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The Art Of The TV Christmas Special

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The Art Of The TV Christmas Special

The Art Of The TV Christmas Special

The Art Of The TV Christmas Special

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98455541/98455531" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The stop-motion holiday special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, first aired on television in 1964. NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images hide caption

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NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images

The stop-motion holiday special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, first aired on television in 1964.

NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images

From A Charlie Brown Christmas to A Colbert Christmas, the televised holiday special is a time-honored tradition. Animators in the late 1960s produced some of the season's most iconic tales. Phil Roman animated the Grinch himself — and Cindy Lou Who — and says How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was a lot of fun to work on.

Dan Snierson, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, has his own annual tradition: He watches all the new holiday specials produced each year for cable networks, then puts together an annual checklist of the sap and cliches. Which special — new or old — is your favorite?