If it just didn't come every year, Christmas season would be OK

November 26, 1993|By MIKE LITTWIN

I have four words to say to you and, in a better world, I wouldn't have to resort to this.

But here goes: "It's a Wonderful Life."

Now, your reaction says everything about you.

If you're a good, sensitive, kind person, you start to get just a wee bit sniffly and maybe talk about Jimmy Stewart and about how darn decent he is and how you even like his poetry and, by the way, isn't Clarence just the cutest little guardian angel-guy.

On the other hand, if you're like me, you hit the remote faster than you can say "Bonanza" reunion show.

This is not my fault. It is "their" fault. You know who "they" are. "They" are the ones who schedule TV shows.

"They" have made me this way. (I started to say Scrooge-like, but I can't stand to watch him anymore either, except of course the Mr. Magoo version, which, like the early Woody flicks, you just can't see too often.)

Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against Christmas. In fact, if I get that Dylan box set I've been hinting for, it could be a really great Christmas.

My problem is with the Christmas season.

As you know, it began officially yesterday, although Santa hit the malls sometime, I believe, in late July. He landed on a surfboard, if memory serves. In fact, I think it was a red-nosed surfboard.

Not that commercialization (three words for potential gift-givers: CDs, CDs, CDs) bothers me. I've been won over on that point. If you look really closely, you can see the spirit of Christmas blinking in your MasterCard hologram.

It's the predictability of it all that gets me. It's the same-every-yearness of it.

The shopping season always starts with the Macy's Chapter 11 Thanksgiving Day parade. I'm always thankful I don't have a big-screen TV, because, even on my 19-incher, the giant Snoopy balloon gives me nightmares.

The movie season begins almost immediately afterward. My idea of a Christmas movie is "This Is Spinal Tap" or anything in the Monty Python collection.

"Their" idea is always the same idea. Or three ideas.

You start with "It's a Wonderful Life." That wouldn't be so bad if they tried to spice it up. In my version, Clarence would take Rush Limbaugh around and show him how the world would be if he'd never been born and, of course, everything would be much better.

Then you get "A Christmas Carol." The old version, the really old version, the animated version, the musical version, the Muppet version and the Tom Clancy version, in which Scrooge builds nuclear submarines in his backyard. The best one -- "Scrooged" -- stars Bill Murray and has Buddy Hackett playing Ebenezer. "Scrooged" rarely makes TV. Too funny.

Finally, there's "A Miracle on 34th Street," which proves there is a Santa, which would be fine. Except one of the incarnations stars Burl Ives, who gave us "Holly Jolly Christmas," which plays nonstop at the malls.

Worse than the movies are the TV specials. Every year, the same ones. Over and over. Do they think we're so knocked out on eggnog and vodka that we don't notice? Maybe they're right.

There's "Charlie Brown's Christmas," in which he gets the dippy Christmas tree, and Lucy (or is it Ross Perot?) grabs the football away from him. You've got Rudolph. And Frosty. And the Chipmunks. And "Sesame Street Christmas," or is that an ice show?

We can't leave out the Grinch. I kind of like the Grinch, but you guessed that already, didn't you?

You can understand the cartoons. I know what it's like to have a little kid. They have this repetitive-movie syndrome you hear so much about. I know one kid who watched "The Little Mermaid" for 837 consecutive days until the VCR spontaneously combusted.

But that doesn't explain the Waltons' Christmas, does it? Dad makes it home, all right? Am I spoiling the ending for you? Also, we won World War II. And Clinton beat Bush.

Actually, I'm OK to this point. That's because I haven't mentioned Andy Williams' special. Or Perry Como's, if, in fact, Perry Como is still alive. There is one new special this year. It stars Harry Connick Jr., the gun-toting Sinatra wannabe, who thinks it's 1940.

You want a modern Christmas? How about Dr. Dre's "Gangsta Santa Special." Or Beavis and Butt-head's: "Huh, Huh, Huh vs. Ho Ho Ho." And I don't know about you, but I'd pay real money to see Axl Rose in a sweater.

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