Are You Grumpy, Santa?
by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis
Reviewed by Deb Clark
The 1978 made-for-TV Star Wars Holiday Special with guest appearances by Art Carney and Bea Arthur. A CD of traditional Christmas songs by '80s hair band Twisted Sister released this year. Movies like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians or Christmas with the Kranks.
Happy birthday, Jesus. Hope you like schlock. Christianity’s holiest day of the year is a major inspiration for commercial fluff.
Add to the list Are You Grumpy, Santa? by the Spiridellis brothers, founders of JibJab Media. The pair are best known for their wildly popular 2004 animated spoof featuring caricatures of presidential candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry singing a parody of This Land Is Your Land.
This Christmas book was published in 2003, with a release in paperback this year. The story, in sometimes stilted rhyming verse, tells of a series of setbacks Santa faced one Christmas. He didn’t sleep well, he got stuck in a chimney, he was chased by a poodle, and on and on. But his bad mood suddenly lifts when, at the very last house on his list, he discovers the plate of cookies someone left him.
So remember, make them chocolate,
Silky smooth, or extra lumpy…
Just be sure to leave some cookies,
In case Santa’s feeling grumpy.
Yeah, it’s not Dickens. But my kids love it. They enjoy the cartoonishly simple computer-generated illustrations. They laugh at Santa’s travails. They ponder over just who might have set out that plate of cookies. Must have been a kid, they deduce. A grown-up would never be so kind and thoughtful.
Just more proof that the value of an artistic endeavor is not universally dependent on its possession of redeeming qualities. Sometimes it’s a lack of quality that makes it fun. Which is why I’d love to get my hands on a copy of that Star Wars special.