Feminist Grinch Killjoy: Let Me Ruin Your Favorite Christmas Movie For You

When I was a wee tot, I loved watching Christmas movies this time of year. You know the ones. The classics they play on basic cable every year from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s. I’d don pajamas and curl up in front of my parents’ fireplace and watch Burl Ives’ stop-mation pictures, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Babes in Toyland and more recent films (well, recent when I was a kid) like Ernest Saves Christmas and The Santa Clause.

When I was a senior in college, I thought it’d be a good idea to watch the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for #nostalgia and… it was a bit different than I remembered. Here are your classic Christmas movie favorites, slightly tarnished like your childhood memories always will be. SORRY.

A Charlie Brown Christmas


Charlie Brown contemplates late-stage capitalism and clearly suffers from seasonal affective disorder but no one cares.

It’s a Wonderful Life


Literally 130 minutes of excruciating mediocre white man feelings.

Home Alone


Uh, this is child neglect.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Poor Rudolph is relentlessly bullied by peers, family, and Santa until he proves he’s good enough by saving their unworthy asses in an emergency.

A Christmas Story


If you think kids should play with guns, this movie is for you!



A white man-child destroys property, acts out violently, generally seems unstable and is rewarded for it over and over instead of facing any consequences or, like, you know, jail time.

The Santa Clause



National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation


A boring white misogynist is really worried about his year-end bonus, but somehow also unconcerned about the amount of energy consumed by the very unnecessary number of Christmas lights on his house.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


That poor abused dog has permanent PTSD. SOMEONE RESCUE THIS UNFORTUNATE ANIMAL.

The Muppet Christmas Carol


Actually, this movie is perfect.

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KaeLyn is a 40-year-old hard femme bisexual dino mom. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Upstate NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a scaredy cat, an elderly betta fish, and two rascally rabbits. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 230 articles for us.


  1. I just watched National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation for the first time yesterday and hated it so much!!!
    Like I am sorry, am I supposed to feel bad for you because you decided to spend 7500 dollars you did not have on a deposit for a freaking pool and then took out your anger on your family?? This guy keeps talking as if they are poor but lives in a house I could never afford in my life and wastes tons of energy! His wife was a paragon of patience imo in regards to his man-child tantrums.
    And that Pervy scene with the store clerk. Eww.

    • My original comment on National Lampoon was “JUST NO” because that is how I feel, but it wasn’t descriptive enough. LOL.

  2. Love this!!!! I love sucking the joy out of stuff. Every year I endure the nausea of Christmas, this gives me hope that other people see the futility of it too.

  3. Love the list! But you forgot the part where the kid in Home Alone is a sadistic sociopath well on his way to becoming a serial killer lol

  4. Muppet Christmas Carole is so underrated! It was one of my favorites as a child. I’m also very fond of Pee Wee’s Christmas which was VERY gay.

    • I watched Peewee’s Christmas Special last night on the strength of your comment – thank you! It was a lot of fun and surprisingly queer. I remember enjoying the show as a small child, but I naturally didn’t grasp how avant-garde it was at the time. It’s bizarre and a little overwhelming, which somehow makes it perfect for the holidays!

  5. I was about to have a level 10 freakout when I saw A Muppets Christmas Carol on this list but you didn’t have anything bad to say about it so phew!

    Christmas is my favorite holiday and I know all sorts of shit can be problematic but YOU WILL PRY MY CHRISTMAS SPECIALS FROM MY COLD, DEAD, CHRISTMAS-SPIRIT BRINGING HANDS!

  6. The Muppet Christmas Carol: “Actually, this movie is perfect.” YES! ❤️. I may or may not be repeatedly listening to this soundtrack Spotify this season ?

      • KaeLyn, I think you’re confusing A Muppets Christmas Carol Soundtrack with the album “John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together.” But both are truly gifts from the universe bestowed on us undeserving mortals, so <3

        • Oh I’m aware they are different soundtracks. Just feeling the Muppets love, in general. (Except that weird Lady Gaga holiday special that was just…..strange.)

        • Watching videos of John Denver singing with Muppets is one of the only things that brings me joy during the holiday season.

  7. Also, the way Charlie Brown is picked on by even the adults in the Peanuts universe has always bugged me.

    • Agreed! That poor kid definitely needed real therapy (not the $.05 kind). Like he is clearly depressed as a result of targeted bullying…he needs help!

  8. The “Honest Trailer” for Rudolph amused me. It basically brings up the same issue that you did: gross, get out of here you freak…until we need your suddenly useful defect.

    • Well, anyone with a disability or difference is gross until they can prove they are useful to NORMAL folks. Duh. HO HO HO!

  9. Muppet Christmas Carol is amazing. On repeat. All week.

    Additionally, my mom rented “Holiday Inn” on amazon and deleted it when 20 minutes in Bing Crosby was doing blackface. Awesome.

    • A childless, unmarried librarian, at that!

      Though now that I ponder it, is the truth that Mary Hatch was a lesbian in the alternate timeline? HOW DID I NEVER NOTICE THIS BEFORE?


