‘Tis the Season! The Cat in the Hat’s Guide to a Purrfect Christmas

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is an animated children’s television series that premiered on PBS Kids in 2010. Based on the Dr. Seuss book The Cat in the Hat, the series features the Cat in the Hat (voiced by Martin Short) as he leads his friends Sally and Nick on fun adventures and teaches them about science, nature, and more. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! has aired over 100 episodes and several holiday specials, including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! is a half-hour Christmas-themed episode that aired on PBS Kids in November 2012. Like the rest of the series, it aims to entertain young viewers while also educating them about science and nature concepts. The special incorporates classic Dr. Seuss characters, humor, and rhyming narration.

Plot Summary

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! follows the Cat in the Hat, Sally, Nick, Fish, and Thing One and Thing Two as they travel around the world learning about different Christmas traditions and celebrations. The story begins on Christmas Eve as the characters prepare for their annual Christmas party. After decking the halls and trimming the tree, the Cat in the Hat takes everyone on his magic sleigh to visit places like the North Pole, Russia, Sweden, Mexico, and Italy to discover how people celebrate the holiday in different cultures.

Throughout their journey, the Cat and his friends meet new people, sample unique foods, learn Christmas carols in different languages, and participate in specialty traditions. For example, in Mexico they learn about posadas and breaking piñatas, while in Russia they discover the tradition of Ded Moroz. The overarching theme is about experiencing and respecting the diversity of Christmas festivities around the world.

After exploring Christmas worldwide, the Cat and kids return home just in time for their own Christmas celebration. They reflect on their travels and incorporate elements learned from other cultures into their party as a gesture of friendship and understanding.

Educational Concepts

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! episode focuses on teaching preschoolers educational concepts related to Christmas such as numbers, shapes, vocabulary, science and more. Some of the key educational topics covered include:

Counting and numbers – The Cat in the Hat teaches Sally and Nick how to count Christmas cookies and presents using numbers.

Shapes – The kids learn about different shapes like stars, circles, triangles and rectangles as they decorate the Christmas tree.

Vocabulary – Christmas related words like “ornament”, “evergreen”, “stocking” and more are taught.

Science – Basic science concepts around snowflake formations, pine tree properties, and principles of flight are covered as the Cat builds a machine to help Santa deliver presents.

The educational content is seamlessly woven into the storytelling and songs, allowing kids to learn while being entertained. As per PBS KIDS, the episode helps prepare preschoolers for kindergarten by building math, science and literacy skills.https://www.pbs.org/about/about-pbs/blogs/news/pbs-kids-announces-first-cat-in-the-hat-christmas-special-the-cat-in-the-hat-knows-a-lot-about-christmas/

Christmas Traditions

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! episode highlights several beloved Christmas traditions. The Cat, Sally, Nick and Fish help their friends prepare for Christmas by decorating a tree, baking cookies, and wrapping presents (The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!).

cat in the hat decorating christmas tree

One tradition shown is trimming the Christmas tree. The kids hang ornaments, garlands, lights, and a star on top. Decorating a evergreen tree is a tradition that started in Germany in the 16th century and spread across the world.

Baking and leaving cookies for Santa Claus is also featured. The children bake chocolate chip cookies, a classic Santa favorite, and leave them out on Christmas Eve. Leaving treats for Santa started as a way to thank St. Nicholas for his generosity and gifts.

Finally, gift wrapping presents to put under the tree is highlighted. Sally, Nick and the Cat carefully wrap presents for their friends in colorful paper and tie them with bows. Gift giving has been associated with Christmas since the holiday’s origins, representing God’s gift of Jesus to the world.

Christmas Music

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! featured many iconic Christmas songs and carols that are widely recognized during the holiday season. Some of the featured tunes included:

Jingle Bells – This popular Christmas song was first composed in 1857 and has become one of the most well-known holiday tunes. “Jingle Bells” features jaunty lyrics about riding through snow in a sleigh.

Deck the Halls – This Christmas carol dates back to the 16th century. The lyrics celebrate the festive spirit of the season by describing decorating with holly and singing merrily. The melody is upbeat and recognizable.

