We admitted the weirdest (& best!) holiday movies, specials, and episodes we watch every year

We admitted the weirdest holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year

Most of us have some holiday movies and shows we watch every year: Rudolph, Frosty, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation.

The staff here got to talking about it and it got… weird. I mentioned a Christmas horror movie I dig, someone else mentioned A Very Brady Christmas. It got funky, nostalgic, and super '80s really quickly. I decided to round up some of the weirder ones (and some of the BEST overlooked ones) that we simply have to watch each year around the holidays.

Sure, we're all watching Elf, but what are we watching secretly in our beds with the cats and the rest of the advent calendar?

Sales Manager Tiff

We admitted the weirdest holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year
Dem perms in A Very Brady Christmas

A Very Brady Christmas. A classic! I mean, if Carol Brady singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" doesn't get you, perhaps you are dead inside. And this comes from a hardcore atheist.

Santa Claus: The Movie. Dark and awesome origin story of Santa. And John Lithgow as the evil toymaker? Come on.

One Magic Christmas. Sigh. So much to say. Peak '80s dark factor. Fun fact: this is a Disney movie! What!

"So Called Angels" episode of My So-Called Life. Delicious '90s goodness! Julianna Hatfield as an angel? Yes please. Shedding light on the plight of runaway teens? Thank you, television.

Former Editor Megan

We admitted the weirdest (& best!) holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year
Die Hard

The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas movie AND Muppet movie combined.

Oh and Die Hard!

Oh and Scrooged!

Former editor & copyeditor Caroline

We admitted the weirdest (& best!) holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year
A Muppet Family Christmas

I’m very passionate about this topic, thank you for asking. A Muppet Family Christmas is my all-time fave.

An ex used to watch A Junkie’s Christmas every year. That’s definitely weird!

Sr. Editor Catherine

We admitted the weirdest holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale — a surprisingly awesome and definitely unconventional horror-meet-Christmas tale from Finland.

Mickey's Christmas Carol — because Scrooge McDuck needed to play Ebenezer Scrooge at some point.

The Simpsons: The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire — The introduction to Santa’s Little Helper and a fun Christmassy tale from way back in season one.

Nomination for a new tradition: A Christmas Prince from Netflix. It's DRIVEL. It's every cliche in the holiday book. And I'll definitely watch it again.

Publisher Ariel

We admitted the weirdest holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year

I am a basic bitch and will say that Tavi and I seem to watch Frozen every winter, but now he's got his new lyrics (as seen on my Instagram stories). [Spoiler: the new lyrics are "Let it go, let it go, let the toilet overflow!"]

Developer Kellbot

We admitted the weirdest holiday movies, specials, and episodes we MUST watch every year
The Christmas Toy

The Christmas Toy!

YOUR TURN! What weird, silly, lesser-known holiday films are you watching? Share in the comments so we can add 'em!

  1. My favorite is While You Were Sleeping. Sure, the premise is a little creepy, but Sandra Bullock's character is so genuine and the family is the best family ever. Their conversations are amazing.

  2. Agree with Die Hard, Rare Exports, and Muppet Christmas Carol. Also must watch:

    Long Kiss Goodnight

    My mom loves Switchmas

  3. Asterix and Cleopatra, the 1968 animated version.

    Good, wholesome cartoon from way before 3d and special effects, it has a lot of catchy songs. There is nothing christmassy at all about it, except for the fact that a local television station in my french speaking province has marathoned the Asterix films every year at Christmas time for, oh, about twenty years, and this is the best one. (I don’t even have cable tv anymore and actually rented it on apple tv for the past two years to keep up the tradition. Both kiddo and husband insisted.)

    • Totally! My husband asked for the boxed set of all Astérix movies a few years ago, so we're set even though Ciné-cadeau doesn't stream. I do miss some of the shorts though. If you ever feel nostalgic of other movies that are not showing anymore, here's a great little blog that tracked some down : http://cinecadeau.blogspot.ca/

      • By the way, if you play Pokemon Go and your username is the same as the one on here, I think we might be working close to each other 😉 If that's the case, thanks for the lures and merry Christmas!

