But this holiday movie season isn’t a giant lump of coal. We’ve found five movies for you to consider. They are live action or animated, familiar stories or original. Most are not in theaters. That is unfortunate, but there’s a compelling advantage of at-home screenings: The audience can watch in pajamas.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Onetime visionary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle loses his joyful spirit after an apprentice steals his prized invention and book of designs. He also loses touch with his daughter. Decades later a granddaughter he has never met comes for a Christmas visit hoping to reunite the family. The movie, packed with upbeat song and dance, is a treat for kids of all ages, especially those who love musical theater. (On Netflix, rated PG.)
Siblings Alice and Peter spend a summer filled with imaginative play — fancy tea parties and pirate ships — at their 19th-century cottage in England. A family tragedy leads them to travel to the bustling city of London to sell a family treasure. Their journey home involves adventures from the pages of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan.” Despite its fantasy elements, the story involves death and addiction, making it best for older children. (Streaming on demand. For providers, check comeawayfilm.com/watch-at-home, rated PG. Also in some theaters.)
The Croods: A New Age
The prehistoric Crood family is on a search for a new home. They discover another family, the Bettermans, who live a fancy life, with a huge treehouse and vegetables planted in rows. The two families become friends, but they don’t always agree. When danger arises, the families wrestle with which way of life offers them a better chance of survival. (In theaters November 25, rated PG.)
Anna Sewell’s classic novel about a horse growing up in England is set in modern-day American West in this adaptation. The wild horse is taken from her family and ends up at a rescue organization, where she meets Jo, a lonely teenager. Jo bonds with the feisty horse, which she names Black Beauty. When the two must separate, Jo is devastated. She vows to find a way to bring the two back together. (On Disney Plus November 27, rated G.)
Middle-school band teacher Joe Gardner dreams of being a professional jazz pianist. The day he gets an opportunity to play at a top New York City club, he falls down a manhole. Joe escapes death but ends up as a glowing blue blob in “the Great Before,” a place where souls develop a personality before being paired with a human body. He’s asked to mentor “22,” a new soul who is stuck there because she has no interest in becoming human. Joe gives her a preview of Earth living, and in doing so gains a new appreciation for his old life. (On Disney Plus December 25, rated PG.)