Long before the last-minute shopping rush, awkward year-end virtual parties, and the worst traffic sitch of the year, Christmas used to be just snuggling up in our blankets during the weeks-long holiday break while watching TV.
While the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t feel so lovely given 2020’s distressing shake-up, we turn to 10 of our favorite childhood Christmas specials and films that we watched as kids for some much needed holiday cheer. Brb, re-watching everything to re-calibrate our minds from everything we went through this year.
1. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000)
This highly underrated film starring Jim Carrey may feel like a Tim Burton production because of the odd-looking characters that were literally brought to life from Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, but the actor’s over-the-top performance as the mean ol’ Grinch (despite some issues on the set) and his transformation from being a killjoy to one of Whoville’s biggest hearts is unforgettable.
2. HOME ALONE 1 & 2 (1990, 1992)
You know it’s finally that season when you catch this Christmas classic on TV. If anyone grew up making booby traps and having trust issues with strangers, you have Kevin McCallister to thank for it. We also love how it was re-created by MaCaulay Culkin remade those iconic scenes more than 20 years later!
3. RUGRATS’ THE SANTA EXPERIENCE (1992)
As kids, most of us were led to believe that a guy in a red suit would only grant your Christmas wishes if you made it to the exclusive, members-only Nice List. But what happens when children question the existence of Santa Claus? Here’s a childhood show that explains a lot of grown-up stuff beginning from their Hanukkah episode, sibling rivalry, and growing up without a motherly figure to name a few.
4. JACK FROST (1998)
Hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the movie starring the gorgeously animated blonde guy with magical flowers, but Jack Frost, the snowman. Not everyone gets a second chance in life—especially if you’re a flaky musician that reincarnates as a snowman in the afterlife. A true Christmas classic, we dare you to watch this heart-warming film without shedding a few tears.
5. MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. BEAN (1992)
It’s hard to believe that Mr. Bean only had 15 episodes, probably because each one was memorable. Who could ever forget when he met the Queen of England and got completely disoriented and hit her with his head upon bowing down? This episode will forever be etched in our core memories as kids and it’s not hard to see why it is memorable to this day . Who else remembers that hilarious nativity scene?
6. THE SANTA CLAUSE (1994)
As the real Santa gets injured when he falls off the roof one night, Scott Calvin puts St. Nick’s suit on ’cause you know, the reindeers know what to do once you wear it, and eventually takes his place. He is skeptical of the physical manifestations at first, especially during his trip to the North Pole, but then realizes that he truly is more than just the guy with a white beard and red suit.
7. ELF (2003)
Maybe the world would be a better place if we could just make ginger bread houses and hold hands. No? Well, this isn’t the case for Buddy, the human raised by elves. In search of his real parents, he travels to NYC to find his family, but feels disoriented as soon as he arrives to the Big Apple. If you’re feeling desperate for laughs, this movie takes the cake.
8. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS (1997)
6 years after the Beauty and the Beast film premiered, Disney created this Christmas spin-off of the beloved tale. A party is held in the castle sometime after the spell has been broken and the Beast is haunted by his past—mainly because he was cursed on Christmas eve, but Belle still manages to save the day. Also, we have yet to find that fur cape that she wore. Can anyone ID?
9. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992)
We fondly remember seeing this on VHS back in the day and most adults still try to watch this movie every December. People still think it’s a silly kid’s film, but the storyline is surprisingly deep and full of symbols. With the turmoil of 2020 in the country, who comes to your mind when you think of Ebenezer Scrooge?
10. ARNOLD’S CHRISTMAS (1997)
Tackling life’s big questions in the big city, Hey Arnold’s premise feels like therapy for most adults up to this day—not to mention the astounding jazz soundtrack. On their Christmas special, Arnold learns about the heartbreaking story of Mr. Hyunh, a Vietnamese restaurant worker who gave his daughter to an American soldier during the war to give her a better life. Arnold and Gerald begin to find her, and the ending leads to an unexpected cry fest. Word of caution: box of tissues required.