Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Original Story of Christopher The Christmas Tree

Having rediscovered the Christmas special "Christopher the Christmas Tree," and learning that it was a record before it was an animated special, I set out to find out what I could about that record. Which wasn't too much, other than it had 11 songs and came out in the 80's. But I found a place that sells CD-rips of the record, so I was able to listen to it firsthand. For the first half, the story plays out as an extended version of the animated special, although there are certain differences:
  • Instead of just nine named trees, the album names 36(!) trees.
  • Tommy and Hooty never meet, and Tommy never even gets a name. Anytime he shows up, he's referred to as "the little boy who wanted to be president." (Granted, I didn't bother to reveal his name when I wrote up the animated special, so there you go then.)
  • The boy also has a sister, but she's only mentioned in passing.
  • There is no scene with the fox and weasel.
  • Everything happens pretty close together. Hooty and Christopher meet on the same day that Hooty runs away, which is also the same day the other animals show up, and Christopher is chopped down the very next day.
The album and animated special deviate quite a bit after Christopher is loaded on the truck. Once Hooty learns to fly and catches up with Christopher, instead of trying to get him off, the two of them just ride along, wondering what's going to happen when the truck reaches its destination. And once they get to the White House, there's a rather pointless sequence where Hooty flies into the George Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, and then sings a song about it. It takes Christopher forever to figure out that's he's finally become a Christmas tree, even after he's been all strung up with lights and set up on the White House lawn. A syrupy chorus sings about how unsure he is about what's going on, and how he's dying. Sheesh.
But soon people filter in (including the boy who wanted to be president), and the President gives his speech about naming Christopher the official tree and lights him up. As the people leave, the boy wants to stay and look at Christopher some more, which his parents okay for some reason, and then all the animals (who apparently followed the truck on their own) show up to reprise "Christopher, We Love You," but Christopher shushes them all so he can sing to the little boy (I guess finally finding out he was a Christmas tree gave him a second wind). Here the record gets on track with the animated special once again, as Hooty laments Christopher's imminent death, and Christopher charges Hooty (in song) to plant the pinecones (and also to figure out which tree is going to be put up next year, so he can tell it what's going on ahead of time). The record ends with Hooty, overseeing the planting of the pinecones back in Hidden Hollow, imagining the pinecones growing into bigger and bigger trees, and a reprise of the title song.

The entire thing runs a little over forty minutes, and is mostly narration and songs, with all the voices (except for the little boy) performed by the same person (I'm assuming it's George T. Bowers). If you would like a copy, you can get it from

Now, the biggest difference between the record and the animated special is that while in the animated special, most of the animals were pretty annoyingly sweet, in the record all the animals are complete and utter jerks. I mean, in the special, Hooty runs away because he's tired of being treated like the Unfavorite by his family, but in the album, it's because he's mistreated by the other animals. And when those exact same animals show up to live in Christopher, Hooty tries to keep Christopher from letting them in, and then they purposefully keep a skunk from dancing with them (in the animated special, the skunk has trouble joining the dance, but he's not kept out by the other animals), but Hooty makes a point of bringing him into the dance. However, the animals learned nothing from this, as after Christopher has been chopped down, and they're all gathering around his stump, the narrator explicitly tells us, "Now that Christopher was gone, they didn't need Hooty anymore, so they pushed him to the side." And when they all go to follow after Christopher, the other animals give up after reaching a small town, so Hooty has a moment of indecision about whether to keep following after Christopher (which is seemingly impossible) or "go back and be abused by his would-be friends." Sheeeesh! It's no wonder the animated special made the animals be so annoyingly sweet; it was overcompensating for the jerkitude they display in the album.

