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The Best Cartoon Christmas Specials of All Time

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…

Read the article here and head to Amazon for the DVD or Blu-ray. If you’re in the mood for more festive Charlie, might we suggest the Peanuts Holiday Collection?

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.

Read the full article here and grab How the Grinch Stole Christmas on DVD or Blu-ray.

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!

Read our article here and grab The Original Christmas Classics here (Because come on. How do you not own all these already?)

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…

Head over here for the full article and here for the VHS. You have a VHS player still, right?

THE SMALL ONE
Original Air Date: December 15, 1978

A boy and his donkey have difficulty parting ways…

Check out the article here and grab the VHS here.

ANIMANIACS “TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS”
Original Air Date: November 29, 1993

The Animaniacs cast take on the classic “Night Before Christmas” tale.

Find the full article here and the fully awesome Animaniacs: Hellooo Holidays VHS here.

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.

Check out the article here and buy The Simpsons- Christmas DVD here.

A GARFIELD CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Original Air Date: December 21, 1987

Everyone’s favorite fat cat heads to the farm for the Holidays.

Read the full article here and check out the Garfield: Holiday Celebrations DVD here.

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….

Read the whole angry article here and grab Walt Disney Treasures- Mickey Mouse in Black and White, Volume Two (where Mickey’s Good Deed can be found) on DVD here.

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.

Check out the article here and grab first season of TaleSpin on DVD here.

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.

Read the article here and grab the DVD here.

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.

Read the article here and pick up the DVD here.

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.

Check out the full article here and grab Walt Disney Treasures- Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two here.

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?

Read the full article here and pick up the ENTIRE Fraggle Rock series on DVD here.

TOY TINKERS
Original Air Date: December 16, 1949

Donald protects his nuts from a famous pair of fast-talking rodents.

The article can be found here and Walt Disney Treasures- The Chronological Donald, Volume Two is here.

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!

Read the full article here and buy the DVD here.

THE SNOWMAN
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.

Read the article here and pick up the DVD here.

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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Comments

Comment from Devon OO7
Time December 1, 2012 at 2:19 am

That Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas behind the scenes video is fucking hilarious.

Comment from Wario VanPeebles
Time December 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

One of my personal favorites that I just ordered via Warner Brother’s Archive Collection is Yogi’s First Christmas. I seem to never see it on TV anymore and the VHS tape I had once had it on from my childhood is mostly a relic as it’s been viewed so many times it has begun to completely warp.

Comment from BC
Time December 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

Abed’s Unctonrollable Christmas? Come on, people.

Comment from punkduck2064
Time December 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

It really is hard to out do the snowman. That movie is single-handedly responsible for me being introduce to good music ala David Bowe

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