Chances are sometime in your life you have seen an animated Christmas special on TV. For some, like me, it is a tradition to watch one or more of these classics every year with friends or family
and leave you wondering why the main character wears no pants!
Generally, to be considered a “classic” the movie, or in this case TV special, should be over 25 years old and still memorable and/or trend setting. This isn’t a set definition but my own personal beliefs. To some, newer movies may already be considered a classic if you are watching them every year.
When I was young, I was introduced to some of Rankin/Bass Productions animated tales from the 1960’s and 1970’s. While Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr were behind the production of over 15 animated holiday tales, the ones I remember from my childhood were the ones based off of popular Christmas songs; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
At the time I was watching these movies they were already about 30 years old and generally considered “classics” by most people I knew. Frosty the Snowman is my favourite movie out of the bunch which is interesting since the song it’s based on does not actually have any lyrics about Christmas at all. What has solidified it as a Christmas classic in my mind is actually the way it makes me laugh and think of my family when I watch it.
It has definitely gotten funnier over the years
once I got over the trauma of him melting.
Out of these 3, in my opinion the only true classic is A Charlie Brown Christmas, the reason for this being its enduring nature. Consider the fact that Peanuts is likely the longest running comic strip (which arguably only ended because its creator died) and it still well-known and circulated despite ending over 15 years ago. Generally when you talk to someone about the Charlie Brown holiday specials, people are familiar with stories, religious themes and songs even though some (like A Charlie Brown Christmas) are over 50 years old!
So wait, why isn’t Garfield a classic? It’s also a popular comic strip spanning almost 40 years, had its own TV show (in the 1980’s and well as currently) and multiple movies in the last 10 years. Well for one, Peanuts only had TV specials as opposed to a regular scheduled show which helped the specials stand out in comparison. Additionally the story in A Garfield Christmas was really just not as memorable (especially for the more religious folk).
Finally, why isn’t A Chipmunk Christmas considered a classic in my mind? Alvin and the Chipmunks has existed longer than Garfield has but has changed many times over the years. The animation styles have changed and similarly to Garfield media (movies and TV) has had popularity spikes at different periods of time. Most parents don’t need to share the old movies with their kids since there are “shinier” new CGI animated films to take them to. The most memorable part of A Chipmunk Christmas was the “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t be Late)” which was actually recorded in 1959 and won 3 Grammy awards.
Most adult’s thoughts on the Chipmunks.
So which Christmas cartoons did I miss from your childhood? There have definitely been plenty of memorable classics (too many to cover or count) and some that we try to forget ever happened.