Well, the videos and the films have been put back in their vaults, I've stored away my Santa Claus hat for another year, and we're about to turn the page on the history books on 2009. Before we do though, we're going to take a look at the best animated Christmas Specials that debuted this season.

Prep & Landing
(ABC, December 8, 2009; ABC Family December 17, 2009)

Delayed a week due to a speech by President Obama at West Point speaking about his military strategy in Afghanistan, this was a special that lived up to the publicity. First heard about back in May, and pre-screened to rave reviews at the first D23 convention in Anaheim the following September, this Christmas special-meets-spy-thriller introduced us to Magee, Wayne, Lanny and the rest of the people who are secretive workers that help "The Big Guy" bring you those presents. Something says that we'll be seeing this new tradition continue and expand, beating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Nielsens. Can we politely ask Steveie Warners-Skeleton and Kevin Deters to have a few four-minute shorts on what they do when they're not getting ready for their assignments? Come to think of it, can someone in charge of Disney's theme parks bring them to holiday events at their parks?

Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!
(Disney XD, December 6, 2009; Disney Channel, December 11, 2009; ABC Family December 18, 2009)

Quirky, unusual, offbeat. Disney scored a one-two punch this year in the holiday special party this year by delivering their new animated stars, Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher, into a whacky parody of everything from A Charlie Brown Christmas to Frosty the Snowman, and everything in between.

Merry madagascar 06
Merry Madagascar
(NBC, November 17, 2009)

NBC got this year's DreamWorks christmas special featuring many of the original voices from the two movies (and forthcoming third installment save for Sacha Baron Cohen) saving the day for an amnesia-laden Santa (voiced by TV legend Carl Reiner) after a crash-landing by King Julien and his hordes calling him a giant red demon that throws rocks. Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) also lends her voice to play a lovesick Cupid.

Yes, Virginia
(CBS, December 11, 2009)

This CGI retelling of the story of young Virginia O'Hanlan's writing of a letter to The New York Sun asking the question if there is a Santa Claus, may at seem to be nothing more than a 30-minute infomercial for Macy*s, but instead it's the voice work of three great actors - Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Afred Molins (all of whom star in CBS shows) - telling a true story.

Time and space does not allow us to let others be spoken about like Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure or It's an Udderful Life, but you can suggest those or any others below.

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