"A Very Supernatural Christmas"
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
 
This episode would be on my top 10 list of favorites. It's a really sick episode with a heartwarming brotherly ending, filled with really terrible sick, funny stuff, including terrorizing children, which is SO cruel and wrong for a Christmas episode. Plus we learn where Dean got his necklace, watch Sam get his forefinger nail pulled out and I cry buckets more than once. I laugh, I cry, I wonder how the censors allowed this episode to be shown at all, to ANYONE!
 
The word "SPECIAL" in tacky 70's colors spins toward the camera, followed by "A SPECIAL PRESENTATION". I used to see that all the time, and it brought such warm memories into my head. A year ago, eager little Stevie greets his grandfather at the door and assures him he's been a good boy this year. Well, says Grandpa as they pass a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, maybe you'll get presents, then. Later, an open-mouthed, excited Stevie spies from the staircase as Santa (Grandpa dressed as him) arranges gifts around the Christmas tree from a huge sack. Loud, strange sounds from the roof cause Santa to look up in concern and Stevie to declare, "Reindeer!" Soot starts falling into the fireplace; Grandpa-Santa goes to look up there. As Stevie watches, Santa, amidst the sound of crunching bones and cries of pain, is grabbed up the chimney. A bloody boot falls to the floor. "Santa?" says Stevie uncertainly.
 
A Christmas ball lights up and explodes. The screen gets snowy. In the middle of the screen, we see "A Very" in red letters, "SUPERNATURAL" in blue, "Christmas" in red. A mini Santa hat falls down and hangs crookedly on the first A in SUPERNATURAL. The word "very" flicks in and out and finally goes out. We hear bells. 
 
This is a very creepy opening!
 
FBI agents Sam and Dean question a highly upset woman while her daughter anxiously watches. "Was my husband kidnapped?" the woman asks. "What can I tell my daughter--it's three days till Christmas?" All the brothers can do is promise to stay in touch as they leave. Sam shows Dean what he found in the chimney--a tooth. They agree that a man can't fit up a chimney in one piece--who or what could have dragged him up there? In their hotel room, Dean teases Sam, who is doing research on his computer, about a serial killing chimney sweep. Yes, it's Dick Van Dyke, says Sam, but Dean has no clue who that is. "Mary Poppins?" hints Sam, but Dean is still clueless. Sam explains that two other guys have been kidnapped in town, and suggests they're dealing with Evil Santa, or the Anti Claus--Belsnickel, Krampus, or Black Peter, creatures who, instead of giving gifts to good folks, punish the wicked. Sam brings up the fact that it was Dean who told him Santa wasn't real, clearly an unhappy memory for him.
 
Noting that two of the dead victims visited this Tacky Santa's Village where no parent in his or her right mind should bring kids, the brothers decide to pay a visit. Despite their own youthful crappy Christmases on the road, Dean wants to celebrate the holiday right this year. "No!" says Sam firmly. OK, Grinch, says Dean, hurt. Sam stares sadly into the eyes of a cross-eyed reindeer decoration, remembering. In a damp, ugly hotel room where John has left them on their own, nine-year-old Sam wraps a gift in newspaper. It's for Dad, he says. Did you steal it? asks 13-year-old Dean. No, says Sam, Uncle Bobby gave it to me. When asked what it is, the younger boy responds smartly, "A pony." Dean assures Sam John WILL join them for Christmas--Dad is a spy--James Bond! Why do we move around so much? asks Sam. Because people get tired of your ugly face! retorts Dean. I'm old enough to know the truth, insists Sam--does it have something to do with Mom? Dean goes ballistic, ordering his brother to shut up--NEVER ask about Mom! He dashes out the door, into the heavy snow, leaving Sam gazing worriedly after him.
 
Dean gripes about the lack of snow for the ten dollar price tag at this village. As they watch the creepy-voiced Santa taking kids on his lap, Sam explains that the anti-Claus will walk with a limp and smell like candy so kids will come closer. A pretty girl elf asks the boys if they want their kid escorted to Santa. We just came to watch says Sam. She wrinkles her nose with disgust: "Ew!" she says. Sam starts to clarify, but Dean shakes his head, making his brother look very bad. Thanks for that, huffs Sam. When Santa gets up to take a break, they note his limp. He smells like candy! notes Dean. Ripple, clarifies Sam.
 
