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Best Christmas Specials

Now, the holiday season is quickly approaching and it’s the time when people sit down and watch their favorite movies. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re probably aware of these specials movies. Today, let’s talk about some of the best ones and even some you haven’t thought about or watched.

01. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Credit: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

While there has been another film about the reindeer, this one is the most watched and considered the best since not many people know of the other one. It’s adorable, but when you’re older, you start to realize how horrible everyone is to Rudolph and pick up on some..things that would not be accepted in today’s society (ex. “This is man’s work!”). Despite all that, it’s still an enjoyable and special to watch. It also has the best soundtrack out of everything on this list.

02. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

With over a hundred adaptations, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, originally a novella written in 1843 by Charles Dickens, has gotten the most movies and interpretations compared to anything on this list. The one that stands above them all is the adaptation the Muppets did with Michael Caine. It is regarded by many to be the best version of the story for its use of accurate book dialogue and mixing the somber tones with classic Muppet humor. It even has a Tiny Tim that you actually care about!

03. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Credit: Warner Bros.

This movie is arguably the funniest on the list by showing anything that can go wrong during holiday family gatherings: from the turkey getting burnt, to the tree catching fire. It shows a very relatable situations and presents it in the best way. You can feel Chevy Chase’s frustration throughout the movie and it’s great. All of the jokes hit and the acting is spectacular from everyone. It’s worth the watch if you want something really funny.

04. Home Alone (1990)

Credit: 20th Century Fox

It needs to be mentioned since it’s (sadly) getting a remake next year and we won’t talk about the sequels, except for the second one. It’s another great movie as you watch a kid try to outwit two criminals that break into his house during Christmas. Like Christmas Vacation, the jokes hit every time and it’s insanely quotable all year round.

05. Christmas with the Joker (1992)

Credit: Warner Bros. Animation

While not a movie per say, this episode of Batman: The Animated Series is quite entertaining. The basic plot is that The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum during Christmas and hijacks the TV stations to play his own Christmas special. Batman and Robin have to put their plans of watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” aside to stop him. This special has great moments of humor and is very enjoyable for Batman fans. Also, I would love to give major props for Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill’s voice acting in the entire show, not just this episode.

06. Die Hard (1988)

Credit: 20th Century Fox

It counts as a Christmas movie and the entire world knows it. Die Hard has been praised for its “relatable protagonist” and the fact that it hits every action movie beat ever. Despite what people think about it being a Christmas movie or not, Die Hard is lots of fun to watch around this time of year. Also, Alan Rickman is awesome as the villain, Hans Gruber, and delivers classical lines such as: “When Alexander saw the breadth of his kingdom, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

07. A Christmas Story (1983)

Credit: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

This movie is the king of Christmas movies while mocking hot selling Christmas items and what it’s like to be a kid during this time. It tells the story of a young boy who wants a toy gun for Christmas, but everyone tells him that he’ll “shoot his eye out”, which (spoilers) he does. It’s also really funny and is on TV all day on Christmas Day, so you can’t miss it every year. If you haven’t seen it yet (who hasn’t?), try checking it out during the marathon.

08. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

Credit: MGM Animation/Visual Arts

This one (the original) is considerably better than the other two remakes, it had to be said. Yes, some people love the Jim Carrey one, but it’s kind of weird for people who don’t have that sense of humor and no one really enjoyed Illumination’s run with it in 2018. This movie is the best example of how to adapt a book onto the screen without cutting anything or changing everything too much, which can’t be said for the other adaptations of it. The animation is adorable and the art style is very similar and accurate to the original designs of the book.

09. Elf (2003)

Credit: New Line Cinema

Elf is an interesting case because you can find it either hilarious or really annoying, even if majority of everyone who has seen it laughed at it. A lot of the jokes are great, but some are not depending on your sense of humor. However, it’s a good story and is a concept that isn’t really explored as much in Christmas movies. The little references to the Rankin/Bass stop motion films in the first half of the film are hilarious though.

10. Krampus (2015)

Credit: Universal Pictures

After all the cheerful feel good movies, we all need a break. Based on the German half goat demon of the same name, ‘Krampus’ is about a Christmas demon who mainly goes after naughty children terrorizing a family with evil toys, killer living gingerbread men, and dark elves. Even though this film inaccurately portrays Krampus as an evil Santa Claus, it’s more something dark to laugh at than to be terrified of if you’re a horror fan.

11. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Credit: Lee Mendelson Films

This one is the most beloved of the Charlie Brown specials next to The Great Pumpkin. It tells the audience about what Christmas is REALLY about from a religious standpoint, which is considered brave, since all other specials are afraid to bring it up. The characters are great and their usual selves and Charlie Brown’s quest to finding the answers of what Christmas is about is relatable.

Which movies do you watch during the holiday season? Comment below!

Kyrie Dunphy

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