Written by Madeline Kohlberg. Media by Miles Priester.
With the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade officially kicking off television’s holiday season, we officially can say that we have permission to watch our favorite Christmas entertainment. From the classic It’s a Wonderful Life to the ever-popular How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the holiday season bursts with so many specials and movies that there’s something for pretty much everyone to love. So, pop in your favorite and turn up the radio, because Christmas is coming!
I’ve always enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas, the showing of which always meant that we could officially start counting down to the 25th. A classic in every way, and the reason we have the image of the infamous scraggly Christmas tree, this one is a real treasure. Full of good humor and cute characters, this special never seems to go out of date. And who could ever forget that fantastic, jazzy music?
And, of course, you can’t forget about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, that stop-motion animated masterwork that we all grew up watching. This special has been shown on television every single year since 1964, and is the longest-running Christmas special in history. I have nostalgic memories of taking my dolls and toys and making them sing “Here on the island of misfit toys.” If only I’d had a little reindeer doll to make everything complete… Memorable songs, loveable characters, what’s really not to love here?
Right on the heels of good ol’ Rudolph is the gorgeous Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Following Santa Claus himself on his journey from babyhood to donning the red suit and setting up shop at the North Pole, this one follows in the footsteps of the long-running specials, having aired every Christmas since 1970. And when you consider that a dancing Fred Astaire stop-motion puppet narrates, it just gets better and better every time you watch it.
Moving away from the secular Christmas themed specials, we can’t forget The Little Drummer Boy. Inspired by the carol (not the other way around!), it follows the little boy himself as he tries to give the baby Jesus the best gift that he possibly can. Aired in 1968, it was followed by a sequel in 1976. However, The Little Drummer Boy, Book Two never quite got the same amount of popularity seen by the original. Definitely one of those sequels.
These shorter specials are not the only ones that grab our attention during the Christmas season though, by any means. We can’t forget about A Christmas Story, the movie that is run over and over and over again all during Christmas day. Starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon, this movie follows a little boy who is bound and determined to get that Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas, never mind the fact that his parents know that he’ll “shoot your eye out!”
And we all know that many of our favorite TV shows that air during the rest of the year have been known to release those holiday specials. Some are undoubtedly much better than others (I’m reminded of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special back in the 70s), but others are ones that we can look forward to with great anticipation. This year’s Doctor Who special is particularly promising with a new regeneration, but The Big Bang Theory also looks like it’ll be presenting us with a great deal of nostalgic fun. Looks like we’ll all be in for a treat this season, no matter which specials we aim to catch.
If you’ve not seen any of the specials on the list here, I can assure you that they all come highly recommended. I always love being able to take all of these favorites and bring them out to get me in a festive mood. What are some of your favorite Christmas movies or specials?