Whether it's A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or Die Hard, everyone has their own go-to Christmas movies. Then there are the holiday movies that have been consigned to the Island of Misfit Christmas Movie Sequels—movies that people don’t love, because they just plain don’t know about. (Though, admittedly, film quality may also often play a part.) Here are seven examples of the latter.
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure (2003)
Fourteen years after rolling up to Clark Griswold’s house in a run-down old RV in 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) got a seasonal saga of his own with the made-for-TV Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. This time around, Eddie and his family—including wife Catherine (Miriam Flynn, reprising her role along with Quaid) and Ed Asner as “Uncle Nick”—find themselves celebrating Christmas while trapped on a tropical island. Matty Simmons, producer of the other four Vacation movies, wrote the screenplay. He has only penned one movie since, National Lampoon’s Pucked, starring Jon Bon Jovi. (Yes, that’s real.)
2. AND 3. Home Alone 4: Taking Back The House (2002) and Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)
You know about Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. You might know about the Macaulay Culkin-less Home Alone 3; it did get a theatrical release, after all. But, zombie-like, the franchise kept shambling along with two TV movies, released in 2002 and 2012. (We’ll be due for another in 2022.) The first, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, yet again puts Kevin McCallister (Mike Weinberg) in the position of having to defend his house—actually his divorced dad’s girlfriend’s house, where he’s spending Christmas—from thieves. Those thieves are played by French Stewart and Missi Pyle, the first stepping in for Daniel Stern as the dim-witted Marv.
Though Home Alone: The Holiday Heist opted for a brand new set of characters, the set-up is the same: Christmas, thieves, a booby-trapped house, etc. etc. The thieves this time around are played by Debi Mazar, My Name is Earl's Eddie Steeples, and … Malcolm McDowell?
4. A Christmas Story 2 (2012)
Since time immemorial, TBS has captivated viewers with their 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. No such love is given to its 2012 sequel, A Christmas Story 2, probably because no one realizes it’s a thing. This direct-to-video sequel takes place five years after the first movie; Ralphie, having worn down his father enough to get a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle, now has his heart set on a car. The two films have no cast or crew in common; the biggest name in the sequel is Daniel Stern, who cut his Christmas chops on (some of) the aforementioned Home Alone movies. There’s actually an earlier, non-holiday based A Christmas Story sequel, titled My Summer Story (released in theaters in 1994 as It Runs in the Family), that follows Ralphie and his family's summer shenanigans. That one was written and directed by the same people who did A Christmas Story, though since it was made 11 years later, its core cast had to be replaced. Here, Ralphie and his parents are played by Kieran Culkin, Charles Grodin, and Mary Steenburgen, with Christian Culkin as Randy.
5. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (2014)
A year after NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! kicked off the current televised musical trend, the peacock network tried its hand with a new version of Jon Favreau’s modern Christmas classic Elf. OK, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas isn’t really a sequel—it’s more a condensed mash-up of Elf and its musical adaptation, Elf: The Musical. Oh, and did we mention it’s in stop-motion? Jim Parsons voices the Christmas-loving Buddy, a human raised as an Elf at the North Pole, with voiceover expert (and Jedi) Mark Hamill playing his Scrooge-like father, Walter.
6. Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (2009)
Back in 2006, ABC Family aired the made-for-TV Christmas movie Santa Baby, starring Jenny McCarthy as Mary, a woman struggling with the decision to leave her career as a high-powered businesswoman in order to go back home and help her father with his business when he becomes sick. Oh, and her father is Santa Claus. Santa Baby was so successful that it garnered a sequel, Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe. (Not, in fact, written by Carly Rae Jepsen.) This time around, Mary has to step in and save Christmas when her father has a midlife crisis and an agitator at the North Pole tries to get the elves to go on strike. Just what one expects in ABC Family Christmas movies: labor disputes!
7. Rudolph And Frosty’s Christmas In July (1979)
There have been a handful of sequels to the classic Rankin and Bass Christmas special Frosty the Snowman, two of them by Rankin and Bass themselves. The first one, 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, involves Frosty’s young friends building him a wife named Crystal. The second is ever-so-slightly more ambitious: One hour and 37 minutes long, compared to 25 and 24 minutes for the previous films, 1979’s Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July involves a plot by the evil wizard Winterbolt to destroy the magic that makes Rudolph’s nose glow. (It was put there by the Aurora Borealis. Just go with it.)
Also present in Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July are: A circus, run by a character voiced by Ethel Merman; an evil carney trying to take over that circus; Santa in a hot air balloon; an evil reindeer named Scratcher; “Reinsnakes”; and a scene where Frosty, Crystal, and their two kids melt to death in the hot Florida sun. Merry Christmas!
This story has been updated for 2020.