Holiday Movie Madness

One of my family’s favorite Christmas movies is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” This could be one of my dad’s favorite movies, actually. No matter how many times he has seen it, he still collapses in his chair with laughter that can be heard all over the house. We used to watch the movie for its laughs, but now, having seen it so many times, we really watch it just watch my dad fall out in the floor. Some day in the distant Christmas future we will probably be able to look back and say, “Hey kids, remember when National Lampoon Christmas killed Grandpa??”

And while there’s no shortage of classic Christmas movies to watch, my sister and I have somehow gotten in the habit of watching the cheesy Lifetime Christmas movies. They’re so hokey they’re spellbinding in their own sort of way. Then again, what’s not to love? People who switch places. Toy CEOs who need to learn the true meaning of Christmas.  An entire town who has lost their Christmas spirit?

I think one of my favorites is the one where a frazzled housewife crawls through her dryer to fall into an alternate reality, in which she married her high school sweetheart who is now an egocentric millionaire. It’s kind of like Alice in Wonderland, but with dirty socks. Or “The 12 Dates of Christmas,” in which a girl has to relive a Christmas Eve blind date over and over for 12 days until she learns to trust fate. (Think Groundhog Day, but with candy canes and awkward conversation.)

Anyway, it’s a kind of tradition I have with my sister this time of year. When we’re old and gray, I imagine we’ll still be calling each other, saying, “Did you see the one where Santa’s dog saved Christmas with a magic flute? Or the one where 10 male strippers decide to pose for a holiday calendar to raise money for the orphanage?”

I know what you might be thinking…”There are just too many – how do I know which ones to watch?” Well, thanks to the magic of real-life DVR synopsis, I’m here to give you a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Consider it a Public Service Announcement.  You’re welcome.

For example:

The Night They Saved Christmas. “Tale about efforts to save Santa and his toy factory from dynamiting oil prospectors.”


Santa Jr. “While delivering toys, Santa’s son is arrested for trespassing. Dispirited, he turns for help to a public defender and tries to convince two skeptical cops of his innocence.”

Courtroom dramas involving members of the Claus family are always a winner, right? Just look at Miracle on 34th Street.

The Christmas Choir. “A run-in with a homeless man inspires a recently dumped workaholic to organize a choir at a local shelter with help from a nun.”

Christmas fact #137: People who are homeless, recently dumped or workaholics always need help from nuns.

Or you might prefer one of the below:

Finding Mrs. Claus. “Santa’s neglected wife goes to Las Vegas to help a girl with a Christmas wish.”

Oh sure, the old “going to fulfill a Christmas wish in Las Vegas” routine…

The Night Before Christmas.  “A calendar snafu causes Santa to leave the North Pole a day early and crash his sleigh into the home of a disconnected family led by work-obsessed parents. Santa has amnesia after the accident.”

Perfectly plausible. In fact, in this modern world of technology glitches, it’s amazing Santa has never left the North Pole early before. Or gotten amnesia. Or maybe he has, and just forgot to tell us.

Holly’s Holiday. “A handsome male mannequin in a Christmas window display comes to life and becomes the man of an attractive advertising executive’s dreams. Unfortunately, even though his appearance is perfect, his personality remains a bit lifeless.”

That’s the trouble with dating mannequins these days.

The Family Holiday.  “A hustler hires a nanny and two orphans to post as his family and meet the requirements to receive a $10 million inheritance.” (Bonus: starring Dave Coulier!)

Hey, hustlers are people too.

A Smoky Mountain Christmas. “A country superstar (Dolly Parton) shares a Yuletide adventure in Tennessee with a backwoodsman, seven orphans and a witch.”

There’s really no improving on this one. All I want to know is, does Jeff Foxworthy show up for eggnog?

So there you have it, folks. Enough holiday cheer to make Clark Griswold look like a rocket surgeon.

If you need me during the holidays, you know where to find me. I’ll be watching the one where a Nashville writer is visited by the ghosts of three Christmas elves who send an angel who looks like Carey Grant to tell her he’s found an inheritance from a rich relative, a Christmas tree that grows dark chocolate and a publisher to publish her book.

Don’t change that channel.