.

The only bright spot comes when the crappiest dog, and the reason Homer doesn’t even have a mere $13 to his name, happens upon father and son.  Homer doesn’t want him because he’s a loser.  But Bart sees the benefit.  The dog is slow, and dumb as a box of bricks, but he’s a free dog!  A free dog!  And in a way Santa’s Little Helper is the perfect representation of The Simpsons own brand of Christmas spirit.  Nothing’s perfect about the dog or the family, but what they all have in common, and what makes them all happy is their shared love for each other.

 

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales

Though it’s the most recent of the Charlie Brown Christmas specials, I still enjoy it’s short, and quick yet laid back pacs and style that suits the comic strip.  Like much of the Charlie Brown material, I find it less funny and more adorable.  It’s also not nearly as dark as some of the earlier Charlie Brown material.  Often, bullying is a common thing in Peanuts.  This is more a collection of amusing and weird events.  Yet the central theme is still there.  It’s about understanding Christmas and other people.  And in the end it still gives me those warm feels with a much lighter message about Christmas than the other Peanuts specials.  Plus, how can I not love something that has Woodstock recklessly riding a tiny bicycle?

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown

You can tell I love Peanuts, can’t you?  The theme of commercialism taking over Christmas.  This is immediately illustrated by the gag involving Charlie Brown trying to sell wreaths.  It’s amazing how he’s rejected as if he’s soliciting illicit services, selling insurance, or selling religion.  Then there’s poor Peppermint Patty’s problems with school.  The little perpetually sandal wearing athlete just can’t seem to focus and read a damn book.  Then there’s another gag, a running one this time, that involves the characters giving Snoopy sh*t over dressing as Santa and panhandling.

“You mean giving.  Christmas is the joy of giving.”
“I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”
*scribble-scribble-scribble*
“Giving.  The only real joy is giving!”
“Like.  Wow!” 

This scene is so reminiscent of how my daughter and I communicate.  I’m beginning to wonder if we really do fill these roles in our life.  I impart knowledge to her, and she looks at me as if I’m ridiculous and my experience doesn’t apply to her reality.

Sally seems to be a perfect representation of the young kids I talked about in the beginning of this article who enjoy the receiving much more than the giving in the season.  In contrast to her, Charlie Brown’s best friend is a wealth of biblical Christian knowledge, and I always enjoyed his ability to pull a proper scripture at the drop of a hat, while not being preachy or judgmental about it.  He’s content to be heard when people are listening, and offer hope when someone’s feeling confused or down.  Though true to Peanuts’ style, his words often fall on deaf or ungrateful ears.

Then there’s the slightly disturbing situation with Charlie Brown falling in love Peggy Jean, a pretty girl he adores whose hands he just wants to keep warm.  In Peanuts many specials, it’s shown that he’s a hopeless romantic who falls in love at the drop of a hat – or the flash of a pretty face.  And from the beginning, you can tell that his best course of action is a card or homemade gift.  I know where Charlie Brown’s coming from.  I’m just glad he didn’t steal his gift when he didn’t have enough money like I did.  And as I said before, Linus is right there again with sound advice and comforting good words.  And like I said before, these words fall on deaf ears.  Charlie Brown goes through great effort to get the mere $25 he needs for his gift, only to see that the girl’s family has already given her the same thing.

Oh Charlie Brown, you really are the Charlie Browniest.

The special ends with the prep and performance of a Christmas.   All I can say is that Sally is a fool.

“Hockey sticks!”

The Spongebob Christmas Special

I love the concept behind this episode of Spongebob Squarepants.  Sandy informs Spongebob of Christmas and its surface dweller customs.  And I just love the way Sandy says “Chrissssmassss”.  Spongebob being the purest of souls love the idea, believes it and tries to spread word of it to his friends.  Of course, everyone takes the information a different way.  Patrick is a flaming idiot and does his best to write a letter to Santa, which for someone like him is a colossal task.  Mr. Crabs sees the holiday as an opportunity to get free stuff, and wastes no time writing his letter to Santa for bags of money.  In fact, he gets everyone in Bikini Bottom to join in, everyone except Squidward of course.  He doesn’t buy it and sees the whole thing as a dumb waste of time.

