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Christmas Sports Viewing Guide: Bowl Games, College Hoops, and More for December 24-26

Plus, a rundown of the Christmas movies I’ve watched this winter.

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Central Michigan vs San Diego State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t watch movies.

Don’t have the attention span, don’t much care for saccharine storytelling or CGI, can think of infinitely better things to do with my time.

Of course, my wife loves Christmas movies. And I can only escape to the basement claiming “I have finals to grade!” so many times.

Here are the movies she has made me watch, along with a summary of each and any observations I had while watching the movie.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2019)

Summary: Forest Whitaker is a toymaker who had his greatest invention stolen by Keegan-Michael Key after an evil toy voiced by Ricky Martin made him do it. A granddaughter helps him realize his love for Christmas and toys and inventing and stuff.

My Observation: They sing a lot. One song is called “Square Root of Possible” and it was about here that I stopped giving a shit.

Hometown Holiday (2018)

Your classic “businesswoman meets a man from the big city” Christmas classic. I think. Here’s the IMDB:

Krista is starting this New Year with a new business and a resolution to be more selective with who she dates. When Krista meets Ryan Rourke, an entertainment lawyer from LA, the two really hit it off. Ryan is in her hometown to sign a local rancher turned viral signing sensation as his new client. Now with Krista also in Rust Creek, maybe there is more of a reason to stick around. Both are holding onto things from their past and are forced to make some decisions if they truly want to be together.

My Observation: I feel asleep.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I probably hadn’t watched this in 4-5 years.

My Observation: Feels unfair, as I kind of walked into the room in time for the Christmas tree cutting-down adventure and then walked out again. When the Griswolds’ car slips under the logging truck, I had flashbacks to driving my Ford Focus west to Mitchell, SD, on I-90 just a couple days after New Year’s. It was snowy and man those semis are BOLD.

The Grinch (2018)

I don’t know if I’d never seen this or what, but the Tyler, the Creator “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” made for a fun start that I wasn’t ready for. There wasn’t much different than 2000 other than the production quality, but it was fun.

My Observation: Hey, that’s Rashida Jones! Hey, Bricklebaum is Kenan Thompson!

I spent more of thing trying to figure out who was who, while the wife fell asleep on my arm—my pet peeve when we watch movies I don’t want to watch but she really cares about.

Turns out the Grinch was Benedict Cumberbatch! He sounded like Bill Hader.

Home Alone (1990)

The wife was “shocked” when I informed her that was Catherine O’Hara.


We are the worst kind of millennials.

My Octopus Teacher (2020)

It came out in September and is being pushed pretty hard on Netflix. That makes it a Christmas movie, right?

The film shows how, in 2010, [filmmaker Craig] Foster began free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest at a remote location in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa.[3] [...] He started to document his experiences and, in time, met a curious young octopus that captured his attention. He decided to keep visiting her den and tracking her movements every day for a year to win the animal’s trust. The two form a bond where she plays with Foster and allows him into her world to see how she sleeps, lives, and eats. In the film, Foster describes the impact on his life of his relationship with the octopus.

The film shows Craig’s growing intimate relationship with the octopus as he follows her around for nearly a year. It shows the octopus defending herself against pyjama sharks. In one attack, the octopus loses an arm, and retreats to her den to recover, regenerating the arm. Later, after mating with another octopus and producing a large number of eggs, the octopus dies naturally and a shark takes her body away.

Foster describes the effect of this mentorship that the octopus provided him with as teaching him a lesson on the fragility of life and humanity’s connection with nature. [6] This translated to Foster creating a deeper bond with his son as his son develops as a diver and marine life student.

My Observation: This is a whole movie about a dude lusting after an octopus. I had to sit for 30 minutes of this. I am filing for divorce.

Noelle (2019)

Summary: Anna Kendrick becomes Santa Claus because Bill Hader wants to do all sorts of wacky stuff like teach yoga. Bill Eichner nearly ruins Christmas because he’s tech support and you can’t leave those nerds in charge of anything.

My Observation: I will watch anything with Anna Kendrick in it.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

You may tell me your favorite Christmas movies in the comments. Mine is Elf.

Other OTE writers’ include:

  • Die Hard: 87townie, BoilerBettor, Creighton M
    Creighton: “I‘ve been watching it every Xmas Eve since high school. Long before the internet ran that joke into the ground.”
  • Love Actually: Big Red Twice
  • Muppets Christmas Carol: BoilerBettor

Also Stewmonkey’s rankings:

  1. Original Grinch cartoon
  2. Die Hard
  3. Muppets Christmas Carol
  4. Christmas Vacation
  5. Scrooged
  6. It’s a Wonderful Life
  7. Old Rudolph special


What’s the best Christmas movie I watched?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Jingle Jangle
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Hometown Holiday
    (0 votes)
  • 38%
    Christmas Vacation
    (46 votes)
  • 3%
    The Grinch
    (4 votes)
  • 23%
    Home Alone
    (29 votes)
  • 2%
    My Octopus Teacher
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    (6 votes)
  • 27%
    You’re a bad person, MNW
    (33 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now


What is the best Christmas movie?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    (16 votes)
  • 11%
    Die Hard
    (15 votes)
  • 3%
    Love Actually
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    (9 votes)
  • 9%
    Original Grinch
    (12 votes)
  • 13%
    Christmas Vacation
    (17 votes)
  • 5%
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    The Santa Clause
    (5 votes)
  • 19%
    It’s a Wonderful Life [/blows brains out]
    (25 votes)
  • 14%
    Other (tell us in the comments)
    (19 votes)
130 votes total Vote Now

Christmas Eve

Don’t Watch This

Watch That

Hawaii Warriors (4-4) vs. Houston Cougars (3-4)

New Mexico Bowl: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
2:30pm | ESPN | Houston -9.5 | O/U 59.5

Turkish Super Lig

Ankaragücü vs. Besiktas

10am | beIN

That’s it. That’s what’s on. Take it.

