Reader Friday – Holiday Media

Holiday Media

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Do your reading/viewing/listening habits change with the holidays? I’m going out on a limb and saying for most here (I’m an exception), the “holiday” is Christmas. December is filled with Christmas releases in books and television. Radios play nonstop Christmas music.

Are you a fan?

What are your favorites? New ones? Classics? Night Before Christmas? A Christmas Carol? Die Hard? Charlie Brown? Hallmark? Lifetime?

Do you tune in “All-Christmas Music” stations? When doΒ  you start?

Here’s my favorite holiday song, one I think is appropriate this season, regardless of what holiday you observe.



58 thoughts on “Reader Friday – Holiday Media

  1. Anyone who didn’t grow up with HBO in the 80s has probably missed out on one of the best Christmas movies of all time – Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas. It’s a Jim Henson muppet musical Gift of the Magi story. I enjoy watching it every year, and I love shocking people who ask my favorite Christmas song with the response “Riverbottom Nightmare Band.” A must see.

    • I remember that movie–although I was well grown up in the 80s. Loved all things Muppets.

  2. Yes, my reading, viewing, and listening habits change during the Christmas season. I start listening to Christmas music in November. Dear Husband and I watch Christmas movies every Friday in December, and I read holiday stories. I just downloaded Lakota Grace’s Three Days of Christmas short story based on her Pegasus Quincy mystery series.

  3. While I certainly celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, I don’t do much in terms of holiday media. My only 2 requirements in that sense are that each year I watch the MacGyver episode “The Maddonna” (love it!) & listen to “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama.

  4. Mannheim Steamroller is my Christmas staple. I have all their albums and blast them nearly every day from Thanksgiving on. The music inspires my decorating (seven Christmas trees) , gift-wrapping sessions, and even cleaning!

    • Seven trees! Decorating would be fun, but then you have to take everything down and pack it away. My entire decorating these years takes 4.5 minutes.

      • Since I’m alone this year, I put up three door wreathes and considered myself done. So many years of the extended family begging for a huge tree then leaving me with buying, decorating, then taking it down really burned me out on trees, and my property can’t be seen from the road so I don’t decorate outside, either.

        • I remember when our oldest was a toddler, we visited the inlaws in central NY and cut down a tree from their yard, decorated it (but left before undecorating time), and that was enough for me.

  5. I don’t celebrate anything in December (my holidays move with the lunar calendar, so they are both in summer lately), so my habits don’t change much. I do watch the occasional Christmas movie. My favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, though I’m beginning to realize it’s because the main character is legit mad and that’s what I love in anything. I like the song “Do you hear what I hear,” and my family likes Home Alone and Santa Claus.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. My holidays are based on a different calendar, but they don’t change seasons much. I do remember a few years where Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided. Turkey and latkes.

  6. I love the classic Christmas music from Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. I could do without the pop stuff. In terms of movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a classic. So well-written and acted. It’s a much needed laugh in times like these.

    • Humor is always appreciated. Happy holidays. I hear you on the classics. When I worked at Universal Studios, they had a 20 minute, don’t offend anyone “holiday music loop” and if I never hear Alvin and the Chipmunks again … or Rock Around the Christmas Tree… Argh! I’m cringing already, and it’s been over a decade.

  7. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for including the single greatest Christmas movie of all time, Die Hard, on your list. You a are true scholar and possess excellent taste in holiday movies. While that beloved classic remains my all time favorite Christmas movie, I love watching others that I grew up with for the first time with my kids. Films like Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Scrooged and more recent stuff like Elf. All that being said, their favorite Christmas film is the Netflix original, Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as hands-down the best on-screen Santa Claus EVER.

    Also, all Christmas music, all the time in our house from Black Friday to December 26th. Personal favorite: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Any version, but the one featuring Lou Rawls and Dianne Reeves is hard to beat in my book.

    • Glad I mentioned your favorite, Gregg. Enjoy your holiday. Current outside temperature here (8AM) is 15 and light snow.

  8. The kids will be home, and with COVID, they’ll be home more. It’s hard to focus at Christmas time. If I get any reading done it will be late nights and early mornings for me.

    • Almost all my reading is done at night, in bed. That way, when I fall asleep reading, I’m right where I belong.
      Covid’s keeping everyone away at our house. Zoom it must be.

  9. Hi Terry,

    Die Hard is one of our favorite Christmas movies, as are the Mystery Science Theater 3000 versions of “Santa Claus Vs. The Devil” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” filled with comedic riffing and hilarious sketches, which never fail to get me to laugh. Laughter is always vital, but never more so than now.

    I’m not a fan of stores and radio stations blasting Christmas music out weeks and months before the holiday, I prefer it to be for just days. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, and Windham Hill’s Winter Solstice albums are my favorite Yuletide music.

