This Christmas episode of Adventures in Odyssey is a real pleasure to listen to. It’s creative and entertaining and its message about sacrificial giving shines through quite nicely. And the writers make use of the newly created character of Connie as well. Connie challenges Whit when he says that it’s the thought that counts when gifts are exchanged. Connie also says, “It may be more blessed to give, but it’s more fun to receive.” This gives Whit the perfect opportunity to express Christian truth through a little story.
In this show Whit’s role is expanded from soda shop operator and inventor to storyteller. But he doesn’t tell just any story. He makes his story a comedy and as a result we see his sense of humor coming through more than ever. Nearly every line of both dialogue and narration in the story has been crafted to be deliberately comedic in some way. The episode runs at over 26 minutes long and it’s packed with jokes all the way through. For example, Madge sold the stove to pay the car insurance but sold the car to cover medical bills. She also sold the porch, causing Ethel to remain where she fell outside the door for the entire show. Whit as the narrator remarks that Madge does what most women do in a time of crisis: she goes shopping. This kind of generalization fits well into the cartoonish humor being utilized in the episode. There are a lot of fun, recurring jokes throughout this episode and I won’t list them all here.
One amusing part is when Guy doesn’t recognize his wife Madge with her short hair. He says Madge has a nice perky personality, a cute little smile and long beautiful silky hair. When her hair is brought up, in response Madge repeats that she has a cute little smile. Her most precious possession may be gone so she mentions her smile twice, maybe because her happiness has only increased after getting a present for Guy. Afterwards, Guy’s freak-out response to Madge cutting her hair reminds me of You’re Two Kind in Album 54 where Katrina also cuts her hair and elicits a similar response from Eugene, even if he doesn’t admit to it at first.
The fact that both Guy and Madge sold their most precious possession to buy a present for the other is significant. Neither of them expected a gift in return and in celebration of their love they go off to get each other a ridiculously small cheeseburger to share. Despite the tiny amount of nourishment, they are happier than ever. The audience ends up feeling slightly sorry for them but also extremely happy for them. The elements of tragedy in this story are overwhelmed by both comedy and its elements of genuine joy.
At the end of the episode Whit gives us a beautiful description of God’s gift to us, which is followed by the singing of O Come Let Us Adore Him. And even the non-Christian Connie joins in on the singing and celebration. From beginning to end Gifts for Madge and Guy is a wonderfully good and also funny story to enjoy. It allows the humor that has been under the surface in the previous AIO shows to break through and shine. It gets 5 out of 5 stars.