Some holiday traditions — like the photo of the entire extended family — require a fair amount of planning and coordination to pull off. Others, like the cookie exchange, just need a little bit of time. But some traditions, like watching your favorite holiday television specials, are a bit more flexible these days. With the magic of DVRs, DVDs and on-demand programming, we can bend to our will.
There’s something sweet about rearranging your day to catch a special viewing of a show you’ve watched faithfully for many years. It’s fun to remember just how crazy you used to get about watching your favorites, as Stacy D. of Seattle recalls. “I freaked out for years trying to make sure I saw the Rankin and Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on TV when it aired (and it didn’t used to air all the time, like it does now),” she says. “Thank goodness for the DVD.”
Nostalgia’s a beautiful thing, agrees forum visitor interestedcitizen, who cites the 1983 A Christmas Story as a critical part of the holidays. “I feel something is missing if I don’t hear, ‘You’ll shoot your eye out kid.’ I remember my childhood days of pride of ownership of a Red Ryder BB gun. Oh, those were the days!”
For some families, holiday specials represent the continuity of traditions. The specials we watched as children are the ones we enjoy the most today with our own kids. “I like White Christmas, Holiday Inn, and Miracle on 34th Street,” says Trudy. “I used to watch them with my mom, and now my son watches them with me.”
The classics are the classics for a reason, says Nahni_2007, who fondly recalls watching “the best of the best: The King Family Christmas. They don’t do them like that anymore and they are sorely missed. I was only in grade school, but sitting there with my folks, watching these shows, were some very happy times for my family. We would gather all five of us kids on the floor with pillows, blankets and popcorn and have quite a night of it.”
Nahni_2007 admits that she pores over the TV guide carefully every holiday season to ferret out the “corny” Christmas episodes of the current crop of series and sitcoms. “They tend to ham it up, but I still love to watch them. They always brighten my season.”
Sometimes, of course, we look to television specials to fill a truly special need: making us feel better about our own misery. “My in-laws have made a tradition out of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every year,” says Stacy D. “It reminds us that even though inclement weather, crappy gifts and annoying relatives may try to ruin your holiday, it’s always worse for the Griswolds.”
Now that’s the holiday spirit!