Encouraging a more Christ focused Advent and Christmas season, this list of Christmas movies proves to be supportive of that goal and guaranteed not to be just another distraction.
Everyone likes movies and they are especially fun this time of year when the weather is chilly and darkness comes early. Picking the right movie...ah, therein lies the challenge. Not all of the movies listed here are overtly Christ centered but none distract from building virtue during the time leading up to Christmas and all are guaranteed to entertain.
We are seasonally adding to this list and the newest additions are at the bottom of this page.
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There are many film versions of Charles Dicken's classic Christmas novel, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is a miser and his stinginess made money his everything - his god and mistress, his sole purpose for living. Scrooge is given an opportunity to amend his life through the apparition of three spirits on Christmas Eve.
A truly enduring tale comes to life in these three versions:
GAPS families will appreciate the references to digestion in this story. Scrooge blames the apparitions on a piece of undigested meat. It is interesting to note how much previous generations attributed to digestion and health.
This classic starring James Stewart is a heartwarming tale about George Bailey, a man who comes close to despair. He tells his guardian angel that he wishes he has never been born. His angel proves to him what a disaster his small town would be without him through a strange experience. In the end George realizes that the most important things in life are love and family.
He also learns that he is most remembered by all he has poured into others rather than his success from a worldly point of view. This classic takes place at Christmastime and it is a touching Christmas movie the whole family will enjoy.
Every child down in familyland likes this movie a lot. So the families who like Christmas movies show it, why not?
This clever poem by the talented Dr. Seuss is adapted and narrated by Boris Karloff creating an endearing short cartoon. This Christmas classic shows that the love the Whos share is what Christmas is all about:
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, Was singing without any presents at all!...Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!
Our Lord's coming at Christmas is not explicitly discussed but it can be deduced by Catholic children that the love the Whos share is Christ's love that we share as Christians.
VeggieTales are delightfully corny. The slapstick comedy in these animated and overtly Christian shows are guaranteed to have the whole family laughing out loud and singing along to the catchy tunes. VeggieTales are surprisingly traditional considering the heavy Protestant influence. These three Christmas movies are all about the true meaning of Christmas, God's love, and the Baby Jesus.
It has been said that during the golden age of cinema, Jewish movie makers followed the decency standards set forth by Catholic bishops to make movies for a largely Protestant audience.
Ben Hur is gem from this golden era! Starring Charleston Heston, this movie takes place during the years of Our Lord's birth and on through His death, but it is not a story about Our Lord. It is the story about Judah Ben Hur and how Our Lord's coming changed his life. An epic starring Charleston Heston. Enough said!
The charming story of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer deserves a place on every Christmas movie list. Great Christmas music classics including "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas" and "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" make this show really stand out.
Hermey the aspiring dentist, Yukon Cornelius, Abominable, and yes, Rudolph are the most beloved stop-motion Christmas characters ever created. This cute and quirky Christmas movie's nostalgia value is through the roof. It's a hit for children and grown-ups alike.
Music appreciation meets Mattel in this well crafted version of the Nutcracker. Barbie is a very wholesome ballerina who encourages a little girl through the telling of this Christmas classic. Also starring as Clara, Barbie plays the heroine who destroys the mouse king and helps Nutcracker break the spell.
With dance, music, and adventure, this cartoon version of the Nutcracker is well worth the watch. The music makes this a worthwhile show for the whole family. You can watch Barbie in The Nutcracker free on DailyMotion.com.
A unit of study is often fun especially when there is a real interest. A nice place to introduce children to the story of the Nutcracker is with this movie. Listening to the music while baking Christmas cookies can come next.
Listening to the audio book or reading the book Nutcracker and Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman aloud will naturally follow. Finally an outing to the ballet can conclude a lasting and memorable unit study that included music appreciation and ballet, plus familiarity with the Nutcracker, a Christmas tradition.
