Tag Archives: Hanukkah

The Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time!

If I didn’t get your favorite on the list, in the comments tell me what I’ve been missing! And no, this years Mariah Carey special is not on the list. When I was growing up, watching the holiday specials was well.. special. They were only on once a year and weren’t available on streaming services. If you’re from another country, I’d like to make this an international list. Please leave me the name or link to your favorite holiday specials.

Seven years ago a network aired “It’s Your 50th Christmas Charlie Brown!” To be sure, the Peanuts Christmas special is a classic here in the States. What I’d like to see someone create is a special with all the Peanuts characters as 50 year olds. How weird would that be? Below are my choices for the Ten Best Holiday Specials of All Time. The Star Wars Holiday Special was mentioned in the comments a few times last year, but didn’t make the Top Ten only because I haven’t seen it. If you’re curious, it is on YouTube.  If you disagree with the list or have other choices please put them in the comments.

10. 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.


9. 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.


8. 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.

5. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! 

This is a tough one to beat, but it’s hard to dethrone Christmas and Hanukkah.

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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. I just wish one of them had done a mic drop. 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!

So which ones of those would you rank higher? Did I miss your favorite? Please tell me in the comments! Have a great day! ~Phil

My Life Long Friend Judy Izzum

That pic above is the kind of information I didn’t have as a kid. I grew up as a Catholic kid in a middle class neighborhood in upstate New York. So, you would think that if I’m in New York there would be a lot of Jewish people around. You are sadly mistaken.

New York is a pretty big state. There’s upstate and downstate.  Downstate is New York City, Long Island and a couple counties just north of New York City. That whole area is a five hour drive from where I live. The downstate area is filled with many unique, wonderful cultures, and the Jewish community is one of them. The upstate part of New York is more homogenized, although there are some quirky cultural things going on in different places.

This one is available on Amazon

When I grew up, I didn’t think that I knew anyone that was Jewish. I was sheltered.  My Irish Catholic mother was too busy training me to be the next Pope. It wasn’t until I went away to college at 17 that I really discovered the Jewish religion. Many of my college friends were from downstate and chose to go to college upstate.

For me it was fun learning about the Jewish religion from my friends, and I was thrilled one year when my friend gave me a dreidel and taught me the song: “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it’s dried and ready, oh dreidel we will play.” Thank you my college friend Gary. That song has been in my head every December since we met.

After having many Jewish friends in college and learning what surnames were most likely to be Jewish, I realized that I had had Jewish friends my entire life and just didn’t know it.

As an adult I’ve always craved learning about other cultures and religions because I felt like I grew up very generically.  Go watch That 70’s show. I think the parents in that show were modeled after my parents. In the picture below, I was most likely to be Eric (actor Topher Grace) in the top right.

At the end of the day though, there’s almost really no difference between religions and the people that practice them. Every religion has different repetitive, quirky traditions and every religion in  the world is based on the “magic guy in the sky” premise, so who cares if someone wears a different hat or says a different prayer? At 17 I thought my Jewish friends were this new and interesting novelty when it turned out that I had Jewish friends my whole life.

If I was Jewish, this would be me every December

During the holiday season when Hanukkah and Christmas overlap, it feels like Hanukah doesn’t get the big publicity that Christmas does, and that’s a shame because they have 8 days of one holiday. If that’s not an excuse to day drink, I don’t know what is. Anyway, I just want to say Happy Hanukkah to all the Jewish friends that I’ve had in my life, even the ones that I didn’t know were Jewish. Now that they know I know, I hope they don’t expect eight presents times the number of years that I didn’t know they were Jewish.

If I could ask my Jewish friends one favor it is this: Could you decide on one spelling of your holiday?

Shalom and Happy Chanukah my friends~ Phil