Kyle panics when Mr. Hankey doesn't arrive to spread holiday cheer. Seeing Mr. Hankey with his family, the boys decide to do it themselves by creating a Christmas cartoon (Parker and Stone's "The Spirit of Christmas" which spawned South Park itself)
A Very Crappy Christmas contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: The voice director finds Cartman and Kyle's ripping on each other (which is real) to be hilarious, assuming it to be in the script.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Butters made the character cutouts. He made one for himself, only to be told that it wouldn't be needed.
- Awful Wedded Life: Mr. Hankey and his wife Autumn are clearly unhappy with each other, as Autumn spends all her screentime drunk and screaming about her husband's erectile dysfunction. Mr. Hankey frequently pulls her back inside their house so they can scream at each other away from other people. At least one instance implies domestic violence with Autumn heavily implied to throw a vase at her husband.
- The Character Died with Him: In-universe. When Kenny gets killed, Stan and Kyle agree to just kill off his character in the short.
- Christmas Episode: The boys have to figure out how to bring back commercialism to Christmas.
- Didn't Think This Through: The boys try to animate their own Christmas cartoon, but they quickly discover that it's a very long process. After one night, they had only completed a few seconds of animation.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Kyle gets the idea to do the short from watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and thinking they could do better.
- Exposed to the Elements: Kenny doesn't bother putting on trousers when Kyle calls him out to look for Mr Hankey, even though it's the middle of the night in December.
- Hypocritical Humor: Watching Charlie Brown, Stan wonders why cartoon characters always have such big heads.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Stan imitating Cartman's voice for the short is a reference to the fact both characters are voiced by Trey Parker.
- "Lion King" Lift: Mr. Hankey lifts up his son Cornwallis from a high rock at the end of the "Circle of Life" parody, "The Circle of Poo".
- Musicalis Interruptus: Kenny getting hit by a car interrupts the song but Stan and Kyle shrug it off by deciding to off Kenny in the short too. They continue singing.
- Mythology Gag: Stan and Kyle's short is one big one to the 1995 "Spirit of Christmas" short by Parker and Stone that led to the creation of South Park. The footage is even reused for the film itself.
- The Other Darrin: In-universe. Cartman quits during production, so Stan imitates him.
- Self-Deprecation: "An animated Christmas card? Kids, that just might be the dumbest idea I've ever heard, ever!"
- Shout-Out: The Circle of Poo musical sequence is an obvious parody of Circle of Life. That the normally high-pitched Cornwallis sings with the much deeper voice of Louis Price is an exaggerated riff on how Disney animated films would often have separate voice actors for characters' speaking and singing voices.
- Skewed Priorities: Kyle is more disgusted by Cartman sneezing on him than he is by the group walking in a sewer. Cartman lampshades it.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Cornwallace's singing voice is much, much deeper than his speaking voice.
- Take That!:
- The boys are openly irritated by A Charlie Brown Christmas.Kyle: Jesus, this sucks. All they keep doin' is dancin' around.
Cartman: Yeah, this thing really falls apart in the second act.
Stan: [stilted] And why is it that on Charlie Brown cartoons, everyone talks like this.
- "And a whopping 57% said they would kick Bon Jovi square in the balls if given the opportunity."
- The boys are openly irritated by A Charlie Brown Christmas.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny gets hit by a car during the boys' musical number. Stan and Kyle have his death be a part of their cartoon.
- Throw It In: In-universe, Cartman and Kyle ripping each other was not part of the cartoon's script but rather a real argument they had while recording dialogue. The sound technician thought it was hilarious and suggested the boys add it to the cartoon.
- Troubled Production: In-universe, the boys go through a lot of trouble making the short.
- Unintentional Period Piece: The climax of the episode involves the movie reel malfunctioning so that the film is too unraveled to be projectable. This would be difficult to imagine for many younger people who grew up in the age of near-universal digital media.
- Vocal Evolution: Parodied. The episode excuses Cartman's more exaggerated voice in the original "Spirit of Christmas" short as a result of Stan impersonating him after the real Cartman quits.
- Whole Plot Reference: To the Rankin-Bass special Twas the Night Before Christmas, to the point that Kyle even sings "Even a Miracle Needs a Hand".