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  • Writer's pictureIsla Grey

Spending the Holidays with Rankin/Bass

It’s that time of year again!  I know for me, and I’m pretty sure many others, the Rankin/Bass animated specials have become a staple in our home during the Christmas season.  From Rudolph and Santa to Snow Miser and Heat Miser, the songs and stories I’ve grown up with have never lost their magical luster, and, as a parent now, it’s even more meaningful to spend time watching these with my daughter.  Here are our ten favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas classics that are a “must watch” each year at our house. 

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – This is probably the most popular of the animated classics and my daughter’s favorite.  It’s the classic tale of Rudolph the reindeer who is teased for having a bright and shiny nose until he’s asked to pull Santa’s sleigh during a snowstorm. 

Santa Claus is Coming to Town -  Told by the local mail carrier, this feature tells the story of Santa’s beginnings from being left on the doorstep of the Kringles, local toymakers,  meeting Jessica aka Mrs. Claus, and how he thwarted the local Burgermeister Meisterburger to deliver toys to children. 

The Year Without a Santa Claus- This has one of the best and most memorable musical numbers of any of the Rankin/Bass specials – the Snow and Heat Miser Song.  Jingle and Jangle, two of Santa’s elves, along with Vixen, try to save Christmas when Santa decides to take a year off. 

Frosty the Snowman -  Frosty comes to life with the help of a magic hat.  But when the sneaky magician wants the hat back, Frosty and friend, Karen, rush to the North Pole to save him. 

‘Twas the Night Before Christma-  One of my favorites!  After receiving a disheartening letter, Santa strikes a small town off his list of Christmas Eve stops.  But, the local clockmaker, along with the help of Father Mouse, has an idea that might change his mind. 

The Stingiest Man in Town – On this spin of  “A Christmas Carol”, BAH Humbug tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve. 

Jack Frost – While ushering in winter each year, Jack Frost falls in love with Elsa.  He’s granted his wish to become human, but with stipulations. 

The Little Drummer Boy -  Aaron’s life is shattered when he looses his parents and is forced to play his drum in a traveling caravan.  Vowing to hate all mankind, he soon changes when he meets Wise Men following a star to Bethlehem. 

The First Christmas : The Story of the First Christmas Snow -  When Lucas, a young shepherd boy, is blinded, the nuns at a local abbey take him in.  Chosen to play an angel with local village children in the abbey’s Christmas pageant, Lucas befriends Louisa and confides his wish to see snow for the first time. 

Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey – Nestor is a small donkey with extraordinarily long ears.  Guided by Tilly, a cherub, Nestor finds his place in history on the roads outside Bethlehem. 

Each Rankin/Bass special has its heartwarming moments and lessons to be learned.  It’s always fun to spend an evening (or few) with the family sharing the holiday spirit of these classic animated features. 

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