To close, here are a couple of tracks from the album:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas on the road

A bit late, but it is still Christmas. Happy Christmas to all of you guys, and I hope you all had a good time today. I have a post in the works, but as I'm currently spending the next couple of days with my in-laws, I may not have a chance to finish them up. Hopefully I'll get them out before the new year, though.
(The image is in honor of my husband, who managed to find volumes 2 and 3 of the Lucky Star manga for my present.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Care Bears: The Giving Festival

So, from now until the end of January, Comcast has exclusive pay-per-view rights to a new AiCaL movie, The Giving Festival. There is precious little info on this movie/special, but the preview is on Kabillion, a kind of kids' social networking site that appears to be a mashup of Gaia, Neopets, and Youtube. The preview gives us our first look at Princess Starglo, who is set to debut in the upcoming movie Share Bear Shines:

Frankly, I thought she was going to look more like a human girl, and my mental image of her included pink hair, but I think that's due to the similarity of her name and the character Moonglo from Rainbow Brite. Anway, according to the preview (voiced by the blandest trailer voice I've ever heard), Princess Starglo is prevented from attending the Care Bears' festival by Gus, some kind of wind demon. What I really want to know is, why is it that if Share Bear Shines is not supposed to be out until next Fall, then why it this apparent sequel coming out now? Why is it even done before Share Bear Shines? I'm guessing that despite it being called a movie, The Giving Festival is really more of a half hour special. But still.

Gaia's Christmas Event for 2009

I've been enjoying this year's Christmas event, which picks up where the Halloween event left off (kind of ), with the Sentinel and Overseer taking Santa's place. Like the Halloween event, it's a little tedious, what with having to donate your unwanted stuff, some of which is worth more than others, one piece at a time. And if you want to get the highest achievement, you have to donate enough stuff to be worth 250 points (and most items are only one point). But what I do like about this event is that the main event page, rather than being static, has been progressing storywise day by day. On the first day, the Overseer and Sentinel were by their makeshift airship (mostly made out of a bathtub), but on the second day, a character from ZOMG (the site's MMORPG) crashed his own airship into theirs, destroying it. Over the weekend, the NPC from the limited edition store (which seems to have vanished, come to think of it) proved them with a new airship, which the Sentinel and Overseer are riding today. There's a couple more days left for the event, so we'll probably see them take to the air and deliver presents, but who knows.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Little Pony - Twinkle Wish Adventure

Well, I meant to get to this one back before November hit, but that didn't happen, mostly thanks to Blockbuster not sending it to me over and over again. And then once November started I was too busy, but I suppose it makes more sense to get to it now, since it's ostensibly a Christmas Special. I just feel bad that I ended up keeping it for over a month. But here it is now, my write up of My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure.

