Christmas television specials catch us with our guard down. We don't ask much of them, except that they give us a warm feeling, a chuckle, and maybe some distraction from worrying about whether we gave Uncle Morty the same pair of socks last Christmas.
That said, there have to be some standards. Badly written and poorly animated Christmas cartoons are thoroughly annoying wastes of time, as are shows that try to spoof or satirize Santa Claus, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and other traditions.
Over on Showtime, there's A Broadway Christmas, in which the London casts of such musicals as Les Miserables, Cats, Miss Saigon, and Starlight Express sing carols on their stage sets. I could have done without the Starlight Express crew's caterwauling version of John Lennon's ''Happy Xmas (War Is Over),'' but the show was done as a benefit for the charity organization Save the Children, so I'm not going to be a grinch. C