Some specials, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or How the Grinch Stole Christmas become beloved TV treasures that air every December for decades. Others…don’t.
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
Kermit, Miss Piggy, and all the other Muppets have been featured in a lot of Christmas-themed movies and TV specials over the years, notably the 1992 big-screen The Muppet Christmas Carol, and a 1979 special co-hosted by John Denver (which spawned their hit rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” This TV special doesn’t get much airplay anymore. The plot: Fozzie Bear surprises his mother by staying at her country home over the holidays, along with most of the other Muppets, and many of monsters and critters from Sesame Street. Over the course of Christmas Eve, the Swedish Chef tries to cook Big Bird, Miss Piggy gets stuck in a blizzard ,and Kermit discovers an underground cavern that leads him to the magical creatures from Fraggle Rock. Watch for the cameo from Muppets/Sesame Street/Fraggle Rock creator Jim Henson, who shows up at the end to wash all of his creations’ dirty dishes. Or just watch the whole thing:
It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) is one of the most famous and critically acclaimed TV programs of all time (it won an Emmy and a Peabody Award), and it still airs to high ratings every year…unlike its sequel. It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown debuted on home video, and was distributed as a holiday premium at Shell gas stations before it aired on CBS in late 1992. Like a lot of Peanuts specials, there isn’t much of a plot, instead focusing on Charlie Brown and his friends participating in holiday activities. Charlie Brown attempts to sell wreaths door-to-door (and fails, of course), Peppermint Patty frets over a Christmas-themed book report, and Snoopy works as a sidewalk Santa.
Frosty Returns (1992)
You’re probably familiar with the 1969 animated special based on the 1950 Gene Autry Christmas carol. But at the end of the song, Frosty says “he’ll be back again some day.” He kept his promise, and came back, in the form of a sequel to the TV special. Starring John Goodman as the voice of Frosty (subbing in for the deceased Jimmy Durante), the special follows the magical snowman as he takes on Mr. Twitchell (Brian Doyle-Murray) who’s bent on ridding the world of snow with an aerosol spray called “Summer Wheeze.” Mr. Twitchell wins over the town of Beansboro with the idea of an endless summer, until Frosty gives a passionate speech at a town carnival in defense of all things winter. Frosty is named “King of the Carnival,” and Mr. Twitchell is defeated, although Frosty isn’t a sore winner, so he takes the villain on a toboggan ride.