The New York Sun[Shine!]

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Some of you may have read or seen the somewhat-recently popularized newsstory of young Virginia O’Hanlon. There’s a movie and book that came out not too long ago documenting the story in an endearingly artistic way. As I’ve mentioned before, the 2009 movie Yes, Virginia is the story of a young girl questioning the existence of Santa Claus. As a pragmatic young lady, Virginia wrote a letter to the New York Sun and the ensuing response has been a legacy for Christmas ever since. Check it out! This is a copy of what has, apparently, become the most re-printed newspaper article of all time.

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What I really like about the story of young 8-year-old Virginia is the idea that, by simply setting a few lines of type for an editorial, Francis P. (Pharcellus!) Church, the journalist who wrote the response, shared a brightness and positivity that I wish there was more of in the media today.

I stumbled upon a blogpost recently from a site called The Dignified Devil and I loved the way the author, Gregory Smith, describes Francis Church’s response to Virginia. “His example stands against the cynicism of every era, a caution against the magnetic pull of strict logic and constant serious-mindedness . . .”

If you hadn’t heard this story, I hope you find it as sweet and heartening as I did. Although I never believed in Santa as a kid (or as an adult, for that matter!), there is something beautiful in an established Army journalist and serious newspaper editor taking time and ink to perpetuate the magic and beauty that is so often lost as childhood becomes adulthood. Remember that “The most real things in the world that neither children nor men can see . . . Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

That is a truth I celebrate wholeheartedly this season.

Advent-ures: A Very Netflix Christmas

Back when I was new to being a kid, I remember getting disproportionately excited on those two nights in late November/early December when I was allowed to stay awake and watch Christmas Specials! As the youngest of 4 (later to be displaced by my darling bouncing baby brother), it was always a big deal to get to stay up late with the big kids. Nowadays, all that old magic has been guillotined by the DVR and The Reign of Comcast, but I still love Christmas Specials!

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Since I have had the latest beastly cold/virus/fever/misery that is going around, I decided to check out what Netflix has to offer in the way of Christmas Specials. Based on the way-too-much-quality-time I spent perusing Christmas Films (Classic and Novice alike), here are my top new recommendations*:

*Please note that these do not take the place of A Charlie Brown Christmas, The claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or the two animated Frosty The Snowman specials!

#1)VeggieTales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving

Hoe Hoe Hoe???

Kudos to teaching kids about the actual origins of Santa Claus, VeggieTales. . . I was delightfully surprised by this one . . . plus, I really liked the not-so-subtle integration of Hoe Hoe Hoe!

#2) Christmas Classics: Volume 1

This is a collection of “Classics” I had never seen before. . . quite the line-up, if I do say so myself. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen old-school Rudolph’s “BRB” letter to his parents.

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And what about Professor Inventor-Claus and how he saved Christmas-at-the-Orphanage with nothing but his noggin, a bottomless-box of cotton puffs, and his uncanny ability to spit nails? Or Jack Frost’s ability to save errant bear cubs by transforming ice into candy using special paint? And the otter-chorus singing about winter? And what about the doll that inhales a balloon and becomes a rotund night-club singer? Cala lilies that dispense chocolate syrup? There’s really no end to the fascinating things you can see in this compilation set-up, friends. I didn’t even get into the ridiculous racial and cultural stereotyping that happens – downright educational.

#3) Yes, Virginia

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This is the story of a highly skilled young découpage artist who grows up with the misguided-yet-timeless, ever-perpetuated belief in the infallibility of the print media. . . okay, just kidding. . . sort of. It’s also about Santa Claus being real, particularly because he represents an idea that individuals can make real. It’s all very well-made and lovely.

Those are my top Netflix three! Hope you enjoy as much as I did, Friends!

Happy Merry Day-in-Waiting to you all!