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Our Favorite Christmas Movies/Specials

 

Being Christmas lovers, we have a good number of Christmas movies and TV specials that we love to watch.  I guess it brings out the kid in us, and now we have our own child that we can introduce these classics to.   

Below is a list of some of our favorites, listed with TV specials first, then movies, and within those categories, roughly in the order we like them.  If you would like to know more about the title, or purchase it, click either the cover graphic or the title link, and you'll be taken to Amazon.com, where you can find other reviews, track lists, and buy the DVD if you like.  If you do decide to buy from Amazon, please use the given links, as we receive a small commission which helps defray the cost of running PlymouthLights.com and our display.  Thanks for your support.

Christmas TV Specials

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Hands-down, our favorite Christmas special, as you may have guessed from our Christmas display.  Charlie Brown learns the true meaning of Christmas, and it's not toys, or Santa, or even being nice to others -- it's Jesus Christ.  Linus reads right from the Gospel of Luke and reminds us that behind it all, God sent his Son.   Also available is the Peanuts Holiday Collection  which, in addition to Christmas,  also contains A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which are fine specials in their own right.

Rankin-Bass:  The Original Television Christmas Classics
This is an awesome collection and well worth the money, especially if you grew up with these specials or would just like to view some excellent stop-motion animation from the 60's and 70's  This collection contains the following specials, also available separately:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
The special that started the Rankin/Bass magic.  You know the story, you've probably seen a dozen or more times on TV.  But it's still magical.  Great songs, great animation, and how about that Bumble?

The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
The touching tale of a boy who hates everyone because he had been wronged as a small child, yet comes upon three wise men who end up leading him to the Christ Child and changing his life forever.  This one still brings a tear to my eye when I watch it.

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970)
This is the one that answered all those questions you had about Santa:  Where did he come from?  Why does he make toys?  Mickey Rooney plays Kris Kringle himself.  Features probably the most psychedelic scene ever in a kids show outside of Scooby Doo, when Mrs. Claus realizes she's destined to become Mrs. Claus...

Frosty the Snowman (1969)
This one's normal animation, not stop-motion, but it's still Rankin-Bass and therefore well done.  Another perennial TV favorite for decades, come with Frosty as he attempts to make his way to the North Pole and avoid the evil magician who wants his hat!  Also on this DVD is Frosty Returns which, in my not-so-humble opinion is total trash.  It's from the 1990's, was not done by Rankin-Bass, and to say it lacks the magic of the original is an understantement.

The Year Without a Santa Claus/Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey/Rudolph's Shiny New Year
This is an excellent compliment to the DVD set above.  The Year Without a Santa Claus is a sometimes-forgotten special most known for the characters HeatMiser and SnowMiser, and their theme songs (if you've ever seen this, you'd know them immediately upon hearing them).  Strangely, Nestor and Rudolph's Shiny New Year deal with the same subject -- a character ridiculed because they have huge ears.  In Nestor'scase he goes on to carry Christ into Jerusalem.  In the other special, it's Baby New Year -- and Rudolph has to help convince him he's not a misfit and make sure he takes over the new year, before it's too late!

Other Specials we like:
Dr. Seuss - How the Grinch Stole Christmas/Horton Hears a Who
Frosty's Winter Wonderland/Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Movies

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The movie who gets those of us who decorate a little too seriously called "Clark Griswold"!  I've seen this so many times but it never ceases to make me laugh.  If you think you're holidays have things go wrong, think again!  

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
By golly, now there's proof there's a Santa Claus!  I like this version better than the 1994 Remake, which changed the classic ending to something less magical.

A Christmas Story
To some this is a classic, but others seem to have never heard of it.  If you're from that latter group -- pick this one up, you'll love it!  A nostalgic story of Ralphie who just has to have a BB Gun for Christmas, but his mom's afraid he'll shoot his eye out!  I believe this movie also inspired the TV series "The Wonder Years" -- in any case it's done in the same style -- an adult narrating the events from his childhood.

A Christmas Carol (1984)
You can pick your favorite version of this classic Christmas tale.  For 'traditional' versions my favorite is this 1984 version with George C. Scott taking the title role.  

The Muppet Christmas Carol
One of my favorite 'nontraditional' versions is this one by the Muppets.  It's surprisingly loyal to the plot, and has all the charm and funny that the Muppet cast normally promises.  You'll appreciate the casting, too.

Scrooged
For best "modern" retelling (well at least it was modern in 1988) I vote for this movie.  Bill Murray portrays a nasty TV executive who finds out that there's more to life than fame and money.

Prancer
A little girl discovers an injured reindeer, decides it must be Prancer, and tries to keep it at her farm, hidden from her dad.  A touching movie that I've always enjoyed.


For additional Christmas DVD's:

Christmas DVD's at Amazon.com

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 29, 2007

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