The last few times the kids and I tried to settle in by the fireplace to watch a cozy Christmas movie, we were sadly disappointed.
We searched Netflix for all the old favorites. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”? Not there. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”? Nope. “Scrooged”? Not even.
Bah! Humbug! Netflix’s selection should be boiled in its own pudding.
Don’t get me wrong. There were a few good ones mixed in there. “White Christmas” from 1954 is a delight. “PeeWee’s Playhouse Christmas Special” is a wonderfully weird 1980s time capsule with dozens of cameos from superstars like Grace Jones, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Charo. And “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Classic.
There was Jim Carey’s creepy “The Grinch who Stole Christmas,” second-string “The Legend of Frosty the Snowman” and “Gremlins”. (Yes, it is a Christmas movie. And while we’re at it, so is “Die Hard”.)
But that was about it. They must have been waiting for December to release all the goodies, right? Guess again.
They scraped the bottom of the barrel with parts one, two and three of “The Santa Clause”, which drop Dec. 12. There are others on the list – “Trolls Holiday Special” and some low-budget rush jobs you’ve never heard of – to all of which Rudolph would turn up his red nose.
This wouldn’t irk me as much if Netflix hadn’t just raised its prices. OK, it’s only by a dollar or two depending on your plan, but as its cost increases, the time I spend using it seems to decrease. And there’s enough entertainment in the world that I could probably do without most of its Netflix Originals.
Hulu is not much better. Yes, I love Sarah Silverman’s new show “I Love You, America.” I like how Hulu gathers the Christmas episodes from certain TV shows into one place. And there are a very few choice specimens, like, “A Very Brady Christmas.” But for the most part, Hulu’s selection is just as dismal.
Amazon Prime is just slightly better. It has 1945’s “Christmas in Connecticut,” Rankin and Bass’s “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol”. But that’s all just gravy, because it comes with the Amazon Prime membership that I already find to be worth its stuffing.
But don’t go thinking I regret cutting the cable cord. In the past, it seemed you could find stalwarts like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or at least one version of “A Christmas Carol” at any hour of the day or night on TV. But that hasn’t been the case for several years.
“Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” only appear on the main networks once a year (part of what makes them so special) and those channels can be tuned in for free.
No, I don’t regret cutting ties with my cable company. Still, with bills mounting for my streaming and a la cart apps, and my viewing options stagnating like a 90s-era fruitcake, I have to wonder if I’m any better off.
And if Net Neutrality rules get repealed (God help us, every one), it’s only going to get worse. We’ll be paying more for slower service and spottier content.
Until then, I guess my kids and I will watch our Christmas classics in all their grainy, poorly framed glory on YouTube. At least that’s still free.
Did I miss any good Christmas movies that are streaming right now? Is there a better way to get TV and movies? Tweet @DiscountDivaSam.