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10:13 a.m. - December 14, 2005
Christmas Brings Out the Jolly in Me
There have been some serious discussions going on lately on worthwhile, timely topics. However, I think its time I turned to something a bit more fun.

Like the Christmas season.

The snow is flurrying outside, there’s cocoa in the house, and the tree is up and decorated. I’ve been alternating between holly and jolly for the most part, and wishing people happy holidays and merry Christmas and season’s greetings and all.

Now I don’t understand the big flap going on right now about the “alternate” Christmas greetings. I’ve heard “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” all my life, and I’m, well, old(er).

There are a lot of holidays occurring in the month of December, for almost all faiths. There’s Christmas, of course, and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day, and Yule, and Winter Solstice, and Zarathosht Diso and Bohdi Day, and Festivus. And I don’t have a religion-dar, so I can’t say for sure if someone is Christian or Zoroastran. So “Happy Holidays” is a nice catch all.

(I did disarm someone I work with who was starting his “Happy Holidays” rant. I just mentioned to him that we celebrate Kwanzaa, which we do because of the girls’ backgrounds. Now, we’ll probably amp up the celebration in later years when they’re older, but we do have the candles (except we need a new black one). And, to be fair, I want to honor the other half of their heritage and REALLY celebrate St. Patrick’s Day next year. That hasn’t received final approval yet.)

And I really don’t understand the issue with “Season’s Greetings.” It’s the Christmas SEASON. Lest we forget, there are 12 days of Christmas until Epiphany, when the three wise men showed up and gave Baby Jesus a bunch of stuff he couldn’t use. (I mean, I’m sure Mary and Joseph were all about the gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because we all need some myrrh in our life. But Jesus? At that age, even the Son of God has basically a one track mind.)

So I’m cool with any type of greeting you give me. Remember, it’s supposed to be a merry season, not a season of hatred for people who are just trying to be nice and include everyone and not really harshing your buzz anyway unless you let them or you think it’s a way to increase ratings or donations or whatnot and is that the point of the Christmas season anyway? (Pant, pant, pant. Excuse me, I need a drink of water…thanks)

One of the best things about the season used to be the Christmas specials on TV.

The live action ones were funny and embarrassing, at times. I think about every two bit, hackneyed star of the 60’s and 70’s had a Christmas special at one point. Even those who were major league stars, like Bing Crosby, had Christmas specials.

Those specials usually consisted of awkward, half funny skits, lots of singing, and guest stars (Lola Falana! The Golddiggers! Foster Brooks!).

Does everyone remember the Bing Crosby special when David Bowie showed up? Now, this was Bowie back in the 70’s, not the well groomed Bowie of today. I was disappointed that Bowie didn’t show up at Bing’s house like Ziggy Stardust to sing “The Little Drummer Boy”.

As a kid, though, the best things were the Christmas specials. The Rankin-Bass specials (“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “The Year Without Santa Claus”, among others) were amongst the cream of the crop. Who here can’t sing the “Heatmeiser” song? Well, you need to learn it.

I do have to admit that I did cry during the Pink Panther Christmas Special, when I was 11. I’m man enough to admit it now.

My favorite one, though, is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. This was just on the other day, and I realized that it’s as old as I am. And it’s still got it.

From the soundtrack (Vince Guaraldi at his best and it’s on my iPod right now. Groovy!), to the simple, yet poignant animation, to the classic Peanuts humor, this special has it all.

I remember identifying with Charlie Brown because as a kid I was a bit neurotic about no one really liking me, (although I had plenty of friends, like Charlie Brown actually has. I mean, he’s always hanging with Linus, isn’t he?) but I didn’t have someone in the neighborhood that I could spend a nickel for psychiatric help.

So in honor of those Christmas specials, and to pass the time on Sunday night during the Survivor Finale (and believe me, when it gets to the jury questions you don’t need to watch, you just can listen) I started to tinker with Katie’s Fisher – Price nativity set.

Yes, that’s right, it’s a nativity set, and believe it or not, everyone has those same goofy looks as their other sets, except there’s no kid with the sideways baseball cap in this one.

I counted the set. There were 11 people and animals. Well, that’s a football team. So, my mind started working, and viola:

For those of you not football savvy, this is an Offset-I shotgun formation, which is a great running formation, but it’s also good for screen passes, and play action passing where you want backs in the backfield to protect the QB.

The livestock and camel made up the offensive line, along with the angel. I chose the angel as the center because I felt he could communicate with the animals to make the line calls. The cow is the one at left tackle (from the offensive perspective), as he has to protect the blindside of the QB, and how the heck can you get around a cow in seven seconds or less?

I chose the Wise Men as the tight end and wide receivers. I felt they traveled far, so they had to have some speed, and they had good hands, because they didn’t drop their booty.

Joseph is the fullback. I felt that he’s strong, as he’s a carpenter. He’s also unselfish. Think about it, he married Mary, and did NOT consummate the relationship at first, all in the name of carrying the son of God. Now that, my friend, is taking one for the team.

I chose Mary as the QB, because the set has her hands outstretched like you would in the shotgun. Plus, she’s a great leader. If she can rally Catholics around her then certainly this football team wouldn’t be a problem.

The Baby Jesus is the tailback. I felt his young legs were the quickest on the team, and anyone who can walk on water can definitely gain 1,200 yards in a season.

Yeah, I know, SmedIndy your life is calling, you’d better answer it.

As you can see, this season brings out the fun in me, especially since we now have two little angels to buy presents for, and Santa has already made his list for them.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


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