In the season of made-for-television holiday specials, we get Technicolor, stop-motion and CGI perspectives of the many trials and tribulations of pulling off the world’s biggest event, Christmas.
Sure, there’s some suspension of disbelief required, because it’s a logistics miracle to get toys (or coal) into billions of households overnight. (And reindeer can’t talk.) But to do it in the face of snowstorms – much less grinches, misers, hackers and even an evil postman bent on ruining the event – is the stuff of legend, or at least highly successful television specials.
“Good prevails” is the seminal lesson from most of these productions, but a closer look might help you hone in on the types of Christmas-making characters you want – and don’t want – on your event team.
It all starts with Santa, especially the “Kris Kringle” (Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town) version. This individual created the biggest event, sees the big picture, manages the process, is a visionary and a doer, and has equal compassion for fellow workers as well as his event’s audience.
Just as important to an event’s success are the Elves – no matter which show you are watching. Elves turn visions into reality. They handle the details and do the heavy lifting. And special elves solve problems, like Wayne guiding Santa through a blizzard in Prep and Landing or Hermey removing the Abomidable Snow Monster’s teeth in Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer.
Yes, the reindeer are also important, in a UPS or FedEx kind of way. Now, Olive (Olive, the Other Reindeer) – a Jack Russell that thought she was a reindeer, is a different story. She stepped up for others (an injured reindeer), brought a special skill set to the job (spoiler alert: her sense of smell that guided the sleigh to its destination) and doggedly got the work done.
Every event also needs a Cindy Lou Who (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), someone who can deal with others’ mistakes (looking at you, Grinch), win people over and move forward.
When things are going poorly, events benefit from a Linus (A Charlie Brown Christmas), who can pick up a team member (Charlie Brown, whose Christmas play and tree both flop), and pull together an event that makes participants sing for joy. And what event couldn’t benefit from a Frosty the Snowman, whose biggest magic might be his relentless enthusiasm?
There are several others worth consideration, characters like Rudolph (thinking audio-visual here), Ms. Claus (catering) and even the Little Drummer Boy (music).
Some of the characters on these specials, however, aren’t made for event management.
Snow Miser and Heat Miser (The Year Without a Santa Claus), for instance, are too temperamental. Rudolph’s father, Donner, and the reindeer's flying coach, Comet, seem too judgmental and intolerant of things new or different. And guys like pre-dream Scrooge or Burgermeister Meisterburger (boss of Sombertown – go figure) seem to hold events in great disdain.
And Charlie Brown? Save the brooding and soul-searching for after the event. That approach might help in planning, but your attendees feed off of the event’s (preferably) positive vibe.
Back to reality – not every event should strive to deliver the joy of a child opening a present, which seems to be the end goal of so many of these Christmas specials. But, if you’ve got the right characters on your team, who knows what magic you can make? Heck, Rudolph started as a storybook written for Montgomery Ward by one of the department store’s copywriters.
Care to comment on this blog or share your ideal or not so ideal Christmas television special characters? Just type your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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