End Christmas With These Underappreciated Holiday Specials

by Jonathan Howard

As the Christmas weekend continues families and friends are gathering all around to celebrate and that means watching some good holiday specials.

We all know about Rudolph and Charlie Brown among the other usual films, shorts, and shows. However, there are a few movies that deserve a bit more respect. Using a little assist from Pop Culture, let’s talk about some holiday specials that are way too underappreciated.

To start things off, you can never go wrong with a Rankin-Bass special. The stop motion specials are a time-honored tradition. While some get more attention than others, this first on our underappreciated list is one of my favorites.

In 1974 the world was introduced to The Year Without a Santa Claus. Basically, Santa feels like he isn’t getting enough respect. The children of the world don’t believe like they used to. For old Saint Nick, the decision to take a holiday for the holiday is confirmed when he comes down with a cold. Christmas without Santa is just not Christmas at all. Loyal elves, Jingle and Jangle deal with the Heat and Snow Misers and do their best to make Santa take up the reins of his sleigh once again.

Staying in the same vein, the 1979 Rankin-Bass special, Jack Frost is one that I don’t do without around the holidays. It is a little out there as far as Christmas specials go. However, this has a lot of great stuff in it. We get to see Jack Frost deal with the implications of turning human in order to find love. There’s a weird Eastern European lord that lives in a castle with a team of steampunk robots. Frost has to return to his mythical form in order to save the day. Love, singing, magic, and more!

Live Action Christmas Specials to Watch

Now, those Christmas specials take care of the stop motion and animated side of things. So, let’s talk about some live-action, eh? If you are looking for something to watch with the whole family, you can never go wrong with The Muppets.

Back in the day, John Denver teamed up with the famous puppets on ABC. The group sang through songs ranging from The Twelve Days of Christmas to The Christmas Wish. All of your favorite characters are there, too. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and more. Just something that everyone can enjoy, and a great piece of forgotten Muppets history.

Now, this last one is a bit of a curveball. However, for those that want to catch a special with great songs, over-the-top comedy, and Willie Nelson, I’ve got a great suggestion. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! Before taking up his late-night hosting duties on CBS, Stephen Colbert put out a great holiday special. It features John Legend, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, and of course, Jon Stewart. This is a great special for those wanting something a bit different this Christmas.