One of the best things about Christmas are all the movies that come on during the season. I remember as a kid, loving all of the old claymation and other cartoons that were shown every year. Here are my top five Christmas cartoons. Most of them are shown during Freeform's Twenty-five Days of Christmas, and you can find a list of times here.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Charlie Brown is feeling down about all the commercialism surrounding Christmas, and Lucy puts him in charge of the Christmas play to cheer him up. Later, they send him and Linus out to get a tree, and they come back with a scrawny little thing that can barely carry its own weight. All the kids bash Charlie Brown about the tree, and he tells Linus that he guesses that he shouldn't have gotten the tree and doesn't really know what Christmas is about. He shouts, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" Linus launches into quoting Luke 2 which makes for one of the greatest sequences in a cartoon of all time.
Charlie Brown takes the tree home and takes one of the ornaments off of Snoopy's doghouse and puts it on the tree. The tree leans over, barely able to hold it up. Thinking he killed it, Charlie Brown runs away, and the other children come and find the tree with the ball. They realize it wasn't such a bad tree after all and fix it up, and hearing all the commotion, Charlie Brown comes back and finds his tree looking better than ever. They all come together at the end to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".
2. The Year Without a Santa Claus
Santa gets sick with a cold, and the doctor doesn't want him to get out of bed. Santa protests, but the doctor tells him that nobody believes in him anyway. As a result Santa decides to cancel Christmas. Mrs. Claus sends Jingle and Jangle the elves and Vixen to find children that still believe in Santa Claus to convince him that he shouldn't cancel Christmas. Santa finds out and goes after them, but Vixen is taken away to the pound and the elves can't get her out.
Santa disguises himself and meets a boy named Iggy who he convinces that Santa is real, and the boy, tells him that Vixen is in the pound. Santa rushes off, and the boy and the elves go see the mayor to get Vixen out. The mayor says if they can get it to snow, he will let her out and give Santa a national holiday. Unknown to them however, Santa has already gotten Vixen and taken her back to the North Pole. Mrs. Claus goes with Jingle, Jangle, and Iggy to see the Meiser Brothers, who are really the stars of the show.
Their musical numbers are the highlight of the cartoon and are the reason that this is my second favorite cartoon. The Meiser brothers can't agree to let it snow in Southtown, so Mrs. Claus goes to see Mother Nature, their mother. She makes them help Mrs. Claus, and it snows in Southtown. The children around the world decide that Santa deserves a rest and send him gifts and letters, but one little girl writes a letter that she will have a blue Christmas without Santa. Santa realizes that there is still some Christmas spirit in the world and delivers presents anyway.
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph is shunned by everybody because he has a red nose, and he decides to run away with Hermey the elf who is disliked because he wants to be a dentist. They later meet Yukon Cornelius, a prospector who can not find any silver or gold despite searching his whole life. After escaping the Abominable Snow Monster, they land on the Island of Misfit Toys, and Rudolph promises to convince Santa Claus to stop and pick up the toys and take them to children on Christmas Eve. Worried that the light from his nose will attract the Abominable Snow Monster, he leaves his friends and goes off on his own.
He grows up into a young stag and decides to return home where he learns that his parents and Clarice, the only reindeer that was ever nice to him, have been looking for him for months. He goes looking for them and finds them cornered by the Abominable Snow Monster, and when he tries to save them, he gets knocked out. Yukon and Hermey lure the monster out of the cave and pull his teeth out. Yukon fights the monster, and they fall over a cliff.
Everybody thinks that Yukon is dead, but after they return to Santa's castle Yukon returns with the monster who is now tame. Santa promises to find homes for all the misfit toys, but he soon learns that it is too foggy to go out and is about to cancel Christmas when he remembers Rudolph's glowing nose.He asks Rudolph to lead his sleigh, and they fly off into the night.
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Some people will disagree with me, but I think the old How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon is the best one. The Grinch hates everything about how the Whos in Whoville celebrate Christmas, so he decides to stop Christmas from coming by stealing it from them. He makes himself a Santa suit and disguises his dog Max as a reindeer.
The Grinch then goes from house to house stealing all of the decorations and gifts and takes them back to his mountain. As he watches the Whos to see how they will react, they come out and hold hands and start singing. The Grinch realizes that there is more to Christmas than decorations and gifts, and decides to return all of the Whos' stuff. They forgive him and invite him to Christmas dinner, and he even carves the roast beast.
5. The Little Drummer Boy
Aaron is a Jewish boy who is left orphaned after bandits kill his parents. The only thing he has to remember them by is a drum they gave him, and he now hates all of humanity because they were murdered. His drumming causes his animal friends dance, and a traveling performer forces him to join his troupe. It does not go well because Aaron lashes out at a crowd of onlookers.
The man sells Aaron's camel Joshua to three kings who happen to be looking for Jesus, and Aaron later escapes and follows them. When they arrive at the stable where Jesus is, Baabaa, Aaron's sheep, runs to Joshua, but he is hit by a Roman chariot. Aaron asks the kings for help, but there is nothing they can do.
They suggest that baby Jesus might can heal the lamb, and Aaron plays his drum for Him as a gift. Baabaa is healed, and the kindness that Aaron experiences softens his heart. A fun fact, there is actually a second episode where Aaron meets Simeon, a man who God promised would not die until he saw the Savior and did encounter Jesus and His parents at the temple (Luke 2). However, this cartoon is hardly ever shown.