My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever, also titled as My Little Pony Best Gift Ever, My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever!, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Best Gift Ever, is a hour-long Christmas special based on the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It premiered on Discovery Family on October 27, 2018.
In this special, Twilight Sparkle and her friends do a "Hearthswarming Helper" to get just one Hearth's Warming present for another pony, and they race all over Equestria to find the perfect gift.
The special opens in Ponyville one day before Hearth's Warming Eve. Everyone in town sings the song One More Day as they decorate their houses for the holidays and buy presents for each other, and Twilight Sparkle's School of Friendship students board the Friendship Express bound for their own respective homes. Throughout the song, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity race to get gifts for all of their friends in time, and Pinkie Pie and Applejack bring the Apple and Pie families together for the holidays at Sweet Apple Acres.
Twilight Sparkle gets particularly stressed out trying to get everything done on her to-do list, including grading her students' tests, preparing for the arrival of Princess Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart, and decorating the castle. In an effort to ease Twilight's workload, Applejack suggests doing a "Hearthswarming Helper" this year—instead of getting multiple presents for all of their friends, each of the Mane Six will get a single present for the pony whose cutie mark they pull out of a hat.
After pulling cutie marks out of Applejack's hat, the Mane Six decide to do the gift exchange at Twilight's castle the following night. As they go their separate ways, Spike wants to get a present for Rarity, but he drew Rainbow Dash's cutie mark instead. At Applejack's suggestion, he seeks out the pony who drew Rarity's cutie mark to try and get them to agree to a trade.
At the Castle of Friendship, with her freed-up schedule time, Twilight is able to focus on decorating before Shining Armor, Cadance, and Flurry Heart arrive. Spike enters wondering if she got Rarity for Hearthswarming Helper, but she got Pinkie Pie and plans to shop for her present later. As Spike leaves, he comments that since each of them is only getting one gift for one of their friends, they have a responsibility to make sure the gift they give is extra special. Twilight decides to decorate later while she puts more planning and thought into Pinkie's present.
Meanwhile, at Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie Pie has just as much trouble figuring out what to get for Twilight, and she asks her sisters Limestone, Marble, and Maud for advice. Limestone suggests simply choosing one present out of a large pile that Pinkie has already wrapped, and Maud suggests giving Twilight a rock. Unsatisfied with their ideas, Pinkie decides to seek out the "best-at-gift-giving" yaks in Yakyakistan.
In the middle of town, Spike runs into Rarity and learns that she got Applejack for Hearthswarming Helper, planning to get her a designer western-themed hat from Manehattan. Elsewhere, Rainbow Dash—who got Fluttershy for Hearthswarming Helper—tries to subtly guess what Fluttershy would like as a gift, but Fluttershy says she likes everything, making Rainbow Dash cluelessly frustrated. As Rainbow flies off, Spike approaches Fluttershy and learns that she got Rarity for Hearthwarming Helper. Using his wits, he convinces Fluttershy to trade names with him. As he leaves, Applejack appears and asks Fluttershy for help in getting a gift for Spike.
Unable to decide on what to get for Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash settles on buying her a candle, but Discord appears—as the candle itself—to voice his disappointment in her lack of effort. Discord, implying that he is closer to Fluttershy than Rainbow is, offers to accompany Rainbow on her quest to find a present for Fluttershy. Meanwhile, back at the castle, Spike finally has Rarity for Hearthswarming Helper, but...
"I have no idea what to get her!"
Fluttershy and Applejack travel to Rainbow Falls for the Hearth's Warming Craft Fair, where they hope to find special gifts for Rainbow Dash and Spike. Just before Fluttershy buys a Daring Do book for Rainbow, she is drawn to the attention of a stand where a disguised Flim and Flam sell cheaply-made "Holly the Hearth Warmer" dolls. With their typical showpony flair, Flim and Flam manage to hustle Fluttershy out of all of her bits in exchange for one of the dolls.
In Yakyakistan, Pinkie Pie appears before Prince Rutherford during the yak celebration of Snilldar Fest and asks where she can find the "best gift ever". Rutherford suddenly looks panicked and pulls Pinkie aside so they can talk in privacy. He explains to Pinkie that although yaks assert that they are best at everything, there is one area in which they are not: giving gifts. That honor belongs to the fabled "Gift Givers of the Grove", whose location only Rutherford knows, and he entrusts Pinkie—an honorary yak—with a map to their home.
Back in Ponyville, Rarity goes to the post office to pick up her package from Manehattan with Applejack's present. However, due to a mix-up caused by mailpony Derpy, the package was sent to Sweet Acorn Orchard instead of Sweet Apple Acres. To prevent further mishaps, Rarity offers to go to Sweet Acorn Orchard and pick up the package herself. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash continues searching for a present for Fluttershy, but Discord disapproves of all her ideas. Frustrated, she turns to Discord for suggestions, and he suggests a special animal addition to her Sweet Feather Sanctuary.
