The Best Things in Life Are Free, but You Can Give Them to the Birds and Bees, I Want Money. That’s All I Want.

Hello dear readers of The East Nashvillian. I’ve been making observations about life in our neighborhood for some months now. Normally, I wind up my inner Andy Rooney and have at it. But it’s the holidays, kids, and I’m feeling jolly.
    I’d like to share some dialog from my absolute favorite Christmas tradition, the CBS television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Originally aired in 1965, Charles Schulz’s Christmas gift to the world has aired every year since.

     I think our hero says it best:

CHARLIE BROWN: I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.
     They continue walking.
CHARLIE BROWN: I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I might be getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.
LINUS: Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.
     After a trip to psychologist-Lucy, Charlie Brown realizes that his problem is the fear of everything (Pantophobia). THAT’S IT!!!
     Everywhere he looks, crass commercialization . . .

CHARLIE BROWN: What’s this? (Reading) Find the true meaning of Christmas. Win money, money, money. Spectacular, super-colossal neighborhood Christmas lights and display contest. (Looks up from the paper). Lights and a display contest! Oh, no! My own doggone commercial — I can’t stand it!
     His sister, Sally, asks for help writing her Santa letter . . .
SALLY: Dear Santa Claus, how’ve you been? How is your wife? Did you have a nice summer? I wish it was. I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
     Please note the size and color of each item and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself. Just send money. How about tens and twenties?
     No one is sending him any Christmas cards. He ends up with the world’s saddest little tree for the Christmas play. And all the kids are on his case. Charlie Brown, can’t you do anything right?!?
     Ah yes, Christmas ennui. We all know it’s supposed to be a hopeful, joyful, peaceful time of year and yet, with all of the commercials and all of the stuff we have to buy and the fear of there not being enough, you might as well toss the tree in the fire and sleep till the new year.
     Christmas. Is it really a big commercial racket run by a big Eastern syndicate, as Lucy says?
     Linus sets us straight.

LINUS: Sure, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about…
     There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them. And they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
     That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

     Why do I love this special so much?

     From the mouths of babes comes sage wisdom. Its simple message reminds us that Christmas is a time to be grateful, to be humble, to count our blessings, to draw our friends and family near; to help those less fortunate, to spread peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.
     And while you are baking cookies and roasting turkeys this year, please allow me to share some of my favorite Christmas music for your holiday pleasure.

     1.   The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrappings”
     2.   The Pogues, “A Fairy Tale of New York”
     3.   Clarence Carter, “Back Door Santa”
     4.   Big Star, “Jesus Christ”
     5.   Cheech & Chong, “Santa Claus And His Old Lady”
     6.   Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, “Christmas Album”
     7.   Donny Hathaway, “This Christmas”
     8.   Lou Monte, “Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey”
     9.   Run-D.M.C., “Christmas in Hollis”
     10. Vince Guaraldi Trio, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

     And one last thought: Let’s start a petition to enact a law to eliminate Black Friday!
     Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, East Nashville and Beyond!

— When Hags isn’t shopping locally this holiday season, he can be found playing bass with The Ornaments as they perform the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas in it’s entirety Dec. 15 – 21 at the Family Wash. There will also be a children’s show 10 a.m., Dec. 21 at the Belcourt Theater.

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