10 Best Christmas Short Films

5. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Review

This animated adaptation of the children’s book of the same name, adapted for the screen by the book’s author Charlie Mackesy (and co-director Peter Baynton), is one of the great modern Christmas shorts, and an Oscar-winning animation to boot.

Telling an educational and wholly seasonal tale of love, found family, self-belief, dealing with grief/trauma, and journeying (literally in this case) towards a new future, growing the whole way, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is eye-widening, wonderful cinema. It’s beautiful to look at (its animation style including sketch lines in a nod to the origins of the material and the classics of years gone by), to listen to (its voice cast including Tom Hollander, Idris Elba and Gabriel Byrne), and to experience. For anyone who has ever been through grief or sadness, this film will prove relatable and moving.

As an ultra-modern seasonal movie – the newest in this list – The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse doesn’t have the years of appreciation and decades of critical praise that some other short films have, but it is a beautiful and moving Christmas short film nonetheless.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

In the midst of national anxiety caused by the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War, A Charlie Brown Christmas was a comfort blanket of a seasonal offering. Watched by 15 million Americans when it debuted on 9th December 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas surpassed its relatively miniscule $96,000 budget to become one of the most beloved and culturally important movies in history.

This short film adapted from Charles M Schulz’s work, directed by Bill Melendez and released on CBS, was such a cultural phenomenon that it altered the culture of Christmas in the United States. In being a film of nostalgia for better times, of returning to the true meaning of Christmas after decades of commercialism, the film touched a nerve with the United States populous who decided (almost in unison) to abandon more modern sensibilities in favour of traditional ideals of the holiday season. The aluminium Christmas tree was the biggest casualty, A Charlie Brown Christmas now widely believed to have been the death knell in a multi-million dollar industry as many a family returned to natural trees.

The animation is very in keeping with the original comic strips, and the story is similarly as disjointed, bringing together a film that is both positively and negatively loyal to its source material. But for all of its qualities, and everything that might make it less-than exceptional, A Charlie Brown Christmas simply is Christmas to so many people. Its look, its score, its message, feel more like Christmas than almost anything else.

Recommended for you: More Christmas Movie Articles

3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

As is the case with the aforementioned A Charlie Brown Christmas, this 1960s animated short remains a relevant and beloved film to this very day. Even in the 2020s, this NBC release directed by Larry Roemer and adapted from the 1949 Johnny Marks song of the same name, is replayed several times throughout the holidays.

Produced by Rankin/Bass, the same animation house that made Frosty the Snowman and inspired the animated sequences in Elf, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has such a unique and of-its-time look that it has now become synonymous with the festive season. To many, Christmas looks and feels like this 1964 iteration of this classic story.

Telling of the misfit Rudolph who finds his purpose when his shiny red nose lights the way for Santa one particularly snowy Christmas, this film features the classic Christmas movie element of reassessing misfits and embracing differences, teaching acceptance and love above prejudice and fears of the other. It is wholesome, lovingly made, and a beacon of humanity’s empathy at the most appreciative time of the year.

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  • <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!

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