‘Tis the season!

Bah humbug.

Okay, not really.  I have truly come to appreciate Christmas, especially as I grow older.  Some would be surprised to hear that from me, and were probably expecting something more cynical and disparaging.  Not so much; I actually fall for the hokey thought that it is a time for family, and for being together, and letting go of worldly concerns.  That outlook would not change minus the tinsel and trappings, the tree and wreaths, or the boxes and wrappings.

Yes, I am a Who from Whoville.

Because it occupies such a powerful place in the Western Judeo-Christian heritage, it is not surprising to see it reflected in literature and fiction, including the speculative realm.  Here are a few of my favorite instances of Christmas in fantasy, horror, and science fiction.  Feel free to comment with your own.

– A Christmas Carol.  Possibly the most copied, emulated, or parodied holiday story of all.  It is credited with restoring a feeling of merriment to the season, at a time when Christmas in Britain was a somber – even dour – occasion.  How is it fantasy?  Scrooge saw freakin’ ghosts, man, and had some wild hallucinations.  And all without the benefit of LSD.  Besides, it gave us Scrooged, probably the third best Christmas movie of all time (after A Christmas Story and, of course, Christmas Vacation).

– The Grinch?  ‘Nuff said.

– Asimov’s "Christmas on Ganymede" is a stitch.  Quite amusing but with that Asmiov-ian sensibility.  He meant it as a comedy but about the story, Asimov said, "Writing humor is harder than digging ditches."  Preach it, brother.

This web-comic is cute, from a comic called VG Cats, which has two anthropomorphic cats in the lead roles as bitchy teenagers, whose lives center around video games and pop culture.  The strip is hit and miss but this one is heartwarming – and also a prime illustration of telling a story without dialogue (I admit, easier to do in a visual medium than a text).  If you want one less heartwarming but still funny, try this (or don’t, if you’re going to get all sensitive and send me angry messages).

– And who could forget Robot Santa, from Futurama (not to be confused with Robot Satan, another cool character).  Built to distribute presents to all children, the robot had a malfunction and judged all people to be bad – thus handing out punishment every Christmas.  Despite the bleakness of the humor, the episode ended with good cheer for the characters.  At one point Santa utters, "Time to get jolly on your naughty asses!" – a line which, with just a little sense of comedic timing, is useful in any situation.

That’s it.  Take a moment out of life and reflect on Christmas.  Kick aside the materialism, the travel headaches, the "keep up with the Jonses" race to decorate the house.  Put your arm around your favorite guy or gal, cuddle your children and puppies close, have a glass of eggnog, and just enjoy being happy.

And to all a good night.

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