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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Life + Arts

Holiday Best Of


As the semester comes to an end and the most wonderful time of the year begins, we decided to add a little holiday cheer to the last print edition of the year.

Whether there’s a week or two keeping the stress of finals at bay or you’ve been locked up in the library for the last few days because your tests begin sooner than later, remember to keep your spirits bright.

We wish you the very best in the coming weeks — from the final round of tests to graduation and the much-needed break that follows. Here’s a compilation of a few of our seasonal favorites. Happy holidays from all of us at The Daily Cougar.

FILMS

1. Mickey’s Christmas Carol: The timeless Dickens classic gets a Disney facelift, and the result is one of the best “A Christmas Carol” interpretations of all time. Kids love it; if you have to watch a cheesy holiday movie, at least make it a cheesy Disney holiday movie.

 

2. Home Alone: Not only is it one of the top-grossing movies of all time, it is also one of the more endearing stories on the list. A little kid gets forgotten by his family then has to defeat two robbers bent on stealing his house bare? Classic. It has a little bit of everything that makes a good Christmas movie — a cute main character, heartwarming story, and a solid dose of comic violence.

 

3. It’s A Wonderful Life: If you don’t tear up at the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, you may want to see a psychologist. Jimmy Stewart gives the performance of a lifetime, the script is fantastic, and it has enough twists in it to stay fresh. Although it originally bombed because it’s such a dark story, once cable picked it up it has only gained popularity year after year.

 

4. Die Hard: Not only is it the best action movie ever made, it’s the best Christmas movie, too. Want to remember what the holidays are truly about? How about watching Bruce Willis wreak havoc on bad guys and have little to no worry about doing anything but saving hostages, personal safety aside? Plus, no other Christmas movie has professor Snape as the bad guy, and that’s always bonus points.

 

5. A Christmas Story : Nine-year-old Ralphie is in an endless quest for the best Christmas gift of all time: the Red Ryder BB Gun — much to the dissent of his parents, teachers and even the mall Santa Claus. All hope seems lost on Christmas morning until he unwraps the last gift under the tree. “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

ALBUMS

1. “Merry Christmas” – Bing Crosby (1945) : Falling second in sales only to Elvis Presley’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” “Merry Christmas” is one of the best selling Christmas albums of all time, selling more than 15 million copies worldwide — and rightfully so. With classics like “Silver Bells” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” Bing Crosby easily earns the award for the best Christmas album of all time.

 

2. “A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra” – Frank Sinatra (1957): When it comes to Christmas, Frank Sinatra’s music is timeless because he turns classic songs into smooth serenades. That said, this album is one that will likely always be in frequent rotation everywhere during the holidays.

 

3. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – Vince Guaraldi Trio (1965): Accompanying “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” this record is one of the most famed Christmas albums of all time. Whether it’s on the tube or on the air, the tunes on this record are easily as legendary as the television special itself.

 

4. *NSYNC – “Home for Christmas” (1998): Following the release of their debut album and the beginning of international pop-stardom, this boy band released one of the most acclaimed Christmas albums of the ’90s. With pop-injected covers of traditional Christmas songs and Justin Timberlake singing sappy love songs, what more could you want?

 

5. “The Ventures’ Christmas Album” – The Ventures (1965): The concept for this album is an interesting one. These surf-rock instrumental kings take popular songs from the 1960s and spin them into Christmas hits. Putting this record on is always a party hit because it becomes a guessing game in figuring out which ‘60s single will morph itself into a Christmas classic.

TELEVISION SPECIALS

1. “Ludachristmas” – 30 Rock (2007): During their annual celebration of “Ludachristmas,” office members are excited for wild evening, but their plans are interrupted by Kenneth’s push for the true meaning of Christmas. Meanwhile, Liz Lemon’s family dinner is going smoothly until Jack Donaghy’s mother shows up to dinner and rains on the Lemon family’s optimistic parade — which is in typical form and fashion of “30 Rock.”

 

2. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965): “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic holiday television special. If you’ve forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown and his friends are sure to jog your memory. From the sprig tree with only a single ornament to the kids humming “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” this Christmas special is timeless.

 

3. “Christmas Party” – The Office (2005): As the first Christmas special for “The Office,” this episode is easily the best. A sometimes selfish but well-intentioned Michael Scott proposes turning the office game of White Elephant into Yankee Swap after someone else gets the iPod he bought for his favorite temp, Ryan. It might veer from the spirit of Christmas, but it certainly showcases the spirit of Michael Scott and his quest for being the greatest boss of all time.

 

4. “The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” – The Simpsons (1989): In the first full-length episode of “The Simpsons,” Marge dips into the Christmas gift fund to pay for the removal of Bart’s tattoo. All hope seems lost when Homer loses his earnings from acting as a mall Santa Claus when he bets on Santa’s Little Helper in a race and loses. 22 years and over 490 episodes later, the Simpson family is easily one of America’s favorites.

 

5. “The Strike” – Seinfeld (1997): In an attempt to take commercialism out of the holidays, Frank Costanza invents Festivus — an entirely new holiday that entails the Airing of the Grievances, Feats of Strength and the Festivus pole. As such, it’s a “Festivus for the rest of us” that would rather celebrate the holiday season in a manner that’s out of the ordinary for more traditional December holidays.

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