Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas. The word, for me, recalls a stressful month of late nights, crowded stores, and angry shoppers. Outside of the former job, it recalls a period filled with obnoxious toy ads, rampant consumerism, and tons of absolutely horrible Christmas specials that just take from another special, which takes from another special, to the point that you’re watching the same special, sometimes three times in a row! And don’t get me started on “all day marathons” of A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. Seriously – once is enough! But I digress.

While this time of year leaves me a bit salty, I can’t help but love anime Christmas specials. The fact that Japan sees Christmas completely differently and shows it through their specials usually puts a smile on my face. Yeah, there’s often Santa and some other related imagery, but that’s about where it ends. The fact that not every episode ends with some talking animal saving Christmas, or Santa’s son/daughter/mistress returning to the North Pole, or whatever’s popular nowadays is a huge turn-off.

In particular, I like how many specials dwell on the quieter, more important aspects of the holiday. In particular, I like the idea of spending time with those you care for, or enjoying the holiday together with family. While the approach is different, I can’t help but feel that they really embody the holiday spirit in a lot of ways. And, of course, there’s the shows that just go off into left field and deliver an experience that even peyote couldn’t match.

There are dozens of great anime Christmas specials in the wild, with more being made with each passing year. And, so long as they keep making it, I’ll probably keep lapping it up. After all – a guy can only watch Rudolph or Frosty so many times before he says “no more!”