Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen is a 2006 stop-motion Christmas special that premiered on ABC. It was directed by David H. Brooks and features an All-Star Cast, including Fred Savage, John O'Hurley, Gladys Knight, Edie McClurg, Harland Williams, Paul Rodriguez, Brenda Song, Emily Osment, Fred Willard, and Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
The plot revolves around Rudolph's brother Rusty (Savage), who's hopelessly inferior to the other reindeer and is ignored even by his own dad. He joins a support group for depressed holiday icons, such as the Easter Bunny (Knight), Cupid (Rodriguez), a Thanksgiving turkey (Williams), and two ghost girls representing Halloween (Song, Osment). Together, they search for the meaning of Christmas and help an unnamed boy (Sprouse) get on Santa's (Willard) nice list.
The special was sponsored by Campbell's soup, Walmart, Ask.com, and Coca-Cola, all of which were subjected to Product Placement in the special itself. Platypus Comix reviewed the special for the subsite "The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials" here.
This special contains examples of:
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The kid who knows a talking reindeer doesn't believe in Santa.
- Christmas Special
- Mall Santa: The special tries to explain that they're actually working for Santa himself.
- No Name Given: The boy played by both Sprouse brothers.
- Product Placement: The reason why Peter from Platypus Comix dislikes this special - because of the rather blatant shilling for the various sponsors. On top of that, most if not all of the commercial breaks from its original airing had a commercial enticing viewers to buy the DVD of the special itself at Walmart (which nowadays can be had for cheap on Amazon).
- Saving Christmas: But not in the way you'd expect. The reason this Christmas "almost didn't happen" was because Santa had the wrong operating system running.
- Shout-Out: Near the beginning of the special Rusty runs into the Coca-Cola bears.
- Stop Motion
- Tropaholics Anonymous: Rusty meets the other holiday icons through an "Icons Anonymous" meeting.
- Valley Girl: Trick and Treat.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Rusty is Rudolph's brother, but the latter isn't mentioned by name because he actually isn't a public domain character. As the Platypus Comix review explains, Loophole Abuse comes into effect when the character is integrated into the story: most Christmas specials either show him but don't mention him (i.e. this special), or mention him but don't show him (i.e. Olive, the Other Reindeer).
- Yes, Virginia