Little Spirit: Christmas in New York Movie Poster Image

Little Spirit: Christmas in New York

Boy's magical travels are holiday fun for the whole family.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 60 minutes

What parents need to know

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.

Not applicable

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 10, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:October 13, 2009
Cast:Danny DeVito, Lucy Liu, Michael Hall D'Addario
Director:Leopoldo Gout
Studio:NBC Studios
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:60 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Little Spirit: Christmas in New York was written by

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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 intrinsic worth out of a Macy's bag. In, short, the story is devoid of traditional holiday merriment in favor of consumerism; and processes involved in shopping to find the perfect expression of holiday sentiment.
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's - add to that the fact that we have two minutes worth of a story inflated to fill an hour's worth of air-time. An hour should be more than enough time to actually develop characters and/or a story line - somehow this special seems to be able to go a full hour without being able to tell a story or develop a character.
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 development-- Peabody and Sherman had more in only 5 minutes of Boy-and-Dog in comparison to the WHOLE ENTIRE MOVIE of this movie!! Absolutely no romance whatsoever, no comedy whatsoever, no grab-your-seat action neither is there any drama, furthermore you cannot feel sympathetic if you do not know the Boy-and-Dog backstory... the little spirit himself was so darned ridiculous it puts Monty Python to shame, but there was absolutely no funny at all in this movie, and the dog could not be liked, it was potrayed as just a dog....messed up even at the "good moments", there were two or three moments where I felt like they were going somewhere....but it passed up fast. There was also no character development, NONE. Not even the main character was developed much--what do we know about him? He's scared and cowardly? Dumb and needs magic to find merely ONE DOG?? He can't snag a girl or even make ONE joke??? Does this story even matter?? My god, this was one of the worst children film I have EVER seen, almost as bad as Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and that's saying something!!! Do not watch this movie. At least, not all the way through. You won't like it.