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Christmas in the media


Christmas in the media

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Christmas themes have long been an inspiration to artists, writers, and weavers of folklore. Moviemakers have picked up on this wealth of material, with both adaptations of literary classics and new stories. Radio and television have also aggressively pursued entertainment and ratings through their cultivation of Christmas themes.

Christmas movies and videos

Many Christmas stories have been adapted to movies and TV specials, and have been broadcast and repeated many times on TV. Since the popularization of home video in the 1980s, their many editions are sold and re-sold every year during the holiday shopping season. Notable examples are the film It's a Wonderful Life, and the similarly themed film versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge is an elderly miser who is visited by ghosts and learns the errors of his ways. The hero of the former, George Bailey, is a businessman who sacrificed his dreams to help his community. On Christmas Eve, a guardian angel finds him in despair and prevents him from committing suicide, by magically showing him how much he meant to the world around him.

A few true stories have become enduring Christmas tales themselves. The story behind the Christmas carol "Silent Night" and the story of "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" are among the most well-known of these true tales of Christmas.

In North America, the holiday movie season often includes release of studios' most prestigious pictures, in an effort both to capture holiday crowds and to position themselves for Oscar consideration. Next to summer, this is the second-most lucrative season for the industry. Christmas movies generally open no later than Thanksgiving, as their themes are not so popular once the season is over.

Television and Christmas

TV programming in the United Kingdom also includes an expanding holiday season. Perhaps aiming for the establishment of new Christmas institutions are the UK's seasonal specials, most notably with shows like Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Only Fools and Horses and Top of the Pops. The animated tale The Snowman has been screened for many years during the Christmas period, and a new story, The Bear, by the same artist and company, is usually broadcast around the same time. In addition, HM Queen Elizabeth II annually broadcasts a 10-minute speech on Christmas Day at 3 p.m., charting her views of the past year and giving her own reflections and advice.

In the United States, most family-oriented TV series produce a Christmas special. Stand-alone Christmas specials are also popular, from newly created animated shorts and movies to repeats of those that were popular in previous years, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Some local affiliates provide the Yule Log, a block of time on Christmas morning showing footage of a fireplace, coupled with popular Christmas music. Many long-running American and UK soap operas have Christmas specials, usually involving a dramatic storyline developed over several weeks which culminates at Christmas. Often these stories are tragic, involving a death, divorce, a dramatic revelation or similar event.

Christmas on the radio

Many radio stations begin to add Christmas songs to their rotation in late November, and often switch to all-Christmas programming for December 25th. Some do for part of or all of December 24th as well. A few stations switch to all-Christmas music for the entire season (some beginning as early as mid-November); In Detroit, 100.3 WNIC in 2005 started Christmas music day and night on midnight of October 31 because programmers believed that at least some listeners who are attracted by the Christmas music will remain loyal listeners when the station reverts to its standard format on Boxing Day. Radio stations also broadcast classical music, such as the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. Among other classical pieces inspired by Christmas are the Nutcracker Suite, adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet score, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Some radio stations play Christmas music commercial-free the entire day on Christmas Day, others on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The UK music industry features the battle of the bands and artists to make it to the 'Christmas No. 1' spot, recognised on the first Sunday before, or on, Christmas Day. Many of these songs are festive, while others are novelty songs that remain but briefly at the top of the chart. Gospel singer Cliff Richard is a fixture of Christmas charts, appearing nearly every year, and subsequently being mocked for doing so.

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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