Santa Librarian, among many other things, is a fan of Norse mythology. When Baldur, the Norse god of truth and light, was born, his mother, Frigg, made every single thing promise to never harm Baldur. She managed to extract that promise from everything except the mistletoe plant, which claimed to be too young to make such a promise. At a drunken mid-winter revel, Baldur’s blind brother Hod threw sharp weapons at Baldur just for fun. Then Loki, their brother, wrapped a blade in mistletoe and gave it to Hod to throw. Baldur died, Hod mourned, Loki got left out of the gift swap, and the mistletoe ended up in a boot camp for juvenile offenders.
Thus began a tradition of drunken family holiday feuds and mistletoe-fueled mistakes and regrets. In keeping in that tradition, here are some naughty Christmas choices:
- Scrooged: This retelling of the Scrooge story stars Bill Murray as a brutal TV executive who is mean to everyone. With the typical visits from three atypical holiday spirits, Murray learns to embrace the holiday spirit.
- Hogfather: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is the longest running series in fiction, and in Hogfather, he turns his satirical eye to Christmas and Santa Claus. What better way for a people with a pork-based economy to celebrate a mid-winter holiday than with a visit from the Hogfather? Except he’s gone missing. Now Death, complete with hooded robe, scythe and a sleigh pulled by pigs, must take his place for the night, or humanity will lose all sense of hope and belief.
- Unholy Night: Balthazar, a thief known as the "Ghost of Antioch", has escaped the clutches of King Herod and his guards, only to end up in Bethlehem where Herod’s Guard have a family with a newborn surrounded in a stable. From the author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this retelling of the first Holy Night includes humor, action, and the divine.
- Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thornton is a drunken and greasy professional Santa Claus who travels from town to town each year, fleecing the stores that hire him. This raunchy comedy was one of the last films from comedian Bernie Mac and the final film for John Ritter. Usher the littlest angels out of the room for this one!
- A Christmas Story: Based on Jean Shepherd’s short stories and radio broadcasts, this film was a near bust when it was released in theaters, leaving the taste of Lifebuoy soap in the studio’s mouth. Three decades on, this movie is "fra-gee-lay"—that’s Italian for a Special Prize—to be unwrapped each Christmas.
- Gremlins: Many Christmas presents come with instructions—not following them usually means a broken whatzit. In this case, it means having your town overrun by Furbies with a bad attitude. This film stresses the importance of following directions and highlights the dangers of shopping local; if by local, you mean a creepy old man.
- Holidays on Ice: Trust me—get the audio version of this David Sedaris book. The stories from Sedaris’s time as a Macy’s Elf, his childhood Christmases, and the Noel traditions of the Netherlands are top notch; add in Sedaris’s unique narration and you get comic gold. Listen to this one while sleighing your way to Grandma’s house.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Written by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, this film shows what happens when Halloween meets Christmas. When else can you find a bogeyman torturing Santa Claus to a finger-snapping tune?
- The Stupidest Angel: Santa has just taken a shovel to the back of the head in Pine Grove, CA, and the dimwitted Archangel Raziel has answered a young boy’s prayers by bringing him back to life, in a manner of speaking. Horror meets the holly in this book by Christopher Moore.
- Batman Returns: It’s Christmas in Gotham, and the Dark Knight is facing one of his most grotesque enemies, and he happens to be dressed as the Penguin, too. This is Tim Burton doing what Tim Burton does best, which is make Christmas both creepy and fun.
And just because being naughty means not following directions, here are my 11th and 12th choices!
- Santa’s Twin: Santa’s evil twin, Bob Claus, has kidnapped the jolly old elf, and he has filled the sleigh with cat poop and broccoli. Even the reindeer have been threatened into cooperation. Two sisters must race to the North Pole to save Santa in this not-for-children picture book.
- Die Hard: Yippie Kai-Yay, Holiday Shopper! The original film in this 20+ year franchise taught us many things: Making "little fists" with your feet will relieve jet lag, always keep your shoes on, and be prepared when you go to the company Christmas party for armed Euro-trash terrorists to play Grinch to your yuletide reconciliation. Christmas Eve has never been so explosive!
And if A Charlie Brown Christmas isn’t your animated cup of tea, I recommend watching the Boondocks’ episode, "A Huey Freeman Christmas." I think you will agree with Riley Freeman that "...Santa’s got to pay what he owes!"
Check back tomorrow to read Santa Librarian's Top 10 Nice Holiday Picks!