After a restless, sugarplum-plagued night, a child rushes down the stairs; eyes alight at the sight of gleaming gifts and packaged perfection bursting from underneath a hefty blue spruce. This scene plays out - we imagine - in everyone else's house, while we manage mangy mothers-in-law, desperately stuff stockings with snacks from the pantry, and cling to the hope that the kid's obsession with that toy lasts longer than December 26th. While many of our favorite Christmas movies feature Miracle on 34th Street-style magic, a surprising number present the problems with putting a bow on so many hopes and dreams. These are our 7 least favorite Christmas presents of all time.
7. Membership to the Jelly of the Month Club
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold is the last true family man , and all he wants is a good old-fashioned family Christmas. After contending with a creepy cousin, eccentric electricity, and a particularly squirrely squirrel, Clark gets the ultimate insult - instead of Christmas bonuses this year, the boss mailed out memberships to the Jelly of the Month Club.
6. A shrunken head
The Nightmare Before Christmas
And you thought underpants from your aunt was a misguided gift. In his attempt to take over Christmas, Jack Skellington delivers some scary bad presents. The town erupts in squeals and shrieks and the constable's phone works overtime as children open gruesome gifts that snarl, drool, and chase them around the house.
5. Certain doom (averted)
"Christmas means carnage!" shouts Ferdinand the duck in the kid's classic, Babe. The protagonist pig is destined to become Christmas dinner for the Hogget family, as warned by his feathered friend. Even his mentor Fly the border collie is resigned to accept the pink porker's fate when a last-minute save by James Cromwell shifts the guillotine towards an unfortunate unnamed duck (not Ferdinand). Baa-ram-ewe, indeed.
4. A private island
Chuck Noland doesn't deserve his Christmas Eve fate - he just works for FedEx. In Cast Away, Tom Hanks's character is sentenced to over 1,500 days of decidedly un-Christmassy survival on a tiny island when his plane goes down over the yuletide. He struggles, learns, adapts, and survives, ending up with a beard that rivals the big man. And the bow on top? He doesn't even get Helen Hunt back.
3. A phone call
Catch Me If You Can
In this modern classic, Carl Hanratty spends years chasing young Frank Abagnale Jr. as he cons his way around the globe. Even while moonlighting as a Pan-Am pilot, a southern lawyer, and a doctor, Frank always finds time to call his antagonist on Christmas Eve. One of the movie's pivotal scenes takes place in Montrichard, France, as a choir sings carols in the background.
2. The bunny suit
A Christmas Story
A Red Ryder carbine-action, two-hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time. That's all Ralphie wants for Christmas ... is that so much to ask? Unfortunately, the sadistic Aunt Clara sends a pink bunny suit instead, unaware that little Ralphie has grown into a root-tootin' rifle-shootin' wild man (he wishes). Hilarity ensues as he's made to model for the family, who deems it "a pink nightmare."
1. A Mogwai
Worst. Christmas. Present. Ever. After violating the obvious rule "don't buy presents from weirdos in seedy areas of town," Billy's dad brings home a truly troublesome pet. The three simple rules - no light, no water, and no late-night snacks - are quickly broken and Gizmo produces a spawn of rotten little gremlins. And you thought Furby was scary.