5 Retro Animated Christmas Specials You Should See

Posted by HelloChica 89 on

This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a commission when you click the links and place an order.

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! I decorated my tree the first week of November and I’ve been listening to Christmas music since then too. But one of my favorite things about this time of year is watching Christmas cartoons. There are many, many animated specials, films, and special episodes out there so I tried my best to narrow it down. Here are 5 retro animated Christmas specials that you should definitely see!

1. The Little Troll Prince (1987)- I first came across this film when it would play on Cartoon Network in the 90s. It tells the story of a little gnome in Norway who recounts the time that he used to be a troll. This is told through a parable about how he learned to love God and became a Christian. I loved the story and the songs as a kid. I was so excited when it would air. This special was produced by Hanna-Barbera and backed by the Lutheran Laymen’s League. As stated earlier, it features heavy Christian overtones which is probably why it no longer airs on Cartoon Network. Some of the cast includes Danny Cooksey, Vincent Price, Cloris Leachman, Don Knotts, Rob Paulson, and many more. It is currently available as a bonus on the Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas DVD. 

2. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970)- When I think of stop-motion Christmas specials, I either think of the Rankin/Bass movies or Robot Chicken. Everyone has seen most of these films or at least recognize the characters. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is my absolute favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas film (Rudolph’s Shiny New Year is #2). This film follows the history of an orphan named Kris Kringle and how he eventually became Santa Claus. The story-telling and the music are top notch and they compliment each other well. I loved watching all of the stop-motion Christmas specials but I can watch this one over and over.  

3. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)- I watch this one way too much. In fact, I just watched it last week. This film is actually an anthology and features three segments: “Stuck on Christmas”, “A Very Goofy Christmas”, and “Gift of the Magi”. My favorite one is Gift of the Magi which is a retelling of O. Henry’s story of the same name. Mickey and Minnie’s prove their love for each other in a series of selfless acts and I find it adorable. The  entire film is wholesome and is the perfect movie to get into the holiday spirit. It is currently on DVD and on Disney+. 

4. Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)- I honestly watch this short several times per year, not just at Christmas time. It was released by Fleischer Studios which was one of the biggest animation studios at the time. The main character is Grampy (who originated in the Betty Boop cartoons) as a man who takes it upon himself to make a special Christmas for a group of orphans. The rubberhose animation and catchy song makes this cartoon a memorable one that my family watches time and time again. Because it is in the public domain, you can watch it below. 


5. A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol (1994)- I honestly used to cry watching this movie when I was a kid. In the special, Fred and company are involved in a production of “A Christmas Carol”. Unfortunately, Fred lets his role as Scrooge go to his head. He starts ignoring his family and friends to focus on his role and becomes a real life Scrooge. While this is not my favorite Flintstone film, it is one of the best. The story is simple enough for kids and intriguing enough for adults. I no longer cry while watching this one but it still makes me a little sad. However, like most Christmas movies, there’s a happy ending. You should definitely give this one a watch! 

There are many more Christmas specials that I could add to this list. What are some of your favorites? Are they listed above? Let me know below!

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.