        • Wow that's an awesome find!

          (And nope, I don't play pokemon Go. Guess my name isn't original. Lol)

          Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. I've loved it my entire life. My parents had to limit it to only after Thanksgiving until Christmas, because otherwise my sister and I would watch it year round and they couldn't take it. Now it's tradition to watch it the day after Thanksgiving as a family.

    Also, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is a favorite. Love the story and all the music.

  5. SouthPark's Woodland Critter Christmas
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the older cartoon version. Never the Jim Carey one. Never.)

  6. Lion in Winter (Everyone's favorite home-for-the-holidays family drama – intrigue! affairs! estrangement! nobody approves of anyone's significant others! stabbings! covert homosexuality! Katherine Hepburn & Peter O'Toole being the awesome parents no one wants!) I'm also hoping to finally show my wife Hogfather (she loves Pratchett but hasn't seen the movie) and we'll definitely watch Carol sometime in the Christmas-to-New Years stretch.

  7. Garfield's 9 lives is a must for me. I'm from the same French-speaking province as SonyaG, and that was also a classic movie on the Christmas schedule for that public TV station.

    Muppet's Christmas Carol is the best Christmas movie ever, and Micheal Caine is the best Scrooge! I also have two other Muppets Christmas specials on DVD. A Very Merry Muppets Christmas is also very good.

    I also watch the The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis episode from the Big Bang Theory about every year now 🙂

    • Oh man I freaking LOVE Garfield's 9 Lives! I have been trying to find a copy forever. We used to rent that one at least monthly at the video store!

  8. My partner and i watch all of the Christmas episodes of The Office every Christmas Eve. It's a nice way to pass the time waiting for the kids to fall asleep so we can fill stockings and put out their Santa gift.

  9. This year for the first night of Hanukkah I all the sudden had a fierce need to watch An American Tail. While not a Hanukkah story per se it does begin with the Mouskewitzs celebrating Hanukkah. It was a staple movie during my childhood and since it is currently available on Netflix I texted my sister and she watched it too.

  10. I put on the Hallmark Channel and take a sip of something alcoholic every time something cliche happens. They're pretty much all the exact same movie, so it doesn't matter if you come in halfway through or not.

    • Best ever! My son who will be 2 soon is still requesting this daily, and we have been watching it since mid Nov. All of us grab an instrument and rock out. Also our local movie theater shows it during its Christmas in Our Hometown for free. That had to be one of the best times I have ever had at a movie.

  11. Home Alone (honourable mention to Home Alone 2, but only if you can handle *that* cameo without being sick)
    The Strike (Seinfeld season 9)
    The Christmas episode of Miranda
    And, yes, Love Actually.

    • We watched Home Alone 2 for the first time in years last night. I'd completely forgotten about that cameo and it was unpleasantly jarring.

  12. Babes in Toyland,
    The Nutcracker Prince,
    Jack Frost [Rankin/Bass],
    …the rest of the Rankin/Bass Christmas films,
    A Charlie Brown Christmas,
    and an assortment of those old cartoons from the '30s & '40s.

  13. The Doctor Who Christmas episodes (specifically from season 1 with Rose, and then the season 3 one with Donna), as well as the episode with Charles Dickens. Perfectly Christmas-y and Doctor Who magic!
    The Futurama Christmas episodes (brought to you by Gunderson's Nuts!) They're short and sweet.

  14. I always watch the standard Christmas Vacation and also Mickey's Christmas Carol. Last year for Friendmas we were Netflix surfing and tumbled upon our new tradition, watching the Power Rangers Christmas special, the Roboknight before Christmas. It's as bad as it sounds, do yourself a favour lol

  15. Our Christmas Eve movie is Rise of the Guardians (the one with Santa and Jack Frost not to be confused with Guardians of the Galaxy).

  16. There is a very terribly campy awesome to make fun of video called Wee Sing Best Christmas Ever. Find it on YouTube, watch (and gleefully yell at the screen) with friends.


    I don't know when I watched it, but it probably hasn't been since the literal 80s. I forgot it even existed until just now, and seeing that picture totally gave me deja vu and holy shit I remember having watched this as a kid. Now I must seek it out again!

