Friday, December 4, 2015

'Tis the Season (For Christmas Specials!)

(Background: WPClipart)

It’s that time of year again! The trees are decorated, the countdown has begun, and holiday favorites are on the radio. It’s also time for Christmas specials!

Ever since I was a little kid, watching Christmas specials has been a tradition in my family. We bake cookies, make candy, or decorate the tree with one of our favorites playing in the background.

Here are five of my must-watch favorites:

A Charlie Brown Christmas
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown

 A Charlie Brown Christmas was originally released in 1965
and celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year!

What it’s about: Charlie Brown doesn’t exactly feel very Christmas-y, so he tries to determine why. Add a dancing Snoopy, some insight from Charlie Brown’s best buddy Linus, and a less-than-perfect Christmas tree, and you have one of the most-beloved holiday specials.

Why it's a favorite: A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my favorite specials for a couple of reasons. It’s a simple story with a lot of heart and humor, but it is also easy to relate to. At some point, I’ve also been able to relate to so many of the characters—some years, I’ve been Charlie Brown questioning my lack of joy during such a fun season. Others I’ve been Linus, trying to make the season brighter. And it’s a cute story!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
“Just because my nose glows…why don’t I fit in?” - Rudolph

Premiering in 1964, Rudolph celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last December
and is also the longest-running Christmas special in history!

What it’s about: Rudolph is the only reindeer with a red nose—and to make things worse, it glows! Deemed a misfit among his peers, Rudolph runs away in search of a place where he belongs.

Why its a favorite: Rudolph is a story about finding where you belong and being with those you care about and who care about you in return. I love the look of old stop-motion animation; the design and visuals of Rudolph are an iconic Christmas design that mixes quirky and cute. I just feel like celebrating the holidays when I see it! :)

The Year Without A Santa Claus
“It’s not just presents…What about all that Christmas spirit and good will?” – Mrs. Claus

This stop-motion classic premiered in 1974.

What it’s about: Santa Claus falls ill and, under the doctor’s orders, decides to skip Christmas. After all, no one has any Christmas spirit, or so it seems. Mrs. Claus and a couple of elves decide to find out if Christmas spirit does exist anywhere in the world to show Santa that he really is missed and needed.

Why its a favorite: This one is another stop-motion feature but with a distinctly different style. I love the quirky humor of this special (particularly the puns and wordplay) and the fun music. It’s inevitable—at some point during the season, I’ll end up singing the Miser Brothers’ songs.

Frosty the Snowman
“For when the first snow is also a Christmas snow…well, something wonderful is bound to happen.”

Frosty and friends first appeared on the small screen in 1969.

What it’s about: A magical hat brings Frosty the Snowman to life for a fun-filled winter day. Frosty and friends must find a way to keep him from melting and stop a jealous magician from stealing Frosty’s magic hat.

Why its a favorite: I love the look of hand-drawn animation (I think it’s something there should be more of these days), especially the classics. :) One of my favorite things about Frosty the Snowman is that it’s a fun story. Also, where I live, it isn’t common to see snow on Christmas anymore (especially in amounts large enough to build a snowman), so a story about magical Christmas snow fascinated me as a kid.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not.”

This classic animated special arrived in 1966.

What it’s about: All the Whos down in Whoville are preparing for Christmas, unaware that their grumpy neighbor the Grinch is planning to sabotage their holiday before Christmas morning arrives.

Why its a favorite: One of my favorite things about The Grinch when I was a kid is that it’s one of the Christmas specials told to the audience like a storybook (and it rhymed!). Whoville always looks like such a festive, fun place to live, especially at Christmastime. (And almost every year, Max and the Grinch are featured on my family’s Christmas tree.) 

Do you watch Christmas specials? Which ones are your favorites?


  1. ELF

    1. YES! Elf is one of my all-time favorite movies. :)

  2. The Grinch is definitely a favorite Christmas movie (both the animated & the live-action. But I love Charlie Brown too. (I've always wanted a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!)

    I remembe watching Rudolph on a tape recorded off the TV. It had old Coca-Cola commercials with claymation Santa. It's definitely a classic.

    But one of the best Christmas movies is called the Wish that Changed Christmas. I've never known anyone outside of my family who has seen it, so it might only be sentimental for us. We try to watch it every year, if we can. I also like to watch the first Narnia movie because the first time I saw it was on Christmas Eve. Hey, it's got Father Christmas in it, right?

    1. My family had a bunch of recorded specials too. The old commercials were part of the fun, hehe. :)

      I've never seen the Wish that Changed Christmas, though the title sounds really familiar. I'll have to see if I can find it to watch!

      LWW absolutely counts for a Christmas movie! :)