December 26, 2008 at 07:21 PM EST

By Alynda Wheat

The most wonderful time of the year? Perhaps–if you think being stuck in my grandmother’s house in Missouri, with my mother, and without a car constitutes the hap-happiest season. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my relatives; when we’re all together it’s insanely fun. But those long hours between breakfast and dinner, during which the mother and I are pretty much relegated to the house, can seem endless. And if you’re visiting family now, then you’re probably in a similar boat.

There are two (sober) ways to get through the stretch: court shows and cartoons. Court shows are amusing and plentiful–one could idle away an entire day in the glow of judicial righteous indignation, from Hatchett and Alex to Joe Brown and Judy. But TV courtrooms are basically the poisoned fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do you really want to know just how many people need DNA tests to determine which kids are whose? That’s why, for my money, cartoons are the way to go. After all, if you’ve traveled back to your childhood home for the holidays, you might as well regress. The options:

Option 1: Hang out on the Disney Channel, waiting for Kim Possible or Phineas and Ferb to pop up. Problem is, Disney has cruelly long commercial stretches, and after years of DVR living, I’m allergic to ads.

Option 2: Nickelodeon still has SpongeBob, but I haven’t been able to get down with the Sponge since Tom Kenny tweaked the voice a few years back. So count me in for…

Option 3: Boomerang. It goes like this: I’m too old (and therefore too uncool) to appreciate much of what goes on Cartoon Network (particularly Adult Swim). Therefore I hang with Cartoon’s spinoff net, Boomerang. The day starts about as well as any can with The Flintstones and the Jetsons. Grab a bowl of cereal, then come back for The Smurfs and their underwater knock-offs, The Snorks. Then it’s golden time: The Pink Panther. Yes, there is still a home for The Pink Panther on the tee vee machine! Indoctrinate your children! Record a string of episodes for a regression party with your friends! Think pink! Once you’ve come down from that high, mellow out with the animated goulash of classics (Huckleberry Hound, Scooby Doo), and newer fare (Dexter’s Laboratory and Johnny Bravo) that is the rest of Boom’s day. And while it’s true, Boom has largely scrubbed its schedule of the Looney Tunes it was created to honor, there’s still no place better if your plan is to never get out of your PJ’s.

What about you, PopWatchers? What do you watch on these long winter days? Are there essential toons somewhere on the dial that the rest of us are missing? Would you really rather watch Judge Judy? Speak your piece.

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