Really the full post is basically the titular question, but I will elaborate.
It is that time of year, and the holiday season has descended upon us. And, of course, with the countdown to Christmas comes the deluge of Christmas movies, television specials, shows, cartoons, variety hours, and endless supply of other holiday related media. There have already been endless videos and diatribes and blogs and posts about the lackluster quality of most of these productions. Hell, there are entire podcasts and channels dedicated to their analysis and breakdown with a mostly mocking viewpoint. So, I won’t add to that ever growing pile; however a stray thought did come to mind: we can all kind of agree what makes a bad or barely passable Holiday production, but what earns one the title of “Christmas Classic”?
I’ll be honest. When I consider the term “Christmas Classic”, rarely does anything come to mind that was made before the 1990s. Now, obviously this could greatly be due to childhood nostalgia, but is that the only reason? I mean, most Christmas specials are made with children as the intended audience, but what recent or newer media has really managed to have significant cultural penetration to get even a repeated viewing after the year it premiered? Frankly, I see more advertisements and promos for showings of past Christmas media even from new streaming sites. So, if it is simply wistful nostalgia, then why are there not seemingly more adverts for modern Christmas specials?
Sure, the Hallmark and Lifetime channels advertise their content, but that is year round, and let’s be honest, no one considers those films to be classics. Not even the die hard Hallmark fanatics that play the bracket style tournament game (yes, such a thing does actually exist) would ever claim that the films from the channel rank among the beloved classics of the season. Thus, what makes a holiday production, be it a song, show, film, etc., into a “Christmas Classic”? What are the elements that make it so? Or is there some intangible, unknowable elements that are involved that we just cannot account for that allow for a production to rise to such high accolades?
Perhaps, I am utterly wrong and there are actually several productions that will eventually join that apex and become constant mainstays of the holiday seasons. Or maybe there just won’t be any new such media for awhile. Either way, I will take my hot chocolate, wear my winter pajamas, and enjoy the vast catalogue of Christmas Classics to my heart’s delight.
I will, though, pose the question: what are some of your preferred Christmas Classics that you watch, read, or hear every year?