Monday, December 21, 2015

The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear

Hard as it may be to believe, Christmas is just a few days away and I'm more excited than usual for it this year. Why might that be you ask? Well it probably has something to do with the biggest present pile I've seen under our tree in probably a decade. I wont allow anyone to poop on this parade either. Christmas always brings out the giddy, materialistic child within which is a nice feeling to still have when you're nearly three decades old. Generally I also like to give some items to different charities as well though the slow paying job kinda put a cork in that. It's actually a little odd but working for a non-profit actually reduces my both my ability and eagerness to participate in charity. Cruel mental fixations such as this should be unknown to illustrated bears, which brings us to the final installment of our Berenstain Bears holiday line-up. One that actually proved a bit surprising in one key area. Let's not get too far ahead and instead focus on the tale known as “Meet Santa Bear.”

It's just a few days after Thanksgiving when the Bear family makes a trip to the mall seemingly so Mama can find things to moralize about. First on here list of complaints is how there's already Christmas decorations so soon after Thanksgiving. Bitch, are you serious? We live in a world where one must block out the sight of Christmas displays before trick or treaters have even approached our door and your big issue is that a mall went full holiday mode the weekend after turkey day? Thank god Papa's around to shush her with an outburst of how great it all is. Thank you, sir. Thank you. Fearing her eminent defeat, Mama reshapes her whining as concern for her children, as too much excitement isn't healthy for young cubs. Cause that's something they'll harm children, holiday lights. Christ I hope someone caves her skull in with a candy cane. Once again, Papa assures here the kids will stay sensible, even though at that moment they're jumping around like coke addicts in front of the toy store.

Turns out the kids have already been thinking about Christmas. Each of them has been soaking in toy ads and deciding what exactly it is they want to extort from Santa. And wouldn't ya know it? The old boy's supposed to be at the mall any day now.
Over the following weeks, holiday activity picks up and the cubs work on their letters to Santa. Sister has crafted a sprawling manifesto of demands which Brother informs her is a huge mistake. Santa may view her as greedy and simply skip over her ass since he must consider all the kids in the world. Bro suggests refinement, offering his own list as example. This guy has got it down to an art. Only the essential gifts and niceties make up his single page list. What a master. Sister then begins to worry about all her misdeeds throughout the year. Perhaps Santa will judge her unworthy of his prizes. Low and behold, Mama actually provides sensible guidance for once as she informs her daughter how Santa doesn't demand perfection, just a good effort.
To top off the learning experience, Sister is also told that Santa isn't for grown ups and that Ma & Pa's gifts are for her and brother to spend their meager wages on. Newly instructed in the ways of the world, Sister remakes her list which she delivers in a state of pure panic the next day.

Sister's first meeting with old Saint Nick goes remarkably well. She even gets a Santa coloring book for her effort. Soon after, the kids are going about shopping for their parents which also goes smoothly. Can hardly begin to explain how odd it is to go through a Berenstain Bears title and not have them encounter a bully or swindler within the first ten pages. While leaving the mall, the family comes across a classic bell ringer who has the soul shattering look that can only come from working in the non-profit sector. Look at that guy! He hasn't smiled in 4 years, I guarantee it!

At last we come to Christmas Eve. Papa is putting on the finishing decorations (rather late I might say) while Sister goes over the standard list of Santa questions like how does he do this or that? Can't help but share this illustration since I swear this was my childhood blueprint for how homes should look at Christmas time, and yes that includes being a giant tree.

Soon enough, Papa gives a speech to his deer daughter about the magic of the season and how Santa has the best job since all of his existence is giving joy to others. What's amazing about this entire scene is that Papa never once mentions anything religious. I was so surprised as these books always had elements of christian culture, something they seem to have greatly amplified in more recent years, but right here Papa is just about charity and goodwill, no judgment or magic babies needed. He then leaves his daughter outside to stare at the stars in stark terror, contemplating her tiny part in the universe.

On Christmas morning the cubs receive all the meaningless toys they craved but find the experience of giving to their parents even more enjoyable. A moments is shared and all is well but I'd like to bring attention to how Brother wears his pajamas open shirt style in the manner of a drugged out Colombian underwear model.

Phew. Believe it or not, I've been to work between these paragraphs and now I'm starting to settle into my comfy bed to sleep the day away. Never fear though as I'll be back this week with more festive items to boost our collective holiday spirit. Right this moment however, I'm more concerned with which sleeping arrangement will result in a smaller puddle of drool. Ta!

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