TV Christmas specials are coming thick and fast now, with comfortingly familiar repeats nudging against new holiday shows. The surest bet this week is also one of the oldest: A Charlie Brown Christmas was an instant classic when it was first shown in 1965; Charles Schulz’s contemplative comic-strip characters pondered the true spirit of the season while criticizing aluminum Christmas trees, as low-key pop-jazz music provided moody background accompaniment. One of the season’s most promising new holiday specials airs right after Charlie does: The Wish That Changed Christmas is a cartoon based on Rumer Godden’s The Story of Holly & Ivy, a wonderful 1985 book about a girl and a special doll.
Movies this week range from A Mom for Christmas, a terribly weepy 1990 TV movie starring Olivia Newton-John that my kids are unaccountably crazy about, to The Sound of Music, which as best as I can recall doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas but gives you an appropriately warm feeling anyway. Young people tempted to snicker at holiday sentiment might like to know that there’s also The Baby-Sitters’ Special Christmas, based on the quazillion-selling Baby-Sitters Club books.