I have been looking for the quintessential Christmas movie or program that I could share with my son. We don’t watch broadcast or cable television, so we aren’t bothered with such trifling things as a “Go, Diego Go! Christmas.” God forbid such a program exists! Instead, we try as much as we can to limit our viewing to quality program that will both educate and entertain my son all the while contributing something of cultural value. After much thought, I chose Hansel and Gretel. It interests me in part, because it is based on traditional, German folktale. However, it is not the sort of thing that I would associate with Christmas. I only established that association after my trip to the Waldorf school. That trip got me to thinking about a stage performance that I had seen on television. It had either been an opera or a ballet and it was every bit as lush as a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream or the Nutcracker. I actually found that program on Amazon. It was an old opera staged with live singers. This was not the version that I settled on, though. Instead, I found a wonderful, stop-motion animation piece that was also based on the real Engelbert Humperdinck’s 1892 opera. My son took to this production immediately, even though the sound quality was somewhat muddled and song lyrics were difficult to understand. Nevertheless, the characters were very engaging, and my son strained to watch the entire show, though each of our attempts to watch it started out quite late in the evening. Without fail, my son fell asleep on three separate occasions right after the lovable sandman comes and sprinkles sand in the children’s eyes. We may revisit the movie for a fourth time on New Year’s Eve, if we find that we have nothing else to do.

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel (1954)