The BEST Christmas TV Special EVER

The BEST Christmas TV Special EVER

Emily Hahn

It’s that time of the year, when animated Christmas TV specials from the last century return to entertain the entire family. Who can resist shows like A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1965), and Frosty the Snowman (1969)? And without a doubt, the best of them all is the 1974 classic, The Year Without A Santa Claus.


As the title suggests, The Year Without A Santa Claus is a horror story. It chronicles an unimaginable holiday season when the rotund red-suited man is absent from his gift-giving duties. Oh my! Countless children throughout the globe are left thinking that they have been naughty, not nice. Worst of all, rumors spread that Santa was murdered, kidnapped, or suffered a horrific sledding accident. In reality (spoiler alert!), Santa decides to take a year off because he believes that no one cares about Christmas any more. So sad.


In a valiant attempt to prove that Christmas spirit is still alive, two of Santa’s elves, Jingle and Jangle, embark on a heroic journey. They encounter the stepbrothers Snow Miser and Heat Miser who are entrusted by Mother Nature to control the temperature on earth. These heartless creatures are foil characters placed in juxtaposition to highlight their contrasting characteristics. They symbolize nature with their constant battle for supremacy. With the help of Mrs. Claus, the elves must tame these beasts, and bring the first snowstorm to Southtown in more than a century. If this miracle could be accomplished, Christmas spirit would be restored and every child in the world would rejoice. Yay!


In presenting this epic tale, directors Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin used stop-motion technique. Similar to the method employed in the 2012 Tim Burton movie, Frankenweenie, dolls are moved in small increments and photographed to simulate motion. The result is a strange combination of very cute and disturbingly creepy. With stop-motion, this classic Christmas special will certainly bring a smile to any child’s face, but may also bring nightmares of being burned alive by the Heat Miser or frozen to death by the Snow Miser. Aaaah!


The dramatic events narrated in The Year Without A Santa Claus include a collection of catchy songs. The producers included several classic Christmas songs that were famous prior to the special, including “Blue Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” There are a number of original songs as well, and the most memorable are “The Snow Miser Song” and “The Heat Miser Song.” With these tunes, the antagonists introduce themselves to the audience. But more importantly, the vibrant and somewhat haunting melodies will indubitably enter the viewer’s brain and leave the poor soul humming the tune for the rest of the holiday season. How horrifying?!


If anyone is brave enough to want to watch The Year Without A Santa Claus, it’s available on Amazon Prime. Also, the Freeform Channel (Optimum Cable channel 49) will broadcast the special on 12/20 5:35 pm, 12/21 2:10 pm, 12/23 5:40 pm, 12/24 12:20 pm, and 12/25 4:35 pm. It’s actually really good, and something the entire family can enjoy. It will surely bringing back wonderful memories from past holiday seasons. Happy Holidays!