While the 1960s gave us some of the most enduring classic Christmas animation, and the 1970s provided a respectable follow-up, the 1980s delivered some of the most head-scratching and forgettable cartoon Christmas specials. It was a decade giddy in its cheesiness. Unabashed in its product placement. When any toy could have its own line of breakfast cereal and a Saturday morning cartoon. And where Christmas specials could derived from a paper-thin plot and some Toys R Us catalog copy. Many of them aired only once, and found a second life in piles of bargain bin VHS tapes.
So put on your parachute pants and break out the hair mousse, because we’re taking a trip back to some totally 80s cartoon specials.
Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
In this 1982 gem, Santa finds himself stranded after a skirmish with the ghosts causes him to crash his sleigh. And it’s up to Pac-Man and his friends to set things right and save Christmas.
The Glo Friends Save Christmas
Another “[fill in the blank] saves Christmas” plot. This time, the Glo Friends (featuring the voice of Sally Struthers) battle the wicked witch of the North Pole when she tries to ruin Christmas by capturing Santa.
Ziggy always seemed to me like a character an aunt would have on a coffee mug. In this 1982 special, he gets a job to be a street Santa on Christmas Eve and…something something something…the magic of Christmas.
Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls
Remember Wacky Wall Walkers? Those sticky rubber octopuses you could throw at a wall and watch them climb down? Yeah, well, they had their own Christmas special. The Wall Walkers are space aliens who have come to earth to learn the meaning of Christmas.
BC: A Special Xmas
Cavemen invent a character that eventually morphs into Santa Claus…and somehow becomes real. As with A Flintstone Christmas, this one’s based on the nonsensical notion of a pre-historic Christmas. And yet they manage to discover (you guessed it) the true meaning of Christmas.
The Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas
The Cabbage Patch Kids practically were Christmas for a lot of kids in the mid 80s, so it’s only fitting that this special finds them heading to the big city to find the Christmas Spirit.
Tis the Season to be Smurfy
The little blue creatures who seem to know only one adjective get smurfy when they smurfily help an elderly (er…”smurfy”) human couple.
He Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special
1985 brought us perhaps the 80s-est of all 80s Christmas cartoons: He-Man and She-Ra…together at last, in a convoluted plot to stop Horde Prime from ruining Christmas for a couple of stranded children.