During the festive season, there are so many wonderful movies to watch – but these 12 Christmas movies we think are the best for getting all the family in the mood this season.
THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS MOVIES
1. Miracle on 34th Street (Twentieth Century Fox, 1947) G
Who doesn’t need a miracle at Christmas? This is a perennially perfect night-before-Christmas movie. And who can beat that scene when the court room doors open and all the letters come rolling in for Santa? Keep In Mind… What better way to help children come to terms with the fact they have seen a hundred different Santas in stores all around your city than to show them this movie where the real Kris Kringle stands up and claims his name.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life (RKO Radio Pictures, 1946) PG
Jimmy Stewart is the ambitious businessman whose personal sacrifices inspire goodwill on earth and allow an angel to get his wings. Keep In Mind… You may need to prepare children for the historic event that is watching a black and white movie. No CGI graphics here then!!
THE CHRISTMAS COMEDIES
3. Home Alone (Twentieth Century Fox, 1990) PG
Macauley Caulkin reigns supreme in the Christmas firmament with this brilliant tale that reminds us all to appreciate our family during the Christmas season! Keep In Mind… This movie delivers plenty of scenes that might keep a little one awake into the night listening for ‘Wet Bandits’ on the prowl, so tread lightly if you have a sensitive soul.
4. Elf (New Line Cinema, 2004) PG
There’s nothing quite like watching a 6 foot 3 inch Will Ferrell in the role of a not-so-diminutive elf… His performance as an innocent abroad is pure seasonal gold and delivers plenty of laughs for parents and older kids. Keep In Mind…younger children might not quite be up to the humour, although four-year-old Oliver thought the scene in the bathroom was hilarious.
5. The Santa Clause (Walt Disney Pictures, 1994) PG
Luckily, most Daddies don’t end up having to take on the actual role of Santa when they wear his suit for a seasonal appearance, but in this rendition, Tim Allen does a darn excellent job of depicting the lengths one dad ends up going to to bring the magic of Christmas alive for his son. Keep In Mind… There is the scene where Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) and his son are faced with a collapsed in the snow Santa and that famous line is uttered” “Dad, you’ve killed Santa”.
SENTIMENTAL STORIES FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
6. Meet Me In St Louis (MGM, 1944) G
If for no other reason than this is where the world first heard Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, this movie has to be a Christmas favourite and delivers a host of historic movie moments the family will remember forever. Keep In Mind… Judy Garland is pretty much adorable in this role, so if you’re not a big fan of the musical, put your musical Scrooge aside and enjoy a Christmas interlude.
7. Christmas Oranges (BMG, 2012) PG
This beautifully filmed story opens with a baby being left on the doorstep of Greenwoods Orphanage, where Mrs. Hartley runs a warm and loving home. An unfortunate turn of events sees Greenwoods closed down and Rose sent to Iron Gates Orphanage under the care of Mr. Crampton, a Mr Scrooge of sorts. There are some beautiful carol-singing scenes and gorgeous cinematography that binds this overtly moral and sentimental tale together. Keep In Mind… There are two deaths from influenza in the movie, but otherwise this is a violence-, profanity- and nudity-free tale children of all ages can enjoy.
CHRISTMAS MOVIES FOR THE YOUNGER SET
8. The Muppet Christmas Carol (Walt Disney Pictures, 1992) G
A Christmas Carol can be a confronting tale with its ghosts of Christmas past, but in this slapstick variation, the Muppets make it about as fun a festive frolic as it can possibly be with Michael Caine as a straight faced Scrooge and Kermit as Bob Cratchit. Keep In Mind… Singing and muppets – seasonal perfection for some, puppet nightmare for others?
9. Arthur Christmas (Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman, 2011) U
This is the very British and Aardman-esque and British tale of a high-tech army of elves who work under the guidance of Santa’s eldest son (Hugh Laurie) to deliver parcels swiftly and efficiently to all the boys and girls around the world. Of course, this efficient system experiences a mishap and there is suddenly a mission to save Christmas. Keep In Mind… Arthur is no charismatic Kringle, but he delivers in true ‘an average anti-hero’ Aardman fashion!
10. A Christmas Carol (Walt Disney Pictures, 2009) PG
A visually stunning retelling of Dicken’s classic tale, this is a surprisingly true-to-the-original version of the story. Despite its incredibly high-tech specs and advanced 3D animation, the graphics have an excellent storybook quality to them, while Jim Carrey’s Ebenezer Scrooge is both more human and less comic clown than one would expect from this comedy veteran. Keep In Mind… The Motion Capture technology used for this animation means that some minor character have that somewhat disconcertingly rubbery and non-human look about them. So keep focus on the major characters and ignore these glitches to really enjoy the tale.
11. Christmas Vacation (Warner Bros, 1989)
The Griswold family Christmas is one of those chestnuts that make your own family Christmas never seem quite as tragic – regardless of just what disasters may have befallen your Christmas turkey. Keep In Mind… Obviously much of the slapstick humor is directed at tweens, with many laughs depend on mishaps like falling from ladders. There are some questionable scenes and profanities are sprinkled liberally throughout the movie, so best kept for families with tweens.
12. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) PG
This took some persuading for me, as I am not one for horror movies (and even at his most elegant, Tim Burton can be terrifying). Nonetheless, this tale of the night before Christmas delivers just the right balance of kooky-looking characters with enchanting personalities and pretty exceptional songs to keep them company. An enchanting nightmare, for sure. Keep In Mind… This is a bit of a mash-up of halloween, with skeleton-esque characters, and Christmas. So make sure your child is prepared for a spooky look to go along with this Christmas spirit.