Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I have fond memories of the "TV Special". You know, the holiday specials that were preceeded by the funky drum and horns intro with the swirled-in "special" text (note: you can find just about anything on the internet. heh. here's a longer version for Rudolph.), then followed by a spot for Mounds and Almond Joy. They were an event, the one time when you were guaranteed that the family TV was going to have something interesting (to a kid) at 8:00 at night on a school night. You knew days in advance that the specials were coming. When you heard the drums start, you had to make sure your pajamas were on and (sometimes) your popcorn was ready and in-hand. You were ready for an hour of Christmas goodness. (they did such a good job of mangling our impressionable minds with the placement that I still strongly associate Mounds with the Peanuts Christmas special)
I have a son now, and look forward to him seeing those specials too. Not that TV is good for you, but these are just plain fun. Well, maybe without the candy ads :)
The problem is, they're not so special anymore. You can get them all on DVD and can see most of them on OnDemand and other cable networks. If you know you can always catch it again later if you miss it, it makes it not quite so special. Just like he won't have the Sears catalog with its entire huge section of toys to circle and pages to dog ear (I've seen one recently, it was all iPod stuff and a couple toys), or COSMOS on Sunday night on PBS, the special too has been changed - watered down - by the broader availability of media.
I think I'll resist the urge to buy the Rudolph or Peanuts DVDs and not point out to my son that you can see them just about any time you want - over and over. Maybe I'll pretend like that one night is it, even if it is on 3 different channels at five different times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then available on-demand for another month.
Then again, I did put Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas on my Amazon wish list. But hey, you can't catch that on TV any more :)
What do you all think?