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Best Classic Animated Christmas Movies For Children

Updated on November 3, 2022

I’m not sure which I loved more as a kid – presents, or Christmas specials. Ok, maybe that’s not a great comparison; I probably liked the gifts a bit more. But now that I’m in my 30’s, I prefer the Christmas specials. No, really. I still watch these, and I still get all stupid excited when they start playing. Then again, Santa doesn’t stuff my stocking anymore (where’s Freud when you need him?) so I suppose I have no choice but to prefer the movies! This list are my faves. They are classics that came out when my parents were children. I have no idea if they’re shown on TV anymore, but I do know you can buy them in shops and online.

Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

One of the first animated Christmas special on television. Charlie Brown agonizes over the commerciality of Christmas. And this was 1965, people! The “Christmas Spirit” of the new millennium makes pink Christmas trees look downright pious. Join the Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas, via loveable Linus.

Frosty The Snowman (1969)

Narrated by Jimmy Durante, this was a very popular Christmas show. It’s pretty much the same as the song, but there’s an evil magician tossed in – and Santa, too! To be honest, I remember crying my eyes out every time Frosty melted, so I guess you may want to keep that in mind before sitting a 5 year old down in front of it.

Note: The Christmas special Frosty Returns is usually included on this DVD.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)

This is the longest running TV special, ever.

Narrated by Burl Ives, This classic stop-motion program starring Rudolph was a hugely popular when it came out. It’s the timeless story of Rudolph, the little reindeer who was made fun of for that glowing red nose which set him apart from everyone else. Until Santa comes calling and asks Rudolph to save Christmas. Which he does, of course! After that, he’s the man. Really, he even gets the girl.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970)

Narrated by Fred Astaire, this one stars Mickey Rooney as Santa. Another stop-motion classic, this one is also based on the hit song of the same name. Of all the Christmas classics on this list, this one actually the most complex plot, with lots of obstacles for Kris Kringle to overcome. The story also provides an explanation for how Santa came to be with the elves, how he started giving toys away, and how he met Mrs. Claus. There’s also an evildoer who makes toys illegal, but don’t worry, Santa saves the day.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Based on the popular Dr. Suess book, of course! Narrated by Boris Karloff, this tells the story of the meanie Grinch who… well.. tried to steal Christmas! Of course, he grows a heart before any of that can happen, so don’t panic or anything. Who doesn't love to hate the Grinch, and then love to love him when he finds his Christmas spirit? The title song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was song my Thurl Ravenscroft – the famous voice of Tony the Tiger.


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