Fullervision presents: Christmas

The Story of Christmas -- The Gospels

Two accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ are present, one in the Gospel of Matthew and another in the Gospel of Luke. Luke's account is more elaborate in the details, while Matthew makes an extensive effort to fit the story to prophecy, including some unusual stretches. The two, in some cases, contradict.

Luke places the birth of Jesus at the time of the Census of Quirinius, an event in 6 AD that led to the deposition of the Jewish ruling class and the institution of Roman rule, according to Jewish historian Josephus. Joseph of Nazareth, said to have been descended roughly 78 generations from Adam through the biblical King David and possibly through the Maccabees that ruled Jerusalem in the 2nd century B.C., was engaged to a virgin named Mary. [Matthew's less plausible account adds up to only 58 generations, with several notable omissions and obvious divergences after David; Matthew follows the kings of Jerusalem, who were frequently cursed, instead of an alternate line preferred by Luke.] However, the angel Gabriel informed her that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and was to give birth to a child, that is, Jesus. (An older cousin of Mary's, Elizabeth, also had miraculously conceived six months prior; that child would become John the Baptist.) Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and sought shelter in a local "inn," which unfortunately was full, requiring them to take shelter with the animals. It was here that Jesus was born. Shepherds were first to be informed of His birth, and came to visit the stables.

Matthew includes an account of King Herod the Great having heard of his birth. Herod, who according to Josephus was suffering from psychosis in his old age, sent Magi (astrologers, or "wise men," occasionally referred to as "kings of the Orient") as informants to the stable where Jesus was born; these magi bore gifts to give him. Having heard of the prophecies regarding Jesus, the insane Herod ordered every male child under two to be killed, an order that, fortunately, appears never to have been followed, though it was enough to force Mary, Joseph and the young Jesus to find a detour to avoid Herod's henchmen. The problem with this is that Josephus places Herod the Great's death in 4 BC, ten years before the census of Quirinius, meaning Matthew's account and Luke's are not compatible. The fact that Matthew makes extreme efforts to shoehorn his narrative into existing prophecy— even when the prophecies Matthew refers to had already been fulfilled several years ago— casts further doubt on his version.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe, it ran into many pagan cultures. Many of these cultures had celebrations that marked the winter and spring seasons. Christians, willing to negotiate on the issues in an effort to win over the pagans, converted the winter celebration into Christmas and the spring celebration into Easter, to mark the birth and resurrection of Christ, respectively. At first, the "Christmas" celebrations were examples of sex, drunkenness, and general debauchery until Christian purists demanded that the holiday be taken more seriously. Puritans refused to recognize the holiday.

Christmas Countdown

There are exactly  days until December 25.

Christmas Radio

Cattaraugus County

  • WGWE 105.9 (November 25) (listen) (no playlist)
    • Mixed Xmas and regular classic hits, all Xmas Sundays 6-7pm

Buffalo

Rochester

Syracuse

Mohawk Valley

Local stations will be added to this list as we get closer to Thanksgiving and more stations change.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a legend based upon a philanthropist from circa AD 200 known as St. Nicholas of Turkey, a noted clergyman, philanthropist and (somewhat ironically) anti-paganism activist. For those of you going on Jeopardy! any time soon, he had a feast named in his honor that was originally designated on December 6; the proximity to the Christmas holiday is what caused "Santa Claus" to be lumped into the Christmas season. However, the legend has since grown into a full-blown industry. So here's the general consensus on the legend.

Santa Claus's physical description: he is of unknown height, notably overweight, he has a long white beard and is bald. His wardrobe is almost universally red. The story of Santa Claus's origin is disputed; however, we do know that he is married to a woman known only as Mrs. Claus and that he lives in a workshop on the North Pole. (Note: Geologists may note that there are two North Poles, a geographic [covered in water and ice] and a magnetic [under an island]. Fullervision, for the sake of realistic possiblility, will argue that the workshop is on the magnetic North Pole on Bathurst Island, Nunavut, Canada. Other organizations have argued that Santa lives in northern Scandinavia.) The workshop on the North Pole is manned by elves, who are responsible for producing all of the toys in the world. (This despite most claims that they are made by other diminuted people-- the Chinese.)

