A Garfield Christmas (1987)

garfield christmas poster 1987 special
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 1/10

Rather sentimental for a kids cartoon

Some weak parts toward the beginning

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Garfield Christmas

Studio:  Film Roman Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 21, 1987

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

garfield christmas special jon arbuckle elf costume

Jon…you’re freaking me out in that spandex

HEY KIDS!!!  It is time for Christmas and Garfield wants all he can get.  When Jon announces that he is taking Odie and Garfield to the farm for a down-home Christmas celebration, Garfield worries that his hopes and dreams might be dashed.  Garfield’s about to discover that there is more to the holiday than gifts.

Directed by Phil Roman and George Singer, A Garfield Christmas was written by Garfield’s creator Jim Davis.  The special first aired on CBS on December 21, 1987 and was a regular for a number of years.  It was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program and it does occasionally still pop-up on television around the holidays.

garfield christmas special grandma

Like most cats, Garfield just wants the lap’s heat…and pretends to care

Of the Garfield holiday specials, this one is the best.  For a while, this was a pretty regular holiday tradition along with A Charlie Brown Christmas as a means to get ready for the holiday.  The start of the show is rather aimless with a couple of bad songs, but the series really finds direction in the second half of the show.

The show is surprisingly dark for a kids’ holiday special.  Rarely do specials touch on death, and this special is kind of all about death, family, and what the holiday means.  There are scenes where Jon’s grandmother talks about the loss of her husband means, especially around the holidays, that are actually kind of touching and genuine.  The special could have easily been like the first half of the show with lots of gags and jokes, but it is nice that it takes a more touching turn.

garfield christmas special odie hug

I hate you, Odie

Garfield has never been a very constant character however.  Is he just greedy and amoral or does he have a soft spot as presented here?  It works as a strip, but it never made much sense for a cartoon or special where he tries to be both.  I prefer the greedy and amoral Garfield to the shiny fluffy one who helps out old ladies.

I still enjoy A Garfield Christmas to this day and think it is one of the better “modern” holiday specials out there.  The show is often collected with Garfield’s other holiday specials or sometimes found online.  It is worth seeking out and is sweet, short, and to the point.

Related Links:

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985)

Garfield’s Thanksgiving (1989)

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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