Holiday Bells on Television

Posted By Derek Nance on Dec 22, 2012 | 2 comments

As the holiday season rolls around every year, handbells seem to make there way into our lives in the most unexpected, yet stereotypical, ways.  Television producers especially like to use bells to accent their holiday specials, because of the ubiquitous feeling of holiday cheer everyone seems to feel upon hearing bells.  Take last week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, in which the guys use handbells to lower a drawbridge during a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

(If you want to watch the full episode, which I would highly recommend if you haven’t, check it out on

However, my absolute favorite episode of television featuring handbells has to be the Christmas episode of The West Wing during season 2.  After a moving episode in which a character relives a traumatic event accompanied by all sort of Christmas music (including a scene in which Yo Yo Ma performs Bach that I may have cried during), the show ends with this scene as he leaves the White House.

I love how the arrangement is so simple and yet so moving.  Many of us, myself included, get so caught up in having more and more bells and ringing faster and faster, that we can sometime lose sight of how powerful a small choir accompanying themselves on handbells can be, especially around the holidays.

What is your favorite appearance of bells on television?