Bored and out of coffee, the brothers stake out Santa's tacky trailer. "Why are you the boy who hates Christmas?" asks Dean. "If you want to have Christmas so bad, have it yourself," suggests Sam. They're interrupted when yucky Santa closes his blinds. â€œWhat’s with St. Nicotine?” wonders Dean. OH MY GOD! screams a woman, and the boys high-trail it to the front door, guns ready. Mr. Gung-ho Christmas might have to blow away Santa, notes Sam ironically. They burst into the trailer. Santa's wearing his red hat, pants and a filthy wife-beater, swigging from a bottle of Ripple with a bong in his other hand. He's also watching a porno movie with a classic line like, "Wanna mistle my toe?" Hiding his gun behind his back, Dean awkwardly breaks into "Silent Night." Getting into the caroling spirit, Sam joins in, along with Santa, who is delighted with his carolers, and the brothers gracelessly make their exit.
 
We're in another stunningly-decorated home. An angelic boy with curly blond hair hears noises from the chimney and greets someone he thinks is Santa--"You're early!" A blood-covered creature ascends the stairs. The boy hears his mother scream, followed by a loud smack that abruptly silences Mommy. Bloody Santa comes downstairs, the child’s struggling daddy imprisoned in a big sack, his head clunking on each stair. As the terrified little boy looks on, Daddy's, grunts and groans are also suddenly silenced. The child gazes up, up, up, afraid he's next, but the creature merely takes a cookie, eats it, utters a sound of enjoyment, then drags Daddy up the chimney.
 
At the Caldwell residence, the Mrs. explains what her son said happened: "Santa took Daddy up the chimney. He knocked me out first." That's all the explanation Dean gets when he questions the curly haired boy's mother, who seems in shock. Sam asks her about a wreath she has hanging in her home. "EXCUSE ME?" she asks, stunned at his seemingly insensitive question. The Walshes had that wreath, too, Sam points out, made of meadowsweet, which is very powerful in pagan lore. It's chum for gods, used for human sacrifice to Holdenikar, the god of Winter Solstice. Putting up these wreaths is like ringing the dinner bell, saying, "Come kill us!" If you sacrifice to this god, you get mild weather--like no snow in Michigan in the middle of December! Sam and Dean realize they have to learn where people are getting these wreaths. At Cozy Crafts, Dean tells the shop owner they were playing Jenga at the Walshes the other night and just LOVED their wreath. He baits Sam, who agrees--they were YUMMY, being made of meadowsweet. Aren't you the fussy one, remarks the storekeeper, but I'm all out. He tells them Marge Carrigan, a local lady, GAVE him the wreaths, but he sold 'em for a buttload.
 
Back at the hotel, Sam and Dean ponder Madge's reason for giving away her expensive meadowsweet wreaths. Dean reminisces about the stolen beer can wreath his father brought home for them one Christmas. Why are you so Bing Crosby all of a sudden? asks Sam. Why are you so against it? counters Dean--were your childhood memories that traumatic?--I mean, this is my last year. That's exactly the point, says Sam, I can't sit around drinking eggnog, pretending everything's all right when I know this time next year, you'll be dead--I just can't. Silent, finally understanding, Dean nods. They each sit on their respective beds, quietly contemplating how sad their lives are. (Yes, I cried, wanna make something out of it?)
 
In the 1991 flashback, youngDean returns to the hotel room with dinner for youngSam. "Don't forget your vegetables," he says, tossing him a bag of Funyuns. "I know why you keep a gun under your pillow," reveals Sam, "and why we lay down salt." Stay out of my stuff, orders Dean. Sam pulls John's journal out from under the mattress. "Dad's gonna kick your ass for reading that!" warns Dean. "Are monsters real?" demands Sam. Dean thinks this over for a few moments. "Tell Dad I told you, I will END you," promises Dean, and goes on to reveal that their father is a super hero--monsters are real, Santa Claus is not. Sam begins to fret--monsters got their mother, what if they get Dad, him and his brother? Dean soothes his little brother's fears, promising their safety--"and Dad will be with us for Christmas, like always." Sam presses his face into a pillow, crying himself to sleep. "Everything will be better when you wake up," promises Dean.
 
The brothers drive to the heavily-decorated home of Madge Carrigan. "So this is where Mrs. Wreath lives," says Dean, "can't you feel the evil pagan vibe?" Mrs. Carrigan opens the door to their knock. Her sickeningly sweet voice informs them, oh, FUDGE, I have no more wreaths left for this season! Her husband, as overly sweet as the peanut brittle he offers Dean (Sam stops his brother from taking any) comments on how great meadowsweet smells.
 
Dean sits on the hotel bed, untidily sharpening evergreen stakes over a garbage pail, which Bobby told them would be needed to kill their chimney killer. Sam, researching the Carrigans on the computer, says they lived in Seattle last year, where two similar killings took place. Sam also spotted verbena and mint in their home--serious pagan stuff!
 
