PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- Every Christmas, old glass ornaments shatter, big-bulb lights are replaced with LEDs, office parties are canceled and small pieces of holiday tradition fade into oblivion.
Nat King Cole's soft reminders of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Burl Ives' repetitive rant about having a holly jolly Christmas still fill the air, but they're slowly beaten back by Mariah Carey's soaring high notes in All I Want For Christmas Is You. Even televised holiday standards have a tough time holding up to today's Disney (DIS), DreamWorks (DWA) and adult-approved Victoria's Secret holiday specials.
Somewhere around the 20th time we saw Ralphie put a violent end to the Scut Farkus affair on TBS last year, it occurred to us that some of the season's most cherished holiday specials are showing their age a bit. Scratch that: The specials most of America places among its holiday classics have been with us for nearly five decades or more.
This would be akin to the whole country taking one month out of the year to tune out Modern Family and replace it with The Milton Berle Show, pull The Big Bang Theory off the air for reruns of The Honeymooners and put Survivor out to pasture in favor of original episodes of What's My Line? Yet every year, major networks that are already seeing their share sapped away by cable, satellite and streaming options opt to air holiday chestnuts that were first shown long before most of their key demographics were born.Does it pay off? Do Charlie Brown, Rudolph and the other holiday mainstays still draw the eyes and ad dollars they once did? We consulted with the folks at Nielsen (NLSN - Get Report) and got more than five years' worth of ratings for a handful of holiday favorites. The numbers aren't altogether merry, but these specials' continued presence in network lineups and performance against newer shows provides some reason for holiday cheer.