Episode 46: 12 Forgotten Animated Christmas Classics

(78 votes, average 4.90 out of 5)

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Comments (102)
  • Annie-Mae
    A nice collection of rare holiday specials. Yeah going to repeat a few things I said on your blog but I'll add more.

    I wanted to do a review of the Nutcraker Prince cause that is my all time favorite special. I own it on VHS. You even did the 24 jokes I had thought of doing.

    Think my least favorite of all the specials was the Town That Santa Forgot because of how they spent the whole time rhyming as well as focusing on a stuborn brat. The whole idea of ONE town full of kids being forgotten not only by Santa but even the US government is really odd, certainly for the modern century. Plus I think this is when I realized that Christmas is only about the presents...at least for adults. When you have to work for a living getting free gifts takes a load off of your wallet.

    What I do love is your inclusion of the stop-motion cartoons cause there is more charm in them then some of the animated stuff. There are so few people who have the patients to do those things now-a-days so they should embrace the unique character designs of them. I was more familiar with the animated version of the Life of Santa Claus but your right that the stop-motion one looks better.

    While you're number 1 is worth giving a shot, I can't really say that I enjoy just this small preview. The whole Santa's Sack being the baby Jesus's cloths is really out there and quite coincided of them to write in...but does make for a creative plot device. Maybe I don't like it cause it doesn't have nostalgia in it, and I have a thing against flash animation that moves so frigidly. But the background designs are really good (as you pointed out).

    Great list though, they're all really good for being so underrated. Thanks for the holiday cheer.
  • Lucia32
    I was a fan of the Nutcracker Prince as well (in fact, I still have that old VHS in my collection).

    "Plus I think this is when I realized that Christmas is only about the presents...at least for adults. When you have to work for a living getting free gifts takes a load off of your wallet."

    Uh...if that's your thing, fine but at least for my family and I, Christmas is all about being together with those you love and sharing that good will with others, taking a day or two away from the madness of the rat race to enjoy the love of family and the laughter of friends. The presents (to me at least) have always been an unnecessary component, a reminder of the disease of hyper-consumerism.
  • Xatike
    OMG. I had totally forgotten about the Nutcracker Prince! That was buried in my subconscious!! I think it influenced the part of me that is deeply in love with "an unfortunate event (curse, or otherwise) that happens to someone and leaves them emotionally different yet with unique and strange powers". I know that's not a real genre, but my examples are:

    -Vampires in the Lost Boys
    -The Hulk
    -Danny Phantom
    -Hugh Jackman being a werewolf in Van Helsing

    The list goes on...but again, CR you have raked the dying embers of my childhood and started a nostalgia fire in my subconscious.
  • abyssion1337
    Actually, I think this year's Doctor Who Christmas special became my favorite version of A Christmas Carol
  • ponco12
    that vershion made no sense at all
  • pap64
    I really enjoyed this list. I agree that it sucks how major networks are airing non Christmas specials and movies instead of investing on new specials. I think the only ones doing this are Dreamworks and save for the Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special (which I loved) they tend to suck. But at least they are making an effort in bringing back the annual holiday special, even if in reality its just a vehicle to promote the movies.

    One Christmas special that seems to get ignored despite being aired on television is Nestor the Long Eared Donkey. It was done by Rankin Bass and its about a donkey who was born with really long ears. It's sorta like Dumbo with donkeys. But the story is very heartwarming, sweet and even depressing as Nestor struggles to survive without his mother. Not to mention it ties very well to the Nativity Story, and one of the few Ranking Bass specials (save for Drummer Boy Book 1 and 2) that actually references the religious aspect of the holiday.

    Another forgotten special I remember from my childhood was the "For Better or for Worse" Christmas special. It follows the same characters from the comics in their holiday spree, but one of the daughters gets lost in the woods. She is then rescued by a kind old lady and her cat. It then turns out that the lady had passed away, and that it might have been an angel that saved the girl's life.

    There was also another special done by a company I can't remember the name of. It was about a bunch of anthropomorphic dogs in a rock band who return to their hometown to play a Christmas concert. One of the band members has bad memories of the place because his father never accepted his life style and had a big fight before going on tour. When they arrive he decides to go search for his father he is told that he had died. However, the reality of the situation is that the father was hired to play Santa Claus at the concert, so later on they have a very emotional reunion.

    I would appreciate it if someone would give me the name of this special and the company that produced it. They also produced a special in which an Earth family is sent to outer space to live with aliens and they have their first Christmas there.
  • LikaLaruku
    It might be listed on IMDB, they have a lot of obscure & forgotten movies listed there.
  • TheBrigeedaRocks
    I usually pride myself on knowing and/or seeing obsucre animated movies, or at least the lesser known ones, so I can't believe that I only ever saw 4 out of the 12 you listed. That's only a third of them! Thanks though for giving me specials to look up and watch now.

