ByKristy Anderson, writer at
Kristy Anderson

The holiday season is upon us once more, meaning we will soon be treated with a plethora of great Christmas programming. Everyone has their favorite classic specials that they just need to watch every year: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, just to name a few.

However, over the years there have been many other Christmas specials that, while wonderful in their own way, and very much loved by some, have just not managed to earn a permanent place on the yearly Christmas schedule, thereby denying them truly status. Others were once classics, but for one reason or another, aired less and less over time. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some milk and cookies as we look back at some of these not quite classic Christmas specials.

Note: I use the term "not quite classic" to mean "not as loved as they should be," fully aware that many entries on this list may be loved and easily viewed as classics by some.

1. 'Darkwing Duck: It's A Wonderful Leaf'

After being run out of the mall during a last-minute shopping rush on Christmas Eve, the villainous Bushroot decides to ruin Christmas for the residents of St. Canard by mentally possessing their Christmas trees for a present-stealing spree. Darkwing Duck must stop Bushroot while also teaching Gosalyn about the meaning of Christmas.

This special's unique story makes it stand out in the sea of yearly cartoon Christmas specials, and I would be pleased to see it aired more often. While that is sadly unlikely, the episode is easily available online.

2. 'Casper's First Christmas'

Casper the Friendly Ghost is excited for Christmas and the arrival of Santa Claus. His friend Hairy Scary dismisses him, thinking he should be more concerned about where they will go once the old house they currently haunt gets demolished. Meanwhile, Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and a host of other classic Hanna-Barbera characters become lost on the way to the lodge where they usually spend the holidays, and soon stumble upon the old house. They decide to stay, and, thinking Casper is simply a child wearing a costume, they happily include him in their Christmas festivities.

While this special is still aired semi-regularly, it doesn't get quite the same love as other Hanna-Barbera holiday specials.

3. 'Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends: A Lost Claus'

After a crowd of imaginary Santas created by overly excited children arrive at Foster's (A yearly event, according to Frankie), Mac suffers a crisis of faith: Why would children have to imagine so many Santa Clauses if he is real? Bloo, desperate to restore Mac's faith in Santa, engages in a series of wacky experiments to prove the big man's existence.

A fun special that provides plenty of laughs, continuing the series' running joke of Coco's part-time jobs. It is also quite original in how it deals with the restoration of Mac's belief in Santa, avoiding the usual route of having the "real" Santa magically appear.

4. 'Dragons: Gift Of The Night Fury'

The residents of Berk are looking forward to spending their first Snoggletog (Christmas), with their newly trained dragons. Unfortunately, their plans look to be ruined when every dragon on Berk (except Toothless) takes off for parts unknown just a few days before the holiday.

Gift of The Night Fury is a wonderful standalone special, while also greatly expanding the then new Dragons universe. Taking place not long after the original movie, this special is the first time that the names of the other riders' dragons are revealed.

5. 'Rugrats: The Santa Experience'

After playing a cruel prank on Phil and Lil in the lead up to Christmas, Angelica tries to fix her mistake by Christmas Eve lest she find herself on Santa's naughty list. Meanwhile, Tommy and Chuckie plan to set a trap for Santa.

A great episode with plenty of references to other favorite Christmas stories and traditions, and a great moral or two. Hopefully, "The Santa Experience" may get a few airings on over Christmas.

6. 'A Muppet Family Christmas'

The pack up to go spend Christmas with Fozzie's mother. Soon after arrival, the usual hilarity ensues, as the Sesame Street gang arrive to sing carols, Fraggles are discovered in the basement, and Miss Piggy is lost in a blizzard.

Of the multiple Christmas movies and specials starring the Muppets, this one is re-aired the least often, possibly due to rights issues regarding Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock.

7. 'A Flintstone Family Christmas'

After being mugged by a troubled "caveless" child, Stoney, Wilma begs Fred to foster the boy and give him a proper family Christmas. Though unimpressed with the idea at first, Fred and Stoney soon form a bond.

This Christmas special is rarely aired, but is full of heartwarming Christmas fun. Chronologically, it is the last feature to star the Flintstones, taking place after TV films I Yabba Dabba Do and Holly-Rock-A-Bye-Baby.

8. 'Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In At The House Of Mouse'

After a blizzard strikes on Christmas Eve, Mickey Mouse and a crowd of other classic characters become trapped inside the House Of Mouse. Mickey attempts to give everyone a great Christmas, while also dealing with a grumpy Donald Duck.

An underrated special packed with clever in-jokes regarding the many characters starring. It also incorporates the classic short "Mickey's Christmas Carol."

9. 'Hey Arnold: Arnold's Christmas'

Completely stumped after drawing Mr. Huynh's name in the boarding house's Secret Santa, Arnold spends some time with him so he can find a perfect gift. In the process, he learns of how Mr. Huynh was forced to give up his young daughter Mai in the early days of the Vietnam War to keep her safe. From there, Arnold sets out to do the impossible: Reunite father and daughter by Christmas.

"Arnold's Christmas" is easily one of the best Christmas-themed episodes of the '90s, and deserves much more recognition. Like "The Santa Experience," it will hopefully be aired on The Splat.

10. 'Winnie The Pooh And Christmas Too'

Believing he has ruined his friends' Christmas after letting their letter head to the South Pole instead of the North, Pooh rigs up a few makeshift gifts and dresses up to play Santa Claus himself.

Full of laughs and heartwarming moments, Winnie The Pooh And Christmas Too has everything you could ask for in a Christmas special. While the special is not currently available on its own, it can be seen as part of the holiday compilation movie, A Very Merry Pooh Year.

Feeling like you could use a little more Christmas spirit? Check out Wes Anderson's latest holiday commercial for H&M, which has got all the holiday feels:


Have you seen any of these specials?


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