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Christmas Special

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A mostly American subgenre, these are special television shows, often one-shots, created with a (northern hemisphere) winter or holiday theme for broadcast during the month of December. While some depict what the holiday specifically celebrates — the birth of Jesus Christ — or make it key to the plot in some way (for instance, A Charlie Brown Christmas involves the staging of a Nativity play), most are secular to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Many prominently feature Santa Claus and his associated mythology. Some try to educate the viewers about the True Meaning of Christmas. Their plots often involve the characters Saving Christmas.

Perhaps the best-known Christmas Specials are the animated ones (including the stop-motion animations produced primarily by Rankin/Bass) from the 1960s through the 1970s that rerun annually. Far more numerous, though, are the various celebrity specials, which usually take the form of a low-key holiday-themed Variety Show. Usually the latter are rather forgettable by virtue of their one-off nature, but sometimes they can generate moments that survive decades. A case in point would be the Bing Crosby-David Bowie duet of "The Little Drummer Boy", which has taken on a life of its own above and beyond the 1970s-vintage Crosby special from which it sprang.

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Compare Christmas Episode (generally known as a Christmas Special in the UK), Easter Special, and Halloween Special. If the holiday celebrated in the special only looks like Christmas but is renamed to match the setting, it's a You Mean "Xmas".


Examples:


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