In 1976 Fred Rogers, the host of the impactful children’s TV program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, was on a three year long hiatus from filming. Yet, he paused his vacation to shoot “Christmastime with Mr. Rogers”, the only holiday special he would release in his decades-long TV career. While the host himself was a presbyterian minister, he chose to take a secular and inclusive approach to the holidays. “Christmastime with Mr. Rogers' was one of the first American TV programs to explore inclusivity and to educate on non-Christian holiday traditions. During the special, Rogers sang various Christmas carols along with “I have a little dreidel” in celebration of Hanukkah before inviting children of all religious backgrounds to join him on his holiday train.
Throughout the special, he focuses on the “true meaning” of Christmas and the holiday season, which he defines as love, compassion, and giving rather than just getting gifts. Mr. Rogers truly was ahead of his time!