    I must add, however, that I am disappointed you didn't mention the Rankin-Bass version of 'Twas Night Before Christmas. Along with The Little Drummer Boy, it used to be one of my favorite specials to watch every year until they stopped airing them.

    Also, thanks to you, I can track down a copy of The Nutcracker Prince since I couldn't remember its name for the longest time.
  • SlugLady28
    Wow, I think i've filled my nostalgia quota for the rest of the year! I remember watching so many of those as a kid! But i really don't see them anymore...

    I also remember Christmas Orange, which is about a kid putting Santa Claus on trial (and not like in Miracle on Third street). I remember i didn't like it much but now i wanna check it out again.

    And here's a weird one: The Santa Claus Brothers. I was never a fan of the animation, but it was an amusing movie about Santa's 3 un-santa-like sons that are searching for the meaning of Christmas... in Santa Monica... cause it has "Santa" in the name, get it?... Oh, and there's an evil elf who wants to take over Santa's Job, but he's not important XD

    Personally, my favorite Christmas Carol is tied between the original black and white movie and the Muppet's Christmas Carol. And ironically, i like and dislike the Muppet's versions for about the same reasons you stated about The Stingiest Man in Town.
  • Serpico89  - "A Christmas Orange"
    what if they made "A Christmas Orange," like the book/film "A Clockwork Orange?" now THAT would be interesting!!! fuck yeah i would love to see that. probably could never show it on tv though :DD
  • Optimus Josh
    Wow that last one did have talent, cept for Jay Leno. I'm with CoCO
  • punksweets
    my favorite version of a Christmas carol is the musical "scrooge" simply because it really does bring out all the emotions for me, and the songs are vary good too
  • Serpico89
    great job!! i actually seen a couple that you mentioned - rankin bass story of santa claus, rankin bass christmas carol, clay animation special, the town that santa forgot, and the nutcracker prince. all were great but i think my favorite would be the clay animation special since its so hilarious and also well crafted. the opus special seems interesting, i love the comic and would only guess how a holiday special would turn out.

    i think also you forgot to mention another canadian special. i forget the name of it, but it used kinda a slow-motion, semi-fuzzy animation. basically a grandma tells stories to her grand-children and she has a cat.

    but the cosmic christmas looks sweet. its got a great vibe to it. the "gangsters" in it are seriously fly. i love there style 8-)
  • True Perception
    Thanks for adding The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus! I've been mentioning this movie to people for years, and no one ever knew what I was talking about. Admittedly, I misremembered it as "The Life and Times of Santa Claus", but I'd been looking for this movie to be on for years now, and haven't seen it on. Unfortunately, I have not seen the claymation version, but I absolutely loved the animated version. It is definitely my favorite Christmas special. It just gives so much life to the character of Santa Claus. I'll have to see about tracking down the original story the movies are based on.
  • TheDVDGrouch
    Oh man I have to thank you for the nostalgia trip I got a little misty eyed with happy Christmas memory's.
  • traceace
    Aaah, every time lists like this disappoint me by overlooking Ziggy's Gift, which I to this day think depicts both the good and bad of the Christmas season and ends up a warm fuzzy note. Such a good special, and one I watch every year with my sister. (the entire thing is on youtube, too, if anyone is curious).

    THAT SAID, I'm certainly not bashing this list in general, though. I was especially excited to see someone mention that version of the Scrooge story. And the baby Jesus blanket thing legit made me laugh, not going to lie. I might just check it out one day, especially knowing it's on Hulu.
  • TiniNormi
    Paul Williams is an underused voice actor.
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar
    Hey I was wondering if you have heard of this site. You could use it for material to go off of next year on a different subject for a video. www.acartoonchristmas.com
  • Vraptor140
    I actuallu did watch some of those when I was a kid: The twelve days of Christmas, The Nutcracker Prince, The town that Santa forgot, the animated version of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

    Many of them were out every year back then, but I don't see them as often anymore.

    A suggestion I'd like to give is "Noël Noël", an animated short that touched my heart a long time ago and I still love.
  • Korahn
    Heh, number 7: Google Chrome.

    I LOVED Claymation Christmas Celebration. I used to watch it every year on CBC with my pet goose, and I even got the cassette of the music. I finally managed to snag a copy of it last year.

    Surprised there was no mention of "The Night before Bumpy"
  • arkzist
    You know i've seen most of these.. and well i love Christmas was here again.. but yeah you're right it did kind of disappear.. didn't think hulu would have it.. i know what I'm watching...
  • SkullCap  - Christmas Specials
    I'll always love "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for 3 main reasons.
    1. No Fluff. No little throwaway sub-plots with the characters where they tackle little problems that push away from the main story. Nope, Schulz goes for the throat by attacking the commercialism of Christmas and for a 27 minute special, thats quite an accomplishment.
    2. The visuals. Many scenes especially the Tree Lot perfectly portray Christmas as a fake, multicolored mess that has lost it's true spirit (as personified by the weak real pine tree). "Maybe it just needs a little love."
    3. The message. Simple, frank, and beautiful. No quick cut away to something else. Linus quotes Luke 2 and say's, "That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown." BOOM! It's a reminder why one celebrates Christmas and what the message of the story is: A story of selfless giving to others out of love.

