December 20, 2021
Movie Night: Celebrating the Holidays with the Whole Family
This holiday season, staying in and enjoying family time at home will be a big part of many celebrations. And what better way to celebrate the holidays than gathering around the television to watch movies about the seasonal festivities. Regardless of what holiday you choose to celebrate, there are movies that will delight the whole family. Here are our top five films and specials for holiday movie night this year.
This movie came out on Netflix in 2020 and quickly became a family favorite. While it’s a Christmas adventure, it takes a secular stance on the winter holidays, promoting kindness, imagination, and magic. Jingle Jangle is a meticulously choreographed musical with brightly colored steampunk costuming and sets. It features a cast of some of the most outstanding African American performers today, including Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Anika Noni-Rose, and Phylicia Rashad. If you love music and magic, Jingle Jangle is great for the whole family.
Muppet Christmas Carol
When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, it was his open letter to Victorian London and the treatment of the poor and disadvantaged. As members of the upper class enjoyed great wealth, many of London’s less fortunate were ignored or worse. The story has been told and retold over generations, but the best version for the whole family is The Muppet Christmas Carol. It was the first Muppet production after the death of Jim Henson and remained true to his vision. The classic tale is told as a musical featuring a mix of Muppet and human performers, including Michael Caine as Ebeneezer Scrooge. You can watch on Disney+.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
Another classic book comes from the author of The Wizard of Oz: L. Frank Baum. He wrote The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus in 1902. He intended to create a purely American version of Santa without ties to any one religion. In 1985, Rankin/Bass – the makers of stop-motion holiday classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, adapted The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus in their signature style. Their version is a perfect celebration of nature and the Winter Solstice. It explores the spirit of the holidays for children of all backgrounds. The DVD is available through Amazon.
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
Family classics based on literature are some of the best holiday movies. The same is true when the early Jim Henson Company, before Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, adapted the children’s book Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas into a puppetry masterpiece. The book itself was a retelling of The Gift of the Magi by short story writer O Henry, who is buried in Riverside Cemetery right here in Asheville. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is a lovely story about the spirit of the holidays and the importance of friends and family. It’s available to stream on Amazon Prime.
An American Tail
In a search for movies that celebrated Hanukah, we kept coming back to the animated classic An American Tail. The 1986 movie directed by animator Don Bluth follows Fievel Mousekewitz and his family, who emigrate from Russia to find freedom. But the young mouse is separated from his family and struggles to find them in the big city. While the story isn’t specifically about Hanukkah, the movie opens with the family’s holiday celebration, which kicks off the adventure. An American Tail is available on Starz.
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