The Year Without a Santa Claus

“The Year Without a Santa Claus” is a 1974 American stop motion “puppet” film produced by the legendary duo Rankin & Bass. The film is based on the children’s book by the same name written by Phyllis McGinley and illustrated by Kurt Werth.

This film has that old-time American charm which I just love! It is made in a time when filmmaking was not only about people pleasing and money making, but rather about creativity, art and a desire to bring something of real value to the world. I love the artistry in these old stop motion movies, like how beautifully the puppets are made, how the colors are true to the 1950s fashion ( The book was published in 1956) and the whimsical design of the Christmas tree decorations.

The story is not super impressive, but that is not the point of this movie. The charm lies in the yesteryear’s Christmas atmosphere, the sweet songs we all know and love, and in the creativity of the homemade sceneries where you can actually recognize the different materials used to transform little trinkets into movie magic.

I, as many of you know, love everything vintage, and this movie is no exception. My favorite part of the film is towards the end when Santa Claus arrives in the little town with his sleigh and presents to the tunes of “Santa Claus is coming to town”. It can’t get more Christmassy than that! ❤️🤶🏻🎅🏼❤️.

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Trollhunter

Trollhunter is a Norwegian indie film from 2010 directed by Andre Øverdal. This film has already been given a Cult status in Norway. Mind you, this is not a movie for children, even though I would have loved it as a child, but its target audience is teens and adults.
It is filmed in a mock documentary style, a little like Blair Witch Project, and is a presentation of footage filmed by a group of young journalists. The actors in the film are all unknown, except for the trollhunter himself, and it adds to the feeling of it being a documentary. The film is not really scary at all, it’s more funny, especially if you have some pre-knowledge about Norwegian culture and Norwegian trolls. And the trolls themselves are just awesome!

The movie is about a team of students studying to become journalists who set out to make a documentary about this crazy man who claims that he is a trollhunter. The trollhunter is fed up by the government who conceals all traces of trolls, and he wants the public to know what is really going on in the Norwegian forests. Following is a hilarious and brilliant chase, where we get to know a lot about trolls and how they can still be alive!

What I love the most about this film is how thoroughly all the facts are explained, like why the trolls burst in sunlight, what they eat and how they live, all explained by a veterinarian troll expert! I love the descriptions of the different types of trolls, and I love how amazingly brilliant the trolls actually look on screen.

This movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it is VERY Norwegian, but if you like to learn more about other cultures, folklore and the supernatural, then this movie is definitely for you, and I highly recommend it! I would say the movie can be seen by kids from 13 and up, but it depends on the child. I would not have found this movie disturbingly scary as a child, but all children are different. I’d say, if the child enjoys Jurassic Park, he or she can definitely watch this movie. 😊

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For younger kids, or for all kids of all ages, I would recommend the Dreamworks/ Netflix Series “Trollhunters”. It is an animated series that is, I can’t help but think, slightly inspired by the Norwegian Trollhunter. The storyline is brilliant and the animation awesome!

Her Majesty

Her Majesty is a New Zealand family/children’s film from 2001. The story is set in the 1950s and is about a young girl who loves Queen Elisabeth and dreams about meeting her, and an elderly Maori woman who is passionate about keeping her Maori legacy alive. When the two meet a magical friendship starts to blossom.

This film, which is inspired by true events, is a beautiful story about identity, belongingness, loyalty and friendship. It is about learning to appreciate our earth and the people who came before us.

I absolutely loved this sweet movie! I loved learning a bit about the Maori traditions, and I loved the way the story and the characters evolved. I could easily identify with the 12 year old Elisabeth and her courage and big heart when she stands up for her Maori friend Hira. I could also relate to the curiosity Elisabeth has for the deeply spiritual ways of the Maori people and how she learns to appreciate and even adopt some of these traditions. love the friendship between the two, and how genuine and respectful it is, despite the age difference.

I absolutely recommend this magical film to children, teenagers and adults alike! It is rare to come upon such a gem of a movie in these highly commercial times.

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Three Wishes for Cinderella ( Tři oříšky pro Popelku)

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Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) is a Czech Fairytale Cult Classic Film from 1973. It tells the story of Cinderella, and how she finds the help she needs to win the prince over inside three mysterious hazelnuts.

(The above picture is the Norwegian DVD cover.)

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Do you have a very particular movie you just have to see every year in order to get the proper feel of Christmas? Well this is mine! 😊😊. And I think a lot of Norwegians share that sentiment, as the film is, and has been for at least 30 years, shown on Norwegian TV every Christmas Eve. It is the one time of day all my aunties and my female cousins will sit glued to the TV no matter where we are in the world (Thank god for internet TV!)

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There is no need for me to say much about the plot of the film as we all know the story well. But there are a lot of twists and turns that differ a lot from the Disney versions of the film, and for that reason it makes this beautiful film worth watching. Not to mention, the stunning costumes and the beautiful Czech landscape. Oh, and I have to add that the dress my mother made for me for my Senior Prom was 100% inspired by the dress Cinderella wears for the Ball in this movie! 😄😄

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I highly recommend this gorgeous classic to children and adults alike! 🌸👸🏼💖
Enjoy!

Christmas Story (Joulutarina)

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Christmas story (Joulutarina) is a Finnish Christmas film from 2007 telling the legend of the man we call Santa Claus. There are many films made with the same plot, but this little quiet beautiful film is very different from the rest.

