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The true meaning of Christmas TV specials

‘Tis the season for Christmas television specials. What better way to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus than by watching “A WWE Christmas Smackdown”? What could possibly say “Peace on Earth, good will to men” more than a special called “Katy Perry Goes a-Caroling Buck Naked”? How about this for spirituality — “Survivor: Bethlehem”!

What could recall Mary and Joseph’s stay in a manger better than an episode of “Christmas Getaways of the Rich and Famous”? No doubt Mary and Joseph would have loved the creche in the foyer of the Aspen billionaire’s house that is bigger, cleaner and much more comfortable than the one where the Holy Family actually spent the night.

It’s funny: Everyone wants a creche, but no one wants to go to the trouble of finding real sheep and goat manure to give it that authentic holiday smell.

Sure to be a holiday classic, “Three Wise Guys” is a twist on the tale of the Three Wise Men that you and your family will want to watch for years to come. In it, three capos from “The Sopranos” come to visit the baby Jesus by following a bright star they see in the night sky. Naturally, they run into trouble on the way, and they have to whack a few people before getting to Bethlehem. When they finally get to the manger, they give Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh — all of which have “miraculously” fallen off the back of a camel.

By the time Dec. 25 rolls around, we’ll have seen “A Country Christmas,” “An R&B Christmas,” “A Rock Christmas,” “A ‘The Rock’ Christmas,” “An Xtreme Christmas,” “A Game of Thrones Christmas,” “A Lil Nas X-mas,” “A Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Christmas,” “A CSI Christmas,” “A Kardashian Christmas” and “A Motocross Christmas.” Then come the “gift guide” specials, which are just thinly disguised advertisements: “Where To Shop for Christmas,” “Expensive Presents You Should Buy for People You Don’t Even Like That Much,” “We’re Not Kidding, Get Out There and Buy More Stuff for Christmas,” and “If You Don’t Spend Every Penny You Have On Christmas Presents, The Terrorists Will Win.”

One of the many ads you’ll see on these specials is for a robot vacuum cleaner and its new twin, a robot mop. Mary and Joseph sure could have used one of those. Those carpenters always make a mess; I’ll bet their house was full of wood chips and sawdust all the time. A robot shop-vac would have come in handy, too, and Joseph could have used one of those electric razors you see advertised this time of year. He always looks a little scruffy in the pictures.

By year’s end, we’ll have seen hundreds of 20-minute segments during the morning news about “how to Christmas shop.” Isn’t Christmas shopping pretty much the same as non-Christmas shopping? You go to a store, pick up the thing you want, take it to the counter and pay for it. Do we really need TV shows to explain it? It’s shopping, not brain surgery. Unless you’re buying someone a brain operation as a Christmas present. Which is probably not a bad gift idea.

There are specials that show us what toys are “hot” this Christmas. But the toys are only hot because they’re on TV. If TV didn’t tell us 50 times a day how hot the new toy was, something tells me that it wouldn’t be that hot.

Actually, I don’t get to watch too many of the Christmas specials. It seems I’m never home watching TV this time of year. I’m always out shopping.

Contact Jim Mullen at

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