December 25, 2013
'The Year Without a Santa Claus': A children's book and Rankin/Bass combine for a great holiday special : Despite less-known source material, 'The Year Without a Santa Claus' is a holiday classic. (Molly Driscoll, December 25, 2013, CS Monitor)
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2013 9:32 AM["T]he Year Without a Santa Claus," the other most well-known Rankin/Bass special, is based on a fairly obscure children's book and, despite a little-known source, the story of "Year," written by William Keenan and based on the picture book of the same name by Phyllis McGinley, is both memorable and heartwarming.The premise of "Year" is pretty simple. Santa, who is after all human, too, gets a cold right around Christmas. He would soldier on, but he's been feeling a lack of Christmas spirit in the world lately. Would anyone even notice, he wonders, if he didn't turn up?The way in which Mrs. Claus, the elves Jingle and Jangle, and a boy from America named Iggy prove it to him is somewhat complicated, but suffice it to say that it's the children of the world who finally show him that the holiday spirit is alive and well. Santa has given them presents year after year, and now it's their turn - the North Pole's mail system is showered with cards and gifts for Santa Claus. Santa is visibly moved. "I didn't know children had such kind hearts," he says.It's a lovely moral, one that any kid should hear, and it's the characters of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser who make the special not only thoughtful but also very entertaining (and tuneful).