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
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.
Local stations will be added to this list as we get closer
to Thanksgiving and more stations change.
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
Something will go here... eventually.
This is a work in progress.
Christmas Television Specials: Broadcast
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Nov. 26
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. 6
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 Dec. 14
A leftist piece of tripe produced by CBS as a sequel to
Frosty the Snowman.
A Home for the Holidays Dec. 18
Celebrities seek homes for foster children in this
special created by Kathie Lee Gifford.
Yes, Virginia Dec. 6
Based on the classic "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa
The Flight Before Christmas Nov. 30
The story of the love child of one of Santa Claus's
reindeer. I kid thee not.
The Story of Santa Claus Nov. 30
A 2001 animated special that was mothballed for several
years returned in 2011.
Hoops and Yo-Yo Ruin Christmas Nov. 29
The Elf on the Shelf Nov. 29
A Charile Brown Christmas Dec. 18
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
Prep and Landing
The three installments of the Prep & Landing
series are not currently on the ABC schedule.
Shrek the Halls Nov. 29
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
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Nov. 29
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
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!
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.
Christmas at Rockefeller Center Dec. 4
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. 14 & 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.
Music special: Kelly Clarkson, Dec. 11
Music special: Michael Bublé, Dec. 18
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
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
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)...
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
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"
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Various "Hallmark Hall of Fame"-style Christmas movies
NBA Basketball Quintupleheader:
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