One of my favorite holiday traditions is curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and watching a bunch of those Claymation Christmas movies. You know the ones: the whimsical, slightly-creepy stop-action movies from the ‘60s, ’70s, and ‘80s where the characters are made from clay and go on a bevy of seasonal adventures. Most star characters you know—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, etc.—but a few center on narratives you may’ve never heard, like The Story of the First Christmas Snow.
You can't go wrong with any of these films, though, so just take your pick and transport yourself back to childhood. If you need help choosing, here are 11 classic Claymation Christmas movies that will give you all the holiday feels.
It's been a stressful year, but at least you can count on Hollywood to come through with the holiday cheer. After all, what's more relaxing than watching an overworked woman fall in love with a Christmas tree farmer? So decompress with All the Jingle Ladies, our guide to the best holiday movies.
1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
The story of Rudolph has come to life in more sophisticated ways, but never with the heart of this 1964 Claymation movie. I've seen it hundreds of times and it still hasn't lost its magic. Shout-out to Hermey the Elf, a supporting character in the movie who just wants to be a dentist but the other elves make fun of him. He deserves the world.
2. The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975)
This genuinely moving film centers on a young shepherd, Lucas, who's blinded by lightning and taken in by nuns. Lucas has never seen snow and relies on one of the nuns, Sister Theresa, to experience it. But when the snow that falls during an annual Christmas pageant works a miracle, Lucas's life is forever changed.
3. Jack Frost (1979)
Legendary actor Robert Morse voices Jack Frost in this movie, a winter sprite who can live forever but falls in love with a human girl named Elisa. Insert complications.
4. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney are the lead vocal actors in this telling of Santa Claus's origin story. It's delightful from start to finish and, in true Fred Astaire fashion, contains musical numbers.
5. Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)
This movie is almost like The Avengers for Claymation Christmas movies. When an evil monster tries to make the North Pole his new headquarters, Rudolph, Frosty, and other iconic characters band together to stop him.
6. The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
An orphan drummer boy's life is changed when he meets three wise men on their way to Bethlehem to meet a very special baby.
7. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976)
It's a holiday crossover event! Rudolph has more to do this Christmas than just lead Santa's sleigh: He has to find Baby New Year before the clock strikes midnight on, well, the new year.
8. Pinocchio’s Christmas (1980)
This cute movie is exactly what you think it is: Pinocchio’s first Christmas. Even wooden toy boys want to experience the magic of Santa!
9. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
Even Santa Claus needs a break, but what happens when he wants to skip out on the biggest night of his career, a.k.a Christmas Eve? You'll have to watch to find out.
10. Leprechaun's Christmas Gold (1981)
This movie is Christmas-adjacent but still perfect for the season. When an Irish sailor finds himself on an island filled with leprechauns, he feels compelled to help them stop a witch from taking all their gold.
11. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)
Another Santa Claus origin story because, hey, it's Christmas!
Originally Appeared on Glamour