This Christmas Special, produced by Canadian animation company Nelvana in 1977 for CBC, is about a trio of scholarly aliens who land on Earth on Christmas Eve. They are met by a young boy - and his pet goose - and ask him about a great star that had revealed itself in this solar system 2000 years ago.
The boy must explain the meaning of Christmas, such as love and kindness to others, in the midst of a frantic city obsessed with consumerism which constantly contradicts him. But even when his goose is stolen by hungry street kids, the good kid risks himself to save their lives by trying to pull them out from an iced-over pond. His efforts are not enough, so the townspeople must interrupt their shopping sprees and come together to help them out. Even the three aliens are called-upon to aid them; after some hesitation, the aliens realize that the meaning of Christmas is helping others - as do the people of the town.
Tropes found in this work:
- Good Parents: Peters mom and dad, as well as his grandmother, are kindly and friendly folk who welcome the aliens to their home.
- HeelFace Turn: Marvin the bully becomes considerably nicer after Peter tries to save him and being forgiven by the town.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The townsfolk get caught up in their greed and selfishness for much of the movie, but they are actually an overall decent group of people. When two kids are in trouble they immediately band together to save them. They also get understandably mad at Marvin for stealing Peters pet goose, but then quickly soften up when they realize he is a hungry homeless kid they ignored and quickly begin to offer him food.
- The Chief of Police in particular stands out, being a jaded grump who nonetheless gives his employees Christmas off, rallies the town to save two drowning boys, and lends his badge to use as a star on top of a tree.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The townsfolk look truly ashamed when they realize how caught up they got in their shopping sprees, especially since it resulted in them ignoring a kid who really needed help.
- Nervous Wreck: The mayor of the town panics at the drop of a hat.
- Only Sane Man: Peters parents and grandmother are the only adults not caught up in all the rampant consumerism going on in the town.
- Police Are Useless: Subverted. The chief of police is a lazy man who ignores Peters claims on seeing a spaceship, but he is the one who organizes the town to save Peter and Marvin from freezing in the lake.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The three travelers have an Alien Non-Interference Clause, but break it to help the town save Pete and Marvin. Their leader going so far as directly take Peters hand.
- Shaming the Mob: When the town begins to insult and belittle Marvin for his actions, Peters grandmother steps up and calls them out for being so obsessed with their shopping they neglected Marvin, which is what led to him being bad to begin with.
- The Three Wise Men: Three travelers from outer space arrive on Earth and are shown the traditions of Christmas. To set them apart from the Earth people, they are animated using limited animation while the Earth people are fully animated.