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Christmas: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Holiday Movies And TV Specials Of All Time

Everyone has a favorite Christmas holiday movie or two that they have to watch each and every year and many others have cherished animated Christmas specials that they have ran out and purchased DVD versions to share with their kids. And then there are those TV specials that ran only one time on TV that left everyone scratching their heads wondering what it was that they had just watched. Here are just some of the good, the bad, and the ugly holiday movies and TV specials of all time.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Favorite TV Specials:

Time has created a list for “10 Greatest Christmas TV Specials From Your Childhood” which doesn’t feature any real surprises. The top 10 are:

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer(1964)
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas(1966)
  • The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969)
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970)
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
  • The Muppets’ Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977)
  • Jack Frost (1979)

The Best and Questionable Holiday Movies and Specials:

Reviewed.com recently compiled a list of the best holiday movies available on various paid TV subscriber services like Netflix and Hulu. Their good list includes such standards as Bing Crosby’s 1950’s White Christmas, 1947’s The Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Polar Express. Surprisingly though, the 12 Dates of Christmas, The Search for Santa Paws and the anti-Christmas movie, Gremlins, also made the list.

The Really Ugly Holiday Movies:

This week, Business Insider compiled a list of the worst Christmas movies ever made as according to RottenTomatoes.com. Among those on the bottom include 2008’s Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn’s Four Christmases (25 percent “rotten”), the creepy, “My-dead-dad-is-now-a-snowman” Jack Frost starring Michael Keaton (20 percent), Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad’s Jingle All the Way (17 percent), Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause (when Disney didn’t know when to quit at just two) (15 percent) Christmas with the Kranks (five percent) and Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (zero percent). To be fair, that last one is not really a traditional movie, but still…

Star Wars Holiday Special

The Indescribable TV Specials:

Then there’s TV Guide which shared a list of “crazy Christmas specials” which include the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (which has only aired one time on CBS and has never been released on VHS or DVD, at least not legally), Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988) (where Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello were reportedly held hostage until they created 1000 Christmas cards and other mayhem), Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular (the writer said that the special left the “feeling like our eggnog was spiked”) and the 1985 He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special. They also listed the made-for-TV movie, A Very Brady Christmas as being terribly depressing. Ironically, the Brady movie made Reviewed.com’s list for movies not to miss.


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Entertainment Tonight also created their own list of “Most Baffling TV Holiday Specials Ever Made” which includes the above mentioned Star Wars special and the odd Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search for Santa from 1985. The storyline there was that Mr. Williams “invites” many of the children from popular NBC sitcoms at the time (Punky Brewster, The Cosby Show, etc.) to a remote cabin in Finland to find Santa. It also showed that even though you might be a child TV star, doesn’t mean that you can sing. It too only ran once.

[Featured Image by CBS]