In December 2002, Nickelodeon ran a series of short Christmas-themed vignettes during their commercial breaks to advertise their annual Christmas programming. Each of the shorts featured the characters from the network's animated shows, often parodying classic Christmas works such as those produced by Rankin/Bass. These shorts continued to be aired annually on the network through 2005.
As part of the event in 2002 and 2003, two specially-made pieces of animation were made for station ID spots used on the channel, both in the Rankin/Bass stop-motion style - one in which Goddard helps Tommy Pickles hang some Christmas lights, and another where SpongeBob SquarePants rips his pants while delivering a Christmas gift. These particular animation pieces were also used in bumpers shown whenever the specials themselves went to commercials.
In addition to the shorts detailed below, the specials were advertised with promos that featured a group of Nicktoon characters (pictured on the right) singing about the programming event, to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
Synopsis of each segment
A Chuckie Finster Christmas, Channukah, Kwaanza, Winter Solstice
While the other Rugrats are off skating, and singing about how "Christmas-Channukah-Kwanzaa-and-Winter-Solstice-time is here", Tommy and Chuckie walk over to the nearby fence, where Chuckie admits that he thinks he has a problem ("Diapie rash?" Tommy assumes). Chuckie goes on to quote Charlie Brown's speech from the beginning of the special being parodied, adding in mentions of Channukah, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice. He then proceeds to list activities associated with said holidays in addition to "sending cards and decorating trees", during which snow falls all around him and Tommy, covering them up entirely and eventually muffling his voice.
Later, in Tommy's playpen, the Rugrats are all dancing to a jazz-based rendition of "Jingle Bells", with Dil playing piano and Spike on guitar. Eventually, Angelica (in the Lucy van Pelt role) calls a stop to the dancing to tell them that Chuckie is coming with the decorations. During this, Spike mimics her movements behind her, and she makes a threatening glare in his direction causing him to smile nervously. Chuckie comes in with a box containing a tree (just like the one Charlie Brown found), a menorah, and some corn, but he's still desperate for someone to tell him what the holidays are about. Tommy offers to do that himself, and proceeds to deliver the following speech in the manner of Linus quoting the King James translation of the Bible:
- "Lights, please. And there were, in the same country, people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. What ho! This shall be unto you a time of joy, peace on Earth, and goodwill toward peoples."
Angelica responds to this by screaming, "You blockhead! It's about the presents! Lots of presents!" The rest of the kids immediately agree upon this and all wish happy holidays to Chuckie. As the segment closes on the Rugrats all whistling "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", an announcer tells us that the segment has been brought to us by Dork Krabby Mint Patties. Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants then makes an appearance to endorse the advertised food.
A snowwoman caricature of Rosie O'Donnel (voiced by herself) opens up the segment saying that "if I live to be a trillion and two, I will never forget the year Goddard the 200-Watt Dog saved Nickmas." She then remarks that we all know that story, and what she's here to tell is the after-party that occurred immediately following that event. As Rosie's narration goes on, we see her observing that very party going on in Santa's workshop. She notes of everybody being there, including Yukon Chinelius, Winter Squidler, the Abominable Starfish, and of course, St. Nick himself (who laughs to the tune of the Nickelodeon channel jingle). We see Mr. Krabs and two identical crabs performing on stage, and everyone enjoying their music so much that Carl Wheezer goes breakdancing.
Naturally, Rosie remarks, this party had some rather juicy things going on. First up was gossip - SpongeBob SquarePants reveals to his fellow elf, Jorgen Von Strangle, that "I don't want to be an elf, I want to be... a fry cook." Surprised at this, Jorgen tells it to Jimmy Neutron, who relays it to chief elf Zim, who responds by screaming, "Who's SpongeBob?! TELL ME!!!" Then there was flirting - we see Yukon Chinelius bragging to Debbie Thornberry about his apparent battle with the Abominable Starfish, all the while Dil Pickles (as Happy) is bouncing on the Starfish's belly in front of them. And of course, adds Rosie, there were embarrassing photos - SpongeBob ripping his pants, Plankton trying to kiss Helga Pataki under the mistletoe, and Goddard taking a leak by the tree.
