Part of our holiday cheer each year comes from the movies we only watch once a year. My daughter is always begging to watch one of our holiday films in the summer, and sometimes I’ll cave in and let her—especially if we celebrate a summer Christmas in July, as we sometimes do—but normally I try to beg her off back, hoping to keep the movies magical and once-a-year only. In fact, last year I packed up our clay cartoons just for this purpose so we couldn’t watch them! Cruel, I know.
In addition to our annual favorite clay cartoons (my personal favorite is Rudolph’s Shiny New Year), here are some of our must-watch holiday movies.
The Polar Express. This is my daughter’s favorite Christmas movie, and I have to say it’s one of mine, too. The animation is breathtaking, and we really enjoy the songs and the dark, but not too dark, themes. The idea of a Christmas ghost is always intriguing.
Arthur Christmas. This new favorite is absolutely adorable, moving and intelligently funny; you will probably enjoy it if you generally like animated movies. I highly recommend checking this one out with your family this year.
Gremlins. No, this isn’t for your kids—it’s purely for grownup Christmas fun! You can make it even more fun by telling your cats that they can’t get wet and you won’t feed them after midnight. Or maybe that’s just me…
The Nightmare Before Christmas. My family watches this for two holidays. Okay, this is one that we might actually watch throughout the year. We can’t help it! It’s our favorite!
Harry Potter. I don’t know why we always have a Harry Potter marathon, but we do—magic and snow, maybe?—and this year, I don’t think we’ll be able to make it through all of the films! Maybe the first three… My husband and I also like to do a LOTR marathon around this time of year, and with Dark Knight Rises coming out on DVD—we still haven’t seen it yet!—we’ll be having one of those marathons, too.
It’s a Wonderful Life. My husband and I usually watch this one together on New Year’s Eve.
Some others that my daughter really likes include Garfield’s Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. You might also want to check out the short Dreamworks Christmas films, such as Shrek the Halls. That one is pretty funny and brief enough for littles to enjoy.