19 Of The Best And Worst Rankin Bass Christmas Movies

19 Of The Best And Worst Rankin Bass Christmas Movies

Figure out what which holiday films to watch this Christmas.
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Every year ABC Family has 25 Days of Christmas where they show Christmas themed shows and movies. It's one of the things I look forward to all year but as time has gone on, ABC Family has been showing more and more of its own made for TV Christmas movies and less of the classic Rankin Bass specials I loved as a child. I watch these specials all throughout the year, but there's something really magical about watching them in December when your house is decorated and you're bundled up in blankets drinking hot chocolate.

This year, I've taken it upon myself to watch all 19 Rankin Bass Christmas Specials and rank them from worst to best using a rating system out 30 points. There will be 3 categories each special will be rated on: 1. Holiday Cheer, 2. Music, and 3. Nostalgia.


19. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, 1977

Cheer: 4/10

Music: 2/10, 3 songs

Nostalgia: 4/10

Total: 10/30

Whenever I get into the Christmas mood outside of December I typically watch this special because it's super easy to find. I think I may have watched this one too much during the year for me to like it now. It tells the story of Nestor a long-eared donkey (obviously) who after going though some trials becomes the donkey that carries the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem. All though I do love the opening song, "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey" sung by Roger Miller who was the narrator and sang the majority of the special's musical numbers it's honestly pretty boring and a Rudolph knock-off.


18. The Little Drummer Boy: Book I, 1968

Cheer: 2/10

Music: 3/10, 4 songs

Nostalgia: 5/10

Total: 10/30

Yes! Early stop-motion animation. This is definitely what they do best. Unfortunately this is still pretty early in the game, this was only their 3rd special. It's nice that the Mary and Joseph in this look the same as the Mary and Joseph in Nestor. This whole special is pretty depressing and there isn't any Christmas "magic" till the end. Narrated by Greer Garson, a pretty big name for the time, Drummer Boy is just lacking overall.


17. Cricket on the Hearth, 1967

Cheer: 3/10

Music: 6/10, 9 songs

Nostalgia: 2/10

Total: 11/30

This was my first time watching Cricket, although I had heard of it before. This is the second Rankin Bass special every made and it is hand drawn. The animation is... not very good... at all. But it is interesting because it is based on a little known Charles Dickens story. In the production, a young woman goes blind because she is sad when her beloved dies at sea. The cricket narrator is voiced by Danny Thomas, who also does dome live action segments throughout the special. The saving grace for this one are the songs, none are particulate catchy but there's just so many of them.


16. Frosty's Winter Wonderland, 1976

Cheer: 3/10

Music: 3/10, 2 songs

Nostalgia: 5/10

Total: 11/30

This is the sequel to Frosty the Snowman. This is the first introduction to Crystal, Frosty's wife, and though I like what is done with her in later specials, not much really happens in this one. Jack Frost is the villain here which is kind of lame, he just wants to be appreciated for making the snow that created Frosty and Crystal. Andy Griffith is the narrator, which is a testament that the amazing narrators, Rankin and Bass ,were able to get. Maybe I would have liked it more if it was stop-motion, I'm not really a fan of hand drawn Rankin Bass specials.


15. Santa Baby!, 2001


Cheer: 7/10

Music: 6/10, 12 songs

Nostalgia: 0/10

Total: 13/30

I never ever heard of this one before embarking on this journey into Rankin Bass' history. I honestly thought I had seen all of them. I had no idea there was even a special made this recently. It was the first special Rankin Bass did after a 19 year hiatus. Basically a magical Christmas partridge (a la, a partridge in a pear tree) comes and helps a little girl's dad get over his song writers block. Also there's a lady who runs an animal shelter because animals aren't allowed in the apartments. The bird is played by Patti LaBelle and the little girl's cat is Eartha Kitt, who is also the narrator, which begs the question, why isn't this special amazing? Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games was one of the writers on this special. Maybe the hand drawn animation is where they went wrong but overall this one is pretty terrible.


14. The Stingiest Man in Town, 1978

Cheer: 7/10

Music: 6/10, 13 songs

Nostalgia: 0/10

Total: 13/30

First time watching this after, again , never hearing of it before. It's actually not that bad, it has good music but it's essentially just a Christmas Carol. I think it would be a lot better if it was stop animation but I'm super biased. I just think that hand drawn Rankin Bass is terrible. Also the narrator is a bug named B.A.H. Humbug... yeah...


13. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, 1985

Cheer: 7/10

Music: 6/10, 5 songs

Nostalgia: 0/10

Total: 13/30

Finally, this is the last special that I hadn't heard of before. It's based on a 1902 L. Frank Baum book and was the last Rankin Bass Christmas special before they closed their studio in 1987. Santa is raised by a lion and gets stolen by fairy and then they decide to co-parent him. And then he pretty much becomes Santa and gains immortality. I kind of want to read the original book, the story is pretty crazy and the stop-motion in this one (at least for people) is really smooth.


12. The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold, 1981


Cheer: 4/10

Music: 4/10, 4 songs

Nostalgia: 7/10

Total: 15/30

I've only ever seen this on television once. For years, I searched for it so I could find it again. It's just so... weird. Luckily I found it last year and watched it non-stop. This one barely has anything to do with Christmas, but there is a banshee and Leprechauns. It's so terrible, it's entertaining. Also, I died when I heard Christmas in Killarney on my Songza Christmas station.


11. Jack Frost, 1979

Cheer: 5/10

Music: 7/10, 8 songs

Nostalgia: 6/10

Total: 18/30

I watched this quite a lot growing up and rarely during the Christmas season. I don't like it as much as I did when I was little. The plot and songs are kind of lacking, but I'm a sucker for that classic stop-motion. My favorite characters are Kubla Krause and Pardon-Me-Pete, who serves as the narrator and is voiced by Buddy Hackett. He definitely has the best songs. Also, it's not really about Christmas but there is definitely some cheer.


10. Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, 1979

Cheer: 6/10

Music: 7/10, 12 songs

Nostalgia: 6/10

Total: 19/30

The music score is high for the sheer number of songs, none of them are too memorable but all are fun and sweet. There's not a ton of cheer besides the characters but adds a lot to the Christmas mythology and still has continuity which I love. Ethel Merman plays Lilly Loraine the leader of the circus and again, how they heck did Rankin and Bass get all these amazing stars? Merman is a joy to watch in this.


9. Drummer Boy: Book II, 1976


Cheer: 6/10

Music: 6/10, 3 songs

Nostalgia: 7/10

Total: 19/30

I thought I hadn't seen this one before but I had. I was a lot better than remembered. I absolutely loved Zero Mostel in his role as Brutus and his song Money, Money, Money. This sequel follows the story of Solomon and the silver bells and honestly I think it's really beautiful. By this time, the animation has improved greatly and I really enjoyed it.


8. Frosty the Snowman, 1969

Cheer: 5/10

Music: 6/10, 1 song

Nostalgia: 9/10

Total: 20/30

This is an absolute classic. Again as always I don't really like the animation but it's not as bad as others and it's a lot of fun. Only one song in this one but come on its Frosty the Snowman, you can't not love that. I do wish there were more songs but this was only the 4th special, l so I can understand them not wanting to be so involved with that. This one isn't really about Christmas but it definitely is cheerful.


7. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, 1974

Cheer: 8/10

Music: 7/10, 3 songs

Nostalgia: 5/10

Total: 20/30

I think this is the only hand drawn Rankin Bass that I really like. When I was younger and watched on television I always hated it and thought that it took too long. I'd get annoyed that it wasn't stop motion. This time, however, I really found myself enjoying it. The story is actually very sweet and I love the songs in it. I'm actually really excited to see this come on television now.


6. The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow, 1975

Cheer: 6/10

Music: 5/10, 4 songs

Nostalgia: 10/10

Total: 21/30

I completely forgot about this one!! I remember watching it when I was little and really loving it. This one is about a blind kid and the magic of Christmas snow. Nothing really happens but for me, the nostalgia 100% got me. Also, Angela Lansbury is the narrator in this and I adore her.


5. Rudolph's Shiny New Year, 1976

Cheer: 7/10

Music: 8/10, 8 songs

Nostalgia: 7/10

Total: 22/30

This is getting into the golden era of Rankin Bass Specials. I always really loved this one growing up but I've seen it so many times it was almost played out. The songs are definitely the best part. I find myself singing them all throughout the year. And they got Red Skeleton to play Father Time and serve as the narrator. Seriously, who do I have to call to get all these people that Rankin Bass is able to get?