The Winchesters break into the Carrigan house that evening, where "Come All Ye Faithful" plays. Bearing flashlights and stakes, they walk past chorus figurines silently singing. Dean notes that there is plastic on the couches. More Christmas gear crowds this house than I have ever seen, including plates of delicious-looking cookies. When they break into the basement however, the scene is far more grisly--bones, flesh, blood, bloody Santa clothing, chains, butcher tools. Sam, completely disgusted, reaches out to check on a bag hanging on a hook. Madge Carrigan, her face showing monstrously dead in the glow of the flashlight, grabs him by the throat and hoists him up against the wall. Dean, stake aloft, rushes to his aid, but he's attacked by Mr. Carrigan, who knocks him out cold. Madge, voice sounding like warm honey, says, "Gosh, I wish you boys hadn't come down here." She bashes Sam's head hard against the stone wall--lights out!
 
In the Carrigan dining room, Sam and Dean come to consciousness tied back to back in chairs and realize they're dealing with pagan gods. The cheery Carrigans join them, explaining that they used to take 100 "tributes" (kills) a year, but now, they have assimilated, play bridge, and only kill two or three--five this year if you include the "Hardy boy" hunters. That makes you the Cunninghams, snorts Dean. Show us respect, orders Mr. Carrigan.   There are rituals to be done before the eating begins, so Madge puts napkins in their laps and meadowsweet wreaths around their necks. "They look good enough to eat!" slurps her husband. He grabs a knife and bowl and cuts into Sam's arm. Hearing his brother cry out in pain, Dean orders, "Leave him alone, you son-of-a-bitch!" Madge chastises him for cursing and suggests he say "fudge" instead. The Carrigans lament how they used to be worshipped; Jesus is the big cheese now, while they're hunted and their altars are burned down. Madge cuts into Dean's arm. "BITCH!" he yells in her face. You owe a nickel to the swear jar, she admonishes, and cuts into his other arm, draining his blood into the bowl. "You fudgin' touch me again, I'll fudgin' kill ya!" snarls Dean. Madge approves. 

Mr. Carrigan pulls out Sam's forefinger nail; the younger Winchester tosses his head back and howls in agony. Sam and Dean gasp together in pain. "Sweet Peter on a Popsicle stick, the tooth!" remembers Mr. Carrigan, and shoves a wrench in Dean's mouth to extract one. The doorbell rings. "Aren't you going to get that?" asks Dean, his words muffled around the wrench. Neighbors as deathly sweet as the Carrigans stop by to drop off a fruitcake. They invite the Carrigans to come caroling with them, but Mr. Carrigan begs off because of his bad back. They're on for bridge tomorrow, though! Once the door is closed, Madge drops the fruitcake, steps on it, and exchanges a look of disgust with her husband.
 
The Carrigans return to the dining room to find the brothers gone. Both doors leading out of the room slam shut. In the living room, Sam and Dean press their backs against the doors, holding off the Carrigans as long as possible. They push a china closet over one door and Dean pulls open a drawer to stay the other. Realizing they left their stakes in the basement, they topple over the Christmas tree and each brother snaps off a thick, sharp branch. For a moment they stare at each other: silence. Instantly, both Carrigans attack at once. "You little thing," says Madge sweetly, "I loved that tree." She begins to whale on Sam while Mr. C takes on Dean. It looks like the gods are getting the upper hand on the Winchesters, but finally, Sam stabs Madge with his evergreen stake. "MAAAADGE! shrieks her husband, giving Dean a chance to stab Mr. Carrigan, too. The two gods lay together, dead, on the floor. Gasping for breath, Sam wishes Dean, "Merry Christmas."
 
In 1991, youngSam awakens to a scrawny Christmas tree and wrapped gifts. "Dad was here, but he couldn't wake you up," says youngDean. Sam, disappointed he missed seeing his father, opens a gift--Sapphire Barbie? "Dad probably thinks you're a girl," teases Dean. When the next gift Sam opens is a baton, he accuses his brother of lying--their father never showed, did he? He did, I swear, insists Dean. Knowing he's busted, Dean fesses up: he stole the chick presents, not knowing what they were, and he's sure their father would have come if he could. Stoic, Sam hands John's gift to Dean. That's for Dad, demurs Dean. Dad lied to me, Sam reminds him--I want you to have it. Dean unwraps the necklace we have seen him wear since day one of the show. "I love it," he says reverently, and slips it over his head. Sam nods sadly.
 
