Christmas hasn’t officially been put away at the Samples house yet, even with me on vacation. However, it has been a bit of a bummer not to see all the Christmas lights around town. And it has been a bit of a bummer this year not to see all the animated Christmas specials.
Man, we got to see the Santa Clause movies. One, two, three…one, two, three…over and over and over again. Thank you, ABC Family. Now kindly shove those “Pretty Little Liars” reminders out where A&E was planning to put Phil Robertson before most of my Facebook friends found their voice.
And we got to see Home Alone. Still not sure how Child Protective Services wasn’t part of the sequels, but hey. It’s Hollywood.
I didn’t see Elf, which surprised me. I didn’t get to see the animated Grinch movie. I didn’t see the Charlie Brown Christmas classic, so I was disappointed.
And don’t get me started on the Claymation holiday specials. Why those only aired three or four years is beyond me.
But I did get to see my all-time favorite, Santa Claus is Coming to Town — and I was fortunate to see it twice.
I remember seeing it when I was four or five years old, and to this day I can’t tell you why that Rankin-Bass stop-motion feature is still my favorite. It wasn’t Winter Warlock. Goodness. Before his heart melted, he was flat-out scary. It wasn’t the mean old Burgermeister Meisterburger, piloting Sombertown with all his, well, might.
But there was something about the story — how it tied together all the different loose ends to the Santa-based Christmas songs for those of us, like myself, who couldn’t wait for the magic of Santa Claus every year.
And there was something to one song which did it for me. “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” was an uplifting little ditty that was pretty corny, but it fit the movie. In fact, I’m a bit shocked it hasn’t entered the holiday music rotation for a lot of radio stations (unless there is some rights squabble, which would be an absolute shame).
If it could melt Winter Warlock, that was good enough for me.
Rankin-Bass put out some other Christmas classics, too. The Year Without a Santa Claus (Snow Miser and Heat Miser were enough reasons to watch the hour-long fun by themselves). Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Frosty the Snowman. Bot none of those connected with me the way Santa Claus is Coming to Town did. And, frankly, it was more about persistence and just trying than anything directly connected to Christmas.
I didn’t notice it as a child, as a teenager or even a young adult. But the song is all about taking the first steps to changing your heart. That’s the opportunity given to each of us every day, but especially on Christmas. It’s really a gift as much as an opportunity to be reborn, to be better, to follow the example given to us in a newborn child more than two thousand years ago.
And all you have to do is put one front in front of the other, push forward, and never look back at what you left behind.
It’s a pretty good message with a catchy tune, I’d say.