While you’re waiting around for the Mayan overlords to make their big entrance, Amanda Ronan recommends snuggling up with some holiday-themed stop-motion animation.
Sure, Rudolph gets all the fanfare but what about Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey (1977). You don’t know any Nestor?!? Well, let me enlighten you about this endearing little stop-motion animation.
The story starts off in the Roman Empire with this handsome fella, Olaf the donkey breeder.
Olaf isn’t very nice to Nestor. In fact, nobody is nice to sweet, little Nestor because of his long, long ears. He is heartbroken.
On the night of the winter solstice, a Roman soldier breaks into Olaf’s barn and steals all of the other young donkeys. He throws Nestor back, after seeing his long ears. The other “slaves” are herded to the south lands.
Olaf blames his misfortune on Nestor and casts him out into the blizzard.
Nestor’s mother breaks out of the barn to save him, only to sacrifice her life to keep him warm through the night. Nestor then meets a prophetic cherub…which by coincidence or design looks a lot like Meg Ryan.
The cherub, Tilly, and Nestor head for Bethlehem. Upon reaching the desert, Tilly tells him he must stay at a merchant’s stable, until the “proper time.” At this stable, the story is much the same. Everybody makes fun of poor Nestor and his long ears.
But then a notorious couple comes through the stable, looking for a very special donkey. Their names are Joseph and Mary…and guess what…they need a ride to Bethlehem. Of course they pick the gentle-eyed Nestor! On the way, a terrible sand storm blows in, blocking their view of the guiding star.
Good thing they have a long eared donkey! A long eared donkey with VERY sensitive hearing! Nestor follows the sound of the angels and carries Mary, and her precious progeny, to Bethlehem. And well…you know the rest of the story. Nestor returns to his farm a hero.
My favorite donkey cartoon is still The Small One, but to me it’s not Christmas without claymation and this was a nice change from Rudolph. The story was cute and the soundtrack was very “country Christmas.” I give Nestor 3 Golden Horseshoes.