Recommendations for Weird/Off-Beat Christmas Specials?

Every year I have a Christmas get together with friends and family and decide to run programs in the background in my living room of just bizarre Christmas related stuff nobody has ever seen or is stuff you’d rarely see at a Christmas party nowadays.

For example a few years ago I just had every Mystery Science Theater 3000 Christmas episode playing on loop which granted isn’t that obscure but nobody I knew had seen them.

Last year I decided to play extremely serious “Christmas specials” including the dual Peace on Earth/Good Will to Men shorts (which are animated shorts about Christmas Eve after humanity has killed itself in war) and various 80’s sitcoms whose Christmas specials took themselves WAY too seriously (including the Happy Days one, the ALF one, the “For Better or For Worse” special, and A Very Brady Christmas)

This year I’m planning on doing Christmas episodes of video game cartoons and so far I have

  • Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
  • Sonic Christmas Blast
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show’s “Koopa Klaus”
  • Super Mario World’s “The Night Before Cave Christmas”
  • Donkey Kong Country’s “The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights”
  • Donkey Kong Jr. “A Christmas Story”

Any other suggestions or themes I could use?

Note, I’m looking for stuff that would make people pause and go “What the hell is this I’m watching?” I don’t want stuff that’s deliberately supposed to be funny or ironic, so no Simpsons or Family Guy deliberate parodies nor do I want modern stuff. Another avenue I like to approach are bizarre Christmas episodes from places that don’t celebrate traditional Christmas, so basically Christmas shown in Japanese anime or live action shows.

I guess since somebody will mention it I might as well - Star Wars 1978 holiday special from CBS TV. Never officially released on DVD or VHS/Beta tape but rumor has it that it’s out there on various websites if you look for it.

There are a ton of Rankin Bass lesser-known holiday specials outside of the usual 3 that most people know (Rudolf, Santa origin story, heat miser/snow miser)

I recall one about Jack Frost, one about the little drummer boy, and I’m pretty sure there was one about a Christmas donkey.

On another note, I remember a cartoon from the 80s featuring a dog voiced by Rodney Dangerfield, singing a song about how dogs don’t piss on Christmas trees.

'Twas the Night Before Bumpy

On YT. Sure to satisfy the OP’s “What the hell is this I’m watching?” criteria.

Not quite matching this (as Christmas is probably more-or-less standard in Canada) but you might want to conciser A Cosmic Christmas. (Youtube link.)
As for anime, your choices aren’t limited.

A page with all 31 listed. There are five featuring Rudolph. That includes the “classic” Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.

“A Wish For Wings That Work”-The Bloom County Christmas Special
“Blackadder’s Christmas Carol”

This is your mother lode: Mill Creek Entertainment’s “Holiday Family Favorites

Classic Christmas Cartoons

The Candlemaker - Short
Christmas Comes But Once A Year - Short
A Christmas Dream - Short
Christmas Fairy Tale - Short
Christmas Night - Short
A Christmas Visit - Short
The Christmas Visitor - Short
The Elf and Mr. Little - Short
The First Christmas - Feature
Hector’s Hectic Life - Short
Howdy Doody’s Christmas - Short
Jack Frost - Short
Jingle Bells - Short
The Little Lamb - Short
The Little Match Girl - Short
Merry Christmas - Short
The Night Before Christmas - Short
O’ Come All Ye Faithful - Short
O’ Little Town of Bethlehem - Short
A Present for Santa Claus - Short
Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer - Short
Santa and the Fairy Snow Queen - Feature
Santa and the Three Bears - Feature
Santa Claus Story - Short
Santa in Animal Land - Short
Silent Night: Story of the Christmas Carol - Short
Snow Foolin’ - Short

Holiday Movies

Beyond Tomorrow
A Christmas Without Snow
The Great Rupert
Little Women: Jos Story
Little Women: Meg’s Story
The Littlest Angel
Miracle on 34th Street(this is a one-hour made for TV version with Thomas Mitchell).
The Nativity
The Pilgrimage Play
Santa Claus
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Stroker and Hoop: I Saw Stroker Killing Santa Claus. Funniest parody of “A Christmas Carol” ever!

If you can get your hands on “Christmas in Acidland” (there is a DVD floating around, but it’s hard to find), it should nicely fit your weird-Christmas-video jones.

Here’s a thread I started about weird Christmas vids back in 2012 when we first saw it.

The Tick Loves Santa!


Some weird British stuff for you.

The Snowman / Father Christmas, by Raymond Briggs
The Box Of Delights
Quincy’s Quest
The Wombles: The Snow Wombles
Joe 90: The Unorthodox Shepherd
Terrahawks: A Christmas Miracle
A Non-Denominational Spitting Image Holiday Special
And any episode of The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year.

My favourite X-Mas thing was Ringo, with a Little Help From His Friends.('78)
If any of you were unfortunate enough to see it, surely you’ll remember the awesome young surfer dudes with the hideous toupees, tormenting Ognir (Ringo, backwards - the sullen main character). Or Jackie Gleason doing an awesome job as Ognir’s sadistic drunk dad, or Micheal Douglas dragging poor Ognir out to Ringo’s kit on stage to have a go at it in front of unsuspecting millions. The last scene, in particular, was excessively beautiful.
Definitely one of those snuggle-with-SO-in-front-of-fireplace-with-egg-nogs-and-x-mas-tree-nearby kinda Christmas flicks.

Hard to beat the “Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson!” episode of South Park.

How about “Olive, The Other Reindeer”? The book is a sweet children’s story; the TV show is definitely adult themed with some S&M overtones.

Also fun: Bernard and the Genie

Except for not being a video game series, not being foreign, not being not parody, and not being not modern. The OP’s criteria, which nobody is paying attention to:

There’s a Youtube reviewer that I follow, Chad Rocco, who has something of a running series on weird or forgotten Christmas Specials, which has quite a few gems.

Mind you, “gems” includes diamonds like A Wish For Wings that Work, and venomous shards of the Loc-nar like The Christmas Tree.

If you really want offbeat, of course, you might as well just go with the Christmas special that Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat, Wizards, Cool World, etc.) made, Christmas in Tattertown.

(It’s actually not THAT off-kilter at all, really—I remember seeing it on Nick-at-Nite as a kid.)

Mr. Bumpy rules. I need to go back and watch some episodes. I guess Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special doesn’t meet the “not supposed to be funny” qualification.