10 Best Christmas Short Films

2. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

The family elements of the Christmas holidays have come to ensure that animated Disney films have become synonymous with cold, wintery nights, Christmas trees, and gift giving. Mickey’s Christmas Carol is Disney’s most direct Christmas offering, this 1983 short film featuring all the heart of the season.

Telling the classic Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol” through Mickey Mouse and family, this beloved adaptation of the renowned tale may not be as vicious or as biting as many of its fellow silver screen iterations, but it still captures the care and heart that underpins the original text.

For many a millennial (and younger), this Disney animation is a staple of childhood and a film that is still rewatched to this day. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing, but this film is also gorgeous, acting as a celebration of the hand-drawn era of Disney animation and feeling like a window into a simpler time. Mickey makes a Bob Cratchit to rival that of Kermit the Frog and you can almost feel the cold through the screen – this is how animation should be; Mickey’s Christmas Carol is a near-perfect Christmas short.

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1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

In what may be the only case of a short film being more popular and iconic than its feature counterpart (Ron Howard’s 2000 adaptation starring Jim Carrey), this mid-1960s animation from Chuck Jones and Ben Washam, released on CBS in the United States, is the best short Christmas film ever made.

Adapted from Dr Seuss’ work of the same name, this classic of the form is all the better for embracing the illustration style of the books and simply putting it into movement for the big screen (or small screen, as it was). The Grinch is so synonymous with his actions in this movie that we now describe Christmas party poopers as “a Grinch” as often as we do “a Scrooge”, and his actions here provide one of the most satisfying short film narrative arcs of any Christmas film. His is a story perfect for short film, and a short film is ideal for maintaining the attention of children from beginning to end.

Another Christmas film with an aesthetic we have since come to associate with the season, and one that has been referenced across media for generations (who can forget the transition from The Grinch to Tim Curry’s Mr. Hector in Home Alone 2?), this cultural touchstone of the holiday season is an immovable entry in any 10 Best Christmas Short Films list, and a Christmas classic when considering films of any length.

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Short film has the capability to move, to inspire, and to capture our essence as a people. The films in this list prove that.

But which Christmas short do you consider to be the best? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.

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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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