Greatest Christmas Cartoons of all Time According to Ed

I just remembered that I promised you a blog on Christmas specials, specifically the best Christmas cartoons of all time. Considering that Christmas is only five days away, today seems as good a day as any to do this. This is especially true when you consider that tomorrow is my normal Friday Thing of posting some past writing of mine, which oddly enough despite my own opinion of these pieces, everyone else appears to be enjoying. Go figure.

I was making a point. Oh, yes, and after tomorrow I won’t have much time to post before Christmas because of all the holiday cleaning we’ll be doing in preparation of having the in-laws all over for Christmas Eve. Yippee! (If they’re reading this, I really do mean Yippee. It’s always a joy to have the family together for Christmas. If they’re not reading this, then meh! :b.)

Oh! Weird Factoid: Do you know why they call it Christmas Eve? It’s because years ago, maybe centuries ago, sometime long before any of us were born (yes, even me), each day was considered to begin at 6pm in the evening of one day and end at 6pm the next day. Therefore, Christmas actually started at 6pm on the 24th of December and ended at 6pm on the 25th. Thus, Christmas Eve actually meant the Evening of Christmas. (Today we consider the evening of Christmas as anything past 6pm on the 25th.).

I forgot where I read that, but there you go. Your little bit of trivia for the day. Now go amaze your friends with that bit of knowledge

But time’s a wasting. My point, I guess, is if I didn’t do this blog today it wouldn’t get done until the 26th. Not sure how many of you watch Christmas entertainment on the 26th. Granted, if you want to get technical, the Christmas season lasts until January 6th, which I believe is the Epiphany, the day the Three Wise Men finally came to view the Christ child. (Which I think I also just heard, that it took them something like three years to find him (obviously they didn’t have GPS systems then, just a star). Therefore, shouldn’t Christmas last for three years? Or at least all year? And if that’s the case, why do they always portray Jesus as still in the manger? Wouldn’t he have been a toddler at that point? I’d have thought Joseph and Mary would have been kicked out of the stable by then. Food for thought.)

I’m procrastinating and I apologize. So without further ado, the greatest Christmas cartoons of all time, according to me. Again, in no particular order except that this is the way they fell out of my memory.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). Of course I had to list this one. It’s the greatest of the greatest. A true classic. My favorite part of the entire program is when Charlie Brown shouts, “Does anyone know the true meaning of Christmas?” and Linus launches into a recitation of Luke 2:8-14. This is probably one of the few instances where the True Meaning of Christmas is ever truly explained. No Santa. No reindeer. No elves. No Christmas tree. Just a bible verse describing the birth of Jesus delivered with the eloquence and wisdom of a child.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). The only decent thing Rankin-Bass ever produced. Makes me wonder if it was just a fluke. This story, done with stop-motion animation, hasn’t lost any of its charm despite the archaic technology that went into making it. Or maybe because of it. I remember this the first few times it was aired. It was sponsored by Norelco and the commercials featured a stop-motion Santa sledding through the snow on a Norelco electric razor head, writing the word “Norelco” in the snow. Sometimes I wish when they released these things on DVD that they would include the original commercials, too.

A Muppet’s Christmas Carol (1992). I mentioned this in my Christmas movie blog, but since it’s the Muppets, I thought it deserved its own listing here, too. Michael Cain is Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchet, and The Great Gonzo is Dickens, who narrates the story. It’s a wonderful take on the Dicken’s classic told only as the Muppets can. Not a cartoon, but as close to one as you can get.

Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962). Maybe it’s my own nostalgic view of things, but this was one of my favorites growing up. I haven’t seen it in years so who knows if it’s aged well or not. I’m afraid most kids today don’t even know who Mr. Magoo is, so they might not appreciate a musical cartoon about him as Scrooge. I just remember looking forward every year to seeing it. The late Jim Backus, he of Gilligan’s Island fame as Thurston Howell the Third, is the voice of Mr. Magoo and simply a delight as the nearsighted crotchety old man. Very Broadway-esque.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966). Forget the overblown remake with Jim Carey, this is the cartoon classic everyone adores. How can you not love the animations of Dr. Seuss? The man was the cartoon version of Salvador Dali, creating all manner of strange animal and device, all of it captured here for your holiday pleasure. It’s narrated by Boris Karloff, for goodness sake! And the song, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” is always enjoyable, sung by the uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft.

