Best Christmas Animation

OK, you’ve all seen them again. What’s the best animated Christmas shows? The only one I haven’t seen this year is the Charlie Brown Christmas, which bugs me. I think CBS had the rights and they put it on a couple of weeks ago. I missed it and they’ve never rebroadcast it.

1. Charlie Brown Christmas

It has to be #1. A fantastic Jazz soundtrack. (Although the Jazz snobs like to thumb their nose at it – but come on. It’s not bad to be accessible by the average American.) It’s still a classic even if it seems a bit slow paced by today’s standards. I just love this cartoon. I can’t believe it’s only been on TV once. It’s almost enough to make me buy the DVD.

2. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

OK, part of the reason I love this was because way back in the early 90’s when David Letterman was still funny (and didn’t look like he lives in a retirement home) he did this great sketch on this. It was Dave in what looks to be the typical college bachelor pad. (You all know what I’m talking about) He’s sitting there in his underwear with a 2 liter diet Pepsi watching this. When Rudolf’s nose lights up to guide Santa’s sled Dave says (deadpan), “Damn that Rudolf is one brave son of a bitch.” Still cracks me up to this day. Nearly as funny as pea boy or throwing things off a 5 story building. (Yes, I’m a child of the 80’s)

3. A Year Without Santa Claus

Actually only a so-so special. (Santa in 1910 goes to the South to see if anyone believes and doesn’t see a single black face) However two musical numbers makes this one of my favorites.

4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

One of my favorites. (I like how everything is grey with only a few colors – something Tim Burton copied in his Corpse Bride) But the best part of this is only on the DVD. It’s this weird LSD inspired song number by Santa’s very well endowed girl friend. Very weird and apparently deleted when it typically shows on TV.

5. South Park

South Park has a bunch. My favorites are the ones with the Satanic woodland creatures and then the first one with Mr. Hanky.

YouTube keeps getting sued by CBS so I can’t put up a link to them. But both are fantastic. Not the kind I’d watch with my mom, mind you. But a pretty good send up of all the classics.

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33 thoughts on “Best Christmas Animation

  1. frosty the snowman is #1. it’s not only entertaining but it’s like a drug for all children under the age of 8. a miraculous sedative drug. try it on your kids.

  2. I think Charlie Brown and The Grinch are the best. Love the music in CB.

    What’s with the island of misfit toys in Rudolph? A flying lion? And what was wrong with the doll? Why was she a misfit? Talk about your LSD trips. That story took a left turn into kooky and left me disturbed as a child.

  3. I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it, or how bad a mood I may be in, I always break into tears when Linus recites the Christmas story.

    #5 should be the original Grinch cartoon.

  4. Charlie Brown and the Grinch are easily the best in my book. Both are well-conceived stories, written and produced with quality. Topping it all off are Charlie Brown’s Vince Guaraldi soundtrack and Boris Karloff as the narrator and the Grinch.

    But Rudolph and Frosty? Really!

    I’ve seen both recently and they are terrible! I actually wondered if anyone actually likes these films for themselves, or only because it’s what they’ve watched every year on TV since they were two years old.

    To write anything further would be to admit that I’m overanalyzing Romeo Muller’s rassin’-frassin’ films.

  5. Every year I always want a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Small and scraggly.

    I also like the one with Father Time, and the one with the Abominable Snowman.

  6. My next 6 would be probably:

    6: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – It’s a classic. If I was just going by quality this would be #2. But for some reason I prefer the old cheesy silly Rankin ones.

    7: Rudolf’s Shiny New Year – an other so-so special but bonus points for taking place after Christmas. Great for kids in the late 70’s. The only kid’s New Year’s Special I know of.

    8. Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas – 3D computer animation but pretty good. My son loves it.

    9. Disney Christmas Special – mainly clips from various shows. It used to come on all the time. I’ve not seen it on DVD though. My favorite is the skating bit with Donald Duck and his nephews.

    10. Simpsons Christmas Special. You know, the one where they get the dog?

  7. MCQ,
    Ivan’s right. It was in a “Not My Job” segment of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me this last week. Which means it’s true, because the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me people wouldn’t lie (like the rest of the conservative and/or liberal media conspiracy).

  8. We bought the remastered Grinch this year. It is amazing. I was contemplating a post contrasting the book with the cartoon. Both are excellent, but there are some key differences. In any case, Grinch is #2.

    That said, my favorite Christmas cartoon line of all time has got to be, “An elf that wants to be a dentist!?!?” from Rudolf. I used to say that at random to dental school students that I knew and I’d get less than appreciative looks.

  9. The weirdest thing about that episode of Wait Wait is the day before for some reason I was reading about that movie and so I knew all of the answers to that segment (the Rudolph puppet was used for a candy dish, the doll was depressed, and now I don’t remember the third.)

    The Grinch with Boris Karloff is my favorite.

  10. I agree The Grinch has the best animation. Love that Chuck Jones.

    But I agree with Clark that Charlie Brown easily has the best soundtrack. (Despite the excellent Grinch song sung by Karloff)

  11. Charlie Brown and the Grinch are the only ones you could even pay me to watch.

    And I just don’t get Mr. Hanky.

  12. Karloff narrated, but it was Thurl Ravenscroft who boomed “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Mr. Ravenscroft was also voiced Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger (“They’re great!!”) for half a century.

  13. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” hands down. Nothing else comes close–though I admit I’m sucker for all the Rankin-Bass stuff.

  14. What? No mention of the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol? It’s got songs penned by the guys who did “Funny Girl”.

    Supposedly, the Streisand signature tune “People” is rumored to have been written originally for the Magoo Christmas Carol, but got nixed by somebody, so the tunesmiths saved it for a different project (“Funny Girl”).

  15. I always liked the Rankin/Bass cartoon “Twas the Night Before Christmas” about the mouse who is a skeptic and puts an article in the newspaper about Santa not being real. Santa returns all town’s kids Santa letters back, return to sender. So a clock maker named Trundle lobbies the townspeople to make a clock to lure Santa back.

    It would have been better as a clamation or stop-motion type of thing (like Rudolph), but the songs are great, including one that goes…

    “…we’ll do what’s necessary, cause, even a miracle needs a hand…”

    and another one that goes…

    “…christmas bells are ringing Santa we need you today…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twas_the_Night_Before_Christmas_(TV_special)

  16. We have that one on dvd actually, and my kids love it. But it’s paired with some lame Frosty movie. Frosty gets a wife, Jack Frost is in there somewhere, yada, yada. Sequels, ya can’t get rid of ’em.
    Charlie Brown, Rudolph, The Grinch. They don’t make them like that anymore. Olive the Other Reindeer was cute, but not every year forever and ever like the classics.

  17. I agree with Charlie Brown as #1. The Grinch should be #2. After that, Rudolph, Frosty and The Year Without a Santa Claus. Santa Claus is Coming to Town is just a little slow, although the baby Santa’s cute. I really dislike Twas the Night Before Christmas.

    A Christmas Story is very funny and a good runner-up, along with Santa vs. The Snowman (which we saw a couple years ago on Imax — awesome). They don’t make the top of my list, though, because for me they don’t have as much nostalgia backing them up.

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