It starts off with the theme song, but with slightly different animation from the version available on Hasbro's website, which I've covered already. However, there's an extended version on the DVD that includes the animation not used, along with even more scenes and an all-new bridge. But anyway, on to the story proper. Being as this is a Christmas special, we open with a scene of snowflakes, although once the camera pan gets to Ponyville, there isn't any snow, and a pony makes a point of saying "I wish it would snow." A random narrator begins to give us the exposition on the Winter Wishes Festival, and the core seven burst in with their favorite "holiday" traditions (parties, outfits, hairstyles, cookies, painting, skating, decorations), but the narrator insists that the best is putting the Twinkle Wish star on top of the Christmas Ever Forevergreen Tree in the town square. Sweetiebell and Scootaloo, as the youngest, speculate on the tree's name, though Cheerilee sets them straight, while the others just giggle at their ignorance. Cheerilee continues to explain about the ornament making contest, the winner of which gets the honor of placing the star, which grants everyone in town one wish, at the top of the tree. Scootaloo and Sweetiebelle make a big deal of "not being little," which just makes the others laugh, though Scootaloo is placated easily enough by being told she's cute.
With the contest coming up later that day, Toola Roola gets half an idea for an ornament, and Pinkie Pie suggests they team up, since she has too many ideas. Cheerilee suggests they all pair up, conveniently forgetting that there are seven of them, and predictably, she ends up the odd pony out. The narrator handily points out that none of the others left her out on purpose. The others propose to combine their various stuff (pink, colorful, glittery, and stuffy) and meet up at Sweetiebelle's house, while Cheerilee dejectedly goes to her own house to work on her ornament alone. Though Pinkie Pie gets the feeling they're forgetting something, it isn't all their ornaments are made that they realize just what it is. In the meantime, everyone tries to figure out how to beat the designated Artsy pony (Toola Roola), which for the Rainbow/Starsong team is more glitter and feathers, and for Scootaloo/Sweetiebelle, a lucky button. While showing off their ornaments to each other, they finally realize Cheerilee isn't there, and go to find her.
Rushing into Cheerilee's house (seriously, no knocking or anything), they all apologize profusely, and seeing her ornament is just a pinecone with a ribbon, they each offer something from their ornaments, except for Scootaloo, who is loathe to change her ornament. But with the narrator's intonation that "Sometimes doing the hard thing is ever so hard to do," she eventually offers Cheerilee her choice of something, and Cheerilee takes the button, much to Scootaloo's chagrin.
Later that afternoon, the core seven gather in the square again to await the announcement of the winning ornament. Everyone except Scootaloo is certain Cheerilee will win, though a win for her will be like a win for all of them, really. At last Mayor Flitter Flutter arrives (with a teased-up hairdo) to pick the winning ornament. Is it just me, or is she totally Scootaloo's (and by extension, Cheerilee's) mom? Nobody makes mention of this, so I'm guessing not, but come on, she's got the right color scheme and the big hair to match. Anyway, this year's theme is "Ponyville's Spirit of Friendship," so naturally Cheerilee wins, and the mayor even makes a point of singling out the button. After the ceremony, as the ponies walk home, Scootaloo is all pouty, but the others tell her "There's always next year," which she does not appreciate. The mayor rides up to them in her scooter to give Cheerilee the box containing Twinkle Wish, which must absolutely positively not be opened until the next day at sunset, which marks the beginning of the Winter Wishes Festival. The reason the mayor gives is that Twinkle Wish is asleep, and waking her too soon means she won't have enough power to grant everyone's wishes. She officially passes the box to Cheerilee, tells her "The fate of the festival is in your hands," and then rides off again. The older ponies crowd around the box to admire it, leaving Scootaloo and Sweetiebelle out of the loop, so they use a trampoline to sneak a peek while the others talk about how they want to see Twinkle Wish again, but know they have to wait.
But Scootaloo isn't satisfied with a trampoline-eye view, and bounces right on top of the table the mayor set up and snags the box. Rationalizing that "one peek can't hurt," she opens the box just a crack. Cheerilee rushes to stop her and accidentally sends the box flying. It lands unharmed, and they all breathe a sigh of relief, just before the top pops open and Twinkle Wish awakes. And, oh no, she talks with a "cute" lisp -_-. She rises into the air to chant a wishing rhyme, and storm clouds instantly roll in with lightning and thunderclaps. A strong wind starts to blow, and suddenly, a dragon flies by. Seeing Twinkle Wish, the dragon swoops in and grabs the star, then flies off, giggling selfishly. The storm subsides just as quickly as it came up, leaving everyone confused.
