Credit: Pat Pilon
Animated films are big part of our childhood; of that there is no doubt. There’s something a little bit extra special about animated Christmas films. Animation seems to capture the magic of Christmas and the associated feelings of excitement and anticipation that come with it.
Here’s our Top 10 countdown of the best animated Christmas films which you should look out for on TV this Christmas:
1) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is the epitome of the animated Christmas movie. It’s chilling, strange, yet deeply engrossing as a children’s film but ultimately, Tim Burton’s own unique twist on the film lends to its very own style and sense of darkness which add something for the adults who watch this children’s Christmas film.
It is today considered an animated Christmas classic. Going occasionally down the musical route lends to the sense of drama and occasion of the film. Who doesn’t want to hear Jack Skellington singing about having to organise the same event year after year (Jack’s Lament)?
2) Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story isn’t strictly a film about Christmas, but it made our list because it’s a classic film to watch during the Christmas holidays and even though in the UK it was officially released in March, in the US it came out just before Christmas.
For anyone that hasn’t already seen this, Toy Story is about a boy named Andy, whose toys secretly come to life. Andy’s birthday brings him the new favourite toy, Buzz Lightyear, causing upset to his previous favourite toy, cowboy doll Woody. As Woody becomes more and more jealous he inadvertently causes Buzz to be dropped out of the window sending the toys on an adventure to get back home and find Andy.
The sequels to Toy Story arguably deserve a place in our list too and are sure to be on TV during the Christmas season.
3) The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express is an animated visual feast of a tale about a young boy who witnesses a magical train named the Polar Express. The train is about to embark on a journey to the North Pole and the conductor (voiced by Tom Hanks) lets the boy board the train. While on the train they undertake numerous tasks including helping Santa load his sleigh and retrieving various items that go missing.
This movie carries more than the traditional Christmas message; there are darker overtones attached to the story that are explored and as well as the adult characters generally being a bit creepy!
4) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
This Christmas classic has been shown on TV throughout the ages and is still shown today as a seasonal appetizer. A classic in the sense that it brings out both the best and worst of people at Christmas! It’s a fun and whimsical tale that is also quite heart warming when it comes the redemption and mercy aspects of the story.
5) The Snowman (1982)
A UK classic! The Snowman is the tale of a boy who makes a snowman out of the heavy winter snowfall. That evening, his snowman comes to live and together they embark on a number of adventures.
Most people will remember this film because of the song “Walking in the Air” which provides the background music to a scene of them both flying. Flying over the North Pole, they see various sights including penguins and the aurora until they eventually meet Santa and his reindeer. Santa gives the boy a scarf with a snowman pattern.
However, the morning after they return, the sun has appeared and…you can guess what has happened to the snowman.
6) The Gruffalo (2009)
Released on Christmas Day 2009, The Gruffalo is an animated version of the popular book of the same name, by Julia Donalson. The book has sold over 10.5 million copies so that could explain the popularity and enthusiasm for an animated version.
It tells the tale of a mouse searching for a nut to eat. While searching the forest, there are many predators that the mouse has to be weary of such as a fox, owl and a snake. When the mouse announces that he is meeting a monster with terrible features (the Gruffalo), the predators disappear. Thinking he is in the clear, the mouse continues in search of the nut until he comes face-to-face with the product of his own imagination – the Gruffalo.
The Gruffalo’s Child, a sequel to the original, was aired on Christmas Day in 2011. I wonder which TV channel will be showing these on Christmas Day in 2014!
7) Arthur Christmas (2011)
Arthur Christmas is the heart-warming tale of a boy who becomes the new Santa after the existing one is considered to be too old to continue his duty. Considered to be a Christmas hit, the movie was a tremendous success both commercially and financially and was widely praised for the films’ fresh take on the Christmas animated movie genre.
8) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Charlie Brown is synonymous with many people’s childhoods and there no other episodes of Charlie Brown that are more memorable than this animated film version of the extremely popular show. The plot follows Charlie as he becomes depressed with the commercialization of Christmas and his attempts at bringing back the true meanings of the holiday season such as togetherness, family and warmth towards each other.
9) The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
Now this one is a cheating a bit, as it’s not technically an animated film, but as it includes puppet muppet characters we thought it could pass!
This is of course based on Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol. It’s the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, and his reluctance to celebrate Christmas.
10) The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012)
Released on Christmas Eve 2012, the Snowman and the Snowdog is the follow up to 1982’s the Snowman. The tale being at house of the boy from the first film, which is now located at the centre of a suburban housing estate.
When a mother and child arrive to move into the house they discover the belongings of the first snowman underneath the floorboards. The boy proceeds to build a snowman that, as in the previous film, magically comes to life!