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Arthur's Perfect Christmas

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This article is about the special. You may be looking for the book or the album.
"Arthur's Perfect Christmas"
Arthurs Perfect Christmas DVD.jpg
Original Airdate: United States September 12, 2000 (home video)
November 23, 2000 (television)[1][2]
Canada November 12, 2003
United Kingdom December 24, 2000[3]
Australia December 19, 2001
Israel December 13, 2004
South Korea December 3, 2007
Germany December 31, 2016
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Eric Bergeron
Marie Blanchard
Angus Bungay
Mario Cabrera
Gerry Capelle
Emmanuelle Gignac
Stéphanie Gignac
Lyndon Ruddy
Nick Vallinakis
Robert Yap
"Special: Arthur's New Friend"
"Special: Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll"
Read transcript

Arthur's Perfect Christmas is an hour-long Arthur special that first aired on November 23, 2000.[4][5] It has since been released on home videos.


While the residents of Elwood City get ready for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and even "Baxter Day," they want their holiday celebrations to be perfect—but just what does that mean?


The special opens with scenes of citizens of Elwood City busy preparing for Christmas, while Pachelbel's Canon is played in the background on piano.

Arthur then sings the first of many of the special's musical numbers, "Perfect Christmas," in which he lays out his list of the things he wants in the upcoming Christmas:

  1. A large amount of snow
  2. An amazing dinner-turkey and the whole works
  3. A spectacular Christmas tree—most importantly, one without tinsel
  4. Everyone will love the presents he gets for them.

However, matters don't always work out quite as Arthur wanted it to.

Arthur buying the glass bird

As the special progresses, a number of other storylines are revealed.

D.W. wants a new toy called "Tina the Talking Tabby," for Christmas, but "Santa Claus" (Jane Read) is unable to find it at the mall while shopping for presents with Arthur. So, on Christmas morning, D.W. gets a toy duck called Quackers and throws a big temper tantrum. However, she changes her mind and eventually takes a liking to the duck.

Uncle Fred is going on a trip to Florida, but his car just so happens to break down in Elwood City on the way there. So for the meantime, he and his dog, Rory, are staying at the Reads' for Christmas. Eventually on Christmas Day, the car is fixed.

The timing of Francine's family's celebration of Hanukkah conflicts with that of Muffy's "holiday extravaganza," causing her to miss the party. When Muffy states that Hanukkah isn't as important as Christmas, Francine feels offended because she is Jewish, and yells "Well it is to me!" and stops speaking to her and calling her. Eventually, she and Muffy make up after Francine shows her how important Hanukkah can be; all because her family is Jewish.

And ever since Buster's parents got divorced, Christmas has been a difficult time for him and his mother. She wakes him up early on the days before Christmas and makes him pancakes, thinking that it's Christmas Day. Then he has to explain to her that it isn't Christmas yet. While Arthur, Buster, and their friends are at the party, they suggest he create his own holiday, Baxter Day. Buster is unsure, but he agrees to give it a try.

Every Christmas, Binky volunteers at a homeless shelter with his Dad, and this year, he's trying to bake something special to bring. However, he's forgetting some things in every recipe, like not removing the shells of the pecans when he makes pecan pie, unpeeling the bananas when he makes banana bread, and adding sugar when he makes brownies. As soon as Muffy's party is over, Arthur walks into the living room.

Meanwhile, Brain's family is celebrating Kwanzaa.

George's family is revealed to be Swedish and they celebrate Saint Lucia Day.

In the end, things don't work out quite as everybody may have hoped they would, but it seems to be for the better (assuming Arthur can ever get D.W. to stop her new toy "Quackers" from singing "Quick, quack, quaddy-quack") as Arthur wishes the audience a happy holiday.



  1. Perfect Christmas (by Arthur & his family)
  2. Boogie Woogie Christmas (Rock and roll song by The Squabs)
  3. What's the Use of Presents? (by Muffy, with Arthur on soundtrack version)
  4. Baxter Day (by Buster)
  5. Sankta Lucia (by George and his Lundgren family)
  6. Perfect Christmas [Reprise] (by Arthur)


