I love the sacredness of Christmas.
I’ve heard “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” sung by angelic choirs and costumed children standing near an ox stall, during several church nativity plays.
And while I’m grateful for the baby born long ago, some of my favorite Christmas songs, I mean the kinds that get my candy canes moving and the old fruit cake jumping, could not be sung near a Christmas play – or could they?
To quote Rod Serling, “Picture if you will” a line of shepherds marching across a stage, one leading a camel, one leading a sheep, and a third leading a beagle.
Yep. A beagle.
As the shepherds begin to hum, the white beagle with a big black nose leaves the line and pulls on a hat and flight goggles.
The beagle jumps on a red doghouse and begins to fight an invisible Red Baron to a driving military-esque drumbeat.
Okay, maybe not.
If you haven’t guessed, the song is “Snoopy’s Christmas” by the Royal Guardsmen.
Why is it my favorite song?
Because of one of my all-time favorite Christmas presents.
I believe I was eight or nine years old when I was given a red plastic record player (records are like big CDs, made of vinyl that was played on a special machine). The record player spun a record when the lid was closed and stopped when the lid was opened.
My first record was “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron,” by the Royal Guardsmen. I listened over and over.
I pictured myself flying a Sopwith Camel, chasing the Red Baron as my imaginary machine guns chattered
I was already a fan of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The song solidified a life-long love of the holiday special and all things Peanuts.
The singing group later came out with “Snoopy’s Christmas.” Our hero was at it again, but this time he was shot down by the Baron. Instead of being captured, Snoopy was offered a “holiday toast” by his nemesis.
I was enthralled. The campy tune has been at or near the top of my list for more than … well … for decades.
As a child growing up in the 60s and 70s, I also became a fan of the Rankin/Bass stop animation specials, which naturally led to love all Christmas songs by movie cowboy Gene Autry, especially “Here comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
And I’ve got a warm spot in my heart for the dancing snowman named Frosty and the tune named after the big fella by Jimmy Durante.
However, none could be sung near Mary and Joseph, even though I’m sure they both would tap a sandaled toe to the snappy tunes.
That would make an interesting Christmas special.
I wonder if Hallmark would run it?
I feel a screenplay coming on.