Christmas films you probably didn’t know were books

It’s the 25th December and you’re basking in the after-lunch glow of calorific deliciousness, having already settled into a comfy position on the sofa – it can only mean one thing…Christmas films! But did you know that some of our Christmas classics were originally books?

1. It’s a Wonderful Life: Hailed as a timeless Christmas classic (and rightly so, imo), this film actually started out as a short story called ‘The Greatest Gift’ by Philip Van Doren Stern. In fact, having failed to launch his story successfully, he decided instead to print off 200 copies of the story and give them to his friends and family as a 21-page Christmas card – luckily, producer David Hempstead managed to get a hold of one and bought the movie rights!


This scene gets me everytime...
This scene gets me every time…

2. The Polar Express: More known for its 2004 adaptation starring Tom Hanks, ‘The Polar Express’ is a book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. The train in the film is actually based on one that Allsburg used to play on as a child, the Pere Marquette 1225; to Allsburg, the 1225 represented 12/25, Christmas Day, and inspired him to write the story.


3.The Snowman: Having released a sequel only a couple of years ago, this film is a famous animated classic, probably best known for it’s haunting soundtrack ‘Walking in the Air’, sung by the, then, very young Aled Jones. The film has no speech and similarly, the book has no words, relying only on its beautiful illustrations by Raymond Briggs.

Frozen's Olaf will never compare
Frozen’s Olaf will never compare

4. Miracle on 34th Street: Okay, so this one’s cheating a bit, seeing as the novella was released at the same time as the film but I’m including it nevertheless. The story was written by Valentine Davis who was inspired whilst queuing in a department store during the Christmas season. Fun Fact: The film originally had two other names – ‘The Big Heart’, then ‘It’s Only Human’ until finally (thankfully) ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ was settled upon.

Classic Matilda
Classic Matilda

5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Arguably the most iconic Christmas animal of all time, Rudolph was actually created by Robert L. May as an assignment to reduce expenditure for his company. The story was interestingly written in anapestic tetrameter, the same meter as Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’ is written in!

Cutest reindeer I've ever seen
Cutest Rudolph I’ve ever seen

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day, celebrating it however you wish or just enjoying the day off work!


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