If you and your little ones are looking for original programming to help welcome the Christmas spirit this weekend, Amazon Prime Video has a few new options for family movie night.
“If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie,” “The Snowy Day” and “An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas” launch online this Friday, November 25.
If you have very young children (age two or three), I would suggest starting with “The Snowy Day,” which is based on an award-winning childrens book by Ezra Jack Keats — one of the first picture books to feature an African-American main character (click here for an animated read-aloud version).
The producers of this special have truly done a lovely job bringing the sweet story to life, following little Peter on his Christmas Eve walk to his grandmother’s house to get their traditional mac-and-cheese dinner. Along the way, Peter runs into all his neighborhood friends … and into some trouble, too. The animated action will keep your kids interested.
Plus, without being too preachy, “Snowy Day” sends clear messages about embracing traditions — ours and our neighbors’ — dealing with disappointments, and valuing the people in our lives over gifts or other material goods. My two-year-old twins sat captivated through the entire 38-minute runtime, and I honestly enjoyed it too.
Children slightly older will like the faster-paced “If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie,” adapted from the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” book series by Laura Numeroff. The story follows Mouse and his animal friends as they work together to fix the set of the school Christmas pageant — after accidentally destroying it.
Young ladies and their moms are most likely the target audience for “An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas.” Set in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1955, the special centers around 10-year-old Maryellen Larkin, who struggles to stand out as the middle child in a family with five kids.
Maryellen wants to wear pants in public and paint the front door red. She also dreams of going to spend Christmas in the snow – with her grandparents all to herself. As the story unfolds, Maryellen learns the value of listening to the needs of others—without losing her spunky little spirit. The movie illustrates selflessness in a way that young girls can appreciate, and features fun ‘50s fashion and an underlying theme that women who work hard and ask good questions are capable of accomplishing whatever they want.
Though none of the specials includes an explanation of — or even alludes to — the true meaning of Christmas being the birth of Christ, they are entertaining and each fit nicely into the family-friendly category. After watching, perhaps you can use them as an opportunity to start a discussion with your kids about what Christmas means to your family.
Take a peek:
Image: Courtesy Amazon Prime Video