Speaking of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it premiered on this date in 1966. According to the always infallible Wikipedia, the special received mixed reviews at the time, but history has been kind, and I think it's safe to call it one of the best-loved Christmas specials of all time. One of the things I love best about it is the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," performed by veteran voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft. You sometimes see the song credited to Boris Karloff; Ravenscroft is not credited, and the opening credits read, "The sounds of the Grinch are by Boris Karloff. And read by Boris Karloff, too!" The song was written by Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague, who is perhaps better remembered nowadays as Mr. Shorofsky, the music teacher on Fame.
As for The Year Without Santa Claus, it premiered in 1974 and features a couple of the greatest characters ever to appear in any Christmas special: Cold Miser and Heat Miser. Their theme songs were written by Maury Laws (who also wrote the original music featured in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman) and sung by Dick Shawn and George S. Irving respectively. They are also the only things I remember about this particular special; luckily, it's being shown on ABC Family on December 21, and I've already instructed Ye Olde TiVoe to grab it for me. It's also going to be recording a brand-new special, A Miser Brothers Christmas. Whee!
Thurl Ravenscroft - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (MP3, 2.8MB)
Dick Shawn and George S. Irving - Cold Miser/Heat Miser (MP3, 3.2MB)
Previous Advent posts:
2003: The Burning Babe
2004: La Virgen y el Niño
2005: Have a super holiday season
2006: from Bridge to Terabithia, chapter six, “The Coming of Prince Terrien”
2007: Morning in the Village after Snowstorm