There are few things that I enjoy more around this time of the year than watching Christmas cartoons and drinking eggnog made out of soy. Every December, I set my DVR to record any and every animated moment of television that has anything to do with Christmas.
There have been Christmas cartoons that have come and gone over the years. When I was little, one of my favorites was Christmas with the California Raisins; I haven't seen that air in over a decade. Other popular holiday specials from my era were A Garfield Christmas Special, The Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas (which I had on VHS) and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, none of which I have been able to find even on ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas," and they play lots of crap.
I imagine a lot of what makes a lasting holiday animated special has to do with the villain and how malevolent he or she is. In the Cabbage Patch cartoon, the bad guys wanted to capture the kids and make them work on their gold mine. I don't buy it; if you have a gold mine, you are probably able to afford to hire some cheap labor. In Garfield's Christmas special, the only real antagonist is Garfield himself and what a dick he is to Odie.
Of the holiday cartoons that have been constants over the years, the bad guys stand out as much as the good ones, and usually the villains are way more interesting to watch.
5. Albert from 'Twas the Night Before ChristmasTNBC
is a 1970s special that, despite its terrible animation quality, keeps coming back year after year. The story is about a clockmaker and his clockmaking mouse counterpart. The mouse has a son named Albert and he is a stereotypical bratty tween. Albert takes it upon himself to write Santa a letter about how no one believes in him, and Santa gets pissed. Doh!
Pardon my French, but Albert is a little shit who just about ruins Christmas for the entire town. If I were his mouse father, I would have dropped him in an alleyway full of cats and then asked him whether he believed that I would save him.
4. Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come from Mickey's Christmas Carol
You might think that Scrooge McDuck is the villain of this Disney classic, but he is just confused and needs to be shown the light. There really isn't any "bad guy" per se in this cartoon; the ghosts are just trying to help out. That being said, the Ghost of Christmas Future is so freakin' scary! He only says one actual line of dialogue, but it has stuck with me for my entire life.
3. Heat Miser and Snow Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus
In this claymation special, Santa decides to take a year off and the only thing that will convince him that he is needed is if residents of this one town in the South, creatively named Southtown, return to believing in Christmas. The plot is completely convoluted.
No matter, the best part of this special is dueling brothers Heat and Snow Miser, who are opposite forces of nature. They like to fight over who's better and they bitch and moan at each other, which results in weather phenomena. Rounding out what makes these two some of the best holiday cartoon villains is that in the end, they are really just momma's boys. 2. The Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
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The Grinch is both the hero of this beloved tale and the baddie. He is complex and confused about his own feelings. Why does he hate the Whos so much? Is it because he feels like an outsider, alone at the top of Mount Crumpit? Or did the Whos do something (aside from singing that obnoxious song) to deserve his disdain? He is so evil, there is an entire song about exactly how evil he is... "as cuddly as a cactus."
1. Professor Hinkle from Frosty the Snowman
Professor Hinkle is the perfect Christmas villain. He is selfish: When he discovers that the hat he threw away really is magic and can bring a snowman to life, he steals it back. He is stupid: Not only is he a poor magician, but he follows a talking snowman all the way to the North Pole. Who does that? He is nasally: Just hearing him speak the words "Hocus Pocus" is irritating enough that you want to punch him in his oversized nose. Lastly, he has a handlebar mustache and we all know that if you have a handlebar mustache, you must be immoral. (I didn't make that rule up!)