At first, Cheerilee is down on herself for letting this happen, but she quickly turns on her little sister, who in turn blames it on everyone not letting her get a good look at the box. Pinkie Pie breaks up their squabble to point out they're going to need to work together to get Twinkle Wish back, a plan which had not occurred to Cheerilee, apparently. Starsong flies after the dragon, but stops short when she sees it go toward Willy Nilly mountain. When she tells the others, Cheerilee takes the time to expound on the mountain, which is a mysterious place no one has ever gone to before, but is named for its weather, known to change at a moment's notice for no apparent reason. Scootaloo just rolls her eyes, used to her sister spouting random exposition. The mayor rides up again to check on the star, and the core seven swear up and down that Twinkle Wish is still in the box. The mayor then gushes about their remarkable dependability and rides off once more. With the mayor gone, the girls feel guilty about lying, but Pinkie tells them they can tell the truth once they have Twinkle Wish back. She rallies the others to go out and get back Twinkle Wish, and while her pep talk works, Toola Roola points out that mountain is pretty far, and they've only got one day. Fortunately, Pinkie just happens to have a hot air balloon they can ride in.
They reconvene at Pinkie's house later that day, dressed in stylish winterwear. Rainbow Dash tries to bring all her luggage, but Pinkie's glare of doom gets her to pare her baggage down to one purse. Unfortunately, there's only room for four of them to go on the trip, with Scootaloo and Sweetiebelle stuck staying in Ponyville (Starsong can fly herself, so she doesn't need to ride. I can't believe I actually had to think about it before I realized that). Scootaloo claims Cheerilee planned that on purpose because she's still mad, and while Pinkie tries to soothe them, the sisters stick out their tongues at each other behind her back. But Pinkie gives the two younger ponies Twinkle Wish's box and tasks them with making sure no one knows Twinkle Wish is missing, which Scootaloo takes to right away. And so the older ponies take off, as they sing a song about traveling.
Back in Ponyville, Sweetiebelle tries to think of something fun to do while they wait, but Scootaloo isn't in the mood, since she knows her sister is still mad at her. Sweetiebelle offers her cookies instead, and while they are obviously chocolate chip, she claims they're "yummy oatmeal raisin apple caramel walnut upside down surprises." Before any cookies can be eaten, the mayor shows up again, wondering where Cheerilee is. The two young ponies try to cover, and manage to convince the mayor that Cheerilee went to get decorations for the festival. Sweetiebelle then offers the mayor a cookie, but she turns it down, claiming to be watching her figure. This prompts Scootaloo to ask in all honesty, "Watching it do what?" The mayor is not amused and drives off.
Back with the balloon, the others float ever closer to Willy Nilly Mountain to the strains of an electric guitar. But as they drift near, the weather changes to a gusty gale too strong to fly in. Pinkie takes the balloon down, but once they reach the ground, they slip out of control on the snow. As they slide, Rainbow Dash suddenly remembers she has a hair ribbon in her purse, and with as much hair as she has, it's plenty long enough to anchor the balloon to a tree. They all disembark and toss their winterwear in the balloon's basket before heading into the nearby forest. But they're barely halfway through before it starts to get dark, and Pinkie suggests they set up camp before it gets too dark to see. Cheerilee, though, is very against stopping, since they've only got one day come sunset to get Twinkle Wish and get back. The narrator shows up again for the first time in a long while to tells us that Toola Roola is afraid of the dark. So, Toola Roola drums up the courage to tell this to her friends, but they don't mind, since Scootaloo is afraid of the dark, too. Why this is supposed to make Toola Roola feel better, I'm not sure. And, as is usually the case, Toola Roola can't sleep without a night light, but she is saved by that old camping standby, fireflies. Pink fireflies, even. Pinkie uses her pink connection to convince the bugs not only to stick around until they fall asleep, but to sing lullabies, too. Despite the droning of the bugs, Cheerilee stays awake to worry about her little sister until she, too, falls asleep.
The next morning, they make their way to the mountain, but the dragon's cave is near the top. So they travel up a mountain path, getting rained on for minutes at a time, before they finally reach the cave. As they approach the mouth of the cave, a voice booms out "Who dares disturb the dragon?" Before they can enter, things shift back to Ponyville, with Scootaloo pacing the floor of Sweetiebelle's kitchen, wondering where the others could be. As she asks "Could things get any worse?" who should show up but the mayor again. Sheesh, if she was going to be this nosy about it, she should have kept the box herself. Scootaloo tells Sweetiebelle to distract the mayor while she thinks of something, but Sweetiebelle just tries to make smalltalk. This does giveScootaloo enough time to wrap herself up in some towels and turn Sweetiebelle's green batter into an impromptu face mask. She passes herself off as Cheerilee-in-the-middle-of-a-beauty-treatment to the mayor, who is upset that Cheerilee isn't ready, since she's supposed to take her to the festival now. But Scootaloo says that "she" has a super special awesome entrance planned and retreats. The mayor is getting suspicious, but not enough to put her finger on what's going on.
