‘Tis the season. Grey skies, cold weather, and family traditions. My family, my folks and brothers, had only a few simple traditions. We watch the best version of “A Christmas Carol” on christmas eve (George C. Scott the clear winner, Albert Finney a close second), the brothers exchange gifts, we eat mom’s assortment of cookies and drink Cratchett Punch. That’s more or less it.
My family, The Spouse and The Child and myself, is still in the process of creating its own traditions. The Spouse was not a fan of christmas until our kid was actively involved, and I own some nutcrackers, but they don’t really count as traditions; we didn’t bring anything to the table. We got a live tree this year, which was fun and I think we’ll do that again. It smells great and has popcorn garland we made with our close friends at a dinner party. The Child named it “Susie.” I also thought we’d try watching the classics. I remember as a kid how awesome it was when “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” would be on TV. You’d get two, maybe three chances a year, a year, to see it. Now we have a DVD. The child loves it, and has been begging to watch it over and over again. Same with “Its Christmas, Charlie Brown” and “A Christmas Carol.” I’m doing my best to keep a tight reign on them so they remain special but are viewed often enough to become part of the winter celebration.
The interesting result from these viewings was the child’s interpretation. “Scrooge is mean and not nice. He’s naughty. He needs to say he’s sorry,” she told me. Rightfully so. “And the Grinch, he is so mean to his dog and stole their meat and hates christmas but he gives everyone their toys back. Now he’s nice. He loves them.” She could not only understand the plot lines, but also follow the transformations that the characters underwent. The Child truly grasped what these movies were about.
“And Charlie Brown, he really hates christmas.”
Wait, what? I asked her to explain why she lumped Charlie brown in with a hateful green monster and an evil Victorian era money lender.
“He ruined the christmas party and he hates the dog’s lovely christmas lights.” The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with her.
A buddy of mine in high school always wore this Che Guevara t-shirt. He told me Che was his hero, that he was a revolutionary and was all about sticking it to the man. I assumed he was right until I read a biography about Che years later. This led me to believe he was less about sticking it to the man and more about sticking it (knife wise) in the man (the man to Che being all of us capitalist pigs). That included those of us wearing a shirt with his picture on it. Che wasn’t the guy I through he was growing up.
Now, after the insights of The Child set me straight, I saw that Charlie Brown wasn’t the man I thought he was. He railed against everything that christmas was actually about, all the ‘commercial’ stuff people honestly look forward to each year. He hated the music and the parties and the lights. In the dark of winter, this bald monster hated light. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was the villain of the piece.
He’d probably stab me in the face if I put his picture on a shirt.