It is not even Thanksgiving and “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” is on television. Of course, I am still watching it, so are Dave and Drew. I am a sucker for a nostalgic Christmas special! As soon as the first song came on, I began to think of my mom, she LOVED Christmas and everything about it. She would have been calling and singing along with all of the songs like she always did. She was crazy about Christmas carols but refused to play them until Santa came across the television during The Thanksgiving Day Parade. The minute it was over, the songs came on – and stayed on until New Years!
As I am watching Rudolph, I am realizing that this movie, produced in the 60’s, may have actually been “ahead of the times” – an early anti-bullying movie perhaps! A bunch of “misfits” just looking for a place that they’ll fit in, even being rejected in the land of misfits. Poor Rudolph is even chastised by Santa! Ever since I was a kid, I sympathized with Rudolph and his pal Herbie and I felt happy when Rudolph triumphs over all of the other bully reindeer as he saves Christmas for everyone!! The more that I think about it, when I was younger, the theme song really upset me! Poor Rudolph never being allowed to join in the fun reindeer games and being laughed at for his “different” nose. I guess even as kids, the message of the story, to accept each other despite our differences was apparent. Only sweet Clarice, the doe had nice things to say to him:
Rudolph: What do you want?
Clarice: You – You promised to walk me home.
Rudolph: Aren’t you going to laugh at my nose, too?
Clarice: I think it’s a handsome nose. Much better than that silly false one you were wearing.
Rudolph: It’s terrible… and it’s different from everybody else’s!
Clarice: But that’s what makes it so grand. Why, any doe would consider herself lucky to be with you.
But as I watch it this year, I am wondering – what kind of message is this cartoon really sending out to children who are feeling bullied or left out? That they can only be accepted if they do something extraordinary? Perhaps I am looking way too into the meaning behind a cartoon because, for me, it truly it wouldn’t be Christmas without all of my favorite shows from when I was a child. I guess that my hope it that as long as parents and teachers are having conversations with children about accepting everyone, despite all of our differences, then these sweet, nostalgic Christmas specials should still have a place during the holiday season.