Holiday Viewing Pleasures

As a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was front and center for any and all of the TV Christmas Specials.  I still remember the psychedelic twirling of the CBS call sign (at least, I think it was CBS) at the beginning of each show.  Clad in my pj’s, I’d sit rapt in front of the television until that colorful display of the call letters told me that the next 30-60 minutes would be filled with wonderful holiday stories of good triumphing over evil with fun songs and friendly characters.  I watched them all at least once, and my favorites I would watch each & every year.

While I love Frosty, Rudolph, the Peanut gang, and the Grinch, my true favorites are the lesser-known holiday specials.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up with the aid of Jim Henson and his Muppets.  When I found Christmas Eve on Sesame Street on DVD, I had to buy it right then and there.  That’s one special that still makes me cry with the message to keep Christmas with you all through the year, and how a True Blue miracle are the happy faces of friends and family.  The story of the gift of the magi is told in there, and Kermit does a roving reporter bit with kids to find out how Santa fits down the tiny little chimneys.  There’s ice skating, Cookie Monster trying to write his list to Santa, and it even has Mr. Hooper.  What’s not to love?

If you enjoy Jim’s creations like I do, be sure to check out Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.  It also has a touching retelling of the gift of the magi, plus has a couple of cute songs by Paul Williams.

If you were a fan of Bloom County, check out A Wish for Wings that Work.  In this special, Opus hopes that Santa Claus can grant him the gift of flight for Christmas.  Bill the Cat is there too at his awkward (but funny) finest, but my favorite character is the Kiwi, who spends the entire program complaining about how his wife has left him for an albatross.  One of the funniest holiday specials I’ve seen yet.

For some very beautiful renditions to classic Christmas songs, check out A Claymation ChristmasO Christmas Tree, Carol of the Bells & Joy to the World are my favorites, though all are quite enjoyable.

My favorite Christmas special however is Rankin & Bass’ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Regardless of how many times I watch it, I still get choked up when Father Mouse sings Give Your Heart a Try, or when Joshua Trundle tells his kids that Even a Miracle Needs a Hand.  And when the story veers back to the poem the show is titled for, Joel Grey reads it so well, and with such emotion…I’m actually getting choked up just thinking about it now.

Born and raised in Michigan, it’s sometimes hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit, now that I live in the San Francisco Bay.  Looking at holiday decorations while wearing a light windbreaker just isn’t the same as seeing those colorful lights reflected in newly-fallen snow, and freezing my tuchus off.  But when I put in one of these specials or holiday movies, it helps imbue me with a festive sparkle.  All told, I think I have approximately 25 movies and TV specials that I watch between Thanksgiving and Christmas; enough to rival ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas, which often includes non-holiday movies!

I’d love to be able to add to my viewing pleasure, so tell me: What are some of your favorite holiday-themed shows, and why?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 13:27:50

    Wow… the generation gap just reared its head ’cause I didn’t see any of these… I grew up on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Chris Kringle (the story of a young Santa and how he met Jessica, who became Mrs. Santa), Little Drummer Boy and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Then Christmas Story became my all time favorite…

    Spending Christmas in Michigan a couple of times was an amazing experience…


    • Alyx Morgan
      Dec 17, 2010 @ 13:50:49

      I doubt that you & I have that big a gap, but these are definitely more obscure than many out there. And the story about how Jessica became Mrs. Santa Claus is very cute too. Burgermeister Meisterburger is one of the most creative names out there, while also not being so creative. Either way, it’s funny.

      I’m so glad you got to experience a MI Christmas. 🙂 They can be quite beautiful & magical.

      As always, Dana, thank you SO much for stopping by!


  2. Gail Baugniet
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 16:53:47

    Hi Alyx,
    Last week my blog mentioned two DVD movies I watch each December: Pearl Harbor and Tora!Tora!Tora! For this week’s blog, I’d planned to list 10 movies I watch during the holiday season to experience winter, but I deleted that part and saved it for my family newsletter.
    A partial list is: Polar Express, Home Alone (the 1st movie), Grumpy Old Men, Fargo, and Ice Age The Meltdown. All are comedies; for the holiday season, it seems only fitting that laughter should prevail.
    I grew up in the midwest and now live in Hawaii.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Dec 17, 2010 @ 21:53:03

      Wow, you must have even warmer Christmases than we do here in the Bay. I lived in Florida for a while & found it odd to learn that people went surfing on Christmas Day. But now I see that each person has different traditions.

      What a cool, eclectic mix of movies for the holidays, and I think it’s awesome that they’re all comedies. Because, yes, laughter & good times should definitely prevail during the holidays!

      Thank you for visiting & posting, Gail!


  3. Jo Rubin
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 12:29:04

    This Jewish gal can’t let the season go by without viewing “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Alister Sims’ “A Christmas Carol.” Just wonderful films!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Dec 18, 2010 @ 12:58:05

      Thank you for piping in with your favorites, Jo. That’s one thing I think is missing from holiday specials…not much diversity. It was one of the things I really enjoyed from Sesame Street’s special: Bob tells Mr. Hooper “Happy Channukah”. I don’t think I picked up on it much as a kid, but it’s something I can appreciate now.

      I didn’t watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” until I was an adult, but I agree, it’s a beautiful life-affirming movie. & Dickens’ timeless classic is a must for any holiday viewing!


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