To paraphrase Sufjan Stevens, it’s almost Christmas! Don’t feel sad! But it has to be said: Netflix Instant is really lacking when it comes to seasonal fare to enjoy over the next couple of days when the Yule Log gets a little too repetitive. Sure, they’ve got clips of the movies you’d really want to be watching and everyone’s favorite festive slasher pic, Black Christmas, but other than that, the pickings are kind of bare and pretty much children’s fare (And, considering we’re talking Bob The Builder and Veggie Tales, not even good children’s fare). Thank Santa for Hulu, then. Surprisingly, Hulu is filled with all manner of goodies to watch in to get you in an appropriately Yuletide-friendly mood. Here’re a few choices to prepare you to stuff stockings before the big day itself:
ALF’s Special Christmas
Only Allie Townsend understands my love/hate relationship with extra-terrestrial muppet ALF (which, for the younger readers out there, stands for Alien Life Form), just one of the many caustic outsiders who made it big by commenting on the small things in life during the 1980s (See also: Garfield). But even sarcastic puppets can get the holiday spirit, as this specially-extended episode ably demonstrates.
He-Man And She-Ra: A Christmas Special
More 1980s nostalgia, yes, but it’s worth remembering that He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special has a lot to teach us about the True Meaning of the holiday season: Namely, that the Christmas Spirit is the only thing in the entire universe strong enough to keep Horde Prime, boss of both Skeletor and Hordak, from taking over all of existence. Do your part in escaping tyrannical rule and go eat a candy cane right now, please.
Community: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas
Easily the best of this year’s holiday specials on television, this all-stop-motion-animated episode manages to have the best of both worlds, satirizing the sentimentality of the holidays at the same time as completely embracing it. I admit some bias here – I really love Community on a weekly basis anyway – but if you aren’t already a fan, you should really check this out.
A Christmas Carol
A true holiday classic, and available in multiple different versions (including an all-dog movie, Mr. Magoo flavor and a straight-up animated adaptation), there’s something about Charles Dickens’ story that helps each of us believe that we too could manage to break out of our everyday lives and embrace the openness, giving and happiness offered by the three spirits to become a better person. Which may not necessarily be true, but it’s nice to think about every year around this time.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
There may be other Peanuts Christmas specials, but nothing comes close to the perfection offered by the original. Whether it’s the limited animation that so captures Charles Schulz’s drawings, the completely naive and heartwarmingly sentimental storyline (Screw Scrooge’s rebirth, we should all want to be Linus every December) or the amazing Vince Guaraldi score, nothing says Christmas like to me like this does. Yes, I know it’s on television every year, but still: You’re probably overdue to see it again, anyway.
For those who celebrate the season, Happy Christmas. For those who don’t, happy weekend.
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