Hawaii, playing in the New Mexico Bowl, in Frisco, TX. Coached by Todd Graham, who may as well stay on the mainland because he’s probably applying for the Boise State job.

Are the ‘Bows any good? Probably not. QB Chevan Cordeiro is the Hawaii offense, leading them in rushing TDs (7) and passing capably enough to beat bad teams.

Houston responds with their own chucker, Clayton Tune (1832 passing yards in 7 games, 13-7 ID-INT), and a bevy of wide receivers—though not Marquez Stevenson, who’s skipping the New Mexico Bowl to declare and prepare for the draft.

Honestly, any other year this is absolutely the stupid fun we’d need. I blame Todd Graham.


Friscmexico Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    (8 votes)
  • 46%
    (7 votes)
15 votes total Vote Now

Christmas Day

Don’t Watch This

{NFL} Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints [3:30pm, FOX/NFL]

{CBB} Maryland Terrapins at Purdue Boilermakers (-5, O/U 136) [1:30pm, FS1]

{NBA} Pelicans at Heat [11am, ESPN]
{NBA} Warriors at Bucks [1:30pm, ABC]
{NBA} Nets at Celtics [4pm, ABC]
{NBA} Mavericks at Lakers [7pm, ABC/ESPN]

Watch That

Marshall Thundering Herd (7-2) vs. Buffalo Bulls (5-1)

Montgomery Bowl: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
1:30pm | ESPN | Buffalo -5.5 | O/U 54

{CBB} #9 Wisconsin Badgers at #12 Michigan State Spartans

11:30am | FOX | wisc -2 | O/U 140

{CBB} #19 Michigan Wolverines at Nebraska Cornhuskers

5pm | BTN | Mich -8 | O/U 147

{CBB} #4 Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

7pm | BTN | Iowa -6 | O/U 162.5

{NBA} Clippers at Nuggets

9:30pm | ESPN

I would rather drive a spike into my head than watch the Vikings play out the string on a worthless, wasted season. Thank goodness there’s at least no family obligations this Christmas and, thus, no need to put the Vikings on in the name of ceremony. Christmas doesn’t deserve that this year.

Side note: This is the first Christmas where I’ve begun buying myself presents and labeling them “from Santa”—because I also do that for the wife, but I need to justify drunkenly buying a “Fighting Rece Davises” shirt.

Don’t judge me any more than you already do.

Jaret Patterson running into the Marshall D-line should be an interesting bowl game. Let’s do this, battling herds.


For all the camellias:

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Green buffaloes
    (4 votes)
  • 87%
    Blue buffaloes
    (27 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now

Boxing Day Morning

Don’t Watch This

{NFL} Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions [12pm, NFL]

{EPL} Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace [9am, NBCSN]
{EPL} Fulham vs. Southampton [9am, Peacock]
{SCO} Hamilton Academical vs. Celtic [9am, ESPN+]
{TUR} Trabzonspor vs. Galatasaray [10am, beIN]

Watch That

{EPL} Leicester City vs. Manchester United [6:30am, NBCSN]
{SCO} Rangers vs. Hibernian [6:30am, ESPN+]
{ISL} East Bengal vs. Chennaiyin [8am, ESPN+]
{EFL} Nottingham Forest vs. Birmingham City [9am, ESPN+]
{EPL} Arsenal vs. Chelsea [11:30am, NBC]

Boxing Day Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

{NFL} San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals [3:30pm, Amazon Prime]

{EPL} Manchester City vs. Newcastle United [2pm, NBCSN]
{EPL} Sheffield United vs. Everton [2pm, Peacock]

{NBA} Hawks at Grizzlies [4pm, NBAtv]

Watch That

#19 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (9-1) vs. Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners

First Responders Bowl: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
2:30pm | ABC | UL -14 | O/U 56

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-6) vs. Georgia State Panthers (5-4)

LendingTree Bowl: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
2:30pm | ESPN | GASt -3.5 | O/U 50.5

{EFL} Watford vs. Norwich City

1:45pm | ESPN+

{CBB} #23 Ohio State Buckeyes at Northwestern Wildcats

1pm | FS1

{CBB} Indiana Hoosiers at #18 Illinois Fighting Illini

3pm | FS1

You sit here and look at this and feel bad about it:


Boxing Day afternoon! What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Cajuns-MEEP MEEP
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    (5 votes)
  • 23%
    Northwestern-Ohio State
    (19 votes)
  • 7%
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Other soccer
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Other basketball
    (3 votes)
  • 37%
    I will be protesting Northwestern leading the Big Ten in something
    (31 votes)
82 votes total Vote Now

Boxing Day Evening

Don’t Watch This

{NFL} Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders [7:15pm, NFL]

{NBA} 76ers at Knicks [6:30pm, NBAtv]
{NBA} Rockets at Trail Blazers [9pm, NBAtv]

Watch That

Liberty Flames (9-1) vs. #12 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Cure Bowl: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
6:30pm | ESPN | CCU -7.5 | O/U 59.5

Maybe a preview on this forthcoming? I’ve been summoned to go shovel. Shit.


Apparently this is all we get on Boxing Day Evening:

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Cure Bowl
    (31 votes)
  • 17%
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    (2 votes)
  • 23%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (13 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

Basketball schedule, such that it is, below. Enjoy the games, Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to you and yours. Thanks for reading OTE.