Christmas Movie Countdown: Week 1 – Animated Features

I’m a sentimental fool who still loves Christmas. For the next 25 days, I’ll be watching Christmas movies, playing Christmas songs, and donating money to anyone I see standing outside with a red bucket and waving a bell in the freezing cold. I like to start the December holiday season with animated Christmas movies and shorts. Here are some that I’ll be watching.

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ – I usually watch this on Halloween too. It’s prime Tim Burton with great macabre animation, a storyline that’s dark yet relatable, and winningly quirky musical numbers. I’ll take this over ‘Frozen’ any day.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas‘ – I heard the other day that a new ‘Peanuts’ movie is coming next year. While I’m excited for that, for now I’m happy to watch this chestnut again. Is there anything better than Charlie Brown’s sad little Christmas tree with a tree skirt made of Linus’s blanket? Or Vince Guaraldi’s take on Christmas carols? I think not.
  • Rankin & Bass classics – ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer‘, ‘Frosty the Snowman‘ and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ are my favorites. Get yourself some cocoa with marshmallows and enjoy the cute little stop-motion creatures and familiar old voices of Jimmy Durante, Burl Ives, Fred Estaire and Mickey Rooney.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol‘ – I’ll watch several other versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ this season, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I love Michael Caine’s excellent deadpan performance as Scrooge while surrounded by the ridiculousness of the Muppets. This year, I’ll also check out another Muppets movie, ‘Emmit Otter’s Jug Band Christmas’, which I hear is great.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!‘ – Of course I’m talking about the 1966 animated classic version voiced by Boris Karloff. Could there be another version? No, not one worth mentioning.

For me, those are the essential animated Chistmas movies that I watch every year. However, here are a few more to consider:

  • Olive, The Other Reindeer‘ – This was a TV special from 1999 that has a cute storyline and an interesting animation style. Olive is voiced by Drew Barrymore, and the other voice talent is exceptional.
  • It’s a Spongebob Christmas!‘ – I’ll watch ‘Spongebob’ anytime.
  • Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol‘ – You either like Mr. Magoo or you want to punch him in the head. For me, he’s a good Scrooge and only makes me want to punch him in the head a little bit.
  • Arthur Christmas‘ / ‘The Polar Express‘ – I haven’t seen either of these, but if I come across them on TV or video, I’ll check them out.

Lastly, if you’re not quite ready for adorable animated Christmas movies, you could always watch ‘Gremlins’. It has animated critters and is set at Christmas, but it won’t leave you with that warming fuzzy feeling. And don’t watch it after midnight.

This post is part of a four week series on Christmas movies. Next week, Christmas romances and schlock!


  1. Junie

    Chris…more to come on the other movies. I totally forgot about Disney Christmas Carol, such a good one – I even have a Scrooge McDuck pen that I use when I pay bills. Maybe next year I should make a list of 26 days worth of Christmas Carol renditions…

    Great suggestions on the other ones – I haven’t seen either of those in years, they will be added to my list!

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