Remember when you had to wait for your favorite holiday movies and specials to be on TV to watch them? Or am I just dating myself? Anyway, here’s a recap of some of my faves.
My favorites as a kid were the standards: The Grinch (the original with Boris Karloff, the remake is a sacrilege), Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. I always loved watching the Nutcracker too. (The Mikhail Baryshnikov version, I can’t get into any of the new remake movies. Although the actual ballet is always lovely.) Once I got a little bit older I discovered Gremlins and that became a holiday tradition for me as well. (Yes, it’s a Christmas movie. Perhaps an anti- Christmas movie, but just as much of a Christmas movie as Die Hard.)
My family was never into watching musicals or It’s a Wonderful Life so a lot of the classics didn’t enter my radar until I was an adult. I’m one of a handful of people who watched and loved Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas pretty regularly and I still love that one dearly.
Looking back, as a bit of an oddball and often the odd kid out it’s no wonder that Charlie Brown and Rudolph resonated with me. The first time I watched any Charlie Brown special with my daughter, as a parent, she commented that the kids were mean. And I thought to myself… “those kids are sh*ts”. And Rudolph… wow… even Santa belongs on the naughty list.
My husband’s family are die hard (see what I did there) musical lovers. They introduced me to the worlds of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Watching White Christmas together has become a Christmas Eve tradition for the two of us. Some years we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, others we don’t.
Some years I love the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies. Some years I don’t. This year I didn’t. Last year I watched several. They’re kinda interchangeable, like store bought Christmas cookies I guess?
Elf and Christmas Vacation are fun, and can join the mix but don’t always have to. Back in the 90’s Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up to make a Christmas movie called Jingle All the Way that I think most people have forgotten, but is one of our favorites. It’s getting a little bit dated but soo worth it. A Nightmare Before Christmas is great because it’s a two holiday special.
Don’t forget the Doctor Who Christmas specials! And the one thing guaranteed to get my quirky little heart in the holiday spirit, even when I’m struggling… The Supernatural Christmas episode. (Season 3 Episode 8 A Very Supernatural Christmas).
What are your favorite or despised holiday movies and specials? If you’re struggling to find the Christmas spirit, is there one that can always work for you?