If you’re wondering why my list is so short, there are several reasons. One, my memory ain’t so good and I’ve forgotten a few good ones. Two, there are many out there that I absolutely can’t stand such as anything by Rankin-Bass (and since they created the majority of these, enuff said).

And as an aside, do yourself a favor and rent Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). Not a cartoon, but a live-action film and voted one of the 50 Worse Movies of All Time. And it is. That’s why it’s so much fun. Rent it and pretend your family is doing a Mystery Science Theater 3000 routine. You won’t be able to not comment on how awful it is.

-30-

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12 thoughts on “Greatest Christmas Cartoons of all Time According to Ed

  1. Great post! The only one that I’d add is “The year without a Santa Claus” which I think is the one with Heat Meiser and Cold Meiser. Other than that, I totally agree!

  2. I LOVE A Charlie Brown Christmas. Snoopy vs The Red Barron, that lovely little tree, Lucy demanding to be the Christmas Queen. The woman who voiced Lucy lives near here, and often does radio interviews this time of year.

    I remember those Norelco commercials, too 😀

    Now I’m going to put A Charlie Brown Christmas sound track CD into my computer and wax nostalgic D:

  3. I’ve seen almost all of these, including the one with Mr. Magoo. I haven’t seen the Muppets one, I’ll have to see if I can rent it.

    I hadn’t realized that my favorites are from the 60’s!
    Great post, Ed!

  4. “You’re a MEEEAN one….MISTER GRINCH! You have TERMITES! IN! Your SMIIIIIILE!”

    Ahh, what a great film. Evern year, I watch it.

    I am a bad person for how very, very little I like any of the Charlie Brown movies. But then, I dont’ enjoy the Peanuts comic strip either, so this is my failing.

    Now, the MUPPETS Christmas Carol was terrific. Because it was Jim Henson, who was a god, and who is deeply missed.

    I can’t believe Christmas is in only five days. Good grief!

  5. Sadly, we only own Charlie Brown and Muppet’s Christmas Carol on VHS. I need to stock up on those after the holidays. Maybe they’ll go on sale.

    *makes note: avoid discussing Peanuts with Pete*

  6. Hooray! I’m very happy with that list. My youngest thinks you should add Frosty the Snowman, but I never cared that much for it. This is the same kid who loves Power Rangers and Godzilla movies, so take that as you will.

    The Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite (Sorry Pete!) I adore Snoopy.

  7. I think Charlie Brown might be a generational taste issue. Of course, Pete didn’t even know what the Mod Squad was! ;D

    My favorite comic of all time was Bloom County, though.

  8. I’ve always like the cartoon from Pete’s avatar. What was it called? Hudson and Landry.

    No, wait, that was an old comedy team.

    Psst, and Mary? Frosty was one of the Rankin-Bass shows I was talking about. 😉

  9. Yeah, I know Frosty was Rankin-Bass. Like I said, my youngest has questionable taste (although he is the only other person in the house who will watch Doctor Who with me).

    Pete doesn’t know Mod Squad?

    Dangit, Muse! You made me feel old.

  10. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT MOD SQUAD IS!

    There. Okay? Ha ha! *GRUMBLE*

    Sheesh.

    Peanuts probably IS generational. Or it’s another personal taste thing. I don’t care for Garfield very much either, I’m afraid.

  11. In my mind, the best Peanuts are the early ones where Snoopy still looks like a cute little puppy instead of a weirdly shaped human with a doggie head.

    The same with Garfield. The early ones he looked more cat-like. Now he’s got an anthropomorphic body and I think the humor has gone south.

    And don’t worry about the Mod Squad, Pete, oddly enough, even though it lasted 5 seasons, I don’t recall much of it other than it was a 60s equivalent of like 21 Jump Street. Young hip cops. Me, I’m waiting for Daktari to be released on DVD!

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