A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)

chipmunk christmas dvd cover
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Under-seen Christmas special

Cheesy but fun nostalgia

TV Show Info

TV Show Name:  A Chipmunk Christmas

Studio: Bagdasarian Productions

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Animated

Release Date(s):  December 14, 1981

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Jump in bed and cover up your heads…Santa Claus comes tonight!

Alvin has a problem.  When he learns a boy named Tommy is dying and all he wants for Christmas is a harmonica, Alvin gives him his Golden Echo.  Unfortunately, the Chipmunks have just been hired to play Carnegie Hall on Christmas Eve, and Alvin is supposed to deliver a harmonica solo.  Without being able to tell Dave that he gave away his harmonica, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore must get the money…leaving Dave to think they don’t have the true Christmas spirit.

Directed by Phil Monroe, A Chipmunk Christmas first aired on NBC on December 14, 1981.  It became a holiday staple for a number of years with yearly replays.  It has been released on DVD along with other Chipmunk holiday episodes from their TV series.


Meet the Golden Echo Harmonica…the harmonica of the gods!!!

When I was little, the Chipmunk Christmas albums were sacred.  Though my mom hated them, I played them over and over again…with the rule that we weren’t allowed to play them until after Thanksgiving.  A Chipmunk Christmas was always a favorite as a kid because it combined these albums with holiday fun…and despite being a bit dated now, I still enjoy it.

The story is hodgepodge of holiday stories.  It has an almost an O. Henry “The Gift of the Magi” aspects to it, but it also goes for a rather cliché forced Santa Claus aspect to the story.  I rather wish that Santa had been left out of the story and it would have been a more satisfying and touching story.


Turns out she was just a creepy old woman

The animation for the show is traditional and despite being cleaned up for DVD, it looks rather old.  With that (for me), there is a nice nostalgia feel to it.  This doesn’t resemble the old Chipmunk show that ran from 1961 to 1962 and was the precursor to the Chipmunk show which aired on Saturday morning from 1983 to 1990.  It also featured Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. voicing Dave Seville, Simon, and Alvin (the original Dave Seville Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. died in 1972) and Bagdasarian, Jr.’s wife Janice Karman voicing Theodore for the first time.

The real hook of the movie is the music.  It was an easy special to make in that all the Chipmunk music could just be reapplied for the special.  Current fans of the Chipmunks who might not be familiar with the old records might enjoy this holiday throwback.

I think A Chipmunk Christmas is a little under-appreciated.  I have a soft spot for this holiday special and wish that it had stuck around longer.  If you watched the Chipmunks as a kid, you should seek out this special to pass it on to your kids…it can be your Golden Echo Harmonica.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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