The Best TV Holiday Specials for the Kids

Entertainment TV and Movies

December is filled with festivities and celebrations, so I’m not surprised when the television is filled with them too. Christmas is the big one but I’m pleased to see a bit more diversity in the shows with episodes for Hanukkah and Solstice as well. You don’t have to sit down and watch every TV Holiday Special; it’s just nice to know there’s an episode out there for everyone. So here a couple of my top faves to start you off. And if you have a fave kids TV Holiday Special (old or new), let us know in the comments.

Bluey: “Christmas Swim”

Bluey Christmas Swim Holiday Special

Absolutely no surprise for Bluey to be my first choice. Bluey is my fave show, and the kids like to watch it too. Seriously though, this show has been a feature in our home all year. For a short 7-minute nip of a show, the episodes capture all the feels and the fun! This year’s TV Holiday Special is no different: “Christmas Swim”. It’s all about the crazy chaos of Christmas. Set in Australia, the Heelers are partaking in the Aussie Summer with the extended family all gathered around the pool. Despite the slightly different weather and location, I’m sure many families will recognize the craziness that comes with the family gathering. Even in small settings, it can be overwhelming for little ones. Bluey shows how to manage the crazy and look through to the heart of the family instead. (No teddy-bears were harmed during the making of this episode)

In 2020, it is recommended for everyone to limit the numbers at your gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19. This can be upsetting for some families, especially those who are used to the ‘crazy and chaos’ they would usually have at this time of year. Coming from a country who had lockdown hard and early, this can help with manage the virus. There is another Bluey episode with a bit of guidance on this: “Grannies”. It doesn’t name the virus or call-out what we should be doing. It merely shows a beautiful video-call between Bluey and her Nanna, learning how to ‘floss’. It’s not the same as celebrating in person but it is an excellent example of making the best out of a bad situation.

The Bluey Christmas Special premieres Friday, December 11 on the Disney Junior network. Aussie viewers can rewatch via ABC iView (not like I’ve been doing that all weekend).

Molly of Denali: “The Shortest Birthday”

At this time of year, our family celebrates the Solstice. For us, it’s the Summer Solstice, being the longest day of the year and we will totally soak up the sunshine. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the Winter Solstice and very very similar to Christmas and every other celebration in December. That’s why I am so impressed to see a show celebrating the Solstice!

In “The Shortest Birthday”, Molly is helping celebrate her friend’s birthday, which also happens to be on the Solstice. The Solstice is a scientific event; no ‘calendar date’ or organised religion controls it. It simply happens. Whether or not you are ready. This is the lesson for Molly and her friends to learn: Accept What Life Brings–You Cannot Control Many Things.

If ever there was a life lesson to take from 2020, that would be it.

The Molly of Denali Holiday Special premieres Tuesday, December 8 on PBS Kids (check your local listings), along with a series of Molly of Denali Christmas specials, starting Monday, December 7. You can read more about Molly of Denali in our previous review article here. 

Arthur: “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas”

Arthur's Perfect Christmas Holiday Special

Confession: I knew nothing about Hanukkah until I watched this short movie many years ago. It’s not like Arthur provided the quintessential explanation. It was more like watching a kids’ Holiday Special which included everything for kids to understand. Most importantly, it showed someone being strong enough to speak up for why this is important to her. If you have a special family celebration for this time of year, find a way to celebrate it for you. The ‘perfect Christmas’ is yours. 

For a kids’ special aimed at kids between 4-years and 8-years-old, this show doesn’t pull any punches. In fact, Arthur never has. This doesn’t make it edgy or harsh. It is honest and warm and inclusive. If anything, it is the most honest Christmas / Holiday Special I have ever seen. And I love it.

Arthur’s Perfect Christmas is available to watch in the US on Amazon Prime. PBS Kids also has a webpage to learn more about Hanukkah with Arthur here.

There are plenty of TV Holiday Specials available to watch, with equally as many ideas on how to celebrate. GeekMom Lisa has already given us a great list of 10 Random and Geeky Facts About Fictional Holidays. We all have our family favorites but I also love to watch (and learn) from the variety of shows available out there. Let us know your faves in the comments below–I’m always looking for new ideas!

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