As I've written about here and talked about here, our family likes to avoid watching Christmas movies during Advent, then we watch one movie every night of the twelve days of Christmas while eating Christmas treats in a cinematic and gastronomical Christmasplosion . . . for Baby Jesus.
But this new baby has been making me feel pretty Netflix-y, and, since I'm a responsible parent AND a professional blogger . . . I decided to make the sacrifice of pre-screening many, many Christmas movies that Netflix Streaming has to offer. This way, I'll know that I'm offering my children and you, gentle reader, only the BEST and most enriching in Christmas entertainment.
Until very recently, this was my favorite version of A Christmas Carol. I've watched quite a few and they have always been too badly animated, or too badly musical, or too Jim Carrey for my taste. So, even though this one is very short, and takes quite a few liberties with the plot, I've always really liked it. As have my kids. We love how familiar characters are cast in the story and how it manages to get Dickens's message of redemption across with humor. There are some slightly scary parts, but it's Goofy as the ghost of Marley, and Pete as the undertaker, so I really think all but the most sensitive kiddos would be okay with it. It's a good starter version.
It's available on Netflix Streaming as a part of Snowed In at the House of Mouse.
The Mickey one used to be my favorite version, but now this is. By a landslide. It's the Muppets, so, like Mickey's version, we've got familiar faces in the roles, but in this version we also get great songs, top notch live actors, and a VERY faithful adaptation of the book, complete with actual quotes.
I actually think this version is also a little less scary than the Mickey one, but it's more sophisticated plot may be more difficult for little kids to understand. But they won't mind, because they'll be watching Kermit.
And, just as a quick aside, if you find yourself poking about on Netflix and you think to yourself, as I did, "Hey, there's Scrooged! I loved that movie when I was a kid. I'll be a cool mom and let my big kids watch it this year." I'm just going to tell you that there is a The Walking Dead-worthy zombie-esque Marley, and Solid Gold Dancers and the nipples of Solid Gold Dancers in this movie. And maybe other stuff, but that was as far as I made it. And I'll let you decide from there.
I am a huge fan of Bing Crosby, and we watch a lot of his movies as a family. So I was really excited to see this one available on Streaming this year. It's got war and slapstick for the boys and dancing and romance for the girls, how could you go wrong?
It's mostly just an excuse for a bunch a musical numbers, but there is a sweet story of helping out an old buddy woven in there. Plus Phil tells Bob that what he really needs to do is get married and have nine kids.
Speaking of Bing Crosby, we also love this classic sequel to Going My Way. It's very funny and very Catholic, and features an adorable Christmas pageant, which makes it appropriate for the season.
It would be worth watching just to hear Bing Crosby singing as Fr. O'Malley, but you also get Ingrid Bergman as Mother Superior teaching a little boy to box. And there's a grumpy rich old coot and the sisters' blind faith in miracles, and it's all just lovely. It's slower than today's movies, of course, but my kids really think it's funny.
The Star of Christmas that is in our regular Christmas movie rotation. But, really, you mostly can't go wrong with Veggie Tales. They are funny and clever and sweet. We like 'em.
Here's where I'm going to go a bit rogue on you. Because when I said I watched a lot of Christmas movies on Netflix, I mean I watched a LOT of Christmas movies on Netflix. Including this grainy black and white movie from the 40s wherein a bunch of little kids defeat some horse thieves. It's like Australian Home Alone.
I love how independent the kids are. You see them lugging saddles around for themselves. The boys ask their mom if they can head off a day's horseback ride away to go camping, and her response is, "Sure, but you have to bring your sister and your little brother." Which is AWESOME. The kids are brave and resourceful and responsible.
One note: it's from a different time, and the aborigional people are referred to as "blacks" in a way that seems really noticeable to today's ears. I'm okay with just discussing this with my kids, but it might be uncomfortable for some. It's also not ALL that Christmasy. It IS Christmas in the movie, but it's also summer, because Australia is weird like that.
Okay, okay, I KNOW. But, really this isn't a joke. I actually intend to show this movie to my kids and husband over our Christmas break. Yes. It is super cheesy. There are people in green spandex suits and a bad guy with an evil mustache growing through his green face paint.
But this movie actually has a lot going for it, as far as I'm concerned. Santa is dignified and heroic. He is generous and loving towards his Martian captors, but in the end, he conquers them. I think it's a pretty accurate depiction of how the historical St. Nicholas might have behaved in such a situation, although maybe there would have been more punching.
