Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Movies for Kids Part 2

And now onto movies for kids aged 6 and up. While some of these movies would be appropriate for a younger audience, I believe older children will get more out of them. Also, several of these films question the existence of Santa Claus, who, by the way, I firmly believe in. As such, I would recommend that you show these at what you consider to be an appropriate age.

Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas - This film was just recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. I love this story of how Beauty and the Beast came together at Christmas and learned what is truly important about the season, sharing love with others. Featuring the original cast of voices as well as introducing a few new characters, such as Maestro Forte, voiced by the inestimable Tim Curry. Full of songs and a beautiful message of hope and love, this is a great movies to share with children. It does have a few moments that may be scary to young viewers, so I would recommend you watch the film first so that you can gauge how appropriate this may be for your child.

 Yes, Virginia - Based on the true story of a letter written by young Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897 to the editor of the New York Sun, this story is perfect for those children who are beginning to question the existence of Santa Claus. Created by Macy's as part of their Believe campaign, the story of Virginia and her young friend Ollie and their search for the "truth" is a very sweet retelling of this heartwarming tale. Featuring the vocal talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Alfred Molina, this is one story every child should know.

The Santa Clause Trilogy - I love the Santa Clause movies. At first, I wasn't too sure about Tim Allen as Santa, but after the first film, I loved him as Santa. The first film tells about how an executive for a toy company became Santa, much to the delight of his son Charlie. The second tells the story of how Santa must seek a wife or he'll have to stop being Santa. The third tells about Santa and Mrs. Claus and their baby that will soon be born. Will Santa stay Santa or will he employ the "Escape Clause?" They are great films that support the existence of Santa Claus in an ever changing form.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus - Based on a story by L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz series, this movie offers a unique explanation for Santa's origins. According to Baum, Santa began life as an infant abandoned near an enchanted forest. Baby Nicholas was taken in by a wood nymph named Nyseal who raised him in a magical world. The Great Ak, leader of the forest teaches Nicholas about the sad and difficult world of humans, leading him to his lifelong gift-giving mission. This film features an amazing cast of voices, including Robby Benson, Dixie Carter, and Hal Holbrook.

Santa and Pete - This unique film has been one of my favorites since the first time I saw it. This is the story of the Dutch Santa (the amazing Hume Cronyn) and his helper, Black Peter. The story begins with master storyteller James Earl Jones as a Grandfather teaching his grandson about Santa and Pete. Full of wonderful references the historical Santa, this story tells about what happens when Santa and Pete arrive in the New World. Although Santa is rather set in his ways, their adventures in New Amsterdam force him to rethink his Christmas traditions.

The Polar Express - I still remember fondly the first time I heard the story of the Polar Express. The story, although brief, was wonderful, with beautiful pictures. The story soon became a phenomenon, with trains being transformed into the Polar Express for one night of Christmas fantasy for lucky boys and girls. To make the story long enough for a movie, they expanded on many of the scenes and added some new ones that fit within the feeling of the original. This is the tale of an incredible journey and the boy who isn't sure what to believe about Santa. Every child has a "critical year" where they question the existence of Santa. Can you imagine what would happen if every child could ride the Polar Express? Maybe everyone would believe. After watching this film for the first time, young Bean became obsessed with it. For Christmas that year, I gave her a golden ticket (a bookmark from Hallmark I think) and her own special bell. I wrapped the bell in candy cane striped paper and labeled it "Found this on the seat of my sleigh. Fix that hole in your pocket. Mr. C" just like in the book and movie. She still loves the bell, several years later, and always talks about how sad it is that some grown ups can't hear it ring, but she'll always be able to. This may be our favorite family Christmas movie.

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