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August 2, 2014

Best Classic Holiday TV Specials

by AOL TV Staff, posted Dec 2nd 2010 1:00PM
Charlie Brown ChristmasIf you want to forget about the madding crowds and remember why it's the most wonderful time of the year (truly), just take a break from the shopping list, grab a mug of hot cocoa and settle in with your nearest and dearest for a long winter's night ... of viewing the best classic holiday shows of all time.

Can't recall the most famous made-for-TV specials of all? Relax, we've got them here. Consider it our little gift to you.

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'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

One had a very shiny nose, one just wanted to make a living in orthodontia -- Hermey the outcast elf is never mentioned in the song, but he's a charmer, as are all the cast-offs on the island of misfit toys. This Claymation-animated holiday treasure takes the triumph-over-adversity story line to new heights, and wraps it in a pretty package. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'A Christmas Carol'

'Star Trek: The Next Generation''s Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) goes boldly where no actor (OK, maybe a few dozen) has gone before -- portraying Ebenezer Scrooge in this Emmy-nominated rendition of 'A Christmas Carol.' Also not to be missed is Stewart's one-man audio version of the Dickens story. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie'

While Kermit is struggling to keep the theater running (natch), he has a 'It's a Wonderful Life'-style dream of what the world would be like without him ... and though it's certainly more laugh-filled than George Bailey's epiphany, it isn't a pretty picture. Filled with fun cameos by the likes of David Arquette and Whoopi Goldberg. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'Happy Holidays With Bing and Frank'

In his heyday, Bing Crosby was practically Mr. Christmas himself (and we still totally dig his '80s-era 'Drummer Boy' video with David Bowie). In this '57 special, Crosby joins forces with Old Blue Eyes, proving the formula: Bing Crosby + Frank Sinatra x Christmas = instant classic. Seriously. We did the math. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'A Charlie Brown Christmas'

This special has it all: Snoopy gone mad with a decorating obsession, Linus moving us to tears with his plaintive retelling of the birth of Jesus and Charlie Brown just being Charlie Brown, forlorn little underappreciated tree and all. Still magical to watch after all these years, it's a yuletide gem for the whole family. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'The Donny and Marie 1978 Christmas Show'

She's a little bit country, he's a little bit rock & roll -- and in this special they're all business (about Christmas). Filmed at the height of their variety show success, the show features the whole Osmond clan cooking, skiing and doing what they do best, singing (though now, in Marie's case, that would clearly be dancing). Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'Olive the Other Reindeer'

Hands down, the best holiday special centering on a misheard lyric. When Santa's prized reindeer Blitzen is injured, spunky dog Olive decides she's destined for the task of saving Christmas because she misunderstands the words "all of the other reindeer." Drew Barrymore brings Olive sweetly to life in this funny and touching animated tale. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker'

Kevin Kline narrates the action as a wispy vision of a Sugar Plum Fairy glides around the stage. Ignore the appearance of Macaulay Culkin (if you can), and just enjoy George Balanchine's choreography; it's the definitive version of this timeless ballet. Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

'The Simpsons' - Christmas

The first full-length 'Simpsons' episode is still one of the best. Lovable loser Homer takes a job as a department store Santa to make some money for gifts but gambles away all the loot at the dog track -- and then in quintessential Homerian fashion, still figures out a way to save the (Christmas) day. As Homie might say, "Ho, Ho, D'oh." Buy the DVD



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Holiday TV Specials on DVD

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