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Christmas TV Classics - Favorite Christmas Cartoons and Animations

Updated on June 28, 2018
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Rose Mary is an Air Force veteran. She has been writing online since 2009, and enjoys writing on a variety of topics.

These are my favorite Christmas animated classics from my childhood. These were all featured on one of the three network channels every year during the holidays, just once. With no VCRs yet, we made sure to never miss these favorite animations. All were first shown on TV between 1962 and 1970, but in my opinion, still stand up well for both story and animation. All are now available for purchase on DVD. Why not add a few of these great animated classics to your Christmas gift-giving list.

  • Classics reviewed in this article:
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • The Little Drummer Boy
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer | Source

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Commercial

Initial Broadcast: 1964.

Amazon Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars, by 880 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 8.1 of 10, from 20,745 votes.

Director: Larry Roemer.

Run Time: 52 minutes.


Burl Ives-- Narrator, Sam the Snowman

Billie Mae Richards-- Rudolph

Stan Francis-- Santa

Paul Soles-- Hermey

Larry D Mann-- Yukon Cornelius

Paul Kligman-- Donner, Clarice’s father

Janet Orenstein-- Clarice

Peg Dixon-- Mrs. Donner

Alfie Scopp-- Head Elf

Carl Banas-- Charlie-in-the-Box

Corinne Conley-- Doll


This beautiful stop-motion animation film is narrated by Sam the Snowman, voiced by Burl Ives, whose songs “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold”, are featured. Sam tells us about young Rudolph, a raindeer with an unusual red glowing nose. Rudolph’s nose makes him stand out as different, and therefore made fun of by the other young raindeer, and excluded from raindeer games. Rudolph teams up with Hermey, also ridiculed because he is an elf who wants to be a dentist. The two team up with prospector Yukon Cornelius and encounter peril in the form of the Abdominal Snowman on their journey to the Island of Misfit Toys. The group make their way back to the North Pole, where Santa is afraid he may have to cancel his Christmas run due to poor visibility due to heavy fog.

Rudolph and Hermey

Santa Clause is Coming to Town

Initial Broadcast: 1970.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars from 286 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 7.8 of 10, from 9256 votes.

Director: Jules Bass.

Run Time: 51 minutes.


Fred Astaire-- narrator

Mickey Rooney-- Kris Kringle

Keenan Wynn-- Winter

Paul Frees-- Burgermeister Meisterburger

Joan Gardner-- Tanta Kringle

Robie Lester-- Jessica


A kindly mailman, voiced by Fred Astaire, explains the origins of many of Santa’s traditions. He relates the story of the orphan Kris, who as an infant was left outside the house of the toy-making Kringle family. Kris wanted to deliver toys to nearby children, which was forbidden by the Burgermeister. Kris also had to win over Winter, the evil wizard, in order to deliver his toys. Along the way, he meets Jessica, a school teacher, and the future Mrs. Kringle.

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman

Initial Broadcast: 1969.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars from 293 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 7.4 of 10, from 11,847 votes.

Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.

Run Time: 48 minutes.


Jimmy Durante-- narrator

Billy De Wolfe-- Professor Hinkle

Jackie Vernon-- Frosty the Snowman

Paul Frees-- Santa

June Foray-- Teacher/Karen


Much to the surprise of a washed-up magician and a group of school children he performs for, he conjures up Frosty the Snowman. Frosty and his new friend Karen realize he will melt in the Spring, and strike out for colder climate. They stow away on a train headed for the North Pole. They do not realize that they are being followed by the magician, who has figured out the secret to Frosty is his old tophat, which the magician plans to retrieve.

Little Drummer Boy

Initial Broadcast: 1968.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars, from 304 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 7.1 of 10, from 3359 votes.

Directors: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass, Takeya Nakamura.

Run Time: 25 minutes.


Greer Garson-- narrator

Jose Ferrer-- Ben Harmed

Paul Frees-- Aaron’s Father, the Magi

June Foray-- Aaron’s mother

Ted Eccles-- Aaron

And Die Wiener Sangerknaben-- The Vienna Boys Choir


Based on the Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy is street urchin who first finds self worth in learning to make music, and then by playing for Baby Jesus. The take home message is that everyone has something to offer, something of value and worth.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Initial Broadcast: 1966.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars, from 1339 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 8.4 of 10, from 37,660 votes.

Director: Ben Washam.

Run Time: 60 minutes.


Boris Karloff-- Narrator, The Grinch

June Foray-- Cindy Lou Who

Thurl Ravenscroft-- Singer


This is the original animated version of the Dr. Seuss book, long before the Jim Carrey version and better by far, in my opinion. The cold-hearted Grinch, voiced by Boris Karloff, is annoyed by the cheerful folks of Whoville, who relish Christmas. He decides to steal all of their gifts, and then some. He dresses as Santa and affixes antlers on his dog’s head, and off they go. His theft does not have the impact he anticipated.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Initial Broadcast: 1965.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars, from 1229 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 8.4 of 10, from 25855 votes.

Director: Bill Melendez.

Run Time: 25 minutes.


Peter Robbins-- Charlie Brown

Bill Melendez-- Snoopy

Christopher-- Shea Linus

Kathy Steinberg-- Sally

Tracy Stratford-- Lucy

Karen Mendelson-- Patty

Goeffrey Omstein-- Pigpen

Chris Doran-- Schroeder

Sally Dryer-- Violet

Mimi Gibson-- Charlotte

Ann Altieri-- Freida


Charlie Brown is disillusioned over the commercialization of Christmas. He sets out to find the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown is chosen to direct the school Christmas play and sets out with Linus to find a fancy tree. Instead they select a sad-looking sparse tree. All of your favorite Peanuts characters appear. Different however from the other animation offerings here, this classic actually used children to voice the characters, rather than the usual practice of the day of using adults acting like children. This cartoon features the now famous music of Vince Guaraldi.

Mr Magoo Christmas Carol

Mr Magoo Christmas Carol

Initial Broadcast: 1962.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars, from 815 customers.

The Internet Movie Database Rating: 7.8 of 10, from 2137 votes.

Director: Abe Levitow.

Run Time: 53 minutes.


Jim Backus-- Ebenezer Scrooge/Mr. Magoo

Morey Amsterdam-- Brady/James

Jack Cassidy-- Bob Cratchit

Royal Dano-- Marley’s Ghost

Joan Gardner-- Tiny Tim, Ghost of Christmas Past

Jane Kean-- Belle

John Hart-- Billings, Milkman

Marie Matthews-- Young Scrooge

Les Tremayne-- Ghost of Christmas Present

Laura Olsher-- Mrs. Cratchit

Paul Frees-- Fezziwig, Charity Man, Eyepatch Man, Tall Tophat Man


This cartoon classic was Mr. Magoo’s swan song, as his last of 43 cartoons. Mr. Magoo is voiced by Jim Backus, famous for playing rich Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island. Other famous voices include Jack Cassidy, father of David Cassidy, and Morey Amsterdam, of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Although Mr. Magoo is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, this version is thought to be less scary than most, and more suited for young children. Several songs included.

© 2009 rmcrayne


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