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Fuller Disclosure: Our favorite holiday classics

Jessica Fuller • Dec 17, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Growing up, my parents would always find “It’s a Wonderful Life” somewhere on cable in the weeks preceding Christmas.

It was never really Christmas in our house until we’d watched the movie at least once, corralled by Christmas decorations as we dug through a giant box of oranges we’d bought for my school band’s annual fundraiser. 

It’s one of those “what the holidays are all about”-type movies, and even though it came out 45 years before I was born, it immediately conjures warm, fuzzy feelings of the holidays and being surrounded by the people I really care about.

As I got older, I added a few of my own selections to to my definition of “holiday classics.”

As a ’90s kid, I was obsessed with NickToons, and the one Christmas episode that really stuck with me was “Arnold’s Christmas,” the holiday special from the ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon “Hey Arnold!” 

When Arnold draws Mr. Hyunh in a Secret Santa game for the tenants of his grandparents’ boarding house, he discovers that the perfect gift for Mr. Hyunh can’t be found in a store. Arnold takes on the task of reuniting Mr. Hyunh with his long-lost daughter, Mai, years after they were separated during a war in their country. 

Meanwhile, Arnold’s secret admirer Helga is vying for the perfect gift for her crush, and in the end decides on an anonymous, self-sacrificial gift to help Arnold in his quest for Mr. Hyunh. 

That episode always stuck with me as a kid — it was emotional and surprisingly mature for a kids’ show (as was the whole series), and makes me emotional even 20 years later. Sometimes, the best gift can be helping the people we care about.

A few other in my self-defined “holiday classics” catalogue include “Elf,” “Home Alone,” “Christmas Who?” (”Spongebob Squarepants” S2E28), “The Office” episode “Christmas Party,” and, don’t judge me, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey.

I asked a few of my coworkers what their favorite Christmas classics are to get a list of holiday favorites.

Sam Watson, Content Director 

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Christmas Story” are my obvious choices. Classics include the original “The Bishop’s Wife” and “Holiday Inn.” Love “The Nightmare Before Christmas!”

Robert Houk, Senior Reporter 

No Christmas would be complete without just one viewing of what is undoubtedly the most beloved TV Christmas specials of all time. And the central theme of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” rings as true today as it did in 1965 — maybe more so.

In an age when national retailers put up Christmas displays alongside their Halloween decorations, we could all use a good friend like Linus Van Pelt. It was Linus who helped end Charlie Brown’s confusion over the true meaning of Christmas by reciting Luke 2:1-20, which ends:

“And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’ ”

Linus concludes by saying: "That’s what Christmas is really all about, Charlie Brown."

Jared Bentley, Director of Video Services, NET360 Media Agency

My favorite Christmas movie is John McTiernan's “Die Hard,” because, "how could it not be?" One of the finest, if not the finest, action movie ever produced, it set the standard for action and comedy moving forward, and created a "holiday" action genre that has been heavily utilized and perfected by writer and director Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,” “The Last Boy Scout,” “The Last Action Hero,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Iron Man 3,” “The Nice Guys,” etc.) in the years since.

Sue Legg, Press Staff Writer

I love "The Homecoming," the Christmas Eve story on CBS that inspired The Waltons series.

I was 11 or 12 when it first aired and have watched it every Christmas season since then.

I love Knoxville native Patricia Neal as mother Walton, the original Baldwin sisters, Charlie Sneed, the turkey and ham bandit, and especially the kids.

I know a lot of the dialogue by heart.

Love the scene where John Boy is driving through the snow storm and having a conversation in his head with his daddy. "I'm trying daddy."

Love the scene with the kids cracking walnuts in the barn when Mary Ellen has her teen angst breakdown. "I always feel better when I hug the cow."

Love the scene where mother Walton comes upstairs and finds John Boy locked in his room. "Are you smoking cigarettes up here John Boy?"

Love Mother Walton's response to John Boy's ill-taken comparison of the missionary giving away Christmas presents to kids at the store and Charlie Sneed's delivery of the stolen turkey. "Milk the cow, John Boy."

I love the whole movie. And over the next 12 years, I feel like a grew up with those kids.

Emily Barnes, Advertising Coordinator 

1. “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation” — My family and I can quote this whole movie without batting an eye; I'm not sure why it became a thing? My sister and I just recently started collecting the Dept 56. Christmas Village.

2. “Die Hard” — I mean, yippie-ki-yay?

3. “Love Actually” — It reminds you to be grateful for the people in your life.

4. “The Family Stone” — Made me realize that family is family no matter how mad they make you... most of the time

5. “Little House on the Prairie — The Christmas They Never Forgot” (TV Episode) - Laura Ingalls Wilder was, at one point, one of my favorite authors and then I got the VHS of this episode for Christmas one year. So between the books, this episode and my American Girl Doll Kirsten I was living the high life of any 8-year-old sheltered farm child in 1995.

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