Sitting down to watch a Christmas movie is one of the absolute best things about the festive season. Whether you like kooky, romantic, dramatic, or emotional films, there are hundreds of great movies that tap directly into the Christmas spirit and leave us feeling like we could be better people. To celebrate the season, we are sharing just a few of our most loved Christmas movies with a little tip for how we can carry each of their messages with us in our thoughts and actions.
It’s a Wonderful Life
If you ask 100 people what their favorite Christmas movie is, around 99 of them will say It’s a Wonderful Life. Says Rotten Tomatoes of this 1946 classic: “After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.”
You never know what people are going through. Live the message of It’s a Wonderful Life by being an angel to those you care about: just tell them what they mean to you 😇
This 1954 Hollywood classic stars Bing Crosby, the voice you hear crooning “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” every time you leave the house in December. After the war, performers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) discover their former General down on his luck, and in danger of losing his livelihood. The men pull out all the stops to unite their division one more time and to show their former commanding officer just how much they care for him. It’s a story of loyalty and comradeship, and of leaving no one behind.
Live the message of White Christmas by supporting vegan activists in Ukraine who supply food parcels to those serving in the army.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
There are other adaptations of this much-loved Charles Dickens novel but surely none so gloriously kooky and warm-hearted as this one. It is the story of a miserly man forced to confront the negative impacts he has had on people by three visiting ghosts: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The only thing that would make this film better is if the boy had been sent to buy Tofurkey instead of a dead turkey at the end, but surely that will be amended if there is ever a remake!
Christmas can be the most isolating time of the year. Live the message of The Muppet Christmas Carol and invite someone to your Christmas table who may be alone this year.
Both the1994 film starring Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst and the 2019 Greta Gerwig remake are beautiful versions of an enduring book that celebrates family, morality, love, and class. Little Women is the story of four sisters growing up in rural Massachusetts in the 1860s while their father is away serving as a chaplain in the army. Living in genteel poverty, the sisters must make many sacrifices but when they hear of a destitute local family struggling at Christmas, they make one sacrifice more.
We don’t need to give up our own meals to live the message of Little Women, but we can donate to a vegan food bank this Christmas.
OK, so it doesn’t exactly have a Christmas theme but Chicken Run is nonetheless a must-see film for many of us during the festive season. This stop-motion animation features a flock of charismatic hens who are trapped inside a farm and kept alive only for their eggs. Just like real hens, when they stop laying, they are slaughtered. One day, out of nowhere, a cocky rooster named Rocky lands in the farm and convinces Ginger, Bunty, and Babs that he can help them escape their violent fate by teaching them to fly.
A baby left at an orphanage after his mother dies crawls into Santa’s sack and finds himself transported to the North Pole where he is taken care of by elves. As he grows, it becomes clear that Buddy is no elf, and eventually he is sent to help his selfish biological father escape Santa’s naughty list. Elf is a heartwarming story of being loved for who we truly are, and of finding joy in a cynical world.
Families can be challenging, especially at Christmas and we can live the message of Elf by not giving up on them too easily! Perhaps we can put up with Uncle Jack’s non-stop whistling for one day…
One Christmas scene in this 1990 Tim Burton gothic fairy tale is iconic. Edward, a young man with blades for hands, is carving an exquisite angelic ice sculpture while his love interest dances amidst the falling ice chips below. Lost in the creative process, Edward’s blades move fast and he accidentally cuts Kim’s hand. Sad, confused, and ostracized, he flees and meets a dog who shows him a moment of pure love.
They say that dogs are the best people, and who are we to argue? We can show our love by buying a toy for a dog at a local shelter, or becoming a volunteer dog-walker. We can bring them a little joy while they wait for their forever homes.
This short British animation, introduced by David Bowie, is a real nostalgic gem. It tells the story of a little boy who is delighted by the first snowfall of winter and rushes outside to make a snowman. At night, the snowman comes to life and the pair share their stories of lives with one another: the boy shows his friend around his home, and in return, the snowman takes him to the North Pole to meet Santa. It’s a moving and gently magical story.
This Christmas, look for the magic — and maybe make a little for someone else, too. Make the most of it; magic is only magical because it does not last.