Christmas miscellany

In my December 5 post I mentioned that I was considering writing a post on Stevie Wonder’s song “Someday at Christmas,” a Christmas song that I’m not ashamed to say makes me cry.  But the post I was crafting in my mind sounded a lot like the one I had just written about “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (i.e., me waxing poetic and theological about a song which I would then quote), so I decided not to bore you.  Instead, I’ll briefly mention my thoughts on that song in my list of assorted observations I’ve made so far this month about classic Christmas music and movies.

  • If you believe Jesus is going to come a second time and recreate the world as a place of peace and justice, listen to “Someday at Christmas” with that in mind.  It would only take one or two little tweaks of the lyrics to make it an eschatological song.
  • You know that bird on the Island of Misfit Toys who doesn’t fly . . . he swims?  And you know how during the end credits of Rudolph, that elf in Santa’s sleigh sends each toy down to earth with an umbrella to ensure a safe and pleasant landing?  Well, the other night my friends and I noticed that THE ELF DOESN’T GIVE THE BIRD AN UMBRELLA!  I shouted, “That bird can’t fly!” and everyone laughed, but it was a rather tragic moment for this bird lover.
  • I watch White Christmas pretty much every year, and while it’s hard to resist Bing Crosby’s smooth, warm voice and soulful blue eyes, my real White Christmas crush is Danny Kaye, so debonair when he’s dancing and awkward when he’s not, and adorable either way.*  Until last night, I had always been under the impression that Danny Kaye was an unusually tall man, mainly because his ankles always seemed to be sticking out.  But last night when I was watching White Christmas, I looked closely at that scene near the end when all the soldiers are lined up to honor General Waverley, and I noticed that DK is actually shorter than the guys on either side of him.  So I looked him up on Wikipedia this morning, and it turns out that he was 5’11”–not short by any means, but not unusually tall.  I think one reason he looks tall in White Christmas is that he’s always next to Bing Crosby, a relatively little guy at 5’7”.  But another reason–the reason Danny Kaye’s ankles always seem to be sticking out–is that he’s often wearing his pants too short in what I believe is a deliberate move to show off his awesome socks, such as the mustard yellow ones he’s wearing in the scene where he fakes a broken ankle.  He executes this sartorial maneuver long before it was cool, of course, and it’s just one of several proto-hipster clothing choices that Danny Kaye–or at least his character, Phil Davis–makes throughout the movie, including a deft use of the cardigan.

Perhaps I’ll have some more epiphanies (no holiday pun intended) while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, Love Actually, and any other Christmas movies I may end up watching over the next week, or while listening to Christmas music, such as the instrumental “Victorian Christmas” albums I was listening to earlier or Bing Crosby’s White Christmas (not affiliated with the movie), which I’m listening to right now.  Let me know about any keen observations you may have had as well!

*Speaking of Christmas movies and crushes on now-deceased actors, can I get a witness to Jimmy Stewart’s gorgeousness in It’s a Wonderful Life?