Top 10 Christmas Animated Movies for Kids

The festive season seems to come around quicker every year that passes and with a whole host of Christmas film animations for both you and your children. They will get you in the perfect merry mood for the festivities ahead and you'll be all set for another cracking (and hopefully white) Christmas.

Christmas animations old and new can bring out that warm seasonal glow in us all and remind us of the time we were kids at christmas time. Here we take a look at our favourite animated movies that will entertain the kids and bring out the kid in every adult!

The Snowman

The Snowman Animation

The Snowman an animated Christmas film is based on the book written by Raymond Briggs. The story is a wonderful tale about a little boy who builds a snowman in his garden, while to his astonishment as darkness descends the snowman comes to life. The film is introduced by David Bowie  who portrays the boy as an adult. He wears a scarf that he says proves that the story that is about to unfold is true.

Story Detail

The story continues as the little boy creeps downstairs out into the garden to be greeted by the snowman who removes his hat and takes a deep bow. The boy invites the snowman into his home to explore the rooms and everything in them. They get up to some funny antics inside the house then the snowman leads the boy outside and after a quick ride around the garden on the boys fathers motorbike he takes the boys hand and they fly up into the air together.

Eventually they are joined by more flying snowmen eventually landing at The North Pole to be greeted by Father Christmas who gives the boy a lovely scarf. The snowman then returns the boy home to his bed and waves goodbye. The next morning the boy awakes to find the sun shining and his beloved snowman has melted. Its quite sad as he sits there on the ground visually upset. He feels in his pocket and there he finds the scarf that Father Christmas gave him. So, it wasn't a dream he really did fly to The North Pole!

Our Verdict

The Snowman film is silent apart from the music and some musical effects, while the famous song from the film "Walking in the Air" sung by Peter Auty was released three years later by choir boy Aled Jones  (many people think Aled sang the song for the film but this is untrue) The song accompanies the scene where the boy and the snowman take to the air. The music is really haunting, while the song which is regarded a classic suits the scene so very much that you cannot fail to think of the pair soaring over the snowy mountains whenever you hear the song.

The Snowman Animation: The Boy and the Snowman

The Snowman has indeed stood the test of time as it is still a popular Christmas classic even thirty years on. For us it conjours up many happy Christmas times as it was a film we often watched with our children during the festive season, while now it is our grand children who are loving the film just as much as previous generations. Raymond Briggs' The Snowman christmas animation looks as if it was drawn with coloured pencils but somehow this adds to its charm. The film was nominated for an Oscar, while it actually won a BAFTA. The Snowman is a truly magical Christmas film and is certainly a must see for young and old alike. 

The Snowman Trailer

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas

So, who is Arthur Christmas? Arthur is the son of Father Christmas, while this superb 2011 Christmas film tells a fun filled story about Santa, his son and Santas own father Grandsanta! Coming from Aardman Productions it is fast becoming a Christmas classic that stands tall along with other classics that children love. Let's take a look at the film and what makes it so special.

The Story

Arthur Christmas Animation: Sleigh Ride

This warming Christmas tale begins with Santa making high speed deliveries of Christmas gifts to the children of the world on board his high tech S1 flying machine. How Santa managed to deliver millions of presents worldwide in one night has always been a puzzle, that is until now. Delivering the gifts is a military type operation in this film with elves that resemble the SAS crashing down chimneys, chomping on the food left for Santa then exiting speedily before they are seen. Santa's superb ultra fast vehicle speeds around the world at a break neck mph making sure that Santa completes his task before Christmas day. Ah! but has he? Well unfortunately not, as one present, a Pink Twinkly Bicycle has fallen off the vehicle and remains undelivered!

Arthur realises the mistake resolving to deliver the bike to the little girl in Cornwall who asked for it before she wakes to find Christmas has not been delivered by Santa this year. How is Arthur going to do this? It is a crazy scheme that is hatched by the well meaning Arthur, his Grandfather and Bryony the elf who decide to set off on Grandsantas old sleigh pulled by reindeer to deliver the present. As you can imagine it doesn't go smoothly with hilarious consequences resulting from the hair brained plan.

This film has all kinds of subliminal messages as it depicts a typical family with all its squabbles and inter sibling rivalry. Who would have thought it of Santa's family? Arthur our hero has an older brother Steve who hopes to inherit Santa's job when he retires but he doesn't really care about Christmas whereas Arthur really does care therefore would make a far better replacement when Santa hangs up his red coat for the final time.

