Streamers: Family Style Programmer Stacy Brick Recommends Holiday Films
Our friend Stacy Brick, programmer of the AFS Family Style series, is a sought-after movie list maker of late. The New York Times has published a pair of articles from her, 7 Films to Help Children Dealing With Grief and Family-Friendly Movies Made by Diverse Filmmakers, and she has been kind enough to share a list of Family Friendly Holiday titles with us. As always, Stacy has put in the hard work of testing these films with her own kids – a tough audience.
Every family has favorite holiday movies they return to each year. Perhaps you’ve already watched ELF and HOME ALONE – now what? Listed below are some less obvious choices – maybe one of them will become a new family favorite?
BABES IN TOYLAND (1934)
Streaming on: YouTube & Amazon
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy star in this adaptation of Victor Herbert’s 1903 operetta. Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee work in the Toyland factory making toys for Santa. Toyland is populated by Little Miss Muffet, the Three Little Pigs, and a monkey (yes, a real one) in a Mickey Mouse suit. When evil landlord Barnaby threatens to foreclose on the shoe Mother Peep and Bo Peep live in, Stannie and Ollie spring into action to save the day. They must navigate a dunking, the Bogeymen and crocodiles (again, real) in order to escape. Hilarity ensues.
LITTLE WOMEN (1994)
Streaming on: Amazon
All of your favorite 90’s actresses are fresh-faced in this 1994 adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel. There’s Winona Ryder (Jo), Kirsten Dunst (Amy), Claire Danes (Beth) and Trini Alvarado (Meg) with Susan Sarandon as their “Marmee”. Orchard House is the perfect setting for a traditional family Christmas full of cheer, music, and snow. The family’s Christmas celebrations bookend the first part of the film and set the tone of coziness and family togetherness throughout. Make sure you have tissues handy.
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)
Streaming on: Hulu
Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is the newspaper columnist behind the “Diary of a Housewife” column. The thing is, it’s a sham – she doesn’t know the first thing about running a household. When a fan (who also happens to be a handsome war hero) asks to spend Christmas at her family’s Connecticut farmhouse, she must scramble to convince him that she is who she claims to be.
Streaming on: Disney+
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, a young boy finds a bag of money near the railway in his small British town. He and his brother try to keep it a secret from their father, but there are two problems. First, the UK is about to switch to the Euro and the bag is full of pounds (a fictional event). Second, the money belongs to thieves who show up in town asking questions. The boys are forced to try and spend all the money before time runs out.
EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS (1977)
Streaming on: Amazon
Emmet and Ma Otter don’t have money for Christmas gifts, but they’re both amazing musicians. They each decide (unbeknownst to the other) to compete in the Waterville talent show to win the $50 prize and use it to buy gifts. The rolicking tunes of the Jug Band can’t be beat. This Henson favorite clocks in at just under an hour, making it a great option for younger kids.