Meanwhile, back at the cave, Pinkie takes the direct approach with the dragon and introduces them all to the (unseen) dragon. The dragon invites them in, and they enter the cave to find a regular bedroom, with Twinkle Wish in a cage in the middle. The star is pooped, but rather than let her sleep, the dragon asks for fashion advice, bounding out from behind a dressing screen wearing a sunhat. The other ponies worry for Twinkle Wish, and approach the dragon, who talks a mile a minute with a slight Brooklyn accent, but is glad for some company. She introduces herself as Whimsy Weatherby, and offers the ponies a seat, though she has to clear her sofa of clothes first. To make them more comfortable, she heats up the room using her breath, and then makes it colder with another breath. Pinkie easily deduces that the crazy weather around the mountain is thanks to the dragon, which the dragon is quite proud of. But Cheerilee cuts right to the chase: they're there for the star. Whimsy reveals that her stealing the star was all according to plan, and outlines it for the ponies: she's been on the mountain without friends for ages, and she finally figured that it was because she didn't have any cool toys. So she swiped the star, thinking it was a toy (and keeping it awake all this time), and sure enough, five new friends show up.
The ponies are left aghast at this story, but pull themselves together to explain that the star is not a toy, and they're not really friends, they're just acquaintances. So they sing her a song about what makes a friend a friend. But one things friends don't do, says Pinkie, is take each other's stuff, and she urges Whimsy to give the star back to Cheerilee. But Whimsy is not keen on having to part with the star, especially since she thinks that the ponies will never come back once they have what they came for. Rainbow Dash is quick to interject that they will come back, and Pinkie even invites her to come back with them for the festival. But Whimsy is not convinced, stating that if she has to give them the star for them to be her friend, she'd rather have other friends, and kicks them out of her cave. The ponies are all dejected, and wonder what to do now, but Cheerilee knows: she has to tell the truth, like she should have done before.
Everyone is gathered for the start of the Winter Wishes Festival, and asking for Cheerilee. She arrives in the hot air balloon just in time, and comes forward to tell the truth, taking all the blame. Hearing this, the mayor starts to faint, so other ponies bring her a chair and a fan. Cheerilee continues on, telling everyone about the dragon and apologizing to them all. Scootaloo also apologizes for lying to the mayor and adds that it was her fault as well, and the two sisters make up. The mayor commends Cheerilee for fessing up, even though the festival is now ruined. But what's that? A Brooklyn accent? Yes, Whimsy thought it over and brought back Twinkle Wish. The mayor rushes up for a quick inspection, and the situation doesn't look good: they've got to get her on top of the tree immediately! Cheerilee offers the star to Scootaloo, since it was the button that won her the prize. So Whimsy flies Scootaloo to the top of the tree, who places Twinkle Wish on the tree and tells her that it's time. Twinkle Wish starts to chant the wishing rhyme from earlier, but starts falling asleep at the same time. The mayor tells everyone to make a wish ASAP, but it's too late, Twinkle Wish is asnoozin' again. In the silence of no one getting a wish, Pinkie Pie rushes to the podium to tell everyone that they don't need wishes, since their wishes already came true. And sure enough, all the main characters have been saying "I wish this" and "I wish that" throughout this whole thing, even the mayor (she wished she knew what was going on with Cheerilee), and sure enough, everything they wished for came true.
Everyone else, though, wished for snow, and snowing it is not. But hey, Whimsy can make the weather! So she breezes on up and lets loose a snow-breath for the ages. So even Whimsy's wish for friends came true. But it seems that Sweetiebelle's wish didn't come true, since she wished for pink snow, and not even Whimsy can do that. But just then, Twinkle Wish wakes up, saying "Pink snow? Did somebody wish for pink snow?" And so all the snow turns pink, just like that, while the narrator announces that this turned out to be the most wonderful winter wishes festival ever.
Although the story is over, there's still a song, "Dreams Do Come True," which shows the core seven going through the seasons just being friends.

