Sunday, December 1, 2013

24 Days to Christmas - Day 1

A friend at work has dubbed "Holiday" a fifth season. Running from Halloween to Epiphany, squeezed in between Autumn and Winter, Holiday is my favorite season of the year.

I've been wanting to figure out a way to increase my blogging output lately, and I had a great time celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who by doing a thirty-day "challenge" on facebook (you basically just posted some favorite about Who every day for thirty days). I decided that celebrating my favorite season with a Christmas countdown was just just the ticket. Consider this my virtual advent calendar.

Here are the categories:

So, let's get started, shall we?

Day 1: Favorite TV Christmas Special

Photo: Bluegrass Special
I'm a purist. I love A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sure, the old Rankin Bass stop-motion specials are great (for years I sort of thought Santa Claus Was Coming to Town was just something I imagined because they didn't show it on TV for awhile, at least not on any of the channels we had at the time). But Charlie Brown Christmas has everything Christmas is really about: existential longing in a dark time, countered  by moments of brief light in the distance. Oh, you say, that's what Christmas is about? Of course it is! Just like Charlie Brown's tree, this homely little TV special embodies the true spirit of the season.

Plus, this:
Who hasn't done the Snoopy dance?
Photo: Fade to Lack

Runners up:

Photo: Craveonline

"Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" isn't a special, but an episode of the show Community. Even so, I've watched it dozens of times, just like a favorite Christmas special. Involving the classic Rankin Bass-style stop-motion animation, musical numbers, and a quest storyline (along with that good ol' existential questioning!) it holds its own against other, more famous, holiday tales.

Photo: DarkestBoy

The Snowman. 
It's wordless, and it's beautiful. 'Nuff said.

Photo: The Prodygal Life

A Wish For Wings That Work was a Bloom County Christmas special. I don't know if it aired more than once, but my family videotaped it (my mom loved Opus the penguin) and we kept the VHS for many years, watching it every year. It's completely bizarre, but has a good heart below all the weird (like most weird stuff).

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is 60 minutes of pure Christmas joy. In 1978 when it aired, Sesame Street hadn't yet become the Elmo-centric toddlerland that it is now. Beginning with an ice skating scene that has a glacial pace by today's standards, and telling several gentle interlocking stories (including a version of the Gift of the Magi starring Bert and Ernie, a quest to determine how Santa gets down chimneys, and several interludes with cute 70's kids and some great musical interludes) this is not baby stuff. Plus, Mr. Hooper!

What's your favorite Christmas special?

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