5 Throwback Christmas Specials That Will Fill You with Holiday Cheer

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... for campy, overproduced Christmas specials. And we are here for it

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Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit more than revisiting some of our favorite Christmas specials (looking at you, John Legend). What, you may ask, is a Christmas special? Well, it's anything its stars want it to be. Think variety show plus costume changes, special guest stars and even Santa cameos. It's a truly magical genre.

With the arrival of the holiday season, we can officially embrace our inner Mariah Carey and rewatch these vintage Christmas specials on repeat.

Nick & 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. This special was released a year before their split, when the two were at the height of their fame together as the stars of the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. True to the Family title, the special features appearances by Lachey's group 98 Degrees (including Lachey's younger brother Drew Lachey) and Simpson's sister Ashlee Simpson.

All we know is that we need to learn all of the special's choreography before our office party.

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. So while he's clearly sending up the campy Christmas specials of the past, he's showing off his talent as he does it.

Lady Gaga and The Muppets Holiday Spectacular (2013)

It's hard to believe that Lady Gaga made a Christmas special with The Muppets, but it happened, and we, as a nation, are better for it. After all, the Mother Monster, Kermit and his friends are a perfect fit. The special is a little light on holiday songs since it mainly focuses on music from Gaga's 2013 album Artpop. However, it does feature Gaga singing a duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with special guest Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a performance of "Santa Baby."

We are devastated that this didn't become an annual tradition.

The Osbourne Family Christmas Special (2003)

The MTV reality show based on Ozzy Osbourne's family was at the peak of its popularity when the foul-mouthed family of the Prince of Darkness starred in this Christmas special. Lachey even made a surprise guest appearance! TV simply doesn't have the shock value that it used to.

Oh, whoa, Britney Spears made an appearance too!

Tracy Morgan also popped up in the special, playing Santa Claus, of course.

Bob Hope Christmas Special (1974)

We would be remiss if we didn't include the O.G. Christmas special master, comedian Bob Hope, who popularized the genre by producing a yearly variety show that featured Hollywood's top stars dressed in campy costumes. Hope hosted his first Christmas special in 1953, and it became a near-annual tradition through 1994. Suffice it to say the 1974 Bob Hope Christmas Special is the standard that all holiday specials aspire to be.

Above, Olivia Newton-John and Hope perform the Christmas song "Silver Bells," which they would perform again in 1977.

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