Back at the castle, Twilight tries to find a present for Pinkie Pie that is unique, specific to her personality, and food-based. She eventually settles on pudding and remembers a legendary pudding dish made by Chancellor Puddingheadat the very first Hearth's Warming. Unfortunately, the book in which the pudding is mentioned does not contain the recipe for how to make it.
Back at Rainbow Falls, Fluttershy meets up with Applejack and shows her the doll she bought for Rainbow Dash, but Applejack instantly realizes how cheap and poorly-made the doll is. Suspicious about where the doll came from and how much Fluttershy spent for it, Applejack returns to the stand where Fluttershy bought it and, upon peeking behind the back curtains, discovers Flim and Flam putting on disguises.
"What are those two Hearth's Warming hooligans up to now?!" — Applejack
Meanwhile, Rarity arrives at the remote Sweet Acorn Orchard and meets acorn farmers Oak Nut and Butternut. When Rarity asks about the package that was mistakenly delivered to their home, Oak Nut and Butternut believe she was the one who sent it and thank her. Their son Pistachio—who is just as much into fashion as Rarity—loves the hat and recognizes its quality. Upon realizing who Rarity is, Pistachio becomes starstruck and begs her to join him and his family for a meal.
Back at the Castle of Friendship, a frazzled Twilight finally finds the recipe for Chancellor Puddinghead's legendary pudding, which mentions that not meeting the exact measurements of its ingredients will result in "untold culinary devastation". However, before Twilight can start making the pudding, Shining Armor, Cadance, and Flurry Heart arrive, and Shining Armor realizes Twilight is stressed about something. Twilight quickly denies this and excuses herself to collect the ingredients for Pinkie Pie's pudding.
In the arctic north beyond Yakyakistan, Pinkie discovers a small house in a mountain grove, where she meets a trio of reindeer. The apparently prophetic reindeer already know who Pinkie is, have been expecting her arrival, and are even able to predict what she is going to say next. They introduce themselves as Aurora, Bori, and Alice—the Gift Givers of the Grove that Pinkie has been looking for. With a cryptic rhyme, the Gift Givers give Pinkie a present for Twilight. When Pinkie looks inside, she does not understand what the gift means, but the Gift Givers tell her she will understand later.
Applejack and Fluttershy confront Flim and Flam over their latest doll-selling scam. The brothers explain that they are raising funds to finance another expansion of their Las Pegasus resort and simply supplying ponies with something to get their friends and family for Hearth's Warming. Despite the dolls' shoddy assembly and Flim and Flam's unscrupulous methods, they are not doing anything illegal or harmful, and they quickly make Applejack and Fluttershy leave.
Upset that Flim and Flam are using the holidays for their shifty purposes, Applejack and Fluttershy decide to show their customers a better way. Some time later, they return to Flim and Flam's stand and pretend to be repeat customers. Applejack buys three "Holly the Hearth Warmer" dolls for Apple Bloom, Big McIntosh, and Granny Smith, but Fluttershy points out that giving the same doll to all three of her family members would depreciate the value of gift-giving. This causes the rest of Flim and Flam's customers to question their own purchasing choices, and they walk away, bringing the brothers' latest scam to an end.
Flim and Flam are eventually run out of Rainbow Falls by angry, ripped-off customers, and Applejack and Fluttershy take the train back to Ponyville. Unfortunately, it is now Hearth's Warming Eve, and they do not have anything special to give Rainbow Dash and Spike, having only the last two of Flim and Flam's "Holly the Hearth Warmer" dolls.
Rainbow Dash and Discord search the forest for a small, rare, and elusive creature called a winterchilla. Upon finding one, Rainbow Dash quickly and effortlessly catches it. At the castle, Spike makes a present for Rarity from scratch. When he dozes off to sleep in the middle of this, he accidentally covers his entire body in glitter.
Back at Sweet Acorn Orchard, Rarity bids farewell to Oak Nut and Butternut and foresees a promising future in fashion for Pistachio. Just before Rarity leaves, Pistachio offers to give the hat back, knowing full well he was not its intended recipient. However, not only does Rarity let Pistachio keep the hat, but she also invites him to be her guest at Manehattan's next Fashion Week. Unfortunately, this leaves Rarity without a gift for Applejack.
In the castle kitchen, Twilight is more preoccupied with carefully making Pinkie Pie's pudding gift than spending time with Shining Armor, Cadance, and Flurry Heart. Twilight admits to getting stressed over making sure her present was perfect and promises to spend time with her family now that her cooking is almost done. However, while Twilight addresses Shining Armor and Cadance, Flurry Heart throws a bunch of additional ingredients into the cooking pot, and as the four of them leave the kitchen, the pudding in the pot starts to boil over.
As Rainbow Dash and Discord come out of the forest and approach the castle, Discord bids farewell to Rainbow, having not been invited to spend Hearth's Warming with the Mane Six. Feeling guilty, Rainbow Dash invites Discord to join her and her friends for Hearth's Warming as thanks for helping her find Fluttershy's present, and Discord happily accepts. However, as the sun starts to set, the winterchilla transforms into a giant, monstrous version of itself called a winterzilla.
