10 Must-See Christmas Short Films

Charlie Brown Christmas

Short Films to Watch on Holiday Season.

After sharing our top 10 favorite Christmas films, we couldn’t stop there. Keeping on our holiday spirit, we are sharing our top Christmas short films. This is a chronological list, starting with old and classic holiday specials and ending with more recent holiday gems. 

We love sharing short filmsFollow us on social media, and be on the lookout for year-long film content. Now, let’s travel through the past century of short films celebrating the holidays.

The Christmas Dream (1945)

Director: Karel Zeman, Borivoj Zeman

Five decades before Toy Story, the “Czech Méliès” Karel Zeman brought the world a short film about toys coming to life. Like Andy with Woody, the young girl tossed away a rag doll to play with her shiny new toys. The Christmas Dream is an impressive blend of stop-motion animation with live action. This was the first of many films using that technique the legendary filmmaker would make.

Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952)

Director: Jack Hannah

This Disney masterpiece features the title character fighting with Chip and Dale over a tree he and Mickey cut out to make a Christmas tree. Poor Pluto having to deal with the owners of the house he took. Classic cartoon violence and one of the funniest Disney shorts ever. 

On the Twelfth day… (1955)

Director: Wendy Toye

In this classic short, a lady is interrupted by her love interest, giving her all the items from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” This film is charming and joyful, with a set design reminiscent of your happiest holiday dreams. I don’t need twelve gifts. All I want is for this film to be properly restored.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Director: Bill Melendez

The Charlie Brown specials are a staple of American pop culture. It all started with this Christmas special. Perhaps it’s very preachy, as society is more openly secular than in 1965. Nevertheless, Charlie Brown’s depression is even more relevant today, and Lucy’s sharp-witted and astute attitude will never get old. Bill Melendez’s charming animation and Vince Guaraldi’s iconic jams are timeless. Poignant, tender, and funny, this is THE Christmas Special. 

A Christmas Carol (1971)

Director: Richard Williams 

This adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Christmas classic, directed by the animator of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the title sequences of the Pink Panther movies, won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It’s a haunting film that plays very heavily on the spooky aspects of the Dickens novella. Voiced by Alastair Sim (it was his second performance as this character), Scrooge never stops sounding creepy, even when he redeemed himself at the end, which is very funny. Some may even argue that this is the best adaptation of the Christmas Carol adaptation ever

The Snowman (1982)

Director: Dianne Jackson, Jimmy T. Murakami

Based on a picture book written by Raymond Briggs, this British animated short was an instant success after its 1982 TV debut. Like Charlie Brown’s Christmas special in the States, The Snowman became a Christmas TV tradition with annual reruns in the UK. And with good reasons, this is an animated masterpiece. Watching it as an adult brings a sense of nostalgia and longing for simpler, more innocent times, even though I don’t remember watching it as a child. See for yourself. This is a beautiful animated short.  

Treevenge (2008)

Director: Jason Eisner

Yes, this is the horror pick of this list. A weird and violent short film, might I say. So, viewer discretion is advised on this one. Hobo With a Shotgun’s Jason Eisner directed this quirky homage to b-movies about pine trees taking revenge on Christmas. If we got Chip ‘n’ Dale getting revenge for their home in Pluto’s Christmas Tree, in this film, the trees are fighting, and they’re way more aggressive than any chipmunk. This one’s for the dark humor and horror freaks. 

Alma (2009)

Director: Rodrigo Blaas

Following such a messed-up horror film, we’re back to pretty films with Alma. I just said pretty, not necessarily moving on from creepy stuff. And this might be even creepier than the previous Killing Tress B-movie. Ex-Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas directed this short about a girl named Alma wandering around a deserted town and toy shop. Her name means Soul. I’ll leave it to that.

The Night Before Christmas (2012) 

Director: DC Kasundra

Out of all the movies listed, this is the one that I believe you must watch. What starts as another eerie Christmas film ends as an affecting drama about social inequality. It gets to the point in its 5-minute runtime and stays with you much longer. If one short film on this list deserves to be shared, it’s this one. 

Robin Robin (2021)

Director: Dan Ojari, Mikey Please

To conclude, we’re back full circle to feel-good animated films. This 30-minute stop motion animation short is about a robin growing up with a mouse family. Produced by Aardman Animations, the British studio responsible for Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit, among other animated films, it’s warm, whimsical, and astonishingly done. If you’re browsing through Netflix this holiday season, check it out. 

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