The highest-rated animated Christmas specials as decided by pure science!
What makes for a better holiday season than curling up with loved ones (or by yourself, we don’t judge) and watching Christmas specials? Here is our list of the best cartoon Christmas specials ever made (according to us and in no particular order.) Each entry contains a link to a more in-depth article as well as a handy link to pick the special up over on Amazon. Enjoy!
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Original Air Date: December 9, 1965.
No cartoon Christmas special list would be complete without A Charlie Brown Christmas. Instead of breaking down the famous Christmas special you all know by heart, head inside to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff you probably never knew…
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Original Air Date: December 18, 1966
Another holiday must-have. A twisted green wretch seeks to ruin Christmas for a race of singing rodent-creatures.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Original Air Date: December 6, 1942
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it… you’d know how fucking awesome it is!
A COSMIC CHRISTMAS
Original Air Date: December 4, 1977
A trio of aliens lands on earth to investigate “certain” celestial events 2000 years too late in this forgotten, psychedelic Xmas trip…
THE SMALL ONE
Original Air Date: December 15, 1978
A boy and his donkey have difficulty parting ways…
ANIMANIACS “TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS”
Original Air Date: November 29, 1993
The Animaniacs cast take on the classic “Night Before Christmas” tale.
THE SIMPSONS “SIMPSONS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE”
Original Air Date: December 17, 1989
TV’s longest-running animated family kicks off with a Christmas bang.
A GARFIELD CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Original Air Date: December 21, 1987
Everyone’s favorite fat cat heads to the farm for the Holidays.
EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS
Original Air Date: 1977
A poor otter family struggles to make their musical Christmas wishes come true.
Read the article here (where you can also find links to the entire soundtrack) and buy the Jug-Band Christmas/The Christmas Toy DVD here. We promise it’s worth it. Oh, and we also went to the trouble of making all of Emmet Otter’s wonderful music available for download here! Get it before we’re sued!
MICKEY’S GOOD DEED
Original Air Date: December 17, 1932
A lovely black and white Mickey short becomes the jumping off point for our angriest article ever. Apologies in advance….
TALESPIN “A JOLLY MOLLY CHRISTMAS”
Original Air Date: December 7, 1990
Seriously, really good! Baloo, Louie and the gang battle pirates and a fiercely tropical climate to realize Molly and Rebbecca’s dreams of Christmas snow.
MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
Original Air Date: December 10, 1984
Scrooge McDuck takes on the role he was born to play in Disney’s damn-near definitive version of Charles Dickens’ Holiday classic.
WILL VINTON’S CLAYMATION CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Original Air Date: December 21, 1987
The California Raisins and their Claymation brethren present the smartest, funniest, most creative and clayiest Christmas TRL you could ever ask for.
PLUTO’S CHRISTMAS TREE
Original Air Date: November 21, 1952
Chip and Dale run amok in Mickey’s house, giving Pluto a helluva hard time.
THE BELLS OF FRAGGLE ROCK
Original Air Date: December 24, 1984
Gobo is having trouble believing in the Fraggles’ Holiday traditions. Is he willing to risk their lives for his curiosity?
Original Air Date: December 16, 1949
Donald protects his nuts from a famous pair of fast-talking rodents.
THE CHRISTMAS TOY
Original Air Date: December 6, 1986
An extremely unique tale from Jim Henson starring a playroom full of Muppety toys come to life! A young girl’s favorite toy from last Christmas, Rugby Tiger, doesn’t understand that the holiday means that his status as alpha plaything can change on an annual basis. He leaves the playroom, and it’s up to the rest of the toys to stop him before he’s spotted out-of-place by unsuspecting humans. Because – unlike in other toy stories – for the toys of The Christmas Toy, that spells DEATH!
Original Air Date: December 24, 1982
James is a young boy left largely alone in his countryside home during a a winter of epic snowfall. One day he builds a snowman for companionship, and as luck would have it, the thing comes to life! The two engage in lighthearted mischief until the sentient creature of compacted condensation eventually flies the boy to the North Pole for a party he’ll never forget.
In case you didn’t already know what we do here, these specials are considered “The Best” according to a semi-serious rating we give at the end of each Christmas Special “review.” Okay, well they’re not strictly reviews… Hell, they’re not even strictly cartoons in a lot of cases, but they sure as hell are as Christmasy as all get out. We’ve had a blast writing up a special each day for the last three years, so look forward to TWENTY-FIVE more each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. Have a merry one, folks!
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