Rosemary Clooney sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as Dean enters the motel room to find that Sam has decorated it for Christmas--a spindly tree in a paint can hung with balls, lights and air fresheners, lights and banners on the walls. Sam holds a plastic glass of eggnog and hands one to Dean, who asks, "What made you change your mind?" Sam doesn't reply, but both take sips of the heavily alcohol-laced nog. They trade gifts they purchased for each other from the gas mart down the street--skin mags and shaving creme for Sam, a candy bar and motor oil for Dean ("fuel for me, fuel for my baby"). They toast each other, aware of how bittersweet this celebration is. Before it can get maudlin, Sam asks, "Do you feel like watching the game?" "Absolutely," answers Dean. They sit side by side, enjoying the game and each other's company. We view the Winchesters from outside, through the window, ringed in Christmas lights, where, like a sentinel, sits the Impala, snow falling softly on her dark hood.
 
1.  I cried buckets at the end of this episode. With Dean's deal to die and go to hell coming due, and those words: "through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow," followed by "have yourself a merry little Christmas now." It just tore me up for the Winchester brothers, celebrating their last Christmas together! I wanted to just crush Sam and Dean against me and hug them!       
 
2.  The flashbacks just about broke me, too. Poor Sam! To learn that Santa was fake but monsters were real, that they had murdered his mother and his father was fighting them--way too much terrible information for a big brother to pass on to a little brother all at once. Sam, however, pushed, didn't he? Still, it hurt to see the poor little guy crying himself to sleep like that. When Sam gave Dean the amulet, my heart nearly burst. We have always wondered where that came from, most of us figuring it went from John to Dean, but this is much better. Sad that John didn’t show up for Christmas, but I have the feeling John missed many Christmases, birthdays, and tons of other special events, and Dean took his place in Sam’s life for those. 
 
3.  So we have a villain who drags living beings up chimneys, breaking their bones while they are still alive? That’s gotta hurt! They have a tooth pulled and a nail pulled out, all without anesthesia. Again, ouch to the nth degree! So why do I laugh when after Stevie watches his grandpa being pulled up the chimney, his boot falls down and I LMAO when Stevie asks, “Grandpa?” I seriously HOWL!
 
4.  When that angelic little boy hears his mother being slapped and his father is dragged downstairs in a giant Santa sack, the kid is terrified, and rightly so. I guess these gods aren’t interested in kids, too little meat. But Santa, still takes a cookie and enjoys it before taking Daddy up the chimney. That also made me laugh. Am I a sick cookie? 
 
5.  Madge and her hubby made me laugh, too, with their sweetness, fake sincerity, their irritation at having to “assimilate,” playing bridge, etc. â€œSweet Peter on a popsicle stick?” Say “Fudge?” Dean took that to heart, LOL! The disdain with which Mrs. Carrigan stepped on that fruitcake—hilarious! â€œI wish you hadn’t come down here,” Whomp Sam’s head against the wall. One more thing—they LOVED each other! Look how upset hubby was when wife got whacked!
 
6.  How about that Santa? What a creep, huh? Druggie, drunk, porno addict (and BAD porno, too!), child molester (maybe, I didn’t like the voice he used when he spoke to the kids), and just plain disgusting. But very, very funny! The scene with the elf was really funny, too—Dean always thrusts Sam into the cruelest situations. â€œWe just wanna watch.” â€œHe saw that wreath and loved it, didn’t ya, Sam?” â€œIt was YUMMY!” 
 
Yes, this is one of my very favorite episodes of SUPERNATURAL, and if that makes me some kind of pervert, so be it! 

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2010-03-23 11:43
Alright, this is simply one of the finest hours of TV ever and if you disagree, verily thou shalt jumpeth in a lake.

1. What an ending, and given how much more sparse the verbal portions of the emotional scenes are compared to most shows, the fact that these guys can sell so much with their facial expressions is vital, and they're genius at it.

2. The fact that they grew up *not* being basketcases is impressive. That life would have shattered most of us, I imagine.

3. Because you're sadistic. :D

4. See number 3.

5. Two of the coolest villains ever, what a wonderfully played disconnect between their 1950s squaredom and their murderous impulses.

6. And that shopkeeper. "Hell no. People pay a buttload for this crap."
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-03-23 21:03
Favorite episode! Favorite episode ever played on TV!!!
Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2010-03-24 09:31
I'm sadistic? Now that's not a word I ever associated with myself, but I think I like it! Most folks who look at me think I look like Betty Crocker.

Come on over here, little girl, I'll show you a recipe that lists little girls as the main ingredient, heh heh heh!

