Little Spirit: Christmas in New York

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Little Spirit: Christmas in New York Movie Poster Image
Boy's magical travels are holiday fun for the whole family.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 60 minutes

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Leo's parents are devoted to each other and to him and work hard to help him adjust to their new surroundings after they move. A couple of young characters use cell phones to text friends and snap pictures.

Violence & Scariness

Neighborhood kids gang up on Leo and pelt him with snowballs during a snowball fight, but he's not hurt.

Sexy Stuff

A married couple exchanges kisses a few times (to the embarrassment of their young son). In one scene, a dog hides under a bra in a department store.


A few scenes show Macy's department store decked out for the holidays.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this heartwarming holiday story is perfectly appropriate for the entire family. There's no worrisome content and plenty of adventure and Christmas spirit to be found in the main character's magical travels and encounters with friendly, caring strangers. At the heart of the story is a strong family headed by devoted parents who always put their son's feelings first.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypeterxyz December 12, 2008

Crass Commercialism At Its Worst!

Christmas in New York is the personification of gross consumption, materialism; and crass commercialism where prioritization is set on christmas depriving intri... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 and 15-year-old Written bykengrant December 11, 2008

Why would anyone subject themselves to this?

This, by far, one of the worst holiday specials I have ever seen.

Let's start with the fact that it is little more than an hour-long commercial for Macy... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written by9spaceking July 17, 2014

Terrible Movie

What kind of movie is this? Lame "Little Spirit" story, poorly executed boring moments throughout the whole entire event, in addition to lack of devel... Continue reading

What's the story?

In LITTLE SPIRIT: CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK, a friendly cab driver (voiced by Danny DeVito) entertains a pair of sisters with the story of a young boy named Leo (Michael Hall D'Addario) and his unexpected adventures in New York City. Leo and his parents move to Manhattan when his mom gets a promotion at work, and Leo is worried he'll never fit in in the Big Apple. But when his dog, Ramona (Fred Newman), gets lost, a magical creature named Little Spirit (also Newman) arrives to help Leo find his pet. His subsequent travels introduce Leo to some new friends who help him feel more at home in the big city.

Is it any good?

It's rare to find a holiday special that entertains both kids and their parents, but Little Spirit fits the bill: It's full of holiday cheer and joy that the whole family will love. Viewers will be drawn in to the story by the endearing characters, whose need for a little holiday magic comes from relatable, real-world issues like uncertainty over a major life change or worries about parents' troubled relationship.

The story's messages of hope and joy are heartwarming; viewers familiar with the Big Apple will be particularly entertained by the show's inclusion of landmark New York sights like crowded city streets, Central Park, Macy's, and the Rockettes. Even NBC newsman Brian Williams lends his voice to the story as roaming reporter Rock Granite.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the spirit of the holidays. How does the media affect our expectations of the holidays? Does seeing something on TV make you want it more? Why or why not?

  • What gifts did Leo receive from his adventures with Little Spirit? How do you think they changed him? What holiday experiences have you had that changed the way you look at your own situation?

  • What does the saying "It's better to give than to receive" mean to you? How might society be different if we all acted on that thought?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate