I’ll admit it, I’m just an old softy at heart.
Especially at this time of year when all of the Christmas specials are airing on television. Sure, like most of you, I have watched them since I was a youngster. And that has been quite a few years.
It is difficult to pick my favorite because there are so many good holiday specials.
One of the best that started in the 1960s is a Charlie Brown Christmas. With poor old Charlie being so down for the holiday, but getting his Christmas spirit back when he discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
And there is that famous Charlie Brown Christmas tree that has become iconic through the years. This cartoon can warm the hearts of adults, especially those who may be stressed out during the commercialization of the holiday.
Then there is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. With the mean old green Grinch sneaking in to “Whoville” and stealing all of the presents, decorations and food prepared for the big dinner.
But then the Grinch also discovers the spirit of Christmas from the sweet little Cindy Lou of Whoville showing him the way.
Tennessee Ernie Ford’s rendition of You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch is a classic.
I also always felt so sorry for the little dog of the Grinch when has the big antlers tied to the top of his head and his owner snaps a whip to get him to pull the fake Santa sleigh.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town originally aired back in 1970. This holiday special features an animated Fred Astaire as the narrator, as well as the voice of Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle. The story takes a look at how Santa came to be and is a great one for the kids to watch and make them believe in the jolly old man from the North Pole.
Then there is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the story of how he went from being a laughing stock to the hero who saved Christmas. We have all sang the song since we were kids and it never gets old.
It is a good movie for those who may have felt like they never fit it – just like Rudolph, Hermie the elf who wanted to be a dentist and those on the Island of Misfit Toys. Burl Ives narrates this tale with his deep voice. This animated show first aired on TV back in 1964.
There are many others – Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy and Twas the Night Before Christmas.
There have been many renditions and movies made from the story written by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol tells the story of a bitter old man named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kinder man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.
Then there are those movies we’ve seen literally a 100 times.
How many have never watched A Christmas Story? You must not have a TV if you’ve never seen this classic.
A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd. The film has truly become a holiday classic and since 1997, the Christmas Story marathon has aired on either TNT or TBS, comprising twelve consecutive airings of the film and beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
It’s about 9-year old Ralphie wanting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The show has plenty of subplots and so many funny scenes. Most of us can relate to this holiday movie.
The original Miracle on 34th Street with a young Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara playing her mother is another classic. This 1947 film is a true standard at Christmas time. Edmund Gwenn plays Santa, or Kris Kringle. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the impact of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. The film has become a perennial Christmas favorite.
The story shows how if you truly have faith and believe – miracles are indeed possible.
One movie my wife Vicki and I always watch – and we have tried to get our children to watch – is It’s a Wonderful Life.
It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story “The Greatest Gift.”
The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help his family and others in his hometown of Bedford Falls.
It costars Donna Reed as his wife. It shows Bailey’s imminent suicide attempt on Christmas Eve, which brings the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.
The ending of this iconic movie always brings a tear to my eye.
Many of these Christmas cartoons and movies literally choke me up and at the same time, warm my heart.
Now I can share them with my granddaughters and continue the Christmas traditions that I started as a youngster back in the 1960s.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope you can enjoy the holiday together and get that warm feeling in your heart just like the Grinch, Scrooge, George Bailey and many others.