What’s happening at the Library?

Published 3:30 pm Friday, December 9, 2022

By James Gardner 

Clark County Public Library

Christmas is coming. All the indicators are there. Christmas lights twine around houses like ivy, and Christmas tree farms are springing up like weeds despite the ground getting colder. Yet there is one sure sign that Christmas is coming that has nothing to do with snow, the smell of gingerbread houses baking, or the sound of jingle bells jingling. The true harbinger of the holiday season is the Christmas special.

Email newsletter signup

As a kid, I knew Christmas was coming thanks to the stories featured in “The Original Christmas Classics” DVD collection (J DVD Children’s ORIG). I knew Christmas was coming with the arrival of Frosty the Snowman (Vol 2) and Fred Astaire, the singing, snowmobile-driving mailman singing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (Vol 1). The library can bring back that particular bit of holiday nostalgia, even as one’s options for holiday entertainment have steadily grown as massive as the number of deliveries Santa has to do in one night. I could stress about all the options for holiday entertainment out there, and that’s just if I stick to Hallmark Channel movies. Around this time of year, though, I look forward to watching one of my favorite Christmas stories, which also happens to be one of my favorite ghost stories.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is as well-known a tale as Rudolph guiding Santa’s sleigh. The story and its protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge has become so famous (or perhaps infamous) the word “scrooge” has become an insult that signifies that a person is everything they shouldn’t be around the holidays: stingy, cold-hearted, and dismissive of holiday cheer.

The story is so ingrained in our culture that the number of remakes and reimaginings, but the basic premise remains the same. It’s been told by actors like George C. Scott in the 1984 version (DVD Classic CHRI) and Kelsey Grammer in a musical 2004 version (DVD Musical CHRI). Jim Carrey did a majority of the voices for a computer-animated version (DVD Family CHRI) that is actually rather scary while Bill Murray in “Scrooged” (DVD Comedy SCRO) brings some rather dark comedy. Even childhood favorites such as Mr. Magoo (J DVD Children’s Mr) and the Smurfs (J DVD Children’s SMUR) have tackled Dickens’ tale. It’s hard to picture a Shakespearean tale appearing across multiple genres and adaptations, though I will concede that “Gnomeo & Juliet” (J DVD Children’s GNOM) is perhaps the best Romeo and Juliet reimagining featuring yard decorations. 

Why do I personally like the story? It’s about Christmas and ghosts, but the crux of the tale is Scrooge’s redemption arc, how a man known for being, well, a scrooge can turn his life around. The potential to be one’s best self, the struggle to get there, and the feeling when one finally does is perhaps the most hopeful story about the human condition. The best part is that often a quartet of ghosts aren’t necessary for this process to happen in us, but it can be helped with a little holiday magic.

Upcoming library events

Have a favorite holiday movie? The library is holding a drawing where you share your favorite holiday movie and/or song and you can be entered into a drawing for a Yule Log cake pan. The drawing is on December 13. See the circulation desk for details.

In the library’s Adult Dungeons & Dragons group, meeting on December 10 from 2-4 pm, there will be snow and perhaps some ghosts. There might not be a lot of cheer but there will be magic! Contact jgardner@clarkbooks.org for information about signing up and creating a character.