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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, the TV was stirring with the sound of a mouse, or a snowman, or reindeer. The holiday season brings about a plethora of holiday specials. In order to further get into the holiday season, here are the 10 best holiday specials.
10. The Year Without a Santa Claus
Come Christmas time, Santa falls ill with a cold. Upon advice from his doctor, who tells Santa that people no longer care about Christmas, Santa decides to take the day off and go on a vacation. Two of Santa’s elves, Jingle and Jangle, hear about this, and go on a mission to find people that still believe in Santa. During their adventures, the two elves meet the Snow and Heat Misers, who are constantly at war. Meanwhile, on his holiday, Santa realizes that people still believe in the true spirit of Christmas.
09. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Where did Santa come from? Why do reindeer fly? Based on the hit holiday song of the same name, this holiday special tells the story of how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus. Starring Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, has been a holiday staple since 1970.
08. Olive, the Other Reindeer
Olive is a Jack Russell Terrier who acts nothing like a dog. One day, she hears that there will be no Christmas because Blitzen, one of Santa’s reindeer, is hurt. Santa announces that he is going try and complete his Christmas trip with “all of the other reindeer.” Olive mishears this as Santa needing “Olive, the other reindeer,” and she takes it upon herself to travel to the North Pole with a mission to save Christmas.
07. Frosty the Snowman
After a top hat brings a snowman to life, a struggle ensues between a washed up magician and a group of schoolchildren. Knowing that Frosty will melt come spring, he and his friends make the trip to the North Pole to try and save Frosty. What they do not know, however, is that Professor Hinkle, is after them to try and get his magic hat back. Based on the song of the same name, this holiday special highlights the importance of friendship.
06. A Rugrats Chanukah
While Chanukah ended on December 16 this year, it still is a major winter holiday observed by millions of people. The Rugrats Chanukah special tells the story of the Jewish holiday through the eyes of Tommy, Angelica, Chuckie, Phil and Lil.
05. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Trying his best to give his family the best Christmas that he can, even though he did not receive a Christmas bonus, Homer does all he can to try and save his family’s holiday. Taking on an extra job as a mall Santa does not pay enough, so he goes down to the local dog racing track to try and win more money. The money is lost, and the losing dog is disowned by the race track owner. Homer gets home with the dog, named Santa’s Little Helper, and is about to come clean, but the fact that there is no presents is forgotten when they adopt the dog as the new member of their family. Technically, this is not an actual Christmas special, but it is a classic Simpsons episode that kicked off the show’s historic 24 season (and counting) run.
04. Mickey’s Christmas Carol
The Charles Dickens classic is given a Disney makeover in this animated retelling. Starring Mickey Mouse and his friends, along with characters from Robin Hood and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Mickey’s Christmas Carol is a great version of A Christmas Carol that the whole family can enjoy.
03. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Even though Christmas is fast-approaching, Charlie Brown is depressed over the holiday. Despite the cards, presents, and Christmas tree, the over-commercialization of the holiday keeps Charlie Brown feeling down. He becomes more and more aggravated as his friends and neighbors continue their celebration. As a way for him to cheer up, his friends try and get Charlie Brown more involved with the holiday by making him the director of the nativity play. As he continues his job of director, Charlie Brown is able to realize what the true spirit of Christmas is and realized that he does not need the holiday’s commercialization to ruin it for him.
02. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Born with a glowing red nose, Santa lets his family know that if the glow does not go away, Rudolph would not be deemed fit to pull the sleigh. Once he begins to participate in Reindeer Games, where the young reindeer are training to pull Santa’s sleigh, Rudolph is constantly teased. After a series of adventures, which includes a trip to the Island of Misfit Toys, Santa needs Rudolph’s glowing red nose to guide his sleigh when a blizzard hits on Christmas Eve. It is then when Rudolph’s peers accept him for who he is. Rudolph’s story of acceptance has become a holiday staple, with the special bring played several times during the Christmas season since its debut in 1964. It also has the distinction of being the longest running holiday special.
01. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The animated version of Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book in turn became a classic Christmas schedule. Bothered by the happy people of Whoville, The Grinch, voiced by Boris Karloff (who also serves as narrator of the story), decides to ruin Christmas for the Whos. On Christmas Eve, he ransacks the houses of the Whos, stealing their presents, trees, and decorations. Thinking he has successfully ruined Christmas for the citizens of Whoville, he instead learns that Christmas is more than presents. It is about people coming together and spirit of giving, which makes the dastardly creature’s heart grow three sizes after learning this valuable listen.