It’s the most wonderful time of the year … for campy, overproduced Christmas specials. And we are here for it (looking at you, John Legend).
Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit more than revisiting some of our favorite Christmas specials. What, you may ask, is a Christmas special? Well, it’s anything its stars want it to be. Think variety show plus costume changes plus special guest stars plus Santa cameos. It’s a truly magical genre.
Now that Thanksgiving has passed and we can officially embrace our inner Mariah Careys, we’re re-watching these vintage Christmas specials over and over and over again ahead of tonight’s A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy (NBC, 10 p.m. ET/PT).
1. Nick and Jessica’s Family Christmas Special (2004)
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson may not have worked out as a couple, but their on-screen chemistry was fire.
All we know is that we need to learn the following choreography before our office party:
2. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All (2008)
Oh, how we miss Colbert Report-era Stephen Colbert. This campy variety show spoof episode from 2008 truly was the “greatest gift of all.”
The best part? Colbert can actually sing. He’s a man of the theater.
3. Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular (2013)
It’s hard to believe this ever actually happened, but it did, and we, as a nation, are better for it.
We are devastated that this didn’t become an annual tradition.
4. The Osbourne Family Christmas Special (2004)
Nick Lachey even made a surprise guest appearance! Television simply doesn’t have the shock value that it used to.
Oh whoa, Britney’s there too!
Tracy Morgan also made an appearance in the special, playing Santa Claus, of course.
5. Bob Hope Christmas Special (1974)
We would be remiss if we didn’t include the OG Christmas special master, comedian Bob Hope, who popularized the genre by producing a yearly variety show that featured Hollywood’s top stars dressed in camp-tastic costumes.
Above, Olivia Newton-John and Hope perform the Christmas song “Silver Bells,” which they would perform again in 1977.