5. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire: The animation is crude but the characters we know and love are all there (in one form or another): mischievous Bart, precocious Lisa, lovable oaf Homer, yellow haired Barney (oh, wait). For years I complained about the lack of new Simpsons Christmas episodes, but now I realize all they really need is this one episode. We’ve got Bart comparing himself to Tiny Tim and Charlie Brown, Homer’s inept Santa training and the cheap gifts he gets the family, including a plastic chew toy for Maggie (“It says it's for dogs, but she can't read”) and a they-lose-but-still-win finale with the adoption of Santa’s Little Helper.
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas: I debated about this one- I haven’t watched it in several years, after all, so should it really qualify as a favorite? But thinking back, I realized I do have a lot of fond memories of it that the wretched Jim Carrey live action debacle couldn’t taint. Besides, the Grinch is a hell of a character, and this is one of the best tellings of the “Christmas isn’t about stuff” morals.
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: For most people, they love this one for Hermy the Elf. The Island of Misfit toys is a hell of a lot of fun. And Yukon Cornelius is one of the best names ever. But for me, it’s all about the Bumble.
2. Mickey’s Christmas Carol: Casting Scrooge McDuck as, well, Scrooge, this Disney take on Dickens isn’t as funny (or musical) as the feature length Muppet Christmas Carol, but remains a nostalgic favorite from my childhood, with some great atmospheric animation.
1. Charlie Brown Christmas: Basically, I wrote this post just to point out how much I love this show. For me, this presents the best “true meaning of Christmas” message, from Linus’s biblical quotation to the kindred spirit Charlie Brown sees in the woeful Christmas tree he selects. The outstanding music from the Vince Guraldi Trio is easily my favorite Christmas CD of all time. Of all the things I love about the Christmas season, and look forward to, watching this every year is easily near the top of the list.