Holidays – Feature Aricle

H olidays in midcentury America were a combination of the traditional and modern. The optimism of the day and easier credit led to a surge in materialism and the great Christmas Wish Books (catalogs) were awaited with great anticipation, almost as much as the big man himself Santa Claus. During this time President Johnson had a plan to transform American life from not just a good but a great society.   The ideals of that Great Society are reflected in three of the most popular Christmas specials of all time, three specials that we still watch today. They are: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (original air date 12/9/64); A Charlie Brown Christmas (12/9/65); and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (12/18/66). The shows were produced in the years following President Johnson’s May 1964 address about achieving greater equality and fairness in American culture. All three emphasized the individual as being part of a larger community, and the well-being of the community as important. The theory of “it takes a village” and that we are all part of that village was then born.   In 2013, we have issues with political unrest still, the economy is not very stable, and unemployment and homelessness are too high; but the American optimism always flows back, especially at holiday time. We still are striving to live out what these three stories so poignantly are telling. None of us are able to really make it alone, we need each other.