Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special is a Christmas television special spun off from the CBS Saturday-morning children's program Pee-wee's Playhouse. The special is a variety show that features a number of celebrities of the time as well as several musical numbers, educational segments, and segments commonly found in the show: a secret word ("year"), connecting the dots with the Magic Screen, a visit from the King of Cartoons, and a clay-animated Penny cartoon.


The special begins in a snowy landscape, as we pan to the title card. We then move on to the Playhouse. Inside, the UCLA Men's Glee Club, as a Marine Choir, sings the introduction. Pee-Wee Herman welcomes the viewer to the special, and introduces the cast and guest stars. As Pee-wee finishes the song, the choir lifts him above their heads.

Next, while Pee-Wee goes over his really, really long list of gifts, he lists a yo-yo, but Conky 2000 points out that he already has a yo-yo, which Pee-wee finds and plays with, but ends up breaking the camera. Pee-wee concludes his list with a really long closing, and a really long postscript. While Conky goes crazy rapidly printing it out, Pee-wee brings in a large envelope, when Miss Yvonne visits, with her hair styled like a Christmas Tree. She gives Pee-wee a present - a fruitcake! Then Pee-wee gives her a present - Eau de Pee-wee Perfume. As Pee-wee goes to put his first fruitcake in the fridge, he sees the food celebrating Christmas. The freezer food fish out another present for Pee-wee - a teeny-tiny fruitcake.

Pee Wees Christmas Special 01 (110)

Then, someone calls on the Picturephone. Pee-wee receives a call from Whoopi Goldberg, who asks him if he can be cast in his Christmas special, but Pee-wee has already booked too many stars as it is, even in next year's Christmas special. He hopes he'll be able to see Whoopi in about two years from now. After saying goodbye, Magic Screen invites Pee-wee to play Connect the Christmas Dots with her. The dots form a sleigh. Magic Johnson, Magic Screen's cousin, joins in the ride with him.

Back in the Playhouse, Pee-wee detects that he has forgotten about the decorations. After he wishes he hadn't been selfish, Jambi comes out and Pee-wee tells him his problem and lets him accept an extra wish to use for later. After chanting the magic words, Jambi magically decorates the Playhouse festively. Then, Reba enters the house with a bag of Christmas cards, along with another present for Pee-wee - another fruitcake! Pee-wee then gives Reba his envelope and a present for her: press-on toenails. It reminds Reba that she has a great big package delivered to the house. Grace Jones comes out of the box. When she sees Pee-wee, she says "You're not the President. You're Pee-wee Herman." Reba reads the label that the package was supposed to be delivered to the White House, not the Playhouse. However, Grace decides to perform a musical number right here, right now, singing "Little Drummer Boy".

Peewee christmas screenshot

After a break, Pee-wee shows us his next guests - Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, making Christmas cards by stamping many Christmas trees and candy canes on them. Pee-wee commands them to make 500 of them before sundown. Next, Pee-wee sees Cher decorating Conky like a Christmas tree. It reminds Pee-wee that he forgot to get today's secret word, so Conky displays it - year. After he explains the secret word rules, he asks Cher how she likes Christmas so far. Cher: "Christmas is my favorite time of year". Everyone screams.

Pee-Wee Herman, Annette Funicello, and the King of Cartoons

Pee-wee with Annette Funicello and the King of Cartoons.

After Cher leaves, the King of Cartoons arrives. He has a present for Pee-wee - two more fruitcakes! As the King turns on the TV, Joan Rivers appears, playing Hollywood Squares. Pee-Wee, King, and Annette wish Joan a Merry Christmas, before they watch a Christmas-themed cartoon.

Del Rubio Triplets sing Winter Wonderland

The Del Rubio Triplets perform "Winter Wonderland".

After that, Billy Baloney decides to sing on the Christmas special, when Pee-wee reminds him maybe next year. Then outside, Mr. Kite announces that it's snowing. Pee-wee, reacting excitedly, puts on his winter outfit, leaving a jealous Frankie and Annette to continue working with cards. Out in the snow, Pee-wee makes a snow angel and makes mystery tracks. When Cowboy Curtis comes by and wonders who made those footprints, Pee-wee surprised him, saying he made his mystery tracks. Then they hear the Del Rubio Triplets singing "Winter Wonderland".

After that, Pee-wee and Curtis build a snowman, which talks, scaring them away. Later, Pee-wee meets Little Richard at the skating pond. While Little Richard is having trouble skating, Pee-wee demonstrates by performing stupendous tricks. However, Little Richard is left surprised when he sees Pee-wee's stunt double, Hans, dressed in the same outfit he's wearing.

Back in the Playhouse, while everyone warms up with some hot chocolate, KD Land sings "Jingle Bell Rock". After that, while Pee-wee hangs stockings, Randy doesn't believe in Santa Claus. Pee-wee hangs up two giant stockings. Then Clocky announces that it's time for a Penny Cartoon. After the cartoon, Frankie and Annette are starving, so Pee-wee gives them bread and water, making them annoyed. Next, the Cowntess gives Pee-wee a present - another fruitcake. Then Pee-wee gives the Cowntess a present - a cowbell that plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Then Zsa Zsa Gabor visits Pee-wee to give him a Christmas kiss.

