Most memorable holiday television specials

The holidays are a great time for families to get together, hang out and eat lots of food. And once dinner has been served, it’s time to sack out on the couch and watch TV.

New for 2011 is a Peanuts special called “Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown” which features the Peanuts gang. And while Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas is an oldie, that doesn’t mean it’s not a goodie. For the lighter side of holiday specials check out Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights or the Sandler-produced The Hebrew Hammer.

The Wizard of Oz” is usually on one of the cable movie channels during the holidays. And if none of those options get you in the holiday mood, bust out your DVD of The Yule Log and contemplate why you’re being such a Scrooge this holiday season.

Here are some of the television holiday specials that have grown near and dear to our collective hearts over the years.

WKRP in Cincinnati – “Turkeys Away” – This classic Thanksgiving television episode is a reminder that turkeys cannot fly. Under any circumstance, including when they’re dropped out of a helicopter. You can watch the whole episode on Hulu or see an abbreviated version featuring Les Nessman’s live-on-the-air play by play of turkeys hitting the ground. Watch: Hulu | YouTube.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – New York City is home to the Macy’s Day Parade, an annual tradition that began in 1924. The three-hour event is televised live and each year new balloons are introduced. New floats for 2011 include Sonic the Hedgehog (second version), Julius and a creation by film director Tim Burton.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving- You’d think that Charlie Brown would catch on at some point that Lucy isn’t going to hold the football for him. Well, good ol’ Chuck does not figure it out in this Peanuts holiday special. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving originally aired in 1973 and the culmination of the episode is a grand feast in which Snoopy serves up food and throws plates to the guests Frisbee-style.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – America’s most popular Christmas tree will be lit on November 30 this year. It’s a holiday tradition that dates back more than 75 years and is broadcast live around the globe.

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (formerly Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve) is an annual tradition that got its start in 1972. Seacrest came on the scene in 2005, after Clark suffered a stroke and could no longer host the show on his own. The countdown of the ball dropping in Times Square is legendary.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – This 1964 stop-motion animated TV special is a holiday favorite, if for no other reason than the awesomeness of Clarence the Abominable Snowmonster (you know him when you see him). And Rudolph is no slouch himself. His brightly colored nose is powerful enough to act as a headlight for Santa and the other reindeer pulling Santa’s sled.

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