Everyone anxiously waits on Christmas Eve for Santa’s arrival at Bikini Bottom, but the next day everyone notices that no one’s shown up with their demands gifts.  When it’s clear that no one’s showing up, everyone angrily abandons Spongebob.  Squidward could not be happier to see this failure, but Spongebob’s incredibly personal and touching gift moves him, and makes him feel like the cad he should.  Squidward is so moved, that he ends up dressing up as Santa and giving away all the stuff in his house to the town of Bikini Bottom, as a way to make up to Spongebob for his terrible attitude, and to bring joy to everyone just like Spongebob wanted.  It’s all a bit familiar and close to the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it’s just so pure and nice in its message, and so perfectly done in its execution.  The live action scenes with Patchy the Pirate and a certain special cameo at the end also help show how much fan the staff who make this show were having, and why this is such an iconic show.

Donald Duck – “Toy Tinkers”

I haven’t been much of a fan of Disney in a long time.  But that’s in reference to their newer material.  Disney’s old stuff, that’s the stuff I adore.  One of those enjoyable pieces of history is this cartoon starring my favorite Disney characters, Donald Duck, and Chip and Dale.  I can’t explain my affection for angry, scumbag characters like Donald, and Daffy, and Vegeta.  All I can say is, that I like rooting for the real underdogs in a story, the bullies and bad guys.  It’s a lost cause, I know.

There isn’t too terribly much to say about this little six or so minute cartoon.  Though I will say that objectively looking at the situation, the chipmunks are the aggressors.  All Donald was doing was chopping down a little Christmas tree for his house.  And it wasn’t their house.  The worst he did was inadvertently wake up two hibernating critter while they were hibernating.  They could have easily gone back to sleep.  And besides, what self respecting animal hibernates in such an exposed place.  That hollow log on the ground couldn’t protect them from anything.

Regardless, they follow Donald back to his place, spy the treasures he has inside, and decide to break in.  During their pilfering, Donald catches wind of their activities, and the back and forth between the two breaks out into a mini war of sorts, with Donald losing in the end.

I guess the reason I loved this little short so much as a kid was because it brought things I liked to do when I was very young to life.  I played with action figures and toys a great amount in my youngest years.  And when you do so, you use your imagination to bring those things to life in your mind and entertain you.  Here, I see the chipmunks and Donald play their own game and use their imaginations to great effect.  Early on, it appears that the toys come alive to Dale.  And later on, we see almost innocuous toys being used as weapons of war.  It was fun stuff to watch.  And after all this time,  it still entertains me and makes me happy .

Kimi ni Todoke ep22 “Christmas”

The winter vacation is drawing near. And Shota is organizing a Christmas Eve party. Shota makes it clear the the shy little Sawako that he’d like her to be there.  And she’d love to go, the only problem is that her family finds it a big deal that she spend time with them on Christmas Eve.  ALL of Christmas Eve.  She has to see if she can get her super loving parents to agree.  Regardless, Shota still has hope.

Sawako being the they little mouse that she is is unable to confront her parents about the party.  Her father even takes the cap she knit for Shota and wears it, thinking that its his own.  Her parents are just so loving, happy and doting that she just can’t seem to say anything for fear of seeming ungrateful or hurting their feelings.  The next day she gives Chizu and Ayane’s gifts early, and tells that she can’t make the event. Kazehaya arrives and knows the situation.

Sawako ends up spending  the day with her parents. And that evening Sawako gets a call from the party.  It’s Ayane and Chizu and Shota. Her parents see how much she wants to go and are actually very happy she has friends that want to spend time with her.  Just before leaving her father lets her open his gift early, it’s a cellphone.

She’s too late to make the party, but Shota is waiting for her afterwards.  Waiting to give her the gift he thought would be useless until now.  It’s four-leaf clover cellphone charm.  Though Sawako shows up without a gift for him, he’s more than happy to be the first contact in her first cellphone.

This episode is so adorable, and I find it funny how the situation between Shota and Sawako is the exact opposite of the one between Charlie Brown that I mentioned in the section on “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown“.  While Charlie Brown fails to get his love a gift that is relevant because her parents beat him to the punch, Shota’s gift is actually especially perfect because of the gift Sawako receives from her parents.  This also goes to show how Christmas can be a very romantic holiday for some, especially in Japan.  It’s a theme that will become especially important in the next episode of anime I cover for this Christmas post.

Overall, I’d say that much like the Azumanga Daioh Christmas-centric episode, this is a very good representation of the series as a whole.  It also gives a pretty good idea of how the Japanese celebrate Christmas and especially Christmas Eve.

