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Christmas Fullervision Style 2007

days until Christmas.

Monday, December 25, 2007

The Story of Christmas: The Birth of Jesus Christ

The story goes, according to the books of Matthew and Luke, that Joseph of Nazareth, roughly the 58th-generation of the Holy Lineage from Adam through David, was engaged to a woman named Mary. However, when Mary (a virgin) became pregnant, Joseph had a plan to end the engagement before the child was born, as not to suggest shame upon the woman. The angel Gabriel convinced him otherwise, telling Joseph that his fiancée was carrying a child of God. So, traveling to Bethlehem to take part in a census set forth by Caesar Augustus, Joseph and the pregnant Mary needed to stop... a nearby "inn" was full, so they directed themselves to a manger, where Mary delivered the child who would be Jesus Christ. Upon Christ's birth, angels of God went forth to local shepherds and distant kings, who came in droves to pay homage to the child and offer gifts. King Herod of Jerusalem wasn't too happy and denounced claims that Christ was any king that would infringe upon his reign, so he plotted to kill the child, asking to "go and worship" him. Having heard divine warning of the plot, Mary, Joseph, and the Christ eventually fled to Egypt. The rest, as they say, is history.

Spread to pagan culures: From debauchery to holiness

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.

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, as Santa Claus is a Dutch [closely related to English and Scandinavian languages] translation of Saint Nicholas.) 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.

Chanukkah (December 5-12, 2007)

Chanukkah, also spelled Chanukah or Hanukkah, is celebrated December 4-12 this year, an earlier turn than usual. The relatively minor Jewish holiday is noted so often because it lands in roughly the same time frame as Christmas, one of the most major Christian holidays, and due to the fact that many famous media personalities are Jewish (see Adam Sandler's line of "Hanukkah Songs") The story of this holiday involves a belief that divine intervention allowed one day's worth of temple oil to last for eight days. The custom is symbolized by lighting a menorah of nine candles, one master candle to light the other eight, one for each day. Also involved is a game of dreidel-spinning (the dreidel being a top with four sides, each with Hebrew lettering) and feasts including deep-fried potato latkes (pancake-like creations).

Kwanzaa: It's fake, it's racist, I don't even consider it a holiday.

Media Guide

Radio: Holiday Music Watch

The following outlets are expected to carry Christmas music this year.

This has been one of the most unusual format change years in a while. We had no less than 6 stations on the Lake Ontario shoreline change format within 2 hours of each other, and a 7th go full-in after 12 hours of mixed format at the same time. Some time this past week, CHRE followed suit.
WHTT has begun "Mix"-ing in Christmas songs to their regular "80s, 90s and now" playlist as of November 27.
Programming and playlists being watched with help from Yes.com
HOLIDAY MUSIC WATCH (Last updated 11/28/07)
Buffalo, NY
WJYE 96.1
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 7 PM) Yes
WTSS 102.5
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 7 PM) Yes
WHTT 104.1
25% Christmas, 75% Regular playlist
24 hour holiday channel
Rochester, NY
WRMM 101.3
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 7 PM) Yes
WVOR 102.3
Clear Channel
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 7 PM) Yes
Syracuse, NY
WYYY 94.5
Clear Channel
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 5 PM) Yes
WZUN 102.1
Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/1)
WLTI 105.9
One Christmas song per hour
24 hour holiday channel
Southern Ontario
CJEZ 97.3
Astral Playing Christmas music 24/7 (11/16 5 PM) Yes
CHFI 98.1
One Christmas song per hour
24 hour holiday channel
CKLH 102.9
Astral One Christmas song per hour
24 hour holiday channel
CHRE 105.7
Astral Playing Christmas music 24/7
See also...
Clear Channel Communications Christmas Formats

  • Nationally syndicated - Full format changes (does not count those that change one week before Christmas)
    • Delilah (will change 11/16)
    • John Tesh
    • American Top 10 with Casey Kasem (will change 11/24?, full top-60 Christmas countdown weekends of 12/16 and 12/23)
    • The Dr. Demento Show (will change around 12/2... will not be available online-- at least free-- due to Dr. Demento's cash flow problems)
    • Your Weekend with Jim Brickman


Please note that all times listed are subject to change. As the holiday approaches, I will update dates and times as well as remove any dropped specials.
UPDATE: As of 11/12, more Christmas specials timetable released by ABC.

Most notable television specials, by network:
  • CBS
    • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Dec. 4 8 PM
      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, Dec. 7 (repeats Dec. 19) 8 PM
      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
      A leftist piece of tripe produced by CBS as a sequel to Frosty the Snowman.
    • Movie: Elf, Dec. 22 8 PM
      The movie starring Will Ferrell as a man who was raised by elves and has to return home to New York City.
    • Ice Wars: USA vs. the World, TBA
      A primarily token figure skating competition that has aired on CBS for the past several years.
    • A Home for the Holidays, Dec. 21
      Sheryl Crow takes over this annual Christmas special seeking to find adopted families for orphaned children. Formerly hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford. (Just be sure to use one sheet of toilet paper during the commercial breaks... sorry, couldn't resist)
  • ABC (holiday schedule)
    • A Charile Brown Christmas, Nov. 27 8 PM
      The first animated Peanuts story 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."
    • Shrek the Halls, November 28 (encore December 11) 8 PM ET
      An animated special based upon a popular movie trilogy. Did we learn nothing from the Star Wars Holiday Special? EDIT: OK, I was wrong-- it was a huge hit, and a pretty good one from what I hear.
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, November 28 8:30 PM ET
      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.

