Updated on December 10, 2021
One of my favorite Christmas specials as a kid was “Yogi’s First Christmas,” a 1980 Hanna-Barbera special.
“Yogi’s First Christmas” tells how Yogi and Boo-Boo (who usually hibernate through the holidays) stay awake long enough to celebrate the holiday for the first time. H-B regulars Huckleberry Hound, Augie Doggie, Doggy Daddy, and Snagglepuss, all appear. Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith also
The plot is the time-worn “saving something from being foreclosed on the oddly-chosen date of December 24th” Christmas plot (in this case, a privately-owned lodge in Jellystone Park). There’s also a “somebody hates/tries to ruin Christmas” subplot (in this case, a hermit living on a hill in Jellystone). Yogi’s usual antics win over the lodge’s owner, albeit to Ranger Smith’s irritation.
While no “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Yogi’s First Christmas” is still on my annual holiday viewing list.
The opening song, “Coming Up Christmas Time,” first appeared in the 1979 special “Casper’s First Christmas,” which also featured Yogi and Boo-Boo. From a brief YouTube/Google search, the song’s apparently become popular enough to be included in some school holiday pageants (though not the ones at my grade school as a kid). The school pageant versions drop the song’s amusing but possibly too cynical line: “to make sure I get what I want, I buy my gift for me!”
Other songs include Boo-Boo singing “Hope” (a song from 1977’s “A Flintstone Christmas“), and Cindy Bear singing this mistletoe-related number. Not a song, but part of “The Huckleberry Hound Show” theme song can be heard during a scene with Huck skiing.
Other high points of “Yogi’s First Christmas”:
- Cindy’s plan to get a kiss from Yogi (involving mistletoe by the metric ton).
- The lodge owner putting her bratty nephew in his place. I know, not very “holiday spirit”-y, but he had it coming.
- Huck singing “Clementine” as a Christmas party song. This prompts an appropriate slightly-early Christmas gift from Doggy Daddy to Augie (earmuffs).
The title isn’t false advertising. Yogi subsequently appeared in 1982’s “Yogi Bear’s All Star Comedy Christmas Caper,” a half-hour special. The special features a wide range of cameos, from Fred Flintstone to Snooper and Blabber.
On TV/home video
Boomerang usually airs “Yogi’s First Christmas” at various times during December.
Warner Archive released “Yogi’s First Christmas” to DVD. Unfortunately, the cover included is the wrong one—it’s from “Yogi’s All Star Comedy Christmas Caper.”