ICONIC CURMUDGEON Thornton (left) and friends in 'Bad Santa.'
We all know the holidays can be hectic, stressful, and overwhelming. But they’re also a perfect time to take a step back, relax, and laze around with the people you love (or tolerate). Television can be the great equalizer: the perfect tool to bring the family together, or jump-start some conversation when you and your sister-in-law bond over Orange Is the New Black. Of course, it can also provide the perfect excuse for you to ignore your less-loved ones. However you choose to use it, curl up on the couch and check out some of these seasonal favorites and binge-worthy series before 2014 arrives.
CHRISTMAS MOVIES THAT AREN'T REALLY CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Sure, they’re classics. But nobody actually wants to watch A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life if they’re in the mood to celebrate. Any of these non-traditional movies are perfect bait-and-switch options that can still technically be classified as “seasonal.”
Nothing says peace on Earth quite like Die Hard . German terrorists, machine guns, and a bloody Bruce Willis spread holiday cheer in this timeless action flick that takes place on Christmas Eve. (Plus, you can spice up your family dinner with a well timed “yippie-ki-yay motherfucker!”) Bonus points if you follow the film with the wickedly funny Ben Stiller Show sketch “Die Hard 12: Die Hungry.” (Available at Amazon and Video On Demand)
Keep the ’80s action rolling with Lethal Weapon , which features a coke bust in a Christmas tree lot and a naked prostitute defenestrating herself while “Jingle Bell Rock” plays in the background. Ho-ho-ho! (Amazon and VOD)
For some inclusive family viewing, try the horror-comedy Gremlins , another ’80s masterpiece. Gizmo and his fellow Gremlins are the must-have Christmas’ gift, until they start to terrorize the fictitious Kingston Hills. It’s cheesy, creepy fun that later inspired the possibly creepier Furby. (Amazon and VOD)
THE NAUGHTY LIST
Whether you’re just looking for a few laughs or really trying to make the in-laws squirm, these out-of-the-box comedies could provide some awkward holiday viewing — or will reveal that your grandma has a twisted sense of humor.
No Christmas list would be complete without the raunchy Bad Santa . Ten years later, Billy Bob Thornton’s thieving, potty-mouthed department store Santa has become an iconic Christmas curmudgeon up there with the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge. (Amazon and VOD)
Although not in season, the hilarious Bridesmaids will be a hit with everyone at your family dinner with its perfect combination of laugh-out-loud bathroom gags and heartfelt moments. This Is the End is worth checking out for its glut of recognizable celebrity cameos alone, but it’s also an outstanding end of the world story from Seth Rogen and James Franco. Finally, introduce your clan to the rollicking Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy so they’ll be ready to actually leave the house when the much-anticipated sequel opens and you can all spend a couple of hours at the movies. (Amazon, iTunes, and VOD)