Christmas TV Specials? Most of them, and I mean 95% of the them are pure-T schlock. There have been a few great ones. If anyone doesn’t get a lump in their throat when Linus tells Charlie Brown that he knows the real meaning of Christmas; well, then you are either cold-hearted or you just don’t understand how bad the late-60’s aluminum Christmas tree fad was.

Fortunately, the folks over at National Lampoon, have come up with 10 great parodies of the whole Christmas TV genre. My favorite is the Ayn Rand, Selfish Christmas. Here is an excerpt from a show that we all wish could be made:
In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike. The special ends with the entropic collapse of the civilization of takers and the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services, acknowledging at last that his genius makes the gifts — and therefore Christmas — possible.

I think the utter failure of TV to manufacture any sort of consistenly good Christmas program has as much to do with the limitations of the medium as anything. The deep literary complexities of Christmas are just not suitable to a visual medium. While static nativity scenes and and all the other decorative parts of Christmas may make a point about what exactly is being celebrated, they certainly don’t give a great deal of context to it. We come to decorations with assumptions about their context – which is why decorated trees don’t work real well in July.

A mass medium, trying to be entertaining in nature, is a poor way to give context to a holiday with such genorous meaning. Perhaps that why the best summation of Christmas is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.