We all have Christmas memories from days gone by that transport us right back to specific moments in time. From the smell of the fireplace to the taste of pie, I have many merry memories! Luckily, I was able to find some treasures to help keep my memories alive each Christmas season.
My Grandma’s Ceramic Christmas tree My siblings and I always loved Grandma’s ceramic tree. We would take turns moving around the colourful pegs coming up with different patterns to suit our moods. The best part was the star that, if removed, would create a cool vortex of light that shot right out the top!
Santa Claus has been featured in countless Christmas specials over the years, but they are not created equal. Sometimes Santa is sugary sweet, and sometimes he is just plain strange! It’s time to celebrate the best of the best Santas in pop culture history!
Ed Asner in Elf
When Buddy the Elf decides to got to New York City to meet his real dad, Santa is one of the first to give him advice:
“Well, there are some things you should know. First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn’t free candy.”
Ed Asner plays a tough as nails Santa with a heart of gold. He is stern yet supportive, and he genuinely cares about his North Pole colleagues and friends.
For me Christmas always begins when Rankin Bass holiday specials begin airing on television. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and of course The Year Without a Santa Claus (Snow Miser and Heat Miser!), they are Christmas. I love the magic of the cartoons and stop motion animation. I used to think it could only be used at Christmas time, that was it’s magic.
I’m of the age where you anxiously waited for holiday specials to come on TV. Or when there were VCR’s it felt weird to record Christmas specials but if you did you taped over them with Days of Our Lives after the holidays.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas if I don’t see at least one of these beauties.
I love introducing my friend’s kids, my munchkins, to these shows now. I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes as Rudolph’s nose glows so bright, or Frosty runs here and there and everywhere, or Kris Kringle becoming Santa.
The smile on my face was from ear to ear when I first saw Rankin Bass ornaments and costumes and hat and lights at Retro Festive. I know that bringing in these iconic images into your home is just as special as being 8 years old sitting on the floor in front of the TV with a mug of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.
December is a wonderful time of year because that’s when we can all gather around the TV to watch classic Christmas specials and movies like Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Home Alone, or The Year Without a Santa Claus.
Movie and TV studios hope for a Christmas miracle when they produce new specials around the holidays. Sometimes they are smashing successes like Elf, and sometimes they are a little forgettable like Frosty Returns.
We have been trying to keep up the new Christmas specials that have been released this year. Before you watch them, here are our reviews!
Warning: Spoiler Alerts, probably
Reviews by Damien Nelson and Danielle LaSage
A Very Murray Christmas
Netflix has been creating amazing original work for years, so it was inevitable that they would make a new Christmas special too. But who knew they would recruit the likes of Bill Murray?
This Christmas special follows Bill Murray as he is about to begin a holiday show at The Carlyle, on live television, during the biggest snowstorm of the season. When the weather keeps Bill’s celebrity friends away, Bill is forced to cancel his show and create a party with the other guests trapped in the hotel.
This is where the storyline ends. Although A Very Murray Christmas begins like a movie, it is essentially a classic celebrity variety show. It features comedy sketches, dozens of surprise cameos, and lots of lovely songs.
It is a hilarious Christmas special, and I think it will age well in the coming years because Bill Murray’s humour is timeless and much loved. The cameos alone are worth the watch! Honestly, do not stop watching until you see Clooney.
I give it 10 Celebrity Cameos out of 12.
The bottom line: Miley Cyrus cannot lip sync. This is actually a good thing!
The Peanuts Movie
I have to admit I was nervous about The Peanuts Movie. After all these years, why mess with a good thing? But I was pleasantly surprised.
The Peanuts Movie is not technically a Christmas special. The film actually follows the Peanuts gang over the course of a school year, so it features many holidays including Christmas.
The script is simple and sweet, and revisits many classic characters without being tedious. The animation is pleasing to the eye, and the voice work is lovely. The only bone I have to pick with this film is that it relied on old one-liners and storylines from other Peanuts specials, instead of creating new adventures for the Gang.
I give it 6 Red Barons out of 10. The bottom line: It is a joyful little film that die-hard Peanuts fans will enjoy no matter what.