The apex of activity at the North Pole workshop comes on Christmas Eve (December 24 for those of you in Rio Linda), when all of the elves gather the toys and place them into a large sack for Santa Claus to carry around the world. The sack is carried out to a large sleigh, which is powered by nine reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph, the last with a bright red nose to guide the sleigh during inclement weather). Santa also compiles a list, from various sources, of all of the children to be considered "naughty" and undeserving of gifts. The rest of the Christian children are labeled "nice" and are rewarded with gifts from the sack. The sleigh navigates in a fashion so that it arrives at the children's houses at about midnight local time.

Something will go here... eventually.

This is a work in progress.

Christmas Television Specials: Broadcast

CBS

  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Dec. 4
    The first and original Rankin-Bass claymation special featuring the voice of Burl Ives and the famous Gene Autry song, as well as the longest running Christmas special on television today. In addition to strictly following the song storyline to the word, this series also incorporates several good subplots including Hermie the Dentist Elf, the Abominable Snowman and the Island of Misfit Toys.
  • Frosty the Snowman Nov. 23
    Rankin-Bass's only hand-drawn animation series based upon the infamous winter carol. A brave young girl named Karen attempts to keep Frosty safe from rising temperatures and the notoriously bad (in more ways than one) magician "Professor Hinkle."
  • Frosty Returns Nov. 23
    A leftist piece of tripe produced by CBS as a sequel to Frosty the Snowman.
  • A Home for the Holidays
    Celebrities seek homes for foster children in this special created by Kathie Lee Gifford.
  • Yes, Virginia Dec. 14
    Based on the classic "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" letter.
  • The Flight Before Christmas Dec. 8
    The story of the love child of one of Santa Claus's reindeer. I kid thee not.
  • The Story of Santa Claus
    A 2001 animated special that was mothballed for several years returned in 2011; it remains to be seen if it will return for 2012.
  • Hoops and Yo-Yo Ruin Christmas Nov. 23
    From Hallmark Entertainment.
  • The Elf on the Shelf Dec. 14
  • It's a SpongeBob Christmas! Nov. 23

ABC

  • A Charile Brown Christmas Nov. 28 (encore Dec. 20)
    The first animated Peanuts special ever created, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is considered to be one of the best Christmas specials of all time. The story is effectively a lament of Christmas gone awry due to commercial excess and a reminder of what Christmas is truly celebrating. Coupled with "Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales."
  • Prep and Landing
    The three installments of the Prep & Landing series will air out of order: Nov. 28 ("Operation: Secret Santa") and Dec. 9 (the original doubled with "Naughty vs. Nice").
  • Shrek the Halls Dec. 18
    In this midquel between Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After, the cast of Shrek has a hard time figuring how to celebrate Shrek's first Christmas with his family.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas Dec. 18
    The television adaptation of Dr. Seuss's book, narrated by horror flick legend Boris Karloff, about a character who plots to steal all material possessions related to Christmas from the tiny, innocent town of Whoville... but fails to quash the Whos' Christmas spirit. Movie includes famous "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" performance by Thurl Ravenscroft. The program moves to ABC and will also air on TBS and Cartoon Network. The 2003 movie adaptation of this story starring Jim Carrey and directed by Ron Howard can be seen on ABC/ABC Family.
  • I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! Dec. 21
    This sequel to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (actually, the second such sequel) was first released after the death of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, and focuses on the youngest and newest Peanut, Rerun van Pelt, taking in Snoopy's desert-living cousin Spike as a pet.
  • Disney Parks Christmas Parade Dec. 25
    Watch one big fat honking Disney commerical disguised as a parade. Broadcast from Walt Disney World in Florida.
  • New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest Dec. 31
    Ryan Seacrest takes over solo hosting duties for the late Dick Clark to count down to 2013.

