Top 5 Hanukkah TV Moments

When it comes to holiday TV specials, shows about Hanukah aren’t the first thing that spring to mind. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some truly classic TV moments about the festival of lights. Here’s our list of the top five.

A Colbert Christmas

Sure, it’s technically a Christmas special. But then Jon Stewart stops by to educate his friend Stephen about the magic of Hanukkah. The ensuing duet is filled with a brilliant mix of self-deprecation on Stewart’s part and over-the-top arrogance and ignorance from Colbert. Not to be missed.

Friends: The Holiday Armadillo

Who could forget this classic? Ross wants to get his son, Ben, excited about Hanukkah. He tries to dress up as Santa, thinking that if Santa explains what Hanukkah is, Ben will get as excited for it as he does for Christmas. Only problem is Ross can’t find a Santa costume so close to Christmas. The only costume he can find is an armadillo. His friend, Chandler, however, is able to get a Santa outfit. What happens when Chandler shows up dressed as Santa, and potentially upstages Ross, is as touching as it is funny.

The O.C.: The Best Chrismukkah Ever

Determined to merge his Jewish and Christian heritage and help Ryan and his family have the holiday party of a lifetime, Seth invents the bi-religious holiday of Chrismukkah. The episode was hit and Chrismukkah became an annual tradition for the show.

Saturday Night Live: Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song

Not wanting to be left out at Christmas time, Adam Sandler writes a song about the eight crazy nights of Hanukkah and all the “Jews in showbiz.” Get out your yarmulke and celebrate Hanukkah with hilarious song.

Saturday Night Live: Hanukkah Harry Saves Christmas

It might seem like a bit much to include two Saturday Night Live sketches in one list, but for a show that’s been running for 30 years, you make exceptions. Though not as famous as Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song, Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Hanukkah Harry saving Christmas is madcap genius. On Moishe, on Hershel, on Shlomo!

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Christmas with Sesame Street

Here are some family-friendly Christmas videos from the Sesame Street crew that you and your children can enjoy watching together this holiday season.

Oscar Hates Christmas – Even though this video stars Oscar the Grouch, you may notice appearances by Bob McGrath and Mr. Hooper.

Elmo’s Christmas Wish – Elmo is staying cool this Christmas, while a little elf that sounds a lot like Ben Stiller is panicking.

I Want a Snuffy for Christmas – Hopefully a Snuffleupagus isn’t on your child’s wish list Christmas. But if it is, you may as well embrace and enjoy this duet between Big Bird and Anne Hathaway who both want a Snuffy!

Elmo Saves Christmas – Elmo is just so wonderful, isn’t he? Of course he will save Christmas as well. Here are four clips from Elmo’s Christmas special.

Bert and Ernie’s Gift of the Magi – Here’s a classic clip with Bert and Ernie celebrating Christmas and getting to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Featuring Mr. Hooper.

Celebrating Christmas Yo Gabba Gabba! Style

If there’s one thing that the kids are all in agreement about, it’s that Yo Gabba Gabba! is the coolest show ever. It has enough hipster references and swagger to it that parents can enjoy as well. And like any good children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba! loves Christmas!

Now this looks like awesome fun. A bouncy seat, a bouncy toy and lots of green stripes. This makes you want to be a kid at Christmas all over again.

Yeah, this one is pretty much for the adults, but on some level, doesn’t everything about Yo Gabba Gabba! seem designed with adults in mind first?

What is better than getting a musical instrument for Christmas? Every kid should get a Muno guitar this holiday season and start their own band!

Mom and daughter share a dancing moment on Christmas morning. Yo Gabba Gabba! style of course.

It’s unclear if this qualifies as “dirty dancing” or not. It probably does. Except it’s two dancing toys. And it’s Christmas time. So why not?!

Thanksgiving and football: Two holiday traditions

One of the great all-time Thanksgiving traditions is, without a doubt, football. And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the Detroit Lions or the Dallas Cowboys playing. If you’re not a football fan, the appeal of the pigskin on turkey day may be lost on you. But if you’re a diehard football fanatic, Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated days of the season.

Once upon a time, football on Thanksgiving used to be popular at the high school and college level. And since 1920, professional football matchups have taken place. While there are still high school and college games throughout Thanksgiving weekend, the NFL has become synonymous with Thanksgiving and ranks right up there with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie.

Two teams you can always count on playing on Thanksgiving are the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. The Lions Thanksgiving tradition dates back to 1934 when the team took on the Chicago Bears with 26,000 in attendance. The Lions have played every Thanksgiving since then, except for 1939 through 1944.

The Cowboys (also known as “The team you love to hate”) began their Thanksgiving stint in 1966. With the exception of missing two years in 1975 and 1977, they have played year in, year out on the holiday.

Because two football games weren’t enough on Thanksgiving, the NFL added a third game in 2006, with a rotating team getting the honors to play. Here are the NFL matchups for 2011 on Thanksgiving:

The Green Bay Packers take on the Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on Fox. Then at 4:15, it’s the Dallas Cowboys’ turn as they play host to the Miami Dolphins. That game airs on CBS. And the final Thanksgiving football battle is between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Game time is at 8:20 p.m. and airs exclusively on the NFL Network.

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.

Five great gadgets for the guy/girl in your life

If the love of your life is really into gadgets, they may be expecting you to gift them with something really awesome this holiday season. While some gadgets can be expensive, a good gadget is both reasonably priced (not more than a few hundred at most) and has a strong value proposition for the recipient. In other words, get them something really cool!