In the end, though, Rosie tells us all that the characters all remembered the spirit of Christmas - "to put aside [their] differences, join [their] hands together, AND OPEN PRESENTS!" As the characters all dive at their presents under the Christmas tree, Rosie comes in and leads the characters in wishing the viewers "Happy (insert holiday choice here) to you!"
How the You-Know-Who Stole You-Know-What!
All the Nicktoon characters in the city of Toonville like Nickmas a lot, with the major exception of Angelica, or "Grinchelica" as the narration refers to her. The narrator reasons that her hatred for Nickmas might be because her pigtails are tied too tight or because her Cynthia doll is missing, but apparently the actual reason is because she believes she should have all the chocolate candy to herself.
Grinchelica rides into Toonville on her Malibu Cynthia sleigh, pulled by her cat Fluffy, and sneaks into the houses to steal all the chocolate goodies. Among them, she steals chocolate figures of Ultralord, Phil and Lil's chocolate worms, Rudy's chocolate chalk, and Zim's chocolate candy cane that came all the way from Planet Irk (which he is not willing to part with despite being apparently asleep at the moment). Just as Grinchelica has finished her theft, the smallest Toonville citizen, Plankton Lou Who ("who had one eye, not two"), walks in on her and asks, "What is going on here?!" Grinchelica tries to think of an alibi, but instead she just pats his head and kicks him back into bed.
Grinchelica returns to her mountain hideout with the stolen chocolates and parks her sleigh on the very top of the mountain. But from her vantage point, she stops to think about how the other Nicktoons are going to be disappointed when they wake up on Nickmas morning and find that there's no chocolate for them. But she ultimately decides that she really truly doesn't care about that, because as far as she's concerned, the candy's all hers now. She then feasts on the candy until her stomach has grown three hundred sizes.
The Nutcracker Suite
As the Nutcracker Suite begins to play, Cosmo and Wanda appear onstage, wearing tutus. Cosmo gives Wanda a nut, and she presents him with a cracker. "SWEET!" they both yell, and then toss their given food into their mouths. They then proceed to dance around the stage, while making loud munching noises on their respective snacks to the tune of the music. Jorgen Von Strangle briefly appears to sing the last few bars of the music piece, and the pair then swallow their snacks. They take their bows as the offscreen audience throws roses at them.
Patrick the Snowman
As Nigel Thornberry from The Wild Thornberrys provides narration, the short opens with the kids building a snowman that resembles Patrick. Upon finishing it, Jimmy decides that all it needs now is his latest invention, the Spoofinator 4000 (which looks like a metallic top hat). He places it on the snowman's head, causing it to transform into Patrick, whose first words are "Birthday happy!"
At first, the kids have fun with Patrick, but they quickly grow tired of his antics (such as hogging Sheen's blanket, wearing Libby's clothes, and poking Carl with a stick repeatedly). But since spring is a long way off, the kids have to come up with a plan to get rid of him. Jimmy decides that they'll create a wormhole in the space-time continuum and send Patrick to the future. Cindy suggests they just melt him instead, but no one takes her advice.
The kids send Patrick 70 years into the future. 70 years later, at the Retroville Retirement Community home, Patrick shows up to annoy the now-elderly kids again, while Cindy chastises Jimmy for his idea. Nigel, now a skeleton, shows up to confirm that this is the end of the story; Patrick then pokes him with the stick, causing him to fall apart.
A shorter version of this spot, usually run during the end credits of the shows, ends with the kids being so spooked by Patrick coming alive that they immediately start chasing him down.