Then the Picturephone rings again. Dinah Shore calls him and sings him "The Twelve Days of Christmas". While she was singing, Oprah Winfrey calls from another line to wish him Merry Christmas. Not wanting to stay for the whole song, Pee-wee sneaks out of the phone and places a lookalike dummy in his place.

Charo sings Feliz Navidad

Charo performs "Feliz Navidad".

Then, Ricardo comes to visit, says, "Feliz Navidad", and allows Pee-wee to play break the piñata, a Mexican Christmas tradition. While Pee-wee plays, Spanish singer Charo sings "Feliz Navidad". At the end, the piñata breaks open with many toys and sweets. Then, Charo gives Pee-wee another pastel de fruta - fruitcake. Next, Mrs. Renee comes to visit, but because she's Jewish, she celebrates Hanukkah, and gives Pee-wee eight fruitcakes, one for each night. Then they sing "The Dradel (sic) Song" with on-screen lyrics, before they play it. The dreidel spins into the Dinosaur Family's home. It breaks open with chocolate gelt. Later, Frankie and Annette are done with the cards. Pee-wee then asks them to make envelopes, tiring them out.

After another break, Pee-wee and his friends are putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree. Pterri puts the star on the top of the tree, and then it lights up. Then Randy unplugs the tree. Pee-wee reminds him that he forgot about the True Meaning of Christmas. Magic Screen plays a video of the Nativity of Jesus, making Randy feel touched by the True Meaning of Christmas. He gives Pee-wee a small fruitcake. After Cowboy Curtis gives him one last fruitcake, Pee-wee shows his friends a new wing in the Playhouse, made entirely out of those cakes.

Then, while everyone sings "Pee-Wee's Christmas Medley", he hears sleigh bells, which signals the arrival of Santa Claus. Pee-wee gives him a plate of milk and cookies, but Santa has one problem: his list of so big that he didn't have enough presents for any other children, and he wants all of his presents. Pee-wee then remembers what he said earlier: "Christmas is the time we should be thinking about what we can do for others." This makes him decide to let Santa have his presents. Santa then lets Pee-wee ride in his sleigh and help him deliver the presents to the children. Pee-wee says goodbye to his friends, before Jambi asks "Hey, Pee-wee, what about that special wish?" Pee-wee decide to wish that everybody would have the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year! Everyone screams, and Pee-wee leaves on Santa's sleigh. The credits roll while Dinah reprises "The Twelve Days of Christmas", noting that Pee-wee doesn't respond at the end.

Running Gags[]

  • Pee-wee is often seen giving odd or humorous gifts to his friends: Miss Yvonne gets a bottle of "Eau de Pee-wee" perfume that smells like Pee-wee, Reba the Mail Lady gets a set of press-on toenails, and Cowntess the Cow gets a cowbell that plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
  • Pee-wee keeps receiving fruitcakes as Christmas gifts - Miss Yvonne, Reba the Mail Lady, the King of Cartoons, Cowboy Curtis, the food in the refrigerator, Mrs. Rene, Randy and Charo are all seen giving Pee-wee a fruitcake. Eventually, we learn that Pee-wee is having a new wing added to the playhouse made completely out of fruitcake when he opens a door to deliver fruitcakes to three shirtless male construction workers busy working on the new wing.
  • Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon give a lesson on making homemade Christmas cards with paint, stencils and potatoes. Pee-wee holds Frankie and Annette captive until they made 1000 cards and envelopes. Pee-wee stops by to check on their progress several times during the special, and offers them bread and water when they complain that they are hungry and thirsty.
  • Dinah Shore calls Pee-wee on the Picturephone to sing a song to him - "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Pee-wee tires of the song and sneaks out of the Picturephone booth. Several times during the special, Pee-wee passes by the booth to hear Dinah still singing the song past the original twelve days ("On the five-hundredth day of Christmas...")

Guest stars[]

  • Annette Funicello
  • Frankie Avalon
  • Grace Jones (sings "Little Drummer Boy")
  • K.D. lang (sings "Jingle Bell Rock")
  • Dinah Shore (sings "The Twelve Days of Christmas")
  • Little Richard
  • Cher
  • Magic Johnson
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Del Rubio Triplets (sing "Winter Wonderland")
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Joan Rivers
  • Charo (sings "Feliz Navidad")


  • Miss Yvonne wears a red, green, and white Christmas-themed dress in the special. This dress also appeared in the Pee-wee's Playhouse series in the episode "Miss Yvonne's Visit." Lynne Marie Stewart, the actress who played Yvonne, stated in the actors' DVD commentary that she still owns the dress.
  • The Del Rubio Triplets would again appear on Pee-wee's Playhouse in the episode, "Dr. Pee-Wee and the Del Rubios". In that episode, they perform "These Boots Are Made For Walking".


  • In reruns, the first shot of Pee-wee and Santa flying past an airplane in the opening credits was replaced with a repeated shot of them flying out of the Playhouse.


This special was released on VHS and Laserdisc by Hi-Top Video in 1989, and again by MGM/UA Home Video (through Warner Home Video) in 1996. The special made its DVD debut in 2004, when it was released on the format by Image Entertainment. It was also included in Image Entertainment's Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series set, and made its high-definition debut on the Blu-ray set of the same name, released by Shout! Factory on October 21, 2014. Shout! Factory later gave the special its own individual Blu-ray release on October 6, 2015.


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