Need a little help teaching kids about the first Christmas?
Try these family-friendly movies about the Nativity.
If you’re looking for a way to teach your kids about the true meaning of Christmas, consider a family movie about the Nativity. Nativity movies re-tell the story of the birth of Christ and help bring what kids learn in Sunday School to live in new and exciting ways. It’s also a great way to begin family discussions about giving, and what the true meaning of Christmas looks like. So along with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, take some time to experience the very first Christmas with your kids.
The Nativity Story
The Nativity Story, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary and Oscar Isaac as Joseph, focuses on the developing relationship between Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem. Unlike other movies of its kind, The Nativity Story gives a great glimpse into the lives of people and the culture of the day. Their struggles under the rule of Rome as well as the difficulties of their journey provide a distinctive picture of Mary and Joseph and what they might have gone through at the time.
The film also gives a great depiction of the character of Herod and his treachery. A very real look at the shepherds also helps create a sense of authenticity in this film unmatched by other movies of its kind. The story ends at the manger with the birth of Jesus, the visit from the shepherds and the wise men, and finishes with a beautiful scene that will thrill viewers of any age. This movie is great for families with older children, but the content might be a little challenging for younger viewers.
The Little Drummer Boy
The Little Drummer Boy was produced by the famous team of Rankin Bass, which gave us other Christmas classics such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and The Year Without a Santa Claus. This story is based on the Christmas song of the same name and takes place through the eyes of the little drummer boy. The Little Drummer Boy is orphaned and decides there’s no good in anyone when he meets the three wise men and joins them in their journey to find the Christ Child. He wants to bring an expensive and important gift to the baby but has nothing to give but a song on his simple drum. The visit to the manger changes his life forever.
The Little Drummer Boy originally aired in 1968 and featured the voice talents of Jose Ferrer, Paul Frees, and Greer Garson. The Little Drummer Boy is a simple story that even the youngest viewers can understand and enjoy.
Nester, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Another great offering from Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass is Nester, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Told from the eyes of a small donkey with very big ears, this movie is perfect for the youngest Nativity movie watchers of the family.
Nester has a problem; he has the biggest ears of any donkey around. So, when the gentle Joseph comes looking to buy a donkey for his wife Mary to ride to Bethlehem, Nester is the only one he can afford. Nester spends time with a little angel who encourages him along the way and realizes that his big ears really are a gift. This unlikely hero uses what has always made him different to help Mary carry God’s most precious gift and reach the manger safely. Nester, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey originally aired in 1977 and features the voice talents of Roger Miller, Brenda Vaccaro, and Paul Frees.