13 Christmas movies based on books | Pretty Reel

It’s no secret that Hollywood often draws inspiration from best-selling books to create phenomenal movies that often break records. While it can be frustrating for audiences to constantly pay for “non-original” content, Hollywood is sometimes successful in choosing which written works to make into movies. While book adaptations are usually reserved for fantasy novels like Harry Potter or teen novels, Hollywood sometimes finds movie gold in other forms of books, like Christmas stories. From literary classics to children’s picture books and even a young adult novel, there seem to be a lot more Christmas movies based on books than most people realize.

Updated December 19, 2022 by Danielle Bruncati: While 2022 has seen an influx of original Christmas movies, with the Violent Night directed by David Harbour doing well at the box office, Christmas is still a time for the adaptation of books, it seems. The most notable addition this year is a musical twist on the beloved Charles Dickens short story A Christmas Carol. But it’s not just Dickens’ Christmas novel that has been adapted over the years, but also picture books and biographies.

Eloise at Christmas (2003)

Stream to Prime Video

Eloise at Christmas is a TV movie based on the beloved 1958 book of the same name. It was the third book written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight in the Eloise book series and the second book to be adapted into a made-for-TV movie.

Like the book, the film centers on six-year-old Eloise, who lives in the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel in New York. After learning that the hotel girl is getting married, Eloise decides to do some spying and thinks the girl is getting married for the wrong reason. Thus, Eloise makes it her mission to stop the marriage.

Fiery (2022)

Stream to Apple TV+

Charles Dickens’ beloved A Christmas Carol received another adaptation in 2022 with the release of Spirited. This time the story was adapted by Sean Anders and John Morris, who turned the beloved classic into a hilarious musical affair.

The film stars Will Ferrell as Ebenezer Scrooge, who worked as the Christmas present ghost. Eligible for retirement, Scrooge postponed it despite the temptation to settle down. Instead, he’s aiming to help buy out Clint Brigg, a controversial media consultant who just might teach Scrooge a thing or two along the way.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

Stream on Hulu

While dozens of films have been adapted from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, few have been made about the author’s life around the time he wrote the novel. That is, until 2017 when The Man Who Invented Christmas was released.

Adapted from the novel The Standifords of the same name, the film and book explore the life of Charles Dickens after his failure to follow through on his success with Oliver Twist. In doing so, both forms of media tell the story of how Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Stream on Disney+

Charles Dickens’ legendary short story A Christmas Carol was first published on December 19, 1843. By Christmas Eve of that year, the short story was out of print, and since then the book has been republished countless times and suitable for the screen almost as much.

Although there have been hundreds of adaptations of the Dickens short story, including a Muppets version, one of the most popular in recent years has been Disney’s 2009 version. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film used motion capture technology to bring Scrooge and the rest of the beloved characters to life.

A Christmas Story (1983)

Stream on HBO Max

A Christmas Story has become an iconic holiday movie and certainly one of the best Christmas movies of the 1980s, but many don’t realize it was based on a book. Written by comedian Jean Shepherd, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash consists of 31 chapters, each telling a different short story told by the fictional character Ralph, who returned to his hometown as an adult and remember.

In order to pay homage to Jean Shepherd, the creators of A Christmas Story asked him to narrate the film, which he gladly accepted.

Angela’s Christmas (2017)

Stream on Netflix

Angela’s Christmas was written by Irish-American author Frank McCourt, also a Pulitzer Prize winner. McCourt was inspired by his mother’s childhood Christmas memories when writing the children’s picture book. So the story follows 6-year-old Angela, who worries about baby Jesus at the town church.

In 2017, Netflix adapted the children’s book into an animated short for its streaming service. It went on to receive several Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including “Outstanding Writing for an Animated Program”.

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

Stream on Prime Video

Before Christmas with Kranks was one of the most underrated comedy Christmas movies, it was a comedy novel. Skipping Christmas was written by John Grisham and published in 2001.

Christmas with the Kranks didn’t deviate too much from the plot of the original novel, in fact there was virtually no difference. Both focus on Luther and Nora Krank who have decided to skip Christmas for a cruise but have to cancel it when their daughter announces a surprise visit.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Stream on HBO Max

It’s safe to assume that everyone knows How The Grinch Stole Christmas was first a beloved book by Dr. Seuss before being adapted for the big screen multiple times. The children’s book was first published in 1957 and written in the iconic rhyming verses of Dr. Seuss. Although aimed at children, the book was notable for criticizing the commercialization of Christmas.

While the first screen adaptation was in 1966, arguably the best adaptation was the 2000 live-action iteration with Jim Carrey turning into the Grinch. For more than a decade, the film was the second highest-grossing holiday movie of all time.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Stream to Prime Video

It’s A Wonderful Life centers on George, a middle-aged man who contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve. As the angels watch over him, they discuss his experiences, which the audience sees through a series of flashbacks depicting George in happier times.

Although It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time, many don’t realize that the story was inspired by two published sources. The first is The Greatest Gift, a short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern, and the second is the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Let It Snow (2019)

Stream on Netflix

It’s no secret that some of the best teen movies are based on books, and Let It Snow is no different. The Mending novel was written by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson, who each wrote separate short stories that are then woven together by the characters’ intertwined lives.

Netflix closed its distribution deal and in 2019 Let It Snow the movie was available to stream. Unlike other teen adaptations, the movie didn’t stray too far from the book, which made fans happy.

Olive, the other reindeer (1999)

Not available to stream

In 1999, Fox Network aired the animated TV movie Olive, the Other Reindeer, which was watched by over 6 million viewers. Despite the high numbers, many people don’t remember the adorable holiday movie that followed Olive the dog who believes Santa called her to help pull his sleigh.

The children’s film was based on the 1977 book of the same name by Vivial Walsh and J. Otto Seibold. Unsurprisingly, he was also inspired by the Christmas song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

Stream on Disney+

The Nutcracker is one of the most memorable Christmas stories of all time and has been adapted dozens of times. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film centers on Clara as she sets out to track down a key to unlock a box that promises to contain a priceless gift.

While most adaptations are successful, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms were not. Not even being adapted from the legendary 1816 short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King might save it.

The Polar Express (2004)

Stream on HBO Max

The Polar Express is a highly controversial Christmas movie, with many finding the animation style scary. However, the film pioneered motion capture technology that has been used in hundreds of films since.

Despite what people think of the film, there’s no denying the timelessness of the story that people first fell in love with when Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book was published in 1985. Both stories tell the tale of a skeptical young boy who takes a life-changing journey on the Polar Express where he receives Santa’s first present.

We want to say thanks to the writer of this article for this incredible material

13 Christmas movies based on books | Pretty Reel