It was the early ‘80s and I was a young gal swept up in the Smurf mania spawned by the Saturday morning cartoon powerhouse that was, The Smurfs. Beyond being a fanatic about the TV show, I was obsessed with collecting the PVC figurines. I had ‘em all: Racecar Smurf, Barber Smurf, Popsicle Smurf, Harp-playing Smurf, Tennis Smurf, Cowboy Smurf and more.
The best time of year to score some new Smurf figures was definitely Christmas. My mom was always looking for small toys to fill our stockings. So whenever she would announce that she was heading to Quaker Bridge Mall to do some Christmas shopping, I would offer to tag along. Naturally she could not resist my schoolgirl charms and off we’d go. She’d drag me around various stores shopping for clothes, house wares, electronics, etc. for various relatives.
At some point we would inevitably pass “Happiness Is…,” which was a store that sold a variety of trinkets, maybe Hallmark cards too, not sure. I was only interested in one item in the store, PVC Smurfs. I would point out the latest gems in the collection and beg my mom to purchase them immediately…knowing she wouldn’t. Instead, she would say something like, “Not now, but Santa’s coming soon, maybe he’ll bring you a Smurf if you’re good.” And “Santa” was never one to disappoint.
Come Christmas morning, I would tear my stocking from the door-pull of the Scandinavian wall unit – our version of a fireplace mantle – dump it out on the floor, sort through the riff-raff of chocolate Santas to find my little blue beauties. My parents were generous, so there were always at least 3 or 4 new friends.
Well, the ‘80s are long gone, but you can still fill your stockings with smurfy goodness with The Smurfs Holiday Celebration DVD. The DVD actually contains two prime-time episodes from the Hanna-Barbera series that I loved so much. As with most episodes of the Smurfs, the Christmas shows are sappy, but adorable, and always convey a moral lesson, such as helping those in need and sharing what you have with others.
The first story, titled “The Smurfs’ Christmas Special,” is from 1982. I really enjoy the animation style from the earlier seasons, so this special is especially smurfy. At the start of the episode we find the Smurfs readying the village for Christmas…decorating, making pudding, etc. Meanwhile, two kids and their grandfather ride in a horse drawn sleigh through the snowy woods. The sleigh overturns and the kids seek out help. Naturally, the Smurfs find the children and welcome them to their village where they share their Christmas goodies. The evil Gargamel conspires with a mysterious stranger to kidnap the children, but the wicked plot is foiled when the Smurfs sing (repeatedly) the song “Goodness makes the Badness Go Away.” A catchy tune that will really stick in your head…believe it.
In the second special, “‘Tis the Season to Be Smurfy” (1987), the Smurfs encounter an elderly doll maker and his ailing wife. Grandpa Smurf and Sassette conceive a plan to bring the old couple a bit of Christmas cheer, but when they struggle to persuade the other Smurfs to take the time to help, Papa Smurf must remind the Smurfs that the needs of the less fortunate are more important than their own holiday preparations; a valuable lesson for us all.
The Christmas episodes are not much different than regular episodes of the Smurfs, except that there’s a snowy backdrop, the Smurfs are repeatedly mistaken for elves, and Papa Smurf is confused with Santa Claus. But like the non-holiday episodes, the Christmas specials are a delight for all ages.