17. "The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold
"It's an attempt to create a Christmas special that will double as a special for another holiday (St. Patrick's Day), and it's trying to build up an elaborate mythology around holiday trappings that probably don't need one. (In this case, those most Christmas-centric of sprites, leprechauns.)"
14. Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
This movie, which saw very brief theatrical release, is the longest Christmas special Rankin/Bass ever produced. The only thing is, as you'll note from the title, this is really more of an Independence Day special, centered on Rudolph and Frosty trying to save a circus, while Santa fights off the evil wizard Winterbolt, who can only be stopped by the magic of Rudolph's nose (seriously).
10. Rudolph's Shiny New Year
In its best moments, Shiny New Year lives up to the howling madness at the center of all Rankin/Bass. There are sequences here, where Rudolph searches the past for Baby New Year, that are essentially the True Detective "time is a flat circle" monologue re-imagined as a stop-motion children's musical.
5. Little Drummer Boy
We're getting into the very small portion of the list that consists of genuine recommendations, beginning with this one. This doesn't get shown as much on TV anymore, probably due to some borderline racist caricatures on the film's sidelines, but there's something very moving about its climax, in which the drummer boy drums right in the baby Jesus' face and has his lamb healed as reward.
1. Santa Claus is Comin' To Town
Everything Rankin/Bass did works perfectly here.
favorite christmas specials, ontd?