5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
I wonder how many times I’ve seen this. My guess is somewhere around 486 times, despite not having watched it a single time in the past decade, yet, somehow, I’m pretty sure I still know every word. That Dr. Suess! He was a clever one! And those pour little Who’s in Whoville! They’re Christmas was STOLEN right out from under them and they didn’t give a flying fuck, because Christmas is Christmas dammit, and we’ll celebrate whether we have presents, food and decorations or NOT! As a child, the concept was so above my head. It stressed me out endlessly to watch that damn Grinch steal the Christmas out of everyone’s home, like OH NO! NOT THE PRESENTS!! And again, in the end, when we learn that Christmas isn’t about the material blah blah blah, I was only relieved when the Grinch returned their shit. I think I spent the better part of my childhood fearing that some local meth-head would sneak into my home, and steal my Christmas, only I wouldn’t have a whole town of ADORABLE Christmas loving songsters to stand around the town square and belt out Christmas carols with, but rather an angry Sheriff in my living room explaining to my parents that thieves RARELY think better of their actions upon viewing a rousing rendition of a Christmas standard.
4. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (animated) (1974)
My love of this animated Christmas special is about to speak volumes about how culturally void my life was as a child. THIS WAS the ONLY version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas I was even aware of until roughly fourth grade. I remember a teacher reciting the poem (is it a poem or a story?) in elementary school and me thinking, “Wait just a damn minute. What happened to the mice?” I’m still confused. What the hell does one have to do with the other? What IS this story? The narrator/the human (again, confusion) starts out with your classic “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse” and then a mouse enters the scene, admits that he is in fact stirring, and then takes us back in time to the beginning of the broken clock/Santa doesn’t exist/why the fuck does every human have a mouse assistant hairbrained story. That said. I LOVE this animated special.
3. The Glo Friends Save Christmas (1985)
This is one of those specials whose most memorable viewing was during a bout with the stomach flu (or home made fudge overdose, which I THOUGHT was the flu EVERY year until about 2003) so despite loving it, the mere thought of it also makes me totally nauseous (and curiously nostalgic for a Hello Kitty cup with matching lid and crazy straw). As for the plot. I have no clue what actually happens, but there’s a lady who wears a purple fox as a scarf who somehow prevents Santa Claus from reaching the world of the Glo friends, also known as the Glo WORMS and that crazy looking giant teradactyl glo animal they hang out with.
2. Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)
Is this Christmas special even real? It can’t possibly be. Imagine some shit like this going down today. It’s like the greatest hodge podge of cameos ever created! I mean, when was the last time you saw Joan Rivers, CHARO, Oprah, Whoopi, Annette Funicello, LITTLE RICHARD, Magic Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor and K.D. Lang in one place?? I struggle to even comprehend the modern day equivalent!! My favorite part however, is the song by those kitschy olden timey triplets (the Del Rubios)!!!! Nothing says Christmas quite like novelty multiples on ice! I’ve seriously never seen anything so wonderful in my life. Those tiny guitars! Those ridiculous hot-pants! Their mild speech impediments! Those boots! Those hose! The synchronized walking spin moves! And how bout that hairdo! Or the purple eye shadow! Here, get a load of this. . .
1. 24 HOURS of A Christmas Story (1983)
That’s right. I break the rules EVERY week. Oh this is a movie you say? Well, it WAS a movie, but by airing it consecutively for 24 hours in a row, it becomes a Christmas SPECIAL. See the difference? I thought so. Back in the day (I’m talking late 80’s early 90’s) TBS peddled the shit out of this movie. Ingrained in my brain is the part where Santa kicks Ralphie in the head down the slide at the department store, a part that frightened me so much that I never ventured to watch this gem until the sixth grade, at which point I fell in LOVE. When TNT began airing it for 24 hours beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting halfway through Christmas day, I began tuning my television to channel 27 first during holiday celebrations on Christmas Eve evening at my grandparent’s house, and then in my room until I fell asleep at night. Seriously, I cannot think of a single Christmas Eve since this tradition began that I didn’t fall asleep trying to keep my eyes open just long enough to catch a glimpse of Ralphie in that ridiculous bunny costume. Although my favorite part (which I believe to also be the most underrated/unnoticed part) is when he and Randy are waiting in line to see Santa and that retarded kid behind them asks if they like the Wizard of Oz. Watch for it next time, after all, you’ll have like 14 chances in less than 24 hours, and with DVR, probably more.