10 must-watch animated Christmas specials of all time

The best part about Christmas specials is how endlessly re-watchable they are. The same holiday movies that you watched during your childhood, or your parents watched when they were kids, still head to TVs every year, so you can enjoy them again and again with your family. Now, with the easy accessibility of streaming services, many of these classics are just a click away, waiting for you to watch them whenever you want!

Since there’s so much magic associated with Christmas, animation is just an easy way to capture the enchantment of the holiday spirit. The animated Christmas specials that we’ve listed are perfect for a family movie night, captures the spirit of the season and are worthy of being binged-watched every year.

Here are top favourite picks of all time:

1) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Not everyone is in a jolly mood during Christmas. If the holidays make you feel a little melancholy, you’re in good company with Charlie Brown, who goes on a deep journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. The soundtrack, by composer Vince Guaraldi, is also a must-listen at this time of the year. 

The special is both heart-warming and funny. It is an ideal holiday watch that ends on a joyous note. The animation is simple, sweet, and endearing.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

2) A Trash Truck Christmas (2020)

In this Christmas short, Santa Claus makes a crash landing in the junkyard on Christmas Eve, and it’s up to the Trash Truck to save the holidays. Max Keane has made his movie with a lot of love and warmth, which is felt by those who watch the movie. 

A Trash Truck Christmas has an innocent vibe that makes even adults think about their childhood, about times even they believed that Santa was real. The progression of the story is gradual and the twists in the story aren’t all that hyped that it would harm the beauty of the story. It also has a moral for children to keep the spirit of Christmas alive through all kinds of challenges!

Where to watch: Netflix

3) Robin Robin (2021)

Robin Robin is a Christmas special about a bird who was raised by mice and wishes to become a real mouse. The stop-motion animation gives a cozy feel and features a voice cast that includes Bronte Carmichael, Richard E. Grant, and Gillian Anderson.

Despite the familiar tale of finding home within an adoptive family, Robin Robin marks a major break from tradition for Aardman Animations. Delightful, uplifting, and very well-crafted, this short film is an ideal holiday entertainment watch!

Where to watch: Netflix

4) DreamWorks Home: For the Holidays (2017)

The plot revolves around the Boovs, Tip, and everyone else learning the true meaning of Christmas. It features Ben Schwartz and Kelly Clarkson, and everything’s merry before a device causes havoc and goes comically wrong leading to a series of hilarious occurings. Watch them as they pull strings together to make things right. As part of the audience, you would want to share the magic of Christmas with the Boovs, but despite their best intentions, things don’t quite go as planned.

With absurd, kid-pleasing humour, genuinely catchy and fun songs, and appealing and diverse voice talent, this holiday special is a winner. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Boovs’ fractured take on holiday traditions in Home: For the Holidays.

Where to watch: Netflix

5) Trolls Holiday (2017)

Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and Zooey Deschanel star as the three main trolls in this holiday comedy perfect for kids. When Anna’s character Poppy finds out that the Bergens don’t have holidays to celebrate after they get rid of Trollstice, she and the rest of the trolls set out to help them. But what do the Bergens want?

Trolls Holiday has cute voice acting and singing and includes colourful visuals anyone watching the movie would expect it to have. DreamWorks once again took advantage of the fact that its target audience belongs majorly to the younger bracket! Nonetheless, it is a brilliant short with all the familiar characters back together presenting holidays in cool musical form.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and iTunes

6) A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas (2020)

Families that loved Cory Carson’s Halloween special must check out its new Christmas entry! It’s a simple story – When a snow plow, who has an uncanny resemblance to Santa, crashes in Carson’s yard, Cory must remind him who he is in order to save Christmas. 

A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas is a must-see for existing fans of the series, but because it jumps right into the story with the assumption that viewers already know the characters, it will be a little harder for newcomers to get up to speed. Even so, the heartwarming messages about holidays still translate easily to anyone who watches this feel-good special!

Where to watch: Netflix

7) Chico Bon Bon and the Very Berry Holiday (2020)

It’s the holidays with a Chico Bon Bon-style twist: When no one shows up to deliver the traditional blunderberry cakes on Blunderberry Day eve, the ‘Fix-It Force’ has to step in and save the holiday. 

The Christmas special will be thoroughly enjoyed by the youngest audiences. The story revolves around a monkey with a toolbelt who, along with his friends on the ‘Fix-It Force’, is charged with saving a Christmas-like holiday by delivering blunderberry cakes by morning. Preschool-friendly animation serves as a colorful backdrop for the tale that is at its best when it generates moments of math and science to engage the minds of its viewers.

Where to watch: Netflix

8) Klaus (2019)

This Christmas movie is so charming, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It’s about a reclusive toymaker who strikes up a friendship with a new postal worker. The film is a holiday favourite in many homes because of its warm, sweet, and fantastically funny premise.

Though there are some narrative glitches in Klaus, the movie is absolutely beautiful. It is both awkward and weird, and yet all that awkwardness and weirdness give it personality and charm and a freewheeling, nonsensical quality that feels refreshing. Klaus helps us understand the meaning of Santa Claus in our lives, beyond the commercial and consumerist atmosphere. 

Where to watch: Netflix

9) All I Want for Christmas Is You (2017)

Who knew Mariah Carey’s famed Christmas song had its own animated movie? It’s centered on a young girl, also named Mariah, who wishes for a puppy for Christmas every year. All I Want for Christmas Is You is a sweet addition to holiday movies for young families.

The film includes a very likable little heroine, a trouble-making dog, and an ethnically diverse, extended family of unique, engaging characters that keep the giggles coming and warm the heart by the story’s end. The creative team brings Mariah Carey’s book to life with style and spirit. All of the performances, including the kids’, are excellent. Carey’s songs and narration are well-integrated into the upbeat tale. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime and iTunes

10) Santa’s Apprentice (2010)

In this film, originally from France, it’s time for Santa to retire, but he doesn’t want to. Still, the rules say he has to train an apprentice. If your kids love it, there’s also a sequel called The Magic Snowflake. With its simple yet elegant 2D animation and festive spirit, Santa’s Apprentice is an Aussie Christmas movie for families looking for sweetness and old-fashioned morals in their holiday movie-watching experience.

The film is a bright, well-loved classic that boasts amiable traditional animation with an old-school flavour and solid storytelling. Although it includes some bullying, the plot is a fresh take on familiar holiday themes. The sweet and inspiring Christmas story is sure to bring out the inner kid in you!

Where to watch: Amazon Prime and iTunes