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7 Christmas Movies That Border On Horror Films

The holidays are the perfect time to curl up on the couch by the fire with some hot cocoa and turn on a beloved family Christmas film that will…give your kids nightmares? Why are so many holiday films so downright creepy? Here are 7 of the movies most likely to haunt your psyche forever.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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I can’t even decide what my least favorite moment of this movie is, because they are so many, and the whole thing makes me feel extremely unsettled. The tone of it is not magical, but bizarre. The dark new backstory about his childhood bullying is rough but the real nightmare fuel of this movie is in Jim Carey’s mannerisms. He seems genuinely mentally unstable. Most haunting portrayal of a villain besides Heath Ledger’s Joker.

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A Christmas Story (1983) 

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This movie is great but let’s not pretend the scene with the department store Santa is anything other than traumatic. If your kid wasn’t already afraid of Santa, he’s gonna be.

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The Polar Express (2004)

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This is one of the best books turned into one of the worst movies. The animated Tom Hanks alone is enough to give you the heebie jeebies. I could go into everything I hate about this movie in depth but I’ll just leave you with the demonic marionette scene. I challenge anyone to watch this and and not feel as if they’ve just been thrust into a CGI hellscape.

A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Dickens novel is a literal ghost story, so you know it has spooky potential but you see the word “Muppet” and think that will soften it. It does, quite a bit, but I watched this with my kids recently and was struck by how creepy the first floating doll ghost is.

I also had to answer questions from my kids like, “When I die will I be trapped in a giant chain” and “why doesn’t that huge ghost have a head.” It’s simple kids: be good or you will die alone and be sent to hell to suffer eternally. Merry Christmas.

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Scrooged (1988)

Sure it’s a Christmas movie and yes it’s Bill Murray but try telling that to your kid’s nightmares (or your own).

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If there was a haunted house based on this movie, I would be too afraid to go. Someone should tell these guys that just because there’s a candy cane in a particular scene doesn’t mean it’s Christmasy. Okay?

Home Alone (1990)

Hey kids, gather round to watch a child left alone for days and forced to defend himself from violent criminals! What a normal, festive premise for a holiday film.

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Ironically though, even with the dark storyline of this entire movie, the part that scared me the most as a kid was the furnace in the basement. Never mind the burglars threatening to kill a child, that creepy furnace was bone-chilling.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Okay let’s see here, Santa is DEAD and everyone is pretty chill about it. We get right into “just put on his coat and steal his identity.” They find him laying DEAD on the ground but Disney skirts around the whole “corpse in a kid’s movie” issue by having him disappear immediately and leave his clothes laying flat, as if that is LESS CREEPY?

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And don’t even get me started on the creepiness factor of those old animated films. (Rudolph, Santa Clause is Coming To Town, Frosty The Snowman.) Those scared me as a child and scare me even more as an adult.

I know I’ve missed some, so feel free to comment with your nomination for creepiest holiday movie scene. Scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright!

Santa Takes a Knee to Thank a WW2 Hero Who is also a Father of 10

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

It’s December, and around this time of year, Santa Claus is the big MVP. Everybody lines up to meet the big man and whisper their dreams into his ear and then go home and wait for him to magically make them come true.

But Santa has heroes of his own, and while he was working the Concord Mall in Delaware this holiday season, old St. Nick took a break from his Christmas duties to show some respect to one of them.

Gina Stecher Wilbur was out doing some holiday shopping with her son when they decided to take a breather and sit on a bench next to the mall’s Santa’s Workshop area, where Mr. Claus waits on his throne (of lies?) for children to step up and sit on his lap. But wile Gina was taking her break, she saw Santa take a break of his own, and not merely to grab a bite or use the restroom. No, Santa got up from his seat and walked over to a man he saw sitting by the wall.

The man was Bob Smiley, a 93-year-old father of ten (ten!) who was wearing a WWII veteran hat. Santa had noticed, and he’d gone over to Bob to pay him respects.

From Gina’s Facebook post:

“Santa steps away from his Chair… he walks over to a veteran sitting on the wall… as Santa approaches, the veteran stands and Santa takes a knee. I hear Santa telling the gentleman, in a soft voice, of others he knew who served. He shakes his hand with genuine gratefulness thanking him for his service and returns to the children.”

Gina snapped a photo of the moment, and it was quickly noticed by the internet, gathering 13,000 likes and nearly 8,000 shares. “Good Day Philadelphia” even caught wind of the story and brought Santa and Smiley on their show to discuss their encounter.

(Facebook/Gina Stecher Wilbur)

“We owe a debt of gratitude to men like this, that have made such a life-changing decision to give up themselves, be willing to lay down their life even, for other people,” Santa told FOX 29’s Jennaphr Frederick.

