A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate.
The movie teaches the importance of family and spending time together. Responsibility and selflessness are strong themes. There is also a message about everyone having the potential to change.
Positive Role Models
Allie is smart but can also be irresponsible. Her sense for adventure can lead her and best friend Sam into mischief. Allie's parents are loving but busy and there is mention of the family not spending enough time together. Edwin, the weatherman, initially behaves obsessively and wild, but talks his problems through with Santa and ultimately changes his ways.
Violence & Scariness
Snowball fight. Character pushed from a snowmobile. Vehicle crashes through a storefront. Brief reference to a dead parent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adult characters kiss on the cheek and reference is made to a classroom crush.
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No strong language, but infrequent mild insults include "dull," "tiresome," "chicken," and "lame-o."
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Products & Purchases
There is mention of what the children want for Christmas, including roller blades and a video game.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A cigar is referenced in passing, but not shown on screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ultimate Christmas Present is a light family Christmas TV movie with some fun scenes and very little in terms of darker material. It teaches the importance of family, friendship, and taking responsibility, as well as the potential for people to change. Teens Allie (Hallee Hirsh) and Sam (Brenda Song) do sneak around and get into mild mischief, but are never endangered. Likewise, the movie's "bad guy," Edwin (Peter Scolari) poses no real threat, with his behavior largely down to his obsession with becoming the world's best weather man. Mention is made of a dead father, but the scene is fleeting and serves to enforce the message of making the most of family time. Overall, it is breezy, fun, and full of festive spirit and should appeal to younger viewers or whole families watching together. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Amid a flurry of straight-to-TV Christmas films, this is a light-hearted and fun family adventure that doesn't think far outside the box, but wraps the package up well. The young leads, Hirsh and Song, give great performances with plenty of energy, while Spencer Breslin has the annoying younger brother trope down to perfection and John B. Lowe makes for a warm and knowing Santa.
Snow in L.A. adds a magical flourish, and there are some fun touches, such as children sliding down hills on inflatable floats and surfboards, as well as mischievous antics from Santa's unexpectedly tall elves, Sparky (Bill Fagerbakke) and Crumpet (John Salley). Sweet and funny, if somewhat slight, The Ultimate Christmas Present is a vibrant and uplifting movie full of festive spirit.
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.