A tippler's guide to the most 'special' time of the year

“1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special.”

With the particularly gnarly winter weather this year, it's been all too easy to burn through the usual family-friendly holiday specials well before Christmas day arrives. You can only watch White Christmas or one of the thousand iterations of A Christmas Carol so many times before it's necessary to dive deeper into Netflix for your yuletide-viewing fix. In that spirit, here's a handful of holiday music specials to turn to when you've already exhausted Rudolph, Frosty and the rest of the usual suspects. And—provided you're tucked away safely at home for the evening—these particular shows are ripe for drinking games. Pass the 'nog.

For Christmas traditionalists

Mariah Carey lives for Christmas glamour, as she proves in "Mariah Carey's Merriest Christmas," originally made for Hallmark in 2015 and now streaming on Netflix. Mariah's voice is in top-notch shape throughout this array of classic Christmas songs, dancing children and cheesecake skits, and Mariah beams with uninterrupted joy as she swans about in gold brocade gowns and pretends to sip eggnog. The special wraps up with "All I Want for Christmas is You," naturally. Drink: every time Mariah touches her ear while hitting a high note.

For godly Dolly Parton fans

Dolly Parton seems pretty intent on putting the Christ back in Christmas in her series of TV holiday specials. In the latest, "Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love," Dolly sings a few songs and narrates a treacly tale about a young version of herself growing up in a poor mining family. Ricky Schroder, of "Silver Spoons" fame, plays the dad. Drink: every time a character references their faith in God.

For holiday haters

Sick of Christmas carols? Check out the delightfully campy "Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular," which aired on ABC in 2015 and can now be found on YouTube. The entire holiday spectacular features just one Christmas song—a gender-swapped version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside"and the rest is just awkward skits with muppets and song-and-dance sequences from Gaga's 2013 album Artpop. Elton John shows up, too. Drink: every time Lady Gaga changes wigs. Do a shot if you spot her almost tripping in her high heels.

For Pee-Wee Herman nostalgists

Go back in time with 1988's "Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special," which is now remastered and streaming on Netflix. (Or find it on YouTube, where the timecapsule80s account has posted the hour-long original VHS recording, including commercials. What up, "Land Before Time.") Expect exuberant song-and-dance routines, slapstick comedy and heartwarming morals about friendship. Guest stars include Annette Funicello, Oprah, Cher, k.d. lang and Zsa Zsa Gabor, who died just last week. Drink: every time a deceased celebrity appears onscreen.

For hardcore Star Wars completists

If you've never seen the legendarily bad "Star Wars Holiday Special," released in 1978, then pull up YouTube and prepare for a treat. The two-hour variety show includes live-action skits with cameos from all the major Star Wars actors, as well as song-and-dance routines and a short cartoon that introduces bounty hunter Boba Fett to the canon—weirdly—for the first time. The main thread focuses on Chewbacca's family preparing for the Wookiee holiday "Life Day" in their '70s-style bungalow and awaiting Chewbacca's return from the rebellion. (I think that's what's happening—the Wookiee sequences are all in un-subtitled Wookiee language.) Jefferson Starship makes an appearance as intergalactic entertainment. Carrie Fisher sings a "Life Day" carol. Mark Hamill wears eyeliner. Drink: heavily throughout.

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