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No such thing as too much Christmas
BY ROB HEDELT
THE FREE LANCE-STAR A
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
AFEW weeks back, in my role as TV critic, I thought about doing a column lamenting the number of new Christmas movies being made on various networks.
On just two or three different channels, there were three and sometimes four new holiday movies a week, from Thanksgiving until Christmas.
Overkill, right? In the same vein of Christmas goods being trotted out earlier and earlier each year?
But, as I thought about my possible theme, something unusual happened.
I told myself I was all wet. And that if there’s an audience out there who gets a kick out of an endless succession of Christmas movies–no matter how saccharinely sweet–who am I to say it’s a bad thing?
Indeed, one of the reasons I like Christmas traditions–both religious and commercial–is that the season is based on caring.
It’s a time of year that brings out the best in people, when doing something nice for others is at the top of the list for so many.
Just last week, I heard the results of a poll noting that people overwhelmingly say they enjoy giving more than receiving.
Sure, that’s probably what people would say to be seen as nice and decent, but it’s also what I’ve witnessed year after year–from folks out ringing the bells at Salvation Army kettles, buying toys for needy children through a raft of different programs or simply spending time and hard-earned money to find that perfect present for friends or family.
I still remember very well my first forays into Christmas giving. They happened at a little spot I believe they called “The Fawn Shop” at the Miller & Rhoads department store in Richmond.
The store created a Christmas “fish in a barrel” shop with low-priced gift items and “elves” to help kids who’d venture in with a few bucks in their hands.
There was something instantly thrilling about being able to pick out a present for Mom and Dad that they didn’t have to help with. It revved me up as much or more than thoughts of the rocket ship or baseball glove I hoped to find under the tree.
I understand the frustration of many who feel the commercial aspects of the Christmas season overwhelm its religious roots, the reason for the season.
Indeed, it’s upsetting to see that get short shrift compared to Santa and Rudolph and the like.
But even in those commercial trappings, it’s not hard for me to find good.
Even those who seem to go to excess with all the giving and getting and going seldom are doing it just to please themselves.
In most situations, there’s caring and concern about others at the base of it all–whether it’s putting out lights in the yard or finding that fire truck with the flashing lights little Billy is hoping for on Christmas morning.
The Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa holiday just seems to bring out the better selves of so many. It’s so evident when you see people–often those who can least afford it–digging deep to buy a gift for a needy child or food items for those who might go hungry.
In a time in this country when political animosity, shootings and a general loss of hope threatens our national spirit, this holiday season is a poultice for the soul.
And before I go, it’s time for a confession.
I watched just about every one of those new Christmas movies. And enjoyed most of them.
What do I know?
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415