Kick Off the Holiday Season with 5 Festive Films

As we all know, December is a magical time of year. The halls are decked, presents wrapped, families and friends come together, and the whole world shines a little brighter thanks to millions of twinkling lights decorating homes across the country (or maybe that’s the extra helping of mulled wine…).

Whether you’re a Yuletide true-believer or a seasonal-cynic, here are five films to get you into the Holiday spirit, whatever that may be.

The Great Toy Robbery

What’s Santa Claus to do when three dastardly bandits steal his bag of toys? Pray that a dreamy, yodeling, cowboy comes to the rescue, of course! While the Wild West may seem like a strange backdrop for a Christmas story, the old rules still hold true: the good guys get presents, the bad guys get lumps…on the head.

The Great Toy Robbery, Jeff Hale, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Pony

If, like me, you’ve asked for a pony every December but still find yourself pony-less, take a few pointers from clever and loveable siblings, Kathy and John. Despite parental objections, the two children combine their savings to buy a pony named Pancho. Now if only they can keep Pancho a secret until Christmas and win over their parent’s hearts.

The Pony, Lawrence Cherry, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Christmas Cracker

Like its namesake, The Christmas Cracker is filled with surprises. Three festive vignettes showcase a boy and girl dancing in the snow, the secret lives of toys, and a quirky fellow who can’t seem to get his Christmas tree topper quite right. Holiday tunes and some Rube Goldberg machine beeps and boops make this film a fun watch.

Christmas Cracker, Jeff Hale, Norman McLaren, Grant Munro & Gerald Potterton, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Noël Noël

What’s Christmas without an old codger in need of redemption? Such is the plight of Noël Noël’s titular character, who foolishly triggers a curse, loses his fairy true-love, and turns into a lumpy monster once a year. But fear not, tender hearts! All ends well. Bonus: Leslie Neilsen narrates this goofy take on a classic premise, entirely in rhyme.

Noël Noël , Nicola Lemay, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Bear’s Christmas

Got the holiday blahs? This bear feels you. Cynical about how it’s all so commercialized? Santa, too. But maybe, just maybe, we can all escape this rat race and find a bit of the true holiday spirit inside us.

The Bear's Christmas, Hugh Foulds, provided by the National Film Board of Canada