Revisiting Christmas Specials

Revisiting Christmas Specials

Time to break those Rankin/Bass specials again! Or not.
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It's the holidays once again, which means that it's time to break out the DVDs (or VHS tapes, if you still have a VCR) of all the old Christmas specials. Of course, with it being christmas, we musn't forget the old Rankin/Bass specials. Recently, the YouTube channel Screen Junkies did a screamingly funny "Honest Trailer" of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In light of this, it might be time to revisit these specials and see how they hold up.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

You truly need to watch the "Honest Trailer". Not only is it hilarious, but this special did kind of deserve it. Apart from being weird (it's hard not to think that the inspiration for Scar from The Lion King came from King Moonracer), it also carries some of the worst traits from the 1960s: bad clay animation, at least one awful song whose sheer amount of treacle borders on self-parody, and weirdly sexist attitudes (there's no reason why the female characters in this are treated/come off so poorly). Clearly not the best of the bunch, but good for some laughs. (And yes, the sequel mentioned in the "Honest Trailer" is just awful.)

Frosty the Snowman

In the same class as Rudolph: bad, but it has some laughs to it. Like the former, Frosty is narrated by an old Hollywood star (Burl Ives and Jimmy Durante, respectively). Fortunately, the only song is the eponymous one. And admittedly, the villain is pretty funny. Unfortunately, the sequel doesn't have that same kind of camp, also with much worse animation.

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

This one is peak Rankin/Bass. More clay animation, another schmaltzy narrator from the olden days of Hollywood (this time, it's Fred Astaire), and more. The female characters are more involved in this one (though one of the main characters in Frosty is Karen, and its sequel also has a female lead character), but it doesn't make it any less silly. Also, this is worth watching if only for possessing the single greatest musical number in the Rankin/Bass catalog. Drippy, psychedelic, and strange to the extreme, it's easily the best and worst scene in any of these Rankin/Bass specials, not to mention the most dated thing ever (it was released in 1970).

The Little Drummer Boy

Abjectly, given its more religious subject matter and more serious presentation, this is one of the best specials they made. Even the choice of narrator (Academy Award winner Greer Garson) is a more somber choice. Of course, it's not without its silly moments, but if you're suffering from burnout by the other specials, this will be a good antidote. (Warning: There's a version that have some sound effects, such as Aaron drumming in a flashback, and a version that doesn't have those. Be wary of which one you're watching.)

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Of the "silly" Rankin/Bass specials, this one's the best, though it's not without a syrupy 1970s musical number. There are a number of reasons why it's the best: a good voice cast (including Mickey Rooney, who also voiced Kris Kringle in Santa Claus is Comin' to Town; and Academy Award winner Shirley Booth as the narrator/Mrs. Claus), some good characters, and of course, the winning combo of Snow Miser and Heat Miser, who lay claim to the best musical number(s) of any of these specials. Though, you could say there's a give-and-take of good and bad in this. On the one hand, the sequence where children around the world are giving Santa Claus a Merry Christmas is horribly racist and stereotypical with its depiction of children from different areas of the world. On the other hand, their version of "Blue Christmas" is actually genuinely sad (or overly 70s, depending on your bent) compared to Elvis Presley's country version. Overall, perhaps it's alright, but worlds better than the others in this bent in terms of quality.

What's your favorite Rankin/Bass special? Please leave your comments below. Until then, permit me to allow Krusty the Clown to send me off.

Cover Image Credit: Rankin/Bass/quoteimg.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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