Top 5 Christmas Specials on DVD

christmas tree

‘Tis the season for your favorite shows to be replaced by reruns and old holiday specials. Unfortunately, between buying and wrapping presents, baking cookies, entertaining relatives, frantically cleaning and decorating your house, and pulling your hair out, you probably don’t have time to go through and TiVo your favorite holiday specials, much less sit down in front of the TV at exactly the time the networks have decided to play them – if they decide to play the good ones at all. But fear not – there is a solution. Many of the good old specials have been released on DVDs which can be rented or bought almost anywhere. Sadly, Blue Toes is not among them, but here are my picks for the top five Christmas special DVDs:

Chipmunk Christmas DVD
#5. A Chipmunk Christmas

It’s almost Christmas, and while Dave tries to get the Chipmunks to focus on their music, all Alvin can think about is getting a new harmonica… at least until he meets a sick little boy who also wants the same thing.

A Chipmunk Christmas is sort of a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ famous story A Christmas Carol, at least thematically anyway. Selfish Alvin could easily stand in for any number of greedy kids who see Christmas as nothing more than a time for getting gifts. If you’ve got one of those kids, this is a great special to put on for them. And if you’re opposed to the commercialization of the holidays, watch this and congratulate yourself on being right… at least according to cartoon rodents. It’s sweet to the point of being nauseating at the end, of course, but isn’t that what the season is all about?

Buy A Chipmunk Christmas on DVD.

Mickey's Christmas Carol DVD
#4. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Rich, selfish, Scrooge McDuck is visited by the ghosts of his past, present, and future on Christmas night to help him realize that mountains of money aren’t the secret to a fulfilling life.

A Christmas Carol has been remade and adapted more times than anyone can shake a stick at, and it’s not just because it’s in the public domain. It’s because it’s a good story – a timeless one. I’ve seen a lot of different versions by now and do you know what? I still favor this one. The Disney characters they chose are perfectly suited for the roles in Dickens’ masterpiece and the lesson is one that never gets old. If you’ve got money, don’t swim in it – use it to help someone. As much as we like to pretend it’s only recently we’ve started losing sight of what the holiday’s about, the existence of this story suggests otherwise.

Buy Mickey’s Christmas Carol on DVD.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean DVD
#3. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean

Bumbling mute Mr. Bean prepares for Christmas, leaving trail of disruption and a very disappointed girlfriend in his wake.

Unlike all of the other specials on my list, Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean doesn’t have a meaningful message about the holiday season. It’s just a barrel of laughs that can help you forget (for half an hour, at least) about all the stuff that’s still on your ‘to do’ list. Mr. Bean does the things we’ve all wanted to do but were afraid to try for fear of getting in trouble – like playing with the store displays and giving people completely hilarious and inappropriate presents. Even people who aren’t normally fond of British comedy can’t help but be won over by Mr. Bean, so this is a great special to watch with a group of friends or family members.

Buy Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean on DVD.

Garfield Christmas DVD
#2. A Garfield Christmas Special

Garfield the cat resents being turned out of his nice, warm bed to go to his owner John’s family farm in the country, but ends up finding a kindred spirit in John’s spitfire of a grandmother.

Everyone loves Garfield, probably because we all wish we could act as lazy and grouchy as cats when we feel like it. But, as Garfield’s Christmas special shows, even grumpy people and cats have hearts and can occasionally be inclined toward being nice to old ladies and dogs. The special is heartwarming without being quite as syrupy as A Chipmunk Christmas, and John’s family is a perfect example of how everyone seems to revert to their childhood roles when they get together with their families for the holidays. As a bonus, this disc also includes Garfield’s Halloween and Thanksgiving specials.

Buy Garfield’s Christmas Special on DVD.

Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD
#1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

The Grinch, a lonely, grouchy hermit, is tired of listening to the happy Whos in the village below celebrate, so he decides to steal all their presents and ruin Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is Christmas for me. It’s not Christmas yet unless I’ve watched the Grinch. I imagine it’s like that for a lot of people, seeing as how this special has run every year since 1966 on nearly every channel. It’s adapted from the beloved book by Dr. Seuss, which came out in 1957. The Grinch is hilariously, delightfully evil, his dog Max is adorable and eager, and the Whos down in Whoville are nonsensical but cute and sweet. There’s music, compelling narration, a timeless message – what more could you want? This is something Ron Howard did not understand when he made the awful full length live action version in 2000. You don’t mess with perfection.

Buy How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on DVD.

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