A good holiday movie is a great way to kick off the holiday season, or even to dig into throughout the year for a little pick-me-up. If you’ve worn out your favorite movies and TV specials, though, and want to take a break, now might be a good time to check out some of the history and real-life stories associated with the holidays. Christmas documentaries have been around for a long time themselves, sometimes telling us about the history of the holiday, and sometimes chronicling the way people celebrate the holidays today. Here are five Christmas documentaries worth seeking out.
Christmas Unwrapped (1997)
This Christmas documentary from the History Channel digs into the history of the holiday going back to before Christianity. It goes back to Rome and to Pagan celebrations, throughout the birth of Christianity and then into the more modern celebrations of the holiday to give a complete picture of why people have traditionally celebrated during that particular time of year. You can watch the whole documentary on YouTube, if you’re interested.
Becoming Santa (2011)
Jack is a man who bleaches his beard and goes to Santa School in the hopes of becoming a professional Santa’s helper. Becoming Santa chronicles his journey from looking for a job that he fits the bill for to becoming genuinely passionate about the values of bringing joy to kids during the holiday season and year round, including visiting families at home to cheer children up. Watch the trailer to get a taste of what the holidays can be all about.
The Real Story of Christmas (2010)
A slightly more festive variation on the history of Christmas, the History Channel again brings us this history of not only the holiday itself, but the idea of Santa, his reindeer, and the many other ways we’ve come up with over the years to celebrate and symbolize our love of the holidays. The entirety of The Real Story of Christmas is available on YouTube.
Tree Man (2015)
The Christmas tree is one of the great holiday traditions, with the version we’re used to going back to 19th century England. A Quebecois man named Francois is a Christmas tree seller to brings his trees from Quebec to New York every year. The film follows Francois, his family and the kind of work he puts in to make sure he isn’t just selling trees each year – he makes an effort to sell a little joy, too. You can see the trailer for Tree Man on YouTube now.
I Am Santa Claus (2014)
There are a few documentaries out there about people who want to work as a professional Santa Claus, but I Am Santa Claus takes a different angle at the story. While it does concentrate on all of the kind souls who want to bring joy to children during the holidays, it also explores their real lives outside of the holiday period, to see how they live and how they prepare for Christmas to come around each year. Here’s the trailer to I Am Santa Claus to get you in the spirit.