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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Dec 02, 2014
Headline for Christmas on Television: 10 Thought-Provoking Ways to Look at Your Favourite Christmas Specials.
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Christmas on Television: 10 Thought-Provoking Ways to Look at Your Favourite Christmas Specials.

Christmas specials carry with them not just fond memories, but also interesting messages and qualities. They provide meaning by reminding us what the holidays are about, and they create a narrative space for things usually crushed under selfish needs, commercialism, and capitalism. They act as a resistance to consumerism, even when placed on television in between commercials telling us what to buy.

1

The Raccoons-The Christmas Raccoons

The Raccoons-The Christmas Raccoons

This Christmas special is all vintage Canadian television. The story itself is based in the forest and on the forest, which is a massive part of the Canadian landscape. The story line is about how the raccoons deal with a billionaire aardvark who is stealing the trees to profit off of the lumber. It deals with issues of homelessness, caring for others, and preserving what's important: home. It reflects our environmental anxieties, our distrust of greed and corporations, and acts as a reminder that a good community makes sure everyone in it has a home.

2

A Garfield Christmas

A Garfield Christmas

Garfield was "grumpy cat" before the real grumpy cat came along. Garfield is our favourite lazy kitty who serves us the real talk. In his xmas special he does nothing different. He makes a speech of resistance against consumerism and gives a loving found gift to Grandma. Even Odie strays from the bought gift and makes by hand (paw) the perfect gift for Garfield.

3

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch who Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch who Stole Christmas

The line "It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more", resists every message each commercial gives in the advertising breaks. It strips away all of the excess attachments stuck to xmas by consumerism.

4

Charlie Brown's Christmas

Charlie Brown's Christmas

This Christmas special has Charlie Brown expressing his feeling of being lost because Christmas has been lost to commercialization. Part of it's story line is resistance to all those things we wish hadn't attached themselves to the holidays, things like, consumption and commercialization. It resists, in a subtle fashion, the very company that sponsored it's creation; Coca-Cola.

5

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too

Winnie the Pooh loses the letter Christopher Robin penned to Santa to the wind. In order to give everyone the xmas they are expecting, he dresses up as Santa and makes an attempt at making and delivering the gifts himself. He wants to make sure no one feels like they've been forgotten about. It doesn't matter what the gift is, it's a reminder that someone is thinking about you, and you're not alone in the world.

6

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty started out as a song and was made into a television special. Frosty comes to life while wearing a magical hat, has to outrun the sun and the magician, and makes close friends along the way. Everything changes and Frosty is the ultimate example of that. Sometimes we want to fight the inevitable, and other times we hope to get back what we once had.

7

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolf is teased and tormented because of his glowing nose by everyone, even his own father. It's only until he proves himself useful in a desperate situation that he's accepted into the group. Kind of an interesting outcome. The song is one of the catchiest Christmas songs out there, probably because it resonates with the experience of being bullied for difference, and the beat is catchy of course.

8

A Chipmunk Christmas

A Chipmunk Christmas

Alvin the Chipmunk learns a lesson about giving and gives up something he loves, a golden harmonica, to a sick child. Alvin does something no one expects of him, and goes out of his way to make someone feel better. We've carved out the holidays as a space for thinking of others, sharing with others, and giving to others. All of these things are a resistance to selfishness and even consumption, because the gifts come with deep meaning, not the "meaning" a brand attaches to a thing.

9

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

This is the origin story of Santa Claus. It has this interesting take on fascism when all the toys in Sombertown are outlawed by the Burgermeister. In his early adulthood, Santa was a rule breaker and participates in an act of civil disobedience when he breaks the law by giving children toys. Giving children toys isn't about spoiling them, it's about letting them know someone cares. It's the reminder that everyone needs someone who cares.

10

The Miser Brothers Christmas

The Miser Brothers Christmas

This special lumps Santa in with "mother earth" and all her weather patterns. In a way, it naturalizes Santa's place in our world. The Miser brothers (Mother Nature's Children), are assigned to helping in Santa's toy factory because they were wrongfully accused of injuring Santa, when it was the North Wind who actually did it. They have to learn to work together to make sure xmas comes around.