For those in search of a new type of Christmas story…look no further! It seems that the once obscure holiday knowledge of Krampus is becoming more and more commonplace.
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.
Well, if that doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will.
Krampus was co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty, which fits perfectly, as he is probably best known for the film Trick R Treat. Dougherty accomplishes a film that is effectively frightening, and comically amusing when it needs to be. And with a cast featuring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Allison Tolman and David Koechner, you’re bound for nothing short of entertaining. The whole cast dances the line of comedy and drama so gracefully; it makes for a very enjoyable flick.
I would not recommend this movie for children … unless you really want to keep them in line; in which case, make it a family holiday tradition!
I give it 5 Candy Canes out of 8. The bottom line:This is a seriously fun flick. If you enjoy horror and enjoy the holiday season – this is not one to miss!
Christmas movies always begin nicely. The tree is trimmed, the gifts are wrapped, the turkey is in the oven, the quirky family has arrived, and the magic of the holidays is in the air – but there is one Christmas villain who must turn this wonderful season into a problem!
This December there will be a new film released that focuses on the ultimate Christmas villain – Krampus.
Krampus, starring Adam Scott from Parks and Recreation, Allison Tolman from Fargo, and Toni Collett from United States of Tara, is a live action horror/dark comedy about a modern dysfunctional family at Christmas, and a visit from the horned, ancient monster of European folklore, who punishes naughty children.
In honour of Krampus‘ arrival, we have compiled a list of Christmas villains who give us the creeps!
Scut Farkus – A Christmas Story “Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes!”
They wrote a whole song describing how bad this guy was. But the power of a Christmas song also made his heart grow three sizes!
Scrooge – A Christmas Carol “Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on frivolities. One might say that December is the foreclosure season. Harvest time for the money-lenders.”
Since his creation in 1843 by Charles Dickens, the cruel stinginess of Ebenezer Scrooge has been portrayed by Michael Caine, Tim Curry, Alastair Sim, Patrick Stewart, and Scrooge McDuck in countless plays, TV shows and movies. Why has this story been told so many times, in so many ways? Perhaps we all hope to redeem ourselves for past mistakes, just as Scrooge does after seeing the error of his ways.
Heat Miser and Snow Miser – Year Without a Santa Claus “Friends call me Snow Miser, whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch. I’m too much.”
“They call me Heat Miser. Whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch. I’m too much.”
The Miser Brothers are not the worst of the Christmas villains, but their refusal to get along and work together really slows Mrs Claus down on her mission to save Christmas.
Harry F. Potter – It’s a Wonderful Life “George, I am an old man, and most people hate me. But I don’t like them either so that makes it all even.”
Mr Potter might be the most frustrating Christmas villain. He is pure evil and treats people terribly, but he never gets what is coming to him. He makes no attempt to become a better person, and George Bailey receives no chance at revenge!
Thankfully the cast of Saturday Night Live found the alternative ending of It’s a Wonderful Life, which seals Potter’s fate!
Professor Hinkle was just about the worst magician in the world, and he was pretty bad at being a villain too. He did try to ruin some pretty fantastic Christmas magic by stealing his hat from Frosty the Snowman and the children, but he was easily thwarted with the help of the Hocus the rabbit. I wonder how long it took him to write “I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty” a hundred zillion times.
Wet Bandits – Home Alone “I think we’re getting scammed by a kindergartener.“
Marv and Harry were small time thieves who thought they would get a big payoff scamming houses during the holidays. Eight year-old Kevin McCallister prevented that with a painful obstacle course. Just when you thought The Wet Bandits couldn’t get any worse, they try to rob a toy store of their charitable work during Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Thankfully Kevin is there to once again show them what’s what at Christmas!
Holiday Fair in the Square Vendor
Nathan Phillips Square Kiosk*
100 Queen St W,
Our Toronto City Hall Hours
Dec 8 - Dec 23 Only
Mon - Fri: 11am - 11pm
Sat - Sun: 11am - 11pm
*Note: Only select items available at our Toronto kiosk locations. Distillery District kiosk carries NO Ugly Sweaters, while the City Hall kiosk carries MOSTLY Ugly Sweaters. Full range of products available online and at our Oakville store.