This really turned out to be better than I thought it would be. and a lot less wallbangery than most of the previous G3 DVDs have been. While I wasn't that crazy about the star, I really liked Whimsy and the Mayor. Not quite sure why she had that whole 'reiterate a word three times in one sentence' thing going on, but I loved her hair.

Of course, what made lots of fans happy about this DVD is the appearance of non-core seven ponies in the G3.5 style, and the apparent appearance of boy ponies. And so...
Random Pony Cameos:

Misc. Screenshots:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christopher the Christmas Tree

Starting off the Christmas season a couple of days late, but that's okay. Thanks to the power of Youtube, I was able to revist a Christmas special I remembered watching one Saturday morning back in 1993 or 1994, and though I hadn't seen it at all in the years between, a good amount of it had stuck with me. It's not that bad as Christmas specials go, but it is definitely kind of odd.

It all starts with a narrator singing about The Valley of Hidden Hollow and Christopher the Christmas tree, who got passed over year after year. Then the actual story kicks in, going back to when Christopher was but a tiny pine and all the other trees around him got chopped down to be Christmas trees. We're introduced to nine other trees by name, even though they're in this show for less than two minutes, never to be seen again. Now, all the trees are anthropomorphized, with branchy hands, and using pinecones and snow to mimic clothes and accessories, and even mammories. Seriously, one of these trees has a huge rack, which she jiggles while claiming "I'm the fullest!" when the trees are trying to one-up each other on why they'll be picked to be Christmas trees. What?! Now, it looks like our special is about to over, as a boy bounds onto the scene and goes straight for Christopher, but the boy's father insists that Christopher is too small for them to put a star on top. The boy asks why they put a star on top, perhaps hoping to get Christopher if he can convince his dad they don't need to do it, but since the star represents the one the wisemen followed to baby Jesus, there's no getting out of it. Maybe next time, Christopher. Oh wait...
Anyway, all the other trees laugh and jeer at Christopher as they are driven off in a truck, and Christopher starts singing a little song about wanting to be a "pretty tree" while crying tears that turn into ice cubes. The narrator just talks over Christopher's song, telling us that Christopher never got picked and eventually he was too big to fit in someone's home. That might be the end of the story right there, but we're only three minutes in, so the narrator goes right ahead and takes us to a family of owls, just as the dad owl is giving his youngest son, Hooty, grief for being an idiot. He phrases so it sounds like Hooty is just a noncomformist ("Why can't you be more like your brothers, Owlvin and Owlbert?"), but after Hooty runs away (immediately following this taunting), a song reveals that Hooty can't fly or talk, so yeah. He travels the whole of Hidden Hollow, but is ostracized by everyone he meets.
Eventually Hooty makes his way to the only house in Hidden Hollow, where the owners of the Christmas tree farm live. Good thing, too, since it's winter by then and he keels over from the cold. The sound of him keeling was loud enough for the boy in the house to hear it, and he rushes Hooty in and puts him by the fire. The boy's father tells him to put the owl by the Christmas tree to make him "feel more at home." Huh? This is actually an awkward segue to reveal that the father is the boy from the first scene, all grown up, as his son asks why they put the star on the tree, and he says he asked his father the same thing. Using the star, the boy wishes he could be President of the United States someday so he could help everyone, even the owl. You'd be better off becoming a vet in that case, kid.
The warmth of the fire brings Hooty back, and he stays in the house for a day? Two days? At least until Christmas, then Dad tells the son to send the owl back into the wild, since it wouldn't be fair to keep him as a pet. Hooty disagrees, having finally found a friend, but he sets off into the wide world again, hopeful that he'll see the little boy again. He wanders into the tree farm, which apparently hasn't been taken care of very well, as there's only one tree in a field surrounded by stumps. That tree, of course, is Christopher, who welcomes Hooty with open arms (well, branches) and tells him his story of wanting to be a Christmas tree, despite being the only tree around anymore. But Christopher isn't downbeat because he believes that wishes come true. He encourages Hooty to make a wish, and so, while the chorus sings about wishing on stars, the narrator tells us that Hooty wished he could talk, fly, and always have a friend like Christopher.
