A Trash Truck Christmas

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
A Trash Truck Christmas TV Poster Image
Helpfulness and kindness rule in gentle holiday special.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Stands out for positive role models.

Educational Value

Social-emotional skills are emphasized, such as helping others, feeling empathy, and giving rather than receiving. 

Positive Messages

Positive messages include the value of working together for a common goal, the meaning of holiday spirit, and the idea that it's better to give than receive. The show also emphasizes kindness and helping others. 

Positive Role Models

Characters are all kind and try to help each other when they're feeling sad. The show also emphasizes using flexible thinking and imagination to find creative solutions to problems. Counter-stereotypical gender representation of a truck-loving boy who's also inquisitive and sensitive, and Ms. Mona (the only female main character) is sometimes presented in a stereotypical way, baking cookies and caring for others with little agenda of her own. Santa Claus is a kind figure who says giving gifts is his favorite part of Christmas because it makes people happy, and he likes seeing people happy. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

No cursing, but there's one slightly off-color joke in which Donny said he rolled in something brown and doesn't know what it was -- did anyone want to smell it? 


The special explores the gift-giving and receiving part of the holidays.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Trash Truck Christmas is a holiday special based in the same universe as preschooler animated series Trash Truck. The action is extremely gentle, with a group of friends pulling together to help Santa Claus perform a Christmas task. Positive messages include a reverence for holiday spirit, kindness, helpfulness, and the notion that it's better to give than to receive. Characters are uniformly kind to each other, and the show's social-emotional lessons include empathy, imagination, and finding creative solutions to problems. Hank is a non-stereotypical character, a small boy who loves space, adventure, and big trucks, but who is also thoughtful and affectionate to his family and friends. Ms. Mona is the show's only female character and can have a bit of a stereotypical bent -- she's shown baking cookies and caring for others. Santa Claus is an uncomplicated figure -- he's real, he's kind and loving, and he makes Christmas wishes come true for all. 

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What's the story?

A TRASH TRUCK CHRISTMAS is a holiday special in the world of toddler-beloved kids' animated show Trash Truck. When Santa Claus crash-lands in the junkyard on Christmas Eve, he needs the help of Hank (Henry Keane), Trash Truck (Glen Keane), Walter (Brian Baumgartner), Ms. Mona (Jackie Loeb), and Donny (Lucas Neff) to save the holiday and deliver presents to all the boys and girls (and bears and trucks and raccoons) on the nice list. 

Is it any good?

Christmas is an uncomplicated season of joy and giving in this holiday special, which focuses on the "Santa and presents" aspects of the holiday for an easygoing Christmas night adventure. As A Trash Truck Christmas begins, Hank is excited for Santa to come and pile up the bounty beneath the Christmas tree, and he brings his anticipation to the junkyard. But there, none of his friends have even heard of Santa. Is it possible that animal friends and trucks are left out of Christmas joy? Hopefully it's not a spoiler alert to tell you that Trash Truck and the gang find a special way of participating in Christmas that both demonstrates the selfless joy of the season, and the not-so-selfless delights of digging into a pile of gifts on Christmas morning. 

It's all very sweet and ideal viewing for families with vehicle-obsessed little ones who appreciate Trash Truck's enormous size and grumbly vocalizations. There's the added bonus of a few moments that illustrate that the really important part of Christmas is giving to others, and good will to all -- but there's nothing wrong with appreciating the new bikes and comic books under the tree, too. A Trash Truck Christmas even subtly implies that if Santa drops the ball, Mom and Dad can pinch hit, a message that exhausted holiday-time parents can no doubt appreciate just as much as their children enjoy this simple, well-meaning fable. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using your imagination. What parts of the story do you think were just pretend, and what were real? 

  • Stories about Christmas often try to give viewers a particular feeling. What feeling was this show trying to bring out in the people who watched it? Is that the feeling you had when you watched? 

  • Do you see trash trucks where you live? What sorts of adventures would you go on if one of those trash trucks became your friend?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holiday specials

Themes & Topics

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