Sufjan’s Put the Lights on the Tree Meets Conjunction Junction

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Hanna-Barbera. Conjunction Junction. Do these words mean anything to you? If you were born pre-1980, these words are likely a window into Saturday morning nostalgia. Imagine rising early on a wintery Saturday morning, heading to your living room in your PJs and a brimming bowl of Fruity Pebbles – all to partake in the Saturday morning cartoon experience.

For those unfamiliar, Hanna-Barbera ruled the cartoon airways from the 50s until the late 90s. Classics such as Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry, and The Jetsons (to name a few) were all produced and created via the Hanna-Barbera studio. (Hanna-Barbera is named after animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.) On a similar note, if your Saturday morning ritual found its way to ABC, it is likely that you caught a few School House Rock shorts- where “Conjuction Junction” frequented as a favorite musical segment.

Christmas music. Going home. Calling Grandma. Putting the lights on the tree. Depending on your childhood, these holiday experiences could trigger very different memories. For some, the smiley faces and positive flare only make the holidays more difficult. For others, the rhythmic tradition of Christmas simply invites the same sort of nostalgia that the Saturday mornings once did.

Tom Eaton is a cartoonist that certainly has an interest in vintage animation. Taking his cues from the educational cartoons of the 70s and our friends at Hanna-Barbera, Eaton has created a collection of short animations that are both fresh and familiar.  Last year, Eaton teamed up with Sufjan Stevens to create an animated music video to “Put the Lights on the Tree”, a track on Stevens’ Songs for Christmas, Vol. II: Hark.

The song is a light-hearted engagement in both the loneliness and comradery of the holiday season. Add Eaton’s throw-back animation to the mix, and I think a bowl full of artificially flavored Fruity Pebbles is in store. Enjoy.


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Put the Lights on the Tree (Lyrics)

by Sufjan Stevens

Put the lights on the tree
(Put them on the tree)

Put the ribbon on the wreath
(Put it on the wreath)

Call your grandma on the phone
(Call her on the phone)

If she’s living all alone
(If she’s all alone)

Tell her Jesus Christ is here
(Tell her He is here)

Tell her she has none to fear
(There is none to fear)

If she’s crying on the phone
(Crying on the phone)

Tell her you are coming home
(You are coming home)

La la la la la la la