It’s Christmas time again in Odyssey. This is Adventures in Odyssey’s third Christmas episode but this time Whit is too busy to sit down and tell a story like he did in Gifts for Madge and Guy. He’s too caught up in the Christmas rush. I like how this new Christmas show offers yet another perspective on the holiday without repeating too much from previous shows. But at the same time references to the past are still welcome. Jimmy says that he usually stops playing with his toys the day after Christmas, a reference to the episode The Day After Christmas. But thankfully, Peace on Earth is an improvement on The Day After Christmas because it actually presents likeable and relatable characters. The Barclays are together as a family, for the first time since Family Vacation in the last album, and they show us once again how well they interact with each other.
The Christmas season can be overwhelming and the Barclays certainly get overwhelmed together as a family. That seems to be the way they do things: as a family. George boasts about buying his kids everything they asked for and then raises a toast “to Christmas”, the holiday itself, and not to Christ. Raising a toast to Christmas instead of Christ is a subtle thing to point out and could be passed off as an innocent statement, but George’s son makes it even clearer how their understanding of Christmas has been twisted. Jimmy follows in his father’s footsteps and raises a glass “to the presents”, of course thinking only of the wrapped gifts under the tree and ignoring the greatest gift of all. When the Grinch steals Christmas, taking even the Barclay’s turkey dinner, they finally realize how they’ve had the wrong perspective.
Meanwhile at Whit’s End, Eugene is the first to critique the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. He references the episode title when he says the angels came and said “Peace on Earth.” We later find Eugene enjoying the solitude sitting next to the nativity display. Tom Riley, who is of course baffled by Eugene’s behavior and vocabulary, offers similar wisdom. He tells Whit to slow down and to appreciate the lights, the snow and the quietness. People get distracted from Jesus for different reasons. Getting distracted by all the gifts you want to receive or getting distracted by all the things you need to get done for other people can both take away from what the focus of Christmas should really be.
You might say this episode had two different plots, with the Barclays and Whit, but it did a very good job in tying them together. It came from two different sides and met in the middle at the end. And with all the Christmas planning and organization that is so characteristic of the season, I enjoyed Whit’s spontaneity. On the spot he decides to invite Eugene over for Christmas dinner and he later shows up on the Barclays’ doorstep on Christmas morning leading a procession of people bringing food and presents. That was a great ending for a great episode. This episode gets 5 out of 5 stars.