Supernatural: A Very Supernatural Christmas
July 4, 2021 4:16 AM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean follow the trail of an "anti-Santa" that abducts its victims via their chimneys. Dean tries to get Sam to celebrate Christmas with him, to but Sam doesn't want to accept that it could be the last one they'll spend together.


Dean: Why would someone be using that [meaning Meadowsweet] as Christmas wreaths?
Sam: You know, it's not as crazy as it sounds, Dean. I mean, pretty much every Christmas tradition *is* Pagan.
Dean: Christmas is Jesus's birthday.
Sam: No, Jesus's birthday was probably in the fall. It was actually the winter solstice festival that was co-opted by the church and renamed Christmas. But I mean the yule log, the tree, even Santa's red suit, are all remnants of Pagan worship.
Dean: How do you know that? What are you going to tell me next, the Easter Bunny's Jewish?

Dean: Remember that wreath dad brought home that one year?
Sam: You mean the one he stole from, like, a liquor store?
Dean: Yeah, it was a bunch of empty beer cans. That thing was great.

Dean: [as Madge cuts Dean's arm] You bitch!
Madge Carrigan: Oh, my goodness me! Somebody owes a nickel to the swear jar. Oh, do you know what I say when I feel like swearing? Fudge.
Dean: I'll try and remember that.

Dean: You fudging touch me again, I'll fudging kill ya!

Edward Carrigan: Now open wide, and say "ah".
[Edward sticks a pair of pliers in Dean's mouth, preparing to pull out a tooth. The doorbell rings, and everyone freezes]
Dean: [with pliers in his mouth] Is somebody gonna get that?
[The Carrigans look at each other. The doorbell rings again]
Dean: [with pliers still in his mouth] You should get that.

Sam: [opens Christmas present from Dean] Skin mags! [opens the next package] And... shaving cream!


Dean says the creepy, limping, craptastic Santaland Santa smells like candy and Sam says no, that's ripple. In 1960 E&J Gallo introduced Ripple, a very sweet, slightly fizzy fortified (spiked with extra alcohol) wine. This very low price overly sweet wine was marketed for casual novice drinkers but quickly became the reputed favorite of derelict alcoholics. While Ripple was taken off the market in 1984, that name has become slang for cheap, sweet wino wine.

When discussing Christmas and how many pagan practices were co-opted by the Christianity, Sam says that Jesus was more likely born in the fall. However, a reading of the various Biblical accounts suggests that Jesus was born in the summer.

In the closing scene where the boys are having their Christmas celebration, Sam hands Dean a glass of eggnog and asks him if it needs more kick. The glass was supposed to be nonalcoholic but Jared Padalecki actually dumped most of a bottle of rum into the glass without telling Jensen Ackles. Dean's look of surprise and cough when he drank were both genuine reactions.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
Dean's necklace, which was a gift from Sam, is known in the fandom as the "Samulet", heh. Also heh: "anti-Claus", and Edward Carrigan referring to Sam and Dean as the Hardy boys.

Madge Carrigan reminds me of Mrs. Butters from much later in the series. I can think of other characters of that type throughout the series too: bright, perky, super domestic, prim, psychotically violent. It's a 1950s trope that would have landed oddly even in 2007, but then in both Madge and Mrs. Butters' cases, they are beings much older than their physical appearance would suggest. And I suppose when you live for centuries/millennia, you may have difficulty keeping your personae up to the minute.

John Winchester leaving those young boys alone in a shitty motel room for days at a time and not even making the effort to be with them for Christmas Day, and 12-year-old Dean stealing other people's Christmas decorations and presents to try to give Sam some sort of Christmas and lying about their father doing it... arghhh. I could slap John Winchester. He became so consumed with avenging his wife/protecting what remained of his family by killing Yellow Eyes that he gave no thought at all to giving his sons a decent quality of life. I'm imagining Mary Winchester having words for him as to how he raised their boys when they're reunited in heaven.

The young actor who played Sam at eight was really well cast as to resemblance, and totally channeled adult Sam.

The first time I saw this episode I thought that Sam wouldn't want the porn mags, that it was a case of Dean giving him something he'd like himself, but now I realize that Sam has been shown partaking of porn too -- he would just be too embarrassed to go into a gas station and buy such magazines. Since he's been given them, he will look at them.
posted by orange swan at 4:41 AM on July 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

A thing I absolutely hate about Supernatural is the way it handles non-Christian and particularly polytheistic religion. You want to play with Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, Christian mythology, fine. I'm good with it. But the way that basically every non-monotheistic religion, be it various vanished pagan faiths or even, coming in one episode in season 5, Hinduism, is basically a front for human sacrifice, is really fucking awful and wrong.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:34 AM on July 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

Speaking of rotgut, the whiskey fakeSanta is drinking is Bushmills 1608. It's not expensive, but its a decent uisce beatha.
posted by porpoise at 1:56 PM on July 4, 2021

I think this is the first time that Dean plays into somebody assumption that he and Sam are a couple. Usually he just gets indignant about it or just throws Sam under the bus ("you should see his doll collection"). As discussed previously, people assuming a sexual relationship between siblings is one of those real-life annoyances that I just hate dealing with, so I can understand Dean's reaction whenever it happens, but I can also see the advantages to letting people believe what they want (and enforcing those beliefs) when you're trying to scam and con people and pump them for information.

Thanks for the info about ripple. I'll admit, I wasn't sure what they were meant with that line (my best guess was ice cream, i.e. butterscotch ripple).
posted by sardonyx at 5:44 PM on July 4, 2021

(That said, I don't think it's a ruse I'd be able to pull off while standing beside my sibling.)
posted by sardonyx at 5:46 PM on July 4, 2021

I'm not the biggest fan of kid Winchester flashbacks, I don't think this one benefits from trying to fit in every conversation Dean was remembering in AHBL II, but okay, conceptually it is kind of sweet. But yeah, I don't think they ever got as good a match for Dean but Colin Ford is really good at young Sam (and is apparently now old enough to play Sam at the beginning of season one, which is information I did not need in my head.)

Sam and Dean breaking into Saint Nicotine's trailer, then trying to bail themselves out by pretending to be carolers, then remembering they do not actually know the words to the carol they have already started singing, is A++ Sam and Dean problem-solving energy.

Not a lot of the violence on this show is physically hard for me to watch (unpleasant, yes, hello again barbed wire decapitation) but the fingernail getting yanked out, hoo boy.

That's funny--when they exchange gifts at the end I sort of assumed that porn and shaving cream were things Dean had bought for himself, but gave away so he'd have something to give Sam (because Sam had a gift for him, and also because Sam otherwise spent the rest of that scene on the verge of bawling his eyes out.) If Sam hadn't done anything and Dean just came home from the gas station and been like "I know you hate Christmas but merry Christmas" and handed that over that's so weird and sad, but I guess that was Dean's plan.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:29 PM on July 4, 2021

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