Frosty the Snowman – Based on the popular 1950 song, this tune describes the magical adventure of Frosty coming to life one snowy day. The lyrics highlight the whimsical nature of Frosty exploring the town.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas – This traditional English carol first appeared in print in the 16th century. The song has a cheerful refrain wishing listeners a merry Christmas and figgy pudding.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas – This 19th century American Christmas carol depicts Santa Claus as a jolly old man with a long white beard. The lyrics describe his big red suit and sack of toys.

These classic Christmas songs and carols help spread holiday cheer and serve as joyous background music in many iconic scenes throughout the special.

Guest Stars

Martin Short voiced the Cat in the Hat for this special Christmas episode. He is well known for his comedic roles in films like ¡Three Amigos! and Father of the Bride (IMDb). Alexa Torrington voiced Sally, while Jacob Ewaniuk voiced Nick. Torrington and Ewaniuk were series regulars, voicing these characters in other episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (IMDb).

martin short voicing cat in the hat

In addition, the episode featured veteran Canadian comedic actress and former SCTV cast member Andrea Martin voicing the role of Mrs. Claus. Martin’s resume includes many iconic comedy films and TV shows. Her guest starring role on this holiday special added extra star power and humor (IMDb).

Reception

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! received positive reviews from critics and parents. Common Sense Media gave the special 4 out of 5 stars, calling it a “cute holiday special” that “teaches kids about animals, caring.” They praised the story for emphasizing the values of compassion and community. Parents on the site found it to be an enjoyable, educational Christmas program for young children.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the special has a score of 100% based on 5 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 7.2/10. Critics highlighted the charming animation, witty rhyming narration from Martin Short as the Cat, and the effective way the show incorporated science concepts into a holiday story. Audiences have responded positively as well, with many parents reporting their kids were entertained while learning about science and Christmas traditions.

Awards

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! received a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2013 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. While the special did not win the Emmy, it was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for its high-quality animation (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2383446/). The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! special was part of the animated children’s series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which went on to win multiple Daytime Emmy awards over its run.

Though The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! did not win any major awards, it received positive reviews and was well-received by audiences. Its nomination for the Daytime Emmy demonstrates the quality of the animation and the recognition it received within the television industry.

Legacy

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! has become a beloved holiday tradition for many families since its debut in 2012. The special combines Dr. Seuss’ iconic character with classic Christmas themes and stories, introducing holiday concepts and traditions to young viewers.

family watching cat in the hat christmas special

The Cat in the Hat’s unique rhyming narration and whimsical humor perfectly complement the Christmas spirit. Fans of all ages enjoy rewatching the special annually as part of their holiday celebrations. Its timeless appeal and educational value continue to make The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! a lasting part of the holiday season.

The popularity and demand for the special led to a follow-up, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween!, premiering in 2016. While not yet considered a classic on the level of other holiday specials, The Cat in the Hat’s Christmas adventure has clearly resonated with audiences and carved out its own unique place in the pantheon of seasonal family entertainment.

Conclusion

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! leaves viewers with a magical feeling of holiday cheer. This animated special brings Dr. Seuss’ iconic character to life while teaching important lessons about Christmas traditions from around the world. The story emphasizes the true spirit of the season – spending time with loved ones, giving back to those in need, and sharing hope for the new year ahead.

The Cat in the Hat and his friends highlight the universal nature of holiday celebrations. Despite cultural differences, people come together through common themes of festive foods, meaningful gifts, lively music, and colorful decorations. The Cat embraces these traditions with childlike wonder, modeled after the inquisitive nature of young viewers. The message is clear – the holidays are a time for joyful curiosity and celebration.

While whimsical in tone, this special also touches on solemn themes such as poverty and loneliness. The Cat learns that many struggle during this season and that small acts of kindness can make a difference. This is an impactful lesson for children watching at home. In the end, the magical sleigh ride reminds us that the holidays are truly special when we spend them with those closest to our hearts.

With dazzling animation, catchy songs, and the Cat’s signature wit and wisdom, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! is destined to be a perennial holiday favorite. Dr. Seuss’ iconic feline helps families embrace the spirit of the season in a story that both entertains and educates. This joyous special is a gift for the young and young at heart.

cat in the hat and friends celebrating christmas

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