Ten Essential Christmas Specials You Should Be Watching This Holiday Season

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Smiling young couple having fun at home, watching TV together and laughing. Both wears warm clothes and sitting on sofa. On background lights on decorated christmas tree, windows and burning fireplace, steel candlestick on ground. Back of TV set on foreground.

The holidays are upon us once again and That’s My Entertainment is giving you the top ten essential Christmas specials you should be watching this holiday season.


10. “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo”
This classic South Park episode, while a little unorthodox, is a delightful tale of loving thy neighbor, regardless of their faith. Young Kyle Broflovski is ridiculed by his peers for being the only Jewish kid in school during Christmas time. He finds solace in his belief of Mr. Hankey, a talking, Christmas-themed piece of feces that brings gifts to children of all faiths. While the crude humor of South Park may be off-putting to some, it doesn’t shy away from the fact that the true meaning of the holidays is to love and cherish each other.


9. “A Flintstone Christmas”

An oldie, but a goodie! While this Christmas special may seem a bit cliched by today’s standards, this special set the standard for so many that followed. The story follows Fred and Barney taking over for old Saint Nick after a sprained ankle has him laid up for Christmas Eve. Packed with classic Flintstones humor, music, and holiday cheer, this special is a must for the holiday season.


8. “The Fairly Oddparents: Christmas Every Day”
This special ventures into the realm of magic as young Timmy Turner wishes for his favorite day of the year to repeat itself everyday. His eccentric Fairy Godparents Cosmo and Wanda make it so, but after week’s worth of Christmases, the world begins to fall into upheaval. Not to mention all the forgotten holidays (The Easter Bunny, The April Fool, etc.) that want revenge for taking away their time with the children of the world. It’s up to Timmy to beat the other holiday spirits to Santa and help reverse his wish. This special is a classic for kids that grew up in the early 2000s and may be one of the best episodes of The Fairly Oddparents ever written. Filled with clever humor, heart, and an incredibly catchy musical number by Guy Moon, this special is a must-see.


7. “Spongebob Squarepants: Christmas Who?”
Good ol’ Spongebob has been around long enough to have garnered two Christmas specials, but the original to this day still withstands the test of time. In “Christmas Who?” our square friend is introduced to the Christmas holiday by Sandy the squirrel, who is baffled to find that the undersea residents of Bikini Bottom have ever heard of Christmas. Spongebob shares Sandy’s tale of Santa with all of his friends, who then quickly begin writing their Christmas wishes. Squidward, however, remains skeptical as always. Packed with a ton of heart, Christmas cheer, and a knockout original song, this special has become a classic.


6. “Hey Arnold!: Arnold’s Christmas”
This classic 90’s series has delivered some of the best episodes ever written for television and this special is no exception. The episode begins with everyone’s favorite football head choosing his neighbor, Mr. Hyunh in the annual boarding house Secret Santa. While attempting to find out what Mr. Hyunh might like, Arnold discovers that Mr. Hyunh has a long lost daughter that he was separated from during the Vietnam War. Arnold and his best friend Gerald set out to track down Mr. Hyunh’s lost daughter, but several obstacles keep presenting themselves. This episode is notable for straying from the typical children’s Christmas specials and doesn’t include Santa. It stays grounded in reality and focuses on a boy’s journey to bring a broken family together again. It’s safe to say that “Arnold’s Christmas” is necessary viewing.


5. “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
This classic tale has been adapted for the screen a whopping three times (the most recent is now in theatres). It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without watching the original animated classic on television. Featuring a script nearly identical to the original text, along with spectacular direction by Chuck Jones and the legendary Boris Karloff as the voice of the Grinch, this special will always succeed in making our hearts “grow three sizes” at Christmas time.


4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

It goes without saying that this timeless classic deserves an annual viewing. It’s really hard to find anyone that hasn’t seen this timeless tale, which was actually the Peanuts’ first venture into animation. The special follows Charlie Brown as he struggles to find the true meaning of Christmas underneath the big, flashy commercialism. It isn’t until a disgruntled Charlie walks out on directing the annual Christmas play that the children surround him and lift his spirit with song. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is not to be missed.


3. “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”
This classic Rankin/Bass special (along with many others) is featured on repeat in many households this time of year. Narrated by the legendary Fred Astaire, this classic stop-motion film provides an interesting backstory for Kris Kringle (Mickey Rooney). As a baby, he was left on the doorstep of the toy-making Kringle family. Upon adopting and raising him to love toys and children, young Kris sets out to deliver the gifts to the children of the nearby Sombertown. Little does he know that toys have been outlawed by the heartless Burgermeister Meisterburger. Packed with delightful songs, humor, and a brief political undertone that doesn’t condescend to the audience, “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town” is a timeless holiday classic.


2. “Frosty the Snowman”

Another Rankin/Bass classic, “Frosty the Snowman” does not follow the duo’s signature stop-motion and instead follows standard 2D animation. Nevertheless, this classic tale inspired by the Jack Rollins tune never fails to warm all of our hearts during the holiday season.


1. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
This Rankin/Bass classic may very well be the best. It’s always the first to air on television every year, signaling the start of the Christmas season. We all know the song. We all know the story. What we take away from Rudolph is the message that it doesn’t matter what you look like; it’s what’s on the inside that always counts. There has been some recent controversy surrounding the special, with audiences seeming the bullying scenes “too inappropriate” for young viewers. In reality, the scenes are tame, but it is important that children do see this special as the end message is clear that bullying is ultimately not okay and that one should always love thy neighbor regardless of their flaws.

Be sure to check out all of these classic Christmas specials this holiday season!