The Secret Villains of Five Classic Christmas Specials

Classic characters to hate for the holidays
The Secret Villains of Five Classic Christmas Specials

For generations, parents have plopped their kiddies in front of the television to watch holiday specials designed to delight. But while those shows purport to show us the scoundrels of Christmas — Scrooge, the Grinch, the hateful Heat Miser — the real bad guys are often lurking in the tinseled shadows. Here are the secret villains of five classic Christmas specials.

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‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’: Donner

Kris Kringle is a real dick. He meets a reindeer who can’t even walk yet and he’s already telling the kid how much he sucks. “Great bouncing iceberg!” Santa belches when Rudolph’s nose lights up, telling his father Donner that the reindeer better grow out of that shit if he expects to pull the old man’s sleigh one day. 

But Santa is a real sweetheart compared to Donner. You’re Rudolph's dad, you bastard! “Santa’s right, he’ll never make the sleigh team,” Donner whines right in front of his kid. Then he slaps mud on Rudolph’s nose so “you can be a normal little buck just like everyone else.” The newborn can't breathe with his nose covered in clay? No problem, says douchebag Donner. “You’ll get used to it.”

Learn to fly, Rudolph, and keep flying far away from that deadbeat. Who needs him?

‘Frosty the Snowman’: Frosty

Let’s get this straight. Karen, a girl with no magical come-back-to-life powers like some snowmen we know, risks everything to get Frosty to the North Pole. She practically dies of hypothermia, first in a railroad car full of ice cream cakes and then in a forest, presumably near the North Pole, in the dead of winter. Sure, sure, Frosty does his best to keep Karen from croaking but once he teams up with Santa, what do the two a-holes do? Return the girl to town — AND LEAVE HER ON TOP OF HER FREAKING HOUSE.

Rankin/Bass Productions

Did I mention that the roof is covered with snow and ice? That she’s three stories off the ground? That there’s no ladder or fire truck in sight? Is she just supposed to leap to an adjoining roof and shimmy down a chimney? Sorry to bother you, snowstain, but would it kill you to take the kid all the way to the street?

The Year Without A Santa Claus : Mrs. Claus

Poor Santa. He’s got some COVID or its stop-motion equivalent. He can’t get out of bed, and his wanker of a doctor says it’s because no one believes in him anymore. Nice bedside manner, Doc. If you’re Santa’s wife, you call in a specialist, right? Or at least try to convince your husband of 700 years or so that he’s got a reason to live?

All in good time. First, Mrs. Claus takes advantage of Santa’s fevered coma to dress up in his jolly suit and dance up a storm. The old guy's on life support – how's he going to know? “Hey, there’s a new Santa in town and her name is ME!” she sings, oblivious to the man dying on the bed next to her.

A Christmas Story : Schwartz

Some friend. Once Schwartz triple-dog-dares his buddy to stick his tongue to a frozen metal flag pole, it’s all over for Flick. What’s the fire department going to do — pull the kid off the pole, ripping away layers of tongue flesh? Enlist a local surgeon to get busy with his unsterilized 1940s scalpel? Maybe scalding water will do the trick. Here’s hoping Flick’s dad was a personal injury attorney and took Schwartz’s family for everything they had. Little shithead. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Vince Guaraldi

Has there ever been a greater cause of seasonal depression than Guaraldi’s mournful soundtrack to this mess of melancholy? Forget the lyrics about “happiness and cheer” and simply soak in the barren, broken trees that dot the Charlie Brown landscape.

It’s the soundtrack to staring out the window on Christmas Eve and wondering why no one loves you this season or any season, for that matter. The mournful vocals don’t help, a chorus of gloomy ghost children that Guaraldi assembled to haunt our holiday dreams. It’s the kind of music one composes to underscore Violet’s smug declaration, “I didn’t send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown.” You're hopelessly alone, kids, and it doesn't get any better when you grow up.

Thanks for the stocking full of ennui, Vince. Now go choke on a candy cane.

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