The Twelve Specials of Christmas

By Matthew Bento Jr. , 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


For all who are reading and watching, starting on December 14 2022, I will be posting a new article each day reviewing Christmas specials, all leading to Christmas day. Here are some of the rules of the listing as shown below


  1. I will only count one special per franchise.

  2. I will not count the holiday specials that do not connect to a show but are freestanding. Examples are Animaniacs: Wakko's Wish and the stop-motion Spongebob Special.

  3. I can't promise that I can get the articles done on time each day. But I do hope to complete all the articles before New Year's.


So please enjoy the articles and if you celebrate it, have a good Christmas.



#12: Last Christmas!

Ducktales (2017)

By Matthew Bento Jr. , 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK!


For our 12th spot (counting down from 12 to 1) on our list is the first “Ducktales” reboot Christmas special: “Last Christmas.”


Synopsis: In order to escape his family on Christmas, Scrooge travels in time with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. However, Dewey travels along with him and teams up with the past child versions of Donald and his mother, Della Duck.


Review: After rewatching the episode, I really enjoyed this. The thought of them bringing in Jack McBrayer to voice the Ghost of Christmas Past was incredible. Seeing Dewey bond with younger Donald and Della was heartwarming. And the scenes just with Donald and Della were even more heartfelt. This episode also showed how Scrooge grew as a character. At first, he was just a loner that didn't care for his family after an incident involving the Spear of Selene, a spaceship from the 2017 “Ducktales” series. But now, he accepts his family and that he should spend Christmas with them.


Summary: After watching, it does show Scrooge’s growth. Although he showed personal growth in past episodes, here it is obvious to all. The heartwarming feel of this episode draws viewers in. I placed this as #12 because compared to the other picks on this list, it is not as compelling. Stay tuned for the other 11 picks!


Heartfelt Moments: 5/7

Music: 6/7

Writing: 6/7

Holiday Feels: 7/7

#11: A Hearth's Warming Tail

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


For the 11th spot on our list is the “My Little Pony” Christmas special, which is a parody of Charles Dickens’ famous “A Christmas Carol.”


Synopsis: When Starlight doesn’t feel like celebrating Hearth’s Warming, Twilight tells her about the story of Snowfall Frost and how she almost destroyed the holiday.


Review: After watching the episode again, I have to say that this was a good one overall. I do love how each of the show's characters fits into the story line. Luna is the Ghost of Hearth's Warming Future and Starlight Glimmer is Snowfall Frost (The Scrooge of this story). They are in these roles because of their past choices and history throughout the series. The writing is phenomenal, fully showing the Christmas Carol story plotline. My only quibble with this episode was that there is no Tiny Tim plot like the original movie. However, since this is a children's show made for a demographic that probably hasn’t even heard of the meaning of death yet, I can understand why. It is also a musical which is the 4th one in the series overall. The songs were catchy and fit the characters well.


Summary: The music and writing were great. Back when I saw the sneak peek of this episode back at my grandmother's, I did find the music very catchy. It was somewhat enjoyable, even to older audiences. Even after many years, this generation of the show hasn’t lost its charm.


Heartfelt Moments: 4/7

Music: 7/7

Writing: 6/7

Holiday Vibe:7/7

#10: Operation: N.A.U.G.H.T.Y

Codename: Kids Next Door

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


Synopsis: After “Sector V” breaks into Santa’s workshop, Santa’s Elfa Strike Squad attacks our heroes.


Review: I do recall watching and enjoying this special before and enjoyed the references to Marvel superheroes such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four. It also included references to Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and others. The action scenes were pretty entertaining. They perfectly used those scenes to introduce the characters and their abilities. And most Christmas specials don’t have fight scenes.


The writing of this episode was mostly good but not perfect, although there was a touching moment in the end. But it was mainly fight scenes to fill in the time. However, there was still a holiday vibe, even with the Marvel references and battle scenes.


Summary: This episode was par at best. The loose holiday connection and fight scenes were at least a bit enjoyable. And the new characters were creative Christmas counterparts to the heroes of the Marvel universe.


Heartfelt Moments: 4/7

Writing: 5/7

Holiday Vibe: 7/7

Action: 6/7



#9: Three Gems and a Baby

Steven Universe

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


For the 9th spot on this list, we have the Steven Universe special, "Three Gems and a Baby," a special loved by fans.


Synopsis: Greg informs Steven about the blizzard that hit Beach City fourteen years ago and his first winter with Steven.


Review: I enjoyed the episode to an extent. We got to see how the Crystal Gems cope with Rose’s death, observing how her death impacted each member of the team and Greg. Some of the effects would be felt for a long time. I also appreciated the breadcrumbs of foreshadowing coming up to the final few episodes of the show like the razor Garnet gave baby Steven and Pearl's way of trying to “free” Rose. There were some heartwarming scenes showing Greg and the other gems. The music was phenomenal and the song of the episode ("I Could Never Be Ready") was incredible, as was the writing. Some people can relate to this episode if they have lost someone and it’s their first Christmas without them.