    My favorite is A Christmas Story, which someone told me wasn't popular until recently? It's been a family must my entire life, we've probably all got it memorized. I also love the Home Alones, although yeah, #2 is kind of tough to watch now :/ (Only 1 and 2 exist in my book. The non-Macaulay Culkin sequels do not count.)

    Dishonorable mention goes to the Star Wars Holiday Special, which I have only attempted once, and got through it solely because I was with my husband and best friends and we were drinking fairly heavily and live-facebooking the experience.

  18. Some favorites we enjoy are Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Steve Martin and John Candy; a story of true friendship amidst holiday travel travails. Assault on Precinct 13 with Laurence Fishbine and Ethan Hawke (who is excellent, by the way) is a police drama about trust and finding inner strength. Bad language is rife in the hilarious family relationships Christmas comic drama The Ref, with Denis Leary and Judy Davis, but if you can overlook the swearing it contains an underlying message about true happiness.

  19. I rock it old school. For me it's all about the 1970s stop-motion animation specials.
    "The Year Without A Santa Claus": It's not Christmas if Heat Miser and Cold Miser aren't going at it.
    "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town": Burgermeister Meisterburger!! Also? Young sessy Santa! Courting young sessy Mrs Claus! Mreow.
    "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer": Need I say more?

    Oh ok one more: Love Actually.

  20. YES A Muppet Family Christmas! Most people don’t even know what it is. Our old vhs recorded off the tv from the 80’s was wearing thin and it was hard to get a DVD copy because unedited versions were never released in the US. Had to buy a bootleg off eBay from the UK. So good. Fraggles, Sesame Street, muppet babies, AND traditional muppets.

  21. Oh man. Muppet Christmas Carol, the year without a santa Claus, olive the other reindeer, Garfield christmas, the first home alone, christmas vacation, the snowman… And those are just off the top of my head!

  22. Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol is a favorite from when I was a kid. The first version of "A Christmas Carol" I ever saw, I was just 6 when it was first shown on TV.
    Muppet Family Christmas a favorite that we first saw when my daughter was a baby 30 years ago, one of the best Muppet specials ever!

  23. Muppet Christmas Carol and Die Hard are my two must-watches, and my husband grew up on Mickey's Christmas Carol (which I honestly can't stand, mainly because I have to cover my ears whenever Donald's on screen).

    But I will always have a soft spot for Santa's Slay, featuring the dramatic stylings of one Bill Goldberg of WCW fame.

  24. Yes to Muppet Family Christmas, which is preceded on my taped-from-tv VHS by Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and A Claymation Christmas Celebration. I have no clue when my parents taped these for me, since I was born in '87 and the specials are my age or older, but that's my bizarro Christmas Canon.

  25. I tend toward Christmas fare with a slightly darker undertone:

    A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Between the minimalist animation and dialog, as well as the killer soundtrack, I never considered it a kids' cartoon. I watched the premiere in 1965, back when Peanuts was considered a cool and edgy comic strip.)

    Nativity! and Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger (Yeah, they're both kinda screwball, but there's deeper stuff if you get past the fluff. Plus Martin Freeman and David Tennant!)

    Flint Street Nativity. (Because the child is the father of the man. Just watch it and see what I mean. Extra points if you're a Ballykissangel fan.)

    Oh, and my definitive production of A Christmas Carol? The 1970 Albert Finney production of Scrooge. The "Thank You Very Much" sequence is priceless!

  26. Ren and Stimpy: Have yourself a stinky little Christmas.

    My family has watched that almost every Christmas for about 20 years. Ever since my brother got the orange VHS as a kid.

  27. The common ones I gotta watch are The Santa Clause, The Holiday, and the original Miracle on 34th Street.

    I LOVE a Muppet Family Christmas, and this year I saw Joyeux Noel for the first time, which will definitely be a new go-to choice for Christmas Eve.

    I like the Doctor Who special with the flying sharks, and also Warehouse 13 and Eureka had some fantastic Christmas episodes I like to watch when I can find them.

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