It was never as high-profile as “Rudolph” or “Frosty,” but it’s worth noting that the animated special “The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas” turns 50 on December 17.
I’m sure I saw the program at least once, but my niece Claire used to drive her parents to distraction by insisting on seeing the VHS tape of “Chris’mus Bear!” over and over and over.
(My guess would be that Claire’s young son Elliot has his own exasperating yuletide rituals. Payback, as they say, is a reindeer.)
The show was misleadingly named. Protagonist Ted E. Bear (voiced by Tommy Smothers) actually stayed awake to find out what Christmas was all about, while the rest of the bears hibernated.
After scouring the internet for phrases such as “reasons I hate Christmas,” “things I despise about December” and “Here are some jokes your readers will never realize you ripped off,” I have come to the conclusion that a significant percentage of humans would love to hibernate through the holidays, which is okay, I guess, unless you have a hang-up about atrophied muscles, bed sores and some prankster leaving your hand dangling in warm eggnog.
The appeal of being semi-comatose goes beyond the oft-cited misgivings about commercialization, canceled flights, budget-busting lights displays, awkward workplace parties and formulaic Hallmark movies. Innumerable citizens yearn to escape the seasonal onslaught of rock/pop singers who have always dreamed of recording a Christmas album showcasing the same embellishments as a celebrity rendition of the National Anthem. It’s amazing how much “Do you hear what I hear?” can sound like “Oh, say can you seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?”
Other people want to escape the pity parties for friends with birthdays inconveniently close to December 25. Going forward, maybe we could tweak the birthday timing by re-branding March as “the month that comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb and in-between there’s no tight jeans or Barry White records.”
Some conscientious folks wish they could hibernate because they feel guilty about spending a month lying to youngsters about various aspects of the holiday. (They seem to have no qualms about spending the other 11 months of the year telling youngsters, “My political party can cure poverty, crime, climate change and bad hair days with one hand tied behind its back,” but that’s a topic for another time.)
Tons of people would be willing to snooze through December to escape having their latest romantic partner “dissected” at family gatherings. (“Try coming down the chimney. If you get stuck, that means you have the proper child-bearing hips.”)
Countless individuals are tired of being judged because they’re all thumbs at wrapping gifts. (“I’m not saying it’s the TOP survivalist skill, but one look at that pathetic ribbon makes me think you should ditch the six-month food supply and just die.”)
Possibly half the population would be willing to hibernate to escape the ritual of stressing out over selecting perfect gifts for imperfect people. (“I had to re-gift the Rolex with the names of all my fraternity brothers engraved on it. While dealing with my gluten intolerance, I found out I’m also allergic to timepieces that start with an ‘R.’ Sorry.”)
Whether you prefer to hide from Christmas or immerse yourself in it to the fullest, that’s up to you.
Just remember the time-honored maxim: “Let sleeping bears … shred that Christmas sweater into a million pieces.”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”