Summary: Although it does not have any holiday vibe to it, the good writing and heartfelt moments really shine. For me, it was hard because this is my first Christmas without my Grandmother. That’s why I could relate so well.


Heartfelt Moments:7/7

Music:6/7

Writing:7/7

Holiday Vibe:1/7

#8: Virtually Christmas

Big City Greens

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


In the 8th spot on the list is the 2nd Big City Greens special, "Virtually Christmas," one of the newest specials of the twelve featured here.


Synopsis: After Cricket is snowed in at the Remington's, the Greens must attempt to make their Christmas traditions happen in virtual reality.


Review: One of the main reasons why I put this special on the list and not the other one from the series is because of the animation style. For the scene in virtual reality, they give us 3D animation. It was vibrant and smooth, reflecting the creator's time and effort. The holiday vibe was evident throughout the episode. But the heartfelt moments were mediocre. It couldn't really connect. But for those who may be far away from home, separated from their loved ones for Christmas, they may be able to relate. Also, anyone who lived through Covid-19 might find some connections. The plot was original. Some characters' storylines, such as Tilly's and Bill’s, were pretty good. However, the virtual reality story felt like a summary of Minecraft.


Summary: The animation was the highlight of this episode for me. The Christmas theme did go all out, but the 3D animation was the true highlight. Although the heartfelt moments were just ok for me, some others may relate to this more.


Animation: 7/7

Holiday Vibe: 7/7

Heartfelt Moments: 3/7

Writing: 5/7

#7: Froggy Little Christmas

Amphibia

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


For the 7th spot on our list is the Amphibia Christmas special, "Froggy Little Christmas."


Synopsis: For Christmas, Anne tries to surprise her mom by trying to put her float in the Christmas parade. Meanwhile, Andrais has other plans.


Review: This is one of my favorite Amphibia episodes. First thing first, the music was phenomenal. When this episode gets a song written and sung by Rebecca Sugar herself, then you know that it’s good. There weren’t many heartwarming scenes except for the ending. The holiday vibe, however, was felt all throughout the episode. The action was maybe a bit fast, but the comedy was incredible, with humorous scenes and unique facial expressions that really sealed the deal.


Summary: Most of the episode was incredible, especially the music. The heartwarming scenes were few but still a little bit satisfying. And in spite of the action being fast, it was still pretty good.


Music: 7/7

Heartwarming Scenes: 4/7

Holiday Vibe: 7/7

Action: 6/7

Comedy: 7/7


#6: A Pinky and the Brain Christmas

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


Coming in at the 6th spot on our list is the infamous "Pinky and the Brain Christmas."


Synopsis: Brain has come up with a new plan to go to the North Pole and put his mind control toys on every list wish in order to hypnotize the world. As for Pinky, all he wants is to bring his wish list to Santa on time.


Review: Fun fact: The voice actors for Pinky and the Brain cried while recording the final scenes. With that and the fact that the episode won a primetime Emmy Award, I already knew that this episode would be a good one. The heartfelt moments in the final scene where Brain reads Pinky’s letter say it all. The writing in the episode was incredibly poetic and moving. And the music enhances the final scenes, making them even more moving. The holiday vibe is felt throughout the entire episode, but the heartwarming feelings and writing outshine the rest.


Summary: This may be one of the greatest episodes of Pinky and the Brain. We get to see how much Brain does care for Pinky and vice versa. We also witness a side of Brain we rarely see and it is FANTASTIC! I absolutely adore this episode!


Heartwarming Feelings: 7/7

Writing: 7/7

Music: 7/7

Holiday Vibe: 7/7

Perfect Score!


#5: ‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas

The Powerpuff Girls

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


Coming up on the 5th spot on our list, is the famous Powerpuff Girls Christmas special, "‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas."


Synopsis: In order to try to become a Powerpuff Girl, Princess Morbucks tricks Santa into believing that everyone in the world except herself is naughty. It’s up to the Powerpuff Girls to set things right.


Review: This episode was incredible. Though it lacked some heartwarming scenes, excellent writing and action made up for it. Almost every character got the spotlight and was relatable, especially Bubbles and Professor Utonium. The action was also a spectacular. It showed the extent of the girls’ powers and how Morbucks uses her own newfound powers. The holiday vibe was clearly shown all across the episode, especially when the narrator began to rhyme. However, I would’ve liked to see more heartwarming scenes. This was a chance to make us see why Morbucks is a spoiled brat all the time and not a one-dimensional, stereotypical "rich kid." There was an opportunity to grow Princess’s character and give her some depth.