      • I always felt like alternate time-line Mary was the real winner

        Why would Original Time-line Mary have ever wanted that many children? Did disposable diapers exist yet? Like, what exactly was in it for her

        • That’s what most women did in those days, because sadly their weren’t a lot of other option available. Though it wasn’t until after the WWII that large families really started making a comeback. Now we seem to have come full circle, as more adults are living with the parents than anytime since 1940!

          Of course Violent never marries. For those who only sort of remember the film, she was the Bedford Falls bad girl play by ever exciting film-noir hotty Gloria Grahame. She may be a hooker in the alternate-timeline, but she’s still single when coming back to Bedford Falls despite whatever trouble Georges helps her out with. There’s an interesting fan theory that she had an affair with Ernie the cab driver! Thus the reason his wife left with his kids in Pottorsville is that George wasn’t there to intervene and say if marriage.

        • Here’s with I don’t get though. Why couldn’t Mary have just married Sam. Since he seemed to have no trouble getting rich without George’s help. He’s not even mentioned in the alternate-timeline! Did her brief time working on New York just scare her off to living their full time? Just what the heck did she witness!

          Speaking of which, Annie the family maid and only the black person of any consequence to the story isn’t in the alternate-timeline either. Which makes me wonder if she really wasn’t that much worse off in Pottersville than Bedford Falls! What was her line in the final scene? Something about how her donation to the Building & Loan was something to she’s been saving up “in case I ever find me a husband.”

          Ha Ha. Unfortunately, in historical hindsight that isn’t quite so funny. For a long time black women had even more pressure to marry an a man with a steady job, since they had even fewer working options. With the movie adaption of Fences now coming to theaters, maybe a younger generation can get a glimpse of why so many women in those days (black women especially) worked through some really crushing acts by their husbands just to hold on to the lives they’d worked for.

    • Library it up, Mary, and get the hell out of Dodge!

      I watched Wonderful Life for the very first time just a week or so ago and could barely get through half an hour of it before I gave up. Then when I noted my distaste for it on FB, a lot of my friends agreed, but I had a couple of people respond like I kicked their puppy or pissed in their cereal. To me, the message of the movie was that in order to be a Good Person you had to give yourself up to anyone else’s claim on you, ever. What nonsense. Stupid crap garbage martyr storyline.

      • No, having to settle for making affordable housing available to poor families over pursing your dream of building hi-rises isn’t martyrdom. It’s just ones stubborn in-abiltie to let got of what have been that makes George Bailey THINK he’s a martyr. We have such a lofty notions in America that wealth and status is proof you’ve obtained the American Dream. While this is more often assumed readily attainable to white males, anyone can get sucked into the same misplaced feeling of entitlement. That attitude of “I work hard, I make sacrifices, why I’m not treated as someone important!”

        I think the message is that if your lucky enough to have family and friends who appreciate you for what good at, than you’ve probably done something right and not appreciating them backs only makes the hard times worse. Now a days people can go on talk shows and social forums to revel the stupidest things and complain to no ends about their lives just feel important, not even thinking about who gets hurt in the process. Life can be wonderful because of the little matters of having family or community to come back to, more than the big events that receive more attention.

  10. Muppets Christmas Carol is so perfect that my second girlfriend/first love special ordered it from an actual store on VHS (I’m so old) for my Valentine’s Day gift because that film meant so much to her, and I had never seen it. The fact that we broke up in a brutal and hideous teenage nightmare way in no way diminishes my love for Muppets Christmas Carol – that is how good that movie is.

  11. I have such fond childhood memories of my mom and grandma cracking up at the “SHE’S AN OLD MAID!!” scene in Its A Wonderful Life

    • A Charlie Brown Christmas = my mom and aunt, belly laughing: “Oh My God, they’re so fucking mean to him, why was this ever ok”

  12. I love a muppet Christmas Carol. It is perhaps my favorite film. However, upon watching this year, we realized that Scrooge is obviously a horrific Jewish caricature. Ebeneezer is straight old testament naming. Not sure how I managed to miss that. Yikes to me.

    BUT LIKE thats the source materials problem. Leave Michael Caine alone!

    • OH NO! Nothing is perfect, I guess… Sigh…

      Charlie Brown and I will be over here in our nihilist corner agonizing over the futility of hope.

    • Sadly this isn’t new, books for centuries have been describing witches as eastern(many time Polish) Jewish women. In fact some of witches outfits were based on what was popular in Poland at the time. Disney generally does this with their evil witches and in general characters who are suppose to be the bad guy.

    • Just watch the Disney version, where Scrooge goes from being a Jewish caricature to a Scottish caricature. That fixes everything!

  13. Also, the racist scene at the Chinese restaurant at the end of “A Christmas Story”.

    Not to mention “Black Bart”…

    • You could write a thesis on everything problematic in A Christmas Story. The 1940’s were a fun time. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

    • Yes! I watched this for the first time last week and was aware that the only black person in the entire film was a burglar in a dream scene who Ralphie attacked.

