Thursday, 17 December 2015

Katie's Christmas 2015 - My Top 5 Christmas/Holiday TV Specials

It's now the first few days of my Christmas break, so before I return to my coursework, I've settled into my navy blue Christmas onesie and snuggled up in bed for a few days for my annual Christmas marathon.  This is a series of my favourite Christmas specials and films from throughout my childhood and adulthood so far, so even though some of them are aimed at children, they are ones I've grown up with and love.  This post can be used as a resource if you need to find something to entertain small children with, apart from the episode of Glee.

  1. Barney - Waiting For Santa (1990) - This is the 4th video in the original Barney and the Backyard Gang video series which ran from 1988 to 1991 before the television series started in 1992, and I just realised while rewatching it that it's 25 years old this year.  I didn't actually see the full series until January 2014 when I watched it on YouTube, but this is still my favourite.  With wonderful original songs such as Waiting For Santa, Winter's Wonderful, Jolly Old St Nicholas and The Elves' Rap (led by Michael, played by the talented Brian Eppes), as well as traditional Christmas classics such as Jingle Bells, Up On The Housetop, Deck The Halls and We Wish You A Merry Christmas, you'll be sure to be singing along (cos I definitely was).  My favourite quote from this video was "The best Christmas gift you can give someone is yourself.  Being a good friend and helping others."

  2. Barney - Barney's Night Before Christmas (1999) - Coming from the opposite end of the 1990s to Waiting For Santa, the modernisation of an extended Santa's office and toy factory is definitely noticeable.  Another new technology that Barney uses is the snow globe portal, using which Barney and the children travel to the North Pole following Baby Bop's realisation that there's nobody to fill Santa's stocking and that they should fill it themselves.  Santa and Mrs Claus show the children around the Santa's office and the toy factory via a train ride, and the children help to finish wrapping presents before Baby Bop is presented with a music box  that has a ballerina dancing to an instrumental version of Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy from The Nutcracker.  With traditional Christmas songs included similar to those in Waiting For Santa with the additions of Oh Christmas Tree and The Twelve Days of Christmas, new versions of Winter's Wonderful and Jolly Old St Nicholas, new appearances of Look into Santa's Book, Christmas is our Favourite Time of Year and Wrap It Up, and instrumental versions of Joy to the World and Silent Night, this video is also sure to have you singing along.  Although their are only four of the children included as main characters in this video, most of the rest of the children from season 5 are seen in a cameo of carol singers and handbell ringers who are visiting Hannah's house.

  3. Glee - Extraordinary Merry Christmas (2011) - From the opening All I Want For Christmas Is You led by Mercedes (Amber Riley), to the duets of It's An Extraordinary Merry Christmas by Rachel (Lea Michele) and Blaine (Darren Criss), Let It Snow! by Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by Finn (the late Cory Monteith) and Puck (Mark Salling), and My Favourite Things by Mercedes, Rachel, Kurt and Blaine, to Brittany, Santana and the Cheerios' rendition of Christmas Wrapping to the full New Directions singing Do They Know It's Christmas?, the season 3 Christmas special is even more full of popular Christmas songs than the season 2 special, A Very Glee Christmas.

    Characters break the 4th walls with addresses to the viewer in the black and white Judy Garland and Star Wars-inspired Christmas special (with Finn and Puck dressed up as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo) that New Directions has filmed for cable TV.  In a way, this is a Christmas special within a Christmas special, and this ends with Irish exchange student Rory (Damian McGinty) reciting the biblical Nativity story from the Gospel according to Luke to remind his friends of the true meaning of Christmas.

    Unfortunately, Rachel Berry does act a bit high-maintenance and spoilt for much of this episode, but this is rectified slightly later in the episode with some charitable giving.  Another unexpected act of charitable giving in this episode is Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) volunteering at a Salvation Army homeless shelter and encouraging the members of New Directions to join her.

  4. Winnie the Pooh - Seasons of Giving (1999) - This collection of three stories is not solely Christmas-related, but rather covers the period from mid-November through Thanksgiving celebrations to preparing for Christmas itself.

  5. Lizzie McGuire - Xtreme Xmas (2003)

    NOTE: This is not a fully comprehensive resource.

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