Five great gadgets for women

iPod Touch or iPhone 4S – She may not know it now, but once she has the iPhone 4S or iPod Touch in hand, she won’t want to give the device back. Sleek, stylish and totally functional.

Kindle – If the woman in your life loves to read, but isn’t the most gadget-oriented person in the world, the Kindle may be the perfect gift. The ease of use is excellent and with roll out of the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire, using an e-reader has become second nature.

Roku – The Roku is a really inexpensive gadget (starts at $59.99) and allows streaming of all sorts of TV shows, movies and web content. Works with NetFlix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and hundreds of other content networks. If she likes TV, she will love Roku!

Car remote start – She may wonder at first why she’d need such a thing, but a remote car start installation can help a woman feel safe when she’s driving alone and warm up the car during the winter!

Keurig Coffee Maker – Ah, the Keurig Coffee Maker is a thing of beauty, especially in the morning. Quickly prepare your coffee and get on the road. No messy leftovers, no grinds to dispose of. Just pure coffee.

Five great gadgets for guys

iPhone 4S – When it comes to the iPhone 4S, the device is not gender specific. Both sexes can appreciate the incredible functionality and ability to surf the Web, connect on social media, check e-mail and so much more. All with this amazing little phone.  You can now get the iPhone 3GS for free (with a two-year contract).

Boxee – Chances are the man in your life loves gadgets, electronics and sports. And with the media horizon opening up with digital and on-demand content, Boxee makes the perfect gift for the guy obsessed with consuming online media.

GPS – Sure, he won’t ask for directions. But he won’t need to if he has a new GPS. Save yourself the trouble of getting stuck in the car, being lost and having your stubborn spouse trying to figure out how to get to the destination on his own.  Get him a GPS this holiday season!

3D TV – If your man loves television, we mean really, really loves television and you’ve got some cash to plunk down, consider getting him a 3D TV. It’s not clear if the technology will become mainstream, but for the time being it’s a fun novelty.

Turntable – Does the man in your life still have his old records? Did he used to be in a band or once was a wild rock and roller? Get him a turntable. Stand-alone units that offer conversion to digital files start at around $100 or you can find one at a garage sale if you get lucky. Or check with insound.com if you’re looking for something beyond the basics.

Christmas commercials from yesteryear

During the holidays, marketing departments and advertising agencies unleash a barrage of ads designed to make us want to buy, buy buy! By cleverly manipulating the holiday spirit, commercials can influence us to believe that by consuming goods, we’re somehow more fulfilled during the holiday season. This is, of course, all rubbish. However, there have been some good holiday-themed commercials throughout the year. Here are a few of the all-time greats.

Alka-Seltzer – It’s a pretty bold claim to make that Alka-Seltzer is “the other holiday tradition” (eating being the primary tradition), but this 15-second spot is pretty clever.

They also used the same premise in this New Year’s Eve commercial.

Coke – I’d Like to Teach the World Sing –Peace, love and harmony was the theme of this classic holiday commercial from the 1970s. Funny thing is Coca-Cola probably has enough money to buy the world a home.

ET Atari – This early ‘80s commercial features none other than E.T. himself in an advert for his videogame on the Atari 2600 system. Check out the primitive pixilation on the game.

Budweiser  Clydesdales – It’s not really clear what a bunch of Clydesdale horses pulling a wagon in the snow has to do with beer, let alone Christmas. Yet for some reason, this commercial remains memorable.

Toys “R” Us – This ‘70s flashback is brought to you by the toy store, Toys “R” Us, which seem to think a family of giraffes going on a shopping spree during a snow storm will help you equate their brand with Christmas.

 

Holiday movies for the whole family

At some point during the holidays, everyone seems to congregate around the TV. Or maybe it’s just some overwhelmed family members looking to break away for a few minutes of relief from their overbearing in-laws. There’s a good chance that one of these holiday films will be on as you’re flipping through the channels looking for a football game or to check ESPN for sports highlights.

The Polar Express – Some people say this animated film is the best Christmas movie ever. One thing is for sure; seeing is believing.

The Sound of Music – The screen soars to new heights in this 1965 musical that captures the happiest sound in the world. Yup, that’s right. The hills are alive with the sound of music. Right on!

Muppet Christmas Carol – It’s a classic Christmas tale, but with a twist: It features the case of The Muppets, starring Kermit the Frog. It’s a holiday movie that even Scrooge himself can’t help but love.

Home Alone – This Christmas crack-up is heavy on the yuks and slapstick. It’s a downright silly tale of a kid left behind by his parents during the holiday season and how he fends off two would-be robbers.

White Christmas – Take a trip back in the time machine to 1954 and be charmed by Bing Crosby in this awesome song and dance fest that also features Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.

The Grinch (Jim Carrey) – For us adults, the real-life remake of The Grinch doesn’t compare to the original Dr. Seuss animated special. But the kids, they seem to eat this film up.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – When Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, discovers a new holiday, his world is turned upside down. A wholly imaginative holiday classic from Tim Burton.

Miracle on 34th Street – The trailer for this 1947 classic boasts, “You’ll Love ‘Miracle on 34th Street’” and well, that is pretty much the case. A timeless Christmas classic.

Elf – Buddy the Elf only has one mission in life: To find his biological father. Imagine an adult elf in New York City, played perfectly by Will Ferrell. Hilarity ensues.

A Christmas Story – Too many people have lost the true meaning of Christmas. Not Ralphie, who has his eyes set on a Red Rider BB Gun.