Okay, so the Halloween candy and Thanksgiving turkey are eaten, and is now time for comical or touching holiday specials. I know there are already lists of great TV shows, movies, books…whatever. But they’re wrong.
Here’s my list of beloved holiday entertainment, starting with the first two best Christmas movies ever:
A Christmas Story.
“Iz shtuhhh! Iz shtuuUUUUHHHHHH!” This “dreaded” Triple-dog Dare to his friend was one of many fantastic moments of young Ralphie, who wants nothing more than a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas. Yet everyone tells him:
“You’ll shoot your eye out.”
I watch this film every year and still laugh. My favorite part is when Ralphie goes ballistic on the bully. Oh, fudge.
This is my favorite flick of the Lampoon’s series. Clark Griswald set the American standard for decorating your house for Christmas by blinding his neighbors and nearly shorting out his house. Christmas Vacation shows all the beauty and joy of the holidays…yet all the stress that comes with making the magic happen.
The Boondocks is an anime you can see on Adult Swim, featuring two African American brothers raised by their old- school grandfather. The elder sibling, Huey (seen on the left) is asked to direct the school’s Christmas play, and thus The Adventures of Black Jesus is born. The other parents boycott the production because their white children could not be cast as the main characters. Meanwhile his brother, Riley (yielding a golf club on the right) has a beef against Santa for not bringing him the rims he asked for. In his letter, he calls Santa a few choice words. Riley then goes on rampages, attacking mall Santas in front of crying children, eventually going gansta and shooting one with airshot pistols. Better “pay what you owe” Santa!
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.
On the subject of Christmas pageants featuring the baby Jesus, in 1972 novel, six delinquent siblings (the Herdmans) took over a production of the nativity. The results? A bossy angel who swatted people with her star wand. A Mary that donned large hoop earrings and burped the Baby Jesus in his “wadded up clothes.” Squabbling shepard boys. And one unforgettable Nativity. “Hey! Unto you a child is born!”
The Twelve Pains of Christmas.
This parody song captures the not-so-joyful aspects of the holidays, such as sending out Christmas cards (“Oh, I don’t even know half these people!”) Rigging up the lights, facing the in-laws (“She’s a witch, I hate her!), holiday party hangovers, and finding a Christmas tree are all stressfully highlighted.
A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Charlie and the Peanuts gang debuted their first full length animated feature during the Christmas holidays since 1965, and it’s been broadcasted every year since then. It also stars a sad-looking Christmas tree that Charlie never gives up on. I think what I love most about the Peanuts Christmas is all the wonderful piano music.
This 1970 TV special is my favorite of the stop-motion holiday movies. Kris Kringle warms the hearts of many sad children and melts the heart of the Winter Warlock with his kindness and hand made toys. But there’s that Burgermeister Meisterburger guy that kept taking the toys away from the children. So Kris had to sneak down the chimneys and hide the presents in stockings. This red-headed rebel was not going to stopped so easily!
A Muppet Family Christmas.
I love the Muppets, who doesn’t? This 1987 production brought all of Jim Henson’s wonderful creations together: The Muppets, Sesame Street characters, the Fraggles and even the Muppet Babies. “Doc” Crystal and his dog Sprocket (from Fraggle Rock) rent a home in the forest that belongs to Fozzie Bear’s mother. Yet all the other Muppets end up joining him for holiday fun while they are snowed in. The Count plants himself by a window and counts the snowflakes (Ha ha ha!). The Swedish Chef has his eyes on Big Bird to cook up and feed to the group. And Miss Piggy makes a grand entrance in a sleigh.
A Christmas Carol.
Curl up with Charles Dickens’ classic book by the fire place. Then pick from a plethora of movies that depict this wonderful tale. Let’s see, we’ve got George C. Scott, Michael Cain and the Muppets, Scrooge McDuck and Mickey Mouse, and Jim Carey to choose from. My personal favorite is Mickey’s Christmas Carol, featuring the bumbling Goofy as a Jacob Marley, who trips over his chains as much as he howls, moans, and haunts.
What are your favorite holiday specials?