Too much?
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-03-24 13:11
This is my favourite Christmas show ever! Maybe even my very favourite show ever

1. This rips my heart out too, knowing Dean is wishing for his very last Christmas and that fact ripping out Sam's heart also. The emotional impact is deep.

2. The flashbacks were awesome. Poor little Sammy and his girly presents! When he gave Dean the necklace my heart felt like it would burst from joy.

3. I loved all the disgusting and terrible things the villains were capable of. Just so anti saccharine it was delightful to see the carnage. Looks like I too have a sadistic side.

4. I too laughed when "Santa" ate the cookie. Kripke is evil!

5. Mr. and Mrs. Carrigan were awesome pagan gods. Appearing to be Ozzie and Harriet as villains. LOL! I got such a kick out of the two of them.

6. And that Santa was a creepy crawler, wasn't he? Just his sickening voice while the kid was on his lap turned my stomach. No wonder he was a suspect. The visit to the shop was hilarious with Sam and his "Yummy" wreath.

And the ending with the boys exchanging gifts and drinking eggnog and saying with their eyes how much they loved each other without voicing it. And the Impala keeping watch by the window. Every time I see it I tear up again at that very last shot. Wonderful ending!
Suze
# Suze 2010-03-24 18:15
Skanky santa is fab. this show does seamy SOO well ;-) and The Miserable Boyhood Of Our Heroes flashbacks are what kicked off my enduring compulsion to hit Big Daddy W. with a shovel until he sharpens up his parenting skills. Result!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-03-24 21:43
I agree with everyone here that this is one of the best Supernatural episodes as well as my favorite Christmas themed episode.

Here are my thoughts/comments:

1. I loved the opening. And yes it reminds me of all the specials I would watch as a kid - love the warm memories this provokes.
2. In the beginning as the grandpa dressed as Santa for Stevie - had the evil Santa not showed up to drag him up the chimney, how did the grandpa think he was going to exit the house (as Santa) with his grandson watching. He couldn't really go up the chimney, which is how all children believe Santa gets in and out of the houses. Hmmmm?!?
3. When Dean and Sam visit the first 'present day' victims house, they tell the mother that they will keep in touch. I can't help but ask the question, in cases such as this, when they pose as agents or cops - Do they ever go back to the families and try to explain what happened to their loved ones? I know it is never shown in the episodes themselves, but for this episode, do you think that Dean and Sam would have made a trip back to these two families and tried to tell them what happened to their husbands/father s? Just curious.
4. Loved the WeeChesters scenes. Dang that John for leaving his kids alone all the time, and especially alone on the holidays. Yes, it is amazing that Dean and Sam turned out as well as they did given their childhood. Sam seemed kind of bitter though when he told Dean that he was the one that told him Santa wasn't real. It is sad though to see that this episode marks the year for us that Sam truly lost his childhood innocence. Dean lost his the night his mother was killed, but Sam was able to keep his for awhile, thanks only to Dean and his care. I'm curious why John didn't have his journal with him though. You would think that if the journal is his most prized possession he would have it with him at all times. Hmmmmm!!!!
5. I too love the way Dean gets Sam in awkward situations - the Christmas gift shop and the Winter Wonderland. Dean does that quite often and it is always funny to see Sam squirm and try to talk himself out of the situation.
6. Loved everything that happened at the Carrigans. They were indeed sickening sweet and the actors played it all so well. I still have a hard time watching Mr. Carrigan pull out Sam's fingernail. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. And then when he went to pull out Dean's tooth. Thank goodness for the sickly sweet neighbor coming when she did. Kudos to Jensen and how he rubbed his teeth with his tongue once the pliers were taken out of his mouth. Unless that was written specifically in the script, I don't think every actor would have thought to do that. And the swear jar - OMG, growing up we didn't have a swear jar, but we had a Shut Up box and every time we said Shut Up we owed 10 cents to the jar. That whole sequence so reminds me of that box. :-)
6. In the scene where Sam tells Dean why he doesn't want to celebrate Christmas. Heart is breaking here! Jensen and Jared are just perfect here. Can't say enough good things about it.
7. Lastly, the final scene. I tear up now just thinking about it. So poignant, touching, sad, lovely, etc. etc. etc. It's funny how Sam is not really the drinker, but Dean is the one that grimaces, not Sam, each time he takes a sip from the nog concoction that Sam made. This is such a beautiful scene and the facial expressions and non-verbal actions speak volumes about Dean and Sam's thoughts and feelings for each other. I cry everytime I watch it, heck, I tear up just thinking about this scene. :cry:: And what a perfect ending to see the boys enjoying some regular, normal time together being watched over by the Impala. Perfect ending to a Perfect episode. Indeed a classic!!!!!!!! !