Summary: It may have lacked heartwarming scenes, but it made up for it with incredibly illustrated action sequences and well-thought-out writing.


Heartwarming Scenes: 0/7


Action: 7/7


Writing: 7/7


Holiday Vibe: 7/7


#4: Christmas with the Joker

Batman: The Animated Series

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK


To honor the death of Kevin Conroy, we mark the Batman animated series Christmas special, "Christmas with the Joker," at #4 on our list.


Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, the Joker plans something crazy for Gotham City and it’s up to Batman and Robin to stop him.


Review: The action of the episode was mesmerizing. It shows that the Joker has no limits to his psychotic evil. The writing was really clever, revealing the Joker's devilish behavior against Batman's clever ways. Batman is basically the DC version of Sherlock Holmes. There were few ties to the holiday itself, but the music was great, particularly the infamous jingle bells Batman parody. This alone could make it a solid rating already but not a 7/7.


Summary: The action did take up most of the episode but was enjoyable. The writing did explore the characters’ traits more. The holiday vibe was there, but not completely.


Action: 7/7


Writing: 7/7


Holiday Vibe: 6/7


Music: 4/7


In loving memory of Kevin Conroy, may he

rest in peace.

#3: Holly Jolly Secrets

By: Matthew Bento Jr., 2026

Disclaimer: This is part of the reviewers "12 Specials of Christmas animated movies." It is not an endorsement of any particular religion or belief system.


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS SPECIAL ALREADY, GO CHECK IT OUT AND COME BACK

For the #3 spot on our list, we have the infamous Adventure Time episode, "Holly Jolly Secrets."


Synopsis: After finding a briefcase full of Ice King’s video tapes, Finn and Jake try to uncover any secrets inside these tapes. However, Ice King has other plans.


Review: The heartfelt moments…I don’t even know where to start. We got to see the tragedy of Ice King’s past and it showed us a character drowned in insanity. Tom Kenney did an incredible job voice-acting Ice King in the reveal scene at the end. The writing was fantastic! There was a great plot twist that no one even saw coming, and it created some heartfelt moments. The comedy was hilarious. Ice King really stole the show with his wacky antics, especially when he tried to sing Marceline’s song while wearing a black wig. The holiday vibe was obvious throughout the entire episode. The action however was only brief and didn’t reveal much. But it was worth it to see this level of writing and comedy.


Review: Although there wasn't much action, the writing, heartfelt moments, and comedy stole the show. All of that plus the holiday vibe made it worth it.


Heartfelt Moments: 7/7


Writing: 7/7


Comedy: 7/7


Holiday Vibe: 6/7


Action: 1/7


The Cuphead Show!

Matthew Bento Jr., '26

Spoiler Protection: 7/7

If you’re looking for fun and have the heebie-jeebies, this show is the place for you. The Cuphead Show is a Netflix Original Series made by Dave Wasson. This cartoon is based on the indie game Cuphead.

Synopsis: In the Inkwell Isles, Cuphead (Voiced by Tru Valentino) and his brother Mugman (Frank Todaro) live in a tiny little cottage with their Elder Kettle (Joe Hanna). Join the cup brothers as they run around Inkwell Isles causing all sorts of hijinks such as meeting the charming Mrs. Chalice ( Grey DeLisle-Griffin), trying to keep their souls away from the cruelest of the cruel, The Devil (Luke Millington-Drake), or even going on the game show, Roll the Dice, hosted by King Dice (Wayne Brady). No matter what, those boys are a handful.

Review: I must say that after watching all 3 seasons of this show that this is an incredible piece of animation. The story had a perfect amount of story-driven and episodic episodes, each one getting better as the series progressed. The adventures are funny and creative. They do add some source material from the game but also bring in some new characters as well.

The music and out of this world animation make it feel like a 1930-styled cartoon and the facial expressions of the characters are humorous. The voice acting is also astonishing. To get Wayne Brady, a man who does so many voices, to play King Dice enhances the show. It is clear that a lot of time and effort has been put into the final product.

Summary: This animated 3-season masterpiece is a grand cartoon. It feels like an old-fashioned cartoon, but also has some new variables such as more continuity and arcs, that make it fit in with the other modern cartoons.

Story: 7/7

Animation: 7/7

Voice Acting: 7/7

Music: 7/7

Ninjago Crystalized

By Matthew Bento Jr., '26


Spoiler Protection: 0/7


I’m sure most of you at least once in your life have heard the lyrics “Jump up, kick back, whip around, and spin.” Ninjago Crystalized is the 16th and final season of Lego Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu.


Synopsis: One year after the events of Seabound, the ninja begin to track down a mysterious Vengestone buyer. However, this soon lands them in Kryptarium Prison. And what is even worse, an evil villain known as the Crystal King is assembling the ninja's enemies into his “Council of the Crystal King.” Can they win the ultimate battle once and for all?