NBC

  • Christmas at Rockefeller Center Nov. 28
    A two-hour extravaganza featuring a dozen musical performances and culminating with the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
  • Movie: It's a Wonderful Life Dec. 1 & 24
    The famous movie about a man who wishes he had never been born-- and then sees what his life would be like without him through the help of a guardian angel.
  • Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
    For the first time in over two decades, the first ever animated Christmas special (predating Rudolph by two years and Charlie Brown by three) returns to the airwaves to celebrate 50 years since its creation.
  • Music special: Blake Shelton Dec. 3
  • Music special: Michael Bublé, Dec. 10 & 21

Christmas Television Specials: Cable

Cartoon Network and Boomerang

  • A Flintstones Christmas
    Note: ABC Family also has this on their schedule. Don't ask me how or why, but for the past decade, Warner Bros. has been extremely tight about insisting that their properties only air on their outlets... that seems to be softening this year.
  • A Scooby-Doo Christmas
  • Bah Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
    Direct-to-video program based upon Elmo Shropshire's song of the same name.
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer
    Olive (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is a dog who hears a news report on trouble with Santa's reindeer and mistakes it for a "help wanted" ad.
  • Check listings for specials and one-off episodes all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

TBS

  • A Christmas Story, Dec. 24
    Jean Shepherd narrates his life story through the character of "Ralphie," an enthusiastic young boy whose life goal is to get a Daisy Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle for Christmas. Many memorable moments (wow, I've become Irv Weinstein) exist, including the ad-dispensing decoder ring, the tongue stuck to the flagpole on a "triple dog dare," and the continuously repeated phrase "you'll shoot your eye out."

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas

  • Frosty's Winter Wonderland
    Rankin-Bass's original sequel to Frosty the Snowman, narrated this time by Andy Griffith and built around the song "Winter Wonderland." In this special, Frosty seeks a wife.
  • Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
    The full-length finale to both the Rudolph and Frosty stories, featuring a very dark and bizarre storyline, some plot inconsistencies, and (drumroll, please)... Ethel Merman!
  • Year Without a Santa Claus (animated version)
    Two kids negotiate a deal with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser (two weather-controlling demigods who have catchy and nearly identical theme songs) to bring snow to the South, but in return, the North Pole is warm for Christmas, which jeopardizes Santa Claus's ability to leave via sleigh. Not that he ever really wanted to go anyway, since he decided to take the year off.
  • A Garfield Christmas Special
    The story of Jon Arbuckle's trip to Christmas dinner with his family. Garfield eventually discovers Jon's grandfather's old love letters to Jon's grandmother and returns them as a gift to Grandma. CBS discontinued this special after losing the rights to A Charlie Brown Christmas; the two specials had aired side-by-side for several years. CBS sold the rights to Garfield to Fox and they have opted not to air the special; however, Fox has made the special available on DVD. ABC resumes airing the special.
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    Another Rankin-Bass special, this one focusing on the story of Santa Claus (only loosely based upon the title song). A tripped out hippie scene makes this one a worthwhile watch. After several years on ABC, this one returns exclusively to cable.
  • Rudolph's Shiny New Year
    In this Rankin-Bass sequel to the original "Rudolph," the title character is sent out to find the New Year's Baby, who has gone astray in time in an effort to shirk his duties and hide his large ears. Again, this one has appeared on ABC in recent years but is off the schedule for 2012.
  • Other claymation specials: Jack Frost, Pinnochio's Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, among others
  • Movie: The Polar Express
  • Movie: The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3
  • As well as a handful of movies, which begin in November under the "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas" banner

AMC

  • White Christmas
  • Holiday Inn
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • Scrooged
  • Prancer

Hallmark Channel

  • Various "Hallmark Hall of Fame"-style Christmas movies

NBA Basketball Quintupleheader:

  • Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets
  • New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Lakers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder @ Miami Heat
  • Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls
  • Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers
This page is dedicated to the memories of Andrea C. Morton (1988-2009) and Eric R. Peters (1990-2010).
Fullervision Enterprises, Unltd. 2003–12 - All code by Jerry Myrle Fuller