|"Good Grief, I killed it!" Yes you did, Charlie. Your special is the gold standard.|
10. The Nutcracker Prince
With voice talents like Keiffer Sutherland, Peter O'Toole and Phyllis Diller, this take on the traditional tale is fun, funny, and has plenty of action. The animation is very good (though not theatrical-release good), and they even venture to use a variety of animation styles to tell different parts of the story. The cast of accompanying toys adds comic relief, while the Rat King (while being an idiot) is a ruthless and determined enemy. Tchiakovsky's music plays throughout, completing the mood and feel of the story.
9. Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey
|Nestor makes history.|
8. The Snowman/Father Christmas
7. Precious Moments- Timmy's Gift
6. The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas
5. Garfield Christmas Special
Garfield fixes Odies contraption only to find out that it is Odie's gift to him- a back scratcher! Garfield then has a present for Grandma- the bundle of letters. Overcome with the joy attached to the memories in the pages, Grandma softens and all is right with the world. It is unusual to see a children's special address the loss of family members, and even more so for a holiday program, but Garfield kindly reinds us that the holidays can take a different tone after a loved one has died, and that we need to treasure the memories we make.
4. Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas
3. The Tick Loves Santa
|The Tick meets the REAL Santa!|
The Tick and his sidekick, Arthur, are visited by Santa and his secret service elves who convince our hero that the other Santas are bad and must be stopped. There a variety of hilarious moments like when a wave of Santas is rolling towards the Tick he yells, "It's a Yule-tide!!" Another scene involves two security guards discussing the nightmares they have watching a mechanical Santa at the store. When the Santas break in and run over the guards and Multiple Santa rips the head of the mechanical Santa one guard says to the other, "I may never sleep again."
2. The Small One
This was Don Bluth's last project at Disney, and it tells the tale of a friendship between and little boy and a small, old donkey. Not as young and not as big as the other donkeys, Small One (as he is called) can't keep up with the others. The boy does his best to share the load with his friend, but his father points out that the donkey eats as much as the other animals and does less than half the work. The time has come to sell Small One, but the dad allows the boy to handle the deal ensuring that his friend doesn't go to a butcher or a tanner, but someone who will love him like the boy does. The boy and Small One meet person after person, but each prospective buyer has dire plans for the creature, or they just want to humiliate the beast, or they won't offer anything for Small One. Finally tired, alone and depressed, the boy and Small One are approached by a kind young man who sees value in the donkey and pays more than the boy was expecting. The man needs Small One for a very important job- to take his wife Mary on a journey to Bethlehem.
1. The King is Born
I hope you have the chance to check out some of these hidden treats. Let me know what you think of the stories and the animation. Did I leave something deserving off the list?