  • Two versions were aired on PBS: an uncut version aired during prime time on the original Thanksgiving Day airing and an edited version aired during a pledge drive.
  • This special aired right after Season 5's conclusion.
  • This is the last time Michael Yarmush voices Arthur.
    • This is also the last time that Ricky Mabe voices Timmy Tibble.
  • After D.W. walks in on Arthur and laughs, stock audio by Michael Caloz is used.
  • The Brain and his family are shown preparing to celebrate Kwanzaa. In reality, as Brain mentions in the ice cream shop in said scene, Kwanzaa does not start until December 26, the day after Christmas Day.
  • There is a stocking with the name "Chip" hanging in Muffy's house. This is the first time Chip, Muffy's older brother, is acknowledged in the TV show.
  • Even though both the televised and home video version are almost identical, there are some slight differences:
    • In the beginning before the title card, the animation on the smoke from the Reads' chimney is going slow. However, in the home video release, it's going fast.
    • After Uncle Fred's video, Arthur and D.W. laughed immediately right after. In the home video release, they didn't laugh until a few seconds after.
    • D.W.'s excited chat about seeing Santa to Mr. Read is synced incorrectly for earlier Home Releases
    • In the televised version during the "Baxter Day" song, a vintage "tires screeching" sound effect is added when Buster and Bitzi's rocket skids to a halt in front of the Mill Creek Mall. Some versions the space ship opening the audio is slightly delayed. At the end of the song, the word "baby" is cut from Buster's lyrics in newer versions of the special.
    • During "What's the Use of Presents?" a fade effect is missing in the home video release. Also, Muffy's singing in both versions are slightly different.
    • End credits the song lyrics are delayed for home release.
  • Since ham is pork and therefore not kosher, it is an inappropriate Hanukkah gift.
  • 4th Wall Break: Binky randomly shows up in Arthur’s final Imagine Spot to taunt him, and Arthur calls him out for it, saying he’s not supposed to be in this fantasy sequence.
  • Running Gag:
    • Arthur can't go even once without being bothered by the Tina the Talking Tabby jingle.
    • Binky trying to bake desserts and failing the recipe in some obvious way such as forgetting to peel the bananas.
  • Timeline: Jane's glass bird also breaks in "Bleep." She brings up the glass bird again in "Arthur and Los Vecinos."
  • Moral:
    • Christmas is not just about presents.
    • Dont ignore other people for your own benefits.
    • Dont throw a temper tanturm for your own benefits.
  • Karma: Muffy did not listen to Francine, so she was upset and didn't care about the presents.
  • Innuendo: D.W. looking at Arthur while he's at the bathroom.
  • Irony: Arthur could have wore his headphones, if he didn't want to hear the song.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Bitzi states that she and Buster are going to watch It's a Wonderful Life. This is a famous Christmas film starring Jimmy Stewart.
  • The parade in Arthur's fantasy features Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi. The announcer refers to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Gandhi's concept of passive resistance.
  • Brain's Kwanzaa Ice-Cream Special is red, black, and green. The colors stand for black liberation respectively black pride and are also used during Kwanzaa celebrations.
  • Saint Lucy's Day on December 13th commemorates a 4th-century saint who brought food to Christians hiding in the catacombs of Rome, while wearing a wreath of candles on her head.
  • Stardoes (at the mall) is a parody of Starbucks.
  • Cindy Crawfish refers to Cindy Crawford.
  • During "What's the Use of Presents?", the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Sphinx, the Taj Mahal, and the Eiffel Tower are seen outside the train window.
  • When Francine explains Hanukkah, the Frenskys recite the first Hannukkah blessing in Hebrew.
  • The game that Muffy plays during "What's the Use of Presents?" is a parody of Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.
  • Muffy yells "How Rude!", a catchphrase that was said by Stephanie Tanner in Full House.

Differences from the book[edit]

  • In the book, Arthur's coat is brown but in the cartoon, it is green.
  • In the book, Arthur was thinking about all the things he want to make Christmas perfect, but in the cartoon, he sang about it.
  • In the book, Christmas was on Wednesday when Buster showed his mom the calendar, but in the cartoon, Christmas was on Monday when Buster showed his mom the calendar.
  • In the book, it was snowing when Arthur came back outside later that night. In the cartoon, it started to snow when Arthur and his family was heading back inside after saying goodbye to Uncle Fred and Grandpa Dave.
  • The book started off with Arthur thinking about the perfect Christmas, while the cartoon version started off with Elwood City getting ready for Christmas with Arthur's piano music playing in the background.


  • During the scene where Mr. Ratburn eats one of Binky's brownies, we see in the background a brown rabbit on the other side of Mr. Ratburn in his normal wear, but seconds later we see him in a red vest talking to Brain, but when Mr. Ratburn asks him if he put sugar in the brownies, the rabbit is white and is wearing a green shirt.
  • When Francine groans, her mouth doesn't move.
  • In Arthur's fantasy when his mom opens the gift, she pulls the top off, but when Arthur opens the gift to see if it is okay, he pulls the ribbon off to open it.
  • When Arthur was imagining his family in the stable, Grandpa Dave offered his roasted camel to Arthur. Camel is not considered kosher in Judaism, so they wouldn't have eaten it. (although Arthur probably doesn't understand that)

In Other Languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Romanian Craciunul Perfect a lui Arthur Arthur's Perfect Christmas

Home Video release[edit]

2012 DVD
The back of the box - 2012 DVD

The special has been released on DVD and on VHS prior to the format's demise. VHS copies are no longer in production. The original DVD and VHS releases were made available on September 12, 2000. A DVD re-release carrying the PBS Kids logo was released on October 9, 2012. This release includes printable coloring pages and activities on DVD-ROM, two "A Word from Marc Brown" segments, and the usual promos for PBS Kids programming of this era. Closed-captioning and descriptive-video features are available on this release. The special may be viewed via the Amazon Video service and is currently free to stream for those with Amazon Prime.


  • Corporation For Public Broadcasting
  • LEGO
  • Libby's Juicy Juice
  • Public Television Viewers

See also[edit]


:Main article: Arthur's Perfect Christmas/Gallery

External links[edit]