Film and Documentary

The Five Best Animated Christmas Shows

What are of the 5 Best Animated Christmas Shows? As a kid, I think we all had favorites, and I think many of us will agree with this list. From the 60s – 90s, these are the ones we feel have best stood the test of time.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the TV Special)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 Christmas Special that first aired Sunday, December 6, 1964. The special was based on the Johnny Marks song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and tells the story of how Rudolph became the one to lead Santa’s sleigh. Since 1972, the special has aired exclusively on CBS, with the network unveiling a high-def, digitally remastered version of the program in 2005. Unlike other holiday specials that also air on several cable channels, Rudolph airs only on CBS, and airs several times during the Holiday Season.  It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in history.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
This wonderful show is a 1965 animated tv special, based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. The program made its debut on December 9, 1965. In the special, lead character Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. Lucy suggests he direct a neighborhood Christmas play, but his best efforts are ignored and mocked by his peers. Then Linus tells Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas, and Charlie Brown cheers up, and the Peanuts gang unites to celebrate the Christmas season. Its absence of a laugh track (a staple in US television animation in this period), in addition to its tone, pacing, music, and animation, led both the producers and networks to predict the project would be a disaster preceding its broadcast. Proving them wrong, A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. It became an annual broadcast in the United States.

**Purchased by Apple in 2020, it will still be broadcast on PBS.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 version)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (aka Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!) is a 1966 Christmas animated television special. It’s based on the children’s book of the same name by Dr. Seuss, and it’s the story of the Grinch trying to take away Christmas from the townsfolk of Whoville below his mountain hideaway. Originally airing in the United States on December 18, 1966, it also features the voice of Boris Karloff as both the Grinch and the narrator.

Frosty the Snowman
Perennial favorite Frosty the Snowman is a 1969 animated Christmas television special based on the hit song “Frosty the Snowman”. The program, which first aired on December 7, 1969, featured the voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as the film’s narrator, and Jackie Vernon as the title character.

The special’s story follows a group of school children who build a snowman called Frosty and place a hat which made him come alive with magic, but after noticing the high hot temperature and feared that he would get melted, Frosty, along with young girl Karen and a rabbit named Hocus Pocus, must go to the North Pole to be safe from melting.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town is a 1970 Christmas television special, which stars Fred Astaire as the narrator S.D. Kluger, Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle / Santa Claus, Keenan Wynn as the Winter Warlock, and Paul Frees in various roles. The film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Clause-related Christmas traditions came to be. It’s based on both the hit Christmas song Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, which was introduced on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934, and the story of Saint Nicholas.

I’m sure kids and adults everywhere will agree with these selections. While there have been quite a few made, we feel that these are the ones that truly stood the test of time.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!

Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected]