We all love a good Christmas Special.
Everyone has their favourites. The timeless classics that get whipped out every year, like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas.
However, with the large quantity of Holiday specials produced, a few good ones are sometimes lost in the shuffle.
Here’s a few underrated Christmas specials of the past that deserve a second look.
1. A Flintstone Family Christmas
With a series producing four Christmas episodes over a twenty year period, at least one is bound to fade into obscurity. For The Flintstones, it was A Flintstone Family Christmas. This is most likely because the special was produced in 1993, when The Flintstones no longer ruled the cartoon Kingdom.
It is a shame, as A Flintstone Family Christmas is a family-friendly, heartwarming watch.
The special focuses on Stoney, a troubled ‘Caveless’ child. Stoney crosses paths with the Flintstones after attempting to mug Fred and Barney. Wilma feels sorry for the boy, and has Fred bring him Home for Christmas.
A Flintstone Family Christmas is cheesy and predictable in parts, but many of the best Christmas Specials are. It definitely deserves more love than it gets.
2. Rugrats: The Santa Experience
First airing in 1992, ‘The Santa Experience’ was the first of two Christmas specials produced by Rugrats in its nine-season run.
Just before Christmas, Angelica pulls a cruel prank on Phil and Lil. After a warning from Grandpa Lou, she desperately tries to reverse the damage before Christmas. If not, she faces Santa’s dreaded Naughty List.
The episode also features a sub-plot of the babies trying to catch Santa, and a cute parody of the classic Christmas story The Gift Of The Magi.
With the Rugrats set for a big comeback, now is the perfect time to revisit this underrated special.
3. Winnie The Pooh and Christmas, Too!
While much loved at the time of it’s release, in more recent years, this special has slipped out of the limelight. This is sad, as Winnie The Pooh and Christmas, Too! is as sweet and lovable as the Bear with very little brain himself.
It’s trouble at Christmas in the Hundred-Acre Wood when Pooh believes he has lost his friends’ letter to Santa. His initial plans to act as Santa himself go hilariously astray, leading Pooh to embark on a quest to deliver the letter and save Christmas for his friends, as a fierce snowstorm begins.
Pooh’s friends, miserable in his absence, learn the lesson that they would happily give up their presents to have Pooh safe and back with them. In the end, they get both. Pooh safely returns, and the presents had been delivered to Christopher Robin.
This special is easily available as part of the compilation movie A Very Merry Pooh Year, albeit with some editing and re-dubbed voices.
4. Casper’s First Christmas
One of many Christmas specials starring Hanna-Barbera’s All-stars, Casper’s First Christmas is often forgotten, and definitely underrated.
It has just about everything you would want in a classic Christmas special. It has a family in trouble, or more accurately, two- The Hanna-Barbera All-Stars break down on the way to their usual Christmas cabin. Casper and Hairy Scary are facing the demolition of the old house they haunt.
It features a character learning the true meaning of Christmas, when Hairy Scary learns that Casper’s interest in Christmas isn’t about presents for himself. The friendly little ghost only wishes that Santa can save the House for Hairy. Which of course, leads to the customary last-minute Christmas miracle when Santa presents Hairy and Casper with the deed to the House.
Casper’s First Christmas doesn’t break any new ground, but it is definitely worth a look.
5. Arnold’s Christmas
Airing as part of Hey Arnold’s first season, ‘Arnold’s Christmas’ deserves a place among the classics.
After drawing Mr. Huynh’s name in the Boarding House’s Secret Santa, he learns the story of Mai, the daughter Mr. Huynh was forced to give up during the Vietnam War.
Arnold concocts a bold plan to reunite Mai and Mr. Huynh for Christmas. Things don’t quite go as Arnold hopes. However, he gets his Christmas miracle due to a secret assist from Arnold’s secret admirer, Helga, that sees Mai arrive at the Boarding House on Christmas day.
‘Arnold’s Christmas’ is special because it isn’t a last minute appearance from Santa, or a hand wave of ‘Christmas magic’ that saves the day. Rather, it is the unseen efforts of two regular people- Helga, and a surly City Council worker- that reunite a family and create a magical Christmas.
As we’ve said, everyone has their favourite Christmas specials. But if you’re looking for something a little different this Holiday season, the underrated specials listed above are well worth a look.