Many of my cherished childhood memories are holiday-related. Whether it’s epic rubber band fights, eating cookies at every meal, watching decorated trees falling over, or even a fight with an angry squirrel (true story), I always have a ton of fun during the holidays.

Back before VCRs and hundreds of TV channels, one of our traditions was to watch as many of the holiday specials as possible. It’s a tradition I carry on to this day with my kids. Below are my can’t-miss favorites.

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
What put this one over the top for me was the Abominable Snowman, a.k.a. the Bumble, and the fact that Bumbles bounce.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit faster than hearing a song from this show. Favorite song: Linus & Lucy

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The Year Without a Santa Claus
Are you Team Heat Miser, or Team Snow Miser? I love both theme songs.

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Prep and Landing
It’s so “tinsel,” and the sequel may be even better than the original. Favorite elf tool: the tree trimmer

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Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
How can you deny the Burgermeister Meisterburger and the Winter Warlock?

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Casting Boris Karloff as the voice of the Grinch was pure, malevolent genius.

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A Muppet Family Christmas
It’s Muppets, people! ‘Nuff said. Favorite Muppets: Fozzie and Animal (I relate to both).

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Frosty the Snowman
They really should have made a sequel that focused on the rabbit, Hocus Pocus. That would have been awesome.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol
A kid-friendly re-telling of the Dickens classic that’s less likely to require therapy later in life.

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A Garfield Christmas
Who doesn’t love hearing about Binky: The Clown Who Saved Christmas?

Bonus!

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Lastly, an honorable mention about one of the strangest fusions of pop culture mythologies ever: The Star Wars Holiday Special. If you haven’t seen it, set aside some time (and maybe a few adult beverages) to watch it this holiday season. It’s, uh, something… (special guest star: Bea Arthur!)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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