Some holiday classics seem to be on TV in perpetuity this time of year. If you've seen A Christmas Story enough times to shoot your eye out, give some of these less-known seasonal films a try:
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
|Jingle All the Way (1996/PG)
In a Terminator-meets-Black Friday comedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a dad just trying to get his kid the "must-have" action figure of the holiday season. For those of you who ventured into the crowds at Toys "R" Us to claim a Cabbage Patch Doll, Care Bear, or Tickle Me Elmo, this movie might hit too close to home.
|Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999/not rated, made for TV)
When Santa announces Christmas is canceled due to an injured reindeer, Olive the dog, who misunderstands the line "all of the other reindeer" in the song about Rudolph, feels compelled to help Santa. Cuteness ensues as she treks to the North Pole to take her place as "Olive, the Other Reindeer" in Simpsons' producer Matt Groening's ode to the holidays.
|Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas (1977/not rated, made for TV)
Created by Muppets maestro Jim Henson, Emmet is a dirt-poor young otter, hoping to win a talent contest with his band so that he and his mom will have a more comfortable Christmas. If you were a child in the '80s, when HBO played this special nearly every day during the holiday season, you can probably sing along to "Ain't No Hole in the Washtub" and other original tunes.
AFTER THE KIDS ARE ASLEEP
|The Ref (1994/R)
This one is definitely not for watching with the kids, but if you need a good laugh to get you through the holiday craziness, watching inept burglar Dennis Leary take irritating suburbanites Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis hostage, only to find himself caught in a "Ransom of Red Chief" situation, will take the edge off your holiday-induced angst.
|Joyeux Noël (2005/PG-13)
History buffs will love this film—a fictionalized account of the 1914 Christmas Eve truce on the Western Front of World War I. With haunting scenes of No Man's Land and holiday songs poignantly delivered by homesick soldiers, this film provides a history lesson, a few chuckles, and a sense of the power of the holiday spirit.
Written by Jennifer Reynolds, sfaff writer for West Michigan Woman.