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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't offers exposure to Christmas rituals and traditions.
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't offers multiple positive messages about the meaning of Christmas as a time for tolerance and compassion and about the importance of treating fellow human beings with kindness, even if they aren't kind to you.
Positive Role Models
The characters here are fairly simplistic -- Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves model a kind of saint-like kindness and restraint in the face of evil Mr. Prune -- but the lessons about compassion and tolerance are useful.
Violence & Scariness
The gothic tone of the film, with its almost Lemony Snicket creepiness and cobwebs, may be off-putting to younger viewers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Christmas That Almost Wasn't is a 1966 film about a Scrooge-like character whose aim is to prevent Christmas. It's a wholesome film, though its aesthetic and overall tone are rather maudlin and gothic. This combined with its length -- 89 minutes -- make it a better family or Christmas film for older kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This 1966 Christmas tale has a few things going for it: wonderful sets, an excellent cast, and a heart of gold. But it's also a bit of a downer, and the gothic set, cobwebs, and funeral wallpaper as well as the heavy themes of disenchanted, bitter grownups could be alienating for younger kids. What's more, the plot largely hinges on this tricky back-payment-of-rent issue, which may be hard to explain to a 4-year-old.
That said, kids who like the creepier side of things may enjoy this old, maudlin tale, and the lessons here -- about compassion and warmth and kindness (and the legalities of back rent!), even in the face of capitalist greed and longstanding bitterness -- are worthy ones for any age.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.