We hope you and yours are having a fantastic holiday, in whatever tradition you celebrate. Speaking of tradition, last year, we posed this Depression-era Fleischer brothers cartoon, “Christmas Comes But Once a Year.” It got such a positive response, I think we’ll turn it into a tradition. It’s sweet, inventive, and a perfect holiday message about the maker spirit.

Merry Christmas to all of you, from your friends at MAKE!

PS: While poking around on YouTube, I found a Casper the Friendly Ghost animation from 1952 that is almost the exact plot with identical inventions. In fact, it was done by many of the same team that worked on the Fleischer film.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • DeadlyDad

    Heh.  The first Maker Christmas.  I think that *every* hacker/makerspace should do this, then donate the items to local charities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Catlin/100002394229038 David Catlin

    This is by far one of my most favorite memories as a child!  Thank you so much for helping remind me of why I started tinkering in the first place.  It also reminds us of the true meaning of this holiday that makes us all crazy.  This simple cartoon shows that it does not take money just passion to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas.  I gave my last dollars to a family in need this season.  What did you do?

  • Darren Landrum

    I can’t help but think that the coffee percolator train might actually be possible.

  • Anonymous

    interesting that the tree goes to an animated version to a filmed prop, composited in, is it even rotoscoped? I can’t tell for sure.  Definately some sort of compositing going on there though.

  • Jeff Wagner

    I look forward to forgetting I saw it this year, just like I forgot I saw it last year, so I can enjoy it again next year!

  • Anonymous

    Great little cartoon with a lot of truth. When we care we find a way.

  • Adam Eyring

    Reminds me why it’s unwise to donate broken items to charity. They likely don’t have time to fix it. My mom’s helped at a thrift shop and when a donated item is broken, they have no choice but to throw it out.

    Actually, I often think one of the greatest things to do when I retire is to repair discarded items (especially furniture and toys) for giving to families in need.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lindsay-Manahan/100003214191551 Lindsay Manahan

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