The Worst Holiday TV Specials Of All Time

Summer K

There’s no denying that the holidays bring out the best and worst in people, and the TV shows we watch are no exception. Suddenly creativity flies out the window as Hollywood execs try to cram our favorite things into pretty red bows with lots of tinsely goodness. But can everything we love really be infused with holiday cheer?

We say no. Some things just aren’t meant to be lit up with sparkly lights or given the “’tis the season to be jolly” treatment. In fact, it can come off as just plain awkward when our favorite sci-fi heroes or cartoon friends don a Santa hat or hold hands and sway together around the Christmas tree. (Dare we say creepy and disturbing too?)

Needless to say, we couldn’t help “honoring” our not-so-favorites with a Top 5 list. Let this be a reminder that no matter how many times The Christmas Story or It’s A Wonderful Life plays between now and the end of the year, it could always be worse…MUCH WORSE.

1. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

Luckily most of us are too young to remember what has become known as the hottest mess in the Star Wars galaxy (yes, we can safely say this is more painful than sitting through Episodes 1-3). Centered around Luke, Han, and the rest of the gang attempting to get Chewbacca home for the holidays, it only becomes more suspect and terrifying when you throw Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship into the mix.

2. The He-Man Christmas Special (1985)

What do the Masters of the Universe have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ? We’re not entirely sure, but it makes for a handy cross-over between He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, a couple of Earth kids and a way to get parents to buy extra toys for Christmas.

3. Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)

One would think the man who brought us big adventures and fun at the Big Top could devise a wacky and inventive holiday show even Barney’s design guru Simon Doonan could covet. Sadly, the only Gaga-esque elements to be found are the weird choice of guest stars. Joan Rivers? Charo? Grace Jones? Was this a holiday special for kids or an opportunity to trot out every gay icon from the era that brought us shoudler pads and Reaganomics? Emmy nominations be damned — we say skip it and stick to Rudolph instead.

4. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (2000)

We can appreciate a redneck holiday as much as the next person (after all, our own family holiday shindig often involves strawberry daiquiris straight out of the can and an endless supply of cocktail weenies and swedish meantballs). But taking an annoying song and making it into a painful cartoon is more likely to give us inidgestion than anything our Midwestern relatives can come up with.

5. Every Kathie Lee Gifford Christmas Special Ever Made

Yes we love our Kathie Lee of late (you know, the snarky, wine-swilling, un-PC one who makes mornings home from the office much more bearable — now that’s someone we can totally get behind!), but her early days after her long-running stint on Regis and Kathie Lee? Talk about cavity-inducing. You know it’s bad when a critique of your holiday show earns you this choice review: What’s the difference between the 24-hour flu and a Kathie Lee Gifford Christmas special? Twenty-three hours.” Ouch. ‘Nuff said.

Promoted Stories