The heartwarming Christmas scene in the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott makes Little Women a nostalgic Christmastime favorite. Set during the American Civil War, the March girls through Marmee's lead always make the best of hard times. During Christmas, the greatest gift is their father's surprise homecoming from the warfront.
The best two versions of this movie are the 1994 and 1949 versions. The 1994 one starring Susan Sarandon has a tinge of a feminist agenda but if not pointed out it could go unnoticed. The 1949 version with June Allyson is really good.
This movie, with its Russian wintery scenery and famous soundtrack which includes a song "Once Upon A December" earns its place among these Christmas movies.
In the post-revolution St. Petersburg, a young con-artist and his assistant hold auditions for any young woman who is willing to pose as the lost Russian Princess Anastasia. But when they run into a young orphan named Anya they try to convince her that she could possibly be the lost princess.
She is willing to travel to Paris to meet the royal family but is unwilling to play into their con. Demetrius and Vladimir only want the reward which is offered to anyone who finds the princess and Anya only wants to find her family. The trio agree that in the end, they all get what they want.
But, Demetrius does not bring into account that the saucy, headstrong orphan is actually quite attractive and he feels himself reluctantly falling in love with Anya. When he discovers a clue which lines up Anya's past and Anastasia's history, he must try to convince Anya further that she is the Lost Princess, while convincing himself that he needs to move on without her.
Anastasia is a fun cartoon that mixes true facts from history with fiction. It relates the true story of the Romanov family's demise and the role of the sinister figure Rasputin. It also is a sweet romance.
This cartoon follows the classic story about St. Nicholas as a young man giving away his inheritance to the poor. St. Nicholas' first act of generosity is displayed when he purchases a young boy about his own age from a life of slavery. The two become friends as Adrian pursues Nicholas in all his future adventures.
When Adrian runs into a woodcutter who has no other way to escape his debts except by selling his daughters into a life of sin, Adrian immediately runs to Nicholas for help. That night, Nicholas drops three bags of gold down the chimney of the woodcutter thus starting the Santa coming down the chimney tradition. Nicholas' example finally wins the conversion of Adrian, the woodcutter and his daughters as well as the slave master.
When Nicholas becomes Bishop of Myra, a great persecution breaks out and he is captured and imprisoned. After Constantine takes over the empire and the government, Nicholas is set free and he returns to Myra to find a thriving Christian community. Adrian tells him that it was his example of generosity which prompted the Christians to rebuild the Cathedral and continue living virtuous lives all through the persecution.
This nostalgic film brings to life all the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes in this fantastic display of talent! Dancing, singing and ventriloquy are only a few of the entertaining aspects of this cute story.
The plot circles around Mary Contrary and her fiancé, Tom Piper. Tom's engagement to Mary has sparked the jealousy of the villain of the story, Barnaby, who hires two goofy henchmen to kidnap and kill Tom, forcing Mary to marry Barnabey.
But when the incompetent henchmen don't pull through and Tom returns, Barnaby must find another way to get rid of him. This film is filled with all the characters that you remember from childhood nursery rhymes including Little Bo-Peep, Jack and Jill, Simple Simon The Pie-Man and Jack Be Nimble.
Although there is no reference to God in the film, there is a strong theme of good verses evil. Barnaby is displayed as bad by use of color as he wears a Dracula-like black suit and uses his over dramatic evil laugh and nasally voice.
This movie does not have any Christmas connection in the storyline but the Toyland aspect has sparked a memory which became popular at Christmas time. In a battle where Tom and Barnaby have been shrunk to toy size, the toys in the shop come alive and join sides of the hero and the villain. Wooden soldiers and other old fashioned toys join the fray in a stop animation battle.
There is also a theme of Christmas in the unhappy toymaker who, after the children help him clean up the messy toyshop, has a change of heart and feels like making toys for children is not such a bad occupation after all.
The talented singing and dancing is quite memorable as well as the slapstick, innocent humor.
I would like to thank my Uncle Michael for helping me put together this Christmas movie review!
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