    Great list CR and have a Happy New Year
  • Lucia32
    Amen to that Skull! You said it better than I could.
  • TiniNormi
    If you haven't already, check out Rock & Rule, a movie by that Canadian company you mentioned.
  • Kotano
    I've actually seen this nutcracker movie,when we rented it years ago.Christmas is here again looks promising,I'll probably check it out next year around christmas.
  • Coolclaytony  - Christmas is Here Again
    i am so watching it right now (I didn't know Hulu was free)
  • Sakata
    The sideplot in the Nutcracker Prince is quite close to the one in Nutcracker Fantasy. Pity it's not a Christmas movie.
  • ArtticWitchica
    OMG I have still on laser disc another episode of number 7. i remember those dinosaurs well XD

    And I remember Nutcracker Prince too XD Funny enough I watched Lost Boys today and saw Kiefer as a vampire XD

    I remember the town that Santa forgot though this one is really hazy for me. I remember the end XD That was a good movie.

    The Editor's response in Yes Virginia made my heart cry. That is the best response and explaination I have ever heard. My religion believes in not lying to your kids even about Santa, but every year I still got a present from him and mom said that as long as people give, there is one inside all our hearts.

    Course then Assholes like George Lopez have to make jokes like "Santa isn't real, it's just your parents" and I loose faith in humanity. Seriously I can't stand that guy.
  • FunkyM
    Great vid CR.

    And all the best for this Festive Season, even if it is already half over. ;P
  • wootsman  - !
    i remember seeing the hand drawn version of #8 on cartoon network when i was little for some reason i thought it was about Jesus becoming Santa clause 0.0
    ot: i acully saw #1 before this i hated i thought its was cheesy and cheep not production values though though i did thought it was made with flash when i first saw it
  • mnemosyned
    I'm not gonna lie. I only watched this because I wanted to see if The Nutcracker Prince was in it.

    OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT CARTOON. I am 24 years old and I still tear up when I hear "Final Waltz and Apotheosis" from the Nutcracker Suite because all I can picture is Clara bawling her eyes out because all her friends are turning into dolls and a giant #$%^ing rat is coming after her.

    Thanks for including it, it really made my day. (And the 24 joke was hilarious!)

    Incidentally... does anyone know if that movie is available on DVD? I still have the old, battered, very worn-out VHS... in French... but a DVD would be brilliant.
  • Hotaru-oz
    This list brang back a lot of memories for me, although I;ll admit there's a few that I've never seen, particularly the one featuring the California raisins as they weren't to big in Australia.
    I don't think they really play Christmas specials like these any more, not even the Hanna Barbera ones, which were my favourite's growing up.
  • Ashoten2021
    LOL that long speech at the end of "yes Virginia there is a Santa" is the definition of depressing. If there is no Santa then there is no love or joy or happiness or anything? If you tell me I missed the point your wrong. I get it. It's the "Spirit" of giving that exists at Christmas. In that case Santa is a lazy jerk who only feels like helping others once a year because of white guilt. However I still laughed CR so I guess that made my holiday happier.
  • jjflash
    Sounds you made yourself depressed there, chief. It was no fault of the speech.

    The meaning of the speech was that on a day and time where we can all stop and enjoy the fruits of our labor and life, if we can turn and give to others, unselfishly..then perhaps we can learn to keep the spirit of giving within us the entire year.

    It helps if you actually read a copy of the speech (and if you aren't dedicated to seeing something with a gloomy demeanor).
  • LikaLaruku
    Ooh, this is going to be a LONG video; my favorite kind!

    America's political correctness brigade has made it so that the cartoons we grew up with as kids are now deemed unsuitable for children & the networks are afraid of getting sued by uptight parents.

    She looks like Sunny from Gummy Bears. Man, I haven't seen that since I was 10.

    Eggnog...Just tried my first one last week. Smelled & tasted like bubblegum with yolk, mint, & nutmeg. That was just wrong.

    The dog & cat remind me of Rita & Runt from Animaniacs.

    Rankin-Bass kick ass.

    Ooh, that Nutcracker one was an old favorite, it actually followed the book that the ballet was based on, I should buy it. Except that the girl should be named Marie; Clara was her doll.

    What a suprise, Stingiest Man in town is Rankin-Bass. They have a bad habbit of rushing & skipping to make room for songs. The Hobbit is their best example of that, & they cut a great deal out of The Last Unicorn from the book.

