Christmas is likely my favorite holiday. The opportunity to share our blessings with our friends and family, and the needy, is a life-affirming experience — especially for those of us living in the Northern latitudes with the accompanying short days and long, dark, cold nights. Being a child of the 1960s and 70s, many of my Christmas memories are intertwined with the annual holiday TV specials and films from that era. Over the years, I have posted a number of articles and uploaded various film and video clips of the holiday season. As with Halloween (see An Aeolus 13 Umbra Halloween), all related articles and films have been compiled in one post.
All videos hosted on Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channels.
1966 CBS Seasons Greetings: Animation by R.O. Blechman: These classic CBS commercials by artist R.O. Blechman remind the viewers of the simple and charitable meaning of the Yuletide season.
A Contemplative Christmas Soundbook: Full album recordings of George Winston’s December (1982) and Anonymous 4’s On Yoolis Night: Medieval Carols & Motets (1993).
Charlie Brown Down: The tragic passing of Peter Robbins, who voiced Charlie Brown for the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), reminds us that Christmas is not always happy times and good memories.
J.T.: An Urban Christmas Carol (1969): This little-seen 1969 CBS holiday special takes a gritty look at the hard-scrabble life in New York City ghettos, and a street cat stands in as the Christ-child.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964): Starring a young Pia Zadora, this wonderfully bad Christmas movie also features the first film appearance of Mrs. Claus, Ralph the Doorman from The Jeffersons, and in a bit of sly political satire, Santa mistakes one of his reindeers' names as Nixon.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (1951): The classic film version with Alastair Sim.
The Ghosts of Christmas Past: A personal reflective essay on growing older and celebrating a family tradition when the family is no longer there.
The Night Before Christmas (1968): An early animated TV version of the classic Christmas poem.
The Night the Animals Talked (1970): A rarely shown, but fondly remembered, musical version of a Norwegian folk tale.
The Snow Queen (1957): This Soviet film is familiar to a lot of Baby Boomers who first saw it in the 1960s and 1970s. The American release starred the voices of Sandra Dee as Gerda and Tommy Kirk as Kay. Not a Christmas special per se, but it's winter theme and lesson of selfless love fits in perfectly with the season.
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978): Many have heard about it, few have seen it, and probably with good reason, but definitely worth a look for hard-core Star Wars and 1970s fans.
Two Christmas Carols: The 1970 musical version with Albert Finney (my favorite) and the Academy Award winning 1971 animated film short with Alastair Sim revisiting his classic 1951 film performance.
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