Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time

This may be the most debated and most important top ten list of all time. Feel free to chip in with your opinions in the comments. Here is my criteria for qualification for this list: This is a list of “specials”, not movies or Christmas episodes from TV series. To be a special it must be no longer than one hour and not part of a series.

10. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year: This piece of crap has been played every year since 1976. I think I accidentally watched it once as a child and vowed to never watch it again. Thus far…mission accomplished. Rudolph should have been made into venison before this was made.


9. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Sure the idea of toast and popcorn sounds great, in theory. This is a good special but pales in comparison to The Peanut’s Halloween and Christmas specials.


8. Frosty the Snowman: The best part of this special is the song. The acting is putrid and the plot is barely plausible. When this is on I’m rooting for a green Christmas.


7. Little Drummer Boy: This is where the list starts to get good. Good song, good plot, great claymation and I think there are some talking animals. Plus, it all takes place in a desert where Frosty would never survive.


6. Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town: Oh man! When I was a kid and the Winter Warlock first appeared I was terrified. I believe the phrase “chillin’ like a villain” was coined for him. Also a young Santa hooks up with a serious hottie of a wife.

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5. The Rugrats Chanukah Special: Technically it was an episode of the series, but all these years later I still remember it for actually explaining the meaning of Hanukkah to me better than any person ever had. It was entertaining and informative, just like The Phil Factor.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Hey, I know you all love this one, but if The Peanuts get on the list twice they don’t get #1. The ice skating scene, the dancing scene, and Snoopy making the animal noises were all great. Lucy still should have punched Charlie Brown for bringing back that wretched tree.

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3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Romance, bromance, career conflict, monsters, The Island of Misfit Toys. This special had it all. Remember how scary it was when Yukon Cornelius rescued Rudolph and his family from Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster?

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2. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Great song and great villian with a story of redemption. Who doesn’t love it when his heart grows and breaks the frame? My favorite scene is when his dog, Max, happily hops on the front of the sleigh expecting a ride.

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1. The Year Without a Santa Clause: This special didn’t need a Santa Claus. If you’ve got the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser in a sing off you win. Hands down the best songs ever in a holiday special of any kind. Here’s the video of both songs. (please pardon the commercial at the start). Enjoy!

Happy Holidays of every kind to everyone! If you disagree with my list please add your comments. If you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog sharing buttons below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

19 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time

  1. Shiny New Year is THE special to pop up some popcorn and get all Rifftrax/MST3K to!

    Baby New Year runs away because people made fun of his ears, then Rudolph has the nerve to essentially tell him to get over it? Hypocrisy at Christmas…and New Year’s!

  2. What about the Star Wars Holiday Special? 🙂

  3. I went out and bought a tree
    It was more of a branch you see
    And then my friends gathered around
    With ornaments that they had found
    But it was no use for you see
    It still looked like a branch to me
    My friends all left and said I blew it
    How did the Peanuts gang do it?

  4. What, no Star Wars Holiday Special? You mean Bea Arthur singing with cantina aliens, Wookie porn and Jefferson Starship doesn’t say “Christmas” to you?

    Great list, I remember most of these!

  5. Absolutely correct on the Number One ranked show. Heat Miser and Cold Miser are the greatest Christmas special characters ever created.

  6. And the lyrics to both cold and heat misers songs are so clever. Really good choice, Phil.

  7. A Wish For Wings That Work.
    Its an Opus special. Berkely Breathed.
    My fave. Totally worth checking out.

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