    Tell me Jeremy from The Town Santa Forgot doesn't look like Number One from Kids Next Door. I actually hate this one. It's one of those super tripe-stuffed specials; only Santa gives gifts, people's lifelong personalities can be changed by a single act, the news cares about poor people, santa gives the brat special treatment.

    Oh, so THAT'S how Raggedy-Ann dies.

    Ugh, Nelvana...

    Virginia looks a bit like the "Little Red Haired Girl" Charlie Brown has a crush on that Patty & Marcy are jealous of. I don't care for this one, but I think the reason it's not on TV anymore is because it supports sticking to a lie to the bitter end, even if you have to form a conspiracy around it.

    Anyone else learn at a very early age that Santa was a lie after digging through their parent's room & finding gifts from Santa under the bed & in the closet? I never believed, but I was pissed that my parents kept insisting.

    A million dollars for something animated in Adobe Flash? 90% of the money must have gone into paying off the voice actors. But you cut out the singing & it would be awesome. In fact, I think someone reviewed this last year & said the same thing, about the singing.
  • DMaster
    I know, political correctness really bothers me sometimes too. If they're really that worried, why not book a block devoted to religious programming, so it's obvious that if you don't want religious content, just don't watch that part? Or just show specials from multiple perspectives? networks feel the need to have their shows cover everything when the holidays are addressed ANYWAY...so why not show at least one special addressing each?
  • tootired  - Uh the real reason for the lack of Christmass spec
    Is because those specials don't earn that much advertising money compared to non special films. Especially since the cost for just a program to air one time and not be used the next year costs a lot of money these days such as the tens of millions of dollars. Plus the whole creative juice it takes ran out pretty quick.

    To tell you the truth most people got bored with the non stop blocks of Christmas movies/specials and just turned off their tvs and rented movies etc or spent time with their families. So the tv networks went to what was profitable showing movies like Harry Potter.
  • Lucia32
    "Is because those specials don't earn that much advertising money compared to non special films. Especially since the cost for just a program to air one time and not be used the next year costs a lot of money these days such as the tens of millions of dollars. "

    That is false. If you look at the Ad revenue across any given fiscal year between 1972 and 2001, Christmas Specials were consistently the highest earners in television programming ( I refer you to Eubank and Robinson "Marketing and The Modern Consumer" , Vayne "Successful Marketing" and Loeb "Advertisement: An Art Form" ).

    Think about this from a marketing standpoint: you have a program that makes more Ad money in one week than most of your shows do in two weeks to a month. It's foolish to not do Christmas Specials.

    "To tell you the truth most people got bored with the non stop blocks of Christmas movies/specials and just turned off their tvs and rented movies etc or spent time with their families. "

    Given how high viewership spikes when reruns of classic Christmas Specials air? I'd say that this statement is also false.

    Also one should take note of WHAT is rented in high volume during Christmas time: Old Christmas Specials.
  • Rurik
    I prefer to refer to this brigade as the Liberal Nazi Bastards. For crying out loud I'm about as non-Christian as you can get and I think it's idiotic to try to ban so much as saying the name Jesus.

    Anyway, I have to say I don't remember seeing most of these specials at all. I do remember the Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, the original not the remake, the Town that Santa Forgot, though only vaguely, and the claymation one, though it took the waffling scene to make me remember seeing it. I might have seen the Nutcracker one, not sure, there's been so many of them over the years.
  • yaoinut
    This was a well thought out list. I look forward to seeing this as a yearly tradition and seeing what other gems you can unearth for the masses.

    The only one I saw was number 4. I used to have such a soft spot for that special. A little goofy with the constant rhyme but I still found it very sweet. Now, I have to go check out that Virginia one...
  • King Raptor
    It's not enough having 2 unskippable commercials, now there's 2 more during the video? That's fucking bullshit!
  • jalford
    *7:45-F*ck yeah! Opus rocks!!!
    *13:13-Why didn't Ak actually cut anyone with his enchanted axe?
    *13:25-Now the only way to kill Santa is to chop off his head and take his Quickening.
    *14:15-The dinosaurs were actually from another Vinton special.
    *27:09-They were saving it for Christmas dinner.
    *28:30-Did you see that?! Did you?! The voice of youth! They're still wearing flared trousers! Why don't you try a bit of poetry you hippies?!"
    *29:10-Are these alien pinheads with The Watchers?
    *35:45-Why not just make the sack from the blankets Superman had in his rocket when he was a baby?
    *38:40-So...does Santa cure her disability? Seems like kind of a jip, with her finding the Holy Blanket of Antioch, and just getting a free sleighride out of it.
  • uneek
    "35:45-Why not just make the sack from the blankets Superman had in his rocket when he was a baby?"

    Because Superman's blanket is his cape.
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