Get into These Must-See Holiday Specials

Adreon Patterson
3 min readDec 12, 2023

Of course, Christmas is all about spending quality time with your family and friends as you reminisce over the last year and past memories. In the reminiscent spirit, there’s nothing like sitting around the TV (or the computer) and watching your favorite holiday specials. Looking back at old memories and creating new ones is why these specials are so… special! So, here are some Christmas holiday favorites you need to watch this holiday season.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This Christmas classic centers on Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang preparing for a Christmas pageant. Of course, Charlie gets disillusioned by other members’ disingenuous ideas about the holiday. He searches for the true meaning of Christmas (and a struggling tree), leading to a heartwarming and iconic finale.

Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

The world of Jim Henson took on Christmas by merging puppetry and music to create a fun but forgotten Christmas special. The 1977 Christmas movie draws upon a children’s book about a young otter and his Ma struggling to buy Christmas gifts following Pa’s passing. After each one enters a talent competition, they join forces to create a sweet musical moment.

Christmas at Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Like many TV shows, Pee-wee Herman channeled the Christmas spirit in an hour-long TV special. The special sees Pee-wee having to choose between his Christmas needs and those of the world’s children after creating a long wish list. However, Santa isn’t the only one who joins the Playhouse gang to celebrate the holidays as multiple celebrities, including Little Richard and Magic Johnson, make cameos in the 1988 TV special.

Shrek the Halls

This modern Christmas half-hour TV special takes the Shrek franchise cast and places them in the pressure cooker of Christmastime. In his first Christmas as a father, Shrek promises Princess Fiona to give their family the best Christmas ever. Eventually, everything comes to a head as everyone’s favorite ogre loses his temper. In true Shrek fashion, he rectifies the situation in time for Christmas. Luckily, the original cast returned to voice their characters.

The Snowy Day

This animated preschool special is adapted from the classic children’s book of the same name. The 2017 TV adaptation brings beloved protagonist Peter to life as he ventures to visit his Nana (voiced by Anglea Bassett). He lets his imagination take over as he experiences his first snowfall and interacts with his neighbors. Besides Bassett, the cast includes Regina King and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. The narrator is Laurence Fishburne.

Toy Story That Time Forgot

Like Shrek the Halls, this half-hour Christmas special takes Woody, Buzz, and the Toy Story gang in dire straits. During a post-Christmas play date, the crew meets the action figures known as the Battlesaurs. Trixie and Rex are treated like real dinosaurs under the delusions of the toy dinos. Eventually, Trixie saves playtime and the lives of Buzz and Woody. Luckily, the original cast returned to voice their characters.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This Christmas TV classic brings the classic Christmas carol to life. Life starts hard for Rudolph as his father, Donner, tries hiding his red nose until his secret comes to light. Life’s hardships get the best of him, leading to the reindeer and disgruntled elf Hermey on the Island of Misfit Toys. Despite all his adversity, the young reindeer saves Christmas, leading to a spectacular finale.

Prep and Landing

Disney and ABC first delved into the computer-animated TV special with this fun, quirky half-hour Christmas special. The 2009 special follows a bitter elf, Wayne, who must train his new partner, Lanny, after being passed up for a promotion. After messing up one young boy’s Christmas, The two elves must convince Santa Claus to correct the mistake.

While you prepare for the holiday season, why not watch and reminisce over these amazing TV specials and movies?

Originally published at on December 12, 2023.



Adreon Patterson

A multi-faceted creator trying to change the world one word at a time. Check out more at