    • Movie: The Polar Express, Nov. 30 8 PM
      Partially-animated spectacle featuring Tom Hanks's voice and head plastered on a lot of bodies.
    • Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Dec. 4 8 PM
      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. Replays on ABC Family.
    • I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! Dec. 10 8 PM
      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.
    • Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, Dec. 11 8:30 PM
      The name says it all. And no, there's no poop involved.
    • Movie: The Santa Clause
      This 1994 movie features Tim Allen as a toy salesman and father who unwittingly accepts the duties of Santa Claus-- and then physically transforms into him to boot, causing his ex-wife to worry for their child's sanity. It has since produced two sequels. Also watch for The Santa Clause 2.
    • Elmo's Christmas Countdown, Dec. 23 7 PM
      Elmo from Sesame Street crosses over into commercial television after over a decade in commercial toyland. About time.
    • Christmas parade, Dec. 25 9 AM
      Hosted by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from Walt Disney World in Florida.
    • Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Dec. 26 MAYBE
      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. Moves to ABC the day after Christmas in a surprise move that I missed.
    • New Year's Rockin' Eve with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest, Dec. 31 10 PM
      Dick Clark returns with co-host Ryan Seacrest to count down to 2008.
  • NBC
    • Movie: Miracle on 34th Street, Nov. 22 2 PM
      The original 1947 version of the story of Santa Claus paying a visit to New York City returns to broadcast television; the film had been airing for the past few years at 2 PM ET on Thanksgiving Day on NBC (although oddly, in 2006, the network dropped it and replaced it with Babe-- they have since reversed the decision).
    • Christmas at Rockefeller Center, Nov. 28 7 PM (??)*
      A two-hour extravaganza featuring a dozen musical performances and culminating with the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
    • Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Dec. 1 8 PM
      The annual stage show featuring the world-famous short-skirted Rockettes airs December 1 at 8 PM
    • Movie: It's a Wonderful Life, TBA
      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. Special presentation narrated for the blind by former President George Bush.
  • MyNetworkTV
    The network formerly known for its spectacular flop trying to use base programming of catty soap operas in prime time enters the Christmas programming this season.
    • Olive, the Other Reindeer
      Also airs on Cartoon Network. 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.
    • Holidaze, the Christmas that Almost Didn't Happen
    • Several other special music programs are also airing on MyNetworkTV.
  • CBC
    • Movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, TBA
      The third installment of the Chevy Chase "Vacation" series. Clark Griswold and his extended family engage in the most dysfunctional Christmas dinner ever concocted. NBC aired an edited version of this special until 2005.
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, TBA (see ABC for description)
    • Frosty the Snowman, TBA (see CBS for description)
    • The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, TBA
      The most recent sequel to "Frosty the Snowman."
    • Robbie the Reindeer TBA
      Two British-produced claymation shows featuring Robbie, who strives to become a member of the next generation of reindeer. (The genders and ages of the reindeer are totally inconsistent with those of the original story.) The show was dubbed by American celebrities circa 2000 and released in the United States, an edition likely never to be seen again. It will air on CBC this year, and in the US, the original British version will be seen on the Nicktoons channel.
    • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, TBA (see ABC for description)
    • The Santa Clause, TBA (see ABC for description)
      • Santa Clause 2: TBA
    • Movie: Elf, TBA (see CBS for description)
    • Movie: Jingle All the Way, TBA
      Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad battle it out for the latest hot toy for their kids.
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, TBA (see CBS for description)
      Please note: the version of this special that airs in Canada has a slightly different soundtrack, featuring the song "Fame and Fortune" instead of  "There's Always Tomorrow."
  • Cable: TBS
    • A Christmas Story, Dec. 24 (estimated)
      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."
  • Cable: ABC Family
    • "25 Days of Christmas" -- A 25-day virtual marathon of Christmas specials (home page)
      Full programming will begin on 12/1, including the following specials:
      • 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.
      • Other claymation specials: Jack Frost, Pinnochio's Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, among others
      • As well as a handful of movies
  • More cable outlets to be added soon.
    • 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.
    • The Homecoming: A Christmas Story
      The made-for-television movie that spun off the television series The Waltons, this story is the tale of a rural Depression-era family who is rocked by the disappearance of their father. CBS had aired the program on Saturday mornings until the late 1990's, when it inexplicably disappeared. It is available on DVD but is rare and comparitively expensive. Yes, I have a copy. No, you can't have it.
    • It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown!
      I have never seen this little known sequel to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" produced in 1992. Bootleg copies are floating around on Youtube, I believe.
Television Sports (Christmas Eve/Christmas Day)
  • NFL
    • While no games are scheduled on Christmas Day (due to the fact that it's Tuesday), a Monday Night Football game is scheduled for Christmas Eve between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers.
  • NBA
    • Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat, 2:30 PM (ABC)
  • NCAA football and the NHL are taking Christmas Day off.

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