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Open Thread: A Very Special Christmas and all that other crap

Hey, it's that time of year. Usually around Christmas time I ask for your favorite Christmas-themed movies, your favorite alternative Christmas songs and I think once I even asked for your favorite Christmas episodes from beloved television programs.

Why not do it all at once? I won't be back at the blog until later this evening, so have at it. Make it a whole open thread on holiday music, movies and tv specials. Hell, talk about your holiday food and holiday traditions and whether or not you think Christmas tree Peeps are overdoing it just a little bit. Tell me your holiday horror stories. Paste in the lyrics to a South Park Christmas song. Give me a recipe. Throw me som links. Drop a link to your own posts about the holidays. It's an open house, write anything you want. It just has to have something to do with the holiday season.

It's a Very Special Holiday Thread, brought to you by A Small Victory.

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My favourite Christmas movie: Bernard & the Genie, TV special/movie: Blackadder's Christmas Carol, wintery type song: On a Winter's Night, the Sarah McLachlan one.

I haven't seen it in a while, but I liked the WKRP Christmas ep where they did a Christmas Carol.

This one is simple. Favorite Christmas movie? "The Ref" -- for the line:

"You know what I'm going to get you next Christmas, Mom? A big wooden cross, so that every time you feel unappreciated for your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it."

Yeah, my family has issues.

My favorite Christmas movie would have to be Scrooged. In my book, the most listenable non-classic Christmas song is "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I liked "The Ref" too, although my holidays usually didn't resemble that family's.

movie: i find the Arnold movie Jingle All the Way entertaining.
songs: Elvis' Blue Christmas, White Christmas by Sinatra and Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC.
TV : Rudolph was always a favorite X-mas show growing up. Seeing that on TV meant X-mas was near.
Tradition: We usually open presents from the family on X-mas Eve and from Santa on X-mas day. On the eve we sit down with all the relatives for a big dinner at 7:00, then we either drive around or walk around looking at lights. When we get home, we pose for a family picture in front of the tree, then we tear into the presents. We have been doing this for as long as my oldest has been around, 13 years.

1) Movie: The Hebrew Hammer (recently premiered on Comedy Central).... gloriously awful. Honorable mention: MST3K doing "Santa Claus vs. the Martians"

2) TV Special: The Robert Smigel Charlie Brown parody on SNL, where the Peanuts kids discovered their magical power of fixing things by "waving their arms around"

3) Music: I am tempted to say that I hate all holiday music, but then Mr. Perry Como relaxes me.

4) Tradition: Sniffing the glue that was used to make endless satin ribbon ring chains.

Favorite movies: A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (both of them, though I prefer the first)

Favorite song: Oh Holy Night by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, favorite alternate song: Ambrose the Red-Assed Antelope

Biggest Christmas disappointment: when I was in jr. high I really wanted a good pocketknife. My mom passed the wish on to my grandfather, who assumed that it was what my brother had asked for (after all, what would a girl do with a pocketknife?). He bought the pocketknife for my brother and, at a loss for what to give me, asked my aunt to buy me a present from him. Well, she "couldn't find anything" so she just didn't buy anything at all. Christmas morning, not only did my brother get the gift I wanted, but I got nothing!

My fave "alternative" Christmas song is Christmas In Jail by The Youngsters.

I discovered it on this album. Unfortunately Amazon doesn't have a clip for it, but with classic lyrics like "I was in the wrong lane, feeling no pain", you know you're gonna love it.

When I was about 12 or so I bought the Partridge Family Christmas album, and it became our family's holiday standard. I know, I know, but it's really not that bad. It's still a staple at family Christmas gatherings, although we've branched out since. "My Christmas Card to You" is great, although David Cassidy gets a little carried away with the "you-a"s.

"Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass" by the Arrogant Worms.

"Santa Claus you C*nt" by Kevin Bloody Wilson.
The only festive song I can stand.

Song? Christmas At Ground Zero - Weird Al Yankovic.

"I'll got out with you/
And See All The New/
Mutations on New Year's Day!"

Movie? Well, Robyn got to it already - The Ref. Christmas Story, of course, as the standard (I think I was one of the 12 people who actually saw it in the theatres), but Ref is just so right on so many levels - and Kevin Spacy's delivery of the cross line is making me smile as I write this.

Gotta give props to Weird Al for best alternative song(s) - Christmas At Ground Zero and The Night Santa Went Crazy.

In movies, I think it's a toss-up between the Griswolds (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) and little Ralphie (A Christmas Story). I can't stand the old wood-mation TV specials (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and such), but my wife thinks they're golden.

One of my fav xmas episodes on TV was the one on M*A*S*H, when they all sang Dona Nobis Pacem.

Fav songs:
Do you Hear What Hear?
Mary's Boy Child
I'll be Home for Xmas

  • My comments on lights
  • TV: A Very Brady Christmas. What a classic.

    Music: I'm Just A Lonely Jew On Christmas

    Movie (OK this is a serious one): A Christmas Carol - either with Alastair Sim or Patrick Stewart, both excellent.

    "Santa Claus and His Old Lady", Cheech & Chong.

    I live alone, in the Boston area, and my nearest family is over 500 miles away. I don't usually travel to meet up with family during Christmas, for reasons of weather-related airport delays alone.