    • One “perk” of not going to stores is not having to listen to (too loud) music. We don’t get radio reception, so the only music I listen to is what I choose. I might put together a TKZ playlist after all the suggestions here.
      Have a safe holiday!

      • That definitely is a perk–I haven’t been inside a store since March (all curbside pickup or delivery), and I primarily listened to the radio when driving, which I do little of now. Have a safe holiday, too!

  10. Fave Christmas movie of all time…Sound of Music…still.

    Mannheim Steamroller is my favorite music. Truly good musicians…their Hallelujah Chorus is magnificent.

    Decorating? Ha! The worst part of decorating is taking everything down. So I don’t. I’m a minimalist. The only thing I remove at the end of the season is my beautiful hand-made-by-my-mother-in-law creche and nativity set, given to me in 1996. My other decorations consist of a few pieces on a small buffet table which stay there all year. Tree? Not really…this year we have a Charlie Brown tree I found when we were walking. It has no leaves or needles on it and looks like a piece of driftwood…or one of Treebeard’s spawns. πŸ™‚ Husband’s going to make a base for it, and it will have a few decorations on it.

    And I do not shop, which is thing about me that my husband loves the most, or so he says…

    The one thing we do without fail during the Christmas season is buy some Irish Cream liqueur and make it last until New Years Day…which is actually my favorite holiday of the year.

    Merry Christmas to all of you, and may next year be different than this year, please God…

  11. Terry, I’m a grinch about Christmas music b/c, like you, I was deluged with it when I worked retail. You HAD to bring up Alvin and the Chipmunks–now it’s stuck in my head. Gee, thanks.

    The best part of holidays for me is reconnecting with distant friends whom we only talk with once a year.

    • Sorry — Could have been “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” πŸ˜‰

      It seems this year, all friends are distant–at least if they’re being smart. I have very mixed feelings about reading the Christmas letters from the few people who always keep in touch.

  12. Most of the Christmas classics have disappeared behind paywall streaming services I don’t get so I’ve not seen the first classic. I watched THE GRINCH musical a few nights ago, but it was surprisingly boring despite the best efforts of the actors. New backstory, narrative frames, and uninspired new music managed to suck out the plot’s power.

    I am enjoying the Christmas music offered by YouTubers like VoicePlay who did a great version of the Grinch song, this year. The bass, Geoff Castellucci, has a three octave range that goes into the subharmonics, supposedly lower than any other living bass. Their version of the “Ooogie Boogie Song” has him go so high then so deep that my hobby for awhile was watching YouTube voice coaches watching the video live just so I could see their jaws drop open at the end of the song. Good times. Anyway, I highly recommend their Christmas as well as Halloween videos, and Geoff’s channel.

    For family friendly Covid parodies and goofiness like “Baby, It’s Covid Outside” and a Hallmark Christmas musical parody, I recommend the Holderness Family videos. For straight musicality, Peter Hollens can’t be beat. Welcome to my musical rabbit holes.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. More things for me to discover. My musical range is 3 notes.

  13. We’ll have a lot more time this year for movie watching. My husband is a great fan of “A Christmas Carol” with Alistair Sims, so we’ll definitely see that one. Also, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is on the schedule.

    It will be uncharacteristically quiet around here this Christmas. No parties, no big crowd around the table — just the two of us. Good thing we like each other! We’ve decided to move into the “less is more” category this year. We may not have a tree, so I’ll pull out those ornaments that are special and hang them around the house. Then we’ll watch movies, zoom with friends and family, stuff ourselves silly, and be grateful for all we have.

    Maybe I’ll work on my version of “I am the very model of a modern novel authoress” to the famous Gilbert and Sullivan tune.

    • I’d love to see your version when it’s done. I saw another one,
      “I am the very model of effective social distancing” many months ago.
      Enjoy your holiday. It’s just the two of us here on our mountain. I’m going to experiment with some different recipes, something not permitted for family gatherings.

  14. “A Christmas Carol” with Alistair Sims although I am the only one in the house who enjoys black and white movies. “Miracle on 34th Street”, the original. Some years I can get the family to sit through “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

    I am not Christian. I always work Christmas Eve so more of my co-workers can enjoy the holiday with their family. When I get home it is time for “Die Hard”. I deliver pizzas. The Christmas mix gets loaded into the car.

    • I also volunteered to work Christmas Eve and Day when I had a job where such a thing was possible (i.e., the company was open). A recall a television show from long, long ago when a group of Jews in a town took over the diner so the staff could have their holiday, and wouldn’t have to close for those who needed a place to eat.
      We normally, as is the custom of “my people” go out for Chinese food. This year, it’ll be takeout.

  15. Deck the Halls was the first track on the first Mannheim Steamroller CD. It was when CDs were new and CD players over $500. But the video and sound blew every one away. So began Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas tradition.

    Either Santa Baby or Christmas Wrapping are my favorite songs. Santa Baby is one of the songs that after I heard it once, I needed to track it down that day.

