Now that the atheists have won the war on Christmas by making people spell it “Xmas,” take heart in “Jerry Beck's Christmas Cartoon Chaos.” The cartoon historian rolls out his annual cavalcade of cartoons from a gentler, more innocent time — when audiences were perfectly happy watching pseudo-animals and quasihumans bounce up and down in one spot. There's the doomed “Peace on Earth” (1939, MGM), set in a destroyed world subsequently inhabited by meek woodland creatures inheriting the Earth and all its Christmas carols. Also: the infinitely depressing “Little Match Girl” (1937, Charles Mintz) and the Max Fleischer version of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1944). Most, if not all, of these short subjects are screened on good old-fashioned film, along with the usual surprises — many of which can be had by liberal doses of eggnog laced with … Christmas spirit!

Tue., Dec. 22, 8 p.m., 2009

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