Thursday, December 19, 2013

50 Best Christmas Specials (20-11)

20. Pinky and the Brain Christmas (1995)
This aired as a primetime special separate from the actual series and it is stand-alone from the rest of the series.  Brain sees Christmas as a way to help him take over the world and his plan goes much better than usual.  Pinky is quite the opposite who loves every part of Christmas.  The ending of this episode is one of the sweetest Christmas moments I have ever seen.

19. Little Drummer Boy (1968)
A Christmas classic that has lessened in popularity in recent years.  This is iconic and I always enjoy it. Aaron can be a little grating as a lead (we get it, you hate all men, calm down).  But the limited stop-motion animation is charming and the Nativity backdrop is one of the more memorable depictions of the birth of Christ.

18. Pluto's Christmas Tree (1952)
The perfect Disney short to air every year.  Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale are all in fine form here.  A Christmas tree is the perfect setting for Chip 'n Dale to cause mischief and they are great adversaries for the well-meaning Pluto.  There a lots of great gags involving ornaments, candles and other Christmas icons.

17. Donald's Snow Fight (1942)
There are plenty of Disney winter related shorts that are not necessarily related to Christmas, but this one at least features Jingle Bells and Disney usually uses it in Christmas specials and DVDs.  This is near the top of everyone's favorite Disney shorts.  The conflict between Donald and his nephews escalates to insanely entertaining levels and there is such joy between the two sides.

16. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)
One of the best loved Rankin-Bass specials and most iconic versions of Santa.  This is a decent origin story that adds a penguin named Topper and a giant wizard.  The red-headed Kris Kringle is just incredibly likable, the songs are mostly memorable, Burgermeister Meisterburger is an awesome villain, and postman Fred Astaire is a good narrator.

15. A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)
They could have easily gone A Christmas Carol route with Garfield, but that wouldn't be true to the character.  Garfield is always going to be grouchy, but he can still appreciate Christmas (especially the food).  This special has great gags, particularly with the struggle to put the star on the tree which is extremely well timed.  This is a surprisingly touching special as it represents that Christmas for a lot of us is remembering loved ones that we've lost.  This is an extremely underrated special and should still be airing.

14. Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991)
I love all things Winnie the Pooh and have watched this with a smile on my face every Christmas.  The fun logic of the Hundred Acre Wood and its unique sense of whimsy suits Christmas so perfectly.  There are many great gags and touching moments.  Not to bring religion into Winnie the Pooh, but Pooh's line about "not deserving" a gift after what he's done could be interpreted with Christian undertones.

13. A Decemberween Pageant (2002)
One of my all time favorite Homestar shorts.  The absurdity in this is so perfect and it hits all of the right pop culture references.  The pageant is an insane origin story of a weird holiday that features Dr. Christmas, an angel, the King of Town, a sailor named Archibald and two Kobe Bryants.  We have all seen Christmas specials that make no sense and have been to plays that are this bad.  Just one of my favorites.

12. Santa's Workshop (1932)
The jolliest Santa of all time.  Just so warm and has such a great laugh.  The Disney animators create one of the most creative versions of the North Pole and some great elves.  This is one of the best Silly Symphonies ever and best Christmas shorts of all time.  Disney should really resurrect this version of St. Nick.

11. Prep and Landing (2009)
One of the last truly great Christmas special.  Writers often try to update and modernize Santa's process but this one is actually creative and unique.  This is also pretty relatable to many people who get caught up in wanting a better paying job with more prestige.  But this special highlights that joy that we often forget in work and doing things that we love.  The animation is feature quality and characters are likable.  Happy to see this fun special turned into a franchise.

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