Many of my cherished childhood memories are holiday-related. Whether it’s epic rubber band fights, eating cookies at every meal, watching decorated trees falling over, or even a fight with an angry squirrel (true story), I always have a ton of fun during the holidays.

Back before VCRs and hundreds of TV channels, one of our traditions was to watch as many of the holiday specials as possible. It’s a tradition I carry on to this day with my kids. Below are my can’t-miss favorites.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
What put this one over the top for me was the Abominable Snowman, a.k.a. the Bumble, and the fact that Bumbles bounce.


A Charlie Brown Christmas
Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit faster than hearing a song from this show. Favorite song: Linus & Lucy


The Year Without a Santa Claus
Are you Team Heat Miser, or Team Snow Miser? I love both theme songs.


Prep and Landing
It’s so “tinsel,” and the sequel may be even better than the original. Favorite elf tool: the tree trimmer


Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
How can you deny the Burgermeister Meisterburger and the Winter Warlock?


How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Casting Boris Karloff as the voice of the Grinch was pure, malevolent genius.


A Muppet Family Christmas
It’s Muppets, people! ‘Nuff said. Favorite Muppets: Fozzie and Animal (I relate to both).


Frosty the Snowman
They really should have made a sequel that focused on the rabbit, Hocus Pocus. That would have been awesome.


Mickey’s Christmas Carol
A kid-friendly re-telling of the Dickens classic that’s less likely to require therapy later in life.


A Garfield Christmas
Who doesn’t love hearing about Binky: The Clown Who Saved Christmas?



Lastly, an honorable mention about one of the strangest fusions of pop culture mythologies ever: The Star Wars Holiday Special. If you haven’t seen it, set aside some time (and maybe a few adult beverages) to watch it this holiday season. It’s, uh, something… (special guest star: Bea Arthur!)

Happy Holidays, everyone!