I first saw Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Animagic Rankin/Bass production, when I was four years old. Because I watch the thing every year, it's fair to say I have seen it at least forty times, which would explain why I can recite it practically line for line.
And I can sing all the songs. There's Sam the Snowman singing "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,..." And there's Clarise trying to cheer up Rudolph with "There's always tomorrow for dreams to come..." And there's Hermie singing "I am not just a misfit. You can't fire me, I quit. Seems I don't fit in."
I know the Abominable is a sad excuse for a monster. I know that Santa is mean to Rudolph when he should be benevolent. I know Santa quadruples in size in just one meal. But none of these shortcomings matters because this little film is my Christmas treat. It's a staple. It's a remnant from when I was able to take things at face value, just sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the show without picking it apart and analyzing its flaws
Hermie gets to be a dentist. Rudolph gets to drive the sleigh. The Misfit Toys get loving homes. Santa apologizes for his bad behavior. The Abominable gets to put the star on the tree. It's a happy ending for everyone involved. And that makes me happy, because in real life that hardly ever happens
So, I make no apologies for treasuring this secular film about a flying deer with a physical defect during a holiday season that was intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Rudolph doesn't diminish the meaning of Christmas, it enhances it with nostalgia and simplicity and a Burl Ives snow man who welcomes you in, saying, "pull up an ice block and lend an ear." "Then how the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you'll go down in history."
Here are a few other movies/shows I watch every Christmas
Holiday Inn (could Fred Astaire be anymore adorable?)
Meet Me In St. Louis
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated only!)
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street (both the Natalie Wood and the remake)
A Christmas Carol. There are so many version out there, I'm not sure which one I like best. So I'm taking a poll here. Which one do you like best?