Plankton's Holiday Hits
An announcer tells us about Plankton's past successful albums, Born to Chum and Krabby Road, and that he has now released a new album of him singing holiday songs. We are shown samples of Plankton's interpretations of "Come All Ye Faithful" ("O come all ye fearful / Cower as I crush you!"), "Joy to the World" ("I'll rule the world and everyone / You will bow down to me!"), "Deck the Halls" ("Deck them all with fists of fury! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"), and "The Nutcracker Suite" (he simply sings "Dig" repeatedly to the tune of the music). The announcer tells the viewers that, to order the advertised album, they must send the Krabby Patty secret formula to Plankton.
The 12 Days of Nickmas
In this particular segment, an entire group of Nicktoon characters, all rendered in Rankin/Bass-styled stop-motion animation, sing to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The lyrics are as follows:
- All: On the 12th Day of Nickmas, Nicktoons have on TV...
- SpongeBob: Twelve bubbles blowing! (blows some in Squidward's face)
- Squidward: Feh!
- Jimmy: Eleven clones ATTACKING!! (is chased offscreen by Carl and his clones)
- Debbie Thornberry: Ten thousand places I'd rather be right now. Ugh!
- Carl and Hoodsey: Nine reindeer droppings! Hehehehehe!
- Cosmo and Wanda: Eight oddball wishes! (grant said wishes, during which Vicky wanders too close to them)
- Someone offscreen: Watch out, Vicky! (A portrait of Butch Hartman falls on Vicky)
- Vicky: Seven thousand pounds, ugh... (Her feet curl up)
- Squidward: Six jamming jellies! (The jellyfish circling his head sting him) Ow!!
- Courtney: Five incredibly expensive golden rings!
- Otto Rocket: Four dudes a-shreddin'!
- Arnold, Gerald, and Helga: Three cans of hairspray! (spray themselves with said hairspray and cough)
- Cosmo: Two turtles' love...
- Wanda: Oh, Cosmo!
- All: And a starfish on a pine tree!
- Patrick: Hmmm... pointy.
- A Chuckie Finster Christmas, Channukah, Kwaanza, Winter Solstice
- A post on one of the old Frederator Studios blogs, detailing the production of the Nickmas shorts, reveals that they had originally intended to have the Rugrats characters drawn and dressed to resemble the Peanuts characters they represented in the skit.
- Dork Krabby Mint Patties are a parody of York Peppermint Patties, which at one time were a sponsor for the broadcasts of the Peanuts animated specials in the late 1970s.
- Holiday Party
- SpongeBob ripping his pants in one of the photos is a direct reference to the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Ripped Pants".
- This is the only skit that doesn't end with an orange snowflake falling down the screen and stopping right above the words, "Happy Holidays"
- Patrick the Snowman
- In a case of life imitating art ironically imitating life, Bill Faggerbakke, the voice of Patrick, took on the role of Frosty himself in the 2005 direct-to-video film The Legend of Frosty the Snowman.
- The 12 Days of Nickmas
- Jimmy being chased by Carl's clones is a reference to the Jimmy Neutron interstitial short "Carl Squared".
- Vicky's hair is colored brown, instead of red-orange as it is on the show.
- In spite of certain things happening to the characters during their respective lines (such as Jimmy being chased away by Carl and his clones, and Vicky collapsing under the portrait), they still appear in their original positions in later shots.
- Besides Butch Hartman's portrait, the "eight oddball wishes" that Cosmo and Wanda produce include a toilet, an old-time bicycle, a donkey carrying a suitcase, a giant set of false teeth, a big toy submarine (which looks like the one Wanda transforms into during the song in "Christmas Every Day!"), a bowl of cereal, and a plastic whale (which resembles Big Ben).
- The music that plays when Squidward sings the "six jamming jellies" line is a background music piece titled "Stadium Rave", originally used in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Jellyfish Jam".
- Otto's mouth doesn't move with his line.
Note: Donnie Thornberry, CatDog, Snap, Reggie Rocket, Twister Rodriguez, Sam Dullard, Phil and Lil DeVille, Kimi Finster, Susie Carmichael, Spike, Fluffy, GIR, and Rudy Tabootie make appearances, but do not have speaking roles.