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The story is about little Nikolas who become an orphan after his parents and baby sister are killed in an accident. The people in the village are poor and none of the families can afford to take Nikolas in permanently, so they decide to let him stay for a year with each family in the village. After each year is over Nikolas, on Christmas Eve, gives a gift he has made him self for the family he has stayed with. One year the village has so little food that none can afford to take Nikolas in, so he is apprenticed to the stern and gloomy carpenter who lives outside the village. Nikolas is made to work hard, but he enjoys the work and has soon warmed the cold heart of the carpenter. Nikolas continues the tradition of giving gifts to the village children, and to his surprise, the old carpenter decides to help him.

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This movie is the most esthetically beautiful film I have ever seen in my life. The gorgeous Finnish landscape is breathtaking, and consequently the elegant cinematography unfolds like a dream. The film was shot on the tundra in Utsjoki in Lapland on the border to Norway, and most of the film is showing fairy-like winter scenes. The movie is a declaration of Love to the Finnish-Sami landscape, a true, pure, natural winter wonderland.

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What I love the most about this amazing film is how uncommercial and non-materialistic it is. I feel so many of the more popular Christmas movies, especially about Santa Claus, is just one big sentimental materialistic bonanza, more about the magic of toys and presents than that of Christmas. In “Christmas Story” you will find wax candles instead of flashing LED lights, snow-clad evergreens instead of lavishly decorated Christmas trees, little wooden horses instead of store-bought robots and Legoes. The movie is not only about Christmas, it is about healing from loss, finding new meaning in giving love to gain it, it is about finding hope in unexpected places, and kindness and generosity as a cure for loneliness.

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This movie is definitely on my top five list of my all-time favorite movies.
It is not only a celebration of the Northern landscape, but also of the Nordic cultural heritage.

I will say, if you will only see one Christmas film this year, then it should be this!

I feel, even a hundred million stars is not even enough!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Journey to the Christmas Star (Reisen til Julestjerna)

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Journey to the Christmas Star is a Norwegian Christmas Fairytale Film from 2012, directed by the very talented and magical Nils Gaup. This film is based upon one of Norway’s most beloved Christmas stories, featuring a wicked count, an evil witch, a brave princess, a missing star, and of course, Father Christmas himself.

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In the beginning of the film we are told the story of how the kingdom’s most beloved little princess got lost in the woods searching for the Christmas Star, after which, the king cursed the star, and both the princess and the star disappeared. Nine years later we meet Sonia, a sweet and brave girl held captive by thieves, but she manages to escape, and in her flight, she ends up in the castle where the king gives her sanctuary, in return she promises the king that she will find the Christmas Star for him, and so the adventure begins.

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Sonia embarks on a difficult journey, she is chased by the wicked count, but finds help in unexpected places. My favorite scenes in the movie are the scene in the Nisse house (Nisse is a Scandinavian faerie creature), where she is made tiny by little Moss in order to escape the count, and the scene in Father Christmas’ Tree garden where she learns that each tree is a soul, and the most beautiful souls grow lush and green whereas the wicked souls are withered and wasted.

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My favorite line in the film is in the beginning when Sonia is asked if she knows where to go to find the Christmas Star, to which she replies: Well, I’ll just go left. And when she is asked why left, her answer is: because that is where the heart is. 😊💖.

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I will heartily recommend this beautiful magical film to kids and grown-ups alike, especially to those who are interested in fairytales and faerie creatures from different cultures. You will get to eat a rich slice of Norway’s Faerie Cultural heritage in this adorable film.

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

P.S if you want to read more about the Scandinavian Nisse, you can do so here:
https://talesfromthefairies.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/the-scandinavian-nisse/

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a musical fantasy film from 1971 directed by Mel Stuart and written by Roald Dahl, who is also the author of the book the film is adapted from. The film has later attained a Cult Classic status and is still being shown on television in many countries.

I think there is no need for my to retell the plot here, as we all know the story well, so I am just going to dive into the review. 😊

When I was little I loved Roald Dahl’s books, and I loved Willy Wonka. To me, he was such a magical, eccentric character, who cared about kindness, not about being liked by everyone. I remember thinking that Willy Wonka must have been tired of not fitting in to the wicked world of men, so he made a world for himself full of sweetness and fun and imagination. But as the story enfolds we understand that this world has become lonely, and that Willy Wonka is seeking a kindred spirit to share it with, and he finds this in Charlie Bucket, our hero.

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When I watched the 2005 adaptation of this film, the one directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp in the lead as Willy Wonka, I was completely torn out of my childhood fantasy. The Willy Wonka in that film was not MY sweet and magical Willy Wonka, he was a selfish dark character, and I did not like him one bit. The whole movie took a very dark turn in interpreting this story, probably due to both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s influence, and consequently I did not like the film. The 1971 adaptation on the other hand, I loved!

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a much sweeter and more innocent take on the story, except for perhaps one scene (the one in the dark tunnel). I also loved the singing and dancing sequences, especially the opening one in the Candy Shop. The song “The Candy Man” is such a whimsical hit. (It was later recorded by Sammy Davis Jr.)

And I love, love, love the colors, the costumes and the sets, especially the first room in the Chocolate Factory. So magical! It is very typical the 70s, and of course free of computerized special effects and animation. Everything is actually made by hand! This, to me, gives the movie real soul and artistic quality, something I feel I rarely find in movies of this nature today. Today’s movie industry has a feel of being more about making money than art, I think. (But let’s not get political! 😀 ) It is not only the Chocolate Factory sets that are beautiful, the footage from the streets and buildings in the city is also lovely! The film was shot in Munich in 1970, and the authentic vintage shops are delightful!

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If you love old movies, especially the musical ones, you will also love this sweet film. I highly recommend it to children and adults alike! 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

(Oh, and by the way, a warning: I still can’t get that Oompa Loompa song out of my head!! 😂😂)

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️