In American television, a Christmas television special is typically a one-time, half-hour program aired during the Christmas season. Some are extended episodes of currently running television series featuring the regular characters dealing with Christmas. Some specials are of a more variety show nature, featuring celebrities and/or singers and musical numbers and short skits. Many are animated cartoon productions aimed at children, intended to be outgrown by one generation and picked up by a new generation of children.
All such specials are naturally strongly Christmas-themed, but usually forgo the religious aspects of the holiday to concentrate on more general themes of giving, and goodwill towards others. Such secular icons of the season as Santa Claus often figure prominently in these specials as well.
Christmas television specials are also where non-animated characters from other media may first cross over into animation; examples include the Peanuts comic strip, the Bloom County comic strip, and the Dr. Seuss children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The first episode of The Simpsons (1989) was a Christmas special, also known as “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.”
The Rankin-Bass animation studio is well known for its many holiday specials, including the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which CBS has shown annually since 1964, and the animated Frosty the Snowman.
Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses materials from the Wikipedia.