December 20, 2021
’Tis the season for the most beloved “classic” Christmas specials to make their annual appearance. Many of us have our favorites—from Charlie Brown musing over a sad little tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas, to the man who learned his own worth in It’s a Wonderful Life. And let’s not leave out the 24-hour yearly marathons of Ralph shooting his eye out in A Christmas Story. Frosty, Rudolph, The Grinch—it can be difficult to catch them all every year!
Of course, only certain Christmas-themed productions make it to “classic” status. So, here are some forgotten gems that I think also deserve to be included in your Christmas watch list. Some are available from the Library, and many are popping up on YouTube or streaming services like Tubi. If you do get a chance to watch these, I promise you will not be disappointed!
Here are some of my forgotten favorites:
- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – You can’t go wrong with a title like this! When the leader of Mars kidnaps Santa Claus in an attempt to cheer up Mars’ depressed children, two Earth kids come along for the ride and end up complicating his plans. It’s pure cheesy Christmas fun!
- The Year without a Santa Claus – A depressed Santa is thinking about quitting. Can Mrs. Claus and the elves change his mind? Another brilliant production by Rankin/Bass, this special is often overlooked but is worth checking out.
- A Muppet Family Christmas – This special aired in 1987 and was shockingly never released on video. When the characters from three of Jim Henson’s shows (The Muppets, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock) gather at Fozzie’s mother’s house for Christmas, chaos ensues. The Swedish Chef salivates at the idea of cooking Big Bird for dinner, and Cookie Monster and Animal quickly become best friends. Add in an icy patch, and the dramatic rescue of Miss Piggy by Doc, and you have an absolute treat.
- The Night They Saved Christmas – I saw this TV movie in 1984 and have never forgotten it. An explorer searching for oil beneath the Arctic gets a visit from a small man that begs him to stop dynamiting the ice. Why? Because if he doesn’t, he is going to blow up Santa Claus! Can the explorer’s wife and children save Santa and North Pole City?
- Brady Bunch: A Very Brady Christmas – Any Brady Bunch fans out there? Now grown up, all the kids return home for the holidays. Everyone is miserable—Peter can’t seem to get around to proposing, Jan’s marriage is on the rocks, and Cindy didn’t want to come home at all. A little darker than the series, this special still has all that Brady Bunch magic.
So, in between unwrapping gifts and Christmas dinner, why not try out one of these fabulous forgotten Christmas specials.