10 Best Christmas Short Films

8. Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952)

Pluto’s Christmas Tree is one of dozens of Disney animated shorts released as a part of the studio’s Mickey Mouse collection over the years, and yet it still stands out as an emotionally impactful seasonal release of immense quality.

When Mickey Mouse and his trusty dog Pluto chop down a tree to take home for Christmas, they accidentally choose the tree that Chip ‘n Dale live in. Hijinks ensue as classic cartoon sensibilities meet excellent characterisation, funny physical gags, and hearty seasonal themes, to forge one of the season’s all-time classic Christmas films.

The entire premise is borrowed and re-shaped for a gag in the live-action Christmas favourite National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, proving Pluto’s Christmas Tree’s longevity as an admired seasonal piece. The film is also a unique watch all these decades later as it brings attention to a style and sensibility within animation that is not so prevalent in our modern day and is arguably the very peak of the form.

7. The Snowman (1982)

A staple of the contemporary United Kingdom’s Christmas traditions, this Channel 4 adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ 1978 picture book of the same name is a powerful, moving, symphonic poem that proves how incredible art and great music can transcend traditional ideas of cinema to impact the lives of millions.

So famous and renowned it has long since become a source for parody, Dianne Jackson’s The Snowman is a unique Christmas offering in that it is told almost exclusively through picture and score (by Howard Blake), with the ever-famous song “We’re Walking In the Air” punctuating the action. Performed by St. Paul’s Cathedral choir boy Paul Auty (the song was later re-recorded for a Toys ‘R’ Us commercial with Aled Jones, who is now most famous for singing the song), the song has gone down in history as one of the season’s greatest and most replayed musical numbers.

Telling of a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life and flies him to the north pole, this timeless Christmas tale is so beautifully animated, wonderfully scored, and tremendously constructed that it remains an astonishing first watch for anyone more than forty years later. In 2000, the British Film Institute even crowned it as one of the 100 Greatest Television Programmes.

6. Robin Robin (2021)

Robin Robin Review

Aardman Animation are no strangers to exceptional short films – Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers was selected as a part of Kieran Judge’s 10 Best Films of All Time – and their 2021 stop motion animated short Robin Robin is so filled with the studio’s usual creativity and ingenuity that it is an undeniable modern classic of the form.

Telling of a robin raised by mice discovering who she really is, this has all the hallmarks of a great Christmas movie: themes of family, found family, and love, as well as all the iconography of the season (decorated trees, snowy gardens, etc.), and the same innocence underpinning it as underpins many a child’s seasonal hopes for a gift from Santa Claus.

Voiced with conviction by Bronte Carmichael, Richard E. Grant, Adeel Akhtar and Gillian Anderson (as a particularly scary cat), Robin Robin is not only a visually stunning film but is a special audio treat too. This Netflix Original may be the best Christmas film the streaming giant has ever released, and it is an outstanding example of filmmaking prowess and wholesome seasonal motivation.

Recommended for you: Aardman Animation Movies Ranked

Pages: 1 2 3 4


  • <cite class="fn">Rosa Mason</cite>

    Love this article and real inspiration for something to watch with my toddlers. We also love the Julia Donaldson ones like the gruffalo, and stickman!

Leave a Comment