Review: As a die-hard Ninjago fan, this may be one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen. The animation is so fluent and incredible. The story kept me on the edge of my seat, seeing plot twist after plot twist. And they have brought a ton of voice actors from the past seasons such as Heather Doerksen, Micheal Dobson, and even the one and only Mark Oliver. To top the cast off, it includes a music video called “Inner Steel” made by Ashleigh Ball herself. The fact that they were able to jam-pack this grand finale in only thirty 11-minute-long episodes says enough.


If you left the show a while ago, I suggest you catch up and watch this on Netflix or Youtube. I have been watching the show for years now and I still have my Pythor Day of the Departed Minifigure (that I bought over a year or two ago).


Although, I do have one doubt. It’s that the selling of the Lego sets for this season spoiled some major twists and plotlines. It wasn’t the creator's fault. I do believe the blame is on LEGO. I have seen with my own eyes that both fans and staff of the show both agree on this. I have never seen anything like this. So all I can say is…Lego, you have messed up.


Summary: In all my years of cartoon watching years I have never seen a finale with as much continuity. I recommend this season if you are a former/current Ninjago fan.


My Rating


Story:7/7


Animation:7/7


Characters: 7/7


Voice Acting: 7/7


*Editor's Note: We are continuing with the rating system created by one of last year's seniors. Somerville is built on seven hills, so seven is the best rating on the scale.


Amphibia

By Matthew Bento Jr., '26


Spoiler Protection: 6/7


When you’re a normal girl living in another world, you just gotta ribbit, ribbit jump on in it. Amphibia is a Disney Channel animated show made by Matt Braly.


Synopsis: After opening a mysterious music box, Anee Boonchuy (voiced by Brenda Song) and her friends are teleported into a world of frogs and then separated. Anne is teleported into the town of Wartwood and taken in by the Plantars, including the Adventuring Sprig Plantar (Justin Feilbinger), the chaotic and deadly Polly Plantar (Amanda Leighton), and the old-fashioned grandfather Hop Pop (Bill Farmer). But is there more to Amphibia than meets the eye?


Review: I have been watching this series since its prime in season 2. I fell in love with this show! The comedy is hilarious and relatable. The voice acting is amazing. But it is the voice talents of Bill Farmer that sealed the deal. It even brought Alex Hirsch back for a Gravity Falls crossover.


The animation of this show is an incredible piece of work at times. It looks a bit more well done in some scenes and sometimes helps the comedy and story as well. But the real highlight of the show is its writing. The story and character development are excellent throughout the series, especially in seasons 2 and 3. At times it isn’t afraid to get dark to the point that it shows a trigger warning at the beginning of one episode for its intense final scenes.


Summary: This is one of Disney Channel's best-animated cartoon masterpieces so far. Even if you don’t watch a lot of cartoons, I highly recommend that you watch this masterpiece.


My Rating


Story:7/7


Animation: 7/7


Comedy: 7/7


Voice Acting: 7/7

DuckTales! (2017)

By Matthew Bento Jr., '26


Life is indeed like a hurricane, especially when watching this show. DuckTales (2017) is a reboot of the classic DuckTales of the 1980s.


Synopsis: DuckTales is about the wealthy billionaire Scrooge McDuck (voiced by David Tennant) and his three nephews Huey (Danny Pudi), Dewey (Ben Schwartz), and Louie (Bobby Moynihan). Together they go on adventures all around the globe. They also have friends who join in their adventures, such as Webby Vanderquack (Kate Micucci), Launchpad McQuack (Beck Bennet), and even the infamous Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo).


Review: DuckTales is one of the best reboots I have seen in a long long time. Most reboots show episodic adventures and change the characters to the point that they're not even recognizable anymore.


But not DuckTales. This show gives us a continuity-driven story and some episodic adventures now and again. After watching all three seasons, I was amazed at the great cast with original characters and callbacks to the original Disney afternoon shows. From a shadow puppet of a sorceress to the terror that flaps in the night himself, these characters are incredible to watch.


The animation is also pretty lively at times. Sometimes the animation causes it to be intense, especially during the season finales. This show was excellent and if you have Disney Plus and nothing to watch, I suggest you check it out.


Summary: I remember back when I was in 7th grade. I would wake up at 5 am and watch the new season 3 DuckTales episodes. All I can say is that this was one of the best reboots I’ve ever seen.


My Rating


Writing: 7/7 hills


Animation: 7/7 hills


Characters: 7/7 hills


Voice Acting: 7/7 hills


*Editor's Note: We are continuing with the rating system created by one of last year's seniors. Somerville is built on seven hills, so seven is the best rating on the scale.