Sometimes you just have to sit down, put your feet up, and relax. And what better way to do that at this time of the year than with a Christmas movie, especially an animated treat that celebrates the festive season.
In no specific order, here is a list of 10 Christmas Cartoons that I think are worth watching.
Mickey’ Christmas Carol (1984) Rated G.
From who else but the studios of Walt Disney comes this animated version of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic. Mickey Mouse is so lovable a Bob Cratchit and yet, Scrooge McDuck is the perfect casting to play the character of Ebeneezer Scrooge. (Did he steal the show from Mickey?)
Although only a short Disney film – approx 30 minutes – it was and is a wonderful movie for the whole family to enjoy.
Shrek the Halls (2007) Rated G.
I love Shrek, but I guess he’s everyone’s favourite ogre. In this little gem, he tries to get in the spirit of the season and gets a little derailed by Donkey, Puss in Boots, and his other fairytale friends.
This ‘Shrek’ instalment from Dreamworks features the all-star cast you know and love from the original movies. Again, this is only a short film with all those favourite characters and the rest of the crew attempting to celebrate Christmas.
Dr Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) Rated G.
Bringing three legends together – Dr Suess, Chuck Jones and Boris Karloff – would always mean success and it certainly did in this 1966 TV special, so I guess it’s no surprise that Dr Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! became, and still is, a holiday favourite as cherished today as it was all those years ago. This was, and still is, a beloved favourite and our girls watch it every year.
Jim Carrey portrays the mean, green Grinch in this live-action version of the classic Dr Seuss tale.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) Rated G.
If you know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon. And Comet and Cupid, and Donna and Blixen, then I’m sure you also know who Rudolph is. But do you know the whole story of the reindeer with the special nose? This little gem from 1964 is a stop-motion animated television special, based on the Johnny Marks song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and produced by Videocraft International, Ltd (later known as Rankin/Bass Productions).
It takes us a step closer to ensuring our red-nosed hero does (indeed) go down in history.
The Polar Express (2004) Rated G.
This holiday film reminds us that seeing isn’t always believing. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, this film from Warner Bros. Pictures is a 3D computer-animation that features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation. (Phew!)
Not to give anything away, but what would you ask for if you were chosen to receive the first gift for Christmas?
Frosty the Snowman (1969) Rated G.
Ever wished your snowman would come alive? After children give him a magical silk hat discarded by a local magician, he becomes real and befriends a little girl who plots to keep him alive forever.
This is a wonderful story and is narrated by comedian, Jimmy Durante. Produced for television by Rankin/Bass Productions, this holiday classic tells the tale of a snowman doing just that and we all got to learn the story quite well thanks in part to that hit song of the same name by Gene Autry.
Arthur Christmas (2011) Rated PG.
With characters like Arthur (Santa’s youngest son), and Steve (Santa’s eldest son), as well as Grandsanta (yep, Santa’s father), this British 3D animation from Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation opens with one of life’s great questions: How does Santa visit so many homes so quickly?
I guess you’ll just have to watch to find the answer. But if that doesn’t draw you in, perhaps the big voices might – James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970) Rated G.
There were a lot of wonderful holiday treats produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, and this is another that makes it onto my list. Based on the Christmas song “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Eddie Cantor in 1934, this little story takes a look at how Santa came to be and features his battle with Mayor Meisterburger and the Winter Wizard.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with animated Fred Astaire as the narrator? And what about Mickey Rooney as the voice of Kris Kringle?
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999) Rated G.
This is another classic gem from the Disney studios, but in fact, it was a direct-to-video animated Christmas film produced by Walt Disney Video Premieres and features everyone’s favourite characters in three shorts – Donald Duck Stuck On Christmas, A Very Goofy Christmas, and Mickey and Minnie’s The Gift of the Magic. Each of them a joy and wonderful family fun.
I find it so hard to resist the dulcet tones of Kelsey Grammer as the narrator. The sequel, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, was released in 2004.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Rated PG.
A completely different take on Christmas was introduced by Tim Burton in his 1993 stop-motion animation and although there’s debate over whether or not it’s actually a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie, I think there’s little doubt about it capturing the holiday spirit.
Jack Skellington, the beloved pumpkin king from Halloweentown, plots to take over Christmastown because he’s bored with his annual routine of frightening people. This movie is enchanting and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It is a must-see, particularly if you are partial to Tim Burton’s work.
Which Christmas Cartoon makes it onto your list?
(I had a lot of fun finding the movie posters/DVD covers on Amazon 🙂 )
* This is not exactly in keeping with the rules of a photo challenge, but a funny thing happened when I went to take a photo of the cover of any one of these Christmas Cartoon Movies – I no longer have any! Ok, that’s not funny. I do have them, but these days, post-burial of old, chewed beyond viewing quality, VHS tapes, I now have (most of) these movies as electronic MP4 files.