If you like Christmas specials and you don’t already know Joanna Wilson’s definitive tome, you need to get one right away. Simply the best collection of listing of Christmas movies, episodes and specials I’ve ever seen.

Title: Tis The Season TV: The Encyclopedia of Christmas-Themed Episodes, Specials and Made-for-TV Movies
Year: 2011
Author: Joanna Wilson
Pages: 785

Quick, what’s that Christmas special, with that guy, from that show? Chances are, it’s in Joanna Wilson’s monstrously-thorough collection of every Christmas special, movie and television episode made.

Sometimes as a game, I try to come up with some obscure special that I think no one else knows of. Nope, it’s in there. I’ll keep trying, but I have little faith that there’s anything that’s been missed.

And the write-ups are great. They can remind you of what you’ve seen, enlighten you with facts, and amuse you with takes on stories you might know have before. I can literally pick up this encyclopedia and open it up anywhere and just start reading and enjoy it. I often take it to doctor’s appointments where I have to wait, because I know I can be entertained once I start and not worry about where I leave off. And you want an icebreaker? People seeing this book will ask you about it, I guarantee it.

Joanna’s passion for the material is impossible to miss. She didn’t do this as an assignment, she loves this material, she watched these specials and shares that in her writing. There’s a cheekiness in there that makes it so much fun to read. There’s something there if you’ve never heard of the special, but there’s often an extra little wink if you do and are reading her take.

If there’s a criticism, it’s a criticism of books in general for not being continuously up-to-date. My hope is that Joanna updates the book in the future, when I’ll happily buy another, but it seems too daunting a task to even hope for. I have no idea how she had the patience for a first so continuing seems like way too much to ask. Cataloguing everything up until 2011 deserves a hell of a lot of praise though, and she did it admirably.

If you like Christmas on film (or video or whatever), you need Tis the Season TV. It’s a great read and a great resource. And great fun!

Pick up this and other great titles from Joanna directly at www.christmastvhistory.com.