You might ask, James, do you honestly think these are the greatest holiday shows of all time? And I would answer, well, sorta. It’s a list of seven memorable, distinctive holiday TV treats. (Why seven, you ask? Because time.com asked me, “Do you think you could do a list of, say, seven to ten holiday specials for us?” And being the hard-working writer I am, I replied, “Why yes, seven! Seven would be exactly perfect!”)
But it’s more a tally of personal favorites than a carved-in-stone all-time greatest list. So it’s subjective and impressionistic. I didn’t go back and–as I did when doing my top-100 TV shows list–exhaustively watch archival episodes to be sure there was nothing I considered better than the Festivus episode of Seinfeld. But that is the holiday episode I have the fondest memories of, in part because it was about a holiday other than Christmas. (Forgive me, KwanzaaBot.) It’s just my list, and if you don’t like it you can kiss my, um, mistletoe.
I will note that I left off holiday movies that rerun on TV–you have to go here for my take on them–because I didn’t want to get into the business of refereeing an entire additional genre. And I pretty much punted on selecting a favorite version of Christmas Carol (not a personal favorite to begin with)–but I will piss off the Muppet fans and admit that, if I had an 8th choice, it would have been Mr. Magoo.
Go read it, and feel free to pelt me with cheese balls and holly berries.