You’re home with the family for the holidays and have watched every conceivable holiday film, but you and the kids still crave more, more, more televised cheer. We’ve got the solution. How about classic Christmas and Chanukah episodes of some favorite TV series? All in one place?
If you subscribe to CBS All Access – or if you give yourself the gift of a free week of the streaming service – they’ve got more than a half-dozen holiday treats ready to watch at the press of a button or key. Actually, the I Love Lucy Christmas Special, a perfect-for-the-family perennial, will air totally for free on CBS and be available via All Access on December 22. And, available now for streaming at any time on All Access are Sabrina The Teenage Witch, “Sabrina Claus;” Family Ties, “A Christmas Story;” The Brady Bunch, “The Voice of Christmas;” Cheers, “Christmas Cheers;” The Twilight Zone (original series), “The Night of The Meek;” Hawaii Five-O (reboot), “Ke Koho Mamao Aku;” Rugrats, “Chanukah” (which we praised to Hashem very recently); and Everybody Hates Chris, “Kwanzaa.”
The best offering of the bunch is “The Night of the Meek,” with the great Art Carney as Henry Corwin, a drunken department store Santa Claus who – courtesy of a Christmas Eve visit to the Twilight Zone – suddenly finds himself able to reach into his burlap bag and yank out presents the people around him request, including a cherry brandy from 1903. But what does Henry himself desire? Series creator Rod Serling wrote this second-season episode, which debuted in 1959(!), and it’s an unusually hopeful (and humorous) installment bolstered by a funny-sad-heartfelt performance from a post-Honeymooners Carney. For straight-up laughs, of course, we still love Lucy, and for pure schmaltz, we recommend “The Voice of Christmas” episode of The Brady Bunch, in which Cindy wishes to a mall Santa that her mom, Carol, will recover her voice in time to sing at church on Christmas Day. Hal Smith, who played Otis, Mayberry’s lovable town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show, guest stars as Santa. But you really haven’t lived until you’ve seen Carol Brady wake up on Christmas Day, bright and bushy, with perfect hair and flawless makeup, her voice fully restored, belting “O Come All Ye’ Faithful” first in bed to Mike, and then (swipe cut!) at church in front of her proud family and fellow parishioners (except for that one lady who looks pretty pissed). Now, that’s truly a holiday miracle.
Again, you can check out all of the above holiday episodes for free with a CBS All Access trial membership.