Christmas is the most magical time of the year, especially for the young believers in the household. As families worldwide welcome the holiday season, children and adults alike can enjoy some timeless Christmas classics. Grab some hot cocoa, throw on some jammies and prepare for many cozy nights by the fireplace with these must-see children’s animation Christmas specials.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas
Ever since 1928, Mickey Mouse has taught children the value of friendship, integrity, and teamwork. In 1999, the loveable Disney mascot shared that same sentiment in Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas. Its sequel, Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas, was released in 2004, but nothing beats the original.
This heartfelt anthology features the following tales: Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas (featuring Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Scrooge McDuck, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie), A Very Goofy Christmas (featuring Goofy, Max, Pete, and the Beagle Boys) and Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi (featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto).
At the pinnacle of children’s animation, these animated features teach children that the true meaning of Christmas lies in its ability to bring families together. It emphasizes the importance of showing love and gratitude to others and acting selflessly for those in need.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas can be enjoyed on Disney+ with a stable internet connection and monthly subscription. Alternatively, it can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.
Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Featuring Jerry in the role of the Nutcracker and Tom as one of the Mouse King’s henchmen, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale (2007) is a semi-adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann. For its special edition DVD and Blu-ray release, it was paired with Tom and Jerry: Santa’s Little Helpers.
Its premise follows Jerry, who watches the annual Christmas ballet, and forces of magic bring the accompanying toys to life. Its impact transforms the empty stage into a wintery wonderland and makes Le Petite Ballerina, (a ballerina) come to life. Furthermore, Jerry dances with Le Petite Ballerina and enjoys a feast with the toys. Overhearing the festivities, Tom and the other alley cats raid the feast and trap the toys.
Moreover, Le Petite Ballerina is captured and presented to the Cat King, who asks her to dance for him. She refuses. Jerry and his accomplices are shot out of canons, far away from the scene. After a trepidatious adventure, the toys prepare an uprising to overthrow the Cat King and restore peace.
This action-packed triumph in children’s animation pays homage to a well-known ballet performance. The Christmas special, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, can be found on HBO Max. Additionally, Santa’s Little Helpers can be streamed on Prime Video.
Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year
Winnie The Pooh has a special place in all our hearts. The film features the 1991 Christmas television special, Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, as well as the 2002 short, Happy Pooh Year.
Furthermore, the hour-long special sees the return of some familiar faces in Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin. Its plot revolves around Winnie the Pooh on Christmas Eve as he struggles to put up his Christmas tree. All his friends come over to visit and help Pooh decorate his tree. An argument with Rabbit leads to high tensions and frustration. Rabbit threatens to move, infuriated by his friends being their goofy selves. Subsequently, in an attempt to resolve the matter, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore switch personalities.
When an endangered Rabbit is almost abducted by bees, his friends band together to save him. Eventually, Rabbit sees the error of his ways and reconciles with his friends. Later, Pooh and company sing “Auld Lang Syne” to celebrate the New Year.
Winnie the Pooh reigns supreme in the world of children’s animation, but his two-part Christmas specials, Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too and Happy Pooh Year are unmissable. Both specials can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.
Shrek The Halls
Dreamworks’ Shrek The Halls premiered on ABC in November 2007. Only half an hour-long, the Christmas special takes place between Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After. As with the other Shrek animations, this television special was based on the 1990 children’s book, Shrek! by William Steig.
Shrek promises to give Princess Fiona a special Christmas surprise under Donkey’s urging. Knowing nothing about Christmas, Shrek hopes to find a present for Fiona by visiting the bookstore in Far, Far Away. Instead, the shopkeeper gives Shrek a copy of Christmas For Village Idiots, a step-by-step guide to celebrating the holiday. As per the suggestions listed in the book, Shrek decorates the house and procures a tree.
When Puss, Gingy, Donkey, and co. show up unannounced, Shrek’s surprise plans are ruined. Later, an argument ensues in which Shrek kicks his friends, including Donkey, out of the house. With their Christmas spirit ruined, Fiona is upset at Shrek’s behavior and leaves with the ogre triplets. Shrek, apologetic for his behavior, catches up to his friends and shows remorse for his actions. Finally, they return to the swamp and Shrek tells his own version of “The Night Before Christmas“, featuring himself as Ogre Claus.
Shrek The Halls, the Christmas special that hammers home the importance of friendship and togetherness, is available to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Kung Fu Panda Holiday
Kung Fu Panda Holiday premiered on NBC in November 2010. As a spin-off to the Kung Fu Panda franchise, it features all the voices of the original ensemble cast, including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman.
Master Shifu assigns Po to host the annual Winter Feast at the Jade Palace. All the Kung Fu masters in all of China attend this formal event. His father, Mr. Ping, refuses to cater for the event and adamantly remains at the noodle restaurant to feed the townsfolk. Subsequently, Po is forced to enlist the help of the Furious Five to prepare the feast.
Guilt-ridden, Po excuses himself from the feast and returns to the noodle restaurant to help his father cook for the townsfolk. Mr. Ping expresses gratitude and apologizes for being unfair to his son regarding prioritizing his larger responsibilities. Shifu is initially mortified that everyone had abandoned the feast, but soon comes to understand that Po had created a joyful, inclusive atmosphere.
This Dreamworks Christmas special remains a popular addition to themed shorts within children’s animation. Kung Fu Panda Holiday is available to stream on Netflix.
How To Train Your Dragon: Homecoming
Airing in December 2019, How To Train Your Dragon: Homecoming takes place during the time jump at the end of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. It sees the return of Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless, and newcomers, the Light Fury and the Night Lights.
As New Berk prepares for Snoggletog, Hiccup and Astrid’s children develop a fear of dragons after reading Stoick’s old books. Astrid suggests bringing back the Snoggletog Pageant to retell the story of how Vikings and dragons made peace. Meanwhile, in The Hidden World, Toothless and his Light Fury wife discover that their children, the Night Lights, have disappeared. The Night Lights had flown to New Berk to discover more about Hiccup and Vikings.
Gobber accidentally lights the stage on fire during the performance. In a heartwarming moment, Toothless finishes the pageant with Hiccup by reenacting the moment where he befriends Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon. Afterwards, Zephyr, Hiccups’s daughter, comes face-to-face with Toothless and develops a newfound appreciation for dragons.
How To Train Your Dragon: Homecoming is available to watch on Hulu.