Say cheese!: Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in "12 Dates of Christmas" (Bob D'Amico/ABC Family)'Tis the season for peace, love, and goodwill... especially toward cheesy made-for-TV specials. The following seven holiday-themed movies and specials are either over-the-top, sappy, or over-the-top and sappy. So set your DVRs and prepare to get in the spirit!
'Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Christmas'
Gordon Ramsay, in a good mood? Say it ain't so! Mr. "Hell's Kitchen" gets in the holiday spirit by whipping up a scrumptious-looking holiday feast for his family (it's no kitchen nightmare, that's for sure) -- and he doesn't swear. Or lose his temper. What?
Basically, it's the fiery British chef minus the fire (and f-bombs), with several children and elderly relatives thrown in for good measure. Translation: a kinder, gentler Gordon. That doesn't sound like Ramsey at his most "ultimate" to us.
Gordon tames his (roast) beast on December 20 at 10pm on BBC America.
'12 Dates of Christmas'
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Amy Smart co-star in this ABC Family original rom-com about a woman who relives the same Christmas Eve blind date 12 times, until she finally gets it right. Sounds oddly familiar. Will Rudolph stand in as the groundhog?
Mark-Paul and Amy's flirtation begins December 11 at 8pm on ABC Family.
'A Carol Christmas'
What the Dickens? Tori Spelling stars in this absurd take on "A Christmas Carol," in which a witchy talk-show host named -- you guessed it -- Carol learns to stop being a total Scrooge. In a twist of casting genius, Gary Coleman plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, and William Shatner is Dr. Bill, the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Don't miss this gem on December 31 at 6am on the Hallmark Channel. (That early in the morning, you will miss it if you don't set your DVR.)
No, this isn't about a global snowpocalypse. It's about an evil snow globe -- no joke; Google it -- that wreaks havoc in Normal, Alaska. Points for originality, we suppose.
Syfy is also behind the movie "Ice Quake," in which an Alaskan geologist and his family try to singlehandedly stop a large-scale permafrost melt that is causing violent earthquakes. On Christmas Eve. Honestly, what does Syfy have against Alaska and Christmas?
Treat yourself to this latest winter-themed cinematic treasure on December 10 at 9pm on Syfy.
'Donna Decorates Dallas' Holiday Special
Donna Moss and her two daughters bring their special brand of over-the-top interior design to the Moss family home in preparation for Christmas. What does a Big D holiday entail? According to HGTV, handcrafted ornaments made of Styrofoam, animal-print fabric, and crystals, as well as scented candles in decorated cocktail glasses.
Donna does her holiday thing on December 17 at 10pm on HGTV.
'Annie Claus Is Coming to Town'
To L.A., to be exact. With her parents' encouragement, Santa's daughter Annie (Maria Thayer, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"), the head of toys, strikes out into the real world one month before Christmas to find true love. The catch? Santa's aide, a devious fellow who's determined to inherit the North Pole business by pushing Annie out of the picture, hires a disingenuous guy to woo her. Fortunately, Annie also meets a very nice toy-store owner, Ted (delicious "Gossip Girl" guest star Sam Page), who ends up being The One.
Annie Claus is basically "Elf," but without yellow tights and Will Ferrell's comedic genius. (Like Jovie, Zooey Deschanel's "Elf" character, Ted is oddly willing to get onboard with the whole Santa Claus thing.)
We're just counting down the days until this made-for-TV movie's December 10 premiere at 8pm on the Hallmark Channel.
'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer'
Grandma gets run over by a reindeer in this animated take on the eponymous holiday song. (Sample lyrics: "They should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.") But unlike the scenario in the song, Grandma hasn't been tippling the eggnog; she survives, and Santa isn't guilty of a hit-and-run. Somehow, we find that oddly disappointing.
Grandma gets an unwelcome Christmas surprise on December 23 at 9pm ET on The CW.
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