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Yule Like This: Holiday TV, Holiday Radio, and a Christmas Love Story
December 22, 2011  | By David Bianculli
 
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At this time of year, we're surrounded by music, images and stories of the holidays -- but not necessarily the best ones. So here at TV WORTH WATCHING, as accompaniment or to complement the days ahead, we have the latest recommendations.

TVWW managing editor Diane Werts has the very latest on televised holiday movies and TV episodes.

TVWW contributor Noel Holston has a story of Christmas gift-giving that's right up there with The Gift of the Magi -- but Noel's story is true.

And I have recommendations for the best, most unusual holiday music channels to seek out -- one on Sirius/XM satellite radio, the other on Pandora. Details follow...

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Diane's been compiling holiday TV listings indefatigably all month (except that, at this point, she's pretty fatigued). She also put together our gift-giving holiday lists of DVDs sets, which you can visit by clicking HERE. But if you've waited this long, you're probably too late for that, other than to select a gift for yourself. And hey -- I'm not trying to cause trouble, or increase sales, but you probably deserve it.

As for Diane's TV listings, here are the very latest updates. It's a great list to peruse as family members and guests start to gather for the holidays, so you can plan your TV event viewing, and distractions, accordingly.

Here's where to click for holiday listings galore:

2011 HOLIDAY MOVIES/TV MOVIES

2011 HOLIDAY TV EPISODES/ANIMATION/MUSIC/MORE

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Contributing TVWW writer Noel Holston, author of this site's The Grassy Noel column, just wrote a holiday story that, while it has nothing to do with TV, could easily be made into a TV movie -- and a better one, at that, than most of the ones on Hallmark and ABC Family this time of year.

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It's the story of how a woman he was dating won his heart by giving him song-appropriate gifts during "The 12 Days of Christmas" -- and without breaking the bank. It's one of the sweetest stories we've ever posted on TV WORTH WATCHING, and it's the sort of thing I suspect you might like to send to some loved one of your own, as a sort of binary regifting.

You can read the story HERE. And as autobiographical love stories on this site go, this is, indeed, the first Noel.

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Finally, my own holiday listening recommendations. You can find, on your own, all manner of radio stations playing Christmas carols and other holiday music. But I'd like to point out two that are so far out of the mainstream, you may miss them if you're not steered directly towards them.

The first is a Pandora channel, called A Charlie Brown Christmas, introduced to me last year by my son, Mark (yet another TVWW contributor, at least allegedly). It's built around music similar to, or smoothly grouped with, the Vince Guaraldi jazz score of that very classic Peanuts TV special.

I'm listening to it right now, on my computer, and here's what's being played: a solo piano version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," by Meral Guneyman. I'd never heard of Meral Guneyman, but I love what I'm hearing now. And before that, David W. Donner played a solo acoustic guitar version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Gorgeous. And so on...

You can go right to this channel -- at least I can, on my computer -- by clicking HERE. But however you get there, Pandora's Charlie Brown Christmas "station" is one I highly recommend.

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I also recommend something that, alas, is about to disappear again: a limited-time special station on Sirius/XM radio. Hosted by Regis Philbin, it's Bing Crosby Christmas Radio -- and as time capsules go, it's an amazing one.

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Rather than just spin records, or play CD tracks, Philbin presents original, full-length Bing Crosby radio programs, spanning several decades and including tons of special guests -- Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Barry Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and more. The specials range from wartime recordings in 1944 to late-career early Sixties radio specials, and are a real treat.

I've been listening to this station -- channel 146 on SiriusXM, and online on SiriusXM Internet radio channel 814 -- all week (when I'm not at my computer listening to Pandora). And it's a delight. I'll miss it when it's pulled from the lineup the day after Christmas, but sample it while you can. You can subscribe, and get more information on this and other holiday SiriusXM holiday channels, by clicking HERE.

And if you drink a glass of something alcoholic every time you hear Bing sing "White Christmas," you'll have a very happy holiday indeed...

 

2 Comments

 

wilberfan said:

Enjoying the Pandora stream...thanks for the heads-up--and for all of your hard work this year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

[Thanks! Good to know you're listening to some of this great music right along with me. - DB]

Comment posted on December 22, 2011 2:10 PM


Angela said:

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but I realized a couple days ago that I hadn't listened to any holiday music this year, (this is a first for me), so thank you, David as I'm making up for it as I type this.

Also my latest christmas wish is that the Bing Crosby Christmas Radio be available in CD format as I have a friend who would absolutely love it. Plus I'd win the Best Christmas Present Ever award. But no, I'm *not* buying him XM radio for Christmas. At least I didn't think I was.

[Enjoy the holidays, and the music. - DB]

Comment posted on December 22, 2011 5:59 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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