Hearing what Arthur is attempting to do Santa and Steve once again take to the skies to ensure the girl receives her bike before Christmas morning. An argument ensues when all the Claus's get together over who will place the present under the tree. Santa soon realises that Arthur is the son who truly cares about Christmas and bestows the honour of placing the gift on him. Arthur also obtains the right to succeed Santa in his job with Steve settling for a job as chief operating officer in Santa's toy factory.

Our Verdict

If you like a Christmas film with a message then this is the one for you. Family life can be difficult with children not always seeing eye to eye, while this is the case in Arthur Christmas. The film is great all round family entertainment with humour to satisfy both children and adults alike. Grandsanta is superb with his grumpy persona creating some comical moments, while Arthur shines through as the caring lad he is.

The animation is stunning being from the Wallace and Gromit mould that always enchants with its simplicity. Santa is voiced by British actor Jim Broadbent who does a sterling job while Hugh Laurie plays the objectionable Steve and James McEvoy the sympathetic Arthur. Grandsanta is played by the superb Bill Nighy, while a whole host of famous stars provided voice overs for many of the supporting characters.

We watched this movie with a four year old who chuckled and marvelled his way through the film from beginning to end. What better accolade than from children themselves! Christmas with Arthur Christmas is a blast that Christmas film lovers must see. 

Watch Arthur Christmas Trailer

The Polar Express

The Polar Express

The Polar Express was first released in 2004 and remains a great Christmas animated favourite. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg it is the story of a little boy who does not believe that Santa exists therefore misses out on the joy of what childhood beliefs can bring to a child. The film begins on Christmas Eve when the hero of our story who is tucked up in bed is woken by a huge magical steam train pulling to a halt outside his front door. The boy slips outside to investigate and is greeted by the conductor of the train, played by Tom Hanks, who invites him to board the train that is on its way to The North Pole.

When the boy boards he finds a group of children already in the carriage excitedly anticipating their visit with Santa. The story continues following the exciting adventures of the train as it journeys to The North Pole along with our disbelieving hero, a young girl who is very grown up for her years, a complete know it all boy who is very irritating and a lonely shy young boy who has never experienced the joy of Christmas or received any Christmas gifts in the past.

This magical train takes the pyjama clad kids all the way to the North Pole and they do indeed meet Santa who singles out our disbeliever to receive a bell from the collar of one of Santas reindeer. When the train reaches the North Pole we are treated to what the creators imagine Santas workplace would be like and it doesn't dissapoint. Elves watch children on tv screens checking to see if they have behaved well enough to receive Chritmas gifts, while around the magnificent Christmas tree thousands of elves dance and sing reaching a huge crescendo when santa makes his appearance for the first time.

Santa on his sleigh with the reindeer champing at the bit is wonderful to see, while once he takes into the air we feel he really is on his way to deliver Christmas to the world's children. When the boy returns home he has great memories of his journey, the other children plus Santa himself. Was it a dream? Did it really happen? Only when the boy discovers the sleigh bell in a box under the tree does he realise that Santa really exists. All the kids in the story learn a great deal about themselves and others, while also realising the true meaning of Christmas.

Arthur Christmas Animation: Sleigh Ride

The film is nothing short of magical. The digital animation is superb with the conductor played by Tom Hanks looking like? Well Tom Hanks of course. The snowy scenes and magical happenings that occur along the way are breathtaking especially when seen in 3D where the characters really come to life. We think this film although a U classification is suited more to age five and above as the intracies of the story may go over the heads of younger viewers although they will appreciate the film for its basic story too.

Cast of Characters

Tom Hanks          Conductor, Scrooge, Santa

Leslie Zemeckis   Sister, Mother

Eddie Deezen      Know it All Boy

Nona Gaye          Clever Girl

Peter Scolari        Lonely Boy

Robert Zemeckis  Director

The Polar Express was nominated for many awards by the film industry and won a Grammy award for best song " Believe" which is a captivating Christmas song sung by the lonely boy and the clever girl of the story.

