The Best Christmas Books that Were Turned Into Movies
I’m sure many of the books and movies on this list won’t be surprising to you, but I thought I would put together a list of books and movies for you to enjoy over Christmas break. One of my favorite things to do is to compare books to movies (spoiler, the book is usually better). While the book does tend to be better sometimes, simple picture books are made into movies and then magic happens!
What follows is a list of the best Christmas books that were turned into movies. Not all the movies are amazing, but sometimes it’s fun to see a really good story come to life. What is amazing are the books! If the movie is familiar to you and you haven’t read the book, then what are you waiting for?! Go and read the book. If you’ve never heard of some of these stories then I am glad to introduce you to something new this Christmas. Happy reading!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Ms. Natalie’s Favorite
Technically, the story of Little Women isn’t just for Christmas. While it takes place over a few years, there are many key scenes that happen at Christmas. If you have not read the book, you really should! It is a classic for a reason and an excellent read for anyone who like coming of age stories about families. It takes place during and after the Civil War and is perfect for 4th grade and above.
There are many movie and tv versions of this book, but my favorite is the 1994 Winona Ryder version. It is very faithful to the book, although long time fan will miss some scenes that are not included in the movie. Despite the missing scenes, the movie feels like home. Christmas is emphasized throughout the movie too. It is a sweet story that the entire family will enjoy.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A classic that never gets old!
As a kid, the Grinch was alway one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. I wanted to rescue his poor dog who took the brunt of his anger. I wanted to be Cindy Lou Who with her cute pink jammies. I even liked the Grinch, because he changed and that felt important to me. The book is truly a classic that never gets old. It is Christmas!
As for all the TV and movie versions… Well, lets just say, I am a traditionalist. I don’t need newer, flashy versions of the Grinch. Jim Carey is funny but a little over the top for me. I am perfectly fine with the simple animated version from 1966. In fact, every time I hear the song “Welcome Christmas” I tear up a little bit. It’s just so sweet! Go ahead, watch…
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ms. Leah’s Favorite
When I asked Ms. Leah what her favorite Christmas book turned movie was she told me A Christmas Carol, specifically Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Of the many versions of this classic tale, these two are also my favorites. I grew up watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol every year, and sometimes throughout the year as well. The Muppet version is everything you want from a muppets movie, it might be the BEST Muppet movie in my humble opinion.
It’s really, too hard to choose between either of the versions so I usually just watch them both at Christmas time. A Christmas Carol is such a well known story that I probably don’t need to tell you what it’s about. Just like the Grinch, the main character, Scrooge has a lot of growing and learning to do. His journey to redemption is a lot longer than the Grinches, but just as equally enjoyable to read. If you have not read the book yet, it’s the perfect book to read over Christmas break!
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Elaine Stritch
A funny and heartwarming story
Believe me when I say, if you haven’t read this book, do so immediately. It’s a funny story of misfit children who manage to pull off the best Christmas pageant ever. The Heardman siblings are known as the worst children ever. When they take over the annual Christmas pageant they manage to convince their town that what they thought was true, isn’t and learn the true meaning of Christmas.
I wish someone would do an updated movie version of this book. There are theater versions that you might have seen from your local community theater. There is also a made for tv version from 1983. Not to give away my age or anything, but the tv version came out when I was 1 years old. Ok, so that does give away my age, but I did it to demonstrate how we are in dire need of a good updated movie version of the Best Christmas Pageant Ever!
You might be wondering why this book/movie is on this list if there isn’t a good movie version. It isn’t that the tv version isn’t good, it’s just a little old and not the best quality. But I included the book on the list simply because it is a funny, sweet story that deserves to be read. If you want to watch the made for tv version it can be found on youtube and posted below.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
The Spirit of Christmas
When I was a little girl I had a beautiful picture book version of this famous story. I loved looking at the illustrations and their beauty. I wish I know what happened to my copy of the book because it truly was beautiful. This story is beautiful all on its own too. At it’s heart, it tells the story of selfless love and about keeping the spirit of Christmas alive when you have very little to give.
I included this story because I love it but also because there is a very sweet classic movie version of it. Released in 1952 it is a collection of short films based on O. Henry’s short stories. Included in the collection in The Gift of the Magi. It’s fun for kids to watch to learn a little bit about the past and what money was worth. It is also just short enough to keep everyone’s attention. It can be found on youtube or you can watch it here.
Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
Mrs. Ramirez’s Favorite
Ok, so this story was technically a movie first! But, it’s on the list because the author, Valentine Davies, after having written the screenplay for the movie, turned the story into novel that was released along with the movie in 1947. Davies also won an Academy Award for his screenplay. Miracle on 34th Street is a timeless story about a cynical mom who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas or Santa Clause. In turn, neither does her daughter.
When I asked Mrs. Ramirez what her favorite book turned Christmas movie was she told me Miracle on 34th Street as well as a few of the other movies that have already been mentioned. The story has been retold a few times with different movie and tv versions but the best has to be the original staring Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood. Fun fact, I’m named after Natalie Wood. No matter which version you watch you will love this sweet story about the magic of Christmas.
Happy reading and watching everyone! Tell me in the comments which is your favorite Christmas book that was turned into a movie. If your favorite isn’t on this list tell me why it should be! Merry Christmas everyone!
Originally published in The Falcon’s Fables (St. Philip the Apostle School’s Blog Section).
St. Philip the Apostle School, 1363 Cordova St., Pasadena, (626) 795-9691 or visit www.stphiliptheapostle.org/school.