In honor of last night’s 48th airing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I thought I’d pay homage to the oft-overlooked, banished-to-a-faraway-island bunch of Misfit Toys. I’ll admit that this Christmas special ~ the longest running one still on the air (since 1964!) ~ is easily my favorite. I can’t get enough of it. When it arrives, I feel like the holiday season has, too. Sure, I’ll watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it’s the story of Rudolph that tugs at my heartstrings…
While I enjoy the main story about Santa and his reindeer, it’s always the misfits for whom my heart warms the most. It’s the same year after year. Doesn’t it just make you want to cry? Those darling, perfectly imperfect playthings ostracized for being “less than?” Forced to live on an island because no child loves them? Give me a break… A bummed-out spotted elephant and a blue ostrich-riding cowboy? And the depressed doll doesn’t even have a name! She’s only called “A dolly for Sue,” for crying out loud. Kills me.
While they’re as cute as can be, the reason I love them so is a simple one: It takes one to know one! For many, there’s nothing like the holidays to make you feel like you missed the boat to the Misfit Island! Ever feel like you should be there, too, amid the grape-jelly-squirting water pistol, the boat that sinks and the “Charlie”-in-the-box? Has anyone else felt the same? I’d bet my train with square wheels that you have.
I imagine that many of us feel like misfits more often than we’d like to admit. Don’t the holidays have a way of exacerbating that feeling? But as the red-nosed reindeer sings along with Hermey the elf-wannabe-dentist, “We may be different from the rest, who decides the test… of what is really BEST?”
We have two choices: We can give up…
“Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. You can’t fire me, I quit! Seems I don’t fit in.”
Or we can move to a stranded island and wait for the flying lion, King Moonracer, to bring us more friends.
Seems impractical with work obligations.
Or better yet, we can give ourselves a break this holiday season and realize that our quirks aren’t all bad. Just look… Rudolph “went down in history” for saving Christmas with his red nose, prospector Yukon Cornelius taught the abominable snowman (“Bumble”) to put the star on the tree with his great size, and Hermey the challenged toy maker got to open up his dentistry office at the North Pole after all.