Watch The Polar Express Trailer

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians Animation

Rise of the Guardians a new animated offering from Dreamworks brings together all the fantasy heroes of a small childs imagination namely, Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman, The Easter Bunny and Jack Frost who is the last character to be initiated into the collective. This super group of heroes is presided over by none other than The Man in the Moon, while the film mixes childhood fantasy with futuristic elements that keeps the interest of children and adults alike. So, what is this unusual tale about? Let's take a look.

The Story

In this mythical fantasy world we meet The Guardians who are a cast of characters looking out for the children of the world that believe in them. Things are going just fine until The Boogie Man Pitch Black played by Jude Law returns after many years in exile to break into the dreams of the children so trashing all their magical fantasies and destroying their beliefs.

Into the story comes Jack frost voiced by Chris Pin who is a character that has yet to be brought into the fantasy heroes fold, while The Man in the Moon soon remedies this introducing Jack to his new hero friends who hope to gain his help in fighting the evil Pitch. Jack is initially reluctant, while Santa, voiced by Alec Baldwin with a Russian accent, persuades our bolshy Mr Frost to join forces in order to save the children of the world from impending doom. Opening scenes with Jack speeding around frosting things up for local kids makes us warm to his character immediately as he wishes the children could see him so he could join in their fun. Why is he transparent and invisible? Well all is revealed by the end of the movie so pay attention!

Pitch is a scarey looking guy who has "nightmares" that are evil looking black horses that float into childrens minds while they sleep. This does install the idea somewhat that black things are evil and white is good something that is subliminally done but is none the less worth a thought by parents who wish to instill equal values in their kids. That said the remainder of the film is a colouful explosion of fantasy colour and magic that remains long in childrens minds when the film is over.

Rise of the Guardians Animation: The Sandman

The Sandman Steals the Show from Father Christmas as the Most Magical Character.

Not only is Rise of the Guardians a great Christmas film it is also a superb 3D action comedy that is filled with exciting battle scenes, thrilling rides on Santa's sleigh plus fantastic little touches of pathos and sincerity throughout the story. All the characters have their own personalities with The Easter Bunny played by Hugh Jackman being a more Roger Rabbit type of creation who has many super Easter eggs that follow him wherever he goes plus The Tooth Fairy played by Isla Fisher who has her very cute baby teeth fairy followers who constantly dart through the air always in her company.

Our Verdict

Rise of the Guardians is simply a splendid christmas production by Dream Works and is definitely one for the kids. There isn't very much of a story as such, except the predictable good versus evil scenario which itself makes a good basis for all the battling and frolics of the film. From the cute little girl who escapes through the portal right through to the silent sandman each and very character has its place in this story. Myth and magic is very popular in films just now, while this film has the type of mythical quality that children will certainly like. We found the film really watchable, indeed it got a second viewing when relatives came to call. If we were to rate it out of 10 we would definitely score it 8. 

Watch Rise of the Guardians Trailer

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a typical Tim Burton creation that is not the type of animation you would neccessarily associate with Christmas as it has a rather dark feel to it. The film is rated a PG therefore is not suitable for little ones, while older children will probably enjoy the Halloween elements that run throughout the film. Let's take a look at what to expect from this unusual Christmas offering.

The Story

This extraordinary tale begins in Halloween Town where Jack Skellington the pumpkin king, who has grown tired of Halloween, decides to take an interest in the season following Halloween which is of course Christmas. Halloween town is filled with weird and wonderful creatures none more strange than Jack himself who is a long legged skelton wearing a tailcoat.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Characters

Jack wanders into the woods and discovers a group of trees all with different doors on them. He opens the door that has a Christmas tree on it and is sucked into an alternative world filled with bright coloured lights, Christmas trees, snowmen, eleves and toys all of whom are happy and having fun. Jack is in awe of this wonderful place and decides to stay to take a look around Christmas town!

Meanwhile the monsters in Halloween town are panicking wondering where Jack has gone, while Sally another character in Halloween town is also dreaming of escaping from her captor, the scientist and poisons him with deadly nightshade only to be imprisoned once again when he comes round. Jack returns to town calling a meeting to tell the townsfolk of Halloween land all about Christmas town and Santa Claus. Jack bursts into song throughout the film with all the songs explaining the story as it progresses.