The next day, or who knows when, a sleeping Christopher is approached by the most annoying woodland creatures ever featured in a nearly forgotten animated special. Apparently they were inspired by Christopher's friendship with Hooty to come and live in him, so they'll be safe from the foxes and weasels. Christopher doesn't object, claiming he's big enough to be a home for all of them, even the deer, and he lifts up his lower branches like a skirt to let them in. Uh, yeah. So the woodland creatures go through various antics in him while alternately dancing around him singing "Christopher, we love you!" and making verses out of horrible rhymes. The narrator reveals that even more time passes, as Christopher gets too big to ever be a Christmas tree (or rather, he "doubts he would ever be picked"), but he doesn't mind because he's protecting all these animals now.
And then, one fateful day, all the other animals go to gather some food, leaving Christopher and Hooty alone when who should show up but the weasel and the fox. For no particular reason, they taunt Christopher for wanting to be a Christmas tree even though he's way too big now, saying he'll be chopped into firewood (or worse, toothpicks) before long. They leave, having riled up Hooty, but Christopher calms him down and sends him to get food with the others. While Hooty is gone, a flock of migrating birds bunks down in Christopher, but they are frightened off by the arrival of a big, red truck. Yes, Christopher's time has come at last, as a man with a chainsaw starts cutting him down while Christopher protests. Hooty tries to stop the man, but he is too small, and Christopher goes down. Hooty goes after the truck while the other woodland creatures gather around Christopher's stump to lament their fallen friend.
Finally motivated by his need to follow Christopher, Hooty manages to take to the sky after a few false starts, and even finds the ability to talk, as well. He manages to catch up with the truck, where Christopher tries to get some comfort in his final hours from his small friend, but when he confesses that he thinks he's going to chopped into firewood, Hooty takes it upon himself to set Christopher free. He breaks all the ropes somehow, but he's still too small to push Christopher off the truck. So he decides to go and get the other woodland creatures to help him, flying off as Christopher calls for him to come back.
By the time all the woodland creatures catch up to the truck, Christopher has already been unloaded. Hooty finds Christopher just as he's being lifted up by some ropes, and falls to his knees(?), saying "We're too late!" But no, it turns out that Christopher was taken to Washington DC to be the White House's Christmas tree. And for some unexplained reason, the kid that helped Hooty that one time is putting the star on top. No, he didn't become the president like he wanted to, as the actual president comes out to officially name the tree Christopher. Then Christopher sings a song about being "The President's Personal Tree" while the woodland creatures engage in some antics with his decorations.
Still, there is some sadness in this happy time for Christopher, as Hooty points out that this is technically Christopher's last Christmas. But Christopher tells him that this is what he was born to do, and that being a Christmas tree is equal parts faith, sacrifice, and hope for mankind. He also reminds Hooty that he dropped all his pinecones when he fell, and charges the owl with planting them, so that "there will always be a Christopher the Christmas tree." And so the narrator closes things off by telling us that Hooty and the other animals did just that, and Christopher "was the happiest tree in the whole world." The end credits roll over still images of the woodland creatures planting the pinecones which eventually sprout into little trees while the song from the beginning of the episode plays, but with a final verse about how Christopher finally got his wish.

So, all in all, a heartwarming little story. The songs are all kind of country-western, and that "Christopher, We Love You" song just will not get out of my head. If you watch this, skip that part. I also like that it addresses the mortality of a Christmas tree, because you know some kid was going to point that out to their parents at some point. The animation quality is pretty good, too, besides some strange design choices. Like why do some of the animals (Hooty and his family, the weasel and the fox) wear clothes while the rest are naked?

Now, apparently, this special started its life as a song recorded in 1969. The story was created by George T. Bower, who was a Christmas tree farmer, among other things, and was trying to get the song made into a special for years, which included expanding the one song into an album back in the 80s. You can read more about it in this article from Billboard. Also, there's an alternate version from the one I saw on youtube that includes a couple of extra scenes (like the fox and weasel setting Christopher on fire?), and Christopher being set up in front of the UN building instead of the White House and singing about being "The Whole World's Christmas Tree." And it seems that there's a full-length movie version of this special in the works, though I'm not really sure that this is something the world needs.

You know, for some reason, I remember adult Christopher was voiced by Dom DeLuise, but watching it now, I can hear that's not that case. Hm.