4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964


Cheer: 8/10

Music: 7/10, 9 songs

Nostalgia: 8/10

Total: 23/30

This is the one that started it all, the forever classic Rudolph. I don't particularly like the way Santa looks in this one. Obviously they hadn't quite found their stride as the stop-motion is actually quite terrible. Also everyone is kind of a jerk to the misfits in this one and no one really likes them until they figure out that they are useful, it really isn't the best message for children. Still, it is extremely memorable and probably the first special many people watch. I think the misfit toys song is so weird though, that whole part always throws me. Even so, I watch it every year.


3. Pinocchio's Christmas, 1980


Cheer: 8/10

Music: 8/10, 8 songs

Nostalgia: 8/10

Total: 24/30

I remember being 3 years old and watching this for the first time with my mom, so much nostalgia for me. Overall, it's just a really solid special the story is fun and the stop-animation is surprisingly clean. Love the song Knock on Wood. I also think the kid who voices Pinocchio does a really fantastic job. The basic plot is about Pinocchio (while he's still a puppet) experiencing his first Christmas and learning more lessons of what it takes to be a real boy.


2. The Year Without a Santa Claus, 1974


Cheer: 8/10

Music: 10/10, 8 songs

Nostalgia: 8/10

Total: 26/30

This is my second favorite and the only special to get a 10/10 for music. I really love the continuity from Santa Claus is Coming to Town to this. The plot is really cute, basically what would happen if Santa took Christmas off. Heat Miser and Snow Miser really make this one, their songs are always the one's I look forward to every time I watch this special. The one thing I don't get lyric "worst we ever had", are they saying they've had multiple years without Santa or is this the worst year they ever had?


1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, 1970


cheer: 9/10

music: 8/10, 7 songs

nostalgia: 10/10

total: 27/30

This. Is. The. Ultimate. Christmas. Special. My absolute favorite. It has everything I love, great songs, great memories associated with it, Fred Astaire as the narrator, Mickey Rooney as Santa, and expansion of the Santa universe. It's just great. This special tells the story of Santa and how he became the way he is. This story could've been really boring but the pacing of the plot and songs make for an hour of fun. I get so excited when it comes on television and I can't wait to watch it again.


*Honorable Mention*

Although they aren't Rankin Bass I also love A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (live action and animated), and The Polar Express to get me really into the Christmas spirit.

Now get the family together, sip some hot chocolate, and pop on one of these classic films.


Cover Image Credit: http://enchantedworldofrankinbass.blogspot.com/

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An Open Letter To Every Athlete On Their Senior Night

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
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Dear Seniors,

For many of you, today was a day that you had always wished would come sooner, only to find that when the day arrived wishing for it to come was the last thing you truly ever wanted.

When stepping out onto the court or field or rink for the very last time today, take a moment to stand quietly and look out into the crowd, look to your teammates, to your coaches, and to your fellow seniors, and remember the way this made you feel, as this is a feeling you will remember for the rest of your life.

Today and every day moving forward will be filled with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Today is a day bound to be filled with endless amounts of tears, both happy and sad, so let it be. Let these feelings consume you, and serve as a reminder that no matter where you may go in life from this very moment, that you have made a family of your own. That you have changed the lives of others by just simply being in theirs.

That all the little things were really the big things, like the nicknames you had for your teammates, or your favorite song to sing in the locker room before a game. These things that never seemed to mean anything at the time are all the things that you will carry with you when you leave this place you call your home away from home.

On this day, years from now you will not remember the wins and losses of each season, but the people that took this journey with you and never let you look back.

The teammates that picked you up and carried you through the good and the bad of each day. The ones that taught you to see the good in all things. The ones who never let you live down the stupid things you did, mainly because they did them with you. And even the ones that you couldn't stand 99.9% percent of the time.

You will remember the coaches that pushed you and never let you give up.

You will remember all the times they yelled and made you run until you couldn't walk. The times that they depended on you to be the leaders we all knew you could be. But more than any of that, you will remember the opportunity they gave you to play the game you learned to love, the game that changed your life, the game that taught you more lessons about life, love and dedication than anything ever could.

