What is it about this time of year that makes people go insane? I was yelled at by a scary man in a big truck in the Costco parking lot yesterday over a parking space – and rather than escalating, I maintained my “cool” in front of my niece and nephew and diffused the situation. I thought about it later – about what stress and anger do to us – and how when we assume the worst about people and their intentions – that situations can easily escalate if we walk around with such short fuses.
In keeping with my struggle to stay “present” and to remember what is was to be childlike, I have been watching a lot of my favorite childhood claymation Christmas specials. There is wisdom in remembering when things were more simple, and to apply some of these lessons to our complicated adult lives.
1.The Little Drummer Boy: Made in 1968, The Little Drummer Boy is old school claymation… The little boy Aaron is an orphan who hates humanity because his parents were killed by humans. His anger was a mask for the pain he felt for his loss. I happen to think that this is a universal truth among all of us: underneath deep-seated anger is pain that hasn’t healed. When Aaron sees baby Jesus, his heart becomes filled with love, which brings me to another universal truth that I believe: love heals all wounds. This quote from the movie brings tears to my eyes and sums it up better than I can:
“Aaron’s heart was filled with joy and love. And he knew at last that the hate he had carried there was wrong. As ALL hatred will ever be wrong. For more powerful, more beautiful by far than all the eons of sadness and cruelty and desolation which had come before, was that one tiny, crystalline second of laughter. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Made in 1970, this claymation movie narrated by Fred Astaire tells a story of how Santa Claus (played by Mickey Rooney) came to exist. Santa, aka Kris Kringle, wants to bring toys to children everywhere but is stopped by the evil Burgermeister Meisterburger. Kris turns to the misunderstood Winter Warlock for help by giving him a toy and melting his heart. The big lesson here is that changing is as easy as putting “one foot in front of the other”.
3. The Year Without a Santa Claus: Made in 1974 in amazing claymation, Santa is so stressed out that even he loses the Christmas spirit and wants to take a vacation from Christmas. Who doesn’t love the Heat Miser and Snow Miser – the uber-competitive sons of Mother Nature? Most definitely the best musical number in any Christmas special ever made! By working together, Mrs. Claus and Mother Nature get the Heat Miser and Snow Miser to compromise to let it snow in Southtown so that Santa will regain the Christmas spirit. So besides the sheer joy you will feel by simply laughing as you watch this movie, you will also learn the lesson about the value of compromise – and that we are never too old to listen to our mothers.