Toradora! ep19 “Holy Night Party”

Since this is a Christmas post, I won’t be too negative about this episode and my own peeves about it.  Instead, I’ll focus on why it excels emotionally.  This episode is a build up to a great yet sad moment, and a release of a lot of frustration at the same time in the series.  It’s been awhile, but I’d forgotten that this stellar romantic comedy spent so much of its time focused on characters trying to match up with the wrong people.  It’s a good example of how important an after school event like a dance or a party can be to teenagers.  It’s special moment where many feel their voices can be heard, and their feeling given the proper amount of respect and pageantry.

Amid all the fuss and kerfuffle over the big school Christmas Party that night, there’s the tension regarding Ryuujin giving a girl he likes a gift.  The whole problem here is the gift is going to the wrong person.  Everything in the show leading up to this point lately had to do with people ignorantly not seeing who their true partner was.  The night of the Holy Night party cleared that all up.  Ryuuji is still pretty thick, as is the case for most male protagonists in any anime with romance.  But the girl he likes, and the girl that has just admitted she likes him have come to a clear conclusion.  So it’s a bittersweet moment at the end when we see Ryuuji get dumped by the girl he likes, and then just miss the girl that’s meant for him.  It’s one of those fragile moments in a show where it really does make you wonder if you’ll get what you want, what the show has clearly been pointing towards this whole time.

I haven’t watched this show in quite a while, so I was kinda lost on certain situations.  There are daddy issues, depression and a few other issues tangled up in this episode.  But what I’ll choose to focus on is the commitment of the whole class to put on a wonderful party and come together; and also on how the main characters in this story really let their emotions hang out for the world to see.  In this episode you’ll find plenty of Japan’s own Christmas spirit, a shirtless Santa, heartwarming moments and heart stopping emotion on top of the series already stellar soundtrack.  While it may not be a perfect introduction to the series as a whole, like the Christmas-centric episode of Azumanga Daioh.  It is a perfect Christmas episode for the series, and a stellar episode in an anime full of stellar entries.

The Boondocks 1st Christmas special (The Adventures of Black Jesus)

The Adventures of Black Jesus was such a perfect and bittersweet subversion of a Christmas special.  But then again, this is the Boondocks.  How could it do this any better or differently without it just failing as a show?  It’s clear that this adventure is going head to head with the Peantus’ A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The whole theme of a Christmas play is being played up along those lines, and the Peanuts’ legendary special is even directed addressed in this episode by Huey.

I laugh at how Kwanzaa is portrayed as a complete joke, and is basically overlooked by the show mostly.  I laugh at that ridiculous dream that starts the episode Mr. Dubois’s daughter being a very, very entertaining preacher.  And I especially laugh at Riley’s ongoing war with Santa and Christmas.  Somehow this little idiot still believe in Santa, but doesn’t give a sh*t about him being a magical and potentially immortal being.  Riley feels slightest, and is willing to all but kill (OK, he’ll probably kill too) to get what he’s owed.  The violence and carnage of Riley’s scenes may even be a way of paying homage to the Die Hard movies, which are considered by some to be a traditional Christmas watch.

But the best part of all of this is Huey, and his stressful, pressure filled, and antagonistic assault on Christmas traditions.  In a way, though this show tries to subvert the Charlie Brown specials, Huey is playing the role of Linus and Charlie Brown simultaneously.  He’s quick and accurate with his facts and knowledge, but no one seems to want to hear him.  No one but his culturally sensitive white teacher.  Who happily enables Huey to do the very best he can throughout.  In the end though, Huey definitely fills out the role of Charlie Brown quite well.  Despite all his efforts and rewrites; his calling in of the best black talent in movies and music, and his ability to draw up a contract in front of white people in his favor, he’s still shafted.  Mind you, he’s able to pull off a play that is legendary, moving and a masterpiece, but no one of consequence sees it, and it’s not recorded.  It’s a one-time, one-night miracle.  He made the mistake of being too revolutionary in this case.  He didn’t understand a basic fact about these school Christmas productions; they’re only there to give the parents a chance to see their kids on stage and in the spotlight.  Nothing else matters.  And that’s a main reason why I appreciate this Christmas special so much; it gets some basic, down and dirty facts about Christmas right.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

[first lines]

Narrator: Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville – did not. The Grinch hated Christmas – the whole Christmas season. Now, please don’t ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or it could be that his head wasn’t screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all… may have been that his heart was two sizes too small. But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, he stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos. Staring down from his cave, with a sour grinchy frown, at the warm, lighted windows below in their town. For he knew that every Who down in Whoville beneath was busy now, hanging a holly who wreath.

