We are a society that loves its television programming. And while Netflix, Hulu and Amazon – not to mention on-demand programming – have certainly done their part to provide year-round, at-your-fingertips content, on the whole, the holidays are relatively quiet as far as primetime network television goes.
Sure, you could check out Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special on NBC (complete with a Blake Shelton cameo!), but why in the hell would you want to do that? And, yeah, pseudo-modern-era holiday fare like Jim Carrey’s Grinch movie and Shrek the Halls is fine enough, but is anyone gathering around your television over the holidays, pining for either? No, no they are not.
Point being, the holidays are a time of nostalgia, when adults look back on a time when the holidays meant two weeks off from school, great weather (for Northerners who found their way to Houston, our winter is your late spring), and hopefully, happy times with friends and family. It also meant any number of holiday-themed programs that satisfied any holiday mood.
Fortunately, each of these old-school programs remains in syndication on network TV, on-demand or via any number of streaming services. One is bound to suit your holiday mood.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ENTERTAIN FAMILY: NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
Christmas Vacation is the second-best Christmas movie ever made (we’ll get to that in a bit). It features memorable characters (Cousin Eddie, most notably), Chevy Chase in his absolute comedic prime, and quotes aplenty (“Merry Christmas, shitter was full,” chief among them). Most importantly, however, is the movie’s heart. All Clark Griswold wanted to do was give his family the best Christmas ever. Along the way, he entertained unruly (some uninvited) houseguests, endured insults aplenty from in-laws and the like, damn near burned his own house down, even sustained a nervous breakdown when learning that his holiday bonus was in the form of a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club, despite it being the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Through it all, the message remained – the holidays are a time for family, even the family you didn’t really ask for.
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THE HOLIDAYS BUT CAN DO WITHOUT PEOPLE: DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
I recently stumbled upon a quote that could not be more accurate … “The Grinch didn’t hate Christmas. He hated people, which is fair.” Not once throughout the course of the show does our green anti-hero express dissatisfaction with the holiday itself; rather, he expressed dissatisfaction with those damn Whos from down the mountain who kept disrupting his sleep with incessant singing and good cheer. This one is for people who love giving out gifts during the holiday season but won’t dare venture into a mall to do so, for those who love Christmas music, not listening to a station that literally plays it 24 hours a day. In short, the Grinch was an “everything in moderation” type who…