As holiday specials become more prevalent across show and movie services, older Christmas specials are not shown as much. Most teenagers remember staying up late to watch reruns and premiers of holiday specials from their favorite show. While most of the shows premiered in the 90s, they were reran for years into the 2000s.
In the past, Disney has done a great job of including holidays other than Christmas. In 2001, “The Proud Family” aired a Kwanzaa episode called “Seven Days of Kwanzaa.” While out Christmas shopping, the Proud family sees a homeless family. While Oscar does not want to help them, Trudy insists on giving them money. After the homeless family is invited to dinner, they educated the Proud family on the seven days of Kwanzaa.
The broadcasting station also aired an episode though “Boy Meets World” called “A Very Topanga Christmas” where Cory Matthews questions Topanga’s yuletide traditions. Out of frustration, he tells her that he doesn’t want to be apart of her traditions. Cory then sits down to watch “A Christmas Carol” where he is woken up by the Ghost of Christmas Future. He sees where he would be if he didn’t apologize to Topanga.
While most teens weren’t alive by the time Nickelodeon released some of it’s more iconic episodes in the 90s, they still ran reruns through the following decade. “Rugrats” has an episode about Hanukkah. The episode educated people on the history of the holiday and importance symbols such as menorahs and dreidels.
The popular show “Kenan and Kel” showed the spirit of giving in their holiday episode. In this one, Kenan Thompson gets a job as Santa Clause in order to save up for a new bike. He later ends up using that money to help a poor family that could not afford to buy gifts.
The “SpongeBob SquarePants” holiday special aired in 2000. In this episode, when Sandy teaches the Bikini Bottom about Christmas, Spongbob is inspired to start Christmas traditions. He gets everyone else on board too, everyone except Squidward. When Santa does not show up on Christmas morning, everyone blames Spongebob. Surprisingly, Squidward comes to the rescue and pretends to be Santa.
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” aired it’s Christmas episode in 1990 called “Deck the Halls”. Will learns that his cousin Ashley has never had a real Christmas before. He then goes all out to create the perfect Christmas. His neighbors, however, have a problem with the outside decorations. The neighborhood children vote that the house is the best decorated. This episode also has a special appearance from former President Ronald Regan.
Cartoon Network has its fair share of holiday specials as well. In “Dexter’s Laboratory”, Dexter challenged the existence of Santa Clause. Throughout the episode, he tries to prove that Santa is just his father in disguise. In fact, he actually proves that he was right.
“The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” has a more adventurous episode. Mandy refuses to believe that Santa Clause is real, so Grim took Billy and Mandy to the North Pole to meet him. Instead, they find out that Santa has been turned into a vampire. Their job was to find him and turn him back to normal.
In “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: A Lost Claus”, Mac does not believe in Santa and tries to prove that he does not exist. On the other hand, Bloo does the opposite and tries to prove that he is real by adding more and more outrageous things to his Christmas list. In the end, Mac finds out that Santa Clause is real and Bloo seeks revenge for getting a pile of coal.
The cartoon “Johnny Bravo” aired “Twas the Night” in 1997. When Johnny injures Santa, he has to take his place. Reluctantly, he agrees. By the end of his journey, he learns to be less selfish, so much so that he did not have any gifts to give to his mother. Even though he is let down, Santa brings him and his mother a gift to say thank you.