Blog | 17 delightfully festive films to watch with your young people
The holidays are nearly here, which means it’s soon time to indulge in one of the best parts of Christmas – the films. Here are 17 festive favourites to watch with your young people, ranging from the comforting and the classic to the wacky and the obscure.
Six irresisitible classics
Watch these for maximum warmth and nostalgia...
It’s a Wonderful Life (U)
An oldie and most definitely a goodie, this movie has a big heart and a big message and is always a firm favourite over the holidays.
Home Alone (U)
This slapstick tale of holiday mania instantly puts you in the mood for Christmas, providing loads of laughs and cringeworthy moments as the burglars ship some serious knocks.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (U)
Catchy songs and colourful characters combine to lighten the mood of Dickens’s original dark tale, while keeping the original moral message intact.
The Santa Clause (U)
Always read the small print, folks. After Tim Allen's character inadvertently causes the demise of Santa, he has to take over on a temp basis to make sure all the presents get delivered. But it turns out to be a more permanent position than he bargained for.
Elf (PG, 2003)
Poor old Buddy doesn’t fit in anywhere – too big to be an elf, too child-like to be an adult – until he gets everyone to believe in the magic of Christmas again.
The Grinch (PG)
Whether you watch the shorter 60s animated version – or the Jim Carrey one from the mid noughties – Dr. Seuss’s tale always reinforces the resilience of Christmas cheer.
Two Christmassy movies that aren't actually Christmas movies
Watch these if you're in the mood for something a bit different this year...
The Labyrinth (U)
Jim Henson's Labyrinth isn't a convetional Christmas film, but there's a reason why it always seems to be on the telly at this time of year. Boasting a gothic fairytale plot, a host of hilarious puppet creatures, and a killer soundtrack headed up by David Bowie (who happens to play the film's cackling Goblin King villain). What more could you ask for?
Stranded without a home, an endlessly endearing and hopelessly clumsy bear finds himself in all kinds of sticky siuations before ultimately finding a wonderful new family in the Brown's. But to some of his less accepting neighbours, he's seen an imposter and a nuisance. The message of tolerance at the heart of Paddington's story makes it an ideal choice for this time of year, reminding us to do our best, to keep an open mind, and to always care for the less fortunate.
Five magical animated films
Watch these if you want to escape to another world...
The Forgotten Toys (U)
This heartwarming series tells the treacharous tale of a talking teddy bear and a doll whos are tossed aside to make room for shiny new toys. Vowing to make it home for Christmas, they spend days adventuring through the snowy streets of the New York, dodging rubbish trucks, befriending other forgotten toys, and learning valuable many lessons along the way.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (U)
Director/producer Jules Bass pioneered a handful of stop-motion, animated classics in the 60s and this is one of his best. A huge influence on Will Ferrell’s Elf (Santa’s workshop and the elf costumes are all based on this film), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeeris a fantastic bundle of festive loveliness for all the family.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (PG)
Everyone’s favourite Peanuts character goes in search of the true spirit of Christmas in this first animated special for Charlie Brown and friends. It’s a staple holiday favourite in the US and the second longest running Christmas special on network television (first is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). It’s got a great soundtrack too.
Tokyo Godfathers (12)
On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby and set out on a journey across the city to find its parents. Not as out there as your average Japanese anime and far more family-friendly than it sounds, Tokyo Godfathers is a delightedly simple tale that’s sure to fill you with good cheer.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG)
Visually stunning, with the perfect combination of spookiness and festiveness. The story of Jack Skellington and his attempts to become the new Santa for Christmas Town is a perfect antidote if you’re feeling sickl of the relentless festive cheer, or just want to watch something a bit different.
Four wacky and wonderful festive films
Watch these if your older Scouts have seen it all...
Rare Exports (15)
This terrfiying tale is for teens and young adults only. When a small town has been guarding a secret for too long, it’s time to unveil the terrifying truth about Christmas! Santa’s not as jolly as we were led to believe according to this weird and wonderful Finnish film that takes its cue from the Brothers Grimm and puts a decidedly creepy spin on Christmas.
A delightfully dark and subversive Christmas movie, this is probably best for older kids. Sure, Gizmo is cute, but you’ve got to be careful not to get him wet or feed him after midnight…
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (U)
For so-bad-it’s-good festive weirdness – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is unrivalled. The plot sees Santa being kidnapped by Martians as they have no-one to deliver their Christmas presents (honestly, we’re not making this up). Unintentionally hilarious and notable for the first (apparent) documented appearance of Mrs. Claus in a movie.
Jingle all the Way (PG)
This zany comedy sees Arnie face his most tricky foes – other parents desperately scrambling to buy a Turbo-Man, the most sought-after Christmas toy. This film has proven to be ahead of its time, predicting the mayhem caused by today's demand for fidget spinnes and Frozen dolls (maybe skip it if you’ve still got bad memories of that).