posted by Joe Anaya on December 29th, 2014

In the olden days before DVDs, Blurays, and DVRs, every holiday season I’d race through the TV Guide to find when the specials were going to be on and scream at my mom to mark the calendar so I wouldn’t forget. I have fond memories of getting in the holiday spirit by sitting around and watching TV. So, here is a list of the top 10 holiday movies and television specials.

10. Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special –Somewhere between Mr. Rogers and Monty Python, Pee Wee finds a cool balance of playful and hip.

9. A Charlie Brown Christmas – When your wife says, “Not that Charlie Brown tree,” you know exactly what she means.

8. A Christmas Carol (1951) – Alastair Sim is the quintessential Ebenezer Scrooge. He grows from mean and sinister to joyous and generous and takes us along for the ride.

7. Frosty The Snow Man – Jimmy Durante’s singular voice and a catchy song. A great way to spend 22 minutes.

6. Miracle on 34th Street – Name another story that balances the legal maneuvering of a defense lawyer, the political aspirations of a judge, the cynicism of adults and the belief of children as well as this film.

5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The origin story of a different kind of superhero. The first and only appearance of the classic stop motion animation specials on my list.

4. Elf – Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf makes me laugh just thinking about him. Santa’s words of advice, “If you see gum on the street, leave it there. It’s not free candy.”

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Talk about singular voices. Boris Karloff at his Grinchiest.

2. A Christmas Story – “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Anyone who’s celebrated Christmas can relate to the classic. Full of memorable moments that seem to run from beginning to end: the lamp, soap poisoning, terrifying store Santas, awful presents, bullies, the list goes on.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life – Wouldn’t we all like to know that our friends would come through in a pinch? Or that our lives made a positive difference for everyone around us? Or that the sacrifices we’ve made to our dreams have been worth it? “Here’s to the richest man in the world.” I’m getting a little misty-eyed just writing those words.

Honorable Mention: The Santa Clause National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone

Subversive Holiday Spirit (in no particular order): A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, Bad Santa, Go, South Park: Spirit of Christmas, South Park: Red Sleigh Down, The Hebrew Hammer and Nightmare Before Christmas.

Happy Holidays.


Note: I know some of you are already asking, “What? Where is Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer?” I never liked that show. It feels like the message is “Don’t spend time with people (or elves or animals) who are different unless you can use them to your advantage.” Nope, not for me.

File Under Mr. Cool