The War on Christmas has come to the Island of Sodor. Sodor is that mythical home of the wildly popular Thomas the Tank Engine series. This year’s Thomas “Christmas” DVD is titled “Merry Winter Wish.”
No more Merry Christmas for Thomas and Friends, as the program’s generic title runs. It’s Merry Winter. The DVD doesn’t completely duck the idea of Christmas but the title of the thing gives you the idea.
Wilbert Awdry, who died in 1997 at age 86, created his wonderful mythical trains to keep his son entertained during a spell with the measles. But here’s the thing. Wilbert Awdry was an Anglican priest. I am not given to know the late Rev. Awdry’s politics. But it is unlikely a man of his generation, unlike the people running the Thomas franchise, would see the need for Thomas to become non-sectarian locomotive during Christmastime.
There’s no Star of Bethlehem on this DVD. Rather, as the product description at Amazon.com goes, “Thomas has a special delivery for the season—the Star of Knapford, a festive light that makes wishes come true! Celebrate the holiday season with Thomas.” The Star of Knapford? The DVD does contain a story line about a Christmas party, but just two years ago, the franchise released an Ultimate Christmas collection of stories.
Another show for kids featuring anti-Christmas propaganda is Caillou, which is, unsurprisingly, a Canadian offering from the leftist PBS. In an episode called ”Caillou Goes Caroling,” the characters decide to sing “Jingle Bells” over more explicitly Christian fare such as “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” although they do sing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
When the bald-pated little boy asks his mother for “Christmas things” to take to show-and-tell, his boy’s leftist mother explains that he means “holiday things” because his “friends celebrate many different holidays at this time of year.”
He gets a lesson on Hanukkah on the way to school. Once there, a little Jewish boy is drawing a menorah, while a black girl is drawing muhindi for Kwanzaa, which Tony Snow, the late spokesman for President W. Bush, rightly called “the ultimate chump holiday.”
The Jewish boy gets in front of Caillou’s class to tell his classmates about the dreidel, a four-sided top for play during Hanukkah. On arriving home from the party, Caillou declares, “I love the winter holidays. All of them!” Point is, Jesus isn’t the only reason for the (holiday) season—or stories for children. Not even when a Christian minister created the characters.