it’s the weekend after thanksgiving, which means it’s the official start of the “get-evan-prepped-for-christmas” season. you laugh, but i have found that after 30+ years of christmases (christmi? christmasuses?) i have developed a pre-christmas routine that boarders on obsessive.

first, we have the music. i’m currently sitting on 600+ christmas songs (from 30+ christmas albums) which means i can listen non-stop for about a day and a half without repeating the same version of a song. my itunes currently features 18 versions of silent night (my favorite is a classical russian folk recording) and if you ever want to have a conversation about the definitive recording of “o holy night” then i am your man (my vote is for the new orleans benefit version featured on studio 60 last year).

but mostly, we have the movies. and television. and cartoons. it all started about a decade ago when i noticed that the more christmas “stuff” i watched, the more likely i was to have a good christmas. this has now officially spiraled out of control, and has resulted in me watching about 20 dvds worth of goodies each holiday during November and December. actually, i have taken to throwing a “christmas cartoon extravaganza” each year to help spread the love (or share the burden, as it were).

my checklist for this year has 50+ items on it. while i certainly won’t get through more than about half of what you see here, i’ve documented the whole list so i don’t have to keep recreating it every year. if by some strange miracle i have forgotten something worth seeing, please mock my omission in the comments.

Best Christmas Cartoons & Best Christmas Specials

this selction include christmas cartoons (rankin-bass!) and several live action specials including various muppets. also included are television show episodes worth re-watching during the holidays, especially aaron sorkin productions (who has a knack for christmas that i wish he could spin into the other 364 days of his work each year).

A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Chipmunk Christmas
A Special Sesame Street Christmas
Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (“Christmas Special”)
Frosty Returns
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer
Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn’t Happen
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It’s Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together
Little Drummer Boy
M*A*S*H (“Death Takes a Holiday”)
Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Olive, the Other Reindeer
Pee-wee’s Playhouse (“Christmas Special”)
Robbie the Reindeer
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (“The Christmas Show”)
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus
The West Wing (“In Excelsis Deo”)
The West Wing (“Noël”)
The West Wing (“Holy Night”)
The Year Without a Santa Claus

Best Christmas Movies

some are good (miracle on 34th), some are bad (santa conquers the martians) but anything is fair game (die hard) if it happens at christmas.

About a Boy
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Story
Bad Santa
Christmas in Connecticut
Christmas Vacation (National Lampoon’s)
Christmas with the Kranks
Die Hard
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Ernest Saves Christmas
Holiday Inn
Home Alone
It’s a Wonderful Life
Love Actually
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Santa vs. Snowman
Saturday Night Live Christmas
The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Polar Express
The Ref
The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause 2
Trapped in Paradise
White Christmas

again, if i have forgotten something worth seeing, please share.