HOLIDAY POLL: What’s Your Favorite Holiday Special?
As soon as the Thanksgiving feast ends, the Christmas specials begin. Charlie Brown. Mickey. Rudolph. Everyone has a favorite. Each member of the Mascola team has picked a favorite and given their arguments for why their pick is the best special of all time. But you get to have the final say with your vote. If you know your favorite, cast your vote below immediately. Or, if you’d like to read our arguments or see a clip from each show, scroll down and take a trip down memory lane. And above all, have fun doing it! Warmest holiday wishes from our gang to yours.
What's Your Favorite Holiday Special?
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, 1966 (20%, 10 Votes)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 (18%, 9 Votes)
- The Year Without a Santa Claus, 1974 (16%, 8 Votes)
- It's a Wonderful Life, 1946 (14%, 7 Votes)
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964 (14%, 7 Votes)
- Futurama, "Xmas Story," 1999 (6%, 3 Votes)
- Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, 1977 (4%, 2 Votes)
- SNL, "The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas," 1989 (2%, 1 Votes)
- The Christmas Racoons, 1980 (2%, 1 Votes)
- A Muppet Family Christmas, 1987 (2%, 1 Votes)
- Mickey's Christmas Carol, 1983 (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 49
Becca & Nick H’s Pick: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, 1966
Nick H Says: Besides the great animation, the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and all of its amazing one-liners make this special the best. Also, I love Max the dog with the branch tied to his head as he tries to pull the impossibly large sleigh full of toys.
Becca Says: I love watching this movie every Christmas. It is a classic with a great story and a better message than any other Christmas special.
JP’s Pick: Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1983
JP Says: It’s the special I remember getting most excited to see each year. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was already a perfect holiday story, but the 1983 Disney version added an extra layer of innocence and humor through the use of Disney’s classic cast of characters. And let’s not forget that it introduced the world to Scrooge McDuck!
Vin & Michelle’s Pick: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964
Vin Says: The story of Rudolph is obviously a holiday tradition for many. This stop-motion classic from 1964 pushes the original storyline over the top with a cast of random, memorable characters, including Yukon Cornelius, Hermey The Elf, and the entire Island of Misfit Toys.
Michelle Says: Even as a Jew, I would get excited about the holiday season as soon as Rudolph made his annual TV appearance. What I like about it now that I’m an adult is that each year I pick up on something I’d never notice as a kid, like how mean Santa and Donner are or how ridiculous it is that a Charlie in the Box is on the Island of Misfit Toys. (As many have pointed out online, he could simply change his name.) Whether for a laugh or that warm Christmas feeling, Rudolph always was and always will be the best Christmas special ever made.
Ben’s Pick: A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
Ben Says: A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best for four reasons: the excellent Vince Guaraldi soundtrack; hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation; important lessons about the meaning of Christmas; and the dance scene is off the hook! (I have personally tried to dance like the guy in the orange shirt many a time.)
Kevin’s Pick: Futurama, “Xmas Story,” 1999
Kevin Says: I like the spin on Christmas. This is Fry’s first Christmas since waking up in the 31st century, and as anyone would be, he’s shocked to see Christmas has become a time of terror and fear rather than peace and love. Plus a maniacal Robot Santa with a bazooka is pretty entertaining.
Nick D’s Pick: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, 1977
Nick D Says: I’m a Muppet psycho, and I guess so is the rest of my family, because this movie comes up at every holiday family get-together as one of our favorites. While the special doesn’t have any of the more famous Muppets in it (although there is some online controversy over whether Kermit did make an appearance), it does have the totally cooler-than-cool Riverbottom Nightmare Band, led by the baddest bear on the lake, Chuck. The movie is a bit cutesy and saccharine at parts, but the overall message is very sweet and timeless. And there are great characters, music, and a ton of charm throughout the whole special, just as you’d expect from the original Muppet himself, Jim Henson.
Patti’s Pick: Saturday Night Live, “The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas,” 1989
Patti Says: My family and I always used to enjoy the Hanukkah Harry skits on Saturday Night Live. Played by John Lovitz, Hanukkah Harry would fly through the air, led by his donkeys: Moische, Herschel, and Schlomo. One of SNL’s best sketches and a fun holiday tradition.
Kelly & Amanda’s Pick: The Year Without a Santa Claus, 1974
Kelly Says: I truly love all the claymation Christmas classics, but my favorite Christmas special has to be A Year Without a Santa Claus for a multitude of reasons. One and two on that list are the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser, who, when I was growing up, my mom would compare to me and my little sister (because of our constant bantering and bickering). I also think the idea of Santa taking a vacation is hilarious, and this movie has lots of witty moments, before ending with heartwarming, beautiful Christmas snow in South Town. Not only my favorite Christmas special, but favorite Christmas movie as well.
Amanda Says: Two words – Heat Miser.
Emily’s Pick: The Christmas Racoons, 1980
Emily Says: No one else seems to remember this special, and for a while I thought I imagined it. But probably because it was so unknown, my brother and I cherished it as something truly special. With a message of environmentalism, goofy 1980s animation, and the vocal talents of Rita Coolidge, Rich Little, and Rupert Holmes (singer of “The Pina Colada Song”)… what’s not to love?
Lauren’s Pick: A Muppet Family Christmas, 1987
Lauren Says: The lesser known of the Muppet Christmas specials, this one is, by far, the best. Where else can you see the original Muppets, Sesame Street characters, and Fraggles all coming together in one hilarious show? While a little more difficult to find, I look forward to watching it every year.
Chuck’s Pick: It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
Chuck Says: Okay, okay, I know it’s technically a full-length movie and not a special. But I couldn’t not pick it, as the story has had a profound influence on my life and should be required viewing for every human being each year. I start breaking down when George Bailey stands in his living room with Mary and ZuZu in his arms while the whole town sings Auld Lang Syne. “Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” Keep the wings, get me the defibrillator.