Plot: A little boy’s toys fly out of the moving van while moving all the way to New York. Lead by Snowden the stuffed snowman, the toys all try make the long journey back to him.
Breakdown: So, uh, Target…..Did you try to pull a Rudolph? Unrelated, but did you also recently watch Toy Story? Because I feel like you did.
I’m just kidding. Anyway, it’s the 2022 A Very Animated Holiday Special!
Starting out our reviews this holiday season is Snowden’s Christmas. Snowden is a Christmas plushie that was made in 1997 exclusively for Target stores. It was available until 1999, so it didn’t really have a long life. However, it did somehow manage to have five Christmas specials based off of it. You heard me. Five Christmas specials in two years. They must have had a lot of blind faith that Snowden would take off.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t.
I was never aware of Snowden as a child. We don’t have Target nearby. I think the closest one is about 40 minutes from my house, and I think that was built when I was a little older.
We have K-Mart and Walmart. And I don’t think K-Mart or Walmart ever had their own Christmas plush or holiday specials.
While I haven’t seen the other four specials, only two of which being animated, I went into this one because the Christmas Special Fandom page has a randomizer and that’s how I pick my AVAHS entries…..It’s times like this where I’m pretty glad that is the method with which I choose what I watch for these review series, because this was a pretty entertaining special. It was kinda funny and kinda heartwarming. Definitely worth my time.
It’s nothing groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a lot more than I’d expect from a Target promotional toy-based holiday special. It has some pretty nice stop-motion animation courtesy of Cuppa Coffee Studios, and even the voice acting is pretty alright. They hired some big names for the time like Peter MacNicol voices Snowden, Michael McKean voices Drummer, Kathy Najimy voices Tiny and Ed Asner voices Big Daddy. Only one character is voiced by a professional voice actor, and that belongs to Footloose the rabbit voiced by Rosalynn Taylor, who is probably most well-known for playing Queen Rapsheeba in Chalkzone or Mackenzie in Rocket Power, but she had numerous other cartoon roles.
The characters, while being fairly one-note, were all likable. They had their annoying spots, especially Drummer, who was basically just a jerk, and Tiny who was pretty much just constantly panicking about everything.
Snowden’s a confusing character. He’s like the leader, everyone listens to him, but he’s also frequently mocked and belittled by Drummer and sometimes Tiny. Snowden is very sweet, and I love his dedication to Adam, I’m just a bit confused as to what his role was meant to be. Is he leader because he’s seemingly Adam’s favorite toy so it doesn’t matter that he’s timid and looked down upon?
I did mention that they seemed to be taking some inspiration from Toy Story in regards to the…..uhm…story, and you can definitely get that vibe numerous times, but it’s not copying them or anything, especially considering there’s no “Buzz” stand-in. It’s just a story of some toys trying to get back to their owner. Adam loves his toys so much that he doesn’t even want new toys for Christmas, he just wants his old ones back.
If there’s one scene I really want to bring up, it’s when the toys get put in the hands of some kids. They believe that they’re toys included in a kids’ meal from a burger joint. The kids just throw them around and get them sticky etc., which is understandable. I kinda like this whole scene because this is one of the most realistic families I’ve seen in animation in a while. Kids just being nightmares, the littlest kid just chillin’ and the parents losing their patience the longer it goes on.
What took me off guard was when the mom just threw all of the toys away when they stopped at a restroom. What a horrible thing to do. She got pissed because Drummer accidentally started drumming. Doesn’t he have batteries you can remove? The other toys don’t make noise. It just seemed so awful of that mother to trash her kids’ new toys just because they were being kinda rowdy. She justified it by saying that they’d get new toys on Christmas, but it’s still a mean thing to do.
Anyway, I recommend watching this one at least once. It’s a sweet and kinda funny little seldom-known special. And, hey, if you’re a Target fan, this was literally made for you.
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