There are many great ways for you to get in the festive spirit. Some people like roasting chestnuts on an open fire. (Does anyone do that anymore?) Others enjoy indulging in some “happy” egg nog. And then there are those who prefer cuddling up in front of the television to watch some of the best Christmas TV specials that have ever graced the small screen.

It was pretty difficult to choose just five Christmas specials and you may not agree with my selection, but you will not be disappointed with any of these classics. Any of these would make great last minute gift ideas. Oh, and you can “spin” the widget above using the provided arrow buttons. If you’re reading this post in an RSS aggregator or an email message, you’ll need to visit the actual post for the widget to work.

Before you ask, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All didn’t make the cut. It’s too new. Let me watch it three or four more times and maybe it’ll make the list in a few years.

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas

No list of Christmas specials would be complete without mentioning this fantastic cartoon featuring the lovable schoolchildren from Peanuts. There’s just something about entering the imaginative world of children and having adult voices reduced to inexplicable murmurs. As with all of the Peanuts TV specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas offers a terrific moral for all of us to consider. We must remember not to over-commercialize the holidays. All a sad little tree needs is a little love.

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Continuing with the retro appeal of A Charlie Brown Christmas is this interesting claymation-style cartoon, telling us the story of a very special reindeer. He may not have joined in any of the reindeer games, but he’s the one that ends up saving the day for Santa Claus and all the children of the world. Yes, the tale of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is all quite mushy and cheesy, but I wouldn’t have my Christmas specials any other way. The animation in this TV special is particularly great.

3. Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo (South Park)

This is probably one of the most unconventional choices that you will find on any list of Christmas TV specials, but it is largely because of this episode that I became such a fan of the South Park series.

Even though we are offered the absurdity of a talking turd, we are also offered a terrific lesson that can be learned by observing Christmas in South Park. It’s hard for Kyle, as part of the only Jewish family in town, to deal with Christmas (political correctness be damned). And let’s not forget about Cartman’s holiday ditty “Kyle’s Mom is a…” Well, you remember the rest.

4. A Muppet Family Christmas

Not to be confused with The Muppet Christmas Carol, this is the one where the entire Muppet gang finds themselves snowed in at the country cottage of Fozzie Bear’s mom. My favorite parts of A Muppet Family Christmas involve the Swedish Chef. Bork, bork, bork!

5. A Garfield Christmas

I was a huge fan of the Garfield comic strip growing up, as well as the short-lived cartoon series. In this way, I was immediately drawn to A Garfield Christmas. Like other holiday specials, it gets pretty sappy, but I’ll never forget when the lasagna-scarfing cat describes the true meaning of Christmas:

All right, you guys, just permit me one sentimental moment here. I have something to say: Christmas. It’s not the giving, it’s not the getting, it’s the loving. There, I said it. Now get out of here.