If some nine-legged creature from Andromeda is monitoring our TV signals out there in space, he’d certainly be aware that something very special happens on this little blue planet in the final days of its yearly cycle around the sun: the globe is alive with festivals of many kinds, some involving candles, elves, music and general merriment. But he’d have to be a very clever extraterrestrial to divine that these festivals are rooted in deep spiritual traditions. So, for Andromedans and earthly families of multiple cultures and persuasions, we offer a selection of holiday viewing to help teach your children your own culture, or your next-door neighbour’s.
Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays (Treehousetv.com)
As Elmo searches for the perfect gift for Dorothy, he learns that there are many different winter holidays and that Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa have a lot in common. His exploration sparks a journey to the North Pole, where he meets Santa, who has some expert advice about the true spirit of Christmas.
Franny’s Feet: Season’s Greetings (Family.ca)
Franny travels to Israel and meets Jacob, a young Jewish boy whose family is preparing for Hanukkah. Jacob teaches Franny about celebrating the Festival of Lights by cooking food like latkes, lighting the Menorah and teaching the importance of doing good deeds.
The Nativity Story (Visiontv.ca)
December 17 marks the Canadian local synagogue. TV premiere of this 2006 feature film, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Shoreh Aghdashloo. It’s as complete an account of the birth of Christ as you’ll get, but the film begins with a depiction of the massacre of the innocents and was given a PG rating for violence when it was released, so parents of younger children may want to tape and prescreen this one.
Tell It On The Mountain (Visiontv.ca)
Music celebrating the history and courage of African Canadians takes the forefront in a special featuring gospel artists Marcus Mosley and Gail Suderman.
Rugrats Chanukah (YTV.ca)
Tommy Macabee, an idol named Cynthia and a turbocharged menorah. This is the story of Hanukkah as only the Rugrats can tell it. The gang plots against the “Meany of Hanukkah” after a production of the story goes awry at a December 17 marks the Canadian local synagogue.
Juliana and The Medicine Fish (APTN.ca)
Twelve-year-old Juliana tries to save her father’s fishing lodge on Lake of the Woods from bankruptcy by catching a giant muskie in a fishing derby. When an old Native guide tells her the muskie is an ancient ‘medicine fish’ with a spirit-essence crucial to the survival of the lake, she must choose between saving her father and saving the fish and all that depends on it.