I really like Christmas. Don't tell anyone, okay? I like winter and cold and snow (well, frankly, if I could get the cold without the snow that would be better; I hate driving in snow), I like Christmas lights, I like Christmas specials. In fact, each year I make sure to get the same old Christmas specials I watch every year from the library, because I am nothing if not routine-driven and fearful of any kind of change. When I was little, we had this tree topper that was a light-up star, that I loved. Very 9.99 from Walgreen's, with little lights and colored tinsel around it. And then one year my mom decided to get a different tree topper (the star was actually falling apart): an angel who was holding two little white lights. I was so mad at the switch that I actually hated the angel, the first year we had her and every year after. When I picture trees from my childhood, they are always topped by the star.
Yup. Routine is good. So here's the shows I have to watch, or it just doesn't feel like Christmas:
The Simpsons Holiday Special: The very first one. Accept no substitutes. This is the one where Homer works as a Santa, Marge's sisters visit, and Matt Groening gets the experience of school programs exactly right. When Homer and Marge sit through Bart and Lisa's program, at one point Homer whines, "Awww, how many grades does this school have?" Perfect.
The Vicar of Dibley Chrimstas Special--The Christmas Lunch Incident: If you haven't seen the British series The Vicar of Dibley, starring Dawn French, it's about time you started. In the Christmas special, the very hilarious and very rotund vicar gets asked to three--and then four--Christmas lunches, and has to eat up to everyone's expectations at each one.
A Charlie Brown Christmas: Peanuts kids dancing and Linus--"and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." Quite possibly my favorite 30 minutes of TV ever.
My fourth holiday tradition (well, midwinter's day tradition, actually) is re-reading Susan Cooper's high fantasy classic The Dark is Rising. More on that tomorrow.