"Sappy" Holiday Movies

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes.  While I am no fan of the cold weather,  my guilty pleasure of the season is watching "sappy" holiday movies.

Now let me just clarify, there are plenty of movies out there that the networks will have you believe are "holiday" fare, but are not (at least in my book).  The Harry Potter series is fantastic, but it's NOT holiday fare.  And while "The Sound of Music" may be one of my favorite movies of all time, the movie itself is NOT a Christmas one.  (Don't get me started on "My Favorite Things."  Great song, but when it did turn into a holiday classic?  Is it the snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes that qualify it?  Or brown paper packages tied up with string?  I don't get it!).  And "Die Hard" may take place during a holiday party, but that does NOT make it a Christmas movie!

While I love watching all those "women's" movies that flood channel like Lifetime and Hallmark during the season, I'm getting a little tired of the same "new" ones over and over.  I know I am showing my age, but there were some classics (at least in my memory) from the 1970s, '80s and 90s that I'd like to see again.

One that I remember fondly is from way back and I believe was repeated annually on CBS (along with Charlie Brown, Rudolph and the like) was "A House Without A Christmas Tree."  It was based on a book by Gail Rock which became part of a seasonal series (both of books and holiday specials).  This was the first of the series, and in my memory the best.  It took place during the Depression and all Addie wants for Christmas is a tree, which her father will not allow as he is still miserable and mourning the  loss of his wife who died after Addie was born.   It is a small, "quiet" story with a cast that includes Jason Robards and Mildred Natwick.

Another favorite from that era is a typical "Love Boat" type of story called "The Man In the Santa Claus Suit".  It is actually 3 stories (each with their own featured celebrity of the day such as Gary Burdoff, Bert Convy and John Byner).  Each rents a Santa Claus suit (from none other than Fred Astaire) for various reasons.  You know it has to be the 1970s when math teacher Gary Burdoff (for those of you who don't remember, he played Radar on M*A*S*H) successfully woos a model by donning a Santa suit.

There's also "A Christmas Without Snow" in which newly divorced mom, Michael Learned (best known as the mother on "The Waltons") starts a new life in California and joins a local church choir that will be performing "The Messiah" for the holiday.  For a holiday movie, it's not very holiday like, but it's an interesting mix and definitely gives a feel for the times (if you're looking back fondly on the 1970s)

And finally, let me mention "Ebbie" with Susan Lucci.  Yet another spin on Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", this one stays with me because it was one of the first Lifetime holiday movies and for years and years it played without fail on Christmas Eve.  At least it used to.  It has disappeared over the past several years.  Nobody does drama like Lucci!  (Are you listening Lifetime???)

I know many of these (if not all) are available on VHS and/or DVD.  But it's just not the same.  I liked looking forward to the sappy.  (Just like I look forward to watching "A Christmas Story" endless times on Christmas Day...I don't think I've ever seen it the whole way through in one sitting...but I watch it over and over again during the day...)

Do you have any favorites that are missing from the line up?  What sappiness do you look forward to?


  1. We look each year to see if the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol is on, but the Patrick Stewart version is on more these days. And they only showed the newer A Christmas Carol: The Musical for a few years, but I just love it!
    Lady Beth

  2. Oh and An American Christmas Carol with Henry Winkler! Haven't seen that one in decades.
    Lady Beth

  3. I forgot about that one. That was another good take on Dickens.

  4. Not sappy but I loved this bizarre Christmas movie when I was young called The Night They Saved Christmas.


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