Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Countdown Characters #7

Grinch - watercolour and ink -Wilma Simmons
"Today is your Day" ... G is for Grinch
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
  ( from 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas')

A creation of the famous Dr Seuss, the Grinch is a green, grumpy, anti-festive recluse who is annoyed by the happiness of others and gains pleasure from the act of spoiling other people's celebrations. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" tells the story of  the Grinch's fiendish quest to ruin Christmas for the citizens of  the town of Whoville. The Grinch sets about stealing Christmas decorations and gifts from all the Whos' homes. Amazingly, the Grinch discovers that even though there were no presents, the good people of Whoville continued to enjoy Christmas with their families.

As Lou Lou Who says ," I'm glad the Grinch  took our presents. You can't hurt Christmas because it isn't about the... the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights. That's what Cindy's been trying to tell everyone... and me. I don't need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family."

Convinced that there must be something more to Christmas than crass commercialism, the Grinch decides to return the stolen gifts and joins in the Whoville Christmas celebrations. Perhaps the Grinch was inspired by the character of Ebenezer Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol" - the similarities are there. There  certainly is no contest for a prize for Christmas meanness and  sudden change of  heart , so let's just say both Scrooge and the Grinch exemplify,in the end,  that the Christmas spirit cannot be conquered and will flourish in all who have an open  heart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Countdown Characters #6

Not a celebrity for an Australian summer Christmas, but
Frosty the Snowman - watercolour, and ink - Wilma Simmons
F is for Frosty the Snowman...
and Frosty is certainly a popular character in that popular December song, Frosty the Snowman where there is likely to be a 'white' Christmas. In this cheery song, Frosty is magically brought to life when children dress him in a hat... and so, Frosty enjoys dancing and prancing around, until he meets with a problem with the police, and leaves only to promise a return.
Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
There must have been magic in that old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head,
He began to dance around ...
He led them down the streets of town, right to the traffic cop
And only paused a moment when he heard him holler 'Stop'
For Frosty the Snowman, had to hurry on his way;
But he waved them goodbye, sayin' "Don't cry, I'll be back again some day."
( extract of song lyrics)

I first met Frosty the Snowman when I was quite young as I learnt to read from Little Golden Books - quite a fanciful story as I grew up in North Queensland, and my chance of ever meeting a snowman at Christmas time was - 'never". . In a later animated version of Frosty's story, the plot  describes the adventures of Frosty and his friends  as they attempt to escape from the original owner of the magical hat and the quest to get Frosty to the North Pole so that he will not melt away. However, my favourite version is this 2 minute video of Jimmy Durante's rendition of the song - enjoy some of the magic of Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Countdown Characters #5

Bah Humbug!

E is for Ebenezer , Scrooge that is!
Ebenezer Scrooge  is the main character in the classic Christmas novel by Charles Dickens. He is described ..."The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice...".
 Depicted as a stereotypical nasty money lender, Ebenezer hates Christmas,  is mean to the poor and  exploits his employees - not a nice old man at all! On Christmas Eve, the ghost of his previous business partner Jacob Morley visits and warns that like him, his fate in the after life will be to wander the earth forever because of his greed for money and cold heartedness in life. The visitation of the three Christmas ghosts - the Past, the Present and the Future offers a last chance of redemption by showing Ebenezer visions of the  past love of his sister and fiancĂ©e who are now both lost to him; the pure joy and kindness of  spirit of  his nephew and that of his employee Bob Cratchit, in spite of the  current serious illness of his son, Tiny Tim; and  then the tragic death of Tiny Tim who could not be offered adequate care because of the poor salary of his father, and the lonely death of Ebenezer himself.
When Ebenezer Scrooge awakens, he finds it is Christmas morning, and he is immediately changed - he becomes the model of generosity and humanity. He is reconciled with his nephew, and becomes a benefactor to Tim Cratchit.  One could say that Ebenezer Scrooge is a miraculous transformation!
Ebenezer Scrooge has been voted the most well known Christmas character in Western literature and "scrooge" is popularly used to describe someone who is miserly and cold hearted although  Scrooge undergoes such a humane and radical personality change in the story. The phrase "Bah Humbug" is a declaration that Christmas is a fraud and  has also become  synonymous with Ebenezer Scrooge although in "A Christmas Carol" he only says this twice in the whole book and ultimately  he is the amazing example that the spirit of Christmas can indeed work miracles .