The concept of the holiday special always drew me in. Maybe it was because it was a touch point that let me know that time was passing for my favorite TV characters just like it was passing for me. Maybe it was because I was in the holiday mood and it was easier for the special to strike a chord with me. Maybe I was just a sucker. Any way you look at it, I loved the holiday specials.
Charlie Brown is great at Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Rudolph and Frosty and Kris Kringle can’t be beat in their respective shows. Some TV shows had classic and unforgettable specials, too. Who can forget Cindy Brady wanting her mom’s voice to return for Christmas? Lucy and Desi and Fred and Ethel and the five Santas? Mean old Ben WANTING Andy Griffith to arrest him so he could spend Christmas in jail with Andy and the gang? The Simpsons and their recurring Treehouse of Horror?
Even if your favorite show’s holiday special stank, you remembered it. Everybody from Family Ties to Quantum Leap to Mr. Magoo had a take on A Christmas Carol. The crew at Wings dealt with grieving over the death of a loved one before dropping an urn out of an airplane and sinking a boat. The whole Ingalls clan was trapped in their house and Pa had to walk to the barn in snowshoes to get Christmas presents (and in a different episode, Laura sold her horse to Nellie so she could buy Ma a stove)
Ultimately, not every holiday special can be as good as Peanuts, and not every holiday special can be as bad as the Star Wars Holiday Special. As I write, I try to make sure that I touch on the things that will evoke thoughts and memories of the reader’s every day life, while inviting them to compare and contrast that to the world and characters I have created. I just hope that nothing I do brings to mind Bea Arthur doing musical numbers in an alien cantina.