Review: The holidays get the deluxe treatment in 'The Christmas Specials Collection'

Posted December 06,2018 - 05:07 PM

When I was a child, there was no greater thrill in the world than seeing the iconic CBS special presentation logo. It meant that we were in for a good time.

During the holidays, it meant that the regularly scheduled broadcast was going to be interrupted for the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. This was a time before DVRs and widespread availability of these specials on VHS.

You had one choice. Drop everything that you were doing and sit your butt on the couch at the time that it said in the TV Guide, or you would miss Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman for an entire year.

You also had to get up off the couch to turn the channel because remote controls hadn't been invented yet. I'm old, get off my lawn. Man, I loved that CBS special presentation and I could watch it all day. In fact, I found someone who created a three-minute loop of it on YouTube, because why not?

Now, you too can experience what it was like to be five-year-old me around this time of year.

Wasn't that amazing? It certainly brings back the nostalgia for the holidays of my youth, which is sort of the point of The Original Christmas Specials Collection. Thankfully, we no longer live in the dark ages and we don't have to schedule our lives around a TV network. Nope, now we have the technology and we can watch The Little Drummer Boy anytime we want. If you want to see it in July, go right ahead!

Of course, nothing beats watching these holiday classics during their intended season of joy. So, this past weekend, as we were putting up our Christmas tree and getting our house in order for the season, we decided to break out the Deluxe Edition of The Original Christmas Specials Collection and it provided the perfect backdrop to our festive preparations.

My kids are at the perfect age for these specials and naturally they wanted to start with Rudolph and Frosty. I can't really blame them, as they are the two most iconic specials in the collection. Of course, my favorite has always been The Little Drummer Boy, so we watched that one third.

I've always enjoyed Santa Claus is Coming to Town for its quirkiness, but kids have yet to really bond with it. Finally, we watched one that they had never seen and I can't really remember if I had ever seen it, Cricket on the Hearth. It certainly wasn't in as high of rotation as the other specials in the collection, but it was a fresh take (at least to us) on the holiday special.

Beyond the films, I was entranced by the bonus features. I'm sure most of them were previously available, but there were a few new goodies such as the "Animagic World of Rankin/Bass" that make the Deluxe Edition worth the price alone. These special features truly were a walk down memory lane for me and while my kids were all "Christmased out" by that point, I thoroughly enjoyed the deep dive into these holiday classics.

The Deluxe Edition is reasonably priced on both DVD and Blu-ray and it makes for the perfect one-stop viewing experience for an evening of holiday nostalgia. It's clear to me as I watch all of the lesser holiday specials that come out each and every year that they don't make them like they used to.