  16. I love Christmas music. I belong to a choir that starts practicing Christmas songs in September, then performs them at a few events and a lot of seniors homes in December. Unfortunately, the pandemic won’t let us do that this year. I seriously miss some good Christmas music.

    • My 3-note range doesn’t allow much caroling (although a group of neighborhood kids used to go through the neighborhood when I was in junior high and high school, and they let me join them.)
      Maybe there’s a way to do something with Zoom – I love that commercial with the ballerina dancing in the snow.

  17. My tradition is rocking out to my “Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas” (by who else but The Tractors?) and then catching my breath while listening to any of my Trans-Siberian Orchestra CDs.

    Wishing each of you a joyous and miraculous holiday season–no matter which one you celebrate. And a Happy New Year with limitless possibility and promise.

  18. I avoid holiday songs and books, Terry. Many are too commercial or overused. Usually by this time, I’m ready to shoot the “Little Drummer Boy.” But that Peter, Paul and Mary song you had was just lovely. Happy holidays, however you celebrate.

    • Ba Rum Pa Pa Pum … Yeah. There’s even a contest to see who can go the longest without hearing that one.
      No matter how many times I hear “Light One Candle” I tear up.

  19. That’s a great question, Terry! I generally hate Christmas-themed media which makes the exceptions all the more special”

    Reading: The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell. This grossly underappreciated short(er) novel by the man who created Rambo works on all sorts of different levels, so much so that it can be read and appreciated at any time of year.

    Watching: Die Hard. I can recite blocks of the dialog at a moment’s notice.

    Listening: Christmas music really grinds my gears, but this time of year I repeatedly play the albums The New Possibility by John Fahey, Christmas Is a Special Day by Fats Domino, and Come on Christmas by Dwight Yoakam. Also the singles “Run Rudolph Run” by Keith Richards, “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders, and “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg.

    Enjoy the next few weeks!

    • Thanks for sharing. I’ll ditto “Same Old Lang Syne.” Fogelberg’s “Leader of the Band” has special meaning for me (although not holiday-themed) because it gave me that ‘click moment’ for the protagonist in “What’s in a Name?”

  20. Oops. Somehow my previous comment got posted twice. Sorry about that.

    My husband and I are doing minimal decorating, just a few favorites that don’t require furniture moving or massive amounts of time to put up and take down.

    Must watch at our house: It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott.

    Music: The classics, Mannheim Steamroller, especially Silent Night. I love the violin. I also enjoy instrumental versions of the classic Christmas songs.

    We’ll have prime rib, roasted red potatoes a green vegetable of some kind, and apple pie. Simple for just the two of us. The biggest thing we will celebrate is my husband’s recent recovery from COVID pneumonia.

    • So sorry to hear about your husband, but so glad he’s recovered. That’s definitely something to celebrate.

  21. We faithfully watch 2 XMas movies, Terry. One is the Alistair Sims version of Xmas Carol and the other is the Muppet take with Michael Caine. Those two mice with the line “No cheesus for us meesus” gets me every time πŸ™‚

    • I’m not sure what we’ll watch this year. Used to be we went to the theater on Christmas (after a Chinese dinner), but it reached a point where we were arguing about who had to (not got to) choose a movie. We shifted to Netflix after that, and we haven’t discussed whether we’ll watch a ‘repeat’ or something different. We’re in the midst of a bunch of series right now, so it might not even technically be a ‘movie.’

  22. Terry Merry Christmas!! Your choice for Christmas Music is pretty good. And I guess when you throw out all the old Sinatra tunes, I’m done. One thing I don’t think I’ll ever forget in grade school days. The song Ms. Lincoln taught us about ‘Over the River and through the Woods’. Plus she had this little mouth horn that gave us the correct key to start on. Your candle light song though gave me a little nudge in the ribs when looked over at a three wick candle that takes you to a little warm cabin in North Carolina burins on my microwave. I now expect I’ll lite each wick with the thoughts of a first cousin with the Virus, the children in Danny Thomas’s hospital, and the homeless folks roaming around in our little town in South Alabama where it does snow ever 123 years. Happy, Happy to all.

    • Thanks, Gerald (although I remember Over the River as a Thanksgiving song, but a holiday is a holiday, right?) I’m glad you took the time to listen to “Light One Candle.” I think it has a message for everyone.
      Hoping things go well for your cousin–and everyone else.

  23. I don’t really have any rituals. I do watch my favorite holiday movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. I listen to some Christmas music but I get burnt out easily. I do like to listen on Christmas Eve and drink hot chocolate. My reading doesn’t change. When I was younger, I loved a real tree but my roommate and I just have a small artificial one that takes about 2 minutes to put up and take down. We finish our decorations by setting up Christmas cards around the tree. It’s much easier for us both now we are getting older. After reading this, it appears that I do have some rituals after all, lol.

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