Despite the useful lesson that Americans enjoy the holiday season differently, the true gem of this story is the soothing way things can work out, even when they are not going the way you had hoped. ARTHUR'S PERFECT CHRISTMAS is really a story about how all of us get wound up for this time of the year, fantasize about it and become crushed when it's not so picture perfect. Our children, ages 8 and almost 4, shuddered when Arthur accidently broke the beautiful gift he had chosen for his mom--only to be buoyed by his Uncle's surprise gesture. They also watched intently as the typically spoiled Muffy finds that despite having received many Christmas gifts, what she wants most is a resurrection of her fractured friendship with Francine.
This story spends much energy on getting kids to understand that different families celebrate the holiday in different ways, from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa. Because Arthur fans never knew before that Arthur was a Christian, Francine a Jew and the Brain an African-American, it at first seems "stretched-to-fit", a little forced. The lesson, however, is invaluable because human beings even in similiar faiths and cultures do not necessarily celebrate in similiar ways. While this is an vital lesson of its own, it is ultimately trumped by one that all us can recognize and share, that is friendship and compassion towards others can prevail. It can make any holiday disappointment seem "perfect."