Television's Seven Best Holiday Specials Ever

Categories: Top Lists

4. Doctor Who Christmas Specials (2005-present)

The Plot: Since it's latest revival of the landmark sci-fi series back in 2005, the BBC has aired special episodes each year on Christmas Day that feature the titular timelord engaging in holiday hijinks.

The Lowdown:
Eagerly anticipated by Whovians (a.k.a. Doctor Who fanatics) across the world, the Doctor Who specials are cheeky adventures that are a bit more epic and spectacular than run-of-the-mill episodes. Previous plots include aliens invading the Earth on Christmas or a retelling of holiday fables.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
The Plot: Despite having their Christmas stolen by a jealous and vile green-skinned villain, the citizens of Whoville discover the true meaning of the season.

The Lowdown: Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without this Dr. Seuss' favorite. Everything about it is stellar, from the basso-profundo narration of Boris Karloff to the gorgeous animation by the legendary Chuck Jones.

2. Anything By Rankin/Bass (1964-1976)
The Plot(s): Rankin/Bass created a wealth of holiday specials over the course of a decade using both stop-motion and traditional animation, each of which were based on renowned and memorable Christmas fables and songs, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

 The Lowdown:
We could easily devote an entire list to holiday shows created by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, particularly their stop-motion gems narated by the likes of Burl Ives and Fred Astaire. Populated by memorable characters like the Heatmiser, Sam Snowman, and Hermey the Misfit Elf, they were filled with color, wonder, adventure, and joy.

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The Plot:
Depressed about the upcoming holidays, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas while the rest of the Peanuts gang stage a pageant that might be a bit too commercialized for his tastes.

The Lowdown:
CBS executives reportedly thought prior to its airing that this Holiday classic would ultimately be a flop. Were they ever wrong. Both kids and kids at heart cite this 60s classic as their favorite due to the jazz score by Vincent Guaraldi, the gentle nature of its parable, and plight of poor Charlie Brown suffering from the melancholy of Christmas.

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Crystal Lloyd
Crystal Lloyd

Charlie Brown Christmas will always be my favorite...sadly I seem to miss it every year when it airs. 


No Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas? BLASPHEMY!

Jeff Moriarty
Jeff Moriarty

Yes, well done. In most Top Whatever Lists there is room for discussion and debate. However, on a few select lists there is no discussion allowed. I am an avowed Christmas-hater and Grinch, but still declare that anyone who disputes there is a Christmas Special better than Charlie Brown has to come through me...

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