They Truly Are Special
If you’ve already made it through your rounds of all the classic and widely adored Christmas specials like “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Frosty The Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, then we suggest you turn your attention to some lesser known, but equally incredible holiday specials. For this list, we’re taking a look at five holiday specials that don’t get as much attention as others, but deserve to be revisited every year and will definitely become a staple in your viewing traditions for this season. Don’t forget to check out the full video over on MsMojo today to see what other specials made the list, including some BoJack Horseman and Garfield picks!
#5: “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too” (1991)
Winnie the Pooh is such a cheerful, wholesome character that it’s impossible not to feel all warm and fuzzy inside whenever he’s onscreen. So naturally, this Christmas special hits the spot like a cup of hot chocolate or tea with a dash of honey. Airing shortly after “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” wrapped up, the Hundred Acre Wood gang goes a little overboard with their letter to Santa. Pooh, being a kindly bear, is determined to make their Christmas wishes come true, even if it means going to the North Pole and back again. Ultimately revealing that togetherness is the greatest present of all, this special is like receiving a hug from a best friend.
#4: “A Pinky and the Brain Christmas” (1995)
First the North Pole and then the world! The Brain refuses to take a break from his world domination plot, even during Christmastime, hatching a scheme to control consumers with his hypnotic Noodle Noggin dolls. As one of the most well-written animated shows from the ‘90s, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Pinky and the Brain’s Christmas special is a clever satire packed with brilliantly crafted jokes. What catches most viewers off-guard is the special’s touching finale, as the Brain’s affection for Pinky takes precedence over his desire to rule over humankind. This perfect harmony of laughs and heart left Pinky and the Brain singing Christmas carols all the way to the Primetime Emmys.
#3: “The Christmas Toy” (1986)
Almost a decade before “Toy Story,” Jim Henson produced this Christmas special, which also focused on living playthings and their fear of being replaced. Brought to life through wonderful puppetry, “The Christmas Toy” turns an everyday household into a world of its own. Wanting to relive the morning he was first unwrapped, Rugby the Tiger ventures out of the playroom and under the Christmas tree, although he doesn’t realize what’s at stake. As colorful and charming as the special is, it also has a tonic dark edge, as the toys risk being frozen forever if they’re caught out of place. Of course, since this is a Christmas tale, it wraps up on a merry note.
#2: “A Muppet Family Christmas” (1987)
“The Christmas Toy” isn’t the only Jim Henson holiday special that’s fallen through the cracked ice. “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street” is often overlooked, but “A Muppet Family Christmas” has never even received an unedited release on North American home video. It’s unfortunate, as this was arguably the most ambitious Muppet crossover ever, not only featuring appearances from Kermit’s crew, but also characters from “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock”. There are too many memorable moments to count, as Cookie Monster finds a kindred spirit in Animal, Swedish Chef tries to cook Big Bird, and everyone finds yuletide cheer through song. Henson himself makes an onscreen cameo, demonstrating how Christmas really brings everyone together.
#1: “Arnold’s Christmas”
“Hey Arnold” is a nostalgic show that holds up superbly when we revisit it as adults. The same can be said about this Christmas episode, which leaves a stronger impression if you’re familiar with the Vietnam War. Learning that his neighbor Mr. Hyunh has been separated from his daughter ever since the war, Arnold sets out to make a miracle happen in time for Christmas. Working on “Hey Arnold!,” creator Craig Bartlett was largely inspired by Peanuts and this special was perhaps the closest the series came to capturing the same magic of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Nowhere is this more apparent than during the ending, which never fails to prime the waterworks.
What’s your favorite Holiday TV special??? It might be on our full list of the Top 10 Underrated Christmas Specials! Check out the video today on MsMojo to find out!
And if you’re just getting started on your holiday viewing list, consider adding in these top animated Christmas films: