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The character of Christmas
by Tribune Staff
Dec 25, 2010 | 2663 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Image - Clark Griswold from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” can be found on the list of northern Nevada leaders’ favorite holiday characters.
Courtesy Image - Clark Griswold from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” can be found on the list of northern Nevada leaders’ favorite holiday characters.
Stories are an integral part of the holiday season. For centuries, the spirit of the season has moved storytellers to create classic characters whose personalities and adventures are spun into tales about morality and magic, family and faith, heroes and humor. Books, comic strips, television shows and movies have brought certain holiday characters into our collective consciousness and individual traditions, making them as much a part of Christmas as stockings and Santa.

For Christmas morning, we thought it would be fun to share the thoughts of some community leaders and citizens about why various characters are special to them this time of year.

“My favorite Christmas movie character is Kris Kringle played by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 version of the movie, ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’  If I were ever to meet the real Santa Claus, I would want him to be exactly like the character portrayed by Mr. Gwenn. He was sincere, persistent, lovable, engaging, comical and had ‘that’ twinkle in his eye that Santa should have.”

— Geno Martini, Mayor of Sparks

“My favorite has always been Charlie Brown. I appreciated how he did not let the commercialism of the holidays ruin the true meaning of Christmas, and I also appreciated his haircut.”

— Adam Mayberry, spokesman for the city of Sparks

“‘Christmas Vacation’ is my favorite Christmas movie, and Clark Griswold is my favorite Christmas character. Watching this movie is an annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition in our household. We enjoy infectious humor together, as Clark’s good intentions and careful planning go painfully wrong. Clark’s desire for a ‘good old-fashioned family Christmas’ reminds us what the holiday season is all about: faith, family and friends.”

— Andy Flock, fire chief, Sparks Fire Department

“I love the Grinch in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ because I think Jim Carey did a fantastic job with the character. It’s a holiday movie that never gets old, and everyone secretly loves the Grinch.”

— Cassandra Walker, public relations intern for city of Sparks

“My favorite holiday movie character is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s a great lesson about diversity. When we respect and value our differences, everyone benefits!”

— Heath Morrison, superintendent, Washoe County School District

“My favorite Christmas movie character is Buddy from “Elf” (played by Will Ferrell). Buddy has a great philosophy not only for the holiday season, but life in general. His childlike approach is infectious!”

— Nancy Leuenhagen, spokeswoman, Washoe County School District

“My favorite Christmas personality has to be Frosty the snowman. First of all Frosty had an unwavering commitment to children. Furthermore Frosty taught us that experiences cannot be savored but must become fond memories and to instead look forward to the new experiences around the bend. Frosty was certainly a cool dude.”

— Charles Rahn, social media specialist, Washoe County School District

“I think the character that most brings the season to life for me is George Bailey from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Jimmy Stewart played the part so well. He was thinking that being the good guy always made him the man that never got what he wanted. But what he found out was that it wasn’t so bad to be George Bailey, the good guy, because he actually had everything he wanted. It reminds me every year that no matter how bad we have it, it could be worse. I was pretty down in the dumps when my father passed away right before Christmas in 2008. I didn’t really want to celebrate or really be around anyone but I watched this movie that night and it hit me that I do have it pretty good. I have a wonderful wife, two great kids, a great group of friends and an extended family that are pretty darn great to be around. Christmas is about what you have, not what you don’t. I’m glad that I have a wonderful life.”

— Steve Davidek, operations and systems administrator, web coordinator for city of Sparks

“My favorite, hands down, is George Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ played by Jimmy Stewart. I love this movie because there are so many people who feel so desperate during the holidays, but the film reminds us that no matter who we are, or what we think we have failed to do, we’ve made a difference, and our lives can always be an example of hope for other people.”

— Katy Simon, Washoe County manager

“My favorite holiday movie character is George Bailey in ‘It’s A Wonderful life.’ It is a great example to all of us that we never know who we are helping or influencing, by what we do. It also exemplifies the fact that what we do is what defines us as a person, rather that what we say. George complained about his life,but his actions contradicted his words. Merry Christmas and thank you to all of the ‘George Baileys’ of our community.”

— Len Stevens, executive director, Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce

“Ebenezer Scrooge, the principal character in Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas novel that has been adapted to film over and over. I love that character. I believe that he embodies what is so beautiful about the Christmas season – the opportunity to morally transform and delve deeply inside of ourselves to recreate a life much richer and meaningful by reaching out to our fellow man. Even with the stresses of the holidays and the rigors of life in general, we are reminded of how beautifully unique we are. We have the capacity and the will to be generous, charitable, empathetic and humane.”

— Tami Cummings, community relations, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office

“An old favorite of mine is the cartoon classic ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ especially Charlie’s dog Snoopy. Snoopy decorates his dog house in style, dances with abandon, and remains a loyal friend to his decidedly uncool person, Charlie Brown, as he struggles to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Snoopy conveys so much without ever saying a word!”

— Bonney Brown, executive director, Nevada Humane Society

“My favorite Christmas movie character is Jesus from the Nativity story – because? Christmas is about Christ and His birth.”

— Linda Patterson, clerk for city of Sparks
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