  14. My stomach dropped when I just saw the last one, without seeing what you wrote. NOT THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. I was about to just close my eyes and not look at the end but then TWIST. That was a good little twist KaeLyn.

  15. “Ruining the holiday” is one on my top five fave activities list. My partner’s mother is extremely bratty about holiday photos and family time, so I do little passive aggressive things each season to annoy her. Last Christmas I dyed my hair with grey and purple highlights, by my nephew’s first birthday I had gotten two large / visible Star Wars tattoos, and now I’ve cut all my hair off and dyed the remaining parts pink / blue / purple. I have to exercise what little control I do have in the smallest ways.

  16. This is my favorite game to play after drinking, get a bunch of friends over, start drinking, list the tv shows or movies or other popular culture stuff you liked when kids, proceed to list down why they are just terrible shows, showing the worst in humanity, lose your friends. Its almost like monopoly without all the dice throwing

  17. I never fully saw the movie, but aren’t we missing Miracle on 34th Street staring Mara Not Straight Wilson?

    • True story: I originally included Miracle on 34th Street, the 1994 version with little-confirmed-not-straight-Mara. However, I had a hard time coming up with something brief and snarky to say about it. Also, I <3 little Mara in all her 90’s movies (MATILDA!). That, and the plot isn’t self-evident.

      Truthfully, though, I don’t hate it as much as others. I do wish the strong, smart, independent woman is a frigid bitch storyline wasn’t so prominent. I guess it’s the movie equivalent of telling women to smile and stop being so serious.

    • Miracle on 34th Street is one of my favorite Christmas movies! Please, don’t even try to ruin it for me.

  18. I recently watched The Santa Clause and I was kind of shocked at how much really dark subject matter is present in what’s otherwise a straight up disney kids movie.

    I mean, for one they literally watch the old Santa FALL TO HIS DEATH at the beginning of the movie and they don’t seem that worried about it? And then he’s just like “let me put this dead man’s clothes on for my son!”

    Also, the child is AWFUL.

    Then there’s the incessant mocking of therapy/the therapist who is set up to seem weak, narrow-minded and condescending, even though there were major red flags re: his relationship with his dad.

    Ugh, god that annoying ass child.

    And then of course all the fatphobia and fat shaming from like, EVERY single person in his life as mentioned.

    • Yes, I’ve always wondered why all the characters were so chill about Santa falling to his death. NBD. Old Santa out, New Santa in.

  19. I love A Christmas Story. I watch it usually two or three times through when they marathon it on TBS. Ralphie’s parents remind me of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s sweet. But my favorite Christmas stuff is usually the various animated specials. I want to see if I can find the Garfield one, back from when Lorenzo Music was doing the voice (you know, the CBS cartoon that also had US Acres). The best one for me would probably be A Christmas Carol, not the Muppet version, but the Disney version. Scrooge McDuck is Scrooge, of course, and Mickey is Cratchit. Jiminy Cricket is the ghost of Xmas past, Goofy is Marley, man…I need to find that on TV or Netflix or whatever.

    Also, the other night, I watched Ernest Saves Christmas. It’s moronic, yes, but still hilarious, and what I love most about it is that it’s not cynical. In the end, everybody makes the right choices, and nobody made them. It’s just what was inside them. As former!Santa tells Ernest, “Trust people.”

    • Also those TV show Xmas specials. Like the Alf Xmas special, which I believe lives on VHS tape, recorded off the television, someplace at my mom and dad’s house.

  20. elf is probably the most ableist christmas movie ive ever seen. the main character imo is very autistic coded and just terrible i honestly cant stand it

  21. Love Actually should be on this list.

    AKA, Let’s edit out the lesbian storyline for more *COLIN* and general misogyny, fatshaming, and angsty man/boy feelings, while breaking the heart of the ONLY good thing about this movie, Emma Fucking Thompson who deserves better. Merry Christmas, Love IS all around us?

    • I considered it, then decided I didn’t want to alienate @meyrude, who lives for Love Actually unironically. I personally can’t stand it or, like, any of the characters. I do like gazing upon Alan Rickman’s face (even though his character in LA is awful), so there’s that.

      #TeamSnapeForever #2016WASTHEWORST

  22. “What about this thing you should have included and didn’t on your CLEARLY INEXHAUSTIVE list? What about that?”

    -someone, commenting on every list/year-end roundup

  23. *moment of embarrassment* One of my favorite Christmas movies is Last Holiday. It is completely stupid but I love it!

  24. Clearly the best Christmas movie is Carol. You know, the one with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett


    Why can’t you tell the sheeple how dangerous snow is? Unless you have some secret pro-snow agenda, Kaelyn. Now we must question your feminist killjoy credentials. I bet your apologism for that horrid piece of snow propaganda stems from your love of musicals.

  26. I watched a Muppet Christmas Carol so many times as a kid when I finally read the original story I couldn’t picture the characters as humans, only Muppets.

  27. Also the bit about Home Alone being a metaphor for US border security.

    “This is my house. I have to defend it.” – Kevin “build a wall between the US and Mexico” McCallister

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