One of the best parts of December is that it is finally easy and socially acceptable to watch holiday specials all day, every day. I love watching Christmas movies, and it takes every ounce of self-control to just not watch them all year round. My one exception to that rule is Home Alone — that is okay to watch whenever because it is perfect. Watching Macaulay Culkin take down the bad guys never gets old. I am really appreciative of ABC Family for playing Christmas movies for 25 Days straight, because just turning on the TV is way easier than dealing with a DVD. ABC Family plays its fair share of the classics, and I love their delightfully cheesy original holiday movies as much as the next guy, my personal favorite is Holiday in Handcuffs, hands down.
While I do appreciate ABC Family’s effort, and will always remain a committed 25 Days of Christmas viewer, sometimes they let me down. There is a serious lack of Rankin and Bass claymation classics on television these days, and that is a serious problem. I also understand that ABC Family’s limited collection and need to play The Grinch and The Santa Clause a million times may be the result of legal issues, but I actually don’t care. There are so many excellent Christmas movies out there that don’t get any airtime, and I’m worried they are going to be lost to future generations. These forgotten movies may not be as shiny or star studded as the more popular ones, but dammit they are full of Christmas cheer. They are silly and doofy and seem to be pretty under appreciated. In my Christmas movie fangirl opinion, here are some of the most underrated Christmas movies that deserve the spotlight, but aren’t so obscure/weird that you either won’t be able to find them or will be weirded out forever:
Jingle All the Way
I feel very passionately about Jingle All the Way, and if you haven’t seen it ever or in a very long while, you need to see it. Immediately. First off, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. And Sinbad, and the two of them become mortal enemies during a quest to buy the most popular toy of the year on Christmas Eve. Highlights include Schwarzenegger being attacked by a Reindeer, fighting off a mob of con-man Santas and flying around in a jet-pack wearing a superhero costume. The movie is full of Arnold-isms and really is a must see. Check out the trailer below, it is super dramatic and awesome, and will probably make you want to see the movie more than my rant did.
Frosty the Snowman himself definitely isn’t underrated, we have 10 million versions of the song about him to thank for that, but there is one Frosty the Snowman holiday special that always slides under the radar. The normal Rankin and Bass Frosty, and the second one, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, are both pretty great, but pretty ordinary. If you love Frosty, but want to step outside the Snowman box and try something a little more bizarre, you need to watch Frosty Returns. It is pretty weird, and about these two kids trying to save frosty, and snow in general, from the evil grown ups who want to melt it all away using some weird aerosol spray. Also, John Goodman does the voice of Frosty. It’s weird, but it’s beautiful. Trust me.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I am definitely not talking about the live-action version starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, if anything, that thing is way overrated. No, I am talking about the classic, animated version circa 1966. What the heck has happened to it? It is near impossible to find the animated special on TV, but ABC family airs the Jim Carrey version at least 3 dozen times. I mean, its an ok movie, but it is too long and kind of sophisticated for kids. The animated version is more festive and cheery, and whos of all ages can join in on the fun. If you think I’m ridiculous for preferring the animated version, check out this video for a riveting second opinion.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is present on the ABC family lineup, but they only play it at weird times. The movie is a play on the Christmas song with the same name, and stars Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Back in the early 2000s, the little blonde twins were absolutely adorable, and in this movie they are a real riot. While the movie stars a child and thus features a lot of childish humor, I find I still enjoy a lot of the jokes as an almost grown-up. The Dylan/Cole character is trying to get back at Santa for kissing his mom, so he begins to terrorize the neighborhood Santa and act out in school, and it is just really funny. If you need a light-hearted laugh and aren’t afraid to act like a kid, this movie is perfect. Here are some bloopers, enjoy the under appreciated cuteness.
The Christmas List
This is another movie condemned to a life of 9am air-times. I usually watch this one every year with my mother and we crack up at the same parts every single year. Yes it is a TV movie and not some epic Christmas blockbuster, but that only makes it feel less gimmicky and more genuinely in tune with the true spirit of Christmas, which isn’t corporate greed and opening weekend earnings. It has a really sappy storyline that would rival that of any lifetime movie, but has some quality comic relief moments. Don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there is one part when the worst character in the movie gets a dish of hot creme brulee dumped all over his lap. If you want a more adult Christmas movie, check this one out, and maybe drop your Christmas list in a mall mailbox addressed to the North Pole, maybe your life will be like this movie and you will get everything you want. It also stars Mimi Rogers, and she is pretty under appreciated herself.
Honorable Mention: “Twas the Night Before Christmas
This movie is the perfect treat right before bedtime on Christmas Eve, and features adorable mice singing and a cute little clockmaker trying to save Christmas so Santa doesn’t ignore their town. There is a pretty memorable song in the special that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie?
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