The Mane Six start to come together at the entrance to Twilight's castle, most of them disappointed in themselves for not getting anything special for their Hearthswarming Helper recipients. Just then, Twilight and her family appear running from a tidal wave of pudding, and Rainbow Dash and Discord appear running from the winterzilla. The Mane Six and their friends find themselves trapped between an impassable wall of pudding and a roaring monster.
The winterzilla is drawn to the sparkly glitter covering Spike's body, and Twilight uses Spike to distract it while some of their friends get to safety. But the winterzilla quickly ignores Spike and starts eating the castle's Hearth's Warming decorations. At Discord's suggestion, Fluttershy reprimands the winterzilla into being submissive and, upon learning it is all alone for the holidays, invites it to spend Hearth's Warming with the ponies.
Twilight tries to get the sea of magical pudding under control, but it is resistant to her magic attacks. With Twilight unsure of what to add to the pudding in order to fix Puddinghead's recipe, Pinkie Pie remembers the gift box she received from the Gift Givers of the Grove and their mysterious final message. The gift box contains additional pudding ingredients, and when Pinkie jumps into the pudding with the box, the ingredients merge with the pudding and bring it under control, much to everyone's relief.
A short while later, the Mane Six and their friends enjoy bowls of pudding by the fireplace. Twilight apologizes to Pinkie for failing at Hearthswarming Helper, but Pinkie says if the pudding had not magically come to life, her own Hearthswarming Helper present would not have made sense. The rest of the Mane Six feel equally ashamed of the Hearth's Warming presents they did or did not bring, but their intended recipients quickly forgive them. Though it is unfinished, Spike decides to give Rarity her Hearth's Warming present: a heartfelt song in which he fully puts his feelings for her into words. Rarity is so moved by Spike's song that she thanks him with a kiss on the cheek.
Realizing how much trouble everyone had in finding the perfect Hearth's Warming gift, Pinkie Pie recalls the Gift Givers' cryptic rhyme: "The best gift is more precious than gold, but it cannot be sold. When it breaks, it's not ended, for quickly it's mended. It can never be bought yet is easily sought." Twilight recognizes this rhyme as a riddle and reveals that its answer is "friendship". In a second verse of Spike's song, Twilight and her friends express that friendship is the greatest gift of all, and multiple ponies and other creatures are shown across Equestria spending Hearth's Warming together.
As the Mane Six and their friends come together for a group hug, the Gift Givers of the Grove observe them from outside the window, and Alice echoes their sentiment as she, Bori, and Aurora gallop across the sky.
|Tara Strong (speaking)
Rebecca Shoichet (singing)
|Ashleigh Ball||Rainbow Dash|
Pony Vendor #2
|Andrea Libman||Pinkie Pie (speaking)|
|Shannon Chan-Kent||Pinkie Pie (singing)|
|Tabitha St. Germain||Rarity (speaking)|
|Kazumi Evans||Rarity (singing)|
|John de Lancie||Discord|
Pony Vendor #1
|Garry Chalk||Prince Rutherford|
Pony Vendor #3
|Ingrid Nilson||Limestone Pie|
|Andrew Francis||Shining Armor|
|Britt McKillip||Princess Cadance|
The special was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2018.
- The opening prologue is recited in the style of the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas.
- A pony version of the homeless pigeon lady from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York briefly appears during "One More Day".
- A colt wearing a cap puts an ornament on a tiny tree, and it falls over, referencing A Charlie Brown Christmas.
- A stallion in an elf costume appears getting chased by a raccoon, referencing Buddy from the 2003 film Elf.
- Discord's candle form is a reference to the character Lumière from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
- Discord's aviator's cap and red scarf are a reference to Snoopy's World War I Flying Ace persona.
- Flurry Heart's star-shaped winter coat is similar to Maggie Simpson's star-shaped winter coat in The Simpsons.
- The magical reindeer, themselves references to the Santa Claus mythos of his own flying reindeer, are named Aurora, Bori, and Alice, collectively referencing the aurora borealis, another name for the Northern Lights.
- While searching for the winterchilla, Discord and Rainbow Dash briefly appear dressed as Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from the G.I. Joe franchise.
- Discord dressed in a green winter hat and white bathrobe is a reference to the character of Cousin Eddie first introduced in the 1989 film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
- The cover of the Power Ponies comic Applejack considers getting for Spike references the cover of Action Comics #1, best known for featuring the debut of Superman. The comic was previously parodied in "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows".
- Jim Miller on Twitter: "Yes, with @mhmyhre and @Fruit_Of_The_Lu."
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- Discovery Family October 2018 Programming Highlights (Updated 9-25-18)
- My Little Pony - The Best Gift Ever Christmas Special DVD: Amazon.co.uk: DVD & Blu-ray
- My Little Pony Wiki: My Little Pony Best Gift Ever
- My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever at the Internet Movie Database