4- Ludachristmas/Merlinpeen (30 Rock)
In the world of 30 Rock, Christmas is real, though the reasons for ignoring the holiday are even greater amongst the staff of TGS. Ludachristmas was 30 Rock’s first attempt to subvert the holidays, as TGS’ holiday party is far more debaucherous than your typical end-of-year office celebration thanks to the efforts of one Tracy Jordan. Due to Tracy’s ankle bracelet and Liz Lemon’s obligations with her visiting family (which includes her stuck-in-1985 brother Mitch), Ludachristmas isn’t properly celebrated.
A few years later, the threat of a lame Secret Santa celebration forces the creation of a new religion called Verdukianism. Also known as the Verdukian Holiday of Mouth Pleasures, Merlinpeen is celebrated by Lutz, Toofer, and trucker hat-loving Frank via the consumption of high-cholesterol food and other elements of holiday over-indulgence. In reality, 30 Rock’s holiday alternatives are the exaggerations of the most pleasurable parts of Christmas (drinking too much and eating bad food) in the same way that the show itself was a wonderfully heightened version of network television. If we had a Ludachristmas and/or Merlinpeen wish, we’d bring that show back…
3- Decemberween (Homestar Runner)
Similar to how The Simpsons got much more comedic mileage out of October than December, Homestar Runner (the Simpsons of internet cartoons) also focused more on Halloween than the holidays. Still, the denizens of Free Country, USA did have an annual end-of-year celebration called Decemberween. Celebrated 55 days after Homestar’s preferred holiday, Decemberween is known as “the most sanitary time of year” and is commemorated with a feast where bunnies are consumed. It’s not quite the costume party that we see on HR.com every Halloween, but it’s good fun nonetheless.
The centerpiece of the celebration is a mysterious figure known as Dr. Christmas. However, the similarities stop there, as DC’s role in Decemberween was taking part in a battle atop Mount Rushmore against a sailor named Archibald. For some reason, Strong Sad also usually gets stuck in a tub and misses the celebration. One thing is for sure; none of this seems to have much of anything in common with the Christmas we know and love.
2- Life Day (Star Wars)
It’s quite ironic that the Star Wars celebration known as “Life Day” is shown during a holiday special that makes even the most ardent fans of the franchise want to kill themselves. During the arduous, overlong, sappy, cheesy cameo-filled Star Wars Holiday Special, Chewbacca and his Wookie family on Kashyyyk prepare for Life Day, a holiday meant to celebrate all life forms as well as those who have recently lost their life.
After an interminable sequence where Wookies interact without a snippet of actual dialogue spoken or written, we’re subjected to what seems to be the main thrust of Life Day, where elderly entertainers like Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Diahann Carroll perform crooning tunes and goof-em-ups that fail to even contribute a scrap of camp value. Despite the interjections of the Empire, Han, Leia, and Luke (phoning it in as only Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hammil can when contractually obligated to) make it to the Life Day celebration where things are only slightly more entertaining than when giant furry creatures were grunting at each other.
There is a decent Boba Fett cartoon in there at least, and if you survived the Life Day celebration back when it originally aired, you learned how to fight the frizzies, so there’s some slight worth to this otherwise awful day.
1- Festivus (Seinfeld)
Now here’s a holiday alternative for the rest of us! Subverting Christmas in a way that only the contentious Costanza crew can, Festivus does away with all of the wonderful togetherness and gift giving and instead delivers a dour authoritarian way to ring in winter.
Eschewing the commercialism of Christmas, Festivus is “celebrated” when the Costanza clan gathers around the Festivus pole, where Seinfeld’s most dysfunctional family takes part in traditions such as the “Airing of Grievances” (where the angry family yells at each other) and “Feats of Strength” (which Frank Costanza uses to physically abuse his slightly less-aggressive son, George). Fortunately, George finds some worth in the holiday too, as he uses Festivus to avoid giving office gifts to fellow employees at Kruger Industrial Smoothing.
Not only does Festivus topple many a classic Christmas alternative, it also stands out as the best Seinfeld holiday episode amongst some tight competition. While Elaine’s nip-slip holiday card, Kramer’s attempt to spread Communism as a mall Santa, and George’s gift of a stained Christmas sweater are classic moments all their own, Festivus and its absurd nature make this rare last-season gem one of the all-time Seinfeld classics.
Do you have a fictionalized version of Christmas that you prefer that we didn’t mention? Bring it up in the comments below!