Gina agrees, closing her Facebook post by commenting, “Best moment of my day.”

Santa Snuggles With His #1 Fan: A Great-Grandmother With Dementia

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

Santa Claus is a pretty popular guy this time of year. Between his personal army of toy-making elves and that belly like a bowlful of jelly, it’s hard to not like the guy.

However, few people appreciate the big, jolly elf like Karen of Albuquerque, NM.

Recently, Karen arrived with her family for a Santa photo shoot with The Hartsocks’ Photography. Currently, in the late stages of dementia, the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother doesn’t always know where she is or with whom she is speaking, but she never forgets Santa.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

Karen has visited malls for years to visit the big guy, even when she was an adult living by herself. Despite not being much of a talker anymore, she has a Santa doll that she sleeps with and occasionally speaks to in Japanese.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

As a special Christmas gift, Karen’s family brought her to see Santa in the Hartsocks’ studio. Provided with some of her backstory beforehand, the big guy gifted her with a personalized handmade ‘Busy Blanket’ and, as a result, she opened right up to him.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

She reminded him about all the times she had visited him before and how much she loves him. Any time he drew near her, she would snuggle up to him and close her eyes, savoring the special moment with St. Nick.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the studio. Even Santa, who held it together for the duration of the shoot, let the tears flow after Karen left.

(Facebook/The Hartsocks' Photography)

The Hartsocks couldn’t have been happier to provide such a wonderful opportunity to Karen and her family.

“We are very grateful they trusted us with someone so perfect and precious (and for allowing us to share her with you)! Karen is so special. She is so loved. And no matter how much time passes, she will always be Santa’s #1 girl. This is truly what the magic of Christmas and the spirit of Santa is all about.”

Girl Asks Santa to Change Dad’s Shift so He Can Be Home For Christmas


When I was a kid and Christmas came around, I put a lot of thought into my list.

Before I clued into the fact that my parents were responsible for the stack of presents under the tree, I would ask for some pretty outlandish stuff. Like the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. Or a bigger bedroom. Or no school for the rest of my life.

After all, Santa was magic, maybe he could deliver something outrageous for me! I never got any of those things, for obvious reasons (I’m not convinced that aircraft carrier even existed!), but they weren’t important. Not like one little girl’s wish to Santa.

Zadora is a 10-year-old from Springfield, Massachusetts who asked Santa for one very special gift this Christmas, and her grandmother was so touched by her request, who shared the letter with WWLP.


In her letter, “Zee” tells Santa she doesn’t want any gifts, she just wants her dad’s shift at the post office to start a little later.

“He would be so happy,” Zee said. “And when he is happy, I’m happy, and I’ll tell you this: I’ll even let you skip my house.”

Her father, David Matias, has been working the 6:30 shift for 10 years, but it was recently changed to 4:30. And his daughter noticed the time they were losing, because Dad used to get her from school and they’d have a few hours together. But the shift change eliminates that.

“I have all I want right now from my parents and I realized that I just wanted to spend more time with my dad,” said Zadora.

Dad feels her pain. “Just the two-hour change had a big impact because now Zadora’s father gets out of school and it’s getting her from school and going straight to work so even the time we did have we lost that,” David told WWLP.

Given the busy holiday schedule he’s not very hopeful that the Post Office will accommodate his daughter’s request, so, like Zadora, he’s hoping for a little Christmas magic.

Photographers Make Christmas Magical for Children in Hospitals

(The Heart Project/Edit by Jason Ulsrud - Photillustrator)

Christmas is a special time of year, full of family, joy, and holiday traditions. Sometimes, real life has a way of dampening our Christmas spirit, and making the joy of the season more elusive than it should be.

For no one is that more true for sick children and their parents, who are forced to spend the Christmas season in the hospital, and often end up missing a lot of what makes the holiday season so wonderful. When you’re stuck in a hospital bed, making a visit to tell Santa what you want for Christmas is not really in the cards.

One organization is helping change that by bringing some of the holiday spirit to the hospital and allowing kids to get their hearts warmed.

In 2016, an organization called “The Heart Project” was created by Karen Alsop and Adam Cubito. The non-profit organization was started by the pair in Melbourne, Australia. Together, as part of their “Christmas Wish” program, they take photos of children with Santa in their hospital rooms, then use Photoshop to edit them into gorgeous, fantastical images.

(The Heart Project)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Lisa Carney)

“The idea sprouted from a conversation between myself and Adam Cubito (Heart Project co-founder) in 2016. We knew that Photographic Art had the ability to transport kids into another world and realized that this would be an incredible project to run in a hospital where many families couldn’t return home for Christmas”, Alsop told Bored Panda.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Ben Shirk)

They span the globe all year to take photos with children. They’ve traveled to hospitals and hospices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Christchurch, Auckland, Canada, Bristol UK and North Devon UK so far this year, and Alsop says they’ve taken photos with more than 200 kids in 2018 alone.

