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He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

A mostly American subgenre—special television shows, often one-shots, created with a winter or holiday theme for broadcast during the month of December. Most prominently feature Santa Claus and his associated mythology, as they try to preserve political correctness. Some try to elucidate us on the True Meaning of 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.

Compare Christmas Episode (generally known as Christmas Specials in the UK) 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 of Christmas Special include:

  1. Probably better known for the album than the special but still ...