Stars align for the 87th Annual Holiday Christmas Parade
Christmas in Tinseltown: On the first day of Christmas, my TV gave to me a parade and celebrities. If that kind of gift sounds appealing to you, perhaps you might scrawl a note upon your advent calendar to remind you to check out the 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade when it airs Friday, Dec. 14, on CW.
The yearly celebration occurs the Sunday after Thanksgiving and is recorded before undergoing a brief phase of post-production magic (including the addition of multiple live performances that actual attendees of the parade sadly miss out on) to gussy it up for its eventual mid-December airdate on CW.
It may be tempting to question the bona fides of a Christmas parade that’s held in 60 degree weather, is hosted by celebrities in redundant peacoats and scarves, and travels down a preposterously wide red carpet instead of frigid, snow-packed pavement, but with 86 successful editions in the books, the Hollywood Christmas Parade (née the “Santa Claus Lane Parade,” then occasionally known as the “Hollywood Santa Parade,” and at least once as the “Blockbuster Hollywood Spectacular Parade”) is probably older (and maybe even wiser) than we are. So maybe we should cool down and embrace its thoroughly Hollyweird take on holiday spirit.
Notwithstanding a few years amidst the turmoil of World War II when the parade was suspended, the event has been held each year since 1928 and has battled through periods of waning interest and a changing media landscape to survive into the 21st century. Touted as the largest Christmas celebration in America, the Hollywood Christmas Parade blends parade staples (costumes, marching bands, floats, elegant horses, enormous balloons in the shape of Kermit the Frog, and a waving Santa Claus) with a sprinkling of Hollywood glitz in the form of celebrity hosts, guests and performers.
This year’s parade grand marshal is entertainment journalist Nancy O’Dell, and she’s buttressed by veteran parade hosts Erik Estrada (“CHiPs”), Laura McKenzie (“Laura McKenzie’s Traveler”), Dean Cain (“Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”) and Montel Williams (“The Montel Williams Show”). Celebrity guests include multimedia personality Kerri Kasem, actress Anneliese van der Pol (“That’s So Raven”), actress and singer Kiara Barnes (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) and others. Performers include Grammy winner Ashanti and “American Idol” alumni Mikalah Gordon, Ruben Studdard and David Archuleta.
With a million attendees, recognizable faces and a glammed-up feast for the eyes, the 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade is Tinseltown’s luxurious kickoff to the holiday season. Catch it on CW on Friday, Dec. 14.
Yuletide serenade: On the second day of Christmas, my TV gave to me several crooners crooning. If your tastes tend toward live musical performance over pageantry, then perhaps your best chance at holiday cheer is “CMA Country Christmas,” airing Monday, Dec. 10, on ABC.
This year’s “CMA Country Christmas” is the ninth installment of the special and features Reba McEntire returning as host for a second consecutive year. McEntire is also scheduled to perform, and she’s joined on the stage by a wide array of other familiar voices from the country music genre and beyond. Additional performers include Tony Bennett, Amy Grant, Diana Krall, Dan + Shay, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Brett Eldredge, Lindsey Stirling, Old Dominion, The Isaacs, and others.
The special caps off the Country Music Association’s most wonderful time of the year, following on the heels of November’s CMA Awards ceremony (where Old Dominion took home the “Vocal Group of the Year” award).
If countrified takes on holiday favorites sounds like a present you’d enjoy unwrapping, the ninth annual “CMA Country Christmas” special will assuredly deliver the goods. It airs Monday, Dec. 10, on ABC.
Pimple all the way: On the third day of Christmas, my TV gave to me ... 12 unspeakable nightmares. If parades and music are simply not disgusting enough to pique your interest,TLC has you covered with its Christmas edition of the unexpected hit show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” airing Thursday, Dec. 13.
The name of the show really sums up the special’s content.The eponymous doctor is Dr. Sandra Lee of Upland, California, a dermatologist who gained notoriety via YouTube videos of her performing gruesome skin treatment procedures on patients.
Icky surgeries and medical or cosmetic procedures are a surprisingly popular subgenre of internet video — the frisson of observing an uncomfortable or painful condition and its resulting elimination through proficient treatment is highly satisfying to a certain sort. Lee made her mark in this weird niche by combining her magnetic personality with high production values, and it led to TLC nabbing her and legitimizing the bizarre viewing habits of the internet by turning her into a real television star.
Lee says the holiday season is a busy time for her practice as patients prepare for high-stakes festivities and strive to look their best. If needles, scalpels and other intense solutions to skin conditions sound like a delightful guilty pleasure, then “Dr. Pimple Popper: The 12 Pops of Christmas” could bring you an evening of skin-crawling holiday joy. And there’s no shame if you require a stiff mug of spiced rum before tuning in on Thursday, Dec. 13, on TLC.
Erik Estrada and Laura McKenzie host the 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade