About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Christmas TV Party 2014: Maryam Sarshar

Carrie's star on Little House on the Prairie
Christmas TV Party 2014: Maryam Sarshar

1) What is the first Christmas special you remember watching?
I think it would have to be one of the Bing Crosby Christmas specials, the ones where his kids and wife also appeared. It was probably one that was mid to late 1960s and done in color. I am not sure just which one I saw first, but those holiday specials really stay in my memories. I remember watching them every single year. He did such a nice mix of fun seasonal songs AND ones that were more religious. Bing also had great guests on that made the event even more special....comedians, singers, actors.....a really nice mix. Who didn't love all of that faux snow also? I think they just gave me a warm, cozy, holiday feeling and that is why they stood out.

2) Name one Christmas program/movie you enjoy watching all year round.
I know that this is one of Joanna's favorites, but it probably has to be the  Little House On The Prairie Christmas episode called "Christmas at Plum Creek."  It is a bit O. Henry-esque in that Laura is willing to give away her most prized pet horse Bunny in order to be able to get her mom an expensive stove that she has been eyeing for their "little house." Everyone else also has secrets as to what they are buying and/or making for the others. Love when Mary starts doing some sewing work in order to make money to buy some material so she can make Pa a shirt. Ma has also made the same shirt, but she hides it once she sees what Mary has made. It is also so sweet when Mr. Oleson marks the Christmas star down so that Carrie can buy it for a penny. It is usually on several times a year because INSP and Hallmark both show LHOTP daily during the week.  Make sure to follow Joanna on Facebook because I know she always makes sure to post about this episode whenever it is on! Go back and read her blog post about it also.

1972's The House Without a Christmas Tree

3) Name one overlooked, or under-appreciated Christmas program.
This is definitely a question I could answer right away! It is The House Without A Christmas Tree.  It is definitely slightly darker than most specials, but it has such a wonderful story to tell and such a wonderful upbeat ending. It features Jason Robards, Mildred Natwick, and Lisa Lucas. I am not sure why this special cannot be found on tv anymore, but I DO own the dvd so I can watch it multiple times during the season. It deals with a family that consists of a paternal grandmother, father, and a teenage daughter. The father lost his wife when his daughter was born and since that period of time Christmas was never the same. He is pretty much a Scrooge or Grinch. They didn't really celebrate and he would not allow a Christmas tree in the home since his wife's death. The entire TV special is a period piece centered around Christmas in a small town during the mid-1940s and includes scenes at school while the children are preparing for the holidays. If you have never watched it it is a must see! Very simply done, yet memorable.

4) Send us to 3 places on the internet.
http://afamishedfoodie.wordpress.com/  (a great blog by my daughter who loves traveling and all things food-related)
http://www.buxr.com/ (a coupon and deal site.....I check this daily. You can share coupons and deals and earn money also for the best deals of the day!)
http://www.mrrebates.com?refid=116469 (get cash rebates when you shop! you can request a check every month or wait until it builds up. You will be surprised how fast your money adds up, especially if you are a big online shopper!)

from the 1976 Christmas episode of What's Happening!!

5) What are your 3 favorite Christmas episodes of a TV sitcom or drama?
(it was difficult to narrow this down to 3!)
Family Ties "A Keaton Christmas Carol"
M*A*S*H "Death Takes A Holiday"
What's Happening!! "Mama Gets Off For Christmas"

Wouldn't it be great if one or two nostalgia stations tried to get as many holiday sitcom and drama episodes as they could and air them all during the month of December?  One can dream..... :)


  1. I absolutely love that Little House on the Prairie Christmas episode! Beautiful! A wonderful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and giving from the heart!

    Also, loved the two first images of both little girls with their fathers at the Christmas tree! Very sweet.

  2. Some shows/movies here I haven't seen yet, or at least in a very long while. Cool post!

  3. Maryam--you know exactly what I like! Thanks so much for participating :) For those who are interested, I think she's referring to my daily Christmas TV listings I provide on my facebook page Tis the Season TV: https://www.facebook.com/TisTheSeasonTV Thanks for the shout out!

  4. Thanks for mentioning the Crosby specials. I don't remember any specific one when I was growing up, save the final posthumous one, but I was always aware when they were on. Wasn't Christmas without them!

  5. Thank you for The House Without A Christmas Tree, Maryam. A true classic. If anyone reading this has not seen it, please do yourself a favor and track it down. It's bittersweet, but wonderfully written, directed, produced, acted. A beautiful and authentic piece of Americana.