What do we do in America? Watch some TV. But, trying to be me, let me offer up some ideas you may not have considered. If you can get them, enjoy them. ...So many Christmas choices.
A British Christmas
This is a way I like to enjoy Christmas time. British TV, and in particular Christmas shows. The UK does love a good Christmas episode. So many to pick from.
Doctor Who - This has become a good source for these shows. Since the Christmas Invasion, we've had a steady stream of special episodes (And Christmas Day we have yet another new one.).
Downton Abbey - They also offer up these (Including this year.), but these do seem more enmeshed in the ongoing drama of the larger show.
Looking for something to engage everyone, so they aren't talking politics, what they think of what Aunt Gladys said, or how you're job is going. Try a Christmas mystery.
British Mystery Shows - Kind of a cheat, but I thought I'd put these down here. British mystery shows occasionally offer Christmas shows (or shows at Christmas sometimes, to be honest). Among the ones I enjoy, Jonathan Creek, a magicians assistant constantly being dragged in to solve seemingly impossible mysteries. Midsomer Murders, "enjoyable" murder cases DI Barnaby in a fictional corner of England known as Midsomer.
The Lady in the Lake -Is another mystery taking place at Christmas. This time it's a Raymond Chandler mystery. It has Philip Marlowe getting mixed up with dangerous men and even more dangerous women. But the most dangerous aspect of the movie may be how it was shot, in 1st person. That's right 99% of the movie is shot as if from the perspective of Marlowe. You can judge how well that works based on how often we see it used in movies today...Yeah. But it is interesting, and before long you'll start thinking you're in the middle of a 1st Person Shooter Game, except Marlowe isn't going around shooting everyone and everything. Still, it's Christmas time, and it may keep everyone near the TV engaged.
Sherlock Holmes - The Blue Carbuncle is the Christmas related mystery in the Sherlock Holmes annals. It deals with a Christmas time robbery and the mystery of how a stolen jewel ended up in a cooked goose.
The Jeremy Brett version of Holmes has done this story. And, like all of his Sherlock Holmes work, it is quite good and enjoyable. Worth watching.
Also, in the 1960's, Peter Cushing briefly starred in a Sherlock Holmes television series. He to did an episode on the Blue Carbuncle. And it also, to my mind, is quite enjoyable. But it is hard not to enjoy any chance to see Peter Cushing at work.
Batman: The Animated Series - Okay. stretching even more here. But...Batman IS a detective. Anyway, Batman has done his Christmas episode, and it's worth sharing with kids. Christmas With The Joker, Joker breaks out and kidnaps the commissioner and some others and threatens their lives...Kids will love it.
A perfect pairing for Christmas watching.
Harry Potter - Come on. Every movie spans a school year, including Christmas break.
I love it unreservedly, And sfdebris has recently done a review of the show, if you want some deeper analysis of it.
Santa Claus Kicking Some Butt
Another option is seeing Santa deal with some baddies and deliver toys (And he's all out of toys to deliver.).
For humor, enjoy some riffing, where people talk over a movie, making jokes about what is happening.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 - A classic in riffing, the show would put on old movies while a trio (a man and his bots) joked about the movie. They dealt with many different movies, from horror to scifi to fantasy to Lassie movies to Gamera movies to Westerns. They got around. It also dealt with both of the Butt Kicking Santa flicks shown above. Both episodes are quite fun. And the disc released for Santa Claus included an interesting documentary looking at the director and the making of the movie.
Cinematic Titanic - One of the later takes on the Mystery Science Theater concept, it is headed up by several writers/actors from MST. For me, the live shows they've done (and are available online and on DVD) are the best of their work. So, f you've seen the Mystery Science Theater take on Santa Claus Conquerors the Martians, the team at CT, took it on again, making fresh.
You can watch their take on the movie here.
Rifftrax - This is a great source for some riffing of Christmas material. This is made up of another group of old Mystery Science Theater alumni. They've gone after a score of Christmas related shorts, from Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey to Christmas Rhapsody. You could fill an afternoon with the various magic trees and trips to the North Pole they've covered.
They've also done one of their live shows around a Christmas theme, the Christmas Shorts Extravaganza. I watched this as I typed this up.
Christmas Comedy Shows
Want some straight out laughs over Christmas?
This might not be for everyone, but if you all like horror, or you want some plans for later, here's some more macabre choices.
Addams Family - Yeah. Not that creepy, to me at least. But it is fun. And the story, towards the end takes place at Christmas. Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, and Angelica Houston? Come on.
Gremlins - How long has it been since you've seen this? Gizmo is a Christmas gift in it. Who doesn't want to see a small town trashed at Christmas?
Rare Imports - This is an interesting movie. It looks at what Santa really is (A few horror movies looking at this have come out.). And it is terrifying. But if you are in the mood for it, I suggest you check the movie out.
Here's the original short that the larger movie comes out of:
Tales from the Crypt - The old series had a Christmas episode the first season, And All Through The House. In it a deranged man, dressed as Santa, stalks a home seeking a women who happens to have just murdered her husband. A creepy tale that may fill a Christmas Horror quota. And who doesn't want a show starring that guy from L.A. Law and Parker Lewis's mom? (Hey, kids? How do you like my real current and hip references?)
Here's the first third of the episode:
So, if you do need something to watch on Christmas, I hope I've given you some ideas.
Have a pleasant day.
Argh! In adding the Batman: The Animated Series episode to the list, I forgot some other obvious choices for Superhero watching:
Batman Returns - Takes place at Christmas...but it's a Tim Burton, creepy era, movie. Still, for some Bat/Cat fun.
Justice League - Comfort and Joy, from the 2nd season, tells some smaller stories. Flash races to find a special toy for some orphans, dealing with the Ultra-Humanite in the process. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl share their traditions. And Superman brings the Martian Manhunter to spend Christmas with his and his parent. It's cute and fun.
Lois and Clark - The old 90's series also has a couple Christmas episodes. Seasons Greedings, where the adults of Metropolis are being turned juvenile and petulant by a fired toymaker. Then there's Twas the Night Before Myxmas, in which Lois and Clark vie against a Time Loop created by Mr. Mxyzptlk.
Smallville - In this proto-Superman series, they have an episode called Lexmas, which is a bizarro It's A Wonderful Life tale.
Also, here's the Venture Brothers Christmas episode broken up.