Pacs and Santa
Christmas Comes to PacLand
(ABC, 1982)

Okay, so get this: Pac-Man and his family are out riding in their snowmobile when they're chased by a pack of angry killer ghosts. Pac-Man eats his emergency Power Pellets, and chomps the ghosts.

The monsters' eyes float up into the sky, where Santa Claus is passing by. The reindeer are spooked by the ghostly eyes, and the sleigh crashes into PacLand -- leaving Santa stranded in a world where even a simple family snowmobile ride becomes an opportunity to consume your ghoulish enemies.

He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special
(syndicated, 1985)

This one doesn't even make sense. It's December on the planet Eternia, and everyone is preparing for Prince Adam's birthday. Then Orko the magician happens to crash-land a space shuttle on Earth, like you do, and he meets a couple of kids named Miguel and Alisha who are out shopping for a Christmas tree.

The kids explain Christmas to Orko, and he's so moved by it that he basically kidnaps the kids and brings them back to Eternia, tree and all, where they end up in the middle of He-Man's ongoing war against the forces of darkness. Even Skeletor gets a sudden attack of Christmas spirit, giving the kids winter coats and hardly even trying to kill them at all.

Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
(ABC, 1977)

Nestor is a donkey with abnormally long ears. This is apparently some kind of huge crime in Nestor's world, so naturally he's taunted and thrown out into the snow to die. So you figure that Nestor will probably end up earning everyone's respect by performing some important act of heroism, just like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Dumbo, the big-eared Disney elephant.

And that's exactly what happens. Plus, Nestor's mom freezes to death, and there's a big-cheeked angel with no pants on.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
(direct-to-video, 2000)

How do you take a three-minute novelty song about Santa killing your drunk grandma and turn it into a 50-minute cartoon special? You add a soap opera plot about a gold-digging cousin trying to trick the family into selling their store.

Grandma turns out to be alive after all, but she's got amnesia and living in the North Pole with Santa. Then Cousin Mel and an evil attorney called I.M. Slime kidnap Grandma and frame Santa. And then Grandma's fruitcake gets laced with reindeer-nip. And then... oh, never mind.

A Special Sesame Street Christmas
(CBS, 1978)

You know that great Sesame Street Christmas special from the 70s where Ernie sells Rubber Duckie to Mr. Hooper to buy a box for Bert's paper clip collection?

Well, this isn't that Sesame Street Christmas special. This is the other one.

This is the one where Leslie Uggams teaches Oscar the Grouch the true meaning of Christmas by asking Imogene Coca to dress up as the Ghost of Christmas Present. This is the one where Anne Murray sings a love song to Big Bird, and Leslie Uggams sings a love song to Oscar, and Henry Fonda wanders onto the set wearing a bathrobe.

I swear to God this really happened. It was on TV and everything.

The Year Without a Santa Claus
(ABC, 1974)

The Year Without a Santa Claus is boring and terrible.

Oh, yes, it is too, and you know it. Yes, it's got the Heat Miser song, which is catchy, and it's got the Snow Miser song, which is the same thing but in the other direction.

But what else do you remember about it? Nothin'. It stars two elves named Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells. Remember them? They're trying to get a reindeer out of the dog pound. Does that help? Didn't think so.

Rich Little's Christmas Carol
(HBO, 1978)

Well, to start with, even five minutes of celebrity impersonator Rich Little is hard to sit through. This is a whole hour of Rich Little performing A Christmas Carol -- including W.C. Fields as Ebenezer Scrooge, Columbo as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Edith Bunker as Mrs. Cratchit.

Just imagine Rich Little impersonating Truman Capote playing Tiny Tim, lisping, "God bleth uth, every one!" This was entertainment in 1978; presumably everything on the other channels was even worse.

A Claymation Christmas Celebration
(CBS, 1987)

Believe it or not, there was a time in the mid-80s when one of the most popular things in America was a TV commercial for the California Raisin Advisory Board. It featured clay animation raisins dancing around a kitchen and singing "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", and I know this doesn't seem even vaguely plausible now, but I swear this was really popular.

So in 1987 they made a whole Christmas special based around the California Raisins singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Then they had to stretch it to fill a half-hour, so the rest of it is mostly a couple of dinosaurs arguing about what "Here We Come a Wassailing" means.

Rosie Live!
(NBC, 2008)

Okay, it was more of a Thanksgiving special than a Christmas special, but it did have Harry Connick, Jr. dressed as Santa Claus, singing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". And it had Rosie O'Donnell delivering the immortal line, "It's Harry Connick, Jr! It's not Santa at all!" at the top of her lungs.

Also, ever since I saw it in November of 2008, I just can't think of the word "Worst" anymore without automatically thinking, Rosie Live! So here it is.

The Star Wars Holiday Special
(CBS, 1978)

I know, it's old news -- everybody talks about how bad The Star Wars Holiday Special was. But seriously, if you've never seen it, you just don't know. The first twelve minutes of the special are entirely in Wookiee language. No English, no subtitles. Just Chewbacca's son Lumpy walking around on the porch while his mother and grandfather moan and growl at each other. Then the special goes on for another hour and a half.

By the way, 1978 was also the year of Rich Little's Christmas Carol and A Special Sesame Street Christmas. What a merry Christmas that must have been!

So what are your least favorite Christmas specials? If I missed the one you hate the most, add it in the comments below!