Supernatural - A Very Supernatural Christmas
And it’s a very special, very supernatural Christmas.
The rainbows swirl proclaim it so with bongo drums. Rainbows as a promise that it may rain, but the great flood will not return. Hallelujah and pass the mulled wine.
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!
And one hopes a place to put all that. Because seriously, Lords, cease the leaping through this very special supernatural Christmas. A time of plenty and family.
Where adults (and those old enough to think themselves adult) enter into a complicity of secrets and lies and truths.
A grandfather pretends to be Santa to give his grandson that story of generosity, but is instead consumed by the monstrous truth.
And yet, and yet, well, one of my favorite Christmas stories isn’t (Christmas that is), being “Hogsfather,” being the importance of that collective lie. One of my favorite movies is “The Nightmare before Christmas,” when equinox tips into solstice. But I digress…
Consider then the Christmas ornament. Round and gold, colored like the round golden sun as we head into solstice. The shortest day. The longest night.
The story explodes that sun and all we're left with is that very Supernatural Christmas that flickers and buzzes like some very cheap hotel. A red Santa hat, we know it’s so because collective media tells us. Red for blood and cheer. White fur for purity and snow.
Round wreaths. Greenery to burn against the night. And down comes the serial killing chimney sweep click, click, click, armed with neither brushes nor coal.
The boys first suppose him not as Saint Nick, nor even Old Nick (old scratch, Lucifer, light bringer, morning star), but the anti-Claus, Zwarte Piet, Black Peter, Krampus, which means claws in that old German tongue, and is a demon to boot.
“a fearsome King with a deep mighty voice
Least that's what I've come to understand
And I've also heard it told
That's he's something to behold
Like a lobster, huge and red
And sets out to slay with his rain gear on
Carting bulging sacks with his big great arms
That is, so I've heard it said
And on a dark cold night
Under full moonlight
He flies into a fog
Like a vulture in the sky
And they call him Sandy Claws”
Though in no sort of folklore is he Santa’s brother gone rogue. But then, that’s not the point.
Jesus. “King and God and sacrifice” - Which is the part of the Demon King / king for a year present arc that could intrigue me most.
It’s that still cold time of year as the sun descends to die and be reborn, as the light fades, that centered advent waiting time, when we run around like lunatics of decoration.
Time to raise the yule tree and a time to cut it down. Place it in a bucket. In a stand. A time for ancient gods and a time for assimilation with fruit cake. Or I suppose the rejection of same.
Send those Kincaid holiday cards (or stay in Kincaid hotel rooms – and as I now know through TwoP, Jared Padalecki is about to play Kincaid in a holiday movie), wonder why the dying light doesn’t always lead to Hallmark Christmas. Just beer can wreathes and empty hotel rooms. Dickensian grief in their portions and little tykes who really would just as much not have another swallow.
That reveal that little child discovered – or seemed to discover – in the opening credits that there is no Santa Claus and that there are horrible monsters that consume loved ones. And yet, here, I’d argue that Dean is wrong that there is no Santa Claus.
No I don’t mean that there’s a fat old man in the north. Or that the old drunk in the sad lot was some sort of anything. Although, we do like to create our worn down approximations of the real cheer. I mean that when I was a child and I discovered that there was no Santa, that those presents came from my parents, I was delighted, because it meant that I could be Santa too.
Consider then that gift that Dean tried to give Sam when they were children. Not the presents or the tree, but the belief in a being of Super human abilities. Having traded Santa for John, Dean tries to be John. Provide that moment of belief that John has somehow swept through that dismal little room and provided lights and garish paper.
And in turn, the lie revealed, Sam plays Santa too. Gives the gift meant for John and affirms Dean as the super hero. At least till puberty forgot, but the amulet itself remembered. Silent all through the years.
By now I’ve read more than a few perambulations and mastication on that theme. So, I’ll masticate no more on that theme.
Although, I find it interesting to think that all the flashbacks were from Sammy’s perspective. That perhaps that room was not quite that grim. That perhaps Dean’s sudden outbursts and twists and sudden Christmas turns are in part the result of memory. For all we know, John showed up three hours later with Boston Market and new sets of socks for both boys.
The difference in perspective shows in how the brothers remember their Christmases. Horrible and not all that bad.
But then again, I also find it telling that Dean busts into Silent Night (Silent night - holy night, all is calm, round yon – hmm, hmm, hmmm). When he gets to the part about holy mother Mary, he doesn’t know the words. Neither of them do.
And was it just me, or did any one else think that twelve year old Dean opened a beer when talking to Sam? I suppose that goes with too old, too soon. Reading Dad’s journal and learning what he didn’t want to know. Wanted to know.
Entering into the complicity of adults, who pretend the supernatural does not exist all the while dealing with it.
Which made me wonder how that eight year old whose father checked under the bed for monsters got to the nine year old with a 45 pistol. I like to think John arrived a few hours later and Sam, Sammy, Samikins, ah, the relentless nagging of children. It’s all in the perspective.
In the pilot, I thought Sam always knew and it shaped how I imagined that childhood moment.
Now, I wonder. Was it relentless raging against John for not telling that twinned with some desperate pleading for their lives to change. (His mother dead. His father could die at any time, and then Dean, and then Sam) and sniping, “Aren’t you going to check for the monster under the bed.” Until Dad burst a little angry and began the cycle of arguments. Handed his son a gun. Was it Sammy wanting to be like Dean (who sleeps with a gun and handled a rifle at nine)? There are so many ways it could have played and so many ways subsequent angers could have twisted how that moment seemed.
How like families.
On one end, there’s Ozzy and Harriet gods with their plastic covered couch cutting and pulling and over decorating the day. Piping “Oh, Come all ye faithful” literal and non-literal into the neighborhood. Mourning their stolen day when they were worshiped by millions two millennium gone by.
Which, ahem, perspective is everything, like the size of Xerxes army into Greece, millions would have been hard to pull off if only to feed the lot on a warm summer’s night. And thus Mr. and Mrs. God (though I do wonder in a Vanir sort of way if they aren’t brother and sister too – it’s a god thing) do paint the past into greater glories to better illuminate the day’s current over decorated sorrows.
Or there’s the other sort of Christmas. The bitter sweet of future loss.
“Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb”
Ah, we three kings, really my favorite Christmas carol. But then I like low register songs.
Egg nog and car freshener tree ornaments. Simple presents that mean less than the act of giving. Exchanging. Being.
Last Christmas. First Christmas. Happy Holidays.
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.”