5 Lesser-Known Holiday Movies and TV Specials Worth Watching

| December 3, 2012

Santa at the movie set“It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” make it to many a roundup of top holiday movies and TV shows, but have you heard of “Holiday Inn” or “Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball”? Read on to learn about five lesser-known holiday movies and specials worth watching, whether with your family or at one of the many holiday parties of the season. If you need help finding a particular title, DexKnows listings can help.

1. “Holiday Inn”

Bing Crosby belted out the song “White Christmas” for the first time in this holiday movie back in the 1940s. But newer generations may have never seen the film, which also stars Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds. It tells the tale of former vaudeville partners Jim Hardy (Crosby) and Ted Hanover (Astaire), who vie for the affections of lovely Linda Mason (Reynolds). Hanover has already stolen one girlfriend from Hardy, who doesn’t plan to let it happen again. Add this movie to your holiday watch list to keep it a favorite for generations to come.

2. “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”

“The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie” get most of the attention, but this Muppet holiday special should not be forgotten when planning kids’ Christmas parties. Released in 1977, it stars Emmet Otter and his Ma, who end up going up against each other in the Frog Town Hollow talent contest in order to win prize money to buy each other a special gift. While it doesn’t star all of the famous Muppets — Kermit does host — it features fun music and warms the heart in that way that only Jim Henson can.

3. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H) stars in this 1983 TV adaptation of Barbara Robinson’s best-selling novel of the same name. As Grace Bradley, she inherits the role of running her church’s Christmas pageant and corralling the six unruly Herdman children in the cast. Of course, the kids learn the true meaning of the holiday and come around to deliver the best Christmas pageant ever. If you have ever taken part in a holiday pageant, you will appreciate the humor of this film.

4. “Prancer”

The tagline for this movie is “Joy. Tears. Drama. Laughter. And a 9-year-old who proves that miracles can still happen.” That 9-year-old still believes in Santa, so when Jessica finds a reindeer with an injured leg, she assumes he has wandered away from the famous sleigh. Jessica (Rebecca Harrell Tickell) hides him in the barn on her family farm to nurse him back to flying form, but her father finds him and decides to sell him for money that they desperately need. Sam Elliott stars as Dad, with Cloris Leachman also in the cast.

5. “Chanukah on Planet Matzah Ball”

Set on a giant Matzah Ball planet somewhere in space, this 2003 film serves as a holiday tradition for many Jewish families, but could also become one for those of other faiths. In it, a family of Jewish aliens, played by puppets, must solve the case of a mysterious menorah that has crashed onto their planet. Have it handy for audiences of both Christian and Jewish children when hosting kids’ Christmas parties.

Introduce one or two of these movies or TV specials to your holiday festivities and up the fun factor at your Christmas holiday parties. Any of these also will make an excellent stocking stuffer for a friend or neighbor on your holiday shopping 2012 list. DexKnows listings will point you in the right direction for online Christmas shopping, if your local video store does not keep a title in stock.

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Category: Holiday Entertaining

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.