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Discussion: What Are Your Favorite Holiday Classics?

With Thanksgiving behind us (for the American readers, anyway) and the holiday season nearly upon us, I'm curious to know which holiday classics--either new or old--you and your family watch on a recurring basis this time of year.

In the Televisionary household, there's always been a fondness for Elf, Charlie Brown Christmas (which is airing next Tuesday), Olive the Other Reindeer, and Muppet Christmas Carol, along with the Christmas-related episodes of BBC's Vicar of Dibley, an annual tradition, particularly "The Christmas Lunch Incident."

(My wife is also a big fan of White Christmas as well and I'll admit an unwavering love for Richard Curtis' Love Actually.)

But we also usually watch the entirety of BBC/PBS mini-series Bleak House as well. And the latter has nothing to do with any holiday, secular or otherwise. (Andrew Davies' gripping adaptation of Charles Dickens' novels just bloody good television and the perfect thing to watch on cold winter evenings.)

Which brings me to my question: what television specials or movies do you typically put on just before the holidays kick off? Which films/specials are rightly viewed as classics and which ones should get added to that list? Are you a sucker for A Christmas Story? Devoted to rewatching Doctor Who Christmas specials? Can't get enough of How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Discuss.


David J. Loehr said…
One of my perennials since childhood has been "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. Oh, and Sydney Greenstreet. Charming, spritely, lovely story.

(Just for reference, it was remade by TNT some years ago--updated with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson, directed by the governor of your fair state--and it was awful.)
Lisa said…
Mickey's Christmas Carol is always been one of my favorite holiday specials. It's only a 1/2 hour show and I believe it was made in the 80s. It's just a simple retelling of A Christmas Carol, good for the kids and family to watch together. You can get it now on DVD but it is not aired on tv anymore.
Sue said…
Fun topic! My fave TV specials that I always look forward to are "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (Heat Miser rules!), "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Charlie Brown Christmas", of course. "Nestor, the Long-Eared Donkey" is another favorite, but broadcast/cable tv usually doesn't air it, so I dust off the VCR (gasp!). LOL

As for movies, "Love Actually", "White Christmas" and just about anything that Lifetime and Hallmark put out as Christmas-themed movies. I'm a sucker for these cheeseball, romance-y, heartfelt productions. They always put me in the holiday spirit.
Kelly said…
My must-see Christmas specials are "Twas the Night Before Chrismtas" (wiht the mice - my all time favorite), and Charlie Brown. And in my family you must watch "It's A Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" at least once. I also work in "Love Actually" and "White Christmas" and "Bad Santa" at some point.
Anonymous said…
I love all the old Rankin/Bass specials. ABC Family tends to have a marathon day or two that shows them all, and I record every one. Nestor the Long-Earred Donkey is by far my favorite!

I'm also a huge fan of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, but that's not often aired on TV anymore. Thankfully I have it on DVD.
Philly54 said…
We get in the holiday spirit with 1947 movie "The Bishop's Wife" starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven with support from Monty Wooley, Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lancaster and Regis Toomey among others. This is one of Cary Grant's best.
Keep an eye on PBS stations for it or rent it.
David Mello said…
A long list..

"Charlie Brown Christmas," "How the Grinch Stone Christmas", "Santa Claus is Coming To Town", "Rudolph" of course.
Let's add the Christmas Carol movies with George C. Scott and Alistair Sim.
As far as TV themed shows, how about any of the Christmas shows from "MASH"? I'll also add "Amends" from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because it defines the Christmas spirit like no other show in the past 15 years.
Anonymous said…
Hardrock, Coco and Joe - The Three Little Dwarfs

Nuff said
CrazyCris said…
My Dad and I have a Christmas tradition of going through quite a few of these every year. But I always want to start with my favourites: White Christmas an Miracle on 34th Street (the B&W original!). :o)
Oscar Gordon said…
Richard Curtis' "Bernard and the Genie" is our favorie every Christmas. A&E used to show it every year, but stopped about 10 years ago. Wish it was available on DVD commercially - I have worn out my VHS copy.
Hadley said…
Definitely Rudolph (I know the whole thing by heart) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!
Karen M said…
The Rankin & Bass special Jack Frost is my childhood favorite. My sister's and I always pop in Muppet Christmas Carol at some point.
Sara said…
The Christmas season feels incomplete without Holiday Inn and the original Miracle on 34th Street.
Tempest said…
My list is pretty lengthy -- I love Christmas movies. A Christmas Carol: Muppet, George C. Scott, Alistair Sim, Reginald Owen, and Patrick Stewart versions; We're No Angels -- the Bogie, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray version ; Christmas in Connecticut -- Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan; The Man Who Came to Dinner -Monty Woolley and Bette Davis; Eloise at Christmastime -- Julie Andrews. My sister loves The Bishop's Wife and Shop Around the Corner. We usually stick in White Christmas and Road to Utopia while we wrap presents.
We'll usually try to work in Christmas episodes of Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes as well.
Beckacheck said…
Thanks for diplomatically saying "holiday," Jace.

Uh . . . The Hebrew Hammer? Eight Crazy Nights? Ick.
Yeah, I'm out.

I guess I'll go with White Christmas.
It stars Danny Kaye, is directed by Michael Curtiz, and all the songs are written by Irving Berlin. The Jewish-est Christmas ever. Close enough! :o)
jd said…
"It's A Wonderful Life" (which also happens to be my all-time favorite film)

"A Christmas Story" (off-topic: my company themed our holiday luncheon after this movie several years ago, complete with smaller versions of the leg lamp at each table and serving Chinese food and personalized fortune cookies that hinted at the employee holiday gift given by the company's owner. Even had one of our managers dress in a rented bunny suit and carry a GENUINE Red Ryder BB gun. Omigosh, that lunch was an absolute blast to plan and pull off!)

The Rankin-Bass specials; the animation is so Sixties, but then again, these shows are part of my oldest and fondest memories of Christmas as a child.
childeroland said…
A Charlie Brown Christmas first and foremost, followed by the Grinch, then Rankin and Bass's Jack Frost, The Year Without Santa Claus and Island of Misfit Toys.

As for films, Gillian Armstrong's Little Women.
Kim said…
I have a few Christmas movies that I enjoy: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, Little Women (the one with Winona), Hi-Life (a very underrated ensemble comedy set in NYC on Christmas Eve), The Ref, Miracle on 34th Street (I prefer the remake, actually) and, of course, It's A Wonderful Life!
Unknown said…
In all honesty, until very recently when we purchased "Love Actually", the only Christmas movie we owned was "Die Hard", and I love it.

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