We’re rounding into the home stretch as coming in at number 10 is A Garfield Christmas. It seems odd to use a running analogy when describing Garfield as one wouldn’t choose him to handle the last leg of a relay race. Garfield is essentially a typical cat personified. His gluttonous, slothful, behavior is really only barely exaggerated beyond that of a normal house cat. He’s sarcastic, possessing a dry wit, though he also does have a little prankster in him where Odie, the dog, is concerned. His owner, John, apparently knows his cat’s thoughts as the two pretty much are able to communicate with one another even though Garfield, being a cat and all, can’t actually speak.
In the 80’s, Garfield made the move from the comic strip to television in the form of multiple specials, most being well received and even Emmy award winning. The success of these specials is likely what led to the creation of the cartoon series Garfield & Friends. In A Garfield Christmas, John packs up the car and takes his pets to his family’s farm for Christmas. Garfield would much prefer to hang back at the house with his nice, warm, bed and has little use for Christmas cheer (though he’s down with the food and presents). He’s able to find a kindred spirit in Grandma when they arrive at the farm, who also seems to detest the mushy aspect of Christmas. The rest of John’s family is just as enthusiastic about Christmas as he is, with both John and his brother Doc Boy essentially reverting to a child-like state of being for the holidays.
It’s the Grandma character that steals the show. Her vibrant personality is offset by a quiet sadness as she reveals to Garfield that Christmas is the time of year that makes her miss her late husband the most. It’s a simple plot device but one that’s extremely relatable for most people (and if not, it will be someday) which is what makes it so effective. Garfield is able to do a nice thing for Grandma, which is what brings about the feels in this Christmas special. Garfield isn’t really associated with warm-heartedness, but it works here. The special isn’t just one big love-fest either as it’s still pretty funny and quite entertaining.
The special is over 25 years old and is starting to show its age. The Garfield strip had its own look and personality which translated well to animation and is something age will never take away. It may be old, but it’s still nice enough to look at. The audio, both the voice cast and music, are well done and one of the special’s strengths. Being that the special is old and the Garfield character isn’t as popular as he used to be, it’s not often shown any longer on television, which is a real shame. It is available on DVD as part of a Garfield holiday collection that I fully recommend as both the Halloween and Thanksgiving specials are pretty good. It’s also probably really cheap and the best way to make sure A Garfield Christmas is a part of your holiday this year.