Of course, what probably set me on this mental train track was the watching of Robert Zemeckis' version of A Christmas Carol, probably still playing at a GigaPlex near you. Zemeckis chose to make the movie in CGI, and it's the same company/development group that he's been with since The Polar Express. Suffice to say, they have the process down pat by now, and the visuals are nothing short of stunning. Moreover, they are perfectly suited to capturing the magic of the story itself. Zemeckis lifted dialogue and imagry directly from Dickens' classic, which was another refreshing change of pace.
My father-in-law opined after seeing it that he reckoned A Christmas Carol was the most frequently filmed story, ever, and he rattled off for me several versions that I'd never seen or heard of. I was busy making my own list, and quickly came up with five versions that I could remember seeing in my lifetime. Maybe he has a point, at that. Moreover, the vast majority of the film and television versions all manage to stay true to the core of the story (Patrick Stewart's version a few years back was a noteworthy exception as they managed to get a lot more Dickens into the script). I'll give a pass to Scrooged because I love Bill Murray, but again, we see that the core message remains the same.
It's interesting to me that the story is full of magic and wonderment, and it's held up as THE parable for how to act at Christmastime (and of course, we are to take from the story that we should probably act like that all of the time, but hey, give me a break). Christmas, as a holiday, in fact, gets a pass from everyone who would otherwise have nothing to do with magic and mysteries and flying fat men and elves. We not only except it but we accept it as de rigeur; of course there's a Santa Claus, honey; yes, he knows if you've been bad or good; the elves load the sleigh and the reindeer fly. How else would he travel?
This post started in one direction and has gone in another, so I'll try to tie it up like so: for me, Christmas is about family. I like my family and I like getting together with them. We laugh and have a good time and in general really enjoy each other's company. I know that's not everyone's situation, but it's mine, and I'm really grateful for it. But I also like the other aspects of Christmas, too. I like that we're all a little nicer to each other. I like that we all think about things outside of our bubbles, and usually act on them, even if it's just donating a toy to Blue Santa. Christmas really does bring out the best in people.
And all of that stuff with the fat man and the flying sled is pretty cool, too.