Rankin/Bass Productions

The One Christmas Movie It Is Your Parental Duty To Have Your Kids Watch

Since before my son was born, my husband and I were big movie buffs. And after that period of being too afraid to leave him alone with someone else for more than an hour at a time, we became moviegoers once again. So now that my kid is at the toddler stage of actually watching full length-movies, Christmas has a whole new meaning. And the one Christmas movie to have your kids watch is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In my opinion anyway.

I know, it's not exactly a Pixar creation and it's a wonder that it's held up after literally decades, but it's a classic with a meaningful message behind pretty much each and every song. So really, I guess for me, its the nostalgia of it all. And what parent, prone to crying whenever they think of their babies growing up, can't get into nostalgic movies with their kids?

Now, I am all for those in the camp of playing A Christmas Story on a loop throughout Christmas day, or watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas multiple times throughout December. But, at least once, you need to introduce your kid to one of the older Christmas classics, and Rudolph is it.

It might seem a little dated at first, but it's also a welcome change from the usual high intensity TV shows and movies that kids are so obsessed with these days. I can't be the only one whose three-year-old insists that he's a Power Ranger after watching it and then proceeds to wreck my living room, right? Right?

Rudolph is about more than an unusual reindeer. Instead, it teaches kids about acceptance — not just of others, but of yourself as well. It shows you how to love everything about yourself and accept your differences that go against what is considered "normal." Don't be ashamed of your flaws and quirks. Embrace them because it's all part of what makes you, well, you! And on the flip side, it teaches kids how to accept others. In this story, the outcast becomes Santa's hero. It doesn't get much better than that. Plus, Rudolph has a freaking song about him. He's kind of legit.

Eventually in the movie, Rudolph and Hermey, the elf who would rather be a dentist, travel to the Island of Misfit Toys and see the castoffs of unwanted and "different" toys. There's the Charlie-in-the-Box, who should have been a Jack-in-the-Box. Also the elephant with spots, and the train with square wheels. Just like Rudolph and Hermey, they don't know where they fit in, but as the moral of the movie plays out, the whole point is that being different is what makes them special.

And as your kids watch it and giggle at the spotted elephant or the cowboy riding an ostrich, the lesson will click without having it thrown at them. There's also that awesome song when they visit the Island of Misfit Toys, so you'll have that to look forward to being stuck in your head for the entire following week. (Totally worth it though.)

Right now, my three-year-old is obsessed with Elf. So much so that I never thought I would say "no" to watching that movie. He didn't ruin it for me, per se, but he loves watching his faves on a loop. Anyway, one of his favorite parts of the movie is when Buddy the Elf talks to the snowman in the North Pole and, although the quality is a million times better than that of 1964, it's similar to Rudolph's claymation. And although my kid is an expert with the iPad and knows how to turn on and off the Xbox, he can still appreciate it because it's still engaging. But with Rudolph, it's engaging your kids in more than the music and movements, but also the meaning behind it all.

If you still have doubts about introducing them to the one Christmas movie to have your kids watch, the "movie" is less than an hour long. So if they hate it, it will be over soon. And if they love it, and want to watch it over and over again, they'll be all the better for it.