(The Heart Project/Edit by Richard Wood)

“Our mission has always been to put a smile on the face of families who are doing it tough at Christmas by making them escape reality – even for a day – thanks to the power of photography and Photoshop.”

(The Heart Project/Edit by Mark Heaps - lifebypixels)
(The Heart Project/Karen Alsop - Story Art)
(The Heart Project/Edit by Mandy Smith and Karen Alsop)

You can watch the entire magical process unfold in this video:

Man-Cave Candles To Feel Like A Pirate Or Race Car Driver Or Whatever Your Thing Is

Candle Feature

Are you man enough to fill your home with some gentle aromas? Do you have what it takes to confidently strike a match, and set it to a wick without burning your finger a little bit? Can you handle watching the wax slowly melt away, and using that imagery to cope with your own daily stress and anxieties?

Maybe you don’t think candles are for you, eh? Well it’s possible you just haven’t found the right kind. Check out our favorite Man-Cave mood setters, but be warned: You may find the power of scents-memory will transport you back to those days on untamed sea, wrestling with demons both inside and out.

The smell of hard work and the past 

These candles understand the indisputable fact that some sort of booze + some sort of plant makes for a perfect smell. Dark Rum & Oak, Whiskey & Tobacco -or if you’re kinda weird- Absinthe & Black Fig are great scents that suggest you are secretly a Colonial Era blacksmith-turned-spy for the Revolution.


Tiny campfires to remind you of real campfires


By taming the fierce element of fire, mankind claimed dominion over the Earth. Now relish in that ultimate power with a little tiny fire in a cup. With a wooden wick to create authentic crackling, this is perfect for the dad who wants to enjoy taking their kids camping, but doesn’t want to listen to their kids complain about camping.

Mmmmm. Musk. 


Personal grooming: Not always in the cards for a modern dad. But the refreshing aromas of cedar and musk can still be a part of your daily routine. Why musk is  a refreshing smell, we’re not sure. Just one of life’s mysteries. It’s the kind of thing you ponder while shaving, or now, sitting in a chair with a candle burning.

Vroom-Vroom Wax


Are you a grease monkey? Well gear up with candles that say “everyone else is unwelcome in this room.”

Still not convinced a candle is for you? If you are intrigued by enticing aromas, but prefer a bigger canvas, then we hope for your sake the KFC Herbs & Spices Firelogs will be back in stock sometime soon. Meanwhile we’ll be burning the candle on both ends, because we’re cool with candles that way.

We participate in the Walmart and Amazon Affiliate Programs. We may earn a small fee by linking to Walmart.com & Amazon.com. Unfortunately we could not find a capitalism-scented candle for this article. 

Yellies: The New Toy Terrorizing Kids and Parents This Christmas


The holidays can be a tough time for parents. We’re tasked with doing everything we can to make our kids’ Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa as special as possible, and sometimes that means going against our better judgment.

We end up stressing ourselves out moving a silly elf around, draining our bank accounts to get the kids everything they want, and shooting ourselves in the feet by buying them gifts that will go on to haunt our dreams.

One hot new gift this season seems designed to do exactly that. They’re called Yellies, and they are tiny stuffed spiders that – get this – respond to the sound of yelling. Hence the name. That’s right, these toys skitter around the floor, and the louder your kids yell and scream, the faster they move, attracted by the noise.

It sounds like a sick joke, and that’s surely how some dastardly aunts and uncles will be treating it when they buy the creepy little critters for your kids. Fortunately, despite the guaranteed headaches these toys are destined to provide, there is a bit of an upside for those parents with a dark side. And it’s being captured on social media.

You see, people are scared of spiders, especially children. And what do children do when they’re scared? They scream. And Yellies love your screams. They feed on them. They run to them like moths to light. And the louder you scream, the more quickly these stuffed spider nightmares will be upon them!

Some parents are taking advantage of this.


View this post on Instagram


Am I the worst mother ever or what? 😂😂 #yellies

A post shared by Tonia☠️🌵 (@toniamaeskis) on

Of course, sometimes a parent’s fun goes a little too far.

It’s not just kids that are terrified.

It seems Yellies pack as much fun and fear into their tiny $14.99 package for both parents and kids alike!

Just have the Excedrin handy.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission, but opinions are our own.

Father Figures: 125%

“I’ve never really had a solid consistent father figure growing up.

We moved from town to town, Mom had boyfriend after boyfriend, and my biological dad would ignore my messages and eventually left all social media. I have only one memory of him, when he came to visit when I was six-ish, and it was only for a few hours. He was never to be seen or heard from again.