Also, as in the movie above, the children make brave and selfless decisions. I want to encourage that kind of thinking in my kids. And, mainly, I just think it's going to be really hilarious to watch as a family.
And . . . that officially exhausts the Christmas movies on Netflix that I feel would be appropriate and enjoyable for all members of our family. But since there are twelve days, I'll also share with you the other four movies we'll be watching even though it will mean kneeling on the floor and waiting for the little DVD drawer to open like some sort of cave person.
We usually watch the Veggie Tales version of this story AND the classic black and white version. I HOPE my kids prefer this one, but it's hard to tell. There are a lot of sweet, funny moments, and the message is timeless. Its theology about angels is, um, how to put this . . . totally wrong. But we just explain to our kids that people don't become angels when they die anymore than cockroaches become horses when they die, and then we enjoy the movie.
Hee-haw and Merry Christmas!
Our whole family loves this movie, but perhaps we shouldn't. The dad uses gibberish words instead of actual swear words, but there are a handful of lesser but still significant bad words in there. It's got the infamous leg lamp, which Ralphie caresses. The department store Santa is mean, and Ralphie is pretty convinced that the meaning of Christmas is Getting Stuff. Still, somehow, it seems fun and funny and lighthearted, and the family is loving. We're going to watch it again this year, but it's okay with me if you don't.
11. Home Alone
This one is another Tierney family favorite, but maybe not for everyone. It has some language, an unpleasant family fight right at the beginning, and a very brief scene of Kevin finding and tossing aside an adult magazine. (Nothing that a quick trigger finger on the remote can't handle.) It also has an extraordinary amount of comic slapstick violence that results in very nasty looking injuries.
BUT. The sound track is perfect, the kid is brave and resourceful, and there is a message of forgiveness and redemption and the importance of family. There are beautiful scenes involving a Catholic church, in which a character listens to his granddaughter's choir sing Christmas carols, and Kevin hides from the bad guys in a life-size nativity scene.
12. The Small One
Okay, to finish with here, let's go non-controversial. The Small One is a classic Jungle Book-era Disney animated short film. It's sweet and fun and has catchy, if not-always-relevant-to-the-plot musical numbers. And, spoiler alert, it's got the Baby Jesus at the end.
We have it in Volume 9 of Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites, titled Classic Holiday Stories. But it also seems to be available on YouTube.
These are my honest opinions, but it's a sponsored post. And there are affiliate links, too, clicking the titles of the movies will take you to Amazon. (By the way, thank you SO MUCH to all of you who have been shopping through my affiliate links this year. It doesn't cost you any more, and it makes our family a few pennies every time, which have really added up. I am very grateful to each of you!)
There's another giveaway coming, to help you watch all these crazy shows I'm always going on about.
But first, I've got some winners to announce.
The winner of the Alison Oliver BabyLit print and copy of the new book Doodle Lit is: Tori who liked the Jungle Book prints! (check your email)
The winner of the set of Shining Light Dolls is: Caroline with a baby with pigtails at home! (please email me by Thursday) Didn't win? If you've got Amazon Prime, you have plenty of time to order them for yourself!
The winner of the Whole Parenting Goods scarf is: Megmckham (please email me by Thursday)
The winner of the ebook copies of Feast! and More Feasts! is: Elizabeth whose mother is gluten-free! (please email me by Thursday)
And now, for another installment of the Catholic All Year Advent of Giving . . .
Tired of not being able to weigh in on the big Curious George Boofest controversy of 2014, because you haven't seen it, and don't know whether you approve of hat-kicking or not? Wish you could watch all the cool TV shows about dresses that Christy and Haley are always going on about? Want to commiserate with me about how much we love a bunch of dirty English gangsters or some star-crossed Spanish lovers who might be dead now but we don't know what happens to them because the third season isn't in English . . . on Netflix or ANYWHERE?
Doesn't that sound great?
Well, it's your lucky day. Because I have two, yes TWO one year subscriptions to Netflix Streaming to give away to my awesome readers.
Just leave a comment telling me your family's favorite Christmas movie, whether it's on Netflix Streaming or not (but if I'm being honest, if it's not on Netflix Streaming . . . probably I'm not going to see it). If you already HAVE Netflix Streaming, you can still win. You can either give the subscription as a gift to someone else, or just add it on to your existing subscription.
You'll be able to watch movies and TV shows on your computer, tablet, or on even on your TV if you've got the right set up. And you'll finally know what we're all talking about with these shows!
Come back Friday for the last of the Advent giveaways, which is sure to help you ring in 2015 right.