Jack decides to kidnap Santa sending Lock, Shock and Barrel, three naughty children to do the deed. The children do kidnap Santa but take him to the gambling bogey man who puts Santa's life at risk. Jack wants to be Santa, while Sally realises this all could end in disaster and tries to stop jack who she has grown very fond of. Jack's idea of presents don't sit well with the children of the world as they contain things like skeletons resulting in the army shooting Jack and his skeleton like sleigh out of the sky. Jack thankfully survives and returns to Halloween land in order to save Santa before it is too late.

Sally has been busy in Jack's absence trying to free Santa from the bogey man only to be captured too. Jack does eventually free Sally and Santa by destroying the bogey man. Santa is livid with Jack but has no time to loose and sets off to deliver the correct presents to the world's children. Santa forgives Jack and arranges for snow to fall on Halloween town making the people happy plus understand what Christmas is really about. The romantic ending of the story is very sweet as Jack and Sally embrace in the graveyard recognising their mutual love for one another.

The Verdict

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a very different Christmas story but it is a very entertaining one from Tim Burton. All the characters in Halloween town are funny in a weird kind of way but do amuse, while the concept of a town filled with monsters learning about Christmas is interesting to say the least. It is an example of one of the first full length stop motion animated films produced, while the characters really come to life as a result of this superb format.

Jack is well meaning and it does take time for the real concept of Christmas to sink in but when it does the finale is absolutely brilliant. The film has an amazing musical score that really suits the piece, while Jack Skellington is voiced admirably by Chris Sarandon. The film does have mild violence but it is portrayed in an unrealistic cartoon way that will not distress the kids. If its something a little different your after to watch with the children then The Nightmare Before Christmas will certainly fit the bill. 

Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas Trailer

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

There can't be many people who have not read, seen or heard of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as it has been published in many formats and many superb films have been made based on the ghostly story. Here we will take a look at one particular depiction which is the animated film made in 2009 by Robert Zemeckis who also made The Polar Express.

The Story

A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge an old miser and money lender who treats everyone around him with derision and certainly does not celebrate Christmas. The festive season to him is a Humbug! Scrooge is visited by his old partner Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve who warns Scrooge that if he does not change his ways he will face an eternity of misery. Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts namely the ghosts of Christmas past, present and the future, who will show to him how he was, how he is and how it will be if he doesn't take their advice and change his mean ways.

Scrooge is indeed visited and taken on a journey through his life from childhood through to a lonely future, while he realises that the ghosts are correct and immediately changes his ways. Within the story there is Scrooges nephew who is a kindly young man who Scrooge dismisses as too soft and sentimental along with his faithful clerk Bob Cratchitt whose poorly son Tiny Tim will die if his family continue to be poor therefore short of all the things that will make him well again.

The Film

A Christmas Carol: A Happy Scrooge

This animated version of A Christmas Carol is excellent and can be viewed in 3D making the viewer feel that he is truly walking the streets of Victorian London along with Scrooge. Jim Carrey plays Scrooge very well portraying his meaness with great aplomb. he also plays the part of all three ghosts giving each one a different personality and voice so much so that film goers would never guess they were all done by Carrey himself. Other actors in the piece include Colin Firth as Fred Scrooges nephew, Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchitt, Bob Hoskins as Fezziwig Scrooge's old employer and Lesley Manville as Mrs Cratchitt.

Childrens Film?

It isn't wise for parents to assume that because this is an animated version of a Christmas Carol that it is warm and cosy for children to watch. In parts the film can be quite scary especially the three ghosts and Scrooge whose close up facial expressions would scare the bravest of adults. The scene where the ghost of Christmas present fades away to a skeleton and disintigrates into a heap is a fine example of the ghoulishness we see in this movie.

The 3D effects are superb and add a certain depth to the viewers experience, while the message of the story is just as relevant today as it was two hundred years ago. Older children will love the movie enjoying the detailed animation and special effects, while there are even some funny bits as you would expect from a film involving Jim Carrey. A Christmas Carol is rated PG and we feel this is correct due to parts of the film that we deem unsuitable for smaller children as we touched upon.

Parents who would like to watch the film on DVD with their children will find the none 3D version lacks a little of the excitement experienced when watching the 3D release but at the same time it is more palatable for those of us who found many of the 3D sections in the film a little scary. This great film is a classic story of redemption showing us that it's never too late to change with the fact that it is based around Christmas making it a superb choice of viewing to get us all in the mood for the festive season.

Watch a Christmas Carol Trailer

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