I may despise Christmas, but I love a good Christmas special! However, as I've gotten older and more bitter, I've soured on a few aspect. The whole "It was really Santa!" angle is one I can't stand anymore. So, don't expect to see many of those in there (one may slip in)
Rocko's Modern Christmas
Rocko's Modern Life is possibly my favorite NickToon from the 90s. And I adore this Christmas special so much. The elves are great characters (it's a bit of a shock that they didn't become recurring characters before the show ended) and the bathroom gag of the cloud being incapable of producing snow kept me laughing as a child. But the thing I love the most? That ear-worm of a song that one of the elves' toys keeps playing. I swear that it showed up in a Christmas flash video game I played in the early 2000s, but I can't find any evidence to prove that.
How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
Shouldn't every Christmas involve being haunted by Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner and tricked into taking part in a murder-suicide?
No? Well, you need to see this episode of The X-Files, then. Mulder and Scully
investigate a haunted house on Christmas Eve and get wrapped up in the
head games that the ghosts play. It's possibly the creepiest Christmas
special out there and also one of the most emotionally confusing. But
it's also great!
Oh, the limitations of the internet- the best video I could find to support this special was a trivia one about the episode. My other favorite NickToon, Hey Arnold, picked up the gauntlet that Charlie Brown threw down and created one of the most bittersweet animated Christmas specials ever. This might even be my favorite ever episode of the show, to be honest. I love Arnold and Gerald's commitment to getting the archivist's Christmas gifts. I love Helga's journey with her Nancy Spumoni snowboots. And the whole Mr. Hyuhn storyline is just... sob. A little corny, but a great touch to add some realism like the Vietnam War to an otherwise wacky background character. Jim Lang's music is pitch-perfect (as is usually the case with the jazz-infused show) and it creates a nice little urban fairy tale that doesn't involve Santa or "Christmas Miracles" that are beyond explaining.
Forgiveness and Stuff
Oh, Gilmore Girls. The first twenty episodes of Gilmore Girls might be the most perfect 20 episodes of television ever. And this episode is no exception. In the aftermath of Rory accidentally falling asleep (super innocently!) with Dean after a school dance, Rory and Lorelai aren't talking much and Lorelai and Emily are almost back to where they were before the series started. But then Grandpa Gilmore falls ill at the fancy dinner party and the family is reunited and talking to each other as they wait to find out his fate at the hospital. As the kids say these days, "this episode has all the feels". You get Luke having his grinch-y ways melted away to reveal his inner sweetness multiple times in the episode, Lorelai and Luke having their first major will-they-won't-they moments, Emily pulling her best Debra Winger, a Jane Lynch cameo, and Lorelai and Richard having a very emotional moment with no words that should've won a gazillion Emmys. Even though it's technically the second part of a two parter, this is an episode that is a great watch even if you know nothing of the show- it tells you everything you need to know about the characters all on its own.
The Christmas Invasion
Shut up. You knew this was coming. Killer Christmas Trees! Stalking Santas! The Doctor defeating an invading race of aliens while wearing a pair of pajamas! Snow that is actually the ash of a giant space ship burning up in the atmosphere as it falls to Earth! This also happens to be the first Christmas special in the current run of Doctor Who as well as the introduction of the 10th Doctor. And it does an amazing job of making you, by the end of the episode, completely on-board for this new cheeky-pin-striped-glasses-wearing Doctor.