On this day I ask you to remember a few things. I ask that you remember that the impact you have had on your teammates' lives is unmeasurable, never doubt that. The time you have spent dedicated to this sport that you love was never, EVER a waste of your time, because you are a better person because of it.

I ask you to remember that although the sadness you may hold in your heart overwhelms you, that you have found a part of you along this journey that will help you follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

Play your heart out today, and leave knowing you've given it all you've got just one last time. Leave knowing that you are one of the lucky ones. Remember the love, remember the defeat, remember the laughs and the tears, remember the battle wounds. Remember this feeling, always and forever.

Best of Luck,

Your Biggest Fan

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The Best Fall Activity To Participate In, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Check out what festive fall activity you should do as a Stony Brook student!

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Personally, fall is my favorite season. Leaves start to change, sweater weather arrives, and Scorpio season begins. People think that since summer ended, there's nothing to look forward to. Luckily for you, I'm providing you a list of 12 activities you can do during the autumn season — which happens to be categorized by each zodiac sign.

Aries: Travel through a haunted house

You're known for being fearless and bold, so walking through a haunted house is right up your alley. Long Island has a couple of haunted houses, like the Chamber of Horror, filled with blood, monsters, gore, and more. Make sure to stop by during October to get spooked!

Taurus: Bake an apple pie and other fall treats

Of course, food is on your mind. Tauruses are famous for their love of treats and cuisine. You'll definitely enjoy a baking day in your building's kitchen with some close buds, or by yourself, and eat some homemade sweets.

Gemini: Attend a college football game with friends

Fall season means football games, and you Geminis are not going to want to skip out. You social butterflies enjoy meeting others, having fun during tailgates, and taking Insta-worthy pictures with your friend group. Make sure to check out Stony Brook's football calendar so you don't miss the next big game. Can I get a "GO SEAWOLVES!"

Cancer: Host a fall potluck with your friends

You homebody crabs love to stay in your dorm. So why not gather up some friends and host a dinner gathering? You all can bring a tasty dish (cooked or bought) and chow down together as a big happy family in your suite. Fall potlucks make for great indoor activities.

Leo: Go on a fall shopping spree

Lions love adding fashionable pieces to their closet. Going on a shopping spree for thick sweaters, boots, and scarves is definitely up your ally, Leos. Make sure to head over to the Smithhaven mall so you can start hunting for the best deals.

Virgo: Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and binge-read

You usually work all day, but when you have downtime, reading a book is your go-to. Grab a fuzzy blanket and catch up on a good book, Virgos! Stephen King novels are great to set the mood for this spooky season.

Libra: Take your bestie on an apple picking date

For Libras, apple picking is a must! You'll love the beautiful fall scenery and enjoy the presence of a close companion. A great place to go on Long Island is Harbes Orchard, where they have apple picking, pumpkin patches, and other fall booths and activities that definitely pleases the autumn aesthetic.

Scorpio: Horror movie marathon in your dorm

Scorpios, are you surprised by this? Halloween season defines exactly what you are: dark, mysterious, and fun. Binge-watching horror movies like "Scream," "The Omen," "Insidious," and "The Conjuring" will definitely put you in the Halloween spirit! So make sure to grab your popcorn.

Sagittarius: Take a trip to Six Flags' Fright Night

You adventurous archers live for road trips and new places. One way you can fill your wanderlust desire during this spooky season is by taking a day trip to Six Flags. During October, Six Flags hosts "Fright Fest" where scary monsters and figures roam around the park terrorizing guest (oh how fun)! Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll snag a seat right next to one of their very own zombies.

Capricorn: Carve spooky pumpkins with your bestie

Capricorns need to show off their craftsmanship. You love putting effort into projects and like to keep traditions going. Pumpkin carving is a great activity to celebrate the fall season every year while putting your masterpiece on display!

Aquarius: Design a fashionable Halloween costume

Aquarius never fail to be original. Ditch the costume stores and make your very own original costume. Your creative mind thinks outside the box and can pull off crazy ideas. You'll be the center of attention when you pull up in your unique costume at a Halloween Party.

Pisces: Attend a fall festival

You appreciate the arts and surrounding yourself with different people. Attending a fall festival would be the highlight of your month. Seeing artwork, shopping in little tents, eating festive food, and entering a whimsical setting will definitely put a smile on your face.

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