Everybody is running all over town trying to catch the Christmas spirit, and it’s not all about shopping. There are tree lighting ceremonies, parades, theatrical shows, and special concerts. For brass band lovers, the Merry Tuba Christmas was held at Forest Lawn last week. Another great tradition we enjoy is the “Merry Grinchmas” celebration held through Jan. 1 at Universal Studios Hollywood. Where else could you find a winter wonderland recreated, with tons of freshly made snow to throw at your loved ones? Also part of the Universal tour admission is “Whoville’s Who-bilation” stage show, and celebrities doing readings of the classic Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Outside the park at Universal CityWalk the fun continues with an all new holiday light and music show. A Chanukah celebration is scheduled for Dec. 20. What’s not to love about holiday entertainment?
And if that doesn’t warm your heart, when you get home, turn up the heat and tune in the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming. The family-friendly cable destination boasts of being one of the most anticipated seasonal events on television, featuring more hours of holiday-themed programming than any other network. A bunch of movies have already aired to get folks in the yuletide spirit. Since Thanksgiving the animated special Jingle All the Way; plus Debbie Macomber’s Trading Christmas, starring Tom Cavanagh, Faith Ford, and Gil Bellows; and A Princess for Christmas with Sir Roger Moore, have been grabbing ratings, and there are more on the way.
Next up is Annie Claus Is Coming to Town, premiering Dec. 10 on the Hallmark Channel. Vivica A. Fox, Maria Thayer, and Vicki Lawrence are among the stars in the story that follows Santa’s daughter Annie (Thayer) when she takes her first trip away from the North Pole. A magic snow globe helps Santa and Mrs. Claus keep track of Annie as she has an “old fashioned” Christmas adventure and looses her heart in sunny California.
The Christmas Pageant is another seasonal treat, starring Melissa Gilbert, Robert Mailhouse, Ed Herrmann, and Lennon Wynn, premiering Dec. 11. The story is about Vera Parks (Gilbert), an intense Broadway director who is forced to direct a small town Christmas pageant. Of course the warmth and charm of the small town melts Vera’s big city heart.
Christmas Comes Home to Canaan, premiering Dec. 17, is a follow up to a very popular Hallmark movie Christmas in Canaan. Billy Ray Cyrus is reprising his role as Daniel Burton in the 1960s era saga of a family’s experiences in Canaan, Texas. This story follows Daniel’s son Bobber (Liam James) and is a tale about having the strength to open your heart and invite love into your life.
Christmas Magic, premiering Dec. 18, is set in New York City and stars Lindy Booth as Carrie who needs to earn her wings. She has one last “Angel Duty” task to complete on earth before she can fly into Heaven. But her deadline is Christmas Eve, and the widowed restaurant owner she’s helping has complicated things by turning up the heat in his kitchen.
Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sentimental and romantic movies are part of the holidays. And It’s a Wonderful Life is always lurking somewhere on the tube.