Giving One Gift for the Family to Enjoy

10 Best Holiday Movie Gifts

Nannies and au pairs obviously would like to give every member of the family they work for a holiday gift, but that can get expensive. That’s why we recommend making a hand-assembled holiday DVD gift basket for your employers instead of buying individual gifts for each member of the family.

It’s easy to make a gift bag containing a child age-appropriate holiday DVD, hot chocolate mix, and microwave popcorn. Just put the gifts in a large popcorn bag or popcorn container (that looks like it’s from the movie theatre) that you can find at a local party supply store.  Or,  just put the DVD and treats in a holiday gift bag that you can find at any stationary store or pharmacy.

A great holiday collection of Christmas movies for the family is The Original Christmas Classics. The DVD includes seven holiday favorites: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, Mr. Magoos Christmas Carol, The Little Drummer Boy, and Cricket on the Hearth. But you can certainly just choose one or more of the DVDs individually as well.

We also highly recommend The Grinch that Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, and The Polar Express. Find the reviews and links to buy the movies below.

Here are the reviews about the movies:

1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

This classic 1964 television special featuring Rudolph and his misfit buddies set the standard for stop-motion animation for an entire generation before Tim Burton darkly reinvented it in the early 1990s. Burl Ives narrates as Sam the Snowman, telling and singing the story of a rejected reindeer who overcomes prejudice and saves Christmas one particularly blustery year. Along the way, he meets an abundance of unforgettable characters: his dentally obsessed elf pal Hermey; the affable miner Yukon Cornelius and his motley crew of puppies; the scary/adorable Abominable Snow Monster; a legion of abandoned, but still chatty, toys; and a rather grouchy Santa. In addition to the title song that inspired it, this 53-minute tape is crammed with catchy tunes such as “Silver and Gold” and “Holly Jolly Christmas.” Those who grew up looking forward to watching Rudolph every Christmas season will undoubtedly be able to recite the quotable quotes. Review by Kimberly Heinrichs

2. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

This 53-minute, 1970 animated film may be the most delightful of those sundry, stop-motion animated Christmas perennials that show up on television during the holidays. The clay animation production, boasting a wonderful musical score and art direction that occasionally underscores the flower-power era in which it was born, tells the story of Santa’s origins, in which Kris Kringle decides to get toys into the hands of poor children in gloomy Sombertown. Charmingly narrated by Fred Astaire and featuring voices by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town presents a nice bridge between two generations of entertainment, the classic and the hip. Review by Tom Keogh

3. Frosty the Snowman

Jimmy Durante narrates this Christmas story that is based on the song of the same name. To make up for the fact that her students are in school on Christmas Eve, the local schoolteacher hires the magician Professor Hinkle to entertain the kids. Unfortunately, he’s not a very good magician. Frustrated in his attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he throws it away in anger. Outside, the kids build a snowman they name Frosty and when the hat blows onto it, the snowman comes to life. Professor Hinkle decides he wants the hat back so he can make money off of its new found magical properties, but the kids want to save Frosty. When the temperature starts to rise, a new problem threatens Frosty’s existence. Karen, the leader of the children, comes up with a plan to save him: take him on a train to the North Pole, where it’s always cold. With a cameo by Santa Claus and the promise of Frosty’s return every year, this story of life, death, and holiday cheer is glazed with the sweet frosting of hope and happiness. This is a true holiday classic. Review by Andy Spletzer

4. Frosty Returns [VHS]

Frosty Returns has almost nothing in common with the original Frosty the Snowman, aside from a man made of snow. The biggest difference is that this Frosty doesn’t need a magic hat to come to life. The story: In the town of Beansboro, old Mr. Twitchell has invented an aerosol spray that can remove snow without the hassle of shoveling or plows. This frightens Frosty, who enlists the help of amateur magician Holly and her friend Charles to stop the old coot. The songs are catchy and the message is one that ultimately empowers kids. Like a hero from an old Western, this Frosty is a wanderer who leaves when his job is done so he can work his magic elsewhere. Review by Andy Spletzer

5. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

In this first-ever animated holiday TV special, the bumbling and loveable Mr. Magoo is Ebeneezer Scrooge in a hilarious and heartwarming musical retelling of Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. This 1962 special marked the last hurrah of Mr. Magoo, who starred in 43 cartoon shorts, including two Oscar® winners, from the UPA Studio between 1949 and 1959. Magoo appears as Scrooge in a Broadway production of “A Christmas Carol” in this minimally animated hour. The play-within-the-show features forgettable songs by Jules Styne and Bob Merrill: Tiny Tim (“played” by the animated character Gerald McBoing-Boing) sings, oddly, of “razzle berry dressing” and “woofle jelly cake.” This retelling of Dickens’s holiday standard is much tamer than Richard Williams’s Oscar-winning adaptation: the ghosts aren’t scary, nor does Magoo confront the specters of Ignorance and Want. Small children who might be frightened by more dramatic versions of the story will enjoy this mild program. And the self-satisfied chuckles and bromides Jim Backus gives Magoo in his lighter moments remain as delightful as ever. This film is suitable for ages six and older. Review by Charles Solomon

6. The Little Drummer Boy

This story has touched the hearts of families everywhere. In this holiday classic, the true spirit of Christmas is revealed when a lonely orphan stumbles upon the birth of the baby Jesus and affirms what the holidays are really about giving and love. Featuring a beautiful soundtrack by the Vienna Boys Choir, this timeless tale of generosity makes the perfect addition to your holiday collection. It’s short and sweet at only 23-minutes long.

7. Cricket On The Hearth

A delightful, animated musical version of Charles Dickens classic tale, Cricket on the Hearth, tells the story of a poor toymaker and his daughter whom a helpful Cricket named Crocket befriends on Christmas morning. When tragedy strikes the family, it is Crocket who comes to the rescue and restores peace and happiness.

8. The Polar Express

This animated movie stars the voice of Tom Hanks, who plays many characters in the movie. On the night before Christmas, a young boy, who is struggling with whether he still believes in Santa, is fast asleep when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a magical train comes up right in front of his house. The curious boy boards the train that is headed for the North Pole to meet Santa. In the train, he makes some friends. Although this movie does not have a lot of humor in it, it is a nostalgic and tender look at belief in the real meaning of the holiday season that could surely shed some happiness into your holiday season.

9. A Christmas Story

The wonderful 1980’s movie includes the cast of Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, and Melinda Dillon. Ralphie (Billingsley), who is an elementary school kid, is obsessed with a toy BB gun and he begs his parents, teacher, and Santa Claus for it. But they all say the same thing: “you will shoot your eyes out.” This movie shows a lot of the post- WWII lifestyle with a lot of humor. This is just a classic your family cannot afford to pass up this coming holiday season.

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Both the original cartoon version of the story and the more recent movie which stars Jim Carrey are both great movies for kids.  The more modern version stars Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen. Christmas is always a big deal for the citizens in Whoville, except for the Grinch (Carrey), who lives alone, and has a heart “two sizes too small.” The Grinch always ruins Christmas for the Whos, until little Cindy Lou (Momsen) decides to help the Grinch get his Christmas spirit back. It shows how no one can miss the fun of Christmas. I recommend this to share with your family members who do not have any Christmas spirit.

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