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Five for Families: Christmas films bring holiday cheer
"Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse" - photo by Caresa Alexander Randall
Here are five movies from various platforms families may want to consider. Because not all are appropriate for younger children, age recommendations are included.

Christmas is a week away, so if your family is looking for films to give you some holiday cheer, here are a few animated options to consider.

iTunes: "The Polar Express"

Based on the childrens book, The Polar Express is an inspiring story about a doubting boy who takes a magical train ride to the North Pole. Along the way, he faces many adventures and learns about friendship, bravery and the magic of Christmas that never fades for those who believe. Tom Hanks voiced several characters in the 2004 film that won a Grammy Award for the song Believe. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its Dove Family-Approved seal for all ages, calling it one of those movies that everyone from ages 1 to 100 can come away from feeling genuinely good; and will likely stay happy and uplifted for the rest of the day. recommends the film for viewers ages 4 and older.

Amazon Instant: "Frosty the Snowman"

A magical hat brings to life a snowman in this 1969 animated film. The group of children who made the snowman try to save Frosty from the villainous magician. Common Sense Media notes parents will enjoy reliving their childhood and sharing this classic with their kids. The website also notes some mildly scary/sad scenes that quickly melt into happy situations. recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

Netflix: "Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse"

A snowstorm traps Mickey and friends at the House of Mouse. The group tries to encourage Donald Duck to change his grumpy mood as they enjoy hot cocoa and watch a collection of Disney short films. While it features several favorite Disney characters in one film, Common Sense Media says that the pace can be almost manic and some elements can be a little intense. recommends the film for viewers ages 4 and older.

Redbox: "Disney's A Christmas Carol"

Jim Carrey gives voice to the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this retelling of Charles Dickens classic tale. Three ghosts visit Scrooge and help him discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Parent Previews notes the 2009 animated films stunning visual animation and the usual lighthearted, happy ending, but cautions the tone reflects the dire times in which the original story was written. recommends the film for viewers ages 9 and older.

Netflix: "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

Tim Burtons Christmas movie follows Jack Skellington as he finds Christmastown and tries to take over Christmas by kidnapping Santa and assuming the role. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its Dove Family-Approved for ages 12 and older and says the film takes the viewer out of the ordinary to a land of make believe, but notes it is a dark animated fantasy. recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older.