Our Favorite Christmas TV Guilty Pleasures

Here are ten reasons to love the holiday season, even if you don't want to admit it.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Christmas is almost here, which means it's time to max out your credits cards, stomach grandma's famous fruitcake and booze it up at holiday parties.

But there's more to celebrating Christmas than ugly sweaters and spiked eggnog. In the spirit of the season, television networks offer up some of their best (and worst) programming of the year. And though you may have seen it a million times, we know you're a sucker for singing chipmunks and schmaltzy made-for-TV romcoms.

Here are ten of our favorite guilty pleasures of the season. Don't worry if you've seen them all, so have we.


Victoria's Christmas Fashion Show

Putting the boob in tube, Victoria's Secret made Christmas sexy when they moved their annual televised fashion show to the holiday season. There's something about statuesque European models wearing wings and little else that puts us in the holiday mood. Or at least, some kind of mood…


Call it "Chrismukkah," "Festivus"or "Ludachristmas," but one of the best things about the season is Christmas episodes. If there's one thing the holidays bring out in all of us it's neurosis and dysfunction as "30 Rock" reminded us with the Lemon family's alcohol-induced meltdown in Christmas send-up, "Ludachristmas." "The O.C." merged rival holidays, Christmas and Hanukkah to form epic interfaith celebration, "Christmakuh."

And "The Simpsons" practically invented Christmas, when you consider the fact that their very first episode was a holiday special.

Made-for-TV Christmas Movies

"Holiday in Handcuffs!" "Moonlight and Mistletoe!" It's all about holiday mishaps, cheesy romances and former sitcom stars coming together to hit you over the head with groan-worthy yet feel-good holiday cheer. Sit down when one of these suckers is on and before you know it, you've lost two-hours of your life to Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez in a Christmas kidnapping plot that ends in marriage. And you'd gladly do it again.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Reducing young children and grown men to tears since 1964, this stop-motion animated tale of an outcast reindeer, an aspiring elf dentist and their reject toy friends is a holiday classic. "Rudolph" has inspired multiple spin-offs parodies and comedic tributes over the years, but only the Rankin/Bass original leaves us a blubbering mess, year after year.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Fed up with the commercialization of Christmas? So is Charlie Brown in this beloved "Peanuts" holiday special. While his sister, Sally tries to hit Santa up for cold hard cash and his dog, Snoopy sits atop a doghouse so bright with Christmas lights you can see it from space, Charlie focuses on the true meaning of Christmas by purchasing the most pathetic tree in the lot.

Though at first they mock it, Charlie's friends eventually come together to decorate the tiny tree, proving it's not the size of the tree but how much crap you can put on it that really matters.

Singing Rodents

What does a chipmunk want for Christmas? A hula-hoop, of course. That and a harmonica. Only at Christmas time do we not just tolerate but actually enjoy the sound of helium-high singing rodents ushering in the arrival of Santa in Alvin and the Chipmunks animated TV special, "A Chipmunk Christmas."

The special, which originally aired in 1981 is a holiday favorite, but the real guilty pleasure is in the accompanying soundtrack, in which the Chipmunks apply their twee vocals to such inescapable Christmas classics as "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night."

Christmas Commercials

Call it schmaltzy sentiment or rampant commercialism but the holidays give us a reason to stop hitting the fast-forward button on the DVR with some of the best ads of the year. Ok, maybe you're sick of giant polar bears downing bottles of Coke but there's plenty of clever spots with holiday spirit, like "Mac" and "PC" putting aside their operational differences to decorate a Christmas tree (with lights that spell out "PC Rules").


What better time to catch up on an entire season of "Mob Wives" than during your Christmas vacation. Knowing full well that viewers have plenty of time on their hands, networks put it to good use by letting us catch up on our favorite shows.

Whether it's "Doctor Who" or "The Twilight Zone," the holiday season is packed with TV marathons to keep you distracted from those Christmas card writing hand cramps and wrapping paper cuts.

Disney's Christmas Parade

Mickey Mouse and friends make for one of the guiltiest pleasures of the season in the annual Disney Christmas Parade. Airing each year on Christmas day, this tween-targeted celebration featuring the likes of Justin Bieber, The Backstreet Boys, Ryan Seacrest, Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa and Celine Dion makes Christmas feel like a Top 40 countdown show with cartoon characters. And we love it.


Muppets make everything better and Christmas is no exception. Jim Henson's ragtag band of merry making puppets have starred in a number of Christmas movies and TV specials over the years including "A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa" and the Emmy nominated "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie," in which we see Dr. Bunsen Honeydew become a rapper and Miss Piggy turn into a crazy cat lady psychic friend in an alternate Kermit-less universe.

The moral of the story? We all need a little Kermit the Frog in our lives.