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A (Bad) Christmas Story

‘Tis the season for junk television. Especially on the two-hour movie front.

If you are feeling even a little bit down around the holidays, I implore you never, ever to watch a made-for-TV Christmas movie from one of the skip-over channels on the basic cable package.

Unless of course you are in a state that recently passed legal marijuana laws or you are an alcoholic in need of drinking game, then by all means, feel free to indulge. No judgement.

If you watch even one of these made-for-TV monstrosities, the takeaway seems to be the same: if you are a single gal, fucking shoot yourself because you don’t deserve to live. The fact that you don’t have a man is God’s way of punishing you despite anything else you might have accomplished in your life. And it is only by a magical Christmas miracle by the baby Jesus himself and a blood sacrifice involving your career, your independence or some combination of other items you previously held dear to get you married.

At one point these movies were funny. Then they moved from funny to slightly insulting. Now they are an interesting combination of horrifying and bizarre, seemingly written by people who have never met any actual living people before.

Can’t tell the difference between a horrible movie and a horrible Christmas movie on basic cable station?

Don’t worry! Here is a quick checklist to help you decipher the difference between terrible programming and bottom of the barrel programming (this can also double as a list for a drinking game if you want to get really, really, REALLY jolly):


  • Does the movie force a romance between unlikeable characters?
  • Is the main character a woman who is obsessed with her work?
  • Do any of the lead actors have a drug arrest in their history, or problems with the IRS?
  • Are supernatural forces (or “miracles”) essential to the main story?
  • Is the main character a woman who is single and deeply embarrassed by this fact?
  • Does she lie about it?
  • Is there a senior citizen being exploited for laughs?
  • Is there a child forced to repeat horrible dialogue like an abused parrot?
  • Is a treasured tale or traditional holiday classic given a horrible, unnecessary update using former primetime stars?
  • Does everyone find love at the end of the “movie”?


If three or more of these are answered “yes,” congrats, you are watching Lifetime! Or Hallmark! And perhaps trapped under heavy furniture with the remote control just inches away from your grasp.

To truly grasp the ludicrousness of the holiday season on basic cable, here are a few seasonal favorites, gift wrapped in easy-to-read tidbits so you don’t have to watch them. Unless you are drunk on eggnog made with Everclear. Then by all means, knock yourself out.


A Carol Christmas


Plot: It’s A Christmas Carol, but with a talk show host

Actor Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyer:  Tori Spelling, the late, great Gary Coleman

Magical Item, Wish, Miracle or Ghost? The usual trio of Christmas ghosts, including William Shatner as the Ghost of Christmas Present!

Lifetime or Hallmark?: Hallmark


The Christmas Consultant

Plot: Overworked mother hires a Christmas specialist to deal with family for the holiday. Because it’s a huge chore to have a job and a family. But don’t worry. Eventually she gets fired, and therefore gets to spend all of her time with her family where she learns the true meaning of Christmas! Yay! I’m not making this shit up! That happens! These writers are awful people!

Actor Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyer:  David Hasselhoff

Magical Item, Wish, Miracle or Ghost?: Surprisingly, no

Lifetime or Hallmark?:  Lifetime


Dear Secret Santa

Plot: A workaholic gets love letters from her old flame. Seems cute? But wait…did I mention that he DIED A FEW YEARS AGO? So, it’s the fucking Lake House with a Christmas tree.

Actors Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyer:  Tatyana Ali, Ernie Hudson, Jordin Sparks

Magical Item, Wish, Miracle or Ghost? Yeah. A dead ex with a boner sending X-mas cards.

Lifetime or Hallmark?: Lifetime is to blame for this. Get the torches.


Moonlight & Mistletoe

Plot: A successful single businesswoman who hates Christmas must save her father’s Christmas themed amusement park.

So, I need to point out that it only needs like $50k to save it, which really doesn’t seem like that much. It seems like all she would have to do it get a small loan or sell her car, but whatever. Movie.

In the end, everyone gets married and pregnant and happy and celebrates Christmas.

Actors Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyer:  Candace Cameron and Tom Arnold

Lifetime or Hallmark?: Hallmark

ARVE Error: need id and provider



Plot: Basically, they stole the ending of Elf for this one. Santa’s city is powered by the magic of Christmas, and it is up to one little boy and an elf to make everyone slow the down and enjoy the holiday again.

Actors Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyers: Tiffani Amber Thiessen (No! I will not drop the Amber!), Robert Wagner

Magical Item, Wish, Miracle or Ghost?: Well, we got Santa in this one and a few elves. And the a Christmas wish to bring back old school Christmas traditions by a little boy, which HOLY HELL REALLY?

I mean, I can suspend my belief long enough to believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and that 2016 was a decent damn year before I’ll believe that a living, breathing modern day kid gives a shit in Christmas tradition.  

Lifetime or Hallmark?: Hallmark

ARVE Error: need id and provider


Santa Jr.

Plot: Santa’s son is on trial for stealing presents

Actors Who Can Now Pay Their Tax Bill/Lawyers: Judd Nelson, Lauren Holly

Magical Item, Wish, Miracle or Ghost?

Lifetime or Hallmark?: Blame Hallmark

NOTE: I could not find a trailer, but only THE ENTIRE MOVIE. Yes. I could only find the entire movie available on YouTube and not a clip or a trailer. That ain’t good.


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