Something I always want to talk about with people but never really do because I’m not sure if this is a thing that everyone necessarily agrees on, and I don’t want to come off looking like some kind of NERD, but, I LOVE HOLIDAY TV SPECIALS! I also love holiday episodes of normal TV shows. Do you?! I hope you do. And since, once again, it seems like almost everyone is too busy creating holiday memories or flying in planes or riding in buses or sleeping or buying thoughtless gifts at the very last minute to report any important news for us to discuss, why not discuss something that we actually care about? HOLIDAY TV? Great, I’m on board with this plan too. My favorite special is, of course, the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, because that is the best one. That’s why I picked it for my favorite. It has everything: Clonky, songs, fruitcakes, Oprah, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, Grace Jones, an episode of the Penny cartoon, a dreidel, ETC. It is the best. I also love the Twilight Zone Christmas episode, “The Night of the Meek.” Every 30 Rock Christmas episode is great. And of course, you know, A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special. Those are the classics. Oh and I really liked last year’s Community claymation special that I think was kind of ill-received with some people. I thought it was great, though! So, those are all very good. But so many are very good. What do you guys think is very good? Is the Pee-Wee special your favorite too? Yes?

Comments (74)
  1. I like the California Raising Claymation Special. That one where they sing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer as the Temptations!

  2. what do you mean in that first sentence where you say “Something I always walk to talk about with people…” or did you mean to say something else? You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?

  3. Wasnt the star wars tv special in the 70s a christmas special?

  4. a charlie brown christmas. its got heavy christian overtones, critiques of commercialism AND Snoopy

  5. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

    • A thousand times yes to this! I find it to be on par with Charlie Brown to be one of the most genuine Christmas specials around. A simple story with a simple message in a beautifully realized world.

      This post kind of sums up exactly what’s great about it:

      All the Henson specials are great (“The Bells of Fraggle Rock,” “Muppet Family Christmas,” and “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”) but Emmet Otter stands apart, given how tragic it becomes for this family of woodland creatures who have done nothing but be pleasant and moral. It reminds us of those less fortunate and how Christmas can be a burden as well as a blessing.

    • Yes! But so sad. Also like The Christmas Toy, with Rugby Tiger and Mew, who was just a cat toy. Henson Christmas specials are amazingly depressing!

  6. That McDonald’s commercial in the 80′s where all the kids and Ronald McDonald can skate, except that one little blond boy and then Ronald McDonald feels bad, comes over and picks him up and skates with him.

    Why is it so dusty in here?

  7. A Muppet Family Christmas is my favorite. It has the Muppets, Sesame Street AND the Fraggles all in one special.

  8. That one episode of Just Shoot Me when Finch got mad because he thought his friends got him a calendar for Christmas, so he replaced all of their gifts with gag gifts, then it turns out they bought him a vacation! Classic Finch!

  9. The Claymation Christmas Special is very near and dear to my heart. My family had it recorded on a VHS tape when it first aired, and wore that tape out over years of Christmas rewatching, long after they stopped airing the special.

    The figure-skating walruses, the Hunchback of Notre Dame conducting the bells with that one really dumb bell who keeps missing his queue, the California Raisins of course, etc. Even the dinosaur hosts (DINOSAURS) and their ongoing joke with people mistaking wassailing for all sorts of other things. WAFFLING! WAFFLES. There are a bunch I’m forgetting, but man, I love that special.

  10. My favorite holiday special hasn’t been made yet. I’m praying for a Marcel the Shell with Shoes On holiday edition.

  11. Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

    23 minutes of gold.

  12. Ernest Saves Christmas

  13. Fun fact: I drafted a Star Trek: The Next Generation Christmas episode in the early 90′s when they were accepting spec scripts. It had to do with Q teaching Data about Christmas. I was 9.

  14. In addition to the aforementioned “Muppet Family Christmas Special,” I have to nominate for vice president “Opus ‘n’ Bill’s: A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story”

  15. Any Christmas episode of any Aaron Sorkin show…

  16. Guys, seriously:

    Best. Ever.

  17. Marge Be Not Proud-The Simpsons.

  18. I know everyone stopped watching the Simpsons years ago, but their latest episode is pretty good. Pretty good.

  19. My favourite holiday TV dinner is Swanson Hungry Man Salisbury Steak, and just because I cry while I’m eating it alone in my bathrobe does not mean that I’m unhappy, its just something the body does.

  20. My favourite holiday TV dinner is Swanson Hungry Man Salisbury Steak, and just because I cry while I’m eating it alone in my bathrobe does not mean that I’m unhappy, its just something the body does.

  21. I love it when they rerun Die Hard this time of year.

  22. the funzo episode of the simpsons. the one where gary coleman orders a galaxy of prawns.

  23. Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

  24. I just got to my parents’ house and my mom DVR’d every Lifetime Christmas movie they had so we could drink wine and watch them together. My mom is the best.

  25. the first time i realized the truth about santa, i saw the christmas episode of hanging with mr cooper. mr cooper didnt believe in santa but then something something there were gifts anyway? i couldnt believe i didnt figure it out since 75% of christmas episodes are about the main curmudgeon not believing. mr cooper does not hang with santa.

  26. I remember seeing the Pink Panther Christmas special when I was a kid and loving it and then never being able to find it again. I know it’s on Youtube now but I suspect the memory’s better than the reality. I rewatched that one Rankin Bass one with the spiky ice guy and the flame guy and they hated each other, probably, and there was this one musical number that went “I’m Mr. White Christmas, I’m Mister Snow (da da da!)” and so on… I can’t believe I’m too lazy to look up what it’s called but I am. I just watched this thing two years ago, what is going on in my misfiring brain. Someone out there knows the one I’m talking about. Anyway, that was another one that I loved when I was a kid but only got to see once so I tracked it down a couple of years ago and it was… not very good. Not terrible, but compared to other Rankin Bass ones like Rudolph and even Jack Frost, just not very good. In conclusion, I will not be revisiting the Pink Panther Christmas special so get off my back about it already. God!

    Ach, it was bugging me so I looked it up. It’s called The Year Without a Santa Claus.

  27. The Hey Arnold! Christmas special where Arnold’s Vietnamese neighbor is reunited with his daughter makes me bawl like a little bitch EVERY DAMN TIME

  28. Emmet Otter, anyone?

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  30. Is that real? I’d love to watch that!

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