For many Christmas lovers, one of the great annual traditions is checking out a claymation classic. The heyday of this genre was undoubtedly in the 1960s and 70s, when Rankin/Bass were presenting TV specials in this format.
However, if you’re looking to bring something new into the rotation this year, or if you’re just starting your journey into the world of claymation holiday specials, we’ve got you covered. Here are the seven best movies ever released, including some classics and some unseen gems that top the list of the best Christmas movies ever made.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
When it comes to claymation holiday specials the first show many people probably think of is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, This story of an outcast who is suddenly accepted has been around for decades.
Thanks to cute claymation, some amazing voice performances, and an extremely determined elf who really wants to be a dentist, basically everything about this Rankin/Bass special has helped cement its legacy over the decades . Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is the definitive animated version of one of America’s most beloved Christmas songs.
The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
Adapted from one of the scariest Christmas songs, little drummer boy Far more religious than most other Rankin/Bass specials, and for obvious reasons. The special tells the story of a young Jewish boy who grows to hate humanity and whose faith is restored only after he meets the baby Jesus.
If you’re not really into the more overtly Christian parts of Christmas, this special may not be for you, but if you’re somewhat religious, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, little drummer boy Definitely worth a visit at least once.
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970)
Like a prototype for a superhero origin story, Santa Claus is coming to town Shows us how Kris Kringle became the person to deliver gifts every Christmas Eve.
Although we may be disappointed when movies show us the origins of every single thing related to a character, Santa Claus is coming to town manages to execute that approach, showing how many of the Christmas traditions we know and love. Along the way, we get a sweet story of a man who wants to spread happiness, and decides that the best way to do so is to distribute gifts all over the world.
The Year Without Santa Claus (1974)
When Santa catches a cold and decides to take Christmas off, all kinds of chaos ensues. much like elfThe film is ultimately about whether people still believe in Santa Claus, but it is best remembered for Heat Miser and Snow Miser, two of the most artfully designed characters in the history of claymation. .
However, more importantly, the film ends with Santa realizing that the world’s children still appreciate him, a touching moment that also reminds us that Christmas is more about giving than receiving. is more.
Jack Frost (1979)
Probably the saddest, saddest movie on this list, Jack Frost Tells the story of an immortal ice creature (just go with it) who falls in love with a human girl. Although this movie is more about winter than Christmas specifically, it has just the right sad, mournful tone that anyone who doesn’t like Christmas can look forward to for a long time.
Jack Frost Claymation is exclusive to the moody part of the population.
A Miser Brothers Christmas (2008)
This is the perfect follow up to A year without Santa Claus For anyone who can’t get enough of those crazy stingy brothers. This film, which features most of the voices from that previous installment, offers a more global perspective on what might happen in a year without Santa Claus. Of course, the animation in this installment is even more impressive than the original film, and may seem a little more relatable to anyone thinking about climate change. Still, it remains fun for the whole family.
Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas (2021)
Aardman Animations is the best studio in stop-motion animation today, and Shaun the Sheep is one of their best characters. In this animated short, Shawn and his friends are preparing for the holidays when Tommy goes missing while searching for a large stocking. Then Shawn and the rest of the gang have to go looking for him.
There’s a lot of witty visual humor to enjoy here, as well as some genuinely beautiful animation. Old school claymation is wonderful in its own way, but Shaun the Sheep This shows how much the medium has progressed in the last 50 years.