Yo Ho Ho! A Holiday Event

N.C. Museum of HistoryAlthough the pirates of Somalia have reminded us what is actually involved in high-seas banditry, North Carolinians have always enjoyed their pirate lore Down East. And people elsewhere like their international criminal bands, too, with a resurgence that began with the first Pirates of the Caribbean film and continued with Pastafarianism and International Talk Like A Pirate Day. The North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of History have colluded on this holiday event centered around those fearsome plunderers of the seas. The Shadow Players Stage Combat Group will perform in character as, you guessed it, pirates, and there will be tours of the museum’s Knights of the Black Flag exhibit. Be sure to wear your eye patch and peg leg! Tickets for the 7-9:30 p.m. event are $40 and include two drinks, food and music. Space is limited, and advance registration is encouraged. Visit www.ncmuseumofhistory.org and www.ncartmuseum.org.Sarah Ewald

Christmas television specials

On your teeveeChristmas is about many things: mostly the stress that comes from shopping, spending time with your family and trying not to drink too much at parties. But even if you’re now at the age where you have kids of your own, and you now understand what you put your parents through when you whined about wanting a Cabbage Patch doll, there’s still one thing that can bring generations together: Christmas specials.

Ah, the wonder of Christmas specials. Sure, Charlie Brown, Rudolph and the Grinch have already aired. But this week brings many a classic, starting tonight with Mickey’s Christmas Carol at 7 p.m. on ABC Family. It’s not Ira David Wood, but it’s a fine introduction to the classic tale. A half-hour later in this time slot, there’s also Winnie-the-Pooh and Christmas Too, while later in the evening there’s the Rankin-Bass feature Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, an odd sequel to the 1969 special where Frosty gets married, and Andy Griffith narrates.

The original Frosty (and the weird, terribly lame Frosty Returns) air on CBS on Friday, Dec.18 starting at 8 p.m. But ABC Family has some more obscureand delightfulRankin-Bass classics the previous night, Dec. 17, starting with The Story of the First Christmas Snow at 6 p.m. It’s followed by the odd and slightly trauma-inducing Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey at 6:30, which features perhaps the most disturbing dead-mother scene since Bambi, and gives the protagonist a moment to shine by … wrapping Mary in his ears to warm her during a blizzard. Yeah.

Perhaps you remember these specials when they first aired in the ’70s and ’80s or during the many years they have been rerun since. But in today’s age of CGI and relentless shtick, there’s something sweet and quaint about the stop-motion and limited animation of a classic Christmas special and its desire to tell a simple, heartwarming story. Even if it is about a long-eared Christmas donkey or whatever The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold was supposed to be about. Zack Smith