They Don't Make Christmas Specials Like They Used To

Back in 2009, I listed 12 of my all-time favorite TV Christmas specials.  You know what I'm talking about: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa Claus, fan-favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and all the rest of the best from yesteryear.  Those classics are hard to top, but Hollywood keeps trying.  The recent crop of new specials have been disappointing. 

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, which debuted in 2003, could not hope to compete with the legendary A Charlie Brown Christmas from way back in 1965.  Yes, Virginia from 2009 could not capture the simple magic of Frosty the Snowman, which originally aired in 1969.

The recent crop of specials seem to be more commercial than ever, either spun-off from movies, like Shrek the Halls (2007) or this year's Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, or based on merchandise like greeting cards (Hoops and Yo-Yo Ruin Christmas) or Hallmark toys (The Elf on a Shelf: An Elf's Story).

They seem loaded with over-sentimentality, weak stories, and uninspired characterization, like the recent Jingle All the Way, about a husky puppy looking for a home at a Christmas tree farm.

Am I just being an overly-critical, grumpy, nostalgia-loving grinch?  Do the new set of holiday TV specials have some redeeming qualities that I'm missing?  Or am I correct in my assumption that when it comes to Christmas specials, we've had a bit of a drought on quality shows?

Comments