Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Classics

For many of us, one of the great pleasures of the holiday season is watching our favorite Christmas movies and TV specials. Just like the holidays themselves, these shows and films spark childhood memories of innocent times when our only cares were what would be waiting for us under the tree on Christmas morning, or which of our favorite cousins would be waiting for us at our grandparents' house when we arrived for the annual holiday meal.

Like me, it likely was in your grandparents' living room where you watched many of these holiday classics – such as It's a Wonderful Life or Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – for the first time. Thus, we have a great deal of affection for these classics (which is why they are referred to as classics in the first place) and tend to make them holiday traditions with our own children. My personal favorites tend to be animated, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But thinking about these old standards this year has me wondering, are there any "new classics" out there? Are there any recently produced Christmas movies or TV specials that will earn a place among the holiday classics?

Every year there is a new crop of holiday programming and new films in theaters, but can you think of any that deserve to be called classics? The movie, Elf, is funny and airs on TV quite often this time of year, but it's not heart-warming enough to become a classic. Home Alone is much-loved, but again, can one consider it classic? I, for one, cannot. I think Tim Burton has come the closest to producing a new classic with The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Burton wrote and produced the film, which was directed by Henry Selick.) Close, but no cigar, as the saying goes. Don't get me wrong; I adore this claymation film, but I don't anticipate watching it every December. Perhaps there is a younger crowd out there that does.

On television, some more recent programming has tried to acknowledge older TV classics, such as Rudolph, with old-school style animated programs, though they tend to do so with a sense of humor. Last year's Community (NBC) holiday episode (pictured) and the recent holiday episode of Eureka (Syfy) spring to mind. Both shows were quite funny, especially if you're familiar with the material that is being lampooned, but they're certainly not destined to become classics.

So, what are your favorite holiday shows and movies? Please share your memories and family traditions with us.

About the image: Community (NBC) Christmas episode, Dec. 2010. Image courtesy of Eden FX. Originally appeared in Markee Nov/Dec 2010 issue.

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