And here we come to one of the titans of Christmas specials, and maybe the most popular animated Christmas special ever.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a perfect adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s book, and emphasizes harmony, understanding, and not just happiness, perhaps more than any other Christmas special.  After all, the Grinch appears excluded from the town of Whos and Christmas, perhaps of his own volition.  There’s no understanding into the Whos and how they work.  He’s certainly not living in harmony with them from atop that snowy mountain peak, and the motherf*cker sure doesn’t look happy either.

Grinch: I must stop this *whole* thing! Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming… but how?

And then we have that title, it sure is a great hook!  You read or watch to see how the Grinch does the impossible, only to find out what he’s attempting to do is impossible.  He’s steals all the junk!  All the nik-knacks and toys and festivities.  Every sign of their hard work and cheer.  Every sign that Christmas is here.

Oh hell!  Now I’m rhyming!

Narrator: Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos’ feast, he took the who pudding, he took the roast beast. He cleaned out that ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash.

My reaction:  “You monster!  Not the Who hash!

Regardless, his efforts are quick and thorough and impassioned.  It’s just the problem he’s solving is doomed to be never be solved.  It was flawed from the beginning.  Despite all the irony of stealing Christmas as Santa, despite lying to face of the littlest, cutest, whitest little non-white girl imaginable, this guy still redeems himself somehow, someway.  And he does so just in time to see Christmas arrive on that day.

Daggonnit!!

Singer: You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch / You have termites in your smile / You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile / Mr. Gri-inch / Given the choice between the two of you, I’d take the uh… seasick crocodile!

And in the end, what do we find?  That the celebration of Christmas is not a matter of time.  That the holiday is about more than hundreds of toys.  The holiday is more than good girls and boys.  For what the Grinch thought had made the holiday real; did not apply to those that could – ENOUGH!

Narrator: And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!

Oh yeah!  That’s pretty hype!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a near perfect production that does well to emphasize the core values and spirit of the holiday.  The musical tone of the show is catchy without being repetitive or overbearing.  You won’t ever go, “oh great, they’re singing again.”  And who can’t love the Narrator’s singing of the “You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch”?   It’s so amazingly entertaining and fulfilling as a watch, too.  This special shows how the Grinch learns to understand Christmas, learn to live in harmony with the Whos, and find happiness for himself.  It makes Christmas inclusive not just to the Grinch, but to anyone who watches.  Christian or not.  And that’s a wonderful thing to believe in, man or tot.

Now let’s move on before I start rhyming everything!  Man that’s annoying!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

And now finally, it’s time for my absolute favorite Christmas special of all-time!  And while it’s not really a surprise, nor a unique choice, it’s still one I stand behind.  It’s amazing how a cartoon so old, and made for television can still look so easy to watch.  I don’t know what it is about 70’s animation, but often to meet it looked super cheap, off-model and used about five frames per second.  It was barely animation.  Here, this just seems to flow right right from the beginning.

Lucy Van Pelt: You DO think I’m beautiful, don’t you, Charlie Brown?
[pause]
Lucy Van Pelt: You didn’t answer me right away. You had to think about it first, didn’t you? If you really had thought I was beautiful, you would’ve spoken right up. I know when I’ve been insulted. I KNOW WHEN I’VE BEEN INSULTED.
Charlie Brown: Good grief.
 

My reaction: the story of my life…

5ogy1This special has three main things going for it.  One, it bashes Christmas commercialism.  Who knew that almost twenty years before I was born, before the decadent and soulless 80s, that there would be a little cartoon warning us about such a thing.  It may have been the first.  And here we are in our super advanced future; and we have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas in July and the “War on Christmas”.  Yes, even the perceived “War on Christmas” is something that can be monetized.  I’m not saying this Christmas special is “holier than thou”, or the Messiah or anything.  I’m just happy it’s going, “hey, aren’t we forgetting the purpose of this whole event? ”  Is this holiday really all about what we get and what we buy?”  Is our dedication really measured by our pockets, and the things we show off as a representation of the holiday?  The famous shambled Christmas tree that Charlie Brown picks up for the Christmas play is a direct shot at that.  Sure, per the usual Peanuts style, everyone gives him crap for taking pity on the tree and basically bringing back a dying branch with one ornament on it, but the Christmas spirit does win out and they all band together to make it into a winner.  In the end, it makes you wonder how much you could make of Christmas with no money, and if you’d be better off for it.

