1. Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas - Anyone else remember this one? Emmett and his poor washerwoman mother, and how he and his buddies put a hole in her washtub so that they could try to win a battle of the bands against the odious Riverbottom Gang? Jim Henson is sorely missed, seriously. He gave me a lot of great childhood television memories.
2. The Christmas Toy - More Henson...Apple the doll and a much-maligned cat toy named Mew have to try and convince last year's special Christmas toy, the egotistical-yet-loveable Rugby Tiger, that he really doesn't get to do the whole thing over again this year. Kermit has a couple of cameos at the beginning and end, always a treat, and the story is bothe sweet and funny. If you've never seen it, you must search for it so you can check it out!
3. The Garfield Christmas Special - The Fat Cat goes to the farm for Christmas and learns about the joy of giving...and about how cool Jon's grandma is. Flaming hot Texas-style sausage gravy forever!
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Do I even need to explain? Warms my heart, year after year.
5. A Muppet Family Christmas - Are you seeing the Muppet theme here? Everyone from Big Bird to the Swedish Chef piles in on Fozzie's grandma for Christmas. Even the Fraggles make an appearance! And Miss Piggy, as always, is in her glory. Cookie Monster meets Animal...how can you beat that??
6. The Claymation Christmas Special - I think this one is on a DVD collection now, actually. I always loved watching Herb and Rex, the Claymation dinosaurs, argue their way through a presentation of much-loved Christmas carols. The last one is Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer done by the incomparable California Raisins! And, um, I'm really dating myself here, aren't I?
7. Any Rankin/Bass special - I'm not going to pick one, because they're all great in their own ways. My husband is all about the Heat Miser and the Cold Meiser, for some reason. I usually end up watching Rudolph, mostly for Yukon Cornelius. And there are a few obscure ones that are pretty fun, too.
8. Christmas Every Day - I haven't seen this on TV in YEARS, but the animation is paper cut-out style, like South Park, and it's all about this little Victorian-era girl named Tilly who tells the Christmas Fairy that, you guessed it, she wishes it would be Christmas every day. It's really funny (they receive so many puppies for Christmas that eventually they give up naming them and just use numbers), and I wish they'd start playing it again. This is on one of my almost-trashed VHS tapes from when I was ten.
9. The Chipmunks' Christmas - Alvin's mercenary quest for the funds to buy a coveted golden harmonica still lands in my top ten. I used to have the Chipmunk Christmas record, so how could I ignore it? Count me among those glad to see the small furry ones back in theaters this year.
10. A Christmas Story - Yeah, yeah, I know it's technically a movie. But I watch an awful lot of TBS's 24-hour marathon of this one every year, and it just never gets old for me. Who among you hasn't exclaimed "You'll shoot your eye out!" at least once in your life? Ho...ho...HO!
So what about you? Which specials have you glued to the tube year after year? Share with the rest of us. C'mon...I triple dog dare ya!
Merry, Merry Christmas,