    But I do have some traditions of my own: I see Handel's Messiah at Trinity Church every December. I reread at least one childhood favorite -- Little Women or A Little Princess, for example; this year I'm rereading the whole Anne of Green Gables series. I window shop in Beacon Hill, and buy stollen and tea at Cardullo's in Harvard Square. On Christmas Eve, I almost always make myself spaghetti for dinner, and then I go to Midnight Mass later. I open one present on Christmas Eve, and save the rest for Christmas morning. On Christmas day, I lounge around until noon, listening to Christmas CDs and getting all giddy over whatever gifts were under my Christmas tree. Then I go to a movie -- almost always something light or funny. Then I come home, make some mulled cider or hot chocolate, and start calling my relatives to say 'Merry Christmas.' I have a nice, quiet, low-key time pretty much every year...it's nice.

    Oh...and here's a favorite Christmas recipe for you, Michele. I posted it yesterday, as luck would have it. Very buttery and rummy and tasty. I'm thinking about making some this weekend, maybe.

    Song: "Merry Christmas Everybody" - Slade

    Pretty low brow, but one of my favorite Christmas movies is "Ernest Saves Christmas." It's a hoot!!

    Alternative Christmas music? I used to love this song but after really listening to the words and reading up on it, I've become disillusioned (about the song, not the Season). I still like it, don't think it's Christmas without hearing it at least once, and I try not to think about it too much because the music is pretty: ELP's "I Believe in Father Christmas."

    I grew up listening to the Harry Simeone Chorale's Little Drummer Boy and I think it's still one of the better collections of classic Christmas songs.

    Some of our traditions: when the kids were little, they each got a hand-written note from Santa in their stockings, thanking them for the cookies; somehow Santa never failed to notice the strides and achievements that they each had made, and made a point of mentioning them. He also brought them each a special and unique ornament - now each of the kids has a collection to begin their own Christmas celebrations. I told my sons (ages 25 and 21) that I wouldn't give them their ornaments until they were married, and then only if I was satisfied that their wives would take proper care of them....lol! Santa would also leave a Christmas-themed story book under the tree; we've built up quite a library over the years.

    Favorite movie - Christmas Story is a perennial favorite. We also like an animated tape called The Snowman, which is a wonderful and beautifully illustrated story that has music only....no dialogue.

    Here's some trivia about A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims...the morning after Scrooge has been visited by all the spirits, and he's getting ready to go out, there is a shot of him looking in a mirror - you can see the reflection of one of the film crew as plain as day.

    Traditions - baking cookies with the kids - the sugar cut-out ones that you can decorate. My 25-year old son has that at the top of his list of things to do when he comes home on the 23rd for a week; his brother follows the next day. My daughter, who is 13, and I will have everything ready - the tree bedecked, the decorations filling every available space, gifts wrapped and arranged under the tree....and with any luck, the dog won't knock anything off the branches with his lethal tail-wag manuever.

    Another tradition is the soup that I make from the leftover Christmas ham. In the past, it's always been split pea - believe it or not, the kids love it - but last year I also made a ham-and-bean that was to die for. There's not much that beats sitting around a fire, eating homemade soup and hot crusty french bread.

    Sorry folks, the best Christmas movie of all time is "It's a Wonderful Life." Yes, it's a little cheesy, but having seen it a million times, I still get choked up at the end.

    Alternative Christmas Songs: "The Night Santa Went Crazy" and "Santa Claus And His Old Lady." Real christmas songs: Harry Connick Jr. "When My Heart Finds Christmas" and any holiday music by Frank Sinatra. And I love to watch "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" every year.

    "Grandma got run over by a Raindeer" which I have sung in public and there is a recording of my performance. Another cynical Xmas song is "Christmas at Ground Zero" by Wierd Al.

    I don't know who does it, but there's some comic who does the fruitcake recipe with whiskey. It always makes it into everyone's emails every year, but it's way funnier to hear on the radio than to read.

    Movie: "A Christmas Story" (just like all of the other sheep...). But I also loved the Patrick Stewart version of "Christmas Carol". And the original Miracle on 34th St. is good, too.

    Also, the Mr. Magoo version of "A Christmas Carol" was the first version of that I ever saw...and I saw it again last night, and damn if it isn't pretty good and faithful to the book? I would never have thought that.

    As for the televised specials, I have to admit I love all the Rankin-Bass "Animagic" specials in all their cheesy glory. Among newer specials, "Olive, the Other Reindeer" (about a Jack Russell terrier who thinks she's the Chosen One to help out Santa when one of his 'deer gets injured) is so weird that it's fun (any Christmas special with a character called Round John Virgin in it has to be good).

    As for songs, pretty much the only ones I can stand are either the standard/classical arrangements of religious carols, or the old, old (e.g., Bing Crosby) versions of songs. Both "Do you hear what I hear" and "Little Drummer Boy" make me come out in hives, as do most of the poppy/cheesy stuff that's come out recently.

    and don't get me started on "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus". Ugh. ugh. ugh.

    I nearly puked when I read somewhere that one of the Olson twins dubbed Madonna's version of Santa Baby "a classic" (the Eartha Kitt version is THE ONLY ONE you should be listening to...)

    As I open up this comment thread, I pop open the Pop Holiday station on Spinner...and it's Santa Baby. By Calista Flockhart. Spew!

    And since I've made references to it in other threads, I guess this is the place to expound on The Eight Reindeer Monologues. I assume it's a take-off on the Vagina Monologues. Each of "The Eight" get a chance to tell their story of what happens at the North Pole when Santa is accused of sexual assault. There's a lot more, but at that point, it's giving away lots of humor, so I may just stop. The linked page should give all the pertinent information.

    I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas by the Goons, and All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth by Spike Jones.