Lucy Van Pelt: Linus, you’ve got to get rid of that stupid blanket, and here, memorize these lines.
Linus Van Pelt: I can’t memorize these lines. This is ridiculous.
Lucy Van Pelt: Memorize it and be ready to recite when your cue comes.
Linus Van Pelt: I can’t memorize something like this so quickly. Why should I be put through such agony? Give me one good reason why I should memorize this.
Lucy Van Pelt: I’ll give you five good reasons.
[proceeds to make a fist out of her fingers]
Lucy Van Pelt: One, two, three, four, FIVE!
Linus Van Pelt: [begins shaking his head emphatically] Those are good reasons. Christmas is not only getting too commercial, it’s getting too dangerous.

Two, it’s actually a Christmas special with a little bit of Christianity directly in it.  Yes, Christmas has been adopted as a sort of universal holiday.  Like I showed several times in my anime related posts, it’s celebrated internationally in several different ways.  In Japan, they treat Christmas Eve more like a sort of light Valentine’s Day.  But Christmas is primarily a Christian holiday, and its nice to know that that’s not forgotten here.  As I pointed out before, Linus is a wealth on knowledge on biblical matters (at least for a grade schooler).  And he has some great moments in this special.

When Charlie Brown screams out in question whether anyone knows what the true meaning of Christmas truly is, Linus steps up to the plate.  It’s that great moment, that spurs on the special to its greatest moment.  The dressing of the tree.  And remember, it’s Linus who initially takes pity on the tree and first dresses it up when Charlie Brown walks away in defeat.

Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about.
[shouting in desperation]
Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Three, it’s Christmas special I most enjoyed as a child, watching it countless times, and attaching the fondest of memories to it.  It’s everything I love about Charlie Brown as a whole in this special.  We get Snoopy acting quirky and nutty.  We get Lucy being way too adult and crabby.  We get Linus using his blanket to his amazing advantage, along with him getting bullied by his older sister, and being a wealth of knowledge.  Pig Pen summoning dust and dirt even in the midst of a completely snow covered landscape.  And of course we even get kids being mean and bullies.  It’s everything that makes Peanuts great; it’s everything that makes a Christmas special great.  And it does so perfectly.  It’s feat that the series has yet to duplicate in even its best holiday specials.  Some may be funnier, some may have better animation and production work, but none have quite as much heart and soul.  And I can say that when putting almost any other Christmas special against it in comparison.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is my comforting home in the winter away from all the commercialism, pressure and problems.  It’s that drug called nostalgia melted down to its purest form.  In its twenty five minute running time, we see the cast come to an understanding with Charlie Brown and what he was aiming for by getting the tree and ragging on Christmas commercialism the whole time.  Hell, even Snoopy’s commercial as hell kight display on his doghouse ends up being stripped and used to make the tree pretty.  It’s a total win in that respect.  And then we see the glorious moment of everyone who ragged on Charlie Brown and picked on him sing in harmony.  And my happiness is immeasurable when I see those great final moments and hear everyone sing as the credits roll.

It’s been a pleasure watching all these Christmas specials and Christmas moments again for this post.  Some of these entries are Christmas tradition for me.  Some of these I haven’t watched in 3,4, 5, even 10 years.  I know I may have not covered your favorite Christmas special.  And I’d be happy to watch them next year, just let me know what I missed.  Cartoons or anime, it’s all been a blast.  And with that, I’m outta here!  Have a Merry Christmas everybody!

sample-b8df1fe6a7e1c45e8aaa4130a843ce3cFurther Reading:

  1. December 24, 2013 at 22:54

    One of the things that really stood out to me about the Toradora! Christmas episode was seeing Taiga and Ami actually work together for the first time. I liked a few other things about that episode too – mostly for the emotional impact of it, as you pointed out – but the former is the thing that makes me remember it the most.

    • December 24, 2013 at 23:19

      Yeah. I forgot how ugly their relationship used to be. I also long forgot that Ryuuji actually liked Minorin, too. Man, I really need to give that series a proper rewatch.

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