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We all know what the best part of the holidays are. No, it's not family or friends or food or even presents, the best part of the holiday season is obviously the TV specials. Cartoon holiday specials have a special place in many peoples hearts, especially Nickmas. The Nickelodeon holiday specials are a staple of the holidays for children everywhere. Every year our favorite shows have a holiday special and while many of them are forgettable, the best ones are worth the annual rewatch.
A Rugrats Chanukah
I promise I am not just picking this because I'm Jewish. Okay well maybe that's part of it, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of all the Christmas specials I saw growing up. I wanted a Chanukah special that I could show my kids every year, and Rugrats gave me my Chanukah miracle in the form of a bright orange VHS tape. Even if you don't celebrate Chanukah, you'll still enjoy this holiday special. Like many Rugrats episodes, the story has two parts, the part that's actually happening and the part that's in the babies' imagination. While Tommy and his friends imagine what it would be like for the "Maccababies" to be persecuted, Grandpa Boris is mad that his rival from the old country, Shlomo, will try to upstage him in the play. I know what you're thinking, what could get better than babies talking about persecution and old people fighting? Is it when Shlomo mentions that his dead wife couldn't have children? Somehow this strange combination not only teaches you what Chanukah is actually about, but it's also entertaining to audiences of all ages.
Christmas Everyday! (Fairly OddParents)
Timmy made a wish that I think most kids would wish for as well, he wishes that everyday would be Christmas. He loves the vacation, spending time with his parents, and most importantly, the presents. What Timmy doesn't realize is the fairies give Santa their magic so he can deliver the toys, and since everyday is Christmas they don't get their powers back. The other holidays get mad that they are now never going to be celebrated and Timmy has to find a way to end Christmas. This episode has a surprisingly touching message about appreciating what you have and not taking things for granted. However, the best part of the episode is the song "Christmas Everyday." This freakin' song has been stuck in my head since 2001 and now it will be stuck in yours.
A Rocket X-Mas
This one is unexpectedly heartfelt. It starts out simple enough, the kids don't want to do their lame Christmas tradition but they want to do something special for their dad. They decide to take up dog walking in order to make enough money to buy a longboard for their dad. They realize in the end that tradition is important to their dad because of how much he values family. When they give him the longboard he gives them both gifts that used to belong to their late mother. Rocket Power isn't known for tugging at your heartstrings but this episode is surprisingly genuine.
When making a "best of" list you need to understand that people may have different opinions. You never want to talk in absolutes or say someone's opinion is wrong because people have different tastes. With that being said, the Hey Arnold! Christmas Special is bar none the greatest Nickelodeon Holiday Special and if you disagree you're wrong. Arnold wants to do something nice for his neighbor, Mr Hyunh, because he's always sad around the holidays. Mr. Hyunh tells Arnold about his lost daughter Mai, who he had given to be saved by American rescue soldiers during a war back in his home country. After twenty years, Mr. Hyunh had come to the city to be reunited with Mai, but he has never been able to find her. If that story doesn't say happy holiday cartoons, I don't know what does. Arnold goes on a quest to reunite Mr. Hyunh and Mai as a Christmas gift for him. Instead of thinking about himself during the holidays, he thinks about others. Not so surprisingly, it turns out to be one of the most moving cartoons ever made and no Christmas is complete without watching "Arnold's Christmas."
Nickelodeon has many great holiday specials, including Doug, Rocko's Modern Life and Spongebob. I recommend watching as many Nickelodeon holiday specials as possible, but if you only have time for four make it the four featured above; you'll thank me later.