Growing up was rough, but when I got to the age when I understood what it meant to be a family and a true father, not just a dad, I knew I was going to be the best father I could be. I knew what to do right by what had been wrong and nonexistent in my childhood.

Fast forward 10 years. When we first became pregnant, I froze and cried. I was so happy. We were happy and excited and we told everyone we knew and celebrated. Unfortunately too soon. We miscarried at 3 1/2 months. It was devastating. We thought everything was over, that it wasn’t meant to be.

We were being ushered to move out because the owners were selling the house and we needed somewhere to go. We ended up buying a house (23 and 20 yrs old). Soon after we moved in, the first night of dinner in our own home, my girlfriend got sick. She absolutely loves steak and potatoes but it came right up and the smell made her sick some more. I knew at that very moment we were expecting. She broke the news, but I had already guessed and was excited just waiting for her to tell me.

The pregnancy was miserable. She got diagnosed with HG (hypermesis gravidarum). Hospitalized 3 times for IV fluids and multiple false labors. But our son was a miracle! We didn’t want to know the gender and kept it a surprise. As soon as I helped him out and held him, I yelled “Milo!” I was laughing and crying at the same time.

Fast forward to a year and a half later, when we were blessed with another beautiful baby boy, Remy. Again all joyful tears and sheer happiness!

I will always remember those moments and cherish the memories in bright vivid detail.

The entire journey of being a father AND a husband is hands down the best experience you could ever endure. I give my family 125% everyday and give them the love, attention, and more love that they deserve. I get excited to take them places that will make them cheer and see them smile, and we have movie nights with cuddles and warm hearts. With no real father figure in my life, I knew exactly, within reason, how to be a father and, better, yet a husband.

Today I have 4 dogs, 2 boys, and a beautiful wife by my side. Fatherhood isn’t something you can describe or show someone else. You have to feel it to know that it’s the best thing that will ever happen in your lifetime.”

– Dylan Martin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

This Family’s Yearly ‘Real Life’ Christmas Cards Are Spectacular


Despite allegedly being all about joy, family, and an abundance of fuzzy feelings, Christmas can be a very stressful time of year

Between wrangling heaps of presents for everyone, making sure your house exudes just the right amount of holiday cheer, and trying not to go too far into soul-crushing debt, people are lucky not to be completely exhausted or insane by New Years.

Fortunately, in the midst of all the picture-perfect Christmas updates going around, the Stanleys of Charlotte, North Carolina are sending out photos that feature a bit more holiday realism.

Since 2014, the family has been sending Christmas Cards that highlight the true (and often very stressful) joys of Christmas spent with two young boys. They even added a baby girl to the mix this year!


“The very first time we tried to take a ‘traditional’ Christmas card photo we had hilariously bad results,” Jonathan Stanley told Bored Panda.

“We were new parents with a one-year-old and everything went wrong – baby cried the whole time, it was windy, the lighting kept changing, you name it. If two of us looked okay, the third one blinked. We laughed so hard at how bad the photos were that we decided just to send them out as is and our family loved it. From there the tradition was born – instead of trying to send perfect cards, we would send something that represented the chaos of parenting.”


“At first, I think my wife kind of rolled her eyes and said, ‘okay, we’ll try it,'” he said. “I had no idea if a staged scene would make sense or be funny, but we went for it and it just kind of worked. The kids love it, though when they see the final product I have to constantly remind them that it’s fake and to not try it in real life. I worry sometimes I am putting ideas into their heads!”


Jonathan says his goal is to make it look like it’s a perfect Christmas scenario, “as if it’s a Pottery Barn ad or something,” that has gone horribly awry.

“I also take care to make sure its a realistic as possible – most of the scene is shot practically and I try to minimize the photoshop required to yield the best results. Today most people have a strong eye for recognizing when something is fake, so the goal is to make it just real enough that they question how we pulled it off.”


“The hardest part is getting the kids to look in the right place and hold the right pose – especially when they were younger,” Jonathan added. “We use a lot of tricks like putting bells on a pole and then holding it where their eyeline needs to be, etc.

“Also, ensuring they don’t bump the tripod while we are shooting – easier said than done when you have two boys running around for an hour. We shoot each kid individually and then stitch it all together…but if the tripod gets bumped it ruins the effect and we have to start over.”


Obviously, the Stanleys have built quite a reputation at this point.

“Our friends and family would be so disappointed if we went back to a normal card at this point. It’s also a great creative outlet and once the kids are a little older it will open up some crazy possibilities that aren’t feasible with a four-year-old and a baby.”

“I think deep down everyone hates trying to get a photograph for a Christmas card,” he admits. “It’s near impossible if you have young children – so people appreciate a card that emphasizes the challenges of parenting vs. hiding them. Plus